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“It's all about the people...” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kungkungan Bay Resort

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Kungkungan Bay Resort
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   Lembeh Strait, Bitung, Indonesia   |  
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Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Bitung
England
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
130 helpful votes 130 helpful votes
“It's all about the people...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2012

Have just returned from a week's diving in Lembeh where we stayed at KBR. I can report that the resort's glowing reputation is fully justified. Neither of us can remember being in a better dive resort. This place is all about the people and we were bowled over by the welcome and hospitality we received.

If there are any divers who require a detailed overview of the diving then feel free to pm me. In short, the diving is excellent, almost universally within five minutes of the dock and takes place in flat calm seas. Surface intervals are taken on shore (along with tea, biscuits, fruit etc) and these give you a chance to consult the ID books to actually put a name to some of the more bizarre things you will see. The dive guides have excellent eyes and will point to stuff under your nose that you'll have missed. They work hard to find the exotica and with the boat crews are a very professional outfit.

Food at the resort comes from a menu with an extraordinarily broad remit and caters to European, local, American and Japanese tastes. It's good, solid fare, nothing too flashy and there's always enough of it. Staff in the restaurant are charm on a stick as are the managers Kaj and Bar.

Everything works here. Doubtless there are resorts with a slightly slicker feel but our room (T8) was large, airy and had a great view. To be honest, we spent so much time diving that we didn't even venture near the pool or spa but they both look fine.

The thing that sets KBR apart I think is the efforts that are made to help. I was struggling with my camera and its new macro lens. Barbara spent a good while with me offering tips on how best to set it up and then followed me for an hour underwater reviewing shots "live" and showing me how to better go about shooting the various critters we came across. The effects were instant. All this attention, no charge.

There is a culture of genuinely friendly and helpful service at KBR and the people we met were an absolute delight. Top, top place.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
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176 reviews from our community

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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 (43)
Date | Rating
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English first
Hong Kong
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2012

Just got back from a week at Kungkungan Bay. This was our first time in Lembeh and Sulawesi.
Firstly the diving was excellent and although not all dive guides are dive masters they are extremely experienced. All dives were within a 15 minute boat ride which made it seem more like a live-aboard than any other place we had been.
Our room was very large, spotlessly clean and had a TV and mini bar. The water was always hot and our drinking water was replenished endlessly. Food in the restaurant was great and the portions were huge. We really could not manage the 3 courses for lunch and dinner, especially after the breakfast enchilada!
Service was second to non and sometimes might have been a little too attentive. You only had to put your fork down and your plate was whisked away. All staff were very friendly and nothing was too much trouble.
I am not a diver so in the day had the resort pretty much to myself. If you don't dive be prepared with plenty of books as other than the spa and swimming pool there is nothing much to do but dive. That was fine by me as I'm happy entertaining myself... having my own private resort was pretty blissful.
If I had to suggest anything I'd ask that the dive guides are a little more hands off ( my husband thought they handled the critters a bit too much) and that water refills were offered rather than giving me fresh plastic bottles every day.
Other than that I'd highly recommend it to anyone wanting a stunning holiday in a beautiful environment.

Room Tip: T8 is huge and way from it all. The hilltop looked fabulous.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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.
Tønsberg, Vestfold, Norway
Top Contributor
91 reviews 91 reviews
45 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
87 helpful votes 87 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2012

We are expirienced travelers to South East Asia, have been to Sulawesi once before, but first time in Lembeh. We travel with children aged 4 and 6. We are both divers.
We had great expectations to Lembeh. We had heard it was the world's best macro diving. It was very good, of course. You can expect to see interesting creatures on every dive. Still though, we think Ambon bay is a better choice for macro diving, and Manado bay as good as Lembeh. When that is said, all three are of course excellent diving locations.
We choose Kungkungan Bay Resort from reviews here on Tripadvisor. This is a dive resort with good standard compared to most other dive resorts in Indonesia. But it is also expensive. But you get what you pay; service here is outstanding, food is delicious (all inclusive a la carte in a way) nd plentiful. The rooms are spacious and well cleaned. I may say the facilities are a little bit worn for being in this price class.
The dive service is headed by a Japanese instructor doing a great job. The dive guides know better english than most other places we have been to in Indonesia. The whole staff is by the way very good in English - maybe a prerequisite to work here, with American owner. The dive staff take care of absolutely everything. You just make sure you are in time to breifings, then just go with the flow. I would wish they could do better breifings after diving too, because you see alot of things only seen here, that they could tell you what is. But you havve to ask. When asking, they are very knowledgeable though.
There are two beaches, on at each side of the restaurant, for kids to play at. There is a big clean, swimmingpool. They supply with towels absolutely everywhere. They have a jetty where you can start outstanding snorkeling and diving on the house reef. Or just stand fish spotting from the jetty. Our children made a very long list of what they had seen from there. The water is often crystal clear, even though the rubble is coming in again with every tide.
It would be a pleasure to come back here.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012

