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Reviewed 22 February 2013 via mobile

Was a little worried about visiting this resort given the other reviews, so went with low expectations and was treating it as a transit stop to Raja. Was very pleasantly surprised at how helpful the staff were, breakfasts excellent, lunches and dinners good even though the menu was limited, it was all freshly prepared. Two days spent diving - amazing as you'd expect - boat crew and dive guide were all incredibly helpful, they even made sure all our gear was dried and delivered to our room the next evening. Went on one of the tours and had a brilliant and personal view of the areas highlights. Staff couldn't have done more to make it a really good 4 night stay - even got a breakfast box for the airport.

  • Stayed: January 2013
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6  Thank Sue B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 January 2013

My husband and I stayed at the Kima Bajo for one night while in transit to a diving liveaboard boat in Raja Ampat. We arrived in Manado at 1:30 pm on Friday afternoon and our flight on to Sorong was at 6 am on Saturday morning. We wanted to stay near the airport but not at one of the Manado city hotels. We were looking for a place where we could enjoy the beach, pool, and spa and so we chose Kima Bajo. We spent 13 fairly miserable hours there and were barely able to get back to the airport.

We were ‘upgraded’ from a room in the longhouse to one of the villas. It was a basic but not entirely unpleasant looking room with a large bed. It smelled distinctly of damp. The wood and glass sliding doors to the patio didn’t close completely and we knew insects would swarm in as soon as we turned on lights at dusk, so we immediately untied the mosquito netting around the bed. Then we headed out…

The resort is on a hill. Reception is at top, rooms are spread out down the hillside, and at the bottom is the spa, restaurant, bar, and pool. The spa was empty and locked. We wandered into the bar and restaurant. No staff. We walked around and called out a bit and finally found someone. He brought us sodas and we settled into a table at the bar. Soon the man from reception appeared and told us he’d get people there so that we could have massages at 5 pm.

We went back to our room for a bit. I took a shower; the showerhead wildly sprayed water everywhere from leaks at its base. The towels were small and thin. Husband discovered that there was only one channel in English on the TV and it wasn’t news or sports; it was nonstop bad dramas and sitcoms.

Back at the spa at 5 pm – no one. Back to the bar. A few minutes later the man from reception appears and tells us 5:30 pm. At 5:30 there appears one woman only – we cannot have our treatments done at the same time. We decide to skip it and go back to the room for wait for dinner at 7 pm.

Dinner was plain and boring but edible. I wouldn’t have wanted to eat more than one meal from the limited menu on offer. Beer was served warm. There were two other tables at dinner: a family for four and a lone man. The servers were the same four people who seemed to be the only ones on staff – the massage therapist was our waitress, for example.

Getting to dinner had been a bit tricky because the hill was dark and wet from the rain. Lighting was minimal and there were no flashlights in the rooms. We asked for a flashlight at the restaurant and were given someone’s personal lighter (with a small light in the base). Went back to our room to huddle under the mosquito netting and watch a DVD on our laptop.

At dinner we had confirmed with the man from reception that a car would take us to the airport at 4 am and he said he’d send a cart to pick up our luggage just before. At 3:55 we started calling reception – no answer. At 4 am we took two bags and our small “flashlight” and trudged up the wet hillside in the pitch black darkness. No one was at reception and no one answered our calls. After a few minutes we discovered an unlocked van in the driveway and honked the horn several times. Then we went back down and came back up the hill with our other two bags.

The horn had woken the man from reception and he appeared just as we returned. The driver arrived a couple of minutes after. We left the resort at nearly 4:30 am. The driver spoke no English and had no idea that there was any hurry – he slowly and carefully drove around every puddle on the road. Somehow we still made the flight, thank goodness!

I understand that this is the rainy and therefore low season in Manado, but if you can’t staff a resort and keep it fully operational, you should just close it down. To bring guests into a barely functioning and frankly dangerous facility is not right. I’d give this place zero starts if I could.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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13  Thank frangipani7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 May 2012

Were promised a lovely resort for a 12-day stay in Dec 2011, but the water and beach were very dirty, there were no bar or amenities during the day! After negotiation, we moved to another resort and they promised to refund us USD1.5k. This was in December.

