Imagine a holiday on your own private tropical island. No other guests, just you and your family or partner have the place to yourselves. Malvanua Island Beach House is set on 25 acres of unspoiled beauty just off the East Coast of Santo, Vanuatu. The island is bounded by a spectacular reef to the east, with excellent snorkelling, and a sheltered bay to the west for sheltered, deep-water swimming, whatever the tide or the weather.
The house itself sits just metres from the water on a white sandy beach – perfect for an early morning dip or watching the sunset from the deck of an evening. With two double bedrooms, a large living/dining room and kitchen plus a big covered deck with hammocks, BBQ and outside dining area it is ideal for a family of four. Alternatively it provides the perfect retreat for a couple, wanting to reconnect with nature and with each other.
The path around the island invites you to explore the surrounding bush and discover Malvanua’s other beaches and small coves, while the kayaks provided allow you to explore the bay and paddle over to other nearby islands. The famous Matevulu Blue Hole is a 45 minute paddle across the bay and up a beautiful river that winds its way between the huge trees of spectacular rain forest. The trip up the river in clear fresh water, teaming with fish and fringed with water hyacinths, is a delight in itself, even before you reach the stunning, cool, deep blue water of your destination. Or a 30 minute paddle in the other direction will take you to Turtle Island and some of the best snorkelling in Vanuatu.
Owners Torquil and Marianne, who moved to Malvanua in 2010, built the Beach House in 2013 – as the holiday destination they would have loved when they were looking for a getaway from busy lives and careers. “We were always looking for somewhere we could get away from the crowds, have a beach to ourselves and do our own catering rather than being tied in to hotel or resort dining,” says Marianne. They provide transport to and from the airport and town, shopping trips as required or a provisioning service if preferred – and anything else guests require. “We will be there for people as much or as little as they like,” says Marianne. “We live on the other side of the island to the Beach House so once guests have settled in they can call us if they need anything, or come and visit if they like – or they can just enjoy having the place to themselves.”
The tropical waters around Santo are full of marine life and highlights around Malvanua are turtles – both Green and Hawksbill turtles are regular visitors and have nested on the island. Dugongs are also seen in the bay, along with a dazzling array of colourful fish and crustacea on the surrounding reef.
Many guests prefer to spend most of their time on Malvanua itself, but it is only a 5 minute boat ride across to the mainland and Torquil is happy to run people back and forwards to do tours – like the Mount Hope Waterfall tour, the Millennium Cave tour or trip up to Champagne Beach and Port Olry. Car hire is also available locally if you would rather do your own exploring. The town of Luganville is a 25 minute drive and is the base for several dive operators, offering dives to the world renowned wreck of the SS President Coolidge and other spectacular sites. Horse riding, fishing charters and golf are some of the other activities available locally.
While the Beach House is self catering, if you don’t feel like cooking every meal, there are a couple of resorts on the bay which are open for lunch and dinner – or if you fancy a snack or a cold drink while you are out on the kayaks. Guests are welcome to bananas and pawpaws grown on the island, along with other seasonal fruit, vegetables and herbs. Eggs from Malvanua’s free range chickens and ducks are also usually available.
The house is fully equipped – all linen and towels are provided, masks, snorkels and life jackets are available and basic essentials (like tea, coffee, milk etc) will be in the cupboard when you arrive. The kitchen is well kitted out with a big fridge/freezer, full sized stove, microwave, toaster and pretty much everything else you need to whip up some gourmet tropical delights!
All the rooms are fully screened and have ceiling fans. Both bedrooms have an ensuite shower room and there is an outside shower for rinsing off when you come out of the sea. The eco-friendly Beach House has been built with sustainability in mind. It is powered by a state-of-the-art solar system with generator back-up if required, and the potable water is carbon-filtered rain water. Rubbish is recycled or composted where possible to minimise our impact on the natural environment.
There is a TV and selection of DVDs, and some books and games in case of a rainy day. Wifi is available in the Beach House and a mobile phone is provided for local calls. An extra bed is available by arrangement to accommodate a fifth person in the living room. And a cot and high chair are also available on request for an infant of 2 years or less. A reduced rate is available for a couple only using one bedroom. There is a minimum stay of three nights – but, to be honest, you wouldn’t want to spend any less time than that in such a perfect paradise!