The Sebel Vanuatu

While in Vanuatu in 2004 researching the 8th edition of Moon Handbooks South Pacific, I saw a seven-story hotel under construction on the Port Vila waterfront adjacent to the Iririki Island wharf. At the time, the word was that building would become the Grand Casino Hotel, managed by The Oaks Group, an Australian company with properties in Australia, New Zealand, and Dubai. Vanuatu-based investor Pierre Brunet was providing the financing and Asian construction workers were supplying the labor. Five years later, the hotel is now operating as The Sebel Vanuatu.

Each of the 74 rooms at The Sebel Hotel has a balcony overlooking Port Vila Harbor. Originally, the hotel was to have had a large casino on the main floor and a VIP private casino on the top floor, but that hasn’t happened and the casino spaces are now being used for meetings and conferences. Gamblers will have to take a taxi across town to the Palms Casino at Le Meridien Port Vila Resort. The Sebel does have a pretty half moon swimming pool facing the harbor, plus the usual selection of restaurants and bars. It’s a good choice if you prefer a standard downtown city hotel to a more isolated resort, although this high-rise edifice is rather jarring in colonial Port Vila.