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February 10, 2010

Ratua Opens In Magical Vanuatu

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

Ratua, Vanuatu –Reported by Elite Traveler, the Private Jet Lifestyle Magazine

A well kept secret until now, Ratua – an exclusive island retreat within the Vanuatu archipelago in the South Pacific – has opened, offering travelers a rare chance to escape from the modern world and support local culture and traditions,

With a focus on sustainability, Ratua is unique in that 100% of its profits will be donated to surrounding island communities, supporting hospital construction and educational and cultural projects.

Indeed, with this magical sanctuary now open for the enjoyment of others, the seductive and elusive idea of escaping to a secluded island for sheer relaxation with friends or family has become a reality.

This exclusive private island is truly a vision made into a dream come true. After a French nature lover discovered the untouched island and purchased Ratua in 2005, he created a stunning destination in harmony with local resources and respect for the island’s ecology. It is a wild, magical place with authentic people who offer a simple and natural reception. In a country of rich traditions and culture, time is king and money and consumption do not count.

In fact, Ratua’s model of ethical and ecological tourism is the beginning of what will lead to a completely self-sustained retreat, while preserving better quality of life. Guests will find large fans in place of air conditioning, solar and 100 percent renewable energy, horses instead of cars and an absence of plastic and television.

After reserving Ratua, there is no need to book, no need to plan, just ask and it will be done in minutes. Visitors arrive at Espirtu Santo Island, a short flight from Australia’s east coast via Air Vanuatu, Pacific Blue or Qantas Airlines. A service team greets guests at Espiritu Santo Airport and guides them on a 30-minute motorboat journey to the island’s Yacht Club. A social hub offering a nautical activities center, comfortable meeting place, sandy beach, chaise lounges, and a beautifully appointed bar, lounge and dining room, the Yacht Club is also where fresh organic meals, fine wines and ever-lasting memories are shared.

While Ratua offers 146 lush acres to traverse by electric buggy, bike, trek, horseback or boat – most of the amenities are centrally located just a short walk from the Yacht Club. Two villages offer 10 individual villa-style homes hand-crafted from 200-year-old teak wood with Indo-Oceania inspiration. Each is uniquely furnished and accommodates two to four guests who can enjoy their own beach and perfect privacy.

The foundation of Ratua’s dining experience is the organic Kitchen Garden, where the culinary staff sources fresh, organic fruits and vegetables to supplement the unlimited fish supply from local anglers. A wine cave houses the best of Australia and New Zealand wines – not to mention the exclusive French wine and Champagne from the owner’s vineyard.

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Ratua’s weather is nearly perfect as two much larger islands protect it. This makes easy exploration of surrounding lagoons, beaches, reefs – where sea tortoises, bright coral gardens and colorful fish abound. While exploring Ratua, guests will also find Manade Ranch where 15 horses roam freely with local chickens, pigs, goats and cows.

Beyond Ratua’s shores, guests can discover the infinite wealth of the area’s extraordinary natural habitat and unique local culture – from active volcanoes, waterfalls and caves, to sailing, blue hole swimming and deep sea fishing – through a range of discovery tours.

With cheerful, attentive service, Ratua offers a refined French “art of living” influence. “Elegance, comfort and well-being – but not extravagance – are all important aspects of traditional French living,” says Ratua’s general manager Frederick Maclean. This approach certainly reflects the Ratua philosophy. In fact, guests are without constraint – like at home, but far from home – with three staff for each visitor, offering a perfect environment for relaxation and self-realization.

Although Ratua is remote and secluded, it doesn’t mean guests will be disconnected. The Game Room and Media Center offer computers with wireless Internet access and a GSM network covers the entire island.

While it may seem natural to maintain the property’s mystique, Ratua’s owner has taken a different direction by sharing the island with others. His motivation in offering this private paradise to others: to contribute all profits to help surrounding communities in the region. Each year, key projects (water catchments for local schools, hospital construction, cultural projects and development of the craft industry by micro credit) are selected and financed entirely by Ratua Foundation.

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