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“Lovely surroundings but needs a refurb” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Batang Ai Longhouse Resort, Managed by Hilton

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Batang Ai Longhouse Resort, Managed by Hilton
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Batang Ai, Lubok Antu 95900, Malaysia   |  
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Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Lubok Antu
Birmingham, England
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
“Lovely surroundings but needs a refurb”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2007

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.

  • Liked — The sunsets from the front of the Longhouse
  • Disliked — Being ripped off for food, drink and trips
  • Stayed June 2007
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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373 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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Wales
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2007

The hotel is listed as a 5*. It is nowhere near that rating. The service and food are poor. The rooms are dark and dismal. The view we had was of a grass bank. The area surrounding the hotel is beautiful. However that beauty is a man made lake created by a dam.

The visit to the Long House was good, but not worth the stay at a bad hotel.

Adrian James

  • Liked — Nothing
  • Disliked — Dark and dismal
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Enfield, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2007

We spent four nights at Batang Ai and loved every minute of it. The scenery was beautiful as were the sunsets. We went out every day in longboats along the rivers, trekking in the rain forest and enjoying delicious barbecues on the river beaches. The staff were friendly and any requests were promptly attended too. We would definitely recommend a stay there - we were sorry to leave.

  • Liked — The fact that it was in traditional longhouse style and unobtrusive
  • Disliked — View from the window
  • Stayed June 2007
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
166 reviews 166 reviews
98 hotel reviews
Reviews in 103 cities Reviews in 103 cities
217 helpful votes 217 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2007

This is not the worst hotel in the World but it is not really worth spending the time travelling to it and staying there. Other reviewers are correct, rooms are unique but dark, musty and viewless. The food is naff and relatively expensive, the staff poorly trained and motivated and its not especially clean. But surely its worth it just to be in the middle if the rainforest? Well no, not for me. The scenery is all very much the same and you will be amazed at how little wildlife there is. Don't waste your time here, you will see more wildlife, have better walks and meet nicer people virtually anywhere else in Borneo. Go to Damai Beach, for instance.

  • Liked — Unique character
  • Disliked — Dingy
  • Stayed April 2007
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds UK
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2007

Our stay at the Batang Ai came after 3 nights oposite a careoke bat at the Hilton in Kuching. We had not slept at all there but had enjoyed the culture and the adventure of the city although we had been confused by the level of modern living in the city as it was extremely modern and very high tech.

The journey to the Batang Ai was by coach and took hours. All he way there our local guide had said to us we wouold not enjoy the solitude of the hotel but after taking the lovely ride in the launch accross the man made lake we finally arrived to the breathtaking view of the hotel which is only accessible by the launch and which does require some stamina to even get up to the reception area because there are a lot of stairs. The guide tells you that the staff do not carry up your bags and also tells you to bring a small amount of clothes with you. The staff are more than happy to carry up the bags and are not concerned by a full suitecase so don't worry about this.

The food is basic but extremely edible although I did not enjoy the barbeques and in particular t barbequed quails! The a la carte is a good choice. The drinks do seem expensive but they are all brought over water there and are not as expensive as going out in Leeds so don't be too alarmed at the price [Our bar bill with water, beers, spirits, wine and evening meals and snacks includig some a la carte food was approximately £280 for 2 people or the huge sum of £14 per person per day] as we were very pleased with that

The pool was lovely, the walks were hot and energetic, the trips out were truely amazing - all by longboat - and the staff were lovely [if you bother to try to be polite and talk to them] It is their culture to allow you to enjoy yourself withouthtem interfering with you so they don't swoop on you and serve you to death as theytend to do with smart efficiency in the cities, but they are all local longhouse dwelling people, they travel to the hotel every day by the launch and think their English ispoor so do not try too hard to chat to you unless you encourage them and then they are particularly nice [niceness repayse with niceness]

The rooms were fine [dark and cool and all wooden] the wild life was exciting with bats all over the place and a few dozen swallows nesting in the porch way]

The best experience was hiring a fishing line that was a piece of nylon strung onto the middle of a palm leaf with a hook on the end. We sat for 2 hours with a small bag of bait [bread and prawns] and caught tropical fish in mirror clear water.

