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“An Indonesian Paradise” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bahowo Lodge

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Bahowo Lodge
Bahowo Village | Bunaken Park, Manado, Indonesia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #7 of 33 hotels in Manado
Southampton, England, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“An Indonesian Paradise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012

We travelled to North Sulawesi on our Medical Elective and enlisted the help of the lovely Phil & Paula from Bahowo Lodge in planning our experience whilst there, following a recommendation from a friend. Their warm welcome and generosity made us feel immediately welcome and relaxed. During our time there, we got to know them and their staff very well and you couldn't hope for a friendlier group of people to stay with. They also own two lovely golden retrievers called Poppy and George who are really great fun and lend the place a unique home-from-home vibe. The local village was full of friendly faces and we quickly felt like part of the community, being encouraged to join in the weekly hotly-contested football match and celebrations such as Independence Day.

Whilst there, we undertook our PADI qualifications and even though we were complete novices beforehand, it was an incredible place to learn. Our dive instructor was really helpful and enthusiastic, ensuring that learning to dive was a fun experience. We also had time to go on a couple of the tours that Bahowo Lodge offer. The Minahasa Highland tour was a highlight and visiting Tangkoko National Park is a must-see, with a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the local wildlife up close.

Overall, we would whole heartedly recommend staying at Bahowo Lodge for anyone wanting to dive in the world famous Bunaken coral reef, or just hoping to see the 'real Indonesia'. We can't wait to return soon, safe in the knowledge that Mr Phil will have a cold bottle of Bintang waiting for us.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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44 people have reviewed this hotel

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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
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 17, 2012

We booked at Bahowo Lodge because of the good ratings here, but we did not like the place at all. The hotel is not well maintained and dirty. But the worst thing is probably that you have to pay a high price for it. They charge 4 times the price a taxi would cost for the airport shuttle and after our stay at several other places in the neighborhood (on Bunaken Island and in Tomohon), we also realized how overpriced the rooms are.

We must admit the owners are very friendly people and they were very helpful in getting us to Bunaken island the next day. They could make a lot more out of the Lodge. We would recommend anybody to take a boat to Bunaken Island and find yourself a really nice resort there for half the price and at a way more beautiful spot.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bahowo, Owner at Bahowo Lodge, responded to this review, November 28, 2012
We are sorry that this guest did not enjoy their one - night stay at Bahowo Lodge. Clearly there was on this occasion a mis - match between the Lodge and the type of accomodation that the guest was seeking. We are not a back - packers lodge and our rates are clearly advertised. Our airport transfers are comparable to the airport taxis, and other resorts in the area, but are obviously more expensive than public transport.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Balikpapan, Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

Bahowo Lodge is great! You know you're going to have a wonderful stay when you arrive at midnight from the airport and the owners offer you beer upon taking your luggage! Phil and Paula are incredible hosts. They provide culturally relevant experiences, but with western amenities and service. They organized tours for us (cheaper than the tour groups in town) and everything was on time, in order, and well done. The food at the lodge was spot-on - from the Western breakfast and made to order eggs to the FABULOUS Indonesian dinners (and desserts)! Oh, and the "tour lunches"? OH MY! Fantastic!! You'll feel at home upon entering Bahowo Village, and particularly Bahowo Lodge. I will be back!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2012

My wife and I recently spent a week in Manado diving at the world-renowned Bunaken Marine Park. We had booked a dive package with Thalassa Dive Centre (a PADI 5* dive centre and possibly one of the best-run outfits in Asia) and we were given a choice of three different accommodations. We could either stay on-site at Hotel Santika, or we could stay nearby at the 4 Fish or at Bahowo Lodge. After consulting the respective websites and, more importantly, the other reviews on tripadvisor, we were convinced that Bahowo Lodge provided us the best value for money and would be the best accommodation by a long shot.

To summarise briefly, Hotel Santika was essentially like any other hotel you'd find around the world and we were told that the 4 Fish did not even have air-conditioned rooms. By way of comparison, not only did Bahowo Lodge come with all the mod-cons essential and conducive for comfortable travel (good air-conditioning, hot water, clean rooms, fresh sheets), the food at the Lodge was also fantastic, with a mouth-watering spread laid out for us every evening.

