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“Amazing location, ruined by appalling service.”

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Monkey Mia Dolphin Lodge Backpackers
Ranked #8 of 10 Specialty Lodging in Denham
Reviewed February 13, 2010

There is an extra tax to enter the resort, 8 dollars per person per day. Reception was unmanned, with six of us waiting till someone eventually came out to check us in. The staff seemed irritated to be dealing with us.

The rooms are nothing special. We paid for one of the "Beachside Dolphin Units", which were described as 'perfect for catching the monkey mia water sunsets'. This is absolutely not true - the sunset is NOT visible from these units.

The shower was terrible - almost no hot water pressure, so we had to have cold showers every morning. The air conditioning unit vents directly onto the balcony making it unpleasant (noisy and hot) to sit out on the balcony. The dolphin units are two storey, with the balconies directly above each other - but the floor is slatted, so if you end up on the bottom, you are looking straight up people's skirts!! (and food, cigarette ash etc drops on top of you - horrible!) The walls are paper thin, and you can hear the slightest noise in adjacent rooms.

The opening hours for the single bar and restaurant are not great, and the service was very poor. The Boughshed Restaurant was manned by a single overworked member of staff each time we were there. The food was good, but the service took the edge off.

On arrival, we were offered a room charge card to bill items to our room - this was a mistake, as the card is only accepted at the boughshed and monkey bar, and meant that we had to wait for the reception office to open before checking out (8am) - there were several people waiting around at reception to check out because of this.

We took two of the wildlife cruises on the catamaran - these were excellent, with friendly great staff - we saw dugongs, turtles, dolphins and sharks. Along with seeing the dolphin feeding in the morning, this was the highlight of the trip.

It's a real shame, because this is a truly beautiful and breathtaking location, with the potential to be really great - but the poor service and lack lustre facilities ruin it.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank TheoJones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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22 - 28 of 31 reviews

Reviewed March 23, 2009

Stayed on the second floor beach side dolphin units (81 paces to bar). The view was outstanding. The resort was better than we expected & we wish we had stayed longer. Dolphin feeding is normally in the morning but the dolphins are around most of the time as well as lots of other sealife. The facililities were fantastic & the food good. We would definatley go back given the chance.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank StubStAlbans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2009

My husband and I visited Monkey Mia in the winter of 2008 and loved the beautiful location. We booked a shared ensuite room to save money and it was a great decision. Nothing fancy in the room, but it was private and clean. The hotel is remote, so the staff is sometimes poor...I imagine they have a hard time getting people to stay working at the hotel for extended periods of time. The staff problems mostly show in the restaurant. The service was really slow and the food wasn't very good, although it is expensive. My husband and I stayed for five days and by the fourth day we were no longer surprised by how bad it was. We just started finding it funny. For example, on more than one occasion we saw a dish we ordered come out of the kitchen, be delivered to the wrong table-who would refuse it-the server would look around confused, but not notice us waving at her- then turn around and take it back to the kitchen. It would then not come back out of the kitchen for another 30 minutes...delivered cold to the table. On another occasion I ordered chips and they were brought to the table still frozen. No kidding. Overall, though, the staff was friendly. The boat tours are a must-awesome trips and great guides. There is also an aboriginal walking tour available, which was highly recommended to us by friends and we loved it. The dolphions are amazing and so are the pelicans. They offer a tour out ot the pearl factory in the bay and we found that fascinating and purchased a couple pieces of jewelry while we were there. Overall, it was a great place. I'd love to go back, but I'd pack some food to take with me. ;-D

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank cherylmc68144
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2009

There is only one place available to stay in Monkey Mia and that is the mult-choice Dolphin Resort with its fancy Units, the basic Lodge and the Campsite.

I have camped there twice and the camping facility is quite good. Lawn areas, nice kitchens, good showers, access to everything that everyone else at the resort gets.

However in high season be prepared to be extremely close to your neighbouring campers.

