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“more a retreat than a resort” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Permai Rainforest Resort

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Permai Rainforest Resort
3.0 of 5 Resort   |   Teluk Penyu, Kuching 93050, Malaysia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 47 Hotels in Kuching
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
85 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
“more a retreat than a resort”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

Others have summed up this resort quite well - the treehouse was worth the effort as it genuinely was very pleasant to be amongst the trees, with the sea just a few metres down the slope. The fly screens mean that you can open doors and large windows on three sides and really experience the sights and sounds of the coastal rainforest. We saw a family of silver langur monkeys, including a cute orange baby, just by looking out of the windows / and from the balcony. It was cool enough at night to sleep with the ceiling fan on and windows open. Bathroom and fittings are very simple.

I would say that this is more a "retreat" than a "resort" as it lacks the kind of facilities and service some might expect given the name. The natural pool is probably only nice to swim in during wetter times of the year. Whilst we were there (end of dry season), it obviously hadn't been flushed through for some time and looked a bit stagnant. We accepted this as part of the natural scheme of things, but I advise others to be aware that you may or may not end up using the pool, depending on its condition.

The beach is pleasant enough, but the water at Damai is quite cloudy due to sediment from a nearby river. Again, this is natural, but people expecting crystal clear water may be disappointed. We only swam to cool off after kayaking. The boat trip to Bako was convenient and quick. As other have pointed out, the short rainforest loop walk (1.5 hours) is actually quite challenging. Probably not for those with small children.

Given the previous mixed reviews, we found the cafe quite good. It was a very nice place to watch the sunset with a cold drink after a long day of outdoors activity! There is a new Australian Food and Beverage Manager who is busy making improvements and has plenty more planned. Overall the staff were very helpful, however I felt the reception staff were a weak link. This important part of the business ought not to be left in the hands of staff whose English is poor and level of initiative even poorer. The duty manager had to keep rescuing them, and I wondered how they manage when he is not around.

Overall I'm glad we stayed - the place has much more character than the bland Damai Resort next door. It is a good location for exploring attractions in the vicinity, but is not such a great base for visits to Semengoh or the caves at Bau. For this reasons, we found 3 nights to be just right.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank melscottmax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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381 reviews from our community

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Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2012

We needed a break from the city and this was perfect! No tv, no internet, no noisy traffic and no shopping. Just the sounds of surf and jungle. We loved the treehouse and had no need of the aircon during our 4 night stay.
It was clean, basic and comfortable. Service is good. People are friendly and helpful.
There is only 1 cafe for meals.
We stayed a night in a cabin that has room for 6 to sleep in. That was ok too but I definitely prefer the treehouse.
We lounged in our treehouse one afternoon and were entertained by silver leaf monkeys swinging by in the trees around us. That was a wonderful afternoon for photography.
We did a couple of boat tours but they were so-so. The jungle trail is much more interesting.
Will definitely return to this resort for a weekend getaway if I get the chance again.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank WLinC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver Island
Level Contributor
26 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2012

This is a good short break from Kuching. The resort is basic, but comfortable and clean. The 90 minute jungle trek is not always easy, but a good way to use the departure morning. We experienced what can happen at any hotel/resort. All night partying from neighbours. The difference here is that there is no phone system to reception and it can be a 10 minute walk to reception in the dark, without a torch. So it's hard to do anything about it. It's a shame that some people want to go to the "jungle" to abort the quiet. I'm not sure how they coped with the $4US "corkage" fee due for a can of beer bought in from outside the resort ?

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank arlomcc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Level Contributor
21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2012 via mobile

We booked well in advance and as recommended we booked the treehouse. We sent an email to confirm two days before but did not receive an email back, as this has happened in Malaysia before we were not surprised however upon arrival at Kuching airport at 11pm there was no shuttle service to be found. We rang the resort and after a bit of time they told us to come by taxi. At this point the taxi had just clicked to 50% more so 105rm. Although this wasn't a great start- the service was fine after that- we received a small refund for the taxi. Staff all really friendly.

Resort itself is well kept with a nice little beach, the cultural village is surprisingly good would definitely recommend a visit. The food is not fantastic pretty bland with warm beer.

Only downside is that the weather is unpredictable and if it's not on your side the trips are cancelled (even the walks) therefore you can find yourself at a lose end.

