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“The Ultimate Dive Resort” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Wakatobi Dive Resort

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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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Certificate of Excellence 2014
Salt Spring Island, Canada
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“The Ultimate Dive Resort”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2013

This is the ultimate dive vacation: superb diving, exquisite location, amazing culinary experience, private comfortable accommodation. The service both at the resort and on the dive boats is extremely efficient. The resort was full during our stay but one never felt rushed and the staff was always available to help. We did 5 days on the Pelagian and 5 days at the resort. The Pelagian is the best liveaboard (by far) we have experienced in our 20 years of diving. Our cabin was equal if not better than a 5 star hotel room. Everything was perfect on this dive vacation and we will go back to Wakatobi for sure!

Room Tip: Splurge for the Deluxe room on the Pelagian. It's worth it! On land, the Garden Bungalow are per...
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  • Stayed October 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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235 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (89)
Date | Rating
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  • French first
  • German first
  • Indonesian first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
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English first
Adelaide, Australia
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2013

There is no doubt this is a fantastic resort. The food is an amazing achievement given their remote location, the service very friendly and helpful and the accommodation and diving operations first class. There are two issues, however, that I can't help feeling are intentionally being overshadowed by the way this resort is operated.

First, I had the distinct impression the sites we dived are being hammered by overfishing. We even observed unauthorised fishing by locals on route to one dive site. This appears to have resulted in a lack of pelagic fish at most of the dive sites. In fact we only caught a glimpse of one shark - a black-tip reef shark - during 6 days of diving!

Second, members of our dive group completed a questionnaire detailing our dive certification and experience, dive equipment required and diving preferences prior to leaving Australia. Given that our group of 4 divers collectively had around 3,000 dives under our belt, it is difficult to understand why on arrival we were expected to fill out dive forms and do a 'check-out' dive including mask clearing and 'out of air' buddy breathing procedures prior to any boat diving!

In my view, this made what should be a five-star dive resort, a four-star dive resort.

But do you know what? The fact that it wasn't all perfect made it more enjoyable as we adapted our diving experience to what was on offer. The best dive experiences ironically, were on the 'house reef' right next to the resort later one lazy afternoon and a night dive with giant green turtles, scorpion fish, nudibranches, moray eels, a giant moray... the list goes on and on... simply amazing!!

Food: 9/10, Accommodation (Palm Bungalow): 8/10, Service 8.5/10, Diving 7.5/10. OVERALL 8/10.

P.S. The swimming pool in Villa 1 is superb. !-D

Room Tip: A bungalow close to the dive centre, boutique and reception/long room (tea and coffee area) is best.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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.
Marina del Rey, California
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2013

Wakatobi is all about service. The place is well run and kept up to date. Very friendly staff and great food. The house reef is quite amazing especially if you like macro life. I recommend the liveaboard as well as you can get out to more pelagic life. I dream about going back every day.

  • Stayed April 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.
Honolulu, Hawaii
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

Extremely well organised diving operation offering nitrox (rebreathers possible but bring your own). Guides are A+ and double up as photographers if you like. On the last day, they wash your wetsuits for you even. Food is international and excellent for a resort that is 2 hours away from Bali (closest civilisation/city) and I was not left wanting. Rooms are good but not 5 star (after all this is a dive resort).
With such clear water, any picture you take underwater (my first time doing it) comes out ok and the chance of a stunning picture is very high. Great opportunities to capture a lot (muck diving) so don't expect large creatures/fish etc. The house reef is as stunning as any outlying reefs they take you out to. Even met a visiting Guinness record free diver and was given a lesson in breadth holding and made it down to 10 metres. I will cherish this one!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Erie, Pennsylvania
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

I arrived at Wakatobi January 2012 with high expectations.Id heard that the resort was ecologically clean and that the meals and service were five star.Many people have spoken about the pristine reefs and remarkable diversity of aquatic life.I spoke online with a friend raving about the food and resort service.So many good indicators that Wakatobi would be more than I expected. It turned out to be far more than I expected.The owner of this resort searched for the perfect isolated spot without mans footprint stepping all over.He chose the Bandar sea because of its immense diversity .It is truly the most bidiverse aquatic spot on the planet.They enlisted the help of a small local fishing village to build .They brought the island its first electrical grid that supplies the village.They brouth the islands only fresh water purification plant,which again they share with the locals.They brought medical clinics ,jobs and a sense of pride in the locals to share their nature and see it protected.The symbiotic connection of earth sea and people is an example to the world how our planet should be cared for.Yes Wakatobi surpassed anything I expected.The reefs are the most abundant,diverse and natural that I have ever dove.Fish populations are wonderfull .The dive staff is second to none .The food prepared by chef Andy as well as his weekly cooking class is a treat not to be missed .There are excellent Bali massage therapists just steps from the sea.What is not to like.I had conversation with several guests while there about relaxation and all said that their sleep was amazing in the fact that their dreams were in HD and vivid.I slept like a happy diver and woke to even more suprises..Ohh did I mention pygmy sea horses?

Room Tip: pick a beach bungalo I like number 16,great palm out front and ten steps from the sea
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
River Vale, New Jersey
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2013

Is it worth it.......