This trip we booked in The Lodge with adjoining rooms that shared a bathroom as there were 4 of us. The room had only a ceiling fan. We knew that but one of the group was not willing to pay for the airconditioned units. The price difference per person was $40 for the Lodge or $110 for the air con units per night.
I brought along two extra fans from home and that made it almost bearable at night.

But it was a mistake to do it cheap, because it was January and high summer. The day we arrived it was 51degrees celesius and did not get cooler than 40 degrees any day we were there. The airconditioned beach front units looked very good value, but the price reflects the location and the fact that Monkey Mia is remote and a national park. In 'winter' the Lodge rooms would perfectly comfortable.

We had access to a big shared kitchen, as the Lodge accommodates probably a couple hundred people. The lodge is excellent for families, the rooms have a queen bed and two bunks. The Lodge also offers backpackers a bed in a 4 bed shared room and that would be quite good value. The rooms and kitchen were cleaned each day.

We did not eat at the cafe which offered very cheap casual meals, the usual pizza etc, but we had two really good dinners at the restaurant. Considering how far the food has to travel to get to Monkey Mia, the restaurant deserves credit.

Being an Australian there is no way I would ever visit Monkey Mia in summer by choice,but one of our group was a Canadian visitor and it was her only opportunity to visit the dolphins.

The others visiting Monkey Mia in January were Europeans who complained about the high heat. They obviously had not done their research on Australian seasons.

My other visits to Monkey Mia have been in April and October and that is the right time frame to go- winter- when it only gets up to about 27 each day. The water temperature never drops below 27 at any time of the year. Perfect. Monkey Mia has perfectly calm beaches, warm, safe, shallow, sandy, still water and 100% clean. It is after all in the middle of nowhere. You can find yourself swimming with turtles, tiny rays, lots of fish.

The dolphins are worth the 10 hour drive from Perth and you need to stay at least 2 nights to make it worthwhile. There is lots of cheaper accommodation in Denham and I have also stayed there on previous visits.

But the whole point of going to Shark Bay in my view is to see the Dolphins and if you stay on site at the Dolphin Resort then you can walk for 2 minutes to the beach each morning at 7 am when the dolphins arrive and stay until they leave at noon or so. If you stay in Denham you have to drive the 15 minutes each way and pay a park entrance fee each day.

The new Dolphin Experience museum in Denham is superb and offers more than just the dolphin information. Each visit to Monkey Mia I have taken the excellent catamaran trip. Get the one with indoor cabin alternative and lots of outdoor shade if you are visiting in summer, as one of the Cats has no shade cover.

Staying more than 3 nights in summer you will run out of things to do unless you just want to unwind. From April to Oct however there are lots of places to comfortably visit if you like exploring remote shorelines and bush walking. It is stunningly beautiful rugged countryside. Camping is the best way to do it.

Next trip I will consider staying at the newly developed Nanga Resort area - no dolphins but the same outstanding beaches and remote peaceful beauty.

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled with friends
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3  Thank rubybellissimo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2009

I stayed here only 1 night because it was part of 4-day-tour from Perth. I stayed several dorms during this tour. Monkey Mia Dolphine Lodge is much neater than others. I liked it there.
There are plenty of jacks on the wall in the dorm, so I didn't have to compete with anyone for recharging my digital camera.

Shower & Toilets are clean. Fresh air and it is light. There is convenience store in the site, but please remember that it is closed at 18:00.
There is laundry room, BBQ pit, huge kitchen, bar, cafe, internet room and swimming pool. Also it is beachfront. Only 5minutes walking up to the Dolphine feeding spot. ( starting at 7:30a.m)

  • Stayed: January 2009
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1  Thank mamacita1001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile
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Stayed: October 2017, traveled as a couple
Thank Claude L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2014
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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Thank partyofeight
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Monkey Mia Dolphin Lodge Backpackers

Address: 1 Monkey Mia Rd, Denham, Western Australia 6537, Australia
Location: Australia > Western Australia > Denham
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 10 Specialty Lodging in Denham
Price Range: $90 - $225 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 100
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