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“Superb Coralreefs and great hospitality” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Walea Dive Resort

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Walea Dive Resort
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Walea Island | Central sulawesi, Luwuk 94752, Indonesia   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 hotels in Luwuk
Heemstede Holland
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Superb Coralreefs and great hospitality”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2012

My wife and I stayed last october/november for a period of four weeks at Walea Dive Resort.
A relatively small, quiet and peaceful Resort, professionaly managed by Sissi, Marco and "Lelle" and their good Staff. The cottages are not so big but well equiped and very clean.
In behalf of the nationality of the owners and the management (Italian) the food hes been inspired by the Italian kitchen, with care and fantasy served. Diet forms not a problem for the kitchen staff.
The most exciting experience/activity at Walea consist of diving and/or snorkling because Walea will take you to the most beautiful coralreefs you can imagine.
My wife (69 years old) started during our stay at Walea the courses Open water dive and Advanced dive and got her licenses for both disciplines.
We have never had a dull moment.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2011

I recently backpacked for a month through Indonesia, a solo American woman aged 30. Just to give you an idea of my mindset when I decided to go to Walea..... I had stayed in a range of accommodation from $10/night hut on the beach to 5 star resorts during a 3 week period on Bali/Lombok. I wanted to whisk myself away far off the beaten path to a very exotic destination where I could plant myself for a week and relax. I am PADI openwater certified but had not dived in 7 years. I thought it would be a good option for me to hang out on the beach during the day and do a bit of diving if the urge struck me. In reality the resort underwhelmed me in some aspects and surpassed my expectations in others. The pluses: it was really clean; the rooms were a very nice standard and kept cool all day long due to the architecture of the buildings; there was NOT ONE bug in my room or bathroom during the entire stay including mosquitos (they spray twice a week to keep mozzies at bay).. this was a major plus!; the spa is really nice and the masseuse was pretty good; the owner of the hotel, Simona, is wonderful, cool, friendly and speaks English; the guests were down to earth; The food was OUT OF THIS WORLD. Simona's family has a restaurant on Sardinia...enough said. They even have an Illy espresso machine. The food (dinners, that is) was the highlight by far of my experience. The dive masters Marco and Sissi are very professional. Marco in particular was confidence- inspiring for me as a beginner diver and led me to the full 18m on a number of dives with ease. The dive equipment/ operation is VERY professional and focused on safety. The negatives: you are on the equator so (clearly) it gets hot during the day. This is not a problem if you want to hang out on the boat diving. But if you are primarily after sun-lounging and beach-bronzing like I was you can only stay in the sun for an hour or 2 max each day without getting sun stroke (which i almost did). So, this place is not for non-divers and I have to agree with previous comments that I would not advise snorkelers to stay here either.There is pretty much nothing to do outside of diving and spa. I mostly slept and ate! They have a "sunset bar" but there isn't a bartender there or music to create a fun atmosphere. The sea... is a pretty color, very good visibility on all my dives, and the reef is very nice... but I have seen a much more spectacular array of marine life in various other places I have dived (Brazil, Australia, Thailand). I was expecting more "big" fish...more interesting animals....because of the unspoilt location. I concede I dove no deeper than18m but I only saw some tiny baby sharks and a barracuda during my 5 days. Lots of schools of beautiful multicoloured fish but overall not a very exciting experience in the water. Having said all that, the pro-divers in our group seemed to be excited by the micro life. The guests- exclusively Italian. I really enjoyed this because I speak Italian and quickly blended into the funny crew. But I think non-Italian speakers might have a difficult time... be prepared to hang out by yourselves if you don't speak. And think twice if you are a solo traveller! You will probably get bored very quickly. Dinner is served so late that I decided a few times to go to bed instead of waiting up. .. you have about 3 hours of downtime before dinner during which there is nothing to do and this needs to be remedied in my opinion. The location is FARRRRRRRRRR away from anywhere. As I said, this was originally my motive for choosing Walea. But having now been there and back I would say it is not worth the journey. Especially on the way back.... my sequence of 5 flights to get home was completely thrown off course by engine failure in the plane that was due to pick us up, massive delays and finally a political riot targeting our terminal in Luwuk airport. Any semblance of relaxation gleaned at Walea was wiped out by the panic on the day and ensuing 3 days of patchwork re-scheduled travel. really nightmarish traveling and I am not a stranger to adventure travel. All in all..... if you are Italian, a pro diver, looking for your next exotic dive destination with a group of your Italian friends and you are comfortable with "adventure" travel, then Walea may be a good choice for you. Otherwise, you way want to seriously consider your other options.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ilovediving
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2009

Okay, this post is a year late and I've been lazy but I thought I would do a write-up in English.

