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“Had such a great time, came back for more”
Review of NAD-Lembeh Resort

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NAD-Lembeh Resort
Ranked #2 of 10 Hotels in Bitung
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 28, 2013

We travelled back to Lembeh and stayed with NAD again in April 2013, and things only improved at the high level of quality it previous was at and we were thankful and happy for NAD's hospitality. Highlights were (in no particular order):

- Amazing guides who found amazing things, took care of dive sites, and made sure to respect guests from NAD and other operators (same can't be said elsewhere from my first hand experience)
- Meals were local and well made, rotated and hooked us into sambal
- Boats were well care for and FAST!
- All gear was taken care of meticulously
- Amazing camera care/equipment and advice from both guests and staff
- Felt like all staff really cared for your welfare

NAD makes plans to improve the resort (facilities and services) and executes them - you can definitely see, feel and experience the improvements (boat engines, camera towels, cleaner air to mention a few) that you won't be disappointed that you picked them to stay with.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank franktai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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138 - 144 of 261 reviews

Reviewed December 25, 2013

This is not a review for diving Lembeh. Lembeh is renowned for its muck diving and all the sites we've dived do not disappoint. This review is for the resort facilities and services.

NAD provides fantastic facilities for the serious underwater photographer. It has a sizable camera room complete with individual work stations and even an electric dry box for cameras and lens.

We requested for a private guide and he was an excellent spotter. The boat crew was attentive and always ready to help after each dive. The end of each dive also saw them offering tea, coffee, water, fruits and cake. You need only tell them once your preferred beverage and they will serve you the same beverage after the rest of the dives.

The bungalows and rooms are clean and comfortable, the meals simple and filling. For those who enjoy a cuppa during the day, they have a Krups expresso machine in addition to the instant coffee mix.

There is a good collection of reference books for marine animals and also many fiction books for lighter reading.

Our dive experience was enjoyable and positive except for two issues:
i. We stayed at Bungalow 4 and had problems with the water supply on two nights. On the first night, the problem was attended to promptly but on the second night, I needed to prompt the staff three times before the management stepped-in to resolve the problem.

ii. We did beach dives at about 4.30pm on two days. When we surfaced at about 5.15pm, there was no staff to help with the dive gear at the end of the dives. Most of the dive staff return to the main land at the end of each day and this may explain why no one helped us. That said, it would have been helpful if we could be informed of this before our first dive.

Overall, NAD is a well-run resort that would cater to the needs of divers, especially those engaged in underwater-photography.

Room Tip: Opt for the Bungalows only if you need absolute privacy and do not mind climbing some uneven stone s...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Spooky T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NAD-Lembeh, Owner at NAD-Lembeh Resort, responded to this reviewResponded December 27, 2013

Thank you for writing the review, we appreciate the feedback ☺

Just some feedback for your points:

Internet! Yes it’s a pain, I have a plan for the new year! Hopefully it will be better. You were visiting us at a very busy time and our provider did not cope well.

Dining! If you tell us we’ll do it ☺ We were sat next to you on some of those evenings so I hope it wasn’t my soup slurping! We do have some guests who prefer to eat alone – just let us know. We have spare tables for that exact purpose. I hope no one told you that it was not allowed – please let us know if that was the case.

We look forward to seeing you again.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 25, 2013

As always, Lembeh is a great place to dive, especially if you're into small critters and muck diving. I won't spend time talking about the diving as we've always enjoyed the diving in this area, having dived in Manado many times. In this regard, you will not be disappointed - the dive guides know the terrain well and are good spotters. The camera room is really a plus and we were impressed with individual cubicles with lights attached for cleaning our camera gear, a dry cabinet and lots of towels. I have never seen such a good camera room before, even in places like Wakatobi.

The resort itself is not really a resort but more of a lodge, so don't expect more than clean rooms with 24-hour AC. The bungalows - while larger and more private - can be a strain to get to if you have wobbly knees and poor eyesight at night, so if you prefer to be closer to the restaurant and dive centre, opt for the smaller chalet. Our water in the bungalow ran out twice, which was quite a bummer, but the staff members were able to see to the issue as quickly as they could, and were apologetic about it.

Now on to the dive service. There were a few issues: 1. We were diving on Nitrox but the tanks were at best 29% EAN, and never hit above 30% except for one time. 2. We requested for a private dive guide (and paid a premium for it) but there were occasions where we had an additional diver join us, and even a time when one diver was on AIR while we were on NITROX, so that was not ideal as we were mindful to ensure the diver on AIR did not follow our bottom time readings. 3. We did two shore dives in the late afternoon but were quite surprised when no one was around to help us remove the tanks when we resurfaced. We don't expect a porter or someone to wash our gear but at least to remove the tanks and set them aside - the tanks were still strapped onto our gear the next morning. Maybe I am expecting too much but these 3 issues I have listed were never experienced elsewhere.

