On my 11th(!) trip to Komodo, I decided to try the new Hotel called The Seraya. I'm glad that I did: The Seraya has become one of my favorite hotels in Komodo. Everything from the rooms down to the food is spot on. Read on to find out what made my stay at The Seraya so enjoyable.
Getting to The Seraya in Komodo
Getting to Komodo has become more accessible with each passing year. Labuan Bajo is the gateway to Komodo.
There are plenty of flights to Labuan Bajo every day, from Denpasar, Jakarta, Kupang, and even Manado. There are currently no international flights to Labuan Bajo, so you'll still need to connect in another Indonesian city.
Once in Labuan Bajo, The Seraya had a driver waiting for me at the airport. It was only a five-minute drive from the airport to the port, where The Seraya organizes a shuttle boat to their island. There are two free shuttle boats every day, at 11 am and 3:30 pm, and it's a 45-minute boat trip to the island. If you arrive outside the scheduled shuttle times, you can also easily charter your own boat.
My transfer was very quick. The plane landed at 10:30 am, and I was relaxing on Seraya Island by noon. If you have some time to wait before your boat to the island, I recommend lunch at Made in Italy. It is, in my opinion, the best Italian restaurant in Indonesia, so it's not a bad way to pass the time.
I was greeted on the pier by Will and Georgina, the brother and sister who manage the hotel.
What makes The Seraya unique is not the traditional pampering of luxury resorts, but the exceptional location and the warm welcome. One cannot avoid the feeling of being at the end of the world on a deserted island. This is a place for any Robinson Crusoe wannabe who also wants a bit of comfort.
The bamboo buildings give it a “Six Senses Hotels” feeling, but the place is much more simple than Six Senses.
The staff was very friendly and proactive, often greeting me by name. When my drone got stuck in a tree (beginner's mistake!), Ryan offered to help me within minutes. He climbed the tree to recover the drone. Thank you Ryan!
The rooms at The Seraya
There are eight beach bungalows, as well as eight bungalows further away from the beach. All the cottages are relatively new.
I stayed in a Beachfront Bungalow for my stay at The Seraya. I will always be glad I made this choice. The architecture, feel, and surroundings of the Beachfront Bungalows are amazing.
The room is made of bamboo and feels so refreshing that I felt like I was sleeping on the beach. The room opens to a balcony which has a lovely beach view to enjoy. The bathrooms associated with the beachfront bungalow are open air and have a very natural and soothing vibe about them. The walls of the bathroom are of bamboo as well.
The room is on the small side, but it's well-equipped, with air-conditioning, hot water, and a safety box. The attention to detail is great. I found insect repellent in the room, as well as a beach bag with beach towels, which was a nice touch.
The furniture in the room is quite practical as well as luxuriant. The wooden cupboards are quite spacious and can accommodate all your luggage. The wooden frame of the bed and the daybed seemed so inviting after the days full of adventure. The bed was comfortable. What a luxury it is to fall asleep to the sound of the waves.
So, all in all, the Beachfront Bungalow is the best choice if you stay at The Seraya as it has the best location right on the beach.
The rooms at The Seraya might not be the most luxurious around Komodo (see my review of Ayana Komodo if you're looking for sheer luxury). They are quite simple, with no TV, no internet, and limited amenities. But what they lack in sophistication they make up for with style and beachside location.
The food at The Seraya
The Seraya offers downright mouth-watering food, which leaves you feeling full and happy. The locally-produced food has a rich flavor and taste.
Dinner is served family style. Everyone, including the managers, sit at a large communal table, which is a great way to meet the other travelers in the hotel. Will and Georgina, the managers, had plenty of exciting stories to share. The food is simple, and the menu is fixed every night. They are, however, very accommodating of dietary requirements. The dinner is three courses with different veg and non-veg options. Dinner was served in the manta-shaped bamboo building which has mesmerizing views. The cool breeze gently ruffles your hair while you eat the most amazing and delicious food.
They serve a simple breakfast with basic items, and that is probably the one thing that could be improved at The Seraya.
What to do at The Seraya ?
Relaxing on the beach at The Seraya
People come to Seraya to enjoy the tropical island life. The beach and the local reef are beautiful and uncrowded.
The beach has the loveliest blue waters for swimming and water sports. There is an incredible house reef snorkeling experience which is sure to give you the thrills you're looking for.
I spent the vast majority of my two days at The Seraya on the beach, listening to the waves. I would alternate between my bungalow balcony and the lounge chairs on the beach.
There is also a beautiful pool, but it was unfortunately under maintenance during my stay.
Island hopping, kayaking, and snorkeling around the Seraya islands
The Seraya provides kayaks and paddleboards free of charge. You can kayak to the nearby islands in about 20 minutes.
The island is beautiful and there is lots of wildlife to see. During our snorkeling outing, we saw about 20 baby sharks – that was so cool!
The island is also home to a coral restoration project run by Coral Guardians that seems to be quite successful. It is interesting to see the work being done to restore the reefs.
I also went around Seraya Besar with a boat. There are many beautiful vast empty beaches over there.
Diving and exploring the Komodo National Park
If you're feeling more active, the hotel organizes day trips to the Komodo National Park.
The dive center of The Seraya was just opening the week I was there. The two dive instructors managing it were super friendly. You can choose to dive locally or to go to the Komodo National Park for the day.
They have a large boat called the Dalliance for comfortable day trips. It takes about the same time to reach the Komodo National Park from Labuan Bajo as it does from The Seraya , which makes the hotel a great option for divers who also want a beach holiday.
You can find out more about diving in Komodo in my article here.
It's worth noting that the local dives are also quite exciting and a lot less crowded than the dives at Komodo National Park. I did two local dives and was positively surprised. The reef ranges from destroyed to great. There were lots of fishes. We saw sharks and turtles. I was told that they saw dugong on the house reef a few days before my arrival.
The pretty house reef and great local dives make The Seraya a great place to do your open water as you can go and dive straight from the pier. The proximity of the reef makes it a better option for beginners divers than Labuan Bajo.
What is the best hotel in Komodo – Ayana Komodo or The Seraya ?
It really depends on what you are looking for.
If you want a high-tech room with oversize bathtub, TV, spa, restaurant choices, and great views, you will be happier at Ayana Komodo. It meets all the criteria of traditional 5-star hotels but their beach us underwhelming and it can feel crowded with kids at time. See my review of Ayana Komodo here. The Ayana is probably better if you have only a 1-night stay as it is just 15 minutes drive from the airport
If you want to get away from civilization, spend time on a beach that looks like a private beach, live in a simple bamboo bungalow, meet people and get welcomed personally by the hotel managers, then you will be happier at The Seraya . You should spend at least 2 nights there to make it worthwhile and really enjoy the slow-paced vide. I personally think The Seraya is now my favorite hotel in Komodo!
Sustainability at The Seraya
The Seraya cares about sustainability. Wastewater is managed with a bio septic tank, and grey water is re-used to water the garden. They are currently installing a water desalinization plant to avoid having to import water from the mainland.
The Seraya is also supporting Coral Guardian. Coral Guardian has a project to restore corals on the island. They plant coral garden beds, and the new coral seems to be growing fast!
The Seraya is a little paradise on a remote island. It is a perfect place to relax before or after your liveaboard. It is also a great base from which to explore the Komodo National Park if you want to make day trips. It's definitely a place I'd be happy to stay again.