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“Nice, but has some strange quirks” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Magic Island Dive Resort

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Magic Island Dive Resort
4.0 of 5 Specialty Resort   |   Tongo, Basdiot, Moalboal 6032, Philippines   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Brighton, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Nice, but has some strange quirks”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2014

The resort itself is small, and built into the hill behind the coastline which gives it a somewhat cramped feeling, with a lot of concrete walk ways and nowhere really to go - this is inevitable given there is no beach to wander along at this location. The bungalow and bathroom sizes reflect this lack of space and the feeling is quite closed in. This isn't a resort for everyone. The food was fine - we went full board which oddly didn't include any mealtime drinks (full board may have been a mistake, not because of the quality of the food but because of the price guests paid for the buffet meals). Watch out for the pricey fruit juices! Water is freely available in refillable bottles which is sensible. The eating area is small with guests being encouraged to sit together to eat, and the staff are keen to be on first name terms which can feel intrusive.
The diving was Moal Boal as you would expect with the dive sites within easy reach from the resort. The dive centre itself is spotless, with plenty of space and they sometimes allow solo diving off the house reef. The efficient guides offer up pygmy seahorses, frog fish, orangutan crabs and other exotic creatures of the sea. Great! And the boat crew are friendly with tea and fruit offered during the surface intervals.
In my experience of the Philippines, and I stress this is a personal opinion which is basically what Trip Advisor reviews are, there are so called 'boutique' resorts in the Philippines that offer better value overall, and more soul in a more relaxed environment.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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89 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    75
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 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
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Algaida, Spain
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2013

This resort is beyond belief. Having dived and traveled to a lot of places, I think this ranks as one of the best.
I honestly could not find fault, you are on first name terms from the minute you get there.
The dive centre is efficiently run and the guides are knowledgable and fun to be with. The diving is excellent too.
The food in the Resturant was really first class, and the rooms are all comfortable and kept very clean.
What really made it for us was the staff, they went out of their way to make us very welcome..6 star plus !!!!

Room Tip: Room 1 was the best
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 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.
Heist-op-den-Berg, Belgium
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013

First time I went to Asia. I've booked 2,5 weeks in Magic Island. Very friendly and helpful staff. After one day everybody knows my name. You feel directly at home with this personal approach. The food was delicious and there was a wide range to choose from. If you have an allergy to some food, you simply inform them and they will prepare a special dish for you!
The diving was amazing. I started on the beautiful house reef and the guides always find special things and point them for you. The next days we've made boat trips nearby. Between two dives they serve fresh fruit (God I miss the mangoes). You dive in small groups wich is very nice. You can even "request" special species and they find them for you ... What a service !
It was hard for me to leave this little paradise. But I'm counting down to go there again next year !

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
Dallas, Tx
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

i stayed at Magic Island in mid April for one week. The rooms are beautiful and spacious. The grounds are gorgeous, the food is delightful. I can't say enough good about the staff in the hotel, spa and restaurant.
The reason for the trip was diving, and I did 3 dives a day. Lovely walls here, many small critters to photograph. The dive masters are helpful and knowledgable. Unfortunately, I was there at full moon and so was unable to o the mandarinfish dive.
Great time here and would definitely return.

Room Tip: All rooms are good here.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
2 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2013

I spent last week at Magic Island Dive resort and it truly is a paradise, I have dived all over the world staying on live aboards and in hotels and Magic Island is up there with the best worldwide. They are slick, professional and yet quitely understated. The food was of the best quailty and superbly cooked and presented. The first night the chef noted my dislikes and without any prompt from me cooked a totally different meal for me alone based on my likes, now that is what I call customer care. The staff call you by your first name from the moment you arrive and there is never anything that is a problem, they are genuinely pleased to make sure you have the best time. The diving was exceptional especially for macro photography, the guides will find anything you tell them and they simply don't give up after finding one, they will go on to find different colours if that is what you need. Accomodation is very comfortable with no Mossi's, the resort is small and therefore has an atmosphere of that of a large extended family rather than a group of strangers talking together just because they are there. I took the opportunity on the last day when I couldn't dive because of flying restrictions to go with a guide into the Jungle and come down the mountain following the river and water falls. Don't hesitate to go on this trip, Raymond my guide has a wicked sense humour, speaks perfect English and he will have you doing things that only Bear Grylls would do. All in all I am now looking to get back there with my photographer buddies as soon as I can, alas it could be next year now. I can honestly give Magic Island my highest accolade, you will not be disappointed.

