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“Not what we expected....” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Wakatobi Dive Resort

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4.5 of 5 Lodge   |   Wakatobi Resort, Pulau Onemobaa, Tomia - Wakatobi, Wakatobi Island S06 E124, Indonesia   |  
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colorado
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Not what we expected....”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2013

We spent a week at Wakatobi, after a week on their dive yacht (The Pelagian). The week on the Pelagian was great -- very nice stateroom, wonderful meals, good service and great diving. Unfortunately, Wakatobi's resort experience was not that great.

Wakatobi's Bali office is very organized and has a great system for getting you through the airport and off to your adventure. That was appreciated, since we were very tired from the long hours of traveling to reach Bali. We spent a couple of nights in Ubud, then returned to the Bali airport to check in for the charter flight. The Wakatobi staff handled our luggage and escorted us to the lounge to wait for the flight. (By the way, the "VIP" lounge in the domestic terminal is a joke. The Bali Airport is under construction, so this might be a temporary situation.)

The charter flight is not comfortable. It is a prop plane with little storage and no legroom. When you arrive at the airstrip, a car takes you close to where the boat picks you up. You have to walk down ~50 steps, then out to the dock. At high tide, their dive boat can pick you up. If it's not high tide, you have to take a small "taxi boat" to the dive boat. If it is raining, you and your luggage will be soaked whether you are heading to the resort or to the airport
to fly home. Umbrellas are not sufficient. The dive boat will take you to the resort.

We were greeted at the resort and served lunch before departing for the Pelagian. As mentioned earlier, the week on the Pelagian was great -- it exceeded our expectations. A week later, we returned to the resort. We got back to the resort early in the morning and went out on a 2 tank boat dive, until our bungalow was ready for check-in. The select beach bungalow was okay, with a king-sized bed and a garden shower, and it had a nice covered porch with a sitting area. Nothing plush or special, but it was fine, except that we had to kill a large mouse in our room as we were unpacking our bags.

The diving was pretty good. The dive boats were spacious, covered and were set up for easy entries and exits. Some of the sites were great and some were mediocre. The dive guides were very knowledgeable and the boat crews were friendly and helpful. They took care of everything, you just had to suit up and do a giant stride into the water. The "house reef" just off of the beach was available for shore diving or taxi boat diving. It was fairly nice and had a lot of marine life in the shallows. We also used their Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP), which was a lot of fun. You could see so many fish while paddling through the shallows, that it was like snorkeling without getting wet.

The restaurant served all of the meals buffet-style. The selections were varied and the food was creative, plentiful and tasty. Unfortunately, the "hot" food was never hot and the "cold" food was never cold. The restaurant is open air and has a huge problem with houseflies. The flies are landing on the food at the buffet tables and on your plates as you are eating. Gross! Plus, we saw another large mouse in the restaurant one night. The service at the restaurant was very good. The staff was very friendly and attentive.

The "expat" management staff at the resort, plus the "founder" of the resort were very not friendly or helpful. In fact, they were dismissive when we had issues arise. At the end of the trip, our luggage had to be ready at 8 and we had to be out of the bungalow by 10. We were supposed to leave for the airport at 11, fly out at 1 and be in Bali by 4. We had an international flight at 8. Due to continuous, unexplained delays for the charter flight, we ended up missing our international flights. Throughout the day, we attempted to get information from the staff and were ignored or lied to about the status. We were disgusted with the lack of care or interest shown by the management staff. The Bali staff tried to re-book us, but were only able to replace our Business Class seats with Economy Class seats for the return flight. However, they booked us into a nice place in Bali for the night and we flew out the following afternoon. But, because of the charter flight's delay, it took 66 hours from the time we had to check out of our room at Wakatobi until we arrived home. Brutal!