I can honestly say that when we left and went back to Kuching for a further 2 nights we have never felt so relaxed and at peace with the world and that feeling stayed with us for months after we returned.

Borneo was fgantastic - go there and enjoy but don't expect Savill Row or London service because you will be disapointed. The fct that this is a far away place which takes 24 hours to reach door to door and is a window into a new culture and very different way of life must be the thing that attracted you to go there so expect something new and don't get upset about it when it really does turn out to be extremely enjoyable

  • Liked — The peace and quiet
  • Disliked — People telling me I wouldn't like it
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Basel, Switzerland
Top Contributor
151 reviews 151 reviews
105 hotel reviews
Reviews in 99 cities Reviews in 99 cities
230 helpful votes 230 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2007

Me & my partner both had the same idea crossing our mind: it is the perfect place for an Agatha Christie crime story, due to it's isolated location on an island in an artificial lake. A crime could happen there unnoticed by the outside world.... but, hehe, of course, nothing of this happened at all. On the contrary, it was a very nice, most unusual place which we enjoyed very much. The perfect place to relax for a day or two, and do the highly recommended tour to the Iban longhouse, a unique experience for us.

Considering the remote location, the services are really outstanding. The rooms are fine, a bit small, while there is a large communal space outside the rooms. But, having seen the longhouses where the Iban live, I have to say they copied the longhouse style very nicely and adapted it to international hotel standards.

The visit at the Iban longhouse was a very pleasant experience. We could wander around the house freely and take pictures and were welcomed very friendly by its inhabitants. You are expected to bring some gifts along. The driver on the transfer from the Kuching Hilton will help you to buy the right gifts, it cost us about 50 Ringgit.

There is a daily transfer from the Kuching Hilton to the Batang Ai Hilton. It leaves at 08.00 and arrives at 1pm. The return transfer leaves at noon and arrives at 17h45 in Kuching. We were told we would return around 16h30, but no way, this is not possible. Driving time is about 4h15, plus 30 min. coffee/shopping break, plus a 20 min. boat ride.

The hotel offers a number of tours and walks, for nature lovers, there is definitely a lot to do. I would recommend the hotel for a 2 or 3 nights stay. However, be warned that paradise comes at a price. While the price for room and breakfast is quite moderate (we paid USD 60.-- per night), alcoholic drinks and snacks are quite expensive. A can of Tiger beer will set you back 25 Ringgit. So, it is recommended to bring your own beer along, for a good-night drink in the room or so. However, the price for the dinner buffet was within reason. Tours are also quite expensive. Half an hour of internet will cost you 10 Ringgit (normal in Malaysia: 2 Ringgit, outside hotel).

All in all, a most pleasant stay, highly recommended.

  • Liked — Tropical garden, pool, great views, Iban longhouse excursion
  • Disliked — Expensive beer
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
brighton
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2007

This is classed as a 5 star Hotel but we didn't really think this was true. Although the location is excellent and it is a very relaxing resort, the rooms were not very large and were certainly not
as clean as they should be and due to them being constructed of wood there was a clear damp smell. The restaurant has you captive as there
is no other choice and thge food was well below what you would expect. The A La Carte was basic and for vegetarians there was very limited choice and the quality was very poor, even a basic pizza was wrong and practically inedible with processed cheese slices as the topping!

The staff were very nice though.....Beware of the drinks prices too
... a small beer cost 22.50 ringets with tyhe service and tax which is over £3.00 and there is nowhere else to buy anything from. Also a bottle of water was 8.00 ringets.

Stayed March 2007
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 Batang Ai Longhouse Resort, Managed by Hilton

Address: Batang Ai, Lubok Antu 95900, Malaysia
Phone Number:
Location: Malaysia > Sarawak > Lubok Antu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Lubok Antu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Batang Ai Longhouse Resort, Managed by Hilton 3.5*
Number of rooms: 100
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

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