Manta Lodge - Reader Reports & Opinion
These reports are a combination of questions and comment posted in our Manta Lodge forum and visitor reports added via the 'Add Report' tab above. The votes awarded are weighted by volume and date to give a truer representation of reader satisfaction [more details].
Reader Satisfaction Ranking: Weighted ranking based on 7 votes = 3 (max 5)
Olivier from Venezuela visited in November 2014 and awarded
My name is Olivier, I'm travel agent and I went to Tobago to discover the right places to send my clients to.
This is UNDOUBTEDLY one of them.
Despite minor paint details in the common areas, Manta Lodge is THE place to stay if you are searcing for nature full-contact or if you just came to Tobago for it's stupendous diving.
Thanks to Kathleen and Sean who were really good guests for me and to whom I hope sending lots of clients in the future !
Manta lodge rooms are very clean and quite large, with a nice little terrasse in front of the beach where I was lucky to swim with a nice Manta Ray, nearby hthe anchorages, thanks to Sean's captain !
The restaurant at Manta Lodge is really good, we even had spiny Lobster for diner, with no extra charge.
Overall, an excellent choice for nature lovers.
Karin Locht from Germany visited in April 2014 and awarded
When I am in Tobago I like to stay in Speyside at the Manta Lodge Hotel. It is the best place for divers and people who love the beautiful nature of the island: the rain forest is very close and birdwatchers will find their paradise on Little Tobago Island ahead.
Manta Lodge is an attitude! Here you will find great diving conditions with Tobago Dive Experience (Scuba Dive Base at Manta Lodge Hotel), friendly staff, amazing hotel dogs (Scampi, Lucy, Diwali and old Nippy), good local food and last but least: nice rooms with balconies towards the ocean. During the night you can hear the waves and fall asleep with the sound of the sea.
Manta Lodge Hotel is a little bit of paradise for me! I feel at home there.
Pim Den Boon from Netherlands visited in May 2009 and awarded
Hello let me first introduce myself. I'am Pim den Boon from the netherlands and 21 years old at the moment. I visited a friend who works at the manta lodge and is the one responsible for getting my into diving. I didnt know where i was going or what i should expect.
When i arrived i was being welcomed very friendly by all the staffmembers. They where so friendly i found myself hanging out with them after their work was done. Believe me, if u want to see some cool places you should ask the locals cause they really know the in's and out's. The diving was also well organized, that's because the dive instructors and divemasters know exactly what the best locations are in certain conditions. The clients safety is defenitly their first priority. Underwater we where guided very good and they always gave a headsup when they saw a rare creature like sharks and squids and turtles and what not!
The staff was once again very friendly, i had alot good conservations with the owner Sean. This guy is really something in a good way. Hey was really intrested in my story's of diving and experience's back home. He also gave my very usefull advices about underwaterphotografy. He said that we would do a dive together with another photographer and he gave us a special dive to learn us some tricks for taking photo's. That was really cool from him and i have to say my photo's have improved alot since then.
Are there downsides? Sure there are, but it depends how big of a critic you are. Such as the food i didnt get used too the 3 weeks i was there. But isnt that my problem, because iam not used to it right? It wasn't bad but it was very different of what iam used too. My point is if u want to complain there are always things to complain about. If u come with the intension of having a good, fun and social holiday, the manta lodge can offer it!!!
Last but not least i want to thank the entire staff for giving me one of the greatest holiday's so far. Sean, Swiss, Arthur, Kester, Lapido, Linden and all the others!!! I'am planning to visit again soon. Definitly something i can recommend every diver who wants a very nice holiday in the caribean!
Marla Beth B. from U.S.A. visited in March 2009 and awarded
I have to start with two points. One, I am not related to or know the owners - I have nothing to do with the hotel or dive operation. Two, I did not stay there - I only dove with the dive shop on site. However, due to the diving, I was there day after day, and I met the owner multiple times. I dealt with the staff from the dive shop, the hotel, (given that I routinely left my valuables in their safe while diving) the pool, and restaurant.
It was so nice, I was sort of disappointed I had not stayed there due to the reviews I read here and on Trip Advisor, so I asked for a tour of a room. I also became friendly with some divers who were staying there, and I asked them about their rooms, and they had similar accommodations, so it was not as if they showed me the best room in the house.
I decided to write a review even though I did not stay there (Against the rules, I know, Steve, so if you must remove it, so be it) to counter some of the reviews I read before I left, in case it could help anyone not have the same experience I did, which is to stay away from a place that is one of the nicer ones in the area due to reading the negative reviews. I had figured that one or two negative reviews might be the work of a crabby person, but several, as there were here, must mean something. I later found out most of the bad ones were written mostly by people who all came in the same group at the same time.
I should note: this is not a "resort" of the type found in the south of the island. There is no hotel beach, though you are right across a very small road from on the ocean and there is plenty of beach there. The beaches are not white sugar sand in the north. This is not a 15 story building that is entirely air conditioned with a marble lobby and uniformed staff with a concierge and doorman. It thankfully is not an American chain hotel. It is a lovely, charming little hotel on the ocean, for those who want to be in Speyside for a reason such as birding or diving. However, I did meet a family in which part of the family was not diving, and they had a perfectly nice time by the pool the whole time the others were diving. If you are looking for sugar sand beaches and a large resort, you should go to the south of the island where those things exist.
