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“Charming at 1st sight. Basic overall.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Onong Resort

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Onong Resort
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3.0 of 5 Resort   |   Siladen Island, Manado, Indonesia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 36 Hotels in Manado
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Singapore, Singapore
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Charming at 1st sight. Basic overall.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2012

When my hubby and I 1st reached there, we were kind of facsinated by the charming bungalows and its environment. Each glass bungalow is quite far part. No issue with privacy as you can always draw the curtains.

As the bungalow does not come with aircon, it is not fully enclosed (a gap between the wall & rooftop) so that cool air can still enter. Because of this opening, insects can still creep into the room. We saw a few of them in our room. Kind of scary to me :( Lots of mosquitos. Limited tv channels. As the resort is quite remotely located, you can't go anywhere. My hubby & I turned in very early every night because there wasn't much that we could do after dinner.

Personally, I feel that the cleanliness is abt 2-3 stairs. Bathroom is spacious but kind of dark & the toilet bowl flush doesn't work. You need to throw water into the toilet bowl after you use it. As there is a glass window in the toilet, I had a feeling that people staying nearby or loitering around the bungalow might be able to peep in. Hence, my hubby had to cover the window with towels and he would act as my 'bodyguard', watching out while I took my shower.

Food is pretty decent. Not too bad.

Overall, I think the resort is average. But I guess you can't ask alot from a little village.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
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70 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
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  • Dutch first
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  • German first
  • Italian first
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English first
Madrid, Spain
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2012

Unforgettable holiday at Onong Resort. It was my first time in Indonesia and Bunaken as well and it was just outstanding. The diving was amazing, beautiful coral reef in every dive site. Despite it rained almost every day as I went during the rainy season, the visibility was perfect. The boat crew and the dive guides were very professional and attentive at all times. About the resort, I completely loved it. I got a great room right in the beach front, few steps away from the water, with astonishing sea views. I felt really comfortable and slept in it deliciously well. It is true that you won't find here the most comfortable mattresses in the world and the bed frames crack a bit, but after a very satisfying diving day you won't notice and will just crash on it.The staff of the resort were extremely friendly, and did their best at any time to help us feel home. The food was just delicious everyday, plenty, healthy and well balanced, and lunch time and dinner time was really enjoyable with the other guests and the manager himself. The island is peaceful and quiet which I found about perfect to disconnect instantaneously from routine, relax doing some reading, walking around a bit or just staring and seeing a school of dolphins passing by! I personally would never bring a tv here, it would be such a waste of time watching it. This tiny island is just paradise, in my view, and find it admirable to be able to set up a resort there, keeping at the same time the magic feeling of being alone in the world there. Besides, Indonesian people are the nicest I've ever met traveling in south east asia. The local islanders were always smiling at me, specially the children who were adorable, but above all they were undoubtedly respectful to the tourists at Onong. I had a great experience in my short visit to Siladen island, and I look forward to visiting again as soon as possible and would strongly recommend it to any diver looking for a paradise.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Berlin, Germany
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2012

First of all I want to make a quick comment on the diving. The dive sites and walls, and fish life are all just as fantastic as ever. We've done 4 trips in 6 years to this area and we're still seeing new things. Unfortunately the trash situation is now the worst we've ever seen it. On a couple of dives we had to give up the dive site simply because there was too much trash to be able to drop into the water at the planned spot. Ok, we can dive at Lekuan 2.5 instead, but for the price of the marine park fee you would think the officials would be doing something about the trash. They aren't.

In short, do not believe the owners/managers of these resorts concerning the trash problem. Those people have a vested interest in keeping the problem quiet, and it's become a bigger problem every time we have visited.

As for the Onong Resort itself, I have very little that is good to say. Six bungalows in the middle of a small island village is not my idea of a resort. Someone has delusions of grandeur here. Putting a resort level price tag on things didn't improve my mood either. There are just some things that are standard at certain price levels, and they simply do not exist at Onong. A room safe would be normal for instance, but it's not there.