So Wakatobi has been on the top of my dive wish list for many years. It always seemed as a dream trip. So far away, so remote. Would it live up to all the hype of pristine reefs, impeccable service, would it truly be a trip worth the $$$, the time to get too, dealing with all the logistics of getting to the island. Would it be worth it. After just spending a week at this resort it lived up to all exceptions and in most cases exceeded them. With all the expense, and time spent in the air to get there I would hop back on a plane tomorrow and do it again!
Its all been said before but I will say it again:

Arrival: I travel a lot all over the world so I'm kind of use to the typical airport ciaos seen around the world. On arrival in Bali we were greeted at the plane and they executed every step flawlessly. From getting the visa, getting past immigration to retrieving the luggage and putting us in a car to our hotel for the night it was flawless, as was the return. Does it make a dive trip - no but it takes dealing with these issues off your mind, I am on vacation I don't want to deal with it. And it is a sign of an organization that has thought out all the logistics and acts professional all the way.
Diving - The reef is very healthy, almost no coral bleaching or over growth of algae on any of the dive sites. You wont be seeing large stuff but it is truly like diving in an aquarium every dive. Each dive typically starts in the 50 - 60 ft range and ends with a prolonged tour of the reef tops at about 10 - 15 feet. Dive times of 70 minutes were the norm for the week with no pressure at all to end the dive before that. Some dives even went longer. We found the dive guides to be outstanding. Most with instructor level certification. They took care of every aspect of your dive experience and are consistently asking if you were happy with the dives and what you would like to see. Our guide was totally in tune with my desire to do photography wand would give advice on shooting macro or wide angle, as well as tips on shooting techniques. Some folks commented on the currents, any time there were some current the dives are done as a drift dives. And out of all the dives we did only one had what I would consider strong current. The dive boats are very well designed and maintained with plenty of room to feel comfortable. And finally dont miss the House Reef - did two outstanding dives on it. Amazing!!
Resort Staff - Wow how do they remember everyone's name from day one? We were greeted by employes by name every time you are approached by them. A simple thing but makes you feel like they value your presence at the resort. The restaurant staff know where we liked to sit, what we liked to drink and eat. Again simple but it all adds to the high level of service and comfort. A lot has been written about the food at Wakatobi. Living in NY I have had the privilege of eating at some of the finest restaurants in the world down to grabbing a hot dog from a cart on the street in Manhattan. All have its place. Overall the food at Wakatobi was outstanding. Its presentation was at times was a thing of beauty. And the most amazing thing is how this is all pulled off from such a remote location. We particularly liked the local dishes that were presented. Some folks have complained at the cost of a can of coke? Well to be honest if you are watching every penny and are concerned about the cost of a drink maybe this is not the right place for you to visit. We drank wine every day in fact ordered a bottle of wine and rum for the room along with glasses of wine, coke and drinks with meals and at the bar all week. The tab at the end of the week was very reasonable in my eyes.

I could go on and on about this place but the bottom line is there are lots of places to dive in the world, most are a lot closer for me to reach, but after spending a week at Wakatobi I feel it was totally wort the expense given the level of experience. It totally blows away any other dive trip I have been on. Time to start t plan a return trip in 2014.

Oh yeah we had a chance to tour the Pelagian on the last day. Want an outstanding ship that is. Its cabins are outstanding. Completely different level as compared the the 4 Caribbean basses liveabords I have done. Maybe next year we will do a week at the resort and a week on the Pelagian!!!

  • Stayed August 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2013

We were a group of 10 who spent 5 nights at the Wakatobi back in February prior to embarking on our cruise in Bali. Two of our group are divers and the rest are beginner snorkelers, some are even non-swimmers. We had two great guides, Vanessa and Toto, who patiently fitted us with life jackets, fins and some with wetsuits. They also made excruciating effort to tend to our snorkel masks. Since there were 8 of us, we had our own boat. In February, the water was a bit choppy, so on our first snorkeling trip, we were quite nervous. But Vanessa and Toto each took an extra buoy with them so that we can hang on and soon after, we were enjoying what we came to Wakatobi for: Seeing the lovely corals and colourful fish. By the next day, most of us were snorkeling without hanging onto the buoy. Thanks to Vanessa and Toto, our group now feels comfortable about snorkeling on our own.

Diving/Snorkeling: There were numerous sites with different varieties. The best thing was other than your own group, there were no others at the sites. The corals, both soft and hard, were in good condition. The fish species were usually small. We saw puffer fish, clown fish, sea snakes, crocodile fish, sea turtles, trumpet fish.... My diver husband was able to see the pygmy seahorse, unfortunately, his camera was not good enough to capture it. Water clarity was very good and temperature was warm enough that I did not need a wetsuit to snorkel, but you would need one for diving.

Lodging: Good and comfortable but not luxurious. The internet service was poor.

Food/Dining: The food was excellent and so was the presentation. It also provides a good variety. It was an enjoyable dining experience.

Resort Grounds: Well maintained.

Transportation: Well organized and efficient.

Service: Exceptional in all areas. Can't say enough. As a group of 10, we asked if we can have a place to gather to play cards at night, etc. and they quickly set up two tables on the main house verandah. We said it was too warm and they quickly brought us with two electric fans to cool down. They always think of ways to accommodate.

We had an amazing time.

Room Tip: I think all the room locations look good except for the one next to the spa hut.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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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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