Coral Bay is a dive resort, aimed specifically at attracting divers, situated in a nice location, on the cusp of a beautiful virgin coral reef. My stay there was as such:
1) The dive instructors, Steve and Ian, were extremely personable, helpful, and knowledgeable. I am not a diver myself, but both instructors seemed highly skilled, experienced, and were very informative about the coral reef and local diving spots that surrounded the resort; a pleasure to talk to, and to learn from.
2) The location is beautiful and has its own coral reef to snorkel or dive in. Beautiful sand.
3) Some of the staff, particularly some of the ladies, are quite happy and helpful.
Negatives - Where to begin...
1) The service was overall very, very poor. Several times my partner and I were forced to search for someone to help us, or to serve us when we went to the resort restaurant. As there were only 6 other people staying at the resort for the first few days we were there, and then only us or the last few, the lack of service and the absence of any help was extremely frustrating. Time and time again we had to call, leave or table and search, or comb the resort for any staff. Awful experience in a resort we had assumed to be top notch.
2) One staff member in particular, Wendy, was very unhelpful. For example, when we asked her for help, she would often reply with a monosyllable. and walk away. When my partner asked if we could rent snorkel equipment one day after searching for someone to help us at the seemingly deserted resort she replied, "Breaktime", and walked away without offering to help us. Another time my partner asked if the resort restaurant had a microwave to heat up his pancakes (which had arrived at the table cold), and she replied, "No", and walked away yet again without asking to help us or what she could do to help us. I furthermore felt umcomfortable asking her questions as she always had the saddest, most miserable face I have ever seen! She looked like she was in distress at every second, and any question I asked seemed to heighten that sadness and distress. She never smiled, and I hesitated to ask for her help as she was so unhelpful to begin with. The most unhelpful staff member I have ever come across - I suggest that she not be tasked with greeting or working with guests. I have also read other reviews that mention her specifically.
3) The library: Upon reading the Coral Bay brochure, I read that the resort had a large library with several books. Upon looking at the library, I discovered that almost all the books provided are in Danish or French, as well as all the games and puzzles! There were almost no English books to be read! I was extremely disappointed as the brochure (written in English) had specifically mentioned a library as I assumed, as the brochure was marketed towards English speakers, and given that we are in the Philippines, that there would be some English books, games, or puzzles provided to pass the time. Extremely misleading!
4) The treks: Most of the trails on the island are infested by mosquitos, are not clearly marked, and basically require bushwhacking with nothing less than a machete. My partner and I attempted to hike the trails (which, in the brochure and on the website, were promised to be doable in flip-flops), and were shocked! I am a hiker and mountain climber and I have treked in several countries around the world. These trails were not fit for a casual hiker. My partner and I got lost several times because of poor marking, we were eaten alive by swarms of mosquitos, my partner injured his feet from the rough terrain, and most of the trails were overgrown by bushes! Very disappointing yet again! The website is misleading and incorrect!
5) Ghost fees: My partner and I were provided free transportation as the resort is a far from the airport - a boat ride and a van ride. At the end of our stay, we were presented with the bill and found that we were being charged PHP 2500, or nearly US $60, to be transported back to the airport for our flight leaving Coron. At this point, with no other choice for transportation back to the mainland, we were forced to pay this hidden fee, as the staff insisted that only our trop coming to the resort was included. My partner and I were very angry at this hidden cost when we were told differently at the beginning of our stay.
6) Quality: My partner and I were served powdered juice in the morning as part of our "included breakfast", and my partner was terribly disappointed with the meat served as the sausages were canned and tasted awful. We expected more from a resort which promotes itself to be a high-quality place to stay.
7) No air-con, hot water, or electricity during the day. My partner and I expected no electricity during the day, but were disappointed to discover that all the showers use only cold water...and it is COLD! Be prepared!
Overall my partner and I would not recommend this resort. Perhaps it will be different for people who come her specifically to dive, but for us, it was a huge disappointment. We will never come back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Coral Bay Beach & Dive Resort is Nature green resort, situated in the middle of Busuanga. We offer diving ,and the amazing WWll wrecks of Coron. We have A big house reef is sited just a few swim strokes out, where you will meet a lot of exiting life, even just snorkeling. From the resort, we offer day trips to other Islands, where you can enjoy the silence and beauty of nature. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Coral Bay Beach & Dive Hotel Busuanga
- Coral Bay Beach And Dive Resort