Cocotinos Lembeh - A Boutique Dive Lodge
Cocotinos Lembeh, A Boutique Dive Lodge, is the third property to be added to the Cocotinos name. About two years ago, we started looking for suitable land along the Lembeh Strait, in view of the growing popularity of the area within the diving community, especially among underwater photographers looking for unique critters which are abundant on the black-sand seabed. Suitable land is scarce as the Lembeh Strait is flanked by steep hills, but at around the end of 2014, two adjacent houses in the Christian village of Makawidey were acquired; this provided the opportunity to create a boutique facility for divers, and also a place for travellers seeking a charming retreat to simply relax and enjoy nature’s beauty.
The lodge faces a quaint little island where lively village children dive and swim, and while relaxing in the Wild Mango Restaurant & Bar, you can enjoy a cocktail with sweeping views across the sea towards stunning lime stone hills, a distinguishing feature of the Lembeh Strait; there is also a quiet beach of over 100 meters, where timber fishing boats are still being built by hand and the local fishermen land their catch daily.
Instead of demolishing the two houses and building new blocks, we decided to maintain the character of the location and remodel the houses. The main house facing the sea was structurally sound but like most village houses, it started as a modest dwelling and various extensions were then added later-on. Part of the roof and many internal walls had to be modified, and the corridors were incorporated into the structure. The building was then divided up into eight rooms, each with its own ensuite bathroom. As such, no room is the same as any other. All rooms are unique in size and layout. Some of the floor finishes were also retained, as are obvious structural columns and beams.
The smaller building was also remodelled into the reception area, office, and two other guest rooms. A new double-storey building houses the kitchen and laundry below, and two spacious rooms above with high ceilings and views of the sea. A covered car-porch allows guests to disembark comfortably come rain or shine. Finally, a new thatched-roof restaurant, dive centre and camera room, a 12-m swimming pool and a 50-m jetty complete the facilities which provide for a great stay in a chic and comfortable environment. Covered walkways keep the rain out the moment a guest checks in
All 12 guest rooms are equipped with modern comforts like air-conditioning, ceiling fan, personal safe, mini fridge and hot water. Our water supply is fresh and clean, and comes from an underground spring nearby. Electrical power is backed up by a generator to ensure uninterrupted supply. Internet is free and available throughout the resort. The dive centre is fully equipped, nitrox is on offer and well-designed fibreglass dive boats make diving safe and fun. Cocotinos is well located in the centre of the Lembeh Strait and fronting the lodge are some of the most popular dive sites, namely Makawidey, Jahir and Nudi Retreat.
Cocotinos Lembeh is 50 km from Sam Ratulangi International airport and it takes between 1.5 to 2 hours to get there by car, depending on traffic conditions. The Tangkoko National Park, an airy tropical forest where one can see tarsiers (the smallest monkey in the world), black macaques and “cuscus” (brown sloths), is merely an hour’s drive from the lodge. Tours can be arranged from the front desk.