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“Gate of Paradise for divers.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sipadan Mabul Resort

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Sipadan Mabul Resort
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P O Box 15571 Kota Kinabalu, Pulau Mabul 91307, Malaysia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pulau Mabul
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Gate of Paradise for divers.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2012

We, total 12 persons, had travelled to this gate of paradise during April 14-18, 2012 for scuba diving trip purpose. It had been some dificultiies to travel from Bangkok to this resort, 2 filghts+1 hour speed boat from nearest pier Semporna to the Mabul island.
But once we reached there, all tired gone away.

All staffs is very nice and friendly. The atmosphere is naturally and peacefully.
Room is good, neat and clean. No TV inside may be inconvenient to sombody, but outdoor is more interesting.
Diving service team is very great. All is specialist & very friendly service. Our safety is their 1st priority. We can do both snorkeling & scuba diving around this Mabul island, Kapalai island, or go to Sipadan island.

Due to Malaysia law has restricted only 120 divers entry allowances per day to Sipadan island. And this resort get only 14 divers/day only. It's better check & confirm with the resort before travel. Otherwise, you have to buy this entry quota from others resort which is cost 550 RM.

Our group were lucky to get entry quota to Sipadan island. We had found all sea creatures we wish to see. To our group, paradise is under water around these islands.

Ofcourse, we will be back again soon.

Room Tip: Water Bungalow is better view & near to snorkeling point. But beach bungalow is also good.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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122 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (24)
Date | Rating
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English first
Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2012

First off, we loved our stay at the Sipadan Mabul Resort. I have read many reviews, and can agree with many of the positive but also less positive reviews. Still, the so-called 'negative' comments I make below are merely made for anyone to whom those things are important. Given the reason why we stayed at this resort in the first place, which you'll read at the end of this review, well, I guess you'll probably understand why the joy we had the 'negatives' couldn't take it away.

For the price you pay to stay at the resort the room could be better equipped. It had no tv (no problem for us!), and no telephone (so you'll need to go over to the office for any queries). The air-con worked fine, but the ceiling fan worked whenever it felt like doing so.

I agree with another review that it's like a breath of fresh air to see they do not put price tags on everything in the room. However, while you are at the resort, and if you would like to make a few extra dives, or when the resort offers you an extra trip to Sipadan, make sure you iron out the details before signing on to make sure you don't pay more than expected. It's not that there are 'hidden' costs, but it is our experience that details are not always communicated clear enough. So you'll need to ask in detail what you may expect from the arrangement, and what is expected from you, especially in terms of payment.

Having said so, the friendliness of all the staff makes you forget any such concerns as those mentioned above. They really go to lengths to make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as it can get. We went to Mabul primarily to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We had inquired after the possibility of dining on the beach, instead of the restaurant. We didn't expect too much, which made the surprise even bigger. The night of our anniversary the resort surprised us with a beautiful table, set with several dishes of delightful food, a song sung by some 15 staff, including the manager, and an enormous wedding anniversary cake.

I took a refresher course with a divemaster, Patrick, and enjoyed every minute of it. It had been many years since my last dive, but Patrick made me feel as if it was only yesterday. He is a sublime instructor. I'd love to dive with him again. I also joined my wife for some snorkeling, and the boat crew took us to the best snorkeling sides around Mabul.

It's a very nice location to stay for a week or more, if you plan to dive. If you plan to enjoy the view, or go for some snorkeling, I'd suggest you cut it short to 4 or 5 days. If you don't like polution, well, I suggest you stay within the resort, because next to the resort is the village (it's more of a slum, actually), where many of the workers and other people live. The backpackers dive centres, located at these slums, contribute probably to most of the polution (the locals at least try to clear the rubbish, as far as we could see it). It's cheap to stay and dive there, but you really get what you pay for. It's like "close your eyes while you're at the dive centre, and only open them when you're safely under water at one of the nicer dive locations" (it's probably wise to open them at least to check your gear, before getting into to the water). Anyway, the sea there is really polluted, with all sorts of plastic floating around. One of the turtles we saw actually tried to poop out plastic that it had swallowed.

Would we go again? Probably not. Because of the staff? No. Because of the condition of the resort? No. Because of price-quality comparison? Yes. Because of pollution and overcrowding? Yes. Because the diving and snorkeling was less exciting than expected? Yes.

But, of course, that's all just my opinion.