Upon arrival in Manado (after a 3 hour delay from Jakarta), we were greeted by Tom, Phil and Paula's ever-smiling driver, and ushered to the waiting car. The Lodge itself is located some 15km away from the city but due to the appalling road conditions, the journey can take between 40-50 minutes by car. As our flight from Jakarta had been delayed by 3 hours, we were concerned that we would not be able to get dinner (it was 9pm at the time). However, our fears were allayed upon arrival at the Lodge as there was food available and Phil wasted no time in bringing out the nasi goreng (fried rice), chicken sate (grilled chicken skewers) with sweet peanut sauce and some stir-fried vegetables.

The room that was prepared for us was also very comfortable and clean, with a firm queen-sized bed and fresh sheets laid out. Most importantly, and as alluded to above, the rooms were made up to Western standards, with all the mod-cons required. A short word on the hot water though. Although there was hot water available for our showers, we found that the hot water did run out after some time. As we were the only guests in residence at the time, there was still ample hot water for us to use, but we wondered how this might have been different if the Lodge was at capacity. Nevertheless, as we had been informed of this by Phil and Paula in advance, we were conscious to be a little bit more judicious and expedient in our showers.

As we had come to Manado primarily for the diving, we spent the bulk of the day away from the Lodge. Each morning, a simple breakfast consisting of home-made toast and eggs (done any way you like it) would be prepared for us. Although we would have liked more variety in our choice of breakfast, we were nevertheless satisfied by the quality of the food overall. In any event, we usually found ourselves downing our food quickly in order to get to the dive centre in time for the 8am dive! After breakfast, Tom would be waiting by the car to chauffeur us down to Thalassa Dive Centre.

The dive centre is located in the next village, approximately 10 minutes away by car. As transportation to and from the dive centre were provided for readily, we were therefore unconcerned about staying "off-site" from the dive centre. In the evenings, Tom would again be waiting at the dive centre to take us home after we had completed our diving for the day. We found this arrangement to be very flexible and accommodating. All we had to do was to indicate at the start of the day the number of dives we were expected to be doing, and Tom would be waiting at the dive centre for us upon the conclusion of our activities.

Upon arrival back at the Lodge, we would almost always be greeted very enthusiastically by Phil and Paula's two very adorable golden retrievers, George and Poppy! A previous reviewer had mentioned that a love for dogs was essential when staying at the Lodge. Whilst we are unsure as to whether this would indeed be the case for all guests, we would add that George and Poppy certainly helped to make our stay extra memorable, and playing with the dogs was undoubtedly a most enjoyable way of unwinding at the end of a long day.

Dinners were always a treat for us as well. Sultje, Phil and Paula's wonderful miracle-worker cook, would prepare the most amazing spread for our dinners, from freshly caught groupers or chicken sate to stir-friend papaya leaves and aubergines. And to complement all this, her very own home-made sweet peanut sauce and dabu-dabu (take in small quantities only!) Evening meals were always wonderful and, with Phil and Paula joining us, we also thoroughly enjoyed the conversations around the table - especially the stories of how Phil and Paula came to be living in this tiny, remote corner of the world, and the sort of work they are doing in the village.

For those of you concerned by a lack of activities to be had apart from diving, we can say that there was never a shortage of things for us to do whilst at the Lodge. Phil and Paula's extensive library of books and DVDs (Downton Abbey ftw!) kept us occupied in the evenings and, for the non-divers amongst you, we were told that various tours to surroundings areas such as the Minahasa highlands or Manado city itself could very easily be arranged through Phil and Paula.

Perhaps most importantly, we were especially heartened to see for ourselves the work that Phil and Paula are doing in and amongst the 110 families of Bahowo village. From setting up a local clinic to sponsoring the children's education at the local primary school and organising various activities for the whole village, we have come to realise that Phil and Paula are an integral part of village life in Bahowo and an important source of employment for the team (made up primarily of locals from the village) working at the Lodge.

For this reason alone, we believe that Phil and Paula deserve all the support they can get and we would strongly recommend that anyone desirous of a holiday to these parts should eschew the other run-of-the-mill establishments in favour of Bahowo Lodge. In our opinion, this necessitates no sacrifice on the part of the guest at all as, for all the reasons proffered above, the Lodge is run to a very high and efficient standard, with Phil and Paula's personal touch giving it that extra something you will not find elsewhere.