Would recommend a max of 3 nights and don't forget your shampoo and conditioner only soap is provided.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank lwarbie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2012

If you want a touch of the real Borneo but don't want to leave too many home comforts behind you, then I cannot recommend Permai Rainforest resort too highly. Rahim, the manager, is trained in Ecology and it shows in every aspect. There are all kinds of accomodation here to suit every budget. The Tree Houses are superb, set up in the branches, overlooking the sea, so close you can hear the waves shifting the sands below you. They are weathered on the outside and all newly refurbished, new mattresses etc. inside. Opening the door is an amazing contrast as the outside blends so well with the trees. This holiday I parked a tent on the camp site, with 5 other groups of friends, for the Rainforest Music Festival and what an experience it was for all of us. Everyone wants to return. The beach nearby is superb and practically private for the campers, we just rolled out of our sleeping bags onto the sand and into the gentle waves. The ablution blocks are well supplied and clean. The staff and incredibly friendly and helpful. The menu is diverse, well presented and very well priced. Meal come with a view to die for in the large open air wooden restaurant overlooking the tree tops to the sea. If you want a truly authentic jungle walk you must try the one hour loop at the resort. I have been on many many jungle treks in my 7 years on Borneo and there is none that can beat this one for diversity, beauty and ease of accessibility. Truly, if you are in Kuching, don't miss this place, you'll never forget it.

Room Tip: All the tree houses are amazing, and the camp site is the best you are ever likely to find anywhere...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
Helpful?
3 Thank JackyCSM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2012

We stayed here in March / April 2011 and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Contrary to some reviews it's a wonderful place to be and we couldn't complain in any way about the treetop cabin we were put in. You won't get a 5* wooden hut in the jungle for pennies, so why expect it - that's just daft!. If you want that then don't go on holiday. The accommodation is appropriate for the country and whilst outr views of the sea were a little hidden by the trees it was wonderful none the less. The food on site was simply delicious and we became so addicted to the banana pancakes for breakfast we now have them at home on weekends! The staff are so friendly it's untrue and the shuttle service to the airport and the nearby town is both convenient and good value for money. If you want a get awa with solitude and an eco friendly slant then this is a fab place to stay. We only wished we'd stayed longer than 4 days.

Room Tip: Book a treetop house - they're unique and you're unlikely to stay anywhre like this again.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 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
Helpful?
3 Thank JMarsden101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
23 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

This was our first stop on our honeymoon - and it couldn't have been better! We arrived to Kuching airport and were promptly greeted by a Permai representative holding a name sign - the kind gentleman took our (heavy) bags into the Permai transport vehicle and we started the 60 minute trek (light traffic) to the resort. Upon our arrival we met with the property manager (who greeted us by name) and explained the different activities we had to think about during our stay. Our bags were carted off to our treehouse (WHICH WAS AWESOME) and we were thrilled to see that even though originally there were no queen bed options available (when we reserved) that we had a big bed instead of two single beds.

The view from our treehouse was something you'd see in a movie - and the sound of the water gently brushing against some rocks was quite soothing.

Our honeymoon package included breakfast, a dinner, an evening mangrove tour, and a beautiful bouquet of flowers for my wife. We had several wonderful (and very cost-effective) meals at the Rainforest Cafe, and enjoyed their free WIFI.

Our activities were staffed with locals who were full of knowledge about all things local - including while on our boat tour (DO THE 3-in-1, well worth it! Ask for Captain Jack and Rudy!) we saw dolphins, crocs, and surprisingly a probiscus monkey. We felt quite lucky!

The resort went above and beyond what we were expecting when they did all they could to help us get to our next hotel in downtown Kuching (so that we could get to the Orang Utan sanctuary and feeding time).

THIS PLACE IS A MUST FOR AT LEAST TWO NIGHTS, but more if you have the time. The treehouse was like nothing I had even stayed in before, and the option to turn on the AC at night was something that kept my mind at ease all day.

We spent time on both of their beaches and made it into the water about neck deep - the water was warm and refreshing, although a little cloudy.

There are many options in that part of Kuching, however we felt Permai provided the most unique experience of them all. I've traveled to many places (as has my wife) and this is indeed something special and suitable for about anyone.

Room Tip: Treehouse 2 was where we stayed, close to the entrance, food, and activity starting points.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 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
Helpful?
4 Thank FromtheWindy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
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Additional Information about Permai Rainforest Resort

Address: Teluk Penyu, Kuching 93050, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sarawak > Kuching
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Kuching
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Kuching
Price Range (Based on Average Rates):
Hotel Class:3 star — Permai Rainforest Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 39
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Permai Rainforest Resort is an eco-resort set in pristine Borneo rainforest located by the beach at the foot of mystical Mount Santubong, Sarawak. Carefully designed to minimize impact on the natural environment, it offers a unique rainforest experience and a variety of activities from dolphin watching to high ropes courses and guided kayaking tours. Just 40 minutes from the Kuching, its an ideal way to experience Borneo. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Permai Rainforest Hotel Kuching
Permai Rainforest Resort Kuching, Sarawak

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