Room Tip: All the rooms, of which there are only ten or so at the moment are first class.
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  • Stayed June 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2013

We've had a lovely stay with the magicians from May 23 through May 27. Even before our arrival, the arrangements for pick-up, dives and accommodation was very smooth and extremely quick! Several other dive resorts took 2-3 days just to get back to us with an approximate quote on how much everything would cost, but Magic replied within a day. No strange forms required for just asking for a quote too!

Pick-up was smooth and on-time at the airport - friendly driver and reasonable price. The magic started when we arrived at the resort entrance, where a couple of "magicians" were expecting us! We were greeted by name, and were led to our quaint little cottage which was already cooled by airconditioning - the resort staff actually texted our driver many times to ask abt our ETA so that they can make all these arrangements! The briefings were informative and concise, and we got to dive the very same afternoon!

The surface of the sea is amazingly flat. Very little current, and of course great for diving! I'm grateful the boat crew secretly watched over us when we setup our dive gear every morning. Despite having gone on a few dive trips, things always get confusing for me the first time I assemble the equipment after a few months in between. They were also always there when I needed some extra muscle to turn on the air tanks. Some resorts go all the way to setup the equipment, but I prefer that they allow us to do it ourselves, while making sure we do it correctly.

The dive boats were fabulous. I like the way they coated all the surfaces with non-slip material. The dive guides were really good at spotting pygmy seahorses, which are, in my opinion, notoriously hard to find! They were so tiny! They gave every diver plenty of time to snap pictures before moving on. Dive groups were between 2-5 people per dive. What could be improved would be a spare tank on the boat. One of the divers dropped into the water with her reg facing upwards and lost 30 bar of air before realizing it. It wasn't at all the fault of the dive guide of boat crew, but it might have been awesome if there were a backup full tank available.

The kitchen staff was commendable! They were super friendly, kind and really made us feel at home! They had all our likes and dislikes written on a board e.g. Sarah likes fish, no meat.

I'll really like to go back to the peace and tranquility this dive resort offered again. :)

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2013

We came here form Oslob with a transfer organised by Magic Island and had some problems with our driver so not a very good start. He turned up an hour early than agreed but becuase we had booked the resort in oslob in my husbands name and Magic Island in mine they couldnt work out who he was there for so he had to wait. When we turned up, bang on agreed time he was already in a bad mood about this. As agreed with the resort we stopped in Kawasan falls and we agreed to meet him back in the car park an hour later (we just wanted to go and look at the falls not swim etc) - we got back in 55 mins and waited.....after 1 hour and a half we were starting to panic and didnt have the resort phone number, only email address. After 1 hour 45 we ended up ringing London to ask someone (at 6am) to look up the resort phone number so we could ring as we were starting to get concerned (especially given he had all our luggage) which is when he turned up like he was completely on time. Unfortunately 45mins waiting in the blazing sun in a car park did not start the trip off well.

However this is where the negative review ends. From the moment we got to the resort it was fantastic. Food was actually outstanding and the communal dining made for lots of interesting conversations. 3 course meals in the evenings sometimes meant we were over full but it was so tasty could not resist. Staff were all great but and we also had a few chats with the owners who were both lovely and friendly and also lent me their camera charger when mine died for which i will be infinitely grateful! Also v good service when i was stung badly by jellyfish on my first day and one of the ladys from the office took me in to town to make sure i found the pharmacy ok.

Room was lovely with shutters meaning you could have a great breeze and hardly needed the air con. pool was clean and nice sized and the grounds and dive centre equipment was all very well looked after. All in all fantastic resort.

I did 4/5 dives (cant remember) and i must say this is really somewhere for people that like critters. Saw some nice little stuff but nothing large and not even many schools of fish (except for at Pescador).

I would give the driver 1/5 the resort 6/5 and the diving 3/5.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Magic Island Dive Resort

Address: Tongo, Basdiot, Moalboal 6032, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Visayas > Cebu Island > Moalboal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 21 Specialty Lodging in Moalboal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Magic Island Dive Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Away from the masses, you'll have a wonderful stay in one of our ten cottages. Enjoy a great dinner in our restaurant or have a drink on our terrace with its magnificent view of Pescador Island. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Magic Island Dive Hotel Moalboal
Magic Island Dive Resort Moalboal, Cebu Island

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