I spent a wonderful week in Doberai with a group of diving friends in April. The place is so beautiful and tranquil that one gets the impression that the world is still in order. There is no noise of any sort apart from the sounds of jungle and gentle singing of the waves. It is a perfect place to disconnect and focus on the beauty which surrounds you above as well as under water.
The huts are simple, cooled just by the breeze. The place is so remote and safe that we had the doors constantly opened on one side to the island and on the other to the porch facing the bay. I don’t think that you will find many nicer spots to enjoy your evening pipe while watching sunset as on the porch of Doberai’s hut. The water in the shower is of a room temperature and has got a good pressure. It is a touch fresher than the one in the sea; just enough to wash the itchy salt of the skin, so what more does one need?
The power is on every day from 6 pm till midnight, sufficient for charging ones computer and camera. It doesn’t make much sense to charge your phone, because the coverage is limited only to few spots with in the resort. From time to time there is a Wi-Fi access to the internet in the restaurant area, but buying a ticket on line will test your patience and determination. The limited connection with the outside world just adds to the charm of the place.
The owner ibu Rica and all her staff are super friendly and hospitable. The dive masters will be constantly pointing out things to you that you have been looking at but didn’t see. Sea horses, frog fish, little shrimps, wobbegongs, just name it and they will find it for you in the numerous dive sites of Raya Ampat. The staff in the resort will be very helpful and resourceful if you decide to take a break from diving and go for an island hopping trip or will want to try to see the Birds of paradise on the neighbouring island in the very early morning hours.
If you like to have a drink or two when chilling out after dives just bring your own supplies. There is only Bintang available in the resort and the 90.000 rupiah for a can might somewhat disturb your tranquillity.
The food is plentiful and the kitchen staff really tries their best to satisfy the taste buds of your palate, but you cannot expect the variety of a city high street. The menu is based on the limited ingredients available in that part of the archipelago.
The diving gear, as well as the sea kayaks are available to the guests during their stay, but it is advisable to notify the resort about required sizes well before your arrival. You will be able to see baby sharks and spotted rays just as you walk on the elevated passages from your hut to the restaurant at the other end of the beach. During high tide you can jump to the turquoise water straight from the porch of your hut and snorkel above breath taking corrals.
The stay in Doberai is a gentle return to the womb of virgin nature at the price of stay in five star hotel. The main characteristics of the entire Raja Ampat are the high prices and complicated accessibility, but maybe that’s why the place is still unspoiled and the underwater world is so rich.
If I ever have the time and means to go back to Raya Ampat, I will definitely stay in Doberai Eco Resort again.