We have stayed at Manta Ray before in 2006 and decided to go back for a 2 week stay this year. The things we thought were great about the hotel are still fantastic! The dive operation is the best we have ever been diving with. From safe gear storage that allows you to store your gear between dives, after washing them in their clean and huge rinse tanks. To each morning having your gear taken from your assigned locker (no fighting for a place to store your gear here) and put on the boat for you. This place is concierge service for diving! There are also large camera tables in the dive shop for placing your camera gear on after rinsing your housing in one of two dedicated camera rinse tanks. There is a lockable cabinet below each table that they provide the lock and key, but you won't need it. Just leave your gear on the table to dry, ready for lubing o'rings the next morning using their provided lights with magnifying glass if you need them. If you desire to remove your camera and take it with you for the rest of the day, you can use the microfiber towels hanging next to your camera table to dry your housing, or you can blow dry it using the scuba tank with air nozzle. No more need to haul your camera gear back and forth to the room.
The diving in Yap is diverse and offers something for everyone. Although they are famous for the ability to get up close and personal with Manta Rays, this is only a small part of Yap diving. With stunning walls, beautiful soft coral, macro life that would choke a grouper, schools of fish, plenty of sharks and the chance for even more rare encounters with cuttlefish or even whale sharks. The diving is absolutely world class!
Being avid divers accommodations are usually secondary to the need for a good dive operation. However the rooms at Manta Ray are beautiful and clean!! Each room is given a name making it your own special hideaway between dives. We were upgraded to a Deluxe Ocean View room that bathed us in luxury. If you can upgrade - do it! The rooms are a little bigger allowing you spread out while you are there. The shower is a huge walk in shower that allows for showering together - for saving water of course! Our room also had a private garden with a palapa and small private plunge pool allowing you to relax in your own private oasis whenever you wanted.
The hotel staff was amazing!! After your first day there, you would be greeted by name by everyone you walked past. I'm just glad they did not give us a test at the end of the week to try and remember all of their names. It was amazing to wake up in the morning and walk through the lobby to be told to have a good morning by name each day. In most businesses the attitude of the staff is created by the boss, and in this case there is no doubt of that. Owner and operator Bill Acker is not only on site most days, but is also a working staff member. Bill's motto for the hotel is "Yes, now what is your question?" A perfect motto for a service industry but easier said than done. However Bill and his staff have pulled it off!! ANY request you have is met by a simple yes with completion of the task if it is at all possible on a small South Pacific Island. If it is not possible, the staff will work until an acceptable solution for you is found. The two weeks we were there with our group of 15, we were able to pull off a wedding, a birthday celebration and 2 anniversaries. The wedding on the beach was beautiful and given a traditional feel with several locals also participating. Cakes for the birthday party and anniversary celebrations were not only pretty, but moist and flavorful. Created in their bakery located on the second floor of the hotel, the cheese cake was one of the best I have ever had!
To give more room for the hotel, the restaurant is actually a working Chinese Cargo Ship (The Mnuw) that is backed up to the hotel and docked. Walking a gang plank to the back of the ship on the first level is a restaurant used for breakfast which is included in your trip package. Did I mention they have a bakery on site!? Fresh bread, pancakes, French toast, bacon, and omelets made to order are a usual fair for the morning. On occasion they offer doughnuts that would put Krispy Kreme to shame! One floor up is the main restaurant where lunch and dinner is served each day. A limited menu, but the fish is fresh and the fish tacos are fantastic! Pizza is made if you wish with the dough again being made on site at the bakery. Taking a trip up one more floor to the Crows Nest you will find the bar and plenty of space to dine al fresco with shade sails to protect you from the sun or rain. Here you will be treated to a full bar and the two beers produced by the micro brewery that is also in the hotel. I recommend their dark beer, Hammer Head. With a Shiner Bock like quality, it will keep you happy and certainly from being home sick. 1/2 way around the world and you can STILL have Pizza and Beer! Along with the great treats, Bill has turned the mast of the Mnuw into a large movie screen. This will treat you to a movie each night if you wish before retiring to your bungalow to rest up for the next day of diving.
If there is any criticism to be made, it would be that the Mnuw has a limited menu and is slow. If you are into fish, you will not go astray here, as it is fresh and good. However, if you don't like fish or can not eat fish your menu options are now burgers or pizza. 14 days of burgers or pizza can actually get old! On occasion we would be in a rush to eat and head back out diving and the food preparation can be slow. I can only imagine that is due to the size of the kitchen, and with a couple of large groups the kitchen can be challenged. Slow is something we are used to from diving around the Caribbean. If you have been to Bonaire you know what I mean. However this was beyond slow and on a couple of days not only was it slow, but when your food did come, it came up cold. That can ONLY mean that it was sitting down below cooling while you were waiting.
This one flaw can EASILY be overlooked as they will get it right if you ask, and there are 2 other local eateries within easy walking distance that will increase your variety and speed.\
All in all if you are looking for a place that will treat you like royalty while at the same time making you feel like family, then this is the place for you! Yap in itself has some of the friendliest people I have ever met, but Bill Acker has put the best of the best in his hotel to do only one thing. Answer yes and then ask you what you need done.
All of the ocean view rooms are great, but if you can - upgrade to one of the deluxe ocean view room...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.