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“Disappointing” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Maratua Paradise Resort

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Maratua Paradise Resort
East Kalimantan 88825, Indonesia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Maratua Island
Singapore, Singapore
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Disappointing”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2010

After reading the various reviews, my husband and I went to this place prepared for cautious diving ("take care of ourselves diving". Thanks for the advice, Grevich), not too fancy amenities and facilities. Sadly, despite the good diving, our holiday was spoilt by the tour operator. Our flight from Balikpapan to Berau was delayed by 5 hours. We were put up in a very bad hotel in Berau. We're not complaining about the condition but the operator's attitude. They selected the flights but did not take any responsibility. Instead, when I asked for a refund, I was served with a very sarcastic "being seasoned travellers, you should know better" kind of mocking reply. We were told that when we finally arrived on the island ready for a good time- what a nice welcome! We got a part refund and also found out there was another couple who had the same experience so it happens often enough.
On top of that, we travelled in a dingy boat on the 3 hour ride to Maratua despite following the operator's/resort's boat schedule. No proper working engines (we had to stop a few times), no toilet, no proper seats, no life jacket in sight, very bumpy, etc. Basically we "tagged along" on the boat for transporting groceries to the island. Tour operator's response to that is "... depend on which unit is available at the Berau Jetty, and usually smaller boat will be operated if there are only few guests to be transferred."
Different parts of the journey are operated by different companies. We got wrong information throughout and again and again, they just said" I dunno what the other company told you. Not my fault. Don't ask me." I'm Malaysian and speak Malay so it was not a language problem.
Diving was very good as mentioned by other reviews but maybe not for long... divers and dive masters breaking corals was a common sight. I really hope the resort would make some conservation effort.
Having said that, food is ok, staff very friendly and service is good. If you're looking to go to this place, be prepared for unpleasant changes and I wish you better luck than us. Good luck, folks!

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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71 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Indonesian first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Malaysia
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2010

My wife and I went for our honeymoon early December, 2009. What a beautiful place! All of the resort was on stilts over the crystal clear water and looked out to the sea. When you look down into the water you can see lots of fish, bat fish, ocasional turtle and stingray, and in front of the restaurant area lots of lionfish. The diving: AWESOME!!! - I am a dive instructor and have been to some of the best in the world and work at some nice places. I've even been to Palau in Micronesia, and this place is the best i've seen overall! - At Sangalaki we had not only the wide variety of coral and fish that would make any dive great but also lots of manta hovering overhead and passing by. some would hang out at the cleaning station for a long time just feet away while we took photos. at kakaban you have great wall dives and during the break you hike to a saltwater lake in the center of the island (like in Palau but much bigger) and snorkel with millions of stingless jellyfish, lots of fun! at maratua we had some great wall dives and muck dive where we found pygmy seahorses - 4 on one fan and 1 on another - leaf fish, frog fish, leafy scorpionfish, anglerfish, mandarinfish(evening), blue ribbon eel, giant stone fish, crocodile fish, colorful soft, hard coral and sponges and fans, lots of nudibranches. one dive site has tons of turtles - must have seen 50. halfway through the dive i got sick of turtles and started to look for small stuff and thats when i found a ghost pipefish. another dive "the channel" we used reef hooks to grab on to the rock while a school of thousands of giant barracuda hovered nearby and overhead. i managed to get myself and my wife closest to the school and took some amazing photos. one bit of warning to divers: there are strong currents and although the divemasters are friendly and good at pointing stuff out, they are not at all professional in a "take care of you underwater" kind of way, so if you are not a good diver(like those from singapore, haha!) then you might want to reconsider diving here or dive with someone who can look after you.
Because the resort is over the water you have no mosquitos or sand flies to worry about as you do with the actual islands in most of asia, just a few flies trying to eat your food at breakfast and lunch - none at dinner. The staff were very friendly and polite. They almost are too polite! The manager there even bought cigarettes for me at the village when she went home and brought them to me the next day. I never mentioned to anyone that it was our honeymoon, except maybe to the woman I booked the trip through online and to my surprise, the chef had gone out of his way to hand make a heart shaped, nicely decorated chocolate cake for us! The rooms are very big and have air con and a big bed and a big bathroom and a balcony that has the best view in the world. all rooms face the ocean. The showers have hot water but very low water pressure. Their generator must be on the island because i never heard it running. Food is good and there is variety each meal but fish is common although always cooked a different way and its a big nice tasty type of fish so you will be well fed. they also give you fresh fruit for dessert each day, different fruit. beer is priced good but there is no liquor. you can sit out in the open air right on the ocean and eat then have a few beers each night under the stars with a nice breeze. Very nice way to end a day of diving! If you're a backpacker and want to party at night then go somewhere else, you probably can't afford it anyway. diving is the best i've ever done. just as good if not better than sipadan because of more variety of dive sites and no limited number of dive passes as with sipadan and no trash all over like mabul. visibility was 20m+. we also walked to the village one day where the kids like posing for pictures then look at the screen to see themself. if you turn right before the mosque and walk down the dirt road a short ways to the other side of the island there is a very long pier that goes out over the water with nice scenery. The 3 hour boat ride to the island was a bit long but was on a comfortable boat and the view of hundreds of fish houses halfway ther was nice to see. i like to choose a different location for vacation in indo, malaysia, thailand, philippines, png, etc.. each time i take vacation, but if i ever decided to go back to the same place twice this would be on the top of the list. If you are this part of the world for a dive trip, dont miss it! if you are high maintenance or like to party at clubs all night, go to some generic big hotel on the mainland with the other 10 million tourists so that this place can stay beautiful.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Colorado
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2009

