The Komodo national park is one of the most amazing places in the world with Komodo dragons, world-class diving, and stunning landscapes. With the opening of the Ayana resort Komodo, Komodo’s best luxury hotel, it is now possible to stay in style.
This was my tenth ttrip to Komodo!!!. I have been going back almost every year for the last 12 years and have seen the place grow. I stayed at Ayana at the end of a 5 days diving trip and it is a great place to relax. Read on for my best tips on Komodo and Labuan Bajo.
1. How to get there
Labuan Bajo is the gateway to the Komodo National park and it is getting easier to access. There are about 10 flights a day from Denpasar and Jakarta. The flight time from Denpasar is about 1 hour. Garuda is the best airline to go with, they are the most reliable and permit luggage weight of 20kg. That being said, flights to Labuan Bajo are often delayed so don’t plan a too short connection if you are transiting to an international flight
Getting to Ayana Komodo Resort from the airport is a short 15 minutes scenic drive away. You can book the airport transfer or there are plenty of taxis waiting outside of the airport that will take you to the hotel for about 100,000 rupiah(Equal to 6 Euro)
My review of Komodo’s best luxury hotel has to start with the check-in. I arrived at the Ayana Komodo Resort reception just before noon and there were a lot of people checking out. Fortunately, a few staffs were available and I didn’t wait too long to check in. I was offered a cold drink and towel and was quickly escorted to my room.
The room is really comfortable. At present time, there are no comparable rooms in terms of luxury available in Labuan Bajo.
Decorated with wood and grey/beige tone, it is super relaxing, modern and practical. What makes the room stunning is the view over the Komodo national Park and the Waecicu island.
The bed is super comfortable and I slept like a baby. I have not seen a mosquito or any other insects in the room.
The bathroom has a big bathtub from which you can see the sea if you open the bathroom curtain.
The room had all the standard amenities that one would expect from Komodo’s best luxury hotel including drinking water and tea/coffee making facilities. I loved the animal towels and the personal notes left by the staff. I also loved the bathrobe with a Japanese style. Very convenient to go to the pool.
Tip 1: I also had a look at the suite. They are a bit bigger than the normal rooms. They are located on the corners and have more windows but they didn’t look that different from the normal rooms so I am not sure they are worth the money
Tip 2: Ask for a room on a high floor. They have a slightly nicer view
4. The food
The Ayana Komodo has multiple restaurants and I got to try 3 of them.
Rinca restaurant is located by the pool and has a nice sea view. It is the hotel’s main restaurant and has a buffet type style of serving. I had breakfast there. The location is very pleasant with outside tables. Breakfast was quite diverse with a mix of Asian and European food. It is by far the best breakfast I have had in Komodo over the last 10 years but comes a bit short of the best breakfast in Bali for western food. Asian food was a good part of the breakfast. Even if I like Asian food, I don’t consider myself qualified enough to judge its quality)
Honzen restaurant is located on the 8th floor of the hotel and also has a nice sea view. The food here is Japanese. The menu is extensive and I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Shushi’s. I had tried the other Japanese restaurant in Labuan Bajo a few days earlier. Honzen has much higher quality sushi. Honzen restaurant does meet the standard of Komodo’s best luxury hotel.
Unique bar is located on the Top floor of the hotel. It is outdoor and a great place to relax and watch the sunset. I had finger foods with cocktails and they were quite good.
Tip: Don’t miss the sunset. Labuan Bajo sunset is amongst the nicest sunset I know. The end of the jetty is a nice place to watch it but The Unique rooftop bar is even nicer as you get a panoramic view of all the islands.