Wakatobi is not cheap. Plus, they "nickel and dime" you on both the Pelagian and at the resort. Soft drinks, beer, wine, Nitrox fills, etc. are not included in the price. At $3.50 for a coke, $4.50 for a can of local beer, $12.00 for a glass of house wine, and $25.00 a day for Nitrox, plan on an extra couple of thousand dollars for incidentals and tips for a two-week trip. There are a lot of other great diving locations in this world where you get better value for your money. This was a trip that we had planned and looked forward to for a long time, but it didn't live up to the brochures. We definitely won't return to Wakatobi.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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maggie valley, NC
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2013

Wow, best way to describe our return trip to Wakatobi. We were there 5 years ago and could not wait to come back. We decided that we wanted to get married on the beach there and it could not have been better. We invited a group of friends to join us, two of them were with us on our first trip. From the moment you start reserving your trip you can see the top notch service begin. You are helped with reservations in Bali, you have to spend at least one night there, I suggest several. Bali is really cool, they helped us arrange day trips etc. The moment you land at the airport, The Wakatobi Team is waiting for you. They whisk you right through customs and get your visas and you are through with in a blink of an eye, wow... They arrange to take you to your hotel, along the way they explain how your trip will be. Last time we went to scuba sereya for a few days of diving pre Wakatobi, this time we stayed four nights about 45 minutes from the airport at a beautiful beach resort, http://ayodyaresortbali.com/, beautiful pools, beaches, grounds, etc. Our friends were arriving at different times, the last 3 arrived the afternoon before leaving for Wakatobi. The Wakatobi team let us know when they were going to pick us all up and our luggage to take us to the airport. Again, great experience, taken to the Wakatobi waiting room while waiting for our jet we were greeted with cold drinks and lovely snacks. They tagged all of our luggage with our bungalow numbers. Since being there before, I packed my dive gear in one bag and all my camera gear in another. They tagged those so they would go right to the camera room and dive locker area so I would not have to carry them there, I have bad knees. How nice is that? Ok, time to board the plane, great service, nice meal and about 2 hours later we arrive. Once there you get your carry on bags and everyone gets in to cars and they take you to the dock area. Here there is a long set of stairs, again, they had porters to carry down all of you bags so it made it very easy. Down on the dock, you are greeted by your own personal Wakatobi Team Member and served a welcome Punch. The boats are very roomy and you have about a twenty minute boat ride to the resort. Wow, I was already excited because we had such a good trip five years ago. We arrive at the resort and it's better than I had remembered. We we greeted by more porters and taken to our bungalows by our personal team member. We were in Cottage number 7, When we walked in there was towel decorations and wonderful fresh flowers that were flown in from Bali just for us, how nice. She showed us our room, it had just been refurbished and was lovely. We had a giant outdoor private shower that was really cool. King Bed with netting, fridge, safe, private porch, lounge chairs, hammock and right on the water. Again, they thought of everything for my knees, this bungalow was near the restaurant and near the dive and camera room. Settled in and then went to the camera room and set up my camera. Awesome, you have your own personal space, you can leave your all your camera gear there without a worry, Plugs, adapters, etc, was all there. Plenty of space for you gear with storage below. Went where the dive gear goes and yes my bag was there waiting for my, you are assigned a number and your boat. You can dive as much or as little as you like. We never missed a dive. Dive briefing and then you can do a checkout dive. They take you by water taxi and you backroll into the water and drift along the awesome wall back to the resort dock. Once there, staff is waiting for you to carry your gear, cameras, tanks, etc. Wow....The service is amazing, I did not think Wakatobi could get better but everywhere I looked something had been upgraded. Somehow