Overall, we really enjoyed our stay and were glad to have been able to meet Phil, Paula, George, Poppy and the rest of the team at the Lodge. We look forward to returning there the next time the diving bug bites again.

  • Stayed July 2012, 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.
Mannheim
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2012

Situated on the mainland of north Sulawesi 15 km away from the capital Manado (because of the partly narrow roads and the traffic in the city a car needs around 30-45 min. to the town center) facing the islands of the Bunaken National Park the Bahowo Lodge is located directly in the small village Bahowo. The lodge is a two storey buliding with many balconies and teracces,where you can sit and relax, a very nice garden with a swimmingpool and sunloungers. Our room was big, tastefully furnished with AC and a bathroom with a hot shower. The whole house has a little bit of a colonial style. We and another couple where the only guests at this time and we enjoyed our privacy very much (i think there are 7 guest rooms in total). On hightide the ocean reaches the walls at the front of the premises but there is no beach and because of the mangroves there is only seaview from the upper balconies.The food was very good, always served very nicely outside. One day we asked for some seafood and in the evenning the cook, Sultje, provide us a delicious dinner with many different kinds of seafood including lobster. We also loved the dabu-dabu , a very spicy chilli paste.There is a dive center 5 min away which we did´t use but we heard only good things about it from the other guests who were using it daily. Besides that you can play with the three friendly golden retriewers , walk through the village and the nearby countryside (nice views to Mandado Tua Island and Bunaken) or go on a day trip, e.g. to the Minahasa Highlands.
All in all very pleasant but, what makes it so special are the people. At first Paula and Phil, the owners who moved from britain in 2003 to built the lodge and to live with the village people. They make us feel at home from the beginning and we spend many hours with them talking about quite everything. And there are the nice, always smiling people from the village, the children you can visit in the school, meet at the streets or in the lodge, Raymond the driver and tour guide who told us many things about his life and this part of indonesia and and so many others.
For us it was a very special expierence and we are looking forward to our next stay in the near future.
Paula and Phil wrote a very entertainig book „Bahowo lodge - an Indonesian Affaire“ with many interesting and entertaining stories how they found this wonderful place, about their life in a foreign country, the annoying bureaucracy in indonesia and of course about the people in the village and their culture, all combined with a lot of general information about North Sulawesi.
So, there is only one advise: read the book and go there!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tokyo, Japan
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2011

I stayed here on my own for good on two weeks in September of 2011. I would recommend this place to any type of traveler; be it someone traveling alone, a honeymoon couple and or anyone in-between. Paula and Phil, the proprietors, will go out of their way to make you feel at home. Words that come to mind when remembering my stay here are; genuine people, delicious home-style cooking, stimulating dinner conversation, friendly and efficient staff, and a homey, heartwarming atmosphere. Would I go back to the same place again? In a flash. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Velsen, The Netherlands
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2011

We spend more than 10 nights at the lodge and enjoyed every minute of it. Phil and Paula are perfect hosts to make you feel comfortable and so nice to chat with. Good spacious rooms and so much other places for the guests to sit or rest. Dinner at various places near the house or the garden. And the swimming pool was good to cool down if the temperature got too hot. Very good also for divers as alternate for the bigger hotels. Free ride to and from the dive base Thalassa. And not to forget the small Bahowo village with wonderful nice people and everybody always wanted to say hi. Esp. the children are a must see and visit their school. The book Phil wrote about their settlement in the village and starting up the lodge is worthwhile reading every page. When after the live aboard we stayed at a big hotel, but returned for a BBQ to the lodge and it felt a bit like “coming home”. Special thanks to the excellent cooks for cooking us such delicious meals, only eating the big crab was a challenge! Absolutely recommended for a stay near Manado or Bunaken.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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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Additional Information about Bahowo Lodge

Address: Bahowo Village | Bunaken Park, Manado, Indonesia
Location: Indonesia > Sulawesi > North Sulawesi > Manado
Amenities:
Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 33 hotels in Manado
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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Also Known As:
Bahowo Hotel Bunaken

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