If you want to venture out of the hotel, Labuan Bajo main street is about 10 minutes away and it has a growing restaurants scene
The best Italian restaurant in the whole of Indonesia is located in Labuan Bajo so make sure you don’t miss it. Made in Italy has delicious Italian food with service to match. A booking is necessary. Especially if you are traveling in July or August, make sure you book your table a week in advance
Tip: Made in Italy offers free car transport to and from the restaurant
5. The resort and activities
When I visited in November 2018, the resort was still in the pre-opening phase. Despite a bit of construction noise here and there, the quality of the infrastructure and service was already very impressive. Easily making it Komodo’s best luxury hotel. Many of the staffs still are trainees and can be identified by their badge, nonetheless, they provided outstanding service.
The hotel is built alongside a cliff and is about 10 storeys high. The architecture of the balconies is interesting and it feels very good when being in the hotel as most places have an amazing sea view and the design is very pleasant.
However, the hotel is also very built up. They have put a huge concrete building on the 80 or 90% of their land (there are about 2 meters left between the neighbours who are also starting construction). If all the landowners build so much on their land, it makes me wonder what will be left of Labuan Bajo’s coastline. I think if planning regulations are not put in place, it might end up in 10 years looking like the Costa Brava or Fort Lauderdale…
The infinity pool, overlooking the ocean is stunning. They have created an adult only area which is a really nice touch for people wanting quiet. But when I was there, there were kids swimming in the adult pool. Oops. Fortunately, there were not many kids at the hotel while I was there so it was not a big deal and I am sure those little details will get fixed as they move away from the pre-opening stage.
For people with kids, there is a kid’s club that looks very pretty and has plenty of activities. The price ranges from 400000 rupiah to 600000 rupiah for a half or full day.
The beach is also pretty but the water near the beach was a bit murky so not inviting for swimming.
If you want to swim in the sea, the end of the jetty is much nicer. The jetty has a few lounge chairs at the end. What an amazing place to chill out.
The Ayana Komodo resort also has a spa that looks very high end. Unfortunately, I didn’t get time to try it.
The gym is fabulous, right by the sea. They offer daily complementary classes.
I tried the yoga at the end of the day. The location on a platform in the sea is awesome
The resort offers kayaks for rent.
A trip to Komodo will not be complete without an encounter with the Komodo dragon at Rinca or Komodo island which are half a day or a day trip away.
For those wanting to explore further, Ayana also offers 3 days cruise on their luxury boat Ayana Lokadia. It is very convenient for people staying at Ayana Komodo Resort as the boat departs from the hotel pier
Tip: Bring a hat, sunscreen and water as the islands where the Komodo dragons hang out are very hot with little shade
6. Snorkelling and diving
Most people come to Komodo for snorkelling and diving as the reefs are world class. Due to the marine protected areas, no fishing is allowed in the national park so it is possible to see more big fishes than in most places (sharks, manta rays, tunas, barracudas, dolphins…)
For more info, on diving in Komodo and other practical tips, please read my page here. I also provide information about diving in Maumere and Kupang that are only a short flight away from Labuan Bajo and are a great trip extension if you have more time
There is also a small reef for snorkelling at the end of the jetty in front of the hotel. It is so close to town, I wasn’t expecting much. But decided to explore it before breakfast. Swimming in the sea early in the morning is a great way to wake up.
It was better than expected with quite a few corals and fishes. Of course, it doesn’t compare to the reefs in the national park. So, make sure you book day trips the various islands and dive sites
Tip: From the jetty, the reef is straight and to the left. I found the section on the left side of the jetty the prettiest. The first few minutes only had tiny corals but if you keep going for about 10 minutes until the drop-off, it becomes prettier.
Note: my pictures are a bit murky because I was there around the full moon. It was very windy and the water visibility was therefore not that great.
The Ayana Komodo resort is by far Komodo’s best luxury hotel. It is a stunning property that invites relaxation. This resort caters to individuals and family but also to business people due to a large amount of meeting rooms they have.
The Komodo national park is a must do destination and this is the place to be while in Komodo. Make sure you allow a few extra days to your itinerary to chill by the pool.
Rates starting at US$250. Compare the best rates and book your stay on Hotel Combined
Have you ever experienced Ayana Komodo resort? I would love to hear from you! You can leave a comment below.