all the staff even knows your name, amazing. Food is served Elegant Buffet Style. Breakfast was always wonderful, plenty of fresh fruits, juices, many choices of breakfast dishes and things cooked to order. Lunch again was yummy, from the wonderful appatizers , salads, hot meals, and a special pasta of the day.. Plenty of sweets also. Dinner, Wow ! How does one make the food any better, well guess what, they did. You can dine inside or out under the stars with wonderful candle light. If for some reason, you wanted something that was not there, they would fix it for you. We love to dine and this is truly a lovely experience. Usually we would watch sunset from our porch or go out to the dock bar and have a cocktail and watch sunset, awesome setting. Then to dinner. After dinner back out to the dock to watch the skies, more stars then I have ever seen. Diving was 2 dives in the morning and one afternoon dive. There were a couple of night dives during the week. In the morning, the boats come back to the dock in between dives for about a 20 minute stop. So lets say you want to sleep in one morning, no problem, the boat will be back for the second dive. If you want to do shore diving, you can do it right from the beach or by water taxi. There is always someone there to help you with your gear. Even when getting off the large comfortable dive boats, you don't even carry your camera, they do it all for you. Plenty of activities for non divers, kite boarding, kayaks, snorkeling, paddle boards, etc. We were met by Harley and his two team members to discuss our wedding. They had drawn out several options for us, wow, so much detail. Harley asked us many questions about our lives, etc. The guys were showing us how the decorations would be etc. So a few days later, we all met at the beach front around 5 pm. Wow, the pathways were all lit by candle light and palm frown fence decorations. Woven matting was put down for flooring, remember this is a remove shoes resort, how nice. there we seven white clothed chairs, a podium with a hand carved sign with our names on it, wow..... Arches made with Palm Frowns made like a gazebo blowing in the wind. Candles all around, temp was perfect for this evening. Troy and myself were first, both of us dress in white linen pants and white long sleeve cuffed island style white on white. The Wakatobi Team let us use their photographer and she used my camera and external flash. As the guests arrived she was busy snapping away, it was nice everyone had brought a special outfit to wear and it was great. Harley did the ceremony and I don't think there was person there that did not have a tear in their eye. We were also server apps and cocktails prior to the ceremony. One of the owners, Valentin and his lovely wife Whee King joined us. If you ever want a beach wedding this is the place to do it, It was more than I expected. Afterwards the chairs were moved, long table set with special candles, fresh orchids, and lovely silverware. Sunset, we took quite a few pictures on the beach while they were preparing our dinner and drinks. Again, the service and little details were amazing. Even our guest had wedding invitation that Wakatobi had made up to invite them to the beach ceremony. They had a special poem printed up for us and then the wine flowed and dinner under the stars and the sound of the palm frowns blowing in the wind just made the evening Magical, Thanks
Wakatobi, wow, just writing this brings a tear to my eye. I will never forget this wonderful trip. If possible we will be back soon, this trip was 12 days, I need more. I can't tell you how much the staff, from the grounds keepers, house keepers, dive team, camera folks, etc...They all are amazing. Troy had a camera issue when we first arrived in Bali, we Told the Bali Wakatobi Team about it because we could not find him a replacement. They got right on it and had a brand new one flown in for him before we Left for Wakatobi. They did not even charge us until the end of the trip. That was amazing..... Ok, time to leave, we staying in Bali again for one night and then on to Lembeh. The Wakatobi team again, took us to the hotel and the next morning very early, 4:30 a.m, they were at the hotel and helped through the airport again, above and beyond. Wakatobi is in my mind the nicest resort I have ever been to and can't wait to return. Thanks Wakatobi !!!!!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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.
Concord
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2013