Room Tip: The bungalows - while larger and more private - can be a strain to get to if you have wobbly knees a...
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Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
2  Thank Spookybaby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NAD-Lembeh, Owner at NAD-Lembeh Resort, responded to this reviewResponded December 27, 2013

Hi Spookies,

Thanks for taking the time to review. We take your feedback seriously and will take action on this. Firstly thank you for staying with us – I will post the same answer to both of your reviews for clarity.

Shower Water – we are sorry that you had this inconvenience, we just upgraded to a system with higher water pressure and it seems that B4 was not plumbed in as we thought. This is being acted on immediately.

Nitrox – We use a membrane system to produce our nitrox and this typically produces between 30 and 33%. Depending on ambient temperature. Our average over the course of a month has to hit a target of 31.5 and 33%. Upon investigation it seems that one of the analysers had been dropped (by another guest) and the oxygen cell damaged. This unit was replaced already – we check them monthly and this one broke in between those checks.

Housereef – With us being on our pre-Christmas break on your arrival day this may not have been explained in depth and for that we apologise. Normally we do not allow housereef dives on the day of arrival but our staff were trying to help you out due to your flight cancellation and late arrival. With regards to your equipment being left where you dropped it, our housereef is free and self-service. Normally people do not have a problem disassembling their own equipment after the dive. We will be sure to have someone standing by if you should visit us again.

Private Guide – On checkout SpookyT (husband?) was asked if 4 days of private guide had occurred by the resort manager (the answer was yes) and then this was billed.

I can understand that you may feel that our private guide fees are a great expense, but they are in line with other resorts in the area. Also, it clearly states that we do not refund due to flight cancellations in our policy. In effect you got a free private guide for 4 days because my reservation staff broke policy to help you with your missed day / cancelled flight. Taking your feedback on board we believe the solution for the future is to not to allow this confusion to occur, and to recommend the guest to pursue the losses from their travel insurance / airline when flights are cancelled. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

We hope that despite these issues you will come visit again, our management team can remember discussing nudibranchs, diving and other things with you in the evenings , although they are a little confused about the dive problems not being mentioned directly as then we could have found a solution for the remainder of your stay.

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Reviewed December 9, 2013

What do you get?

This resort is all about what made the Lembeh Strait world famous: muck diving and macro underwater photography.

The rooms (10) are simple nothing fancy but serves the purpose (quiet at night, a shower, a bed) there’s AC and 24/7 electricity (generator) Get a bungalow (there’s 4 sea view bungalows) and you get a little more privacy and a little bit more space. Breakfast buffet: eggs toast, breakfast cereals and the occasional pancake, that’s about it. Lunch and dinner (buffet style): again, nothing fancy, but very well prepared and tasteful.

But it’s all about the diving. Simon and his crew are just top of the line as far as the dive operation is concerned. Three large boats, never more then 4 divers to a spotter (but often less) All completely geared towards UW macro photography. They rock when it comes to diving the Strait and finding the critters. The NAD spotters are about as good as they come. Ask them to find pygmy seahorses and they’ll find you three different species in one dive (not kidding) ask for nudibranches and you’ll get an assortment ranging from 2 mm up to the giants of 15 cm, mention rhinopias and they’ll come up with two different coloured ones. On top of that there’s a well-equipped camera room and Simon (owner) knows his way around the insides of UW housings and all the technical hiccups that come with all the delicate modern UW photographic gear. In the three weeks we were there I saw him save many a photographer’s diving holidays (including mine) by doing expert repair jobs on housings, lamps, regulators etc…

What don’t you get? (or hardly)

1) Internet. Get ready to get frustrated: if you get internet (not always) it’s back to the 20th century for download speed and 19th century for upload ☹
You wanna post that nice photo of that pygmy seahorse on your Facebook page? reduce the size and stay up until 1 AM to send it.

2) A quiet dinner with your wife/husband/partner. Everyone’s having breakfast, lunch and dinner at one big table. Not my cup of tea. Hate it when I have to do it for the job, hate it even more when I have to do it on holiday. Try sitting next to the guy singlehandedly polishing off a plate of sushi meant for 4 faster than it takes you to pronounce the word “Tuna”… Table manners are different all over the world. Slurping and burping, elbows on the table, chewing with an open mouth, feet on your chair, keeping your hat on at the table, etc… might be considered polite in some parts of the world and I really couldn’t care less … unless it’s the guy sitting in front or next to you demonstrating this alternative set of table manners.

Why not allow groups sit together if they want to, but also allow those who want to have a quiet dinner with their wife, discussing something else then the latest model dioptre or 20 strobe setting for frying a pygmy seahorse, do so without making them feel like they’re antisocial snobs?

Conclusion: NAD gives you excellent value for money and the best muck diving experience out there. I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to go back, for that I’ll even endure the common meals ☺

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank peetersr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NAD-Lembeh, Owner at NAD-Lembeh Resort, responded to this reviewResponded December 27, 2013

Thank you for writing the review, we appreciate the feedback ☺

Just some feedback for your points:

Internet! Yes it’s a pain, I have a plan for the new year! Hopefully it will work.

