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“Brilliant in Bahowo!”
Review of Bahowo Lodge

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Bahowo Lodge
Ranked #23 of 46 Hotels in Manado
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Brilliant in Bahowo!”
Reviewed 9 July 2013

I have just returned from my sixth stay at Bahowo Lodge. Over the last three years I have been a regular visitor both alone and with groups of up to 6 friends.
In all aspects, this is one of Asia's many well kept secrets. From airport pickup, accommodation, service, catering and friendly laid back atmosphere, Bahowo Lodge is fantastic.
This is not a 5 star resort with associated price and extravagance. It does however maintain a high standard of customer alignment and focus on simple, homely and quality accommodation.
Of special note are;
- Customer focus and friendly / straightforward approach of owners, Phil & Paula.
- Excellent staff.
- The breakfast and local BBQ dinner
- Alignment with local dive centers, (specifically the Lulley Dive Resort)
- Eco tourism approach and local / Indonesian community engagement
I would highly recommend Bahowo Lodge to anyone planning a dive trip to Manado / Bunaken as well as to individuals, groups or families looking for a unique locally tailored experience.
Look forward to my next visit.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Camk01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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49 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 May 2013

We spent 3 nights at Bahowo lodge in the two bedroom suite, which was very spacious indeed. we very much enjoyed the company of lovely Phil and Paula who run the lodge and are very much involved in the village life. The food was abundant and delicious, and very much a high point. Phil and Paula were incredibly helpful in organising trips etc. Nice pool.

However, the downside is that it is overpriced for the facilities they have. The rooms and some of the communal areas were dirty and not cleaned regularly enough (dead insects and dirt about). The bathroom was very basic indeed. for the price you pay it needs to be refurbished.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank Sue G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bridport, UK
1 review
Reviewed 18 February 2013

I have stayed at Bahowo Lodge several times both with my husband and after he died. I have always been made extremely welcome by Phil and Paula. It is an ideal place for someone on their own, no eating in isolation in the evening, so much better than a lonely table on your own! The scuba diving in Bunaken National Park is world class and most of the dive guides are world class too Transfers to the dive centres are included if you get a package as is the transfer from the airport. The food is very good, whether or not you like it spicy. It is basically Indonesian in style but with some western influence. The other guests are international, anything from Russian to Dutch and other European have been staying there when I have been there. The trips into the hinterland are also interesting, competitively priced and well run.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Win W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Southampton, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 December 2012

We travelled to North Sulawesi on our Medical Elective and enlisted the help of the lovely Phil & Paula from Bahowo Lodge in planning our experience whilst there, following a recommendation from a friend. Their warm welcome and generosity made us feel immediately welcome and relaxed. During our time there, we got to know them and their staff very well and you couldn't hope for a friendlier group of people to stay with. They also own two lovely golden retrievers called Poppy and George who are really great fun and lend the place a unique home-from-home vibe. The local village was full of friendly faces and we quickly felt like part of the community, being encouraged to join in the weekly hotly-contested football match and celebrations such as Independence Day.

Whilst there, we undertook our PADI qualifications and even though we were complete novices beforehand, it was an incredible place to learn. Our dive instructor was really helpful and enthusiastic, ensuring that learning to dive was a fun experience. We also had time to go on a couple of the tours that Bahowo Lodge offer. The Minahasa Highland tour was a highlight and visiting Tangkoko National Park is a must-see, with a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the local wildlife up close.

Overall, we would whole heartedly recommend staying at Bahowo Lodge for anyone wanting to dive in the world famous Bunaken coral reef, or just hoping to see the 'real Indonesia'. We can't wait to return soon, safe in the knowledge that Mr Phil will have a cold bottle of Bintang waiting for us.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Harry385
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 November 2012

We booked at Bahowo Lodge because of the good ratings here, but we did not like the place at all. The hotel is not well maintained and dirty. But the worst thing is probably that you have to pay a high price for it. They charge 4 times the price a taxi would cost for the airport shuttle and after our stay at several other places in the neighborhood (on Bunaken Island and in Tomohon), we also realized how overpriced the rooms are.

We must admit the owners are very friendly people and they were very helpful in getting us to Bunaken island the next day. They could make a lot more out of the Lodge. We would recommend anybody to take a boat to Bunaken Island and find yourself a really nice resort there for half the price and at a way more beautiful spot.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Dick S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bahowo, Owner at Bahowo Lodge, responded to this review, 28 November 2012
We are sorry that this guest did not enjoy their one - night stay at Bahowo Lodge. Clearly there was on this occasion a mis - match between the Lodge and the type of accomodation that the guest was seeking. We are not a back - packers lodge and our rates are clearly advertised. Our airport transfers are comparable to the airport taxis, and other resorts in the area, but are obviously more expensive than public transport.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Balikpapan, Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia
Level Contributor
22 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 October 2012

Bahowo Lodge is great! You know you're going to have a wonderful stay when you arrive at midnight from the airport and the owners offer you beer upon taking your luggage! Phil and Paula are incredible hosts. They provide culturally relevant experiences, but with western amenities and service. They organized tours for us (cheaper than the tour groups in town) and everything was on time, in order, and well done. The food at the lodge was spot-on - from the Western breakfast and made to order eggs to the FABULOUS Indonesian dinners (and desserts)! Oh, and the "tour lunches"? OH MY! Fantastic!! You'll feel at home upon entering Bahowo Village, and particularly Bahowo Lodge. I will be back!

