This was our second stay at Matahari, but there will definitely not be a third. We had spent two weeks at this resort in 2009. The staff was very friendly and it is a moderately-priced base for diving Tulamben. However, there were some major problems with dirty bathrooms and poor maintenance at the time. I wasn’t prepared to submit a poor review then, because I felt that they were trying to improve things. How wrong I was!
Having had some problems at another resort in Tulamben, we decided to move back to Matahari for our final five days’ diving. We chose a hot-water/air-conditioned room and were allocated one of the new bungalows, on the right side of the path, as you face the sea. Well, the hot water never functioned at all during our entire stay, despite the maintenance man proclaiming it “fixed” on several occasions. Frequently, we had no water at all, usually late at night when there were no staff around. Twice, I came back from diving to find no water and was forced to have a shower and shampoo in front of everyone in the courtyard of the dive centre. It turns out that all five rooms on this side of the resort are supplied from one small header tank. This is supplied from a shallow well at the back of the staff quarters and only functions if some-one remembers to turn on the pump to fill it. This has to be turned off again, otherwise the tank overflows. As you can imagine, the tank doesn’t last very long, if several people in these rooms have a shower. This is obviously a very long-standing problem on this side of the resort, but nobody seems to be allocated to check the tank and turn on the pump.
There also seems to be a problem with room cleaning – or rather, lack of it. For three days, our room wasn’t cleaned at all, despite our complaints. A couple in one of the Balinese-style bungalows opposite was also complaining about poor cleaning. Apparently, a gecko dropping had been left on their sink surround and they decided to leave it to see how long it would be before the room-boy did something about it. Apparently, it was still there three days later.....
Diving at Tulamben is excellent and experienced buddy-pairs will not need a guide. What is needed is a good sense of balance and thick-soled dive boots to negotiate the sometimes hazardous entry and exit over the large volcanic cobbles. With the exception of Komang, who seemed to work quite hard to look after his clients, the dive staff at Matahari is, quite frankly, lazy. They would rather spend their time snoozing on the sun-loungers or sending texts on their mobile phones. It was amazing how attentive they suddenly became when the Dive Manager or Resort Owner appeared. Dedicated macro-photographers will need to be able to find their own subjects – our photo subjects were greeted with amazement rather than recognition by the dive staff.
Be aware that power cuts are frequent in Bali, often lasting for several hours. The adjacent resorts of Mimpi and Paradise have generators, but Matahari does not. Take a torch (flashlight) and be prepared for sitting in the dark for long periods.
In conclusion, the management of Matahari needs to undertake a serious review of the maintenance, cleaning and logistics of their resort. There are plenty of other places to stay in Tulamben – some of us will be voting with our feet.
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.