My wife and I spent three nights at Murex Dive Resort in Manado. This was a return visit to Manado and Bunaken dive sites for me, but a first time for my wife. On my previous trip, I stayed a much bigger hotel and dive resort only a kilometer further along the main road. For this trip I was looking for a smaller resort that would be a little bit more personal. When I booked Murex I was using reviews on TA as my source of information. The reviews of Murex were sufficiently good enough that I decided to book the three nights at the resort. I am not sure what this place once was, but what ever it was, it is not that anymore. What I found was a nearly empty hotel, disorganized dive operation, and an ageing, tired resort. We were never introduced to anyone who could be called the manager. There were people who seemed to know what they were doing, but a proper manager never surfaced.
Our very first encounter with the disorganization was at the airport after our arrival. I had organized a transfer and was expecting to find a representative of the hotel at arrivals holding a sign with my name on it. What I found as a man holding a sign with the Murex logo, but another party’s names. When I questioned him about our transfer, he had little or no English, and even less of an idea about my transfer. I motioned for him to call the office and ask about the status of our transfer. He did, handed me the phone, and I spoke to someone at the resort. I was informed that the man I was looking at was indeed my driver and the sign he was holding was a mistake. Okay, we all make mistakes, but this one seemed to me to be a rather important one given that had I not asked I would have assumed there was no transfer and I would have had to deal with the situation. Not impressed.
On arrival at the hotel, a representative who subsequently, we did not see again for the entire duration of our stay met us and explained the details of our stay. We indicated we would like to do a house reef dive that afternoon. She said no problem; she would let the dive operation know to expect us. After going to our room and organizing ourselves, we headed for dive center. There was nobody there, and nothing had arranged for our dive. I had to go hunting to find someone and explain our desire to do a house reef dive. He seemed to be in charge, of what I am not sure, but he managed to organize the tanks, weights, and provided us a bit of a description of the reef. By this time, it was already pushing 5:30 so I knew this was going to be a dusk dive turning into a night dive. I was not looking forward to an unguided night dive in unfamiliar water. However it was fine as we are experienced divers, but I was not confortable. Things improved considerably the next and subsequent days. The diving was excellent; the dive guide was very good.
What I will say is that the staff we did encounter was very sweet and did their best to make us feel comfortable. The food was generally good, but lacked variety. Breakfast was sub standard and evidently produced with little understanding of the guests who stayed there. This is a no-brainer in my mind, but again, one of the many details that seemed to elude the management. On that point it should be noted, not once did a manager materialize during our stay. For a small resort of this nature, this is inexcusable. Even the large resorts make sure you are aware of management should there be an issue.
So, in the final analysis, dive Manado Bay and Bunaken? Definitely! Stay at Murex? Not a chance! There are far better operations by far.
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- Also Known As:
- Murex Dive Hotel Manado