Manta Lodge - Reader Reports & Opinion
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!
Rob Blackburn from U.K. visited in March 2007 and awarded
Manta Lodge certianly invokes some reaction from people. I have read every review here, and in the Trip Adviser site - all 32. I have stayed at Manta Lodge many times, the first time I was booked into the Blue Waters round the corner but drifted to Manta Lodge.
So many times writers have noted that when "the owners" show up they and their friends get special treatment. Has no one wondered where these 'friends' came from?
The first time I visited back in 1997 Sean Robinson and his father Clyde were there, we had the best holiday of ourlives. I had never met the man before but it was clear that he liked to talk and share a beer with his guests and dive.
I have ecompleted over 300 dives of which some 200 have been with Tobago Dive Experience, I have known Sean ever since that first meeting and he, his family and his staff befriended not only me but everyone in the hotel at the time ... that is, those that wanted to be befriended. This is not the insincere friendship that Westerners are used to. Sean came to my wedding in 2000 and taught my wife to dive, no small feat as she had an aversion to water and could barely swim. No doubt when I roll in I am also observed as one of those 'friends' but I was and am a guest.
Tobago is a place where you get out what you put in, it is the holiday destination most equivalent to a mirror. If you want to be upset you will be upset, if you want a great holiday you will have one, be miserable and you will receive misery. This is not a place of platitudes and false smiles but real, very real, sincere welcome and friendship.
If you choose to visit this paradise let the Tobagonian spirit lead the way, do not expect to start teaching them how to do things. The english failed, the dutch failed the french failed and portugese failed, this is their land and when in tobago do as tobagoninas do. The rewards are great.
Melt-away Without Air-condition?
Hi everybody. I´m about to visit to Tobago for the first time in May this year. A travel agency offers a great deal, including flight and b/b at the Manta Lodge. Information about the Lodge via the Internet sounds really promising. Only trouble is: the offered rooms only got a ceiling fan, no air-condition .
Now: Can an average middle-European survive without air-condition? Or will he just melt away?
I´d be happy to get some advice.
We have just returned from a 2 week trip to Manta Lodge. We had a great time. The staff are exceptionally friendly although that could just be because we had our 5 month old daughter with us and she was star of the show. The rooms are nice better than basic dive rooms. The pool is small but you have it to yourself. The waves crashing on the beach all night is lovely. The food good but expensive compared to the excellent restaurants in Speyside. We broke the 2 week stay with a 3 day trip round the Island which I would recommend. My Husband was diving but I wasnt due to Grace - our baby. There is not much to do but swim and sit and enjoy the weather but we enjoyed it. We booked through Scuba en Cuba in the UK. One word of advice - take mossi coils and net - we got bitten a lot.