We spent 6 days at Kalinaun Resort last week. From the start at the booking process, which was handled by Roberto, I got the impression that everything was efficient but done in a relaxed manner. I was not wrong. Allesandro met us at the airport and was not at all stressed even though our flight had arrived late. The one hour drive to the resort was very pleasant. One point to note is the brothers are Italian, and Roberto's wife Olivia is Indonesian. All apologized for not speaking much English, but seriously I think there was nothing to worry about as we got there in the end and understood each other. My husband, daughters, and I, all really felt completely at home there. Their English is much better than they give themselves credit for!
Apart from the owners' mother who was visiting from Italy, we were the only guests at this intimate resort comprising of only 4 cottages. The entire place was built by the owners, in a simple but very tasteful style. Everything was very clean. The views across the bay of the sea and mountains were stunning. These could be enjoyed from both the restaurant and the rooms. The resort is very well integrated into its surroundings, with a few local families living to either side.
The cottage style room was spacious and clean, as was the attached bathroom which featured double sinks which were very useful. There was always lots of hot water as each cottage has its own heater. Most impressive was the refrigerator, which was incredibly cold, so we could always look forward to ice cold drinks when we returned from diving in the afternoons. Two chairs and a table, and two sun loungers were provided outside our cottage. If you can get up early in the morning, it is worthwhile to sit outside and watch the sun rise- an extremely calming way to start the day.
The meals are included in the price. Only extras are beer and soft drinks. We were asked if we wanted any cooked items at breakfast but declined as we usually have little breakfast (if any) at home. Lunch and dinner are ordered off a menu, which Roby had translated entirely into English and reprinted for us. The choices are Italian and Indonesian dishes and barbecue items. Everything we chose was delicious. My family's favorite was the barbecued fish and mixed vegetables (sayur sayur). All the breads and cakes are baked on site and are seriously good. The suppli which are breaded balls of rice and bolognese sauce, which they brought along on days when we had to have packed lunch, were also a big hit. Portions are huge, so don't expect to lose any weight on this holiday!
The beach directly in front of the cottage was very interesting. It is probably worth staying a couple of days extra just to explore. We only really had the first afternoon and the last afternoon and a bit of the morning of the day we left to look around the beach, as the diving was just too good. But the kids and I found so much there- so many crabs and hermit crabs and star fishes everywhere! And little translucent fish darting around and small black and white fish, all too quick to catch of course! We enjoyed lining up our hermit crabs for races! The sand on the bay was also very unusual. In front of resort and to the left, it was finer. Then if you walk to the right of the resort, the sand got coarser and more volcanic. This side was better for beach combing with lots of beautiful shells washing up. At low tide in the afternoons, you can walk out quite a long way.
Diving was excellent, and the resort is positioned so we are able to get to many varied dive sites easily. Lembeh Strait, which was the reason we chose North Sulawesi, is only about 15 minutes by boat. Paradise Pier was 15 minutes by car in the other direction and has an excellent variety of coral, fish, and nudibranches in many colors . And by the tiny island in front of the resort, was impressive coral. Olivia and Alex accompanied us on every dive, and were excellent at finding lots of little and strange creatures we had never seen before, which would normally be hidden or camouflaged. I was quite unsure about muck diving, never having tried it before, but their skill, patience and enthusiasm in looking for creatures was so infectious that we ended up opting to do three to four dives a day. To write about everything we saw would take several pages!
These guys really look after you from the beginning to the end of your trip. On the day of departure, Alex drove us to the airport, helped us with departure tax and made sure everything was ok and clear before he left. Really could not ask for any more from anyone.
We will definitely return. The warmth of our hosts and all the little personal touches really make this resort stand out from any others I have been to.
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