Onong is only one small step up from Bastianos, and that only because the food quality is somewhat better at Onong. It was a 4 day meal plan though, which is fine if you're only staying for 4 days. After 12 days an overweight and balding middle-aged man like myself will gladly enter a Micheal Jackson look-a-like contest, moonwalk, and lip sync "Billy Jean" just for chance at a cheese burger. It will be months before I can look at a plate of chicken and rice again.

Just like at Bastianos, Onong has feral animals lifting a leg and spraying the communal furniture, daily power outages, and a distinct lack of running water. Power or water failed almost every single day or night. Ceiling fans are fine for me, but they don't work very well when the power goes out. We were the only guests for most of our stay, but the few days that there was another diving couple, there was little to no water pressure when 2 people wanted to take a shower at the same time, like, when arriving back from the morning dive trip. I have no idea how this place copes in high season.

The rooms themselves are sparsely appointed, but some money has been spent on some nice but rock hard mattresses. Our room hadn't been aired out for several weeks before our arrival and it took a couple of tries to get the bar fridge operating properly. One night I took one of the lounge chairs to the bathroom, because that was the room with the most light, for reading.

There is absolutely no entertainment here, outside of the scuba diving. At these prices a television in the room with a satellite feed would be normal. It's not like the Siladen Village Disco is having a couples only night for Over-40's either. Take a lot of books with you.

Another problem came up on our first diving day. There are no towels on the dive boat. Hell, even Bastianos does that! Two divers in the middle of the rainy season are going to need more than a bathmat and beach towel, particularly when it's 30 degrees C, and we've come from the land of minus 10C. The local children seem to think a dive boat is a community playground too. Even with a "superior" sea view room you will have little to no privacy.

Lastly I want to mention some awfully poor table manners from a couple of the managers. They will typically eat lunch and dinner with the guests, but with two of them I had to politely mention that I would be happy to pass the rice if they simply asked, rather than reaching across in front of me or my wife. Even after being polite about it, it happened again on more than one occasion.

In short, go for the diving, and go back again and again because the diving is amazing, but stay somewhere else.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
celmanager, Manager at Onong Resort, responded to this review, March 27, 2012
The Celebes Divers Management would like to react to the entry of Nofirstname n dated March 4th 2012, a Canadian man living in Berlin, Germany.
Upon arrival in our resort Mr. Nofirstname n already had one or two complaints on-hand. The travel website that advised him and booked his holiday (which is NOT one of our genuine Travel Agents) made promises that could not be held.
The garbage problem in Indonesia exists, nobody can deny that, especially after heavy rainfall when the rivers transport the garbage from Manado and the smaller villages in the area to the ocean. The local government of North Sulawesi and the NSWA (North Sulawesi Watersports Association, of which Celebes Divers is an active member) are working hard to solve this problem with education in schools and giving information to the local people, re-organization of the garbage disposal system and (on smaller scale) reducing the plastic garbage in the resorts. During the last 3 – 4 years there is a slow progress noticeable and the amount of trash is slowly reducing. Due to the huge dimensions of the North Sulawesi area and the Bunaken National Park solving a big problem like this overnight is impossible, nobody can disagree on that.
The Onong Resort is situated next to Siladen Village, with one small resort separating the two. The prices for a cottage in Onong Resort are a result of a very difficult logistic which is normal for an island. Everything needed in Onong Resort is brought in by boat and electricity is produced by private generators at the moment (plans for solar power are studied at the moment). That said and comparing the prices with other resorts on the island one could say that the Onong Resort prices are moderate. Room safes are not present but, when needed, guests can store their precious belongings in the “house-safe”. Criminality is (until now) extremely rare on the island and until today there is no direct necessity for room safes.
In both our restaurants there is a big variety of fish, seafood, pork, beef and chicken available in dozens of different ways of preparation. In case somebody does not eat fish or seafood they will of course have less choice, especially on a fishermen’s island. In that case it is possible that different chicken dishes will be presented. Cheeseburgers are merely available in Manado.
Everywhere in Asia (and also in other continents) when one stay in a beach resort pets of the nearby villages visit the premises once in a while. Although we do all that is possible to keep the animals away from the resort sometimes they will “visit” us. The outdoor furniture like sunbeds etc. are cleaned at least two times a day and the guests will never find any droppings from any animal in the resort.
Unfortunately during the stay of mr. Nofirstname n we had problems with a malfunctioning water pump. The problem is solved and water pressure is back in all the cottages. During the wet-season the humidity can be as high as 95%. This humidity does not work out very well in wooden cottages. The smell of the tropical wood will be more present as it is in the dry-season. Also with airing out this smell will not go away, this just belongs to the wood. In case people don’t like this smell we suggest coming in the dry-season or chose a resort with stone bungalows.
Staying in an island resort on a remote island with only one small village is a choice that people make to get away from the crowd. That is also the reason that we neither offer entertainment nor television in both our resorts. For people want to stay in touch with the “outside world” we offer WiFi free of charge that they can use with their private laptops, Ipads or Smartphones. In case people don’t want to miss a play of their local hockey club, a remote location should not be their choice.
In every cottage are three towels per person; a huge beach towel that they can take with them on the boat, a large bath towel and a smaller hand towel. In case guests need more towels they just need to ask and they will be provided within minutes.
Unfortunately Onong Resort did not meet the expectations of mr. Nofirstname n, nor would have any remote resort in Indonesia.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
2 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2010