My wife and I have snorkeled in various locations, including Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Thailand, and The Maldives (Biyadhoo), and we really enjoyed our time at these locations. Like so many of the others, we believe that our five night vacation at the Wakatobi Dive Resort was a totally different and superlative experience.

On the day we arrived, four of us, plus our guide, Toto, snorkeled a portion of the very large and beautiful house reef. It seemed like there were corals and fish everywhere; the coral was certainly more extensive and varied than we had seen elsewhere. On each of the next four days, the dive boats took divers and snorkelers out for three trips. There were usually four or five snorkelers in our group. Each snorkeling session was between 70 and 90 minutes, not including the 7 to 15 minute dive boat rides to the dive/snorkeling sites. The water was warm and a rash guard was all we needed to maintain comfort. We had sunshine most of the time and the visibility was very good. We saw hundreds of different kinds of fish and coral, and the density, extent and health of the coral was far better than we had seen elsewhere: a real feast for the eyes.

Each site had a plateau where the water was about 3 to 9 feet deep and then a wall that ran down from the plateau. We went back and forth across portions of the plateau and along the edge of the wall. Wherever we went we saw a lot of very colorful fish, most of which were about 1 inch to 12 inches in length. Naturally, some of the fish were larger, such as the barracuda, moray eels, puffer fish, trigger fish and sea snakes. In addition to the highly colorful reef fish, our favorites were the spectacular lion fish, the surprisingly beautiful clams, the sting rays and the banded sea snakes. We saw no sharks, which was fine with us.

These sites were all very well suited for snorkeling, and even though the majority of the vacationers at Wakatobi are divers, we snorkelers were not at all made to feel like second class citizens. We are from San Francisco, and spent most of our interactive time with a group of 6 people from Australia,and 2 each from England, Switzerland, and Canada. We quickly became a friendly, fun community of divers and snorkelers, pleasantly co-mingled.

Our snorkeling guide for each outing, Toto, was very knowledgeable about the reefs and fish and pointed out numerous things we would not have otherwise seen. He also was safety conscious, a good communicator and very personable. Toto had a good eye and kept us atune to new finds we would have otherwise missed. He also assisted on some great underwater photography, diving down to grab great closeup or action shots of the fun creatures found. (My wife notes that Toto is cute, with a dazzling smile, and very, very sweet.) What an asset to this resort! We were also fortunate to have Allen, a fellow guest, in our group. He was extremely knowledgeable about the wide variety of fish we were seeing and was also helpful in pointing out interesting fish such as the monstrous and well-disguised scorpionfish we saw while checking out some interesting seashell creatures.

The currents were usually mild, although we did have a couple of faster currents that were fun to ride. Naturally, the boat met us at the end of the session, so we did not have to swim against the currents for any long periods. The dive staff had hot or frozen towels, dry towels, light snacks and drinks for us when we got back on the boat, and they also did a very good job taking care of and transporting our equipment. Those dive masters extended the same care and friendliness to us snorkelers as they did their own charges. The rest of the Wakatobi staff was also very friendly and very well trained. This was a pleasant contrast to the Maldives where we had a lovely time and were well treated but somehow did not consistently feel the same level of friendly embrace and welcome.

We were in Bungalow 15, which is a “Palm Bungalow” (the least expensive level of accommodation at the resort). Nevertheless, we really liked it and would gladly take that bungalow again. It was attractive and extremely comfortable. The bed was great and we slept quite well despite the jet lag. Unlike some of the other Palm Bungalows, Bungalow 15 has an ocean view, even though it is not an ocean front bungalow. It does not have a view of the sunsets. We do not know if there are any Palm Bungalows on the other side of the resort that do have a sunset view. My wife was impressed by how romantic the canopied bed was, complete with tasteful linens and a new elaborate “towel art” each day on the bed. She is still peeved she had to miss the towel folding classes they held. (Snorkeling took precedence.)

Each evening we went to the jetty bar for drinks and watched the gorgeous sunsets set against the backdrop and palm trees of Sawa in the distance, one of the great island sites we frequented. My wife found a new favorite drink, the Caipirinha (rum and muddled limes/lime juice and sugar cane sugar). Just the right level of tart and sweet. It was a must every night. The entire jetty bar and dining room staff knew and referred to us from day one by our first names, and it was delightful to have cocktails and to dine while barefooted. The dining room had a very nice ambiance: a kind of upscale casual. Ephram and his dining room team were terrific. Again, the top notch training was evident.

As foodies, we had been pleased to see the very positive comments about the food; however, we had also noted that the food was being served buffet style and that raised some concerns. In fact, the food was terrific and quite varied. The textures and flavors were spot on, and we really looked forward to each meal. Many wow bites.

