As I think about what I want to say in this review, I start to feel as though nothing I write will truly convey or reflect the essence and magic of Mamaling. The world that you enter far away from the hussle and bussle of anything has such an amazing atmosphere and energy that are difficult to describe. It is more than a small dive resort with great food and wonderful hosts, and trying to explain what I felt while I was there, I realise one will have to experience it for themself in order to fully understand what makes this place so special and why people just long to return.
That being said, Rose & Tom should also get credit for doing such a wonderful job. Never have I seen Indonesians so organised! That was a first. The small 3 bungalows are just perfect, hidden in the mangroves but still right by the water. They are cleaned every day and very well maintained. The food was absolutely delicious, great local Manadonese food served fresh every day with a nice variety. Diving was awesome with great dive masters and crew. I've never seen so many turtles in one location. On each dive we saw at least 1 turtle, but usually it was more like 3 or 4. The wall is impressive, as is the variety of fish and other marine life. Unfortunately some trash comes from Manado and at the surface this is an issue, but the attitude of the crew was very positive, trying to educate the Manadonese about taking care of their environment and telling them about the incredible reef they have and how important it is to preserve it. It was also much less of an issue at Mamaling as the resort is located on the North-West side of the island and the crew would usually take us to places where there was significantly less or no trash.
Rose & Tom are, as everyone has already noted, absolutely delightful to be around. It most certainly feels more like you are staying in someone's home than being in a hotel, and this is priceless.
There is no hot water, no internet, no pool. And in my view, this makes the place all the more special. None of these things are necessary in such a location, it is an opportunity to re-connect with nature and enjoy life as it is.
I very much liked the communal lifestyle, with only 6 guests, you really get to know them and spend time with them. It is not too few, not too many. The boat certainly never felt over-crowded.
For those who want to do other activities, it is easy to go for a walk to a near-by village right from the resort. Mamaling also offers different types of tours and each dive site never makes you feel like you are getting bored or doing the same thing over and over.
And finally, I couldn't believe how good value for money this palce offered. Compared to what you find around Bunaken and what kind of service they offer, this is hard to beat!
In short, no other place has made me feel so happy and at peace as I did at Mamaling. I never wanted to leave, and I long to return.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.