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Wendy G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
148 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 July 2012

My wife and I recently spent a week in Manado diving at the world-renowned Bunaken Marine Park. We had booked a dive package with Thalassa Dive Centre (a PADI 5* dive centre and possibly one of the best-run outfits in Asia) and we were given a choice of three different accommodations. We could either stay on-site at Hotel Santika, or we could stay nearby at the 4 Fish or at Bahowo Lodge. After consulting the respective websites and, more importantly, the other reviews on tripadvisor, we were convinced that Bahowo Lodge provided us the best value for money and would be the best accommodation by a long shot.

To summarise briefly, Hotel Santika was essentially like any other hotel you'd find around the world and we were told that the 4 Fish did not even have air-conditioned rooms. By way of comparison, not only did Bahowo Lodge come with all the mod-cons essential and conducive for comfortable travel (good air-conditioning, hot water, clean rooms, fresh sheets), the food at the Lodge was also fantastic, with a mouth-watering spread laid out for us every evening.

Upon arrival in Manado (after a 3 hour delay from Jakarta), we were greeted by Tom, Phil and Paula's ever-smiling driver, and ushered to the waiting car. The Lodge itself is located some 15km away from the city but due to the appalling road conditions, the journey can take between 40-50 minutes by car. As our flight from Jakarta had been delayed by 3 hours, we were concerned that we would not be able to get dinner (it was 9pm at the time). However, our fears were allayed upon arrival at the Lodge as there was food available and Phil wasted no time in bringing out the nasi goreng (fried rice), chicken sate (grilled chicken skewers) with sweet peanut sauce and some stir-fried vegetables.

The room that was prepared for us was also very comfortable and clean, with a firm queen-sized bed and fresh sheets laid out. Most importantly, and as alluded to above, the rooms were made up to Western standards, with all the mod-cons required. A short word on the hot water though. Although there was hot water available for our showers, we found that the hot water did run out after some time. As we were the only guests in residence at the time, there was still ample hot water for us to use, but we wondered how this might have been different if the Lodge was at capacity. Nevertheless, as we had been informed of this by Phil and Paula in advance, we were conscious to be a little bit more judicious and expedient in our showers.

As we had come to Manado primarily for the diving, we spent the bulk of the day away from the Lodge. Each morning, a simple breakfast consisting of home-made toast and eggs (done any way you like it) would be prepared for us. Although we would have liked more variety in our choice of breakfast, we were nevertheless satisfied by the quality of the food overall. In any event, we usually found ourselves downing our food quickly in order to get to the dive centre in time for the 8am dive! After breakfast, Tom would be waiting by the car to chauffeur us down to Thalassa Dive Centre.

The dive centre is located in the next village, approximately 10 minutes away by car. As transportation to and from the dive centre were provided for readily, we were therefore unconcerned about staying "off-site" from the dive centre. In the evenings, Tom would again be waiting at the dive centre to take us home after we had completed our diving for the day. We found this arrangement to be very flexible and accommodating. All we had to do was to indicate at the start of the day the number of dives we were expected to be doing, and Tom would be waiting at the dive centre for us upon the conclusion of our activities.

Upon arrival back at the Lodge, we would almost always be greeted very enthusiastically by Phil and Paula's two very adorable golden retrievers, George and Poppy! A previous reviewer had mentioned that a love for dogs was essential when staying at the Lodge. Whilst we are unsure as to whether this would indeed be the case for all guests, we would add that George and Poppy certainly helped to make our stay extra memorable, and playing with the dogs was undoubtedly a most enjoyable way of unwinding at the end of a long day.

Dinners were always a treat for us as well. Sultje, Phil and Paula's wonderful miracle-worker cook, would prepare the most amazing spread for our dinners, from freshly caught groupers or chicken sate to stir-friend papaya leaves and aubergines. And to complement all this, her very own home-made sweet peanut sauce and dabu-dabu (take in small quantities only!) Evening meals were always wonderful and, with Phil and Paula joining us, we also thoroughly enjoyed the conversations around the table - especially the stories of how Phil and Paula came to be living in this tiny, remote corner of the world, and the sort of work they are doing in the village.

For those of you concerned by a lack of activities to be had apart from diving, we can say that there was never a shortage of things for us to do whilst at the Lodge. Phil and Paula's extensive library of books and DVDs (Downton Abbey ftw!) kept us occupied in the evenings and, for the non-divers amongst you, we were told that various tours to surroundings areas such as the Minahasa highlands or Manado city itself could very easily be arranged through Phil and Paula.

Perhaps most importantly, we were especially heartened to see for ourselves the work that Phil and Paula are doing in and amongst the 110 families of Bahowo village. From setting up a local clinic to sponsoring the children's education at the local primary school and organising various activities for the whole village, we have come to realise that Phil and Paula are an integral part of village life in Bahowo and an important source of employment for the team (made up primarily of locals from the village) working at the Lodge.

For this reason alone, we believe that Phil and Paula deserve all the support they can get and we would strongly recommend that anyone desirous of a holiday to these parts should eschew the other run-of-the-mill establishments in favour of Bahowo Lodge. In our opinion, this necessitates no sacrifice on the part of the guest at all as, for all the reasons proffered above, the Lodge is run to a very high and efficient standard, with Phil and Paula's personal touch giving it that extra something you will not find elsewhere.

Overall, we really enjoyed our stay and were glad to have been able to meet Phil, Paula, George, Poppy and the rest of the team at the Lodge. We look forward to returning there the next time the diving bug bites again.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank esquire84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bahowo Lodge

Property: Bahowo Lodge
Address: Bahowo Village | Bunaken Park, Manado, Indonesia
Region: Indonesia > Sulawesi > North Sulawesi > Manado
Hotel Style:
Ranked #23 of 46 Hotels in Manado
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Bahowo Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 7
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Also Known As:
Bahowo Hotel Bunaken

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