Dining! If you tell us we’ll do it ☺ We were sat next to you on some of those evenings so I hope it wasn’t my soup slurping! We do have some guests who prefer to eat alone – just let us know. We have spare tables for that exact purpose. I hope no one told you that it was not allowed – please let us know if that was the case.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2013

With this review I just wanted to thank NAD for our excellent stay in Lembeh. We had a great time, perfect diving and in the end the stay is always too short. :-)

I have seen my fair share of hotels, especially in Indonesia, and I must say I was truly impressed by the way NAD is run. The rooms, staff (both dive and nondiving), the photographyrooms, the welcome, etc. every detail was just right. From the dinner that was awaiting us even as we arrived at 22.30, the boat staf that would remember your name and even how you like your coffee after diving, to the cosy rooms and of course the great diving and diveguides.


Thanks again and I am sure we'll be in Lembeh again in the future!

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank d-abcd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NAD-Lembeh, Manager at NAD-Lembeh Resort, responded to this reviewResponded December 27, 2013

Hi Dimitri,

Thank you so much for your review. We're glad that you enjoyed your stay with us and we hope you will be back soon!

Happy New Year from us at NAD Lembeh.

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Reviewed November 16, 2013

This is my 2nd visit to NAD since 3 years ago.... So much improvements had been done to the resorts in every way...

No matter is 3 years ago or now, i still enjoy my stay and dive there very much. The staffs are very attentive to our needs in terms of meals and room servicing... My friend does not take beef and the staffs actually remembers that and provide alternative dish for her when there are beef served on the menu. Any issues that we reported in our room will be resolved the next moment when we are back from our dives.... we were very surprised when my room aircon changed brand (TCL to LG) when i reported that there were no cool air....

We had a good dive guide Aso who really make his best effort to find me almost all the critters that i had on my list... I am very happy with how he had made the effort to protect the baby critters by giving them back the shelter when we are done with our photos...

Everything are just great!! We will definitely come back again...

Room Tip: If you don;t like "any" steps... pick beachfront rooms... =)
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank panadollgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2013

I've been to NAD twice now (Sept 2012 & Feb/Mar 2013) and am currently making plans for a third (and possibly fourth) visit. These guys make everything easy, happy and darn near perfect.

I usually come in on the late flight and have NAD arrange my transfers. Either Zee or Simon is waiting at the resort on my arrival around 1am and they always have a big plate of delicious food ready before showing me to my room.

The rooms are spacious, with plenty of room to unpack, stretch out and plug in. There is a dedicated camera room that has just been upgraded so there's no reason to drag everything back and forth each day. The beds are comfortable and the showers are great (I ask for the temp to be turned up a bit and they attend to it straightaway). The rooms all have a nice patio with hanging racks for towels & bathers plus a couple of chairs and small table. All have views out to the water. I have not stayed in the bungalows, but they are also very well done!

Food is plentiful, extremely varied and excellent for every meal. You can ask for mei goering for breakfast as it's usually more western type offerings, including eggs your way. Their beef rendang is outstanding. I don't eat fish, so they always have special chicken available for me on those days fish in on the menu. There would be plenty to eat at that meal without it, but it's a nice & appreciated touch!

Their dive guides are exceptional. I've done most of my diving with Paulus and Joni, but also dived with three or four others and each one finds the most amazing creatures. Bring a wish list if you want and they'll do their best to help you tick things off. Go with the flow and let them just find you things - you'll never want for subjects! These guides know the sites, know the creatures and work hard to make sure you have a good dive each and every time. Wish I could have them with me on dives in my own backyard, too!

The dive sites are varied and the guides/crew cater very well to the various needs of the divers. Not over micromanaging those who are experienced and comfortable, offering more assistance to those who need it.

All of their staff are super friendly, smiley and helpful. One even sewed up my wetsuit after a seam came loose. Ask for anything and they will try their best to help you. Their staff are an integral part of the joy of staying here, unlike many places where you feel they do their job just fine but aren't really part of the friendly atmosphere. This place feels like a great friend & family home and guests are included.

I love NAD Lembeh and highly recommend it to anyone wanting a beautiful, relaxing, stressfree stay.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank KJANingaloo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about NAD-Lembeh Resort

Address: PO Box 49, Bitung 95500, Indonesia
Location: Indonesia > Sulawesi > North Sulawesi > Bitung
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Bitung
#1 Best Value Hotel in Bitung
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Bitung
#4 Romantic Hotel in Bitung
Price Range: $40 - $60 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
NAD Lembeh is small owner operated family style resort on Lembeh Island, home of Critter and Muck diving. We have FOC house reef diving and 13 full time dive guides. Our camera facilities, with wet and dry camera rooms are highly popular. We offer 2:1 diveguide ratio and full rebreather / nitrox and tec support. Our Head Chef in the Kitchen, Tommy ensures the blend of food is to our guests' tastes. With 10 aircon rooms and 5 aircon bungalows we believe we can offer you a fantastic holiday on a budget. The Resort is compact without feeling small and our staff are very friendly, our location is also in a small private bay on Lembeh Island, far away from the city and its associated noise. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Nad Lembeh Hotel Bitung
NAD-Lembeh Resort Bitung, Indonesia - Sulawesi

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