Why the Eratap Resort on Efate Island is Vacation Perfect

Red Flowering Tree front yard at Eratap Resort

Flamboyant Delonix regia, “Poinciana” Christmas Tree, Efate Island, Vanuatu

Every day that I stay in Vanuatu at the Eratap Resort on the island of Efate is a day I am even more appreciative of what this place offers. It’s luxury without the fuss. It’s luxury without the enormous expense, too. There are so many wonderful qualities about this place, which are quietly understated, that I end up reflecting on the qualities later before it dawns on me why this is such a marvelous success as a resort. They give a guest everything she wants with none of the headache she gets at other resorts.

For example, there are no reservations for dinner at Eratap Resort. There aren’t enough people here to make reservations a necessity. Which means when you get hungry, you can eat. You’re not reprimanded in a snooty tone, Sorry, madam — were you raised by wolves — but you should have called us two days ago to reserve a table for tonight; now you will have to eat canned dog food in the elevator. But it’s very good dog food, high in protein and fiber, too.

Eratap lounge at breakfast

Breakfast lounge at Eratap Resort

There is no waiting for a check at Eratap Resort, especially when you are exhausted after doing absolutely nothing all day and want to leave the restaurant. When you have finished with dessert, you can drop your spoon, wipe the chocolate off your face (or not) with your napkin and stumble down the stairs to wander off aimlessly and barefoot down the white sand beach. You will approve the previous day’s bill, which is presented discreetly at breakfast the following day, by signing your name. The bill shows you a running total as well, so you know in advance if you are already spending next month’s mortgage payment.

I’ve yet to notice a dress code apart from the fact you are required, I suspect, to wear something to dinner, even if it’s just wrapping yourself in toilet paper. You can wear a tank top and shorts, and you can be barefoot. Shoes are not required. No jewelry, no makeup, and you don’t even have to comb your hair.

Resort Path

Path to Eratap Resort Bungalows

There is no tipping. When I pressed the issue, I was informed if I so desire, I can add a gratuity when I leave onto my bill and, every 3 or 4 months, management pools the money and divides it equally among all of the resort workers. No wonder people seem really happy here. When I mentioned to an Australian on the plane that the people of Vanuatu are known to be the happiest people on the face of the planet, the woman asked: Why, don’t they have any aspirations? She could not fathom happiness. I was speechless.

This is the way a resort should be. Carefree, without overbearing rules. You can sit at any table you desire and each is good. You can order pretty much whatever you want. No keys are necessary, no credit cards, the Eratap Resort staff and natives: friendly, easy going; and the weather and view, spectacular.

Lunch at Eratap

Lunch view at Eratap Resort

I FaceTimed a seller yesterday in Sacramento. She had sent an email asking if I would list her home, and I’m afraid I startled her. She seemed stunned when she answered her phone, spotted my curly mess of a mop-top with the ocean waves in the background crashing to shore, birds singing. It was then that she realized, I guess, that I could see her. She had never used FaceTime. It’s a good way to make an international phone call, but not everybody appreciates it. I appreciate the fact that FaceTime works at all, halfway around the world.

That listing will wait until I get back to Sacramento in early January. Until then, I’m slipping on my reef shoes and scampering off for a swim.

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