The other travelers we met at the resort were quite friendly and interesting. A few of them had been at Wakatobi several times before, as well as at other highly regarded dive areas such as the Red Sea and the Maldives. Several of them said that Wakatobi is their favorite overall dive resort. We can relate.


For foodie snorkelers, except maybe those who really want to see sharks and large manta rays when they snorkel, Wakatobi should be at the top of your bucket list. We realize that it is an expensive vacation, but, as our 35th wedding anniversary celebration, it was well worth the cost and travel time.

There were two somewhat negative aspects of our stay: 1) the go, go, go pace we kept. A couple of other 5 night guests made similar comments, and a few of the snorkelers skipped one or two of the snorkeling trips to have some more down time. For those who can afford it, we recommend going there for more than five nights and only doing two water events a day, at least on some days. That way, you will squeeze in more reading/relaxing time; 2) the erratic internet access, at least in the morning. Our first several days were a bust access-wise; although, it seemed to improve later in our visit. According to some other guests, access was better in the late afternoon to early evening, which is when we were cleaning up and then off to the jetty.

An unavoidable concern related to our Wakatobi vacation is that when we take snorkeling trips elsewhere, there will be a bit of a letdown due to the inevitable comparisons we will make with the Wakatobi experience. Five stars, yes.

  • Stayed May 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Palm Beach, Florida
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2013

I joined several others who have been to and raved about the Resort and how wonderful it was. I did not go there expecting to see large creatures. I did expect outstanding service considering the additional costs of this trip.

I arrived in Bali 10 days prior to everyone else and starting my "Dive Vacation" in Tulamben for a week. Wakatobi staff met me at the airport and provided me with VIP service through the airport in a matter of minutes and then escorted me to my waiting driver to take me to my first portion of my trip.

Wakatobi staff also arranged for several others in our party to complete some Denpasar land based tours with a local guide prior to our actual departure to Wakatobi. At this point I was extremely impressed with Wakatobi so I couldn't wait to actually arrive at the resort.

Arriving finally at the resort on their private airplane. Everyone was greeted by name from the beginning by all of the staff throughout the resort. My bungalow was comfortable though it did have a septic smell and water bugs in the bathroom.

Food portions, variety and presentation were impressive considering the difficulty of obtaining supplies. All meals were buffet style but they did not feel that way. The managers of the resort interacted and ate with guests throughout the stay.

Now to the diving which I came for. The boats were large and comfortable. Dive briefings conducted before each dive. Dive guide to guest ration was 1-4 which was great. I was asked what creatures I wanted to see. There were nice walls and pinnacles filled with fish. The currents were random and unpredictable throughout the bulk of the dives. Guides indicated that was unusual. Not impressed with the marine life that I saw, though I never tired of crocodile fish or cuttle fish.

All gear was setup for us on the dive boat and then also broke down and returned to our dive locker. Fresh water camera rinse was provided for cameras and regulators. Salt water rinse was provided for dive gear throughout the stay. Within a few days I developed rashes from this which was problematic for me. So took my suits back to my room and washed them in the bathroom.

I'm not a demanding traveler but expect to get what I paid for. I don't feel that my 1st and only experience with Wakatobi came any where close to the cost of the stay. Anything more than 5 days stay here is to long and 5 days costs you plenty. I have had much better dive and stay experiences at other resorts for a fraction of the cost. I will not recommend or stay here again.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
Bellville, Texas
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2013

Our stay here was the third of 5 stops in Indonesia in which our planning began with this week-long booking. In traveling that far around the world we decided to spend 6 nights in Bali before our 7 nights at Wakatobi and then another 6 nights back in Bali afterward. For reference, you may also see my reviews for Kupu Kupu Barong Villas and Tree Spa, The Sandi Phala in Tuban, Damai Lovina and Ibah Warwick as continuations of our customized itinerary that was arranged through Wakatobi's VIP Concierge service, which I highly recommend (and if you ask for Dharma you won't be disappointed).