I'll start on the journey. It was terribly exhausting! We took a SilkAir flight from Singapore to Manado. We were supposed to take a connecting flight from Manado to Luwuk on Merpati Air. We waited and waited and waited, our flight kept getting delayed and nobody was telling us anything. Finally we boarded the small aircraft after a 3-hour delay (I think the plane can only seat about 9 people). It was a propeller plane and the screws on board looked rusty and the plane was leaking, I thought to myself if the plane breaks apart my poor children would be orphans. About half an hour into the flight, the plane turned back to Manado, the pilot cited they had an engine problem which I believe was total [--]. They just didn't want to make the flight as they had delayed it too long. We made a lot of noise at the Merpati office was was given a hotel voucher to stay for the night. The told us we would be picked up at 5.30am the next morning. Well...nobody came to pick us up and we had to hail a local cab. It was very unpleasant so I won't go into the drama and hassle that we had with Merpati Air over the cancelled flight.

Finally got in the air and reached Luwuk about an hour later. The van-ride took 2 hours to the pier. It was just going round bends through jungle terrain and sometimes sleepy villages. The speedboat took another 45-min or so to reach the resort.

I must say that the owners of Walea, an Italian couple were very gracious and friendly hosts. I was pleasantly surprised that the rooms were quite beautiful inside. Good furniture and beautifully decorated even though it was rather small. You get a very pleasant surprise as from the outside it looked like ordinary chalets but when you open the door to your room, whoa...tastefully furnished furniture with beautiful fittings. The bathroom was also nicely furnished. Everything was very clean.

Bk'fast was very plain, it was eggs/toast/fruits. But usually for divers we don't take a very heavy bk'fast. Lunch and dinner was another story. We usually start with salad, then they bring out the main dish followed by dessert and fruits. Lunch and dinner was FANTASTIC and desserts were TO-DIE-FOR! I don't know where they got their chef but each meal was an art in itself. The dinnerware they used to the presentation of the food was wonderful. If you want drinks you'll have to pay for them, for example soft-drinks, beer, tea, etc.

Since Walea is so far from the mainland there is no reception on the island. If you want to make a phone-call, it's something like $5 per minute as they use satellite phone. You can imagine my phone-bill at the end of the stay as we had to call our kids every night.

Now the best part, the diving. This was by far the best dives I ever made, it is comparable to diving in Papua New Guinea which is known for being pristine. I won't recommend snorkellers to come here since it's really so far away. There are no facilities on Walea, no tv, no phone, no pool and no night activities. Only great diving, great food and they have a no-frills spa which overlooked the sea with a jacuzzi. They had a couples room where you and your partner can get a massage in the same room. The view was gorgeous as the spa was elevated on a hill which you have to climb a bit. It was just heaven for me getting a massage together with my partner and looking out at the sea, twinkling like jewels in the setting sun.

Diving was really great. The divemasters were really very good and observant. They were great in finding small critters for you. I was amazed in seeing probably hundreds of sea-horses converging at a sea-fan and saw a ghost pipefish for the first time. I saw small unusual critters which I've never seen before. Visibility was very good, roughly around 30 feet or so and we were the only 3 divers at the resort, plus 2 snorkellers. So we had the whole sea to ourselves. I particularly remembered one dive, it was during a safety-stop where there were about 20 bumpheads. My husband went crazy clicking away on his u/w camera. The house-reef is just as good, it's at the end of the pier and it's marvellous for night dive. We saw lobsters, squat lobsters, slippar lobsters, crabs, dozens of shrimps with it's ruby red eyes staring at us.

I have dived in Bali, Lombok, Manado, Phuket, Boracay, various parts in Malaysia, Maldives, Papua New Guinea and now Walea. I must say that Walea and PNG are the best experiences I have had in terms of pristine reefs, great visibility and abundant fish-life.

They don't really have a very nice beach, as there are lots of trees dotting the beach but you can lounge on your balcony and listen to the waves crash. If it's high-tide you don't see the sand at all as the water comes almost right up to your chalet.

Again I would only recommend only serious divers to Walea as the journey is really a hassle, very long and tiring. We had to wake up at 4.30am to leave the resort to catch our flight back to Luwuk. Had to go through the 45-minute speedboat ride, 2 hour van-ride, 45-minute internal flight on the rickety air-plane then catch the SilkAir flight back to Singapore. So definitely NOT recommended for young children and snorkellers. Snorkellers you have plenty of other options at another resort with nice sorkelling without the tiring and arduous journey.

The resort also had a nice lobby with arm-chairs and an extensive collection of novels. You can chill out there with your beer or tea, curl up on the sofa and have a good read or leaf through the many marine-life books/magazines they have there as well. After dinner, the dive-masters will come out and chat with you. These guys are a friendly bunch and speak excellent English. As most of the clientele are Italian, these staff can also speak Italian.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the dives but dreaded the journey there.

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Walea Dive Resort

Also Known As:
Walea Dive Resort Luwuk, Indonesia - Sulawesi
Address: Walea Island | Central sulawesi, Luwuk 94752, Indonesia
Phone Number:
Location: Indonesia > Sulawesi > Central Sulawesi > Luwuk
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 hotels in Luwuk
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Walea Dive Resort 3.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In the heart of Sulawesi, Walea Dive Resort is the only Marine Park/Protected Area in Indonesia that offers more than 200 Km2 of untouched sea for maximum 35 visitors per day.Living your holiday into the nature with all the comforts: Diving, snorkeling, gourmet, wellness and relax. ... more   less 
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