Prior to a meeting in Manado City, we stayed a night at Kungkungan Bay Resort (KBR) at the recommendation of a good friend who is an avid diver/underwater photographer.

Since all the other guests were divers, we practically had the whole resort to ourselves in between dives.

We were intrigued by the attention of the service staff some of whom could also multi-task efficiently. Imagine our surprise when Ichar (the masterful massage therapist) for my wife showed up the next day as Receptionist!

The chalet was a back-to-the-future experience with the all-wood furnishings. They were rustic but utilitarian. Above all, it was kept spotlessly clean.

Although the volcanic sand on the beach was black, it is fine and soft. Not far from shore, I spotted a lone coral with 3 multi-coloured fish swimming around. I did not even need goggles to enjoy the sight.

The swimming pool (almost infinity-like) was inviting and exclusively mine.

What was not on the cards was a tremor which shook up the whole chalet for 20 seconds. It was later revealed by friends in Bitung (the seaport near KBR) that an earthquake had occurred in Ternate (near Maluku Island). My after shock was - could it have caused a tsunami? More importantly, is there a system of alert if a tsunami warning was indeed raised?

Notwithstanding this personal after shock, we had a good stay and enjoyed the personal charm of the staff at KBR.

Sangat Terima Kaseh.

Room Tip: We stayed at Chalet T7 which is next to the last and is furthest away from the Restaurant and other...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Falmouth
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2012

From the very warm welcome by Linda to the serenade by the staff as we left for the airport; we had a truly wonderful relaxing time nestled into the edge of the rain forest and on the shore of the Lembeh Straits. We experienced some of the best diving, most friendly and helpful dive guides, along with the most weird and wonderful critters we have ever seen. Before we arrived we wondered if we would find Lembeh diving repetitive, but nothing could be further from the truth. Every dive was difficult to remember the huge variety of shrimps, nudibranchs, crabs, cuttlefish, octopus and so much more. Luckily my wife Jane concentrates on seeking out the unusual and remembering what we found, whilst I concentrate on my photography. My favourite finds were the mating Mandarin fish (dusk dive) and the Disco cuttlefish.
Kaj, the dive centre manager, was a font of knowledge and so helpful. What he doesn't know about the local critters is probably not worth knowing. Nothing was too much trouble for him and his team, even my self-exploding rechargeable strobe batteries were no problem - I was up and running again within a couple of hours.
The dive schedule and conditions suited us perfectly, with every dive to whatever site being single tank, maximum 15 mins by boat, and the conditions invariably calm. Returning from the first morning dive you are greeted by a warm drink and biscuits, whilst the ever attentive staff take your order for lunch.
The food was excellent, with plenty of variety and good helpings.
We will definitely be returning next year. This year we spent our first eight days in Manado, which was mostly wall diving on Bunaken. Lembeh suited our interests in photography and the small and unusual.
Kaj showed us his videos at the end of our 5 day stay, which wetted our appetite further again. Five days is definitely not long enough!

Thanks to all the staff for a memorable stay. Terima Kasih.

Jane & Andrew

Room Tip: T7 & T8 are the best, largest and quietest. However they all looked excellent.
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  • Stayed June 2012, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lincoln, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2012

You couldn't really ask for more, the resort is beautiful, the views great, staff couldn't have been more friendly and helpful, nothing too much trouble.

