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Reviewed 11 November 2012

I have just returned from a fantastic holiday in North Sulawesi which was made possible through our wonderful experience at Bunaken SeaGarden Resort. I stayed for 7 nights with my family and we had the best time. The Host Sonya is a lovely lady and went out of her way to ensure we had an enjoyable experience.
The Resort is located in close proximity to the best snorkelling spot on Bunaken Island. There you will find pristine coral gardens and stunning coral walls. Sonya and her staff provided clean and comfortable rooms and served beautiful food at every meal. The Resort also offers diving equipment and a very experienced dive guide. The rates were all extremely competitive.
I would highly recommend this Resort and hope I can make it back at some stage soon.

Room tip: Sonya was very helpful with general travel advice for Indonesia. She went out of her way to assist with Visa issues.
Date of stay: November 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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1  Thank stoung
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 October 2012

We stayed at Bunaken Sea Garden resort with Sonya who was a wonderfully friendly and helpful host. The resort has around 7 cottages set around a green garden with a badminton net and the dining area overlooks the beautiful bay. We stayed in the standard cottage with one bed which was cleaned daily and had a western style toilet with shower (no hot water) and the cost including 3 delicious meals a day and unlimited water was 20 euros per person. Luxury cottages with tiled floors and an extra bed were around 24 per person.
The beach itself is set behind the mangroves which fringe that side of the island but are cut away at each resort to allow boats to enter and us to swim out. The beach was lovely and quiet, in fact the whole island was extremely peaceful with minimal tourists as they all tend to stick to their own resort and dive during the day. We did more snorkeling than diving and the reef on this side of the island was just superb. In fact I understand the reef outside our resort to be the best on the island (that is accessible from the shore). The coral does become extremely shallow at low tide so be very careful but there are entry points even at super low tide at full and new moon times from neighbouring 2 fish divers resort. However, the coral is breathtaking - as good as what I can remember of Komodo with soft and hard corals abound. Fish are extremely plentiful and although there are not many big fish there are so many fish everywhere its quite incredible. We saw turtles almost everyday snorkeling as well as tons of tropical fish (the usual suspects eg various triggers, lionfishes, damsels, butterfly fishes, angel fishes, eels lots of cornet and trumpet fish etc).

Date of stay: September 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
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1  Thank pazmataz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 September 2012

After reading some really good reviews Bunaken SeaGarden Resort seemed to be a good choice, so I arrived happily in Bunaken and at first glance it seemed to fulfill my expectations: nice bungalows only 7 of them, all overlooking the garden and playing area, a nice restaurant and smiling staff.
The bungalows are tastefully decorated with individual toilets and shower area, which is not so frequent in Indonesia, however, after taking a look at the welcome booklet on the table of the bedroom I felt like I was snowed under tons of rules, indeed, the welcome booklet contains practical information, but also lots of "Dos" and "Don'ts".
I understand that it is important to set a few ground rules in order to prevent any potential bad experience both for the hotel and the guests, but when there are too many of them, some of which being obvious (like "Don't lose the keys of the bungalow") in the end I find it suffocating to be honest.
For example, you are being asked not to put sand inside the bungalow, not to dirty the floor, not to bring biscuits or do your laundry inside the bungalow, to do this, not to do that, to leave your sandals inside the bungalow because the dogs of the resort have a liking for shoes.
Yes, that's about it : don't dirty the bungalow with your shoes but leave them inside the bungalow anyway!
Speaking of cleanliness in the bungalows, I really cannot understand how the cleaning staff settles for a twig mop to clean the floor, maybe investing in a vacuum-cleaner is an option...
And yes, dogs are king here, I have nothing against our four-legged friends, but when the manager's dogs jump on you and dirty your freshly washed white T-shirt or the cats lie amidst the plates and glasses in the restaurant it is just too much.
And speaking of rules, the resort is very talkative when it comes to include rules and limits in the welcome booklet, but less talkative about the power and water restrictions in the bungalows for example. Indeed, I noted that there is no electricity during the day and no water at night, it isn't a big issue actually, but maybe it would have been common courtesy to inform the guests about these restrictions so that they make all the necessary arrangements accordingly. As a matter of fact, the bungalows have tin roofs and so it is terribly hot with no way of cooling down in the afternoon, the water restrictions were also a problem on the last day because I had to check out very early in the morning and as a result could not wash myself when I left the resort.
Again, I am not against electricty and water restrictions, but is too much to ask to inform the guest in order to avoid any bad surprise?
They seem to be proud of some of their rules, but advertising others seems to be more difficult!

Another issue was with the restaurant, the food was correct but it seems like you have to be within the first ones. Some food if it was out was not replaced and the amount of food was not always sufficient...some days there were no more veggies left...another day just one plate of fruits for 6 guests...More than once there were not enough pancakes and toasts for breakfast, considering that the resort applies a single surcharge and did not work at full capacity I find it pretty annoying.
More so since breakfast time is from 7:30 to 9:00am (it is clearly stated in the famous rules of the welcome booklet), but I sometimes saw the first guests arriving at 7 o'clock!!

Sonya the manager is very kind and welcoming, she really goes out of her way to help you, arranging transfers and cheap accomodation in Manado for example, still, the transfer she arranged to pick me up from the airport the first day was challenging, indeed, she did not give my full name to the driver who furthermore didn't have any sign at the airport as it is generally usual, as a result, we lost nearly an hour in the airport to find each other, had I known this I would have arranged the transfer on my own.
But she is really kind, I wish I could say the same about the waitress, unfortunately she never smiled and we really felt like we disturbed her, plus, some of the staff spent a good part of the day hanging out in the garden and looking at you as you were passing by.

The resort overlooks a mangrove and if you walk down the few steps and swim off the beach you reach a wall which is a sublime snorkeling location.
Be aware that there are almost no shops on Bunaken - just a warung on Pantai Beach, but you are likely to be harassed by the locals trying to sell you their stuff there - so better you stock up before you arrive on the island.
Except for snorkeling and diving there is not much to do on the island, but there is a nice stroll inside the island until Alung Banua, a quaint village, I think that staying 3 or 4 days is enough.

Overall, the resort provided a basic base accomodation for great diving and snorkeling but not much more. This, in itself, is not objectionable if SeaGarden Resort prices itself accordingly. Instead, the resort markets and prices itself as a midrange accommodation, but delivers way below the target. For the same price, other mid-level resorts on the island offer more.

Date of stay: September 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
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Thank Eric B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 August 2012

Truly an amazing place. Very nice bamboo huts and a nice little lagoon. But the best part was the extremely nice owner and host Sonya and Harri and the rest of the staff, which took care of their guest like they were family.

Sonya even went to Manado to pick our passports, which we had left there to get our visas renewed.

They also helped arrange an amazing dolphin tour were we saw around 200 dolphins.

One of the best places I have stayed in my entire life!

Date of stay: January 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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Thank AlexanderHK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2012

SeaGarden is a beautiful, tiny and friendly resort. You will find there confortable, clean and very well prepared bungalows, with lot of space in front of it, where you can play volleyball, badminton, or just sit and relax. This is not a kind of place, where you have to listen, talk and think only about diving, however, I think they are planning to set a dive base in the future. The atmosphere, helpful and very friendly staff, as well as wonderful, fresh food is definitly worth to take a few more steps from the jetty in bunaken insted of going to the near-by ones. My top rate and a warm reccomendation for everybody, who is looking for relax, great snoorkeling and comfort.

Date of stay: May 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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Thank JanTomCracow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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