It is May 2012 and they have been delaying the refund. First they claim it's been arranged, then they said the bank needed time. The last promised dated was Apr 28. Nothing came in. We have called and called in vain - they are perpetually unavailable!

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank Greg122011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 April 2012

I stayed there right after I had an excellent experience at a dive resort next door. I had to move there for an office function.
The place is pretty large and has a lot of green landscape. Walking from one place to another within the resort could be quite tiring, especially under the hot sun.
The room looked nice at a glance, but after few more minutes, it turned into a nightmare. The aircon in my room didn't work well (asked them to service, it got better, but still didn't work well enough), wall shower and the wash basin were not working well and water splashed all around randomly.
Service was average, and foods were not too bad. And the best thing about the place was probably the swimming pool which is located by the seaside, quite a nice place to watch the sunset.
For the pice, they didn't deliver just as good. The resort next door was just giving me much better things at a lower price.

Room Tip: What can I say? Just go next door :)
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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5  Thank molamola17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 April 2012

I would like to share my recent experiences with everyone intending to go there:

OVERVIEW: Kima Bajo is not for the elderly. Good for families or couples. There is no nightlife, so evenings will be long and dry. Luckily for cable television programs and aircon available.

WEBSITE: The website is not update and hasn't been for quite awhile. Therefore information there is probably 50% accurate. What is most disappointing for me was the fact that the dive operator who was supposedly to be still operating, had in fact left some time ago! So the resort does not have any dive operator now. For all scuba divers - do take note.

FRONT OFFICE: Generally very friendly and goes all out to accommodate all requests. But beware when you request for the resort car to take you to town as the charges can be quite high. I was told that one -way drop-off into town would cost RP100,000 per way. However, to my shock, I was charged RP 220,000 per hour and eventually negotiated it down to RP100,000 per hour! Taxis in general do not use the meter and charge based on fixed rates, so be sure to negotiate first. One way price into townb by taxi is approx. RP 70,000. However, taxis hardly ply around the resort, so waiting for one can be excrutiating!

FOOD & BEVERAGE: There is only 1 restaurant. The service extended by the staff is friendly and warm, always with a smile. Ask for Jane or Robin, 2 of the most knowlegeable persons in the resort. Unfortunately the kitchen is not fully stocked up and equipped. About 80% of the menu is unavailable - therefore telling guests that there is no need to eat there. Go out to the town to eat. Manado is known for its seafood as its along the seaside. Head to any Chinese Seafood Restaurants and you'll have a feast! Do try their local "Boronang" fish which is Black Pomfret. Its best when its grilled/bbq!

SPA: Probably the worst thing at this resort. My partner and I visited the spa and was told that we would get a discount as it was off-peak season. And so we went ahead with the massages of 1 1/2 hour each. To our dismay, there was no discount offered at the end. We were then told that the next time we came back, there would be a discount. Needless to say, we never went back. I recommend a visit to Tikkala Shiatsu which is located in town. The prices are half of the resort's and very good massage therapists too!

Management: I met with the newly appointed GM of the resort and could tell that he's trying his best to get things in order. But it should not be at the expense of guests, in my opinion. My booking was made in advance andthere should be no reason for the restaurants to have no food stocked.

SCUBA DIVING: As a scuba enthusiast, Manado will rank as my top 2 dive sites in the world. After having dive experiences in Cozumel - Mexico, Hawaii, Cayman Islands, Thailand, Malaysia and Maldives, Manado will surely rank tops. The resort is located nearest to Bunaken Island and the boat ride there takes approx. 20 mins. Generally, most dives are wall dives, with some reef dives in between. Visibility is easily 70 - 90 metres, clear blue waters.

Because there was no dive operator in Kima Bajo, I went with Odysea Divers, located at Cocotinos Resort next door. Lookout for James and his fantastic team of Divemasters and boat crew! Well done and keep up your good work!

My trip would have been a disaster if it weren't for the quality of scuba diving! I had a very memorable trip.

Room Tip: Be sure to book the Bunga Villas.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank ExcoDirector
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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