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“Our fourth time diving in Lembeh, our first time at Kasawari”

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Kasawari Lembeh Resort
NYC
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Our fourth time diving in Lembeh, our first time at Kasawari”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 March 2013

But certainly not our last time here. The resort is small, intimate, well appointed and run by the legendary Nus Lobbu, THE dive guide for Lembeh back in 1998, our first time in the area. The food has western and Asian dishes (we stuck with the Asian), good prices for the local Bintang beer but BYOB otherwise. Diving was for "the critters" and Ali, our guide who also goes back to the earlier days of diving in Lembeh was an expert at finding them--they seem even smaller now, maybe thats my eyesight.

If you don't dive, don't go. If you have never been in Lembeh and particularly if you are a photographer, this is a must do destination (pack your macro lenses--wide angle will be unused weight in your luggage). This resort will fill all your needs--and they don't stint on dive time--we did 34 dives, three a day and the shortest was 70 minutes.

There have been "noise" comments, they were not a problem for us. Whatever sounds we heard were usually for less than an hour and not late into the night. The rooms are well built and any sounds were muted.

The staff, ranging from the check in, the housekeepers, the restaurant (who kept up with my endless demand for Mangosteens in the early part of the season) to the groundskeepers are just wonderful. Our next trip at Lembeh will be here at Kasawari.

Mike and Raynalda Bryant

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mike B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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43 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Indonesian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Washington, D.C.
Level Contributor
197 reviews
150 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 262 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 March 2013

This is supposedly a first rate resort but falls short of the mark. First, it is often noisy - and I mean unbearable from early in the morning - 5:30 AM to late at night. There are villages and dwellings on both sides of the resort - which is very small. Individuals and the villages play loud, amplified music at all hours.

There are two breakfasts. The first is before the first dive. This breakfast offers virtually nothing. Stale bread, colored water - aka juice, stale cereal. Just horrible. The second breakfast is ordered before you leave for your first dive and is better.

The diving is what you expect of Lembeh but... a shadow of what it was even five years ago. The cleaning of fishing nets, over diving, and increased population pressures have taken their toll

Room Tip: When the villages are playing music your only options are very high quality ear plugs and even then...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank AlwaysOnTheAirplane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 January 2013

Just returned from a seven night stay,Garry just loved the diving and said it was some of the best he has done in the area,done quite a bit elsewhere same region.Dive guides were excellent camera room excellent and the Villa 1 was terrific, only a small resort and only half full while we were there, only fault we found was they had no bar facilities,they did have one but had no stock of anything much except beer etc,could not make any cocktails as they had no ingriedents,we missed the happy hour that you share with other divers at the end of the day,we are not drinkers much at all but did love to be able to have a cocktail at the end of the day.The pool I had to my self as a non diver and only a couple of steps away from the villa,so very nice,pool kept very clean,umbrella's could do with an update and a few signs warning you not to dive,as it is not a deep pool.As a non diver not much to do,so be prepared to sit around and swim or read. The food was very good quality although fruit should have been ready available at the early morning breakfast,just a bananna would be good,without having to ask staff to get one for you.as they had no orange juice apple juice became a bit sweet,paw paw is not for every one.We thought we would get a xmas day lunch provided but nothing special was done at all, not even any entertainment by staff,would have loved to here them do something for xmas day.They need ice cube trays as the ice machine is broken,staff were having to try to chop up blocks of ice to put in your drinks,a few ice cube trays would have gone down a treat.The staff were all very good indeed and most helpful if asked,they don't all understand english well so take it slow for them.Overall we had a very nice holiday and the diving was terrific for divers it's great.resort very nice setting.Be mindful loud music is played constantly by the two villages along side the resort,almost all the time, it did not worry us as we liked the music being played,but if you don't like loud music it could become an issue. Take some balloons and sweats for the village kids,they loved them.It was still a good holiday and the dive guides and wait staff and house keeping are all excellent.So just go.

