Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 24 February 2018 • Destination
Every resort offers a different kind of luxury. In areas as accessible as Bali, resorts can go above and beyond to make you feel pampered and glamorous during your stay. But when it comes to other places in the world, those more secluded and offers the luxury of nature’s best, how far does a resort have to go? Recalling my stay at the Raja Ampat Dive Lodge, I felt all the luxury in the world, but I couldn’t compare it to my short visit to Bvlgari Resorts in Uluwatu. The accommodation was more modest, yet it gave me an experience even more than what it was worth. So, could this be the best accommodation in Raja Ampat, Papua?
Raja Ampat Dive Lodge (RADL) is located on Mansuar Island, in the Waigeo area. It’s arguably the most luxurious, but it is one of the most expensive in the area. My first impression about it was it didn’t seem like an accommodation with a minimum package around of USD1200 per person for 8D7N for a triple room. Bungalows were made of wood, except for the bathroom which were solid brick structure. It had porch for a good afternoon coffee. Inside the room was spacious with a spring bed and wooden furniture. There was an AC. Towels were provided, along with soap.
The common area was a breakfast lounge, also wooden from top to bottom. There were some platforms built for sunbathing and relaxing, all facing the ocean. The beach was very limited. There was about 2 meters of sand before we hit the water. The food was delicious but was no fine dining. There were free flow of coffee and tea. The wifi was on and off, but their private pier had enough service to post photos and stay connected to home. There wasn’t even a pool. So what’s so luxurious about this beach front accommodation?
The resort was located by a flat shallow beach. During our stay, the ocean that we faced was so calm, it felt like we had our own giant swimming pool. I visited the lodge with a big group, not all confident in swimming in the ocean. So, this setting allowed my discouraged friends to jump in and enjoy the sea up to a comfortable state. Some, even went beyond their normal limits. It was a joy to see how happy they were being able to enjoy the sea, where they would normally avoid. It was a different kind of happy, especially under repetitive pink skies.
Photo by Emily.
When traveling in Indonesia, there’s no denying that ACs are seemingly heaven sent. The humid hot air always makes us seemingly in dire need of dry artificial cool air. The AC in RADL is heaven sent. Aside to just being there in the first place, I have to hand it to RADL for being able to isolate the cool air in a wooden bungalow. With just one AC, the room could turn cool enough that a blanket was needed for sleep as my roommate was a freeze-freak. RADL also doesn’t limit AC use as power is available all day. Hence a nap can be enjoyed, again, under a blanket. If that still seems normal for a resort, take to account that the resort was on an island and had to generate their own power, which means they had to transport their own fuel for round the clock generators, all year. Considering fuel in the Papua is pricier than anywhere else in Indonesia, ACs become a luxury indeed.
Also considering the transportation of resources from off the island, everything on the dining table becomes something a little more special. In addition to just being there and with variation (there were grapes), the food tasted delicious. Not the over the top delicious, but so good it comes close to (Indonesian) home cooked food and some good western food too.
My personal experience in RADL, I had fallen sick and lost my voice. Helen, one of the staff, had noticed from afar and offered ginger tea for three-night straight without me asking. Knowing that RADL had to calculate resources fairly spot-on considering it takes quite the distance to restock, I had a warm space for RADL’s attention and ginger.
RADL is also the home of ‘walking sharks’, one that I had always wanted to see. The small second pier is home to these species and we can go watch them when the day gets dark. Despite it was a Raja Ampat diving resort, without any dive gear we could just search for them with a flash light as they swim under the rubbles. Here’s my article about the many wildlife in Raja Ampat Dive Lodge.
I think that RADL knows how to balance itself as a luxurious lodge. Located in Raja Ampat, a pristine natural heaven for those that would like to appreciate nature, seems like RADL made sure that their guests kept their focus on its main star, the nature itself. It made sure that after coming home from diving the pristine ocean, watching the birds from paradise, and enjoying the view of the karst rocks spread around the archipelago, we weren’t distracted with resort attributes.
Luxury is relative. And it’s a luxury to be taken care by people who understand it.
Photo by Emily.