More on the VIP Concierge Service: you will be greeted at the airport upon arrival and departure to ensure an efficient connection with your local driver (Bali). A complimentary Bali cell phone is provided pre-loaded with the equivalent of $10 USD and pre-coded with appropriate telephone numbers (for use on Bali). Also, I was handed a wad of Indonesian currency equivalent to $51 USD for immediate use as part of the VIP package and, if you request this in advance, you will be given a very good exchange rate for additional currency on the spot.

Words may not be enough to describe the resort and overall care provided before, during and after our Wakatobi stay... concierge services facilitated all our Bali arrangements and then we enjoyed exceptional diving, snorkeling and non-diving activities in a beautifully remote tropical setting while there. Because of the remoteness, utilizing the resort charter flight from the Denpasar Airport on Bali is the best (perhaps only) means for getting there. The flight took about 2 1/2 hours and, upon arrival at the air strip, passengers were whisked via a fleet of small vans to a pier where one of the dive boats conveyed us for the 15-20 minute ferry to the resort.

Upon arrival at the resort we were met by a designated greeter, served a refreshing tropical beverage and shown to our bungalow. Ours was a 'Select bungalow' situated directly on the beach with easy access to the long house (lobby), dive & photo center and resort pier from which the spacious dive boats departed. The diving is well-organized and, with 6 divers among our group of friends, we were comfortably split into 2 groups so that we never had more than 4 divers to a guide. I also appreciated that we could choose to boat dive or shore dive according to our preferences.

A sense privacy pervades the guest quarters, which are connected via shaded, sandy paths that meandered the manicured grounds. Considering the absolute remoteness of the resort I was further impressed by the variety and quality of the food offerings during breakfast, lunch and dinner, which were all served buffet-style and was freshly replenished. Service was readily for beverages and any other guest request simply for the asking, including help with carrying our selections to the table.

Wifi is available, but only near the long house. There is no cell phone service but, if needed, one can use a resort phone which will be billed by the minute to your room. Would I stay here again? Yes.

Room Tip: The Select Bungalow is excellent, an individual unit with spacious quarters, in-room safe, refrigera...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

This was our fourth trip to Wakatobi, we love it. After years of travelling to the bet dive sites in the world and often experiencing poor conditions, we found Wakatobi. They have a perfect balance of luxury with outstanding diving. Everything has been considered - accommodation, food, service, items in the shop. It really spoils you for all the other dive trips, as they are nothing close to this experience. The diving is stunning, with an extraordinary program in place to preserve the reefs and environment. It is a "must" for any diver. We plan to visit every year!

Room Tip: Beach Villas are wonderful.
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  • Stayed April 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Honolulu, Hawaii
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
277 helpful votes 277 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

I must begin by telling you that choosing Wakatobi was not my decision. It was my husband’s and his best friend’s idea of a male bonding/diving vacation.

The website’s accommodation photos certainly did not appeal to my aesthetics. Neither was the idea that I would be ‘marooned’ on a faraway island for six nites! To top it off, as much as I love the sea, I’m no diver.

Once we arrived into Bali, my mindset began to change. I’ll have to give it to the Wakatobi folks; they’ve perfected their logistics. From VIP meet and greet at Bali airport to the seamless check-in through to the domestic charter flight to arriving at the island, everything was smooth sailing. Service was top-notch and goodness, even the chartered flight food was rather good!

Upon arrival at the island though, I was met with two hiccups. My request for a villa close to our friends’ was not met. Then my luggage was lost for four hours. I was not a happy camper. A fabulous lunch helped alleviate my spirits and soon the beauty of the island revealed itself – the blue of the sea, the marine life right at the water’s edge and the happy, smiling staff all around me.

