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Iririki Island History

Paton Memorial Hospital on Iririki Island – 1910
In 1910 – The first British Hospital in the New Hebrides was established on Iririki Island in memory of the well-known Presbyterian missionary John G Paton and was then called Paton Memorial Hospital. Patients were seen for such ailments as broken bones, meningitis, and rheumatic fever, and Pacific islanders were trained in tropical disease management. In 1928 – the joint court granted title to Iririki Island to the Presbyterian Church of Victoria.

British Residency on Iririki Island – 1913
In 1913 – Iririki Island housed the British Residency who leased the island from missionaries for 99 years. The British Residency was constructed at the summit of Iririki Island in Port Vila harbor during the same period as the Condominium buildings. Although only about a hundred meters high, the site was such that the Residency commanded a view of the town, in keeping with a long and international tradition of asserting a colonizer’s authority. The site was not without its drawbacks. Visitors had to cross the channel, often in the British Residency launch, Nereid, then climb 179 steps to the top of the hill. There they entered—or had drinks outside—the home. The original household was built for the Queen for an overnight visit in 1974, and subsequently accommodated Until 1972 part of the island was used by the Presbyterian Mission’s Paton Memorial Hospital. The Northern portion of Iririki was leased to the British Government for the British Resident Commissioner.

In February 1974, they entertained an especially grand couple, Queen Elizabeth herself and Prince Phillip, as well as Princess Anne, Lord Mountbatten, and others in the royal party at the British Residence on Iririki Island. The British Resident Commissioner, Du Boulay and wife moved out of the residency into the annex so that the main house could be given over to the royal party for a night stay.
In 1975, the Fila Island Land Committee began negotiations with the Presbyterian Church for the return of the island to Fila Island ownership. The church had no immediate use of the land since its hospital facilities had been closed with the construction by the British Government of the new Vila Base Hospital. Fila Islanders saw the potential income which might come to them through leasing of the island for development purposes, if the title could be regained.
In 1976 at a church assembly on Malekula with representative of Fila Island Land Committee in attendance – they finally agreed that the whole island would be returned to Fila Island.

Iririki Island – As a Resort from 1983

In 1983 – After consideration by the Ifira Islanders, they leased the Island to Peter Nicholson to develop into a resort with 72 Fares. In 1987 the most devastating storm ever to lash Port Vila, Cyclone Uma almost wiped Port Vila and Iririki Island out. After 10 agonizing hours, Uma passed out to sea and daybreak revealed fewer than a third of Iririki 72 fare’s still standing. It took a year to get the resort fully operation. In 1991 – the Iririki owner turned the Resort into a new unique concept as a Child-free sanctuary.

In 2004 – new owners took over the Resort and changed the concept to a family friendly resort. The new features and facilities opened in September/ October 2006 and renamed to Iririki Island Resorts & Spa and holds its position as the premier resort in Vanuatu. In 2015 – Cyclone Pam bore down on Iririki at speeds over 300 km (186 mi) per hour, requiring considerable refurbishment. The resort was relaunched in May 2016. Iririki now offers 136 guest rooms in two very distinct styles – from the traditional Island Fare (bungalows) to the spacious self-contained Deluxe Pool View, Ocean View & Penthouse Suites. All rooms are provided with 24-hour room service as well as catering for romantic balcony dinners. Bars & restaurants are all within an easy stroll to the various locations around the resort. Azure Restaurant specializes in fresh seafood & local produce and offers sweeping views across Port Vila harbour, making for a romantic & memorable experience. Or, relax by the poolside enjoying daily happy hour & live entertainment every evening at Infinity Bar & Cafe.
The Sunset Pool features a 4-tier swimming pool with swim-up bar. Bar & Grill is located in the Leisure Precinct and is ideal for a leisurely lunch or snack, or a tropical cocktail at any time of the day.

On the island, Iririki provides a range of facilities for everyone and activities for all ages. The island’s leisure precinct is a sensational recreation area available to guests of all ages with a gymnasium, games room, kids club kids’ club with a full-time entertainer and two full-sized tennis courts. The island also features a 130m private beach, volleyball net, water sports centre and great snorkelling in its surrounds. There’s a full array of watersports too, including kayaks, catamarans, paddle boards. At Snorkellers’ Cove, a five-minute walk from the main restaurant, markers show the best route out to catch the most intricate coral formations, the most brightly coloured fish.
Rejuvenate your mind, body and soul at Iririki Spa. Set in a secluded and peaceful setting on the plateau above the resort, the professional & experienced staff offer a range of individualizes treatments for both men and women.
The resort has its own gardens from which much of the fresh organic fruit, vegetables and herbs come, and its own solar plant at the end of the island.