This would be a purely dive vacation and will be staying at the two Murex resorts - one on mainland Manado, the other on Bangka Island (which I will be writing a separate review).
Arrived on a full flight from Singapore and was greeted by the Murex staff with a great big smile! Important to note, you need to inform the Murex staff which resort you will be staying as there was a small glitch and they send us straight to Bangka Island. It's an hour by car to both resorts from the airport but from Bangka Island to the mainland resort, it's a 2 hour ride! So information is critical. Though we took a total of 3 hours ride to our destination, it was a scenic but bumpy journey. Best if all, we stopped to taste the local dishes and it was an awesome experience. So the long ride was a blessing in disguise!
We were greeted by the owners themselves upon our arrival and they profusely apologize for the miscommunication but it was not really a bother cos we had a good driver and a scenic route. Though we miss a half day of diving, it was made up by the warmth of the Battuna family. We just loved family run resorts or hotels cos everything is just so personal and warm. Dinner was home styled cooking and exceptionally delicious. Don't expect a full spread of buffet type dishes. What was served was simple but awesome!
Evenings at Murex is a quiet affair and if you want to get away from the stress of city life, this is the place. No phones or TVs in your room. However for connectivity, they provide free wifi in the reception / dining area and really, if you need to watch TV, just head to the second level and a TV and library awaits you. Look up at the stars or just sit and hear the crashing of the waves is simply the art of doing nothing in the evenings.
Our room was simple yet adequate for our needs. Aircon or fan options. Large and spacious bathrooms too! Though the resort is situated just off the main road, one cannot hear any vehicles movement. The only sounds in the nights are waves crashing and the night critters. Lovely!
We did three dives a day and best of all, the dive boats were not crowded. Our local guide was great tho his dive briefings needs to be polish. It is a three quarter day out at sea with tiffin carrier lunch boxes (I love it and there is enough food for all) plus soft drinks and fruits. We dive mainly at the Bunaken area - from small critters to large preys and even a pod of dolphins on the way back to the resort! If you are not too tired after 3 dives, a 4th is welcoming at the house reef depending on wind and tide conditions or you could simply chill out at the swim pool, which to me, is the best dive training pool I have ever come across. Well design in terms of depth changes! There was an Instructor Training Course being conducted while we were there. So if you are not a diver and want to be one, best place to learn!
Overall, we had an awesome stay at Murex - for the diving but most of all for the personal warmth of the family styled run resort - beats the chain resorts!!! Oh, we spent half a day in Manado town - just don't head there during the peak hours as traffic is a nightmare! Nothing much in town too. Better off doing a dive! One more things, they have two wonderful and obedient dogs - a Great Dane and a Mongrel. If you love dogs, you will fall in love with Donner and Twinkle. Happy divecation!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Murex’s casual yet classic vibe makes it your home away from home in North Sulawesi. Choose to dive, explore or just take it easy and relax with friends and family – whatever you decide, exceptional service is guaranteed. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Murex Dive Hotel Manado