This resort is hands down the best value at Bunaken national park, and quite possibly in best value on Sulawesi or Bali (both of which I've traveled to extensively). The staff are very friendly, the rooms are amazing, and the location and view are great, from both resorts (Mapia and Onong). And the food fed to you every night is awesome, a feast of seafood and Italian/Indonesian cuisine that is hard to beat.

Some other reviews on here say that other places are better value for money, well, certainly this is not true, at least in Bunaken. I have stayed in other places in Bunaken and Onong is the one that has the best view and accessibility to the open sea. Yes, the other resorts are cheaper, in some cases a lot cheaper, and they do front the sea, but the "sea" at those cheaper resorts are actually mainly mangrove swamps, not really something that you want to swim in and no point to snorkel in. You really have to go to the beach in order to snorkel or enjoy the beautiful clear water of Bunaken.

In contrast, at ONONG resort, the water is right there, especially if you get a superior room which is literally ten feet from the water. Your snorkeling? Simply put on a mask and flippers and swim out 20 or 30 feet in the calm, safe water and you have incredible reefs and colorful fish. No need to go on separate trips (that you pay for). Of course, Onong resort offers these separate trips if you want to see the most famous dive sites in Bunaken, but my point is on Onong they are an option, while on Bunaken, you really have no choice.

If you go to Bunaken Natural Park in Indonesia and you don't stay here, you are simply settling for a less incredible experience. Most people will probably only go here once or twice, so why not get the best when you do?

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
Leiden, The Netherlands
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2010

The Onong resort is small and beautifully maintained on Siladen, a small island in the Bunaken Marine Park. The staff (especially Chris) are wonderful, reading your wishes from your lips before you even speak them. The beachfront bungalows were lovely, although the beds were very hard, with thin mattresses and creaking timbers. Food was plentiful and good. The dive team are amazing, from the boat guys, to the guides Bernard, Jimbres, and Opo. They took great care of us and found some amazing creatures which we would certainly have missed.
The dive boats are old and not as well maintained as the rest of the resort. They are OK for just 4 people diving, but more than that gets crowded because there are no typical tank racks. The boats seem not to be designed with diving in mind, but they do function OK and entry and exit is no problem. I personally found the timing of the dives to be a bit off, because we always seemed to be eating before diving
There is no internet access at Onong, and although the next door resort offers use of their wireless LAN (for 10 Euros per day!!) it seldom worked for more than an hour at a time and was very slow. We would stay there again if we wanted to dive Bunaken, more for the great staff than the resor itself.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2009

I believe it is always good to start on a positive note and that is that the diving in front of the Onong Resort (part of Celebes Divers) on Siladen Island is probably one of the best I have ever dived. The fish life is prolific, colourful and cater for those who want to muck dive or sink over the edge into the deep blue.

