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“A special resort with special people.”

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The Village Bunaken
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Bunaken Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 8 November 2017

My wife and I stayed 28 nights in this dive resort, which has questioned many of the other guests. However, we did not feel bored at all; never a dull moment.

The car transfer from our overnight address to the port and the boat trip to Pulau Bunaken proceeded smoothly. Due to the low tide we did not arrive at the resort ashore but through the jetty in the village of Bunaken and a ten minutes per tuk tuk. It saved us some wet feet and pants.
The reception by Danny the manager was friendly and efficient. The owners Jochem and Angelina met us a few days later.

Although the resort is small, it has a sophisticated layout and is planted with many varying green alternatives. This makes the privacy per bungalow big.
We had chosen a beach bungalow (these do not know airco, fan is sufficient) and were assigned bungalow 3 for four weeks. This bungalow has an unobstructed view of the sea and is situated slightly beside the other estates.
The spacious bungalow was cleaned every morning and made up the beds. Sheets and towels were replaced in time. The mattresses are good. The water in the bath is broken. Air minum ergo drinking water is always available in the restaurant.
The only downside: hot water is not available in the shower room until 9:30 in the shower room (until the evening), which meant taking a shower at 06:00 with cold water. No disaster but not really pleasant.

The housekeeper as well as the dive staff (total about 25 people) is friendly and helpful. Unfortunately, their knowledge of the English language is limited.

The diet of my wife was not a problem for the kitchen, and was therefore closely monitored. All praise for it is in place.
The meals (buffet style) are of good quality and of sufficient variety. The layout of the table arrangement is made by the resort. The dive stick takes care of boarding, returning it on return, followed by thorough washing of the (own) diving equipment. Due to the fluctuating tide, it is sometimes necessary to walk along the beach and through the seawater to reach the boat.

During the four weeks of our stay, my wife dived 54 times without bothering her. In addition, she has canoeingand we walked (no cars on the island) several times.
The massage was a revelation because the masseuse knew every muscle. A benefit.

In conclusion, we had a great time at the resort the Village of Bunaken and would like to thank again all those concerned for the good care and nice contacts.

  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Dennenheuvel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1 - 5 of 264 reviews

Reviewed 14 October 2017 via mobile

We stayed three nights at the Village Bunaken. It's a small resort so not many guests were there, which was good as there are ample space to relax at the pool and benches. Our cottage is right in front of the beach so we can fall asleep with the sea breeze! The room is spacious. It's also cool at night so no air conditioning is required.

The house reef is less than 400m from the beach, so you can swim there during high tide and go snorkeling. Despite the short distance, there are still abundant coral reef lives you can see!!

The staff are very friendly and helpful. The food at the resort are delicious, plus they have some cakes in the afternoon in case you are hungry. The coffee, which is available throughout the day, tastes great.

Stayed: October 2017, travelled with friends
Thank annietsang23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 September 2017 via mobile

Cosy and small resort where relaxing and diving or snorkelling is key! Staff is really friendly and helpful. The resort has an own dive school and equipment. Breakfast, lunch and diner are served for all guests together and the quality is very good.

I was lucky to have a really nice group of fellow guests that could get along very well!

Stayed: September 2017, travelled solo
Thank Mark v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 September 2017

If you’re looking at Bunaken, you’re here for the diving or snorkelling. I’m a snorkeller, and my review will concentrate on that.

There are 3 ways to snorkel: the house reef, boat with divers, and charter boat. I tried all 3.

1. House Reef : First, let me say that I specifically choose to go to Bunaken because of a house reef. Maldives is the other place I know of, but that has suffered coral bleaching and prices are high so it’s been Sulawesi for me.

Unfortunately, I’d give the house reef at Village Bunaken a B-. The other places I’ve stayed at in Bunaken have had closer, healthier house reefs. Also, the current has been easier in other places I visited.

The house reef is about 5-7 Olympic pool lengths to get to the drop-off. When you start your swim, there’s sandy grass which isn’t much to look at (4 Olympic pool lengths). Then there’s dead coral, due to crown of thorns or recent bleaching or boats parking on the house reef, I can’t tell (1 Olympic pool length).) When you finally get to the dropoff, there’s only 10-20 feet of nice, healthy coral reef. It can be the equivalent of 7 Olympic pool lengths if the current Is against you.

It is *hard work* to get to the dropoff, unlike other places I’ve been to in this area. I can snorkel for 1 hour without a break, but because it takes 15 minutes to get out to the housereef, and 15 minutes to return, that leaves only 30 minutes to actually look at the house reef. Also, be very aware of your surroundings -- the currents change. One minute you’re fine and the other minute you’re fighting against the current. It will switch from one direction to the other direction. It is not predictable; not even the divemasters can predict it.

I would say of all the reefs I’ve seen, this isn’t the best in the area. It’s a good solid reef and I’m happy with it, but it’s not amazing. There is only 10-20 feet of good coral within the dropoff, which isn’t a lot. Especially for the distance you have to swim out. During high tide, it’s pretty frustrating to be swimming against current and see the same patch of grass under you as you swim inch-by-inch until you reach the house reef. I actually prefer low tide, where you can walk 2 or 3 of the Olympic pool lengths, and then drop down for a shorter swim out. It feels safer because you know if current changes, it’s not a far swim until you get to a height where you can stand in the water.