Room Tip: Room 152 has a nice beach view.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2012

I read review after review for this trip and am SO happy that we finally chose to stay at Sipadan Mabul Resort. Everything was fantastic. We were in one of the stand alone chalets which I would definitely recommend. It had everything you need - VERY comfy beds, toiletries, warm shower and good aircon. The food was also good. Dont expect 5 star western cuisine - but I was never left hungry that is for sure! The resort is also very clean and tehre is a pool and jacuzzi. The highlights were the amazing people - all of staff were so warm and welcoming -Jacki, Jen and Neneng were especially great - and of course SIPADAN! WOW just breathtaking. We saw loads of turtles, schools of barracuda, bumphead parrotfish and white tip reef sharks. So many fish and beautiful corals. It really is a piece of paradise and I feel so priveledged to have been there.

Absolutely no complaints - would go back there in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2012

We had two very nice bungalows with AC and fridge. The whole area is cleaned and raked constantly. All the staff is smiling and friendly. You can go snorkeling at the water bungalows (or have a drink there).
The diving is very well organized for the divers as well as for the snorkelers which is not always the case in diving places. We could all go to sipadan on the same day which was great.
There was always snacks and drinks available. Buffet was in good quantity and you could find something for everyone. The dive master (King) was excellent and showed us so many things.
There was an atmosphere of trust (not with price list of everything which is in the room like you find now) which is also not so common nowadays.
There are nasty stingrays near the beach so you cannot swim there, I think that is the only drawback.
I would love to go back.

Room Tip: The deluxe bungalows are really bigger and woth it.
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2012

Jewel of the island. Great dive spot. Staff are friendly and service are good. Will come back again...

  • Stayed February 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Zealand
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2012

We had a family holiday at this resort the end of August 2011. We were so looking forward to diving at Sipidan but could only do so by paying extra as we were only there a few nights. We had a week to see Sabah so couldn't spend 5 days on the island. 2 of us had poisoning which didn't help either. Diving at Sipidan was amazing and we still talk about it for 2 reasons. One - the diving was just fantastic and Two -my daughter's camera was stoen out of her bag on the dive boat when everyone was in the water except boat staff. The management of the SMART Resort didn't want to know and after several conversations, which got us nowhere, we had to leave. Rude management at a resort is not the best advertisment for visitors. Have never heard from them since either. When at Mt Kinabalu later on our trip we met 2 divers who were at Sipidan the same day as us and someone else had had their camera stolen the same day. So fellow divers,when you go out to Sipidan diving, check your bags when you come out of the water after each dive. Our dive master was fantastic and very helpful but it spoils a holiday when your camera is stolen.

Room Tip: The chalets were lovely and the airconditioning was great.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Malaysia
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2011

It is an isolated island in the middle of no where (Mabul Island). As if you are mainly into diving only, you may consider to go for their Standard room which i found it is too basic for ME (since i am not diver but leisure). For those honeymooners or leisure traveller, you may consider to top up for more to stay in Stand-Alone chalet or move to their next door MABUL WATER BUNGALOW (it is realy fantastic) which is the same management.
The meals serve are basic and the activities provided is limited apart from snorkeling and diving. The beach for Mabul SMART site are okei and the water at Mabul WATER BUNGALOW site are fabulous!
The cons are the resort does not have any TV in room and the island attached to a village, hence you will expect to see the locals walking around in the resort BUT they are friendly!

Room Tip: Standard room has basic ammenities which i think is more suitable for those interested only into the...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sipadan Mabul Resort

Address: P O Box 15571 Kota Kinabalu, Pulau Mabul 91307, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Mabul
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Pulau Mabul
Number of rooms: 42
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
SIPADAN-MABUL RESORT (SMART) is situated at Mabul Island overlooking the well-known Sipadan Island. It is a dive destination resort that began its modest operations back in 1993 and has since grown into a well-established and reputable resort as it is today. SMART has 42 land-based chalets (22 unit stand-alone detached chalets, 18 unit standard semi-detached chalets and 2 unit suite chalets) which can accommodate up to 84 guests at any one time. All chalets are built from native materials of Borneo, mostly twin-bedded, equipped with mosquito screens, air-conditioning and come with attached bathrooms with hot shower facilities as well as free Wi-Fi internet access in the room. Other facilities include a swimming pool, Jacuzzi whirlpool spa, large dining hall and bars. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sipadan Mabul Hotel Pulau Mabul

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