Hotel Review: Cubadak Paradiso Village Resort In Sumatra, Indonesia.
Cubadak Resort is the second hotel I want to review from our four-week trip through southeast Asia. After the Golden Banana Hotel in Siem Reap, the bar is pretty hight. Let’s see if Cubadak can keep up the pace…
Rating: 5 out of 5
Imagine the series ‘Lost’; white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, dozens of palm trees, jungle forest, (almost) no people, wild animals (monkeys, boars, lizards) and the feeling of being lost. All that’s missing at Cubadak Resort is a crazy white bald dude like Lock and black smoke…
Cubadak is the only resort on the island, sharing it only with one little fishing village on the other side.
Rating: 5 out of 5
If I could, I’d give 10 points when it comes to the comfort level at Cubadak Resort! The bungalows are so roomy and comfortable, it’s hard to top that. A great balcony with comfy chairs, a spacious and western bathroom, a cute little working & living room area, plus a queen size bed on the second floor make up the perfect setting. A+!
- Cubadak Resort only has 15 bungalows (plus one family bungalow and one above the water). This means, that you’ll never have more that approx. 40 people on the islands and with three different beaches, that’s pretty good.
- Plastic bags on the beach. The beach is amazing, really. Yet at the far end of it (which was right in front of our bungalow), quite a lot of plastic bags & bottles lied around – not enough to ask them why they don’t clean up but enough for us to notice. They’re not from the resort (everything is very clean there) but the ocean just washes up all sorts of stuff from time to time. It looked like someone hadn’t cleaned up in a while…
My recommendation would be to have one staff member run up and down the beach once a day to collect all the rubbish that the ocean washes up. This shouldn’t take longer that one hour per day (at the maximum) and would make a big difference.
Food & Drinks.
Rating: 5 out of 5
It’s better not to come here if you’re on a diet. You won’t last a day without tasting the delicious food at Cubadak Resort.
This is really the part where Western influence kicks-in. The know-how of combining traditional Indonesian cuisine with Western style dishes is mastered to perfection. You’ll always get a great variety of vegetables, meat & fish, as well as some amazing desert like fresh lemon tart or home-made banana ice cream (dinner only). Yummy! Some of the best food I’ve had in Indonesia!
- Try the home-made Sambal sauce – it’s so delicious!
Service & Hospitality.
Rating: 2 out of 5
If you stay at Cubadak Resort for more than 3 nights, a free pick-up service from Padang airport is included. This is definitely a good choice, since the drive to the dock takes about 2 hours, followed by a 15-minute boat ride to the island.
At first, you’re treated like a king/queen and the owners are very welcoming and open; yet day after day, you’ll realise that the vibes on the island aren’t all that good. Especially if you’re not one of those clients who buy alcoholic drinks or spend extra money on something.
- Scuba Diving Possibility (1 dive US$ 45 / equipment for one day US$ 27) – Try the night dive, it’s definitely the most exciting diving in the area.
Rating: 2 out of 5
Cubadak Resort is expensive … far too expensive for my taste.
The biggest benefit is the fact that Cubadak Resort has the island to itself. This is clearly the only reason why I’d pay such an amount of money anyway, because everything else (nice bungalows, fantastic food, etc.) can be found elsewhere too. Don’t get me wrong, everything was perfect and in general I can’t complain, yet the impression of greed running through the resort – from the owners only – makes up 1 out of 5 points.
- For US$ 110 per person, per night, I’d really think that at least a couple of soft drinks would be included. Nope. Definitely a big downer, because cravings for an ice cold Coke from time to time really do arise. If you do intent to spoil yourself a little, be aware that with 195ml you won’t get far (price list below).
My recommendation would be to have the mini bar filled with 1 Coke and 1 other soft drink and have these drinks free of charge for every day. This would make a great difference in the impression guest get.
- WiFi is not for free. Ok, so I definitely agree that it’s not a bad thing to have a couple of days without the internet. Nothing can be so important that it can’t wait. But when you’re staying 10 days or longer, one might start thinking that a quick e-mail check wouldn’t be a bad thing. We were told that there is an internet line, yet it’s very slow and expensive. Fair enough, I understand this 100%, yet (again) for US$ 110 per person per night; I’d expect to at least have some sort of access for free (also because the owners are on the internet pretty much all the time…).
My recommendation would be to have one hour of internet connection per bungalow per day for free. This way, no one can complain and the owners don’t have to worry about rapidly increasing costs.
- We know our way around Indonesia & Sumatra especially. We’ve been here many times and therefore also know some locals in the area around Padang. We got in touch with our friend Niki to arrange a boat trip (one entire day), since we also wanted to see a little bit of the area. Seems like the owners of Cubadak Resort were not amused about this. Right after arriving back at the resort, they came up to us and asked us what we did, where we were and how we liked it … fair enough, but then they started chatting in Bahasa Indonesia with Niki and of course we couldn’t understand a word. They immediately wanted to know what he had charged us. He told them (1.2 million Ruppees = approx. 100.00 US$) and they asked how he was able to make a business like this – no wonder, have a look at the prices of Cubadak’s boat excursions below – and he told them that this was only because we were friends.
My recommendation would be to get over yourselves! Just because there are other resorts in the area, doesn’t mean that they’re going to steal your customers. We didn’t check into a prison when arriving at Cubadak, and in all my years of travelling, I have never experiences a place where friends are not welcome and you’re not ‘allowed’ to step outside the premises!
Fact: Only about 1 hour away from Cubadak Resort you’ll find places on deserted islands for less that US$ 30 per night – yet the comfort level can’t be compared and you’ll feel more like Robinson Cruiso (also because you need to bring your own food). Still, alternatives around the area can be found…
Here’s a quick overview of the most important prices:
- 1 night per person (including breakfast, lunch & dinner but without drinks – except coffee and tea): US$ 110.00
Food & Drinks.
- Soft Drink – 195ml (Coke, etc.): US$ 4.00
- Beer: US$ 4.00
- Coffee: US$ 2.50
- Cocktail: US$ 11.00
- Per Hour: US$ 4.00
Boat Trip (I’d suggest you sit down now).
- Per Hour: US$ 80.00
- Half Day: US$ 350.00
Overall Feedback & Impression.
Rating: 3.8 out of 5
Cubadak Resort is a great spot on a paradise island without having to travel for a week to get there. The bungalows, food and the location are really perfect – not one thing I could say about this. For short-term visitors, my rating would probably be higher, but since we stayed here long-term, I need to be honest. It’s the little things that count, and at Cubadak, a lot of little things are not up to the standard they should. The owners clearly try to keep their guest from getting in contact with any locals who don’t live on the island (at least this is the impression I got over those 10 days). Why? I’d say business reasons only! (Unfortunately) It’s all about money. Well, all in all lots of small things turn to big ones, therefore I can only give 3.8 out of 5 points.