I was upgraded to Select Villa 4 next to the LongHouse. Our friends were in Villa 2. I’m a clean nut and was thrilled when my sweep of the villa with Dettol wipes revealed it was spotless. The a/c worked well and the bed was firm. No mozzies in the room. Best of all, the House Reef was right in front and I could see the activity on the Pier from my lanai.

Of the many ‘dive’ vacations I’ve been with my husband, this certainly was the least ‘luxurious’. But what Wakatobi has no equal with is their dive/snorkel coordination. BoWo’s initial briefing with us at the Dive Center was detailed, insightful and got us all so excited to jump into the sea! At no time in the island or on Wakatobi III (our boat) did we not receive personalized, attentive service. All your gear is taken care of. When I didn’t feel like snorkeling anymore, no problem, I would be ‘guided’ back to the boat, was offered a hot beverage and lots of tasty snacks! Ed, my husband really enjoyed his Dive Guide, AhChoo who pointed out and even took close-up photos of numerous critters for him. Needless to say, in the next few days, they became fast friends.

Another aspect that Wakatobi excels in is their quality of Staff. As mentioned by many reviewers, the folks that work there seem genuinely grateful and happy to be on the island. And they come with credentials too. Chef Andy who fed us so wonderfully in our six nights on the island is Aman trained. Ibram from F&B hails from Four Seasons. Amazingly too, on the island, everyone knows your name. And your preferences.

Wakatobi’s House Reef is sublime. The shallows are so calm everyday I did my laps in front of my villa. Head out near the end of the Pier and you’ll come to the dramatic drop-off. Here you’ll find amazing corals and critters from another world. I went on a few snorkel trips out with the boat and my favorite site remains closest to home – the House Reef.

Another aspect that I love about Wakatobi is how safety conscious they are. Regardless whether you’re a diver or snorkeler, everyone needs to sign out at the Dive Center when you hit the water. Choose to use the free services of a Water Taxi and your boatman will determine the current, drop you off at the appropriate place on the House Reef then you simply drift back to shore! Best of all, there’s someone on the Pier looking out for you at all times.

On days that the hubbie went out diving, I went for marine life slide show presentations, cooking, towel folding (what fun!) and language classes. Early on, a sweet grey cat ‘adopted’ me and she soon became a feature on my lanai. Tip – do attend the Welcome Cocktails. You’ll get to meet your fellow guests and resort staff early on in your stay. There’s also an interesting tour of the island, a comfortable library with a/c, tea time snacks at the LongHouse and Hwee Keng, the co-owner’s wife!.

Hwee, you are a treasure and Ed, Luke, Michelle, baby Sophia and I had such a fun time with you! We loved going out into the sea with you and admiring all your dresses at dinner! Thank you also for bringing Ai to the island! (Ai Futaki is a Guinness World Record holder for ‘Longest Swim in a Cave with One Breath’). She’s also the gentlest, sweetest and inspiring teacher! She not only taught the Dive Staff breathing techniques and Free Diving, she also taught us guests! I loved her theory class and Ed is still raving about his Free Diving lesson out at sea! If you ever get the chance to do a class with Ai, just do it! Now I want to take her to Honolulu with me!

Thank you all at Wakatobi for such an enlightening week! A huge Mahalo to Made who made me my own villa signage and seahorse keychain! Apologies I was so silly and superstitious about being in Villa 4!

Wakatobi was top of my hubbie’s ‘Bucket List’. Now I can see why.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Wakatobi Dive Resort

Address: Wakatobi Resort, Pulau Onemobaa, Tomia - Wakatobi, Wakatobi Island S06 E124, Indonesia
Phone Number:
Location: Indonesia > Sulawesi > Central Sulawesi > Wakatobi Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Wakatobi Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Wakatobi Dive Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 26
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Wakatobi is inspired by the realization that great people are prepared to travel far to experience the most beautiful reefs left on the planet. It goes further than any other dive resort to be deserving of the most precious time of the year of its guests. Wakatobi is about maximizing value not minimizing cost for its clientele. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Wakatobi Dive Hotel Sulawesi

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