We stayed here for four nights having traveled for about 6 hours to get here from Kuching.
The hotel design is based on a traditional long house. This means that there is a large airy communal hall way at the front (which all the rooms lead off) which is empty. I though the hotel could have made a bit more use of this space and perhaps provided some armchairs or something like that. It was this hall that faced on to the lake (which accords with tradition). Although it was nice that the design was authentic it did mean that the rooms do not have a view of the lake - instead ours faced a grass bank. This made the room really dark. Apart from this the rooms were okay, although the bathroom was a bit grotty.
There was a lovely ambiance around the rest of the hotel although the furniture and facilities in the rest of the hotel looked really dated. For example, many of the chair cushions were ripped, faded and fraying, both the pool and table tennis tables were on their last legs and the swimming pool area could have done with some new sunbeds.
Some of the staff we met could have been a bit more polite and the service in the restaurant was incredibly slow, even on nights when it wasn't particularly busy. It always felt like there weren't enough staff to serve everyone. The staff that did the nature walks however were lovely and very kind.
The food was particularly average and very expensive for what it was. As there is nothing else around and you are a captive audience it did feel a bit like you were being taken for a ride given the high price and poor quality. But I suppose they do have to transfer everything in by boat which must put up the cost. On the way to the hotel we stocked up on water and beer to avoid paying the high prices - the only issue with this was having to carry it up the steps from the jetty to the hotel.
There isn't much to do here - unless you are happy just relaxing by the pool - be prepared to pay high prices for trips organised by the hotel, or try and organise ones in advance through travel agents based in Kuching.
We did a jungle trek which was enjoyable but watch out for the leeches - my advice is to wear long trousers and tuck them into your socks. There are also free morning and evening nature walks organised by the hotel - we didn't see any animals but you get to go on a rope bridge and there are views over to Kalimantan. We also hired canoes (I don't really recommend this as the current was too strong - it turned out to be really hard work!) and we went to a Iban Longhouse. This was fantastic - I especially loved taking the longboat there.
In conclusion I'm really glad I went here for the experience but I wouldn't return. The hotel lets itself down by its jaded decor, slow service and overpriced indifferent food.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set on the edge of the world's most ancient rainforest on the island of Borneo, the Batang Ai Longhouse Resort, Managed by Hilton is a self-contained haven on the 20 hectares shore of the Batang Ai Lake peninsula.275 km from Kuching city, the resort is surrounded by tropical rainforest just waiting to be explored.It takes a 4-hour drive and a 20-minute boat ride to get to the resort. A daily shuttle service is available from Hilton Kuching. A fee is applicable. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Batang Ai Longhouse Resort, Managed By Hilton Hotel Kuching
- Hilton International Kuching
- Hilton Kuching
- Kuching Hilton