Anyway, the place is clean as a whistle. The bathroom in the room I saw was clean, as were the ones of the divers I talked to. The pool is well maintained and also very clean - I swam in it multiple times myself, germaphobe though I am.
The staff is, on the whole, friendly, as is the owner. I only ran into one person who had the typical unpleasant Speyside attitude, and that was in the restaurant.
On the other hand, I ran into many people who went above and beyond the call of duty to be helpful, and were very friendly and kind. I am pretty absent-minded, and I often gave them my valuables and my purse to put in the safe, and then forgot I needed an item I left by mistake in my purse. Never did I get anything other than a happy retrieval of my items for me to sort through until I found what I needed and then they were happily put back.
At the dive shop the staff was very helpful and friendly. I wanted to pay partly with travelers checks so I could get change in TT dollars, because the ATM machine in Charlotteville was out of money. No problem. They stayed late to help me one evening, and even invited me to a birthday BBQ for one of the staff. I left my clothes there overnight by mistake, because I went home with my sarong over my bathing suit. I realized it the next morning, and I called the dive shop in a panic. They went out of their way to look for my things and found them. They are a busy dive shop and could easily have told me I would have to look myself when I returned, or that they would have to get back to me, but they did not.
When it was my last day, and I had not yet been able to take a boat to Little Tobago, even though going there was one of my main goals, the owner arranged for me to get a boat just for me, driven by one of his dive boat captains, who was getting off of work and supposed to go home, to go there so I could take my pictures. And he did not charge me an arm and a leg for it either.
All in all, my experience with this hotel was great. The building is nice and clean, the facilities are well run, the view is lovely - better than even their own website shows. Sean, Swiss, Kester, and Vidya in the dive shop were fabulous, and the rest of the staff was fine except one. I would stay there if I ever return to the north of Tobago.
The only thing missing is a hammock on every balcony. But that is just a personal thing with me - I like nothing better after a day of diving to to relax in a hammock and look at the sea.
I have no idea what happened when the people who wrote the negative reviews were there. But I did not find a dirty, falling apart spot in my search for one, and I could not have had a better experience with the people.
Shark Bait, West Sussex from U.K. visited in May 2008 and awarded
I stayed at Manta Lodge in May/June 2008. Quite frankly, it was the worst diving holiday I have ever had.
I am an experienced and well travelled diver and am used to staying in basic dive lodge accommodation. However, Manta Lodge was not just tired and basic, it was filthy - especially the bathrooms. For example, the areas around the shower door and toilet were black and mouldy
The Lodge was badly run and the owner, Sean, seemed totally disinterested. The staff (other than the wonderful Marva), were lazy, abrupt and again, disinterested. I often felt as if I was being a nuisance when I asked for something. Marva, on the other hand, was professional, organised and great "front of house". However, she cannot run the place to an acceptable standard on her own.
One of the main problems was the water supply at the Lodge. I appreciate, of course, that there is a water shortage on Tobago. However, the other hoteliers I spoke to confirmed that they had a back up water supply. There was no water supply at Manta Lodge on two occasions during our stay. On the second occasion, there was no water for two days. This is not great when you have spent one day diving and the second day trecking through the rain forest! On the second night, I was desperately in need of a wash, but still the water tank had not been refilled. It was most unpleasant not being able to clean up. This also meant that guests could not flush the toilet in their rooms, which again, in the heat, was unpleasant. After much moaning by members of our group, we were eventually given a bucket of water outside each room to flush the loo. Even more worrying was that the restaurant at the Lodge was still serving food, even without a water supply! When we pointed this out, the restaurant was eventually closed for the night.
The Dive Centre is amateur at best. Thankfully, everyone in our group took their own kit out to Tobago. However, the dive guides (who were great incidentally) were diving with old equipment, which clearly had not been serviced for some time. One of the guides was diving with two leaking hoses and we often had to ask for "o" rings to be replaced as the tanks were leaking.
Two guys joined our group to dive during the first week. One of them hired kit from the Centre and was given a faulty regulator. His dive was so stressful that he did not dive again for the rest of his stay. The other guy was unable to hire a computer as none were available, notwithstanding that it is essential to use one in the Tobago currents. He was told to dive without one, but thankfully I always carry a spare and so was able to lend him one.
Tanks were rarely fully filled, even for those of us who paid extra for nitrox fills. At the end of out stay, some of us were charged for nitrox that we had not even used. When we pointed this out, the charges were dropped.
The dive boats were inadequate for a group of our size and so were overweighted, cramped and uncomfortable. The overweighting caused the engine of one of the boats to hang too low in the water, with the result that the engine emitted thick black fumes, which made a lot of us feel sick. This boat eventually broke down during one of our days out and so we missed the second dive on the Sisters site.
The kit washing facilities were also inadequate and dirty.
The last straw for me was returning to my room to find a cockroach in the bathroom. That was it - I knew I had to get out of Manta Lodge. Luckily, I was able to move next door to Speyside Inn for the second week of my holiday. What a contrast the Inn was - it was immaculate, well run and the staff were friendly and attentive.
Some of our group were only staying in Tobago for a week, whilst the rest of us had booked for two weeks. I had already indicated to our tour operator in the UK that, if it was not going to be possible to move accommodation, then I would want a flight home at the end of the first week and would forego the second week of my holiday. I just did not want to spend another week at Manta Lodge.
What else is there to say? I most certainly will not be going back to Manta Lodge!