Diving - Has to be seen to be believed, more below

This was our second week of our holiday with our friend's having transferred from our first weeks resort on the other side of the island. We had originally booked in to the cottages but we received a free upgrade to the deluxe rooms in recognition of our friend's 25th wedding anniversary. On the day of the anniversary they arranged for the evening meal to be done poolside but with possible rain we opted for Captain Billy's bar. They decorated the room and baked a cake. It was fantastic, so much trouble was taken.

Rooms - Very comfortable and daily maid service

Eating - Option to eat on the balcony or inside in the restaurant. We generally ate in at night but outside for lunch and breakfast. Excellent menu to choose from with a specials meal ever night based on a particular local type of food, starter, main and dessert. You could pick and choose between the standard menu or specials. The quality of the food was superb.

Snorkeller - Brilliant house reef with only the dive boats allowed in and NO fishing so effectively a marine reserve. Loads to see and our wives [both ex divers] spent at least an hour a day snorkelling.

Diving - Fantastic, brilliantly organised with 3 day dives, option for a Mandarin dive and a night dive. Nitrox 32% available. As the farthest site [nearly 60 and increasing] is only 15 mins away you go out and return after each dive. Tea coffee and hot chocolate with biscuits provided after dive 1, lunch after dive 2. Dive guide per 2 divers, we even had a second guide on some dives searching out the weird and wonderful! And boy did we see some weird and the smallest stuff ever including the recently discovered green shrimp, small? About 3-4mm!! Pygmy cuttlefish, seahorses ............................

We did the Mandarin dive as an extra, well worth doing but you have to be patient and quiet as they come out to feed and mate at dusk.

And in typical documentary style were after 6 months they finally find the elusive critter on the last dive the guides finally found a Blue ring octopus on our last dive. Then like a bus found another 2 mins later a few metres away.

Sad to leave but my buddy and I are 2 HAPPY BUNNIES with what we saw.

  • Stayed July 2012, 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KBR_Management, Manager at Kungkungan Bay Resort, responded to this review, July 17, 2012
Thank you for your kind review.

We all enjoyed meeting you and we hope we will see you again. Thanks for all the great compliments on everything....

..and the Blue Ring!! So glad we found it for you, even if you did have to wait for your last dive!!

All the best and welcome to the KBR family :)

Kaj
Dive Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lincoln, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2012

We have just returned from a weeks holiday at KBR. It was excellent. Every member of staff was so helpful - they just couldn't do enough for you. We stayed in T7 and it was superb. Great location, clean and very spacious and comfortable. Flowers in the room every day - and a special heart shaped flower arrangement for our Silver Wedding Anniversary. They also baked a cake to help us celebrate. The diving is amazing - and the dive guides go out of their way to find the little critters for you. They carry your kit for you, care for your cameras etc - you don't have to lift a finger - just enjoy the dives. The spa treatments are very relaxing and enjoyable. We also took the trip to Tangkoko National Park to see the Macaques and Tarsiers - very worthwhile - but be prepared for a jungle walk and wear long sleeves, full length trousers and appropriate footwear. We would definitely recommend this resort for fantastic diving and accommodation right on the edge of Lembah Straits - we just cannot fault it. The staff remember your name from day one and are very accommodating and professional. Thanks for a truly memorable experience at KBR.

  • Stayed July 2012, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kungkungan Bay Resort

Address: Lembeh Strait, Bitung, Indonesia
Phone Number:
Location: Indonesia > Sulawesi > North Sulawesi > Bitung
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Bitung
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Kungkungan Bay Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kungkungan Bay Resort (KBR to its friends and soon to be friends) is proud to be the resort that introduced Lembeh Strait to the world. Being the first resort in Lembeh means we got first choice on locations. Our resort is located in its own private bay which the resort is named after. KBR is the only Sea Level Luxury resort in Lembeh. KBR is a full service resort which includes The only 24hrs full menu service Restaurant in Lembeh, Capt. Billy's Bar serving American Bar Food and Great Drinks, our full service Tepi Laut Spa (Seaside Spa) does Massages, Beauty Treatments, Manicures and Pedicures, and of course our PADI Dive Center with Equipment and Camera Rentals and 32% NITROX. Come join us and we will put the Dream into you next Dive Vacation ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kungkungan Bay Hotel Bitung
Kungkungan Bay Resort Bitung, Indonesia - Sulawesi

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