We stayed at The Village, Bunaken for 5 days in August. It is fun and perfect for diving, probably not a lot to do otherwise. It's a laid back island, don't expect luxury but do expect the wonderful friendliness of the islanders and some fantastic diving. The hotel is charming - spacious individual villa's set in a lush garden, and nice bathrooms with an outdoor feel (but enclosed to avoid the insects! - although we didn't really get bothered by insects at all while we were there). All villa's also have a large balcony and hammock which we made good use of, and they have thought through the little touches such as providing drying racks on the balcony for your swim stuff. The fans in the rooms are pretty effective, we found we didn't need air con at all. It's nothing to do with the hotel but the water from the taps tastes gross - it is brackish as there's no fresh water on the island. So just close your mouth when you shower and be grateful for the unlimited drinking water the hotel kindly provides :-) The water pressure in the shower is also pretty lame, took me about 20mins to wash the salt out of my hair each day, but there is plenty of warm water.
The staff are super friendly, they made us feel so at home. We found the owner a bit abrupt and not so welcoming during the booking process, but the local staff are just superb and will do everything they can to help you. The breakfast is simple but good, and there's free drinking water, tea and coffee all day. The lunch/dinner food is ok - I have had better food elsewhere in Indonesia and it can get a bit samey after a while, but it is good and you can have as much as you want which is great as I am always starving after diving! They also seemed really good at catering to special requests.
We did our Advanced course and found the diving to be excellent. Yes the safety standards are a bit relaxed (esp if you're new to diving or nervous), but the diving instructors were very friendly and we always felt well looked after. It's a shame the sea is so dirty - lots of rubbish and debris floating on the surface even though underwater had amazing visibility - and I'd like to see the hotel do more to try and tackle this difficult problem. It's also worth noting that at low tide you have to walk quite far out to the dive boats over mud and sea urchins etc so it's worth bringing a pair of shoes that you can get wet and that don't slip off. This means it's also a reasonably long swim out to the reef, but very sheltered and you can snorkel direct without needing a boat trip. There's not much of a beach at all.
We didn't use the spa as it was fully booked but apparently it is amazing so book in advance! And the pool is nice but tiny. I would stay here again if I came to Bunaken.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Small scale Resort, Diving center and Spa on Bunaken with attention to detail and a touch of authentic indonesian styling. A place to relax and enjoy the underwater wonders of Bunaken right at your doorstep. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- The Village Bunaken Hotel Bunaken Island