Room Tip: if you have the money Villa 1 and villa 2 are the absolute best,but even the other units looked very...
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank faye h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
74 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 November 2012

We stayed at Kasawari Lembeh Resort for the last two weeks of a six-week dive trip. It was the perfect ending to our trip, making us regret going home. The most endearing element is the personal service. The famous Lembeh guides from many years ago, Nus and Ali, work here and they manage operations.

We dove with Nus and Ali on a live-aboard in 2006 and stayed at Kasawari for two weeks in April 2011. As manager of the dive operation, Ali makes sure that divers see what they come here for. He knows where to find everything. If he can’t find it, then I am at peace that it was not around. I feel a great deal of affection for him. Another dive guide, “Rusly,” is also excellent. My husband and I had him as a guide, everyday for two weeks.

They have two large, fast dive boats that come back to the resort after every dive. If you miss a dive because you overslept, then you can catch the next dive. You are not stuck on a boat for hours for a two-tank dive. If you request them, there is a Mandarin fish dive at 5 pm and a night dive at 6 pm.

A non-diving spouse would be comfortable reading on the deck or by the pool. If your spouse is a nervous diver, Ali or one of the guides will give them TLC and special hand-holding services.

What is interesting about Lembeh is that the creatures differ by the season. This October we saw 5 or 6 blue ring octopuses, even a pair mating. Last March we saw none. This year we saw no crocodile flatheads, last year we in March, we saw many.

We've stayed in Villa #1 and #2 which are slightly large than the regular bungalows, but all bungalows are nice. The air conditioning really works in getting your room cool. When we left it was raining, and we dried our wetsuits in front of our highly effective air conditioner.

We used our reasonably priced mini-bar. There is a phone in the room to call for room service, although the restaurant is not far away. The restaurant menu has some odd combinations but the menu can be adapted. For example, I requested an avocado and tomato salad, even though these salads are listed separately. I usually ordered fresh string beans instead, whenever French fries were the side dish. Just explain what you want, and they will do it.

All and all, Kasawari is a very pleasant place to visit. There is a large camera room and large camera rinse tanks. Two weeks is a comfortable time and is not too long. There are sufficient dive sites to fill two weeks. If you want to see tiger shrimp, boxer crabs, blue-ring octopus, devilfish, and all the other cool stuff, it is here. The staff is so nice that you will definitely regret going home, no matter how long you have been away.

Room Tip: There is a culture of load music in all the villages of Lembeh Straits. In December and around New Y...
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank lindaruthe2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 October 2012

Me and my friends were there on 22nd - 26th sept 2012 for diving and all of us are very appreciate with everything. Rooms are clean and luxury, Nice restaurant with good food. Green garden with infinite pool. There is a camera room that has all the facilities like blower, outlet for charger that enough for every guests. All dive leaders are friendly but very polite and very professional. The head of leader told us that " You come to relax, so we will take care the rest for you." That's very imprass us. Staffs are very nice with service mind. It' seem like they love to do their job not because it's just a job. The diving is supers, we saw a lot of the wonderful critters.

We will be back again!!

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Vann P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Osaka, Japan
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 September 2012

Fantastic hotel, I absolutely had a wonderful time and really do not have much to add to the other reviews which loved this place. I was lucky to be with a dive tour group, so we had the whole resort to ourselves. I therefore did not have to worry about the problems with other guests that one of the other reviewers of this hotel discussed. For me, it was great diving, great underwater photography opportunities, great dive masters, a great camera room, great food and a great room (yes, I had one of the two villas overlooking the water--lucky again I guess). The reason anyone comes to this resort is for the muck diving, and it did not disappoint. The dive masters, Deddy and Hanni, were nothing short of awesome. Reviewing the photos I took, the best shots were the ones where Deddy told me what to do and even set the stage, from gently encouraging an orange frogfish to move next to an orange piece of coral to shaking the sand off a green piece of seaweed and setting it behind the yellow fish being photographed. The dive guides not only know how to find the critters, but they know how to photograph them as well.

Food was excellent as was the staff at the resort. Absolutely noting to complain about regarding the service or the accommodations.