I have been lucky enough to get to travel for the last 10 years regularly, more than 4 faraway trips a year. If you like an adventure this is a great resort. If you want something fancy and just like home, this might not be for you. We had incredible dive conditions. We had 40 or more Mantas for over 2-3 hours at Sangalaki. We also had a massive school of Barracuda 5000 or more, there is a dive called turtle traffic with 50 or more turtles in one dive. If you are into Muck diving there is some great dives infront of the resort. I think the diving was as good as Sipidan or better without all the people. The jellyfish lake experience was incredible and should not be missed. They regularly see Thresher sharks there as well. Some of the rules you might find frustrating, they limit dive times because of the distances to dive sites. Visability was great in June on most dive sites, sometimes we had rough water. The resort is beautiful and I found very comfortable, If water villas are available I would definatly get those they are worth the extra money. I like a real adventure that is a place that is not just like the United States that to me is why you travel, If you do not like fish I would pack some snacks like Power Bars, you will have your fill of the three ways to prepare chicken.

  • Stayed June 2009
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2008

We had already booked this resort when we saw the review written previously and were horrified that maybe we had a made a huge mistake, but not so. This resort may not be the best we have been to in Indonesia (and we are comparing with around 20) but it certainly isn't as awful as the other writer says. The resort organises everything from your arrival at Balikpapan airport to return. This involves a flight to Berau, a taxi to the boat and then 2.5 hours on a speed boat out to the island. The system was faultless. All the staff and crew friendly and helpful. OK, the boat was a little shabby but it was safe. The bungalows at the resort were huge and airy, air-con, fan, fridge, comfy bed. The dive centre again was pretty good, all the crew were charming and helpful, and the system well run. Food at the resort is far better than we thought, mostly fish or seafood, chicken once or twice but lots of vegetables and fruit, snacks free and available all day. Beer and soft drink prices were reasonable, much cheaper than in Manado where we spent our last trip. The diving here is pretty good too. Sadly the corals are not in great condition but this is a mixture of natural and man-made causes. The water is too hot at 86 degrees and the corals are staring to bleach in some of the shallow areas. But the marine life is great - turtles everywhere, thresher sharks on the house reef and the dive at the Channel is outstanding for schools of big fish. Final comment. We changed a lot of money before to rupiah based on the other comment, it wasn't necessary, the resort gives the same rate as in Balikpapan, 9300 to the US$ when we were there.

  • Liked — over the water bungalows with views down to the turtles and fish in the lagoon
  • Disliked — linens need updating
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
holland
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2008

We have just returned from a diving vacation. In the marketing it is promoted as the next best thing after Sipadan Mabul. This is not true. The diving is less spectacular, the waters are murky compared to Sipadan and there is a lot of currents. The hotelstaff is friendly and will give service if you ask for it. It is not so natural as with the Malysian people. The waterbungalows are nicely located, comfortable and kept clean well by housekeeping. As for the comparison, there is none with the waterbungalows at Mabul resort, those a much more luxurious. The food is mediocre at best, every night rice and french fries, lots of fried fish and many nights the same vegatable. Only water (not cold) and tea are available inclusive, the rest you buy, which you mostly do if you want cold water or some lemonade.
The divemaster Andreas is fantastic and has greatly contributed to a nice diving vacation.
Three issues are important to know. The rental diving equipment is below standard, it is broken or not working.
The transportation to and from the mainland is a struggle. The hotel advertises with a beautifull boat, but in fact the boats the used for us were dangerous and mind you you have to travel over open sea. On the way up from Tarakan we had to sit on a polyester bench for 3 and a half hours with rough seas and no working toilet on board. On the way back, because we were the only ones we were transported on an old open diveboat, with no proper functioning engines, no seat, we sat on matrasses from a beach chair, no life raft, no working instruments on board, very dangerous. We heart the day before this would be the boat, and there was no way that they would let a bigger boat come from the mainland, probably because it woudl cost them too much.We saw three groups depart during our stay all very upset with the transportation, but in the middle of nowhere you have no choice.
The last issue is the currency. We were told we could pay in dollars and euros. Yes you can but the owner tried to get 40% gain on changing money. After we complained to the travel agent about the above issues by phone, the resort changed the currency exchange, but still it was ridiculous, plus they have different rates whether youpay with a 50 or 20 euro or dollar bill.
In our search for a destination, this diving vacation was not a cheap one and in price comparable with Sipadan/Mabul.
It is definitely less value for money and we would not recommend this place at this price to anyone.

Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Maratua Paradise Resort

Address: East Kalimantan 88825, Indonesia
Location: Indonesia > Borneo > East Kalimantan > Derawan Islands > Maratua Island
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Maratua Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 11
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Also Known As:
Maratua Paradise Hotel Maratua Island

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