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“Do not stay here!! Extremely over priced and poorly managed.”

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Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Exmouth
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Do not stay here!! Extremely over priced and poorly managed.”
Reviewed 18 July 2013

My family stayed here for 3 nights. Unfortunately it rained the entire time, while Sal Salis can't control the weather they should be prepared should it rain but I will avoid the weather until the end of this review.

This is a very expensive place to stay and they do not give you anywhere near the value or experience. The food is very minimal and limited choice. I am not sure why they bother asking you for your dietary requirements because they don't care, they failed to follow any of our simple requests. Breakfast consists of cold cereal, some light pastry and fruit. With all the activity you would think they would serve a hot brekkie?? Lunch consisted of salad and soup, while dinner was 3 courses you only had one choice. There are 2 chefs in camp, if you must go to Sal Salis make sure Pedro is going to be the chef because Shakira could care less about what she puts on the table.

The staff is more concerned about their own dynamic versus that of it's guests. Only once were we asked what we would like to do. When we suggested something seldom was it greated with a good idea or a lets do it. John was the only helpful guide. Cameron could care less if the guests are having a good time or not. I mentioned the weather was poor, they should still have activities designed for bad weather. Nothing!! The one day we went snorkeling, we had to drive our rental car because the van was in repair.

Do not go see the whale sharks during your stay as it wastes a whole day. The positive thing was the food on the boat was better than anything served at the lodge.

We were well aware of the "conservation living" that Sal Salis provides, but 1 towel for 3 days is a little much, especially if you are swimming or it is raining. When we asked for additional towels you would have thought we asked them for gold bars.

Searching for a positive the wine was plentiful and a good selection.

Justin is the manager and when he is on the property things do run a little smoother but again no where near what you should expect for what you are paying.

I mentioned it rained the entire time which was unfortunate, however the staff should be prepared to offer alternative activities. Instead the offer nothing in hopes the rain goes away. We were left to our own to figure out what to do. As a family we played beach cricket and looked for sea shells. I am convinced weather or not, the staff are not trained to provide an experience worth what you are paying.

The most disturbing point would be we have provided feedback to the owner of Sal Salis and after a month we still have not heard anything.

PLEASE DO NOT STAY HERE! There is a wonderful Novatel in town. Stay there and drive 30 minutes to the beach for a much more pleasant and diversified experience.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
14 Thank Sambora1986
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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196 reviews from our community

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English first
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 July 2013

I stayed here in April. The location is beautiful and the glamping tents were nice, but for the money, it does lack value. For the price it really should be an over top experience such as Qualia. Not to mention I feel that I was mis-guided on several things - such as needed to stay an extra night for the beginning of whale shark season, but when I arrived others were going out 2 days before hand (although I realize this is hard to plan with nature that was disappointing). Also I had to rent a rental car which cost another $500 to get there from exmouth, for the price a service to pick you up ought to be included for free or minimal charge. The food was good and they accommodated to my restricted needs, so I was grateful for that. I also had a not great experience with one of the guides, who I understand is no longer there. So, in essence amazing experience, but should be about 1/2 the price.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank Joy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 July 2013

This is somewhere very different. Set amongst the sand dunes of the Cape Range National Park and a stone's throw from the beach and Ningaloo reef itself, it couldn't be a place more peaceful and serene.

The tents were very comfortable, hammock to while the time away or just lying on the bed and watching Humpback whales doing there thing. A place where the main noise is the waves breaking on the outer edge of the reef and light mainly comes from the sun and the stars. This is a place to relax and become one with your surroundings; although there are plenty of activities available, from gorge walking and watching out for the local wildlife and see the structures nature has provided, bird watching, fishing, snorkeling, kayaking, all done with the aid of a knowledgeable and capable member of the team, it seems nothing is too much for you to enjoy the experience.

And then the food, Pedro created some wonderful dishes, all with a wine match in the evening, and leisurely enjoyed, no need to rush.

Justin has a great place going here and this is eco-tourism at its best.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank iainsnz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 July 2013

We had a marvellous three nights at Sal Salis recently and we were very, very sad to leave. It was a real privilege to stay in the park just footsteps from the pristine beach and reef. The area is teeming with life and it is just wonderful to see how well the team respect the nature and work with it to ensure the camp and its inhabitants leave no trace. The kids (6 and 8) were thrilled to learn about the solar power and running a camp with no plumbing.

The tents are very comfortable with excellent bathrooms that manage to feel private but open at the same time. The sundowners and card games on the main terrace were something to look forward to at the end of each action packed day. As was the delicious food produced miraculously from within a tiny kitchen.

Our guide Emma was just wonderful - the kids and adults all hung on her every word of wisdom. She told our kids she had visited the area as a child herself and vowed to return and work there sometime in the distant future! Our two and now hoping to do the same. We took lots of photos but Emma took some wonderful ones of the four of us with her underwater camera and emailed them to us.

We'd love to return one day. The whale sharking was so good we did it twice!

Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank SamPB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney
Level Contributor
23 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 July 2013

Hubby and I stayed for two nights either side of our 30th wedding anniversary for something a little different. And different it was!
Lucky for us our anniversary was on a Tuesday, the day the whale shark tour happens...everyone else went on the tour and we had the camp to ourselves for the day! John took us snorkelling in the morning and then after lunch for a walk through Mandu Mandu Gorge...complete with champagne on ice & glasses he carried for us to celebrate at the top of the cliff.
Tents were terrific, beds very comfortable, staff were very helpful and the setting in the dunes was magical. Yes, it is expensive but at the same time it is remote, unique and powered by solar. I believe the team do it very well with the amenities they have.
After looking at the recent reviews below, my only regret would be not using their fishing charter instead of the one we ventured out with in town.
We would highly recommend Sal Salis if you are looking for a unique experience!

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank bluhaze
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
298 reviews
117 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 136 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 June 2013

Hubby and I were recently here for three nights to celebrate an "O" birthday! It is a really lovely place, and you are made to feel very welcome. I love their strong commitment to the environment and the eco-principles, which you can see at work constantly.

There have been some comments about the hefty price tag, and for we mere mortals, for whom this is a splurge, I guess it depends what you want. We were very happy here, because the experiences we had from a nature point of view - were outstanding. The whale sharks, the sea turtles, swimming with manta rays, dolphins, whales, etc... it is just brilliant. So as a "five star" experience - from an outdoor perspective, for us - it most decidedly was.

We liked the friendliness and laid back attitude of the staff. We found the guides (John and Cameron) very knowledgeable, and the food (other than breakfast - see note below!) was wonderful. Pedro accommodated our vegetarian requirements, and he also prepared a lovely cake for hubby's birthday, which was very much a surprise, but very welcome indeed. I loved that they went the extra mile in these areas. I also agree with previous comments that the service isn't truly "five star", but for us that was OK - because the five star experience we wanted was an environmental one!

The communal nature of the dining experience did mean that you were a little bit at the mercy of where you ended up sitting, in terms of how enjoyable (or tedious) an experience that was. But really - we just saw it as a way to get to know other people - some of whom were obviously pretty well heeled, and others were more like us - out for a splurge. So it was really not a problem. And certainly from a service point of view it makes it easier to serve at a communal table, all at once (and part of the low impact is keeping staff numbers low, too, so it all contributes to minimising the environmental footprint of the place).

The only things I would improve on would be: 1. We were contacted three times to confirm our time of arrival! (they need to meet you, as it is a bit far to carry luggage). Think there must have been some mix up internally?! Anyhow, I just kept giving them the same information each time - and we got there... and (Murphy's law - there was no one there to meet us! ha ha ha) 2. The breakfast that is provided is pretty basic, considering how amazing all the other food served is! I would suggest some better quality breads and maybe a bircher museli. But these are small improvements to a very great place.

If you are looking for a wonderful wilderness experience for perhaps a special occasion, I would not hesitate to recommend Sal Salis to you!

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank tamaletown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
43 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 June 2013 via mobile

The cape range national park is one of the most beautiful places on earth: incredible reef, crystal clear water and deserted beach to wander. Sal salis is in a privileged position as the only property in the park itself. As the other reviewers have noted, the comfortable tents (great beds!) and solid food and wine elevate the experience beyond camping...although these amenities come with a hefty price tag.

A key issue with sal salis is the price-value equation. For the price tag, the service needs to be spiffed up a bit. The staff is young, and while cheerful, is in need of some management and guest focus. They did seem to be more interested in their own group dynamics than the guests. I get it. If i were 25 and only working somewhere for 3 months,i wouldn't stress too much either. The chefs are enthusiastic; i would characterize the food as good not great. The guided walks were fine if not the most fascinating, with the whaleshark tour being well worth the additional tariff.

The most serious issue with sal salis was information. After leaving the ningaloo reef area (and reentering the world of wifi and internet) we learned that there was a warning issued by the australian govt regarding irukandji jelly fish in the ningaloo reef area during early may. These jellyfish can kill you! There were a spate of stings in the area that resulted in hospitalizations earlier in the month. This was not mentioned at sal salis, despite the fact that they make you sign a bodily harm disclaimer! Hey, thanks for being a friend...

While i understand that this sort of info can hurt tourism, it is necessary to be upfront with guests regarding these kinds of risks, particularly in such a remote location. If they were not aware ( which i do not believe), that is in some ways even worse. I was very angry when i first found out about this lack of disclosure. I am more zen now, but still believe it was immoral.

  • Stayed May 2013
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank CB172
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef

Property: Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef
Address: Yardie Creek Rd | Cape Range National Park, Exmouth, Western Australia 6707, Australia
Region: Australia > Western Australia > Exmouth
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Exmouth
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef 4.5*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef is an eco resort consisting of 16 en-suite Wilderness Tents. The Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef is a few short steps away where a totally different and amazing world waits to be explored and enjoyed. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef Hotel Exmouth

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