2. Boat with divers – Snorkellers can join the boat with divers for 15 euros. What was nice is that the snorkelers were able to go snorkelling while the divers waited on the boat for their air time. This meant snorkelers went out 3 times and I got plenty of snorkelling in. I don’t know if this often happens, but I was happy to be in the water. One thing I realized – even the locals don’t know the current. We drifted with the current for 40 minutes. When we went back to the same spot to do a second snorkel, the current had changed, much to the surprise of our local scuba/snorkel guides, so we swam the other way. This is an example of how tricky the current is (the tide hadn’t changed either).

3. Charter boat: If there are 2 of you, you can take a charter boat on a small outrigger boat for 40 euros (20 euros each). It’s a small wooden boat that isn’t as luxurious as the divers’ speedboat but the advantage is that it’s personal. We were taken to 2 spots and didn’t have to wait for divers, which was nice. If I was on a honeymoon or with my man, I’d definitely do this. I enjoyed this the most because it was personal and safe. It’s personal because it’s one snorkelling guide for 2 persons. It’s safe because this boat follows you and with the ever changing current, that could be helpful.

Now that I’m done talking about the snorkelling, here’s the rest of the place:

This place has all the fixings like electricity, wi-fi, a small swimming pool, and even (optional) air-conditioning. For 4 out of the 5 days I was there, electricity and wi-fi cut out in the morning for several hours. You can’t make this a working vacation. Wi-fi works, but not reliably enough to schedule skype calls.

I had a garden cottage, and the room was great. Didn’t need aircon, and relaxed in the hammock in the porch.

Hotel staff – Genuinely happy and friendly staff. With the exception of the snorkelling guide that propositioned me, I felt that everyone was very helpful – even if they couldn’t speak English, they did their best to try and get help. The ladies in the kitchen were especially sweet.

Spa – they have a beautiful spa where the prices are very reasonable for what you get.

Food – good, but not delicious. I found the local food greasy (deep-fried, bathed in coconut milk) so I preferred it when they had Western food such pasta with tomato sauce or grilled fish. Every meal had white rice, a vegetable, a vegetarian dish, and a protein dish (fish, chicken, or beef). Usually one of them would taste good, and I’d stick to that.

Books – Usually these places have books you can read (guests leave them behind). They only had German books when I was there. Internet worked so I could keep myself entertained.

If you’re looking for a good house reef, I’d recommend elsewhere. Otherwise, if you don’t necessarily need a house reef, this is a well-equipped place with friendly staff that I’d recommend.

  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled solo
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank HappyBelly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
bunakenvillage, Owner at The Village Bunaken, responded to this reviewResponded 3 September 2017

Thank you for the detailed review and compliments. And we are happy that you enjoyed our stay with us. I do have to set a few things straight on some points of your comments regarding the snorkeling:
- The reef is only 225 meters from the beach, which makes it 4 and a quarter olympic size swimming pools away not 7. An average swimmer with fins can cover this distance in about 5 minutes. The grassy area between the reef and beach has many interesting creatures if you pay attention as well as in in the mangrove. The distance at the previous resort she stayed at was 190 meters. The dead coral area she mentioned between the grass and the reef is mainly because it becomes dry at the extreme low tides at full and no moon. The tops get exposed every day for a few hours and therefore it stops growing. The most relaxed way to snorkel is to just follow the current and walk back on the beach to the resort. Most of our guests can snorkel for hours that way(she was even wearing a slim live jacket). Yes, the currents can be tricky.
- The snorkel boat is not wooden, but fiberglass.
- The reason the electricity cut out for 3 days in the morning, was that we had a burned out electrical component in the switching panel and it took time to find and fix this issue as we had to rearrange the cabling and get the spares from manado. The first day it was off for 2 hours, second day 3 hours and third day only half hour. This is not a normal occurrence and we apologize for the inconvenience.
- Until 2 years ago we had a full fledged bookshop, but nobody used it anymore because of the prevalence of e-readers these days. The termites instead started to read the books. We had a German return - guest staying and she requested some of the german books in storage, because her e-reader broke down. We are planning to put back a limited supply of books this year in all languages though.

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Reviewed 1 August 2017 via mobile

rooms - nice, clean and specious
food - good, not excellent, but good
wifi - good, strong signal
garden, pool and premises - nice, well maintained daily
staff - very tentative

would definitely go there again and recommend to friends

Stayed: July 2017, travelled as a couple
Thank Maja P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Village Bunaken

Address: Pangalisang, Bunaken Island 95000, Indonesia
Region: Indonesia > Sulawesi > North Sulawesi > Bunaken Island
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Bunaken Island
Price Range: $54 - $61 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Small scale Resort, Diving center and Spa on Bunaken with attention to detail and a touch of authentic indonesian styling. A place to relax and enjoy the underwater wonders of Bunaken right at your doorstep. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Village Bunaken Hotel Bunaken Island

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