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“Nice hotel, but could be amazing”

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The Village Bunaken
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Bunaken Island
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore, Singapore
Level 5 Contributor
93 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Nice hotel, but could be amazing”
Reviewed 16 September 2013

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.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Ilovetravel16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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256 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Indonesian first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
London
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 August 2013

A wonderful place to stay. We stayed for 2 weeks. Like many reviews have noted the food was good, the 3pm cake was a nice touch and all the staff were very friendly,helpful and efficient from the owners to the catering, cleaning, diving, boat, gardening and driving staff. This place has a lovely atmosphere thanks to its very small size, attention to detail, beautiful garden and pond surroundings and wonderful hospitality of the owners. The owners arranged a great two day trip to the mainland for us to see the Minahasa Highlands and Tangkoko Nature Reserve for a very reasonable price with our own driver just for the two of us. Would definitely recommend the trip if you have time. Bunaken Island is a delight if you like to take a walk and get to see everyday village and fishing life. It was such a treat to snorkel the house reef and share diving and travelling tales around the group dinner tables each night. Spa was great and in a beautiful setting.

Room Tip: Bungalow 3 on the beach is on its own and fabulous.
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank JoNorthway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 26 August 2013

Highly recommended. I think it is the best place at Bunaken. Great small resort with lovely bungalowes and cosy swimminpool. Food delicious and good variety, they even prepare special vegetarian food for my husband, Lovely and romantic spa. Great place to meet and talk with other travelers as we could share tables during meals. Diving center is very professional with great staff. I hope to be back there one day and sure i will recommend to all my friends,

Room Tip: All bungalows are great.
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Anna D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paris, France
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 August 2013 via mobile

Great hotel, very good food, the staff is very helpful and bungalows are nice and well equiped.
We spent there 5 nights and we passed our padi advanced level: everything was very well organized and our dive instructor was so helpful. We really appreciated diving with him.

The swimming pool is very cosy and fresher than the sea. As other comments said, there is no beach in bunaken but snorkeling is excellent. You can enjoy chilling with all the accommodation of the hotel but not on the beach.

Nevertheless, there is no intimity during the meals as people have to sit with other ones. This is fun and appreciated by some persons, but we, as our unique holidays during the year, would have appreciate to have moments by ourselves in a table for two. We asked for that the last day and it wasn't a problem and we really enjoy a romantic diner near to the swimming pool and in front of the beach.

Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Casilda M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tewkesbury, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 July 2013

Highly recommended! Comfortable spacious bungalow with nice quality finishes, comfortable bed and lovely bathrooms.
Great food, good variety, plenty of it too!
Lovely ambience, very relaxed, good to meet other travellers.
Excellent diving, with very good dive master, snorkelling from the hotel was amazing, water 31 degrees, like a hot bath!
Recommend the massage, in a lovely relaxing environment.
Very pleasant staff.
Overall good value and recommended.

Room Tip: Managed without a/c, good sea breeze and fan!
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank theporsche911
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
italy
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 July 2013

Great location, spacious clean bungalow, lovely relaxing spa, ok food (Asian food, not great variety but great 3pm cake!), friendly staff and owners.
Amazing house reef just in front of the resort, we went snorkeling every day and it was great at each time.
Diving was also wonderful and the dive masters were very nice.
Would definitely suggest to everyone!

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank S_Leo_S_Leo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 July 2013

The other reviews described the positives of the Village Bunaken perfectly: friendly and welcoming owners and staff, good fun swapping travel stories with fellow travelers at the communal table at meal times, and an organized dive team who handle all your equipment with care and is attentive to your dive needs. e.g. I did my first ten dives after open-water certification here and was assigned my own personal divemaster because I was a beginner. The other divers during my stay were all much more advanced.

All in all, I had a great stay at the Village Bunaken, and enjoyed the underwater scenery tremendously. I read somewhere that 70% of the fish species in the Indo-Pacific Ocean can be found in Bunaken, and it looks as though you can see all of them just snorkeling the house reef!

Now, onto the "room for improvement" portion of my review...

To fellow travelers with clean-freak tendencies like me, this section is for you:
- Bring your own microfiber/quick-dry towels (you are only provided with 1 towel for bathing, and 1 for the pool; they are changed every 3 days or so, and can get smelly very quickly, since nothing really dries with the humidity)
- Since you're not allowed to flush toilet paper, there is a bin lined with a plastic bag (bag changed daily) where you can deposit your soiled toilet paper. Recommendation to owners: please purchase bins with lids for hygiene purposes. Recommendation to fellow germophobic travelers: bring extra sanitary bags so that you can tie up your soiled toilet paper after each use.
- Bring a scented candle as the bathroom will smell bad from time to time. Not sure if this is from the brackish water, from when I didn't flush well enough, from the open bin/waste-basket containing soiled toilet paper, or from some combination of the above. The resort did provide an air-freshener diffuser in the bathroom, but it didn't really help.
- Check after you flush. Since the toilets are extremely low flow, it might take more than one flush for everything to go down.
- Expect ultra ultra low-flow showers; bring your own wash cloth to help speed up the rinsing process. It took me 3x as long to shower because so little water comes out of the shower-head. I like that they're trying to save water, but this was a bit too low-flow. I ended up filling up mini buckets of water from the sink to pour over myself, which ends up wasting more water. (Sorry, mother earth!)
- Pack quick-dry everything. Laundry might never dry unless you place it under direct sunlight.
- It's the tropics. Your reading lamp might be rusty.

Don't let any of the above keep you from staying at the Village Bunaken! It's really great! These are just some of the realities of island living. And as long as you're prepared, you'll be fine :)

Other misc. tips:
- Tea drinkers, bring your own tea bags. The same kind of black tea gets boring after a few days.
- Coffee drinkers, bring your own coffee packets if you don't like nescafe.
- Bring your own surface-interval snacks if you need something other than biscuits/crackers, fresh-cut fruits, tea, coffee, and water.
- If you're prone to mosquito bites, bring lots and lots of repellant, and apply generously each time before leaving your room. Plug-ins were provided in the room and worked well; but be vigilant outdoors.
- Buy some water at the airport after you land in case you get thirsty between the airport and Bunaken.
- Wear easy-dry water shoes and shorts on arrival/departure in case of low tide. You might have to wade through mangroves to get to your boat. It's great fun, actually, but not if you're wearing shoes with socks. When I left around 10:30/11 a.m. on the boat to Manado, I waded through water that came up to about mid-thigh.
- Bring your own travel blanket and pillow if you need more than just one pillow or one sheet to sleep.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank SharksAreFriends
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
bunakenvillage, Owner at The Village Bunaken, responded to this review, 13 July 2013
Thank you for your compliments and your tips on how to improve the Village Bunaken and make it an even better place. We are happy to know you had a good time at the Village Bunaken and we gladly welcome you back to see our improvements.

Some things we have already changed since your visit:
- We have put lids on all bathroom bins.
- Single room toilets have been scheduled for replacement this year.
- We have repainted the slightly rusty bed lamp in the single room.
- We have scheduled placement of an exhaust fan in the single room bathrooms.

Some tips to travelers and visitors at the Village Bunaken
- Please communicate with us when there are problems and we will try to solve them.
- Warm water pump only works from 8.30 until 20.30, because of limited island electricity at night. The flow of water for the shower will be low when the pump is not on.
- We provide nescafe and local indonesian coffee for free.
- Extra blanket or pillow are available on request.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Village Bunaken

Property: The Village Bunaken
Address: Pangalisang, Bunaken Island 95000, Indonesia
Region: Indonesia > Sulawesi > North Sulawesi > Bunaken Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Bunaken Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 11
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

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