My one concern arises from the efforts everyone at the resort makes to ensure the guests have a wonderful stay--sometimes it is necessary to play the bad guy. In this case, with regard to the preservation of the coral. There are no warnings given to guests about touching the coral, wearing gloves, giving up on trying to get a photo if you cannot do so without damaging the coral, etc. The message needs to go out, it needs to go out now and it needs to go out strongly. Allowing this sort of behavior by divers will ensure that the coral will not be around in the future, which would be the greatest disservice of all. I hope that not only Kasawari, but other dive operations in Lembeh can cooperate in protecting the coral so that future divers can have the kind of visit to Lembeh that I had.

Room Tip: Villas 1 and 2 are the best since these overlook the water.
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Scott J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
115 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 July 2012

I realise that i am going against the trend of the reviews for this place, but we had an awful experience here.

First of all the diving experience (since this is specialty lodging/diving):
The diving was not all bad: we had a very good guide, and the dive infrastructure is excellent. However, this place should not be allowed to provide Nitrox: they really do not stick to standard procedures. The first day we received our nitrox bottles with the oxigen % written on the bottle. I asked for a Nitrox analyser to check my tank myself. My measurement gave around 27% instead of the 32% that was written on the bottle. It was then that I noticed that the writing on the bottle was in permanent marker. The person who filled the bottles had lots of excuses: the batteries on the analyser were low, it was easy diving so why did we care about the % etc. This went on for 3 days, with all fills between 26 and 28%, before someone took our complaining serious and called techniciens in to check the compressor. Afterwards the tank fills were ok, but I really didn't like the fact that they always complained when we wanted to check our tanks, and the Nitrox analyser was never freely available,

The resort is ok, but not as good as you would expect:
The resort itself is very condensed, and there are fisherman living all around the resort. For some reason they all seem to have massive music installations, and music is booming through the resort from 5:30 am untill 10 pm. On Saturday evening there was Karaoke in the middle of the village: this went on untill 3 am, and was so loud that you couldn't have a conversation in the resort restaurant during dinner. The resort does offer free earplugs to help you sleep through the noise, but that is not a comfortable solution.
The villas suffer from the high humidity: room service sprays a very strong smelling refresher in the rooms to mask the smell. I had to ask them not to spray because the smell gave me headaches, and without the refresher, the mouldy smell is very noticable.

The resort is badly managed: while we were there, there was a group of young Thai people, who made a lot of noise. One night we tried to contact the concierge to ask for assistance. The group of youngsters were still having a party in their villas at 2 am, and made a lot of noise. Nobody picked up the pkone, and when we spoke to the manager the day afterwards, she said that she had been awake as well, but "since nobody complained, she decided to let them party without intervening"

The next evening we asked the group to turn down their own music in the resort restaurant, and some in the group started shouting at us that it was a common room - they could do what they wanted and we should go back to our own country. We decided we no longer wanted to stay in the resort, and asked to speak to the manager. She was out with friends, and we had to wait an hour before we could see her. By then it was too late to move out, and the manger's choice was to give us dinner on the terrace of the villa, rather than confronting the group - although she said that their behaviour was unacceptable.

We left the next day, and while we were in the car bringing us to the airport, we received a telephone call from the manager asking where we had left our tip, because she couldn't find it.
We were quite surprised that she expected a tip, after all the problems we had, and the feedback that we had given here that it had been an unpleasant stay, and not the relaxing holiday we had hoped for.

Had this been a 2 star resort and a lot cheaper, I would not have been so negative in my review. For a resort that claims 5 stars and charges 5 star prices, i find this unacceptable.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank karoh h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kasawari Lembeh Resort

Property: Kasawari Lembeh Resort
Address: Kelurahan Makawidey Jaga 1 Lingkungan 1, Bitung 95528, Indonesia
Region: Indonesia > Sulawesi > North Sulawesi > Bitung
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 9 Speciality Lodging in Bitung
Number of rooms: 10
Also Known As:
Kasawari Lembeh Resort Indonesia/Bitung, Sulawesi

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