That's about the end of the positive note and it goes down hill after that.

We picked Onong Resort as I was after something mid ranged between the real low priced and value for money dive resorts (LivingColours) and the high priced full service resorts (Siladen Resort) as my wife accompanied me and is not a diver .... loves the snorkelling. Onong Resort sites in this price point.

When we arrived we found that the superior room (seaview) we had booked and had confirmed not a week before had recently collapsed into the sea, been jacked up and presently uninhabitable waiting for completion of a washed out retaining wall. This was of course an act of nature (or poor workmanship .... or mix) and not specifically the resorts fault, but they'd not contacted us saying we'd now need to take one of their standard rooms ...... and therefore giving us the option to go elsewhere .... which we would most definitely have done.

Extreme disappointment after nearly 8 hours travel from Singapore. Andreas agreed with the situation, apologised profusely but came up with no suggestions .... We'd be stuck with the standard room.

The resort itself is right next to a little village on Siladen Island. The resort is very small and compacted. If you're not in a sea view room (superiors) then it's also quite dark.

In terms of price differentiation from the full service Siladen Resort (about 250 metres from the Onong) beers, cokes, diving, gear rental etc, is exactly the same price ... in fact gear rental is slightly cheaper at Siladen Resort. The only difference is therefore the accommodation, which includes meals (Siladen Resort rooms and meals being in a different league to Onong).

We stayed one night at Onong and then moved over to the Siladen, negotiated a very reasonable price (not much more than what we paid at Onong) and had a great remaining holiday ..... the two resorts are chalk and cheese in every respect.

My feeling with the Onong (and probably Mapia as well) is that the resorts are tied, run down and therefore not priced accordingly. Regrettably for CelebeDivers they're now moving into a Global recession and people should not put up with paying for a resort that's probably only marginally better than the cheap and practical Bunaken Island dive resorts. They appear to have spent a lot on two new superior rooms (that have fallen into the sea but now upright waiting for the next major high tied to knock them down) when I'd have thought changing their strategy, lowing their prices and concentrating on marketing the awesome house reef right in front ......

If above doesn't put you off, ensure the seaview room's haven't again succumbed to mother nature AND have a plan in place if they have upon getting there.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northern Italy
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2008

I just spent a lovely week in paradise. Onong Resort is made up of just 6 bungalows, of which 4 are large, spacious and newly-finished beach villas, just a few feet from the sea. They are fitted with air-conditioning but we never felt the need to use it. The island is lovely, right in the midst of Bunaken Marine National Park, and contains, beside the Onong Resort, a colourful local village, full of small, neat, flower-filled houses, and, at the opposite end, the more expensive Siladen Resort & Spa. I went to see it, but it has a smelly, weedy beach, and is extremely far from the coral reef, whereas the Onong Resort is an incredibly beautiful spot for snorkeling and even diving straight from the beach. The resort belongs to Celebes Divers, who also own the more "worldly" Mapia Resort, on Manado. The food was just fantastic; there was always choice between pasta and Indonesian cuisine, just delicious. The diving is extremely well-organized for such a small outfit. You are taken to out-of-the-way spots, none of those "get your elbows out of my ears" Sharm -type dives, large boats, very professional instructors, and unforgettable sights.

We really enjoyed this holiday. It was organized for us through the Italian TO specialized in diving holidays, Nosy Tours, flight Milan-Singapore and Singapore-Manado, all with Singapore Air. Worth the long trip; I definitedly recommend it!

  • Liked — Perfect for snorkeling and diving, tranquility, great cuisine!
  • Disliked — Some garbage piled up on the locals' village beach.
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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 Onong Resort

Address: Siladen Island, Manado, Indonesia
Location: Indonesia > Sulawesi > North Sulawesi > Manado
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Manado
#2 Romantic Hotel in Manado
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Manado
Hotel Class:3 star — Onong Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 7
Also Known As:
Onong Hotel Manado

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