We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Luxurious place to stay in primary rainforest - a very special place” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Borneo Rainforest Lodge

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Danum Valley Conservation Area
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Borneo Rainforest Lodge
Save
You added Borneo Rainforest Lodge to your Saves list
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Danum Valley Conservation Area 88100, Malaysia   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Luxurious place to stay in primary rainforest - a very special place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2010

An expensive place to stay but worth it. The main building is beautiful - a comfortable place to sit with great views of trees or the river. Excellent food and masses of choice in the buffets. Staff are wonderfully helpful and go out of their way to make your stay special.
The main reason for us going was to experience the real primary rainforest. So the main activity was walking with a guide. Our guide discussed with us which walks we wanted to do and was excellent at pointing out wildlife in the forest which we would have missed. If you want to see particular animals they will do their best to find them but really this is a place to experience the rainforest as a whole and just enjoy whatever plants and insects/animals you come across.
Leaches were not really a problem - leach socks can be bought there and they seemed effective, along with occasional leach checks as we were walking along. Electric mosquito coils were provided in the rooms if you were troubled by mosquitos or flying insects (we weren't)
The animals can sometimes come right up to the lodge - the monkeys in the trees out the front provided a whole afternoon of entertainment as they raced around. King, a large male orang-utang spent the night in a tree nearby and a wild pig rooted around by the rooms. The birds flying up and down the river were also a delight. The rooms are reached by a raised walkway and all have balconies so there are plenty of viewing places and it was worth just keeping our eyes open as we wandered around the Lodge itself.
It is harder to see creatures in the rainforest than in African savannah so binoculars are really helpful.
All in all a very special place to stay - to enjoy the forest from the lodge or by walking. Fabulous to lie listening to all the sounds at night too - no air conditioning noise. Don't worry the ceiling fans and open balconies allow breezes to cool you naturally.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

486 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    394
    79
    7
    4
    2
See reviews for
75
278
31
4
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (138)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2010

Much has been said here about this wonderful lodge, so just a few of my recent impressions.

The place is obviously quite expensive, but the cost to upgrade to one of the larger suites is relatively little. It is very, very worth it. Ours was stunning, and the setting looking across the river over to the massive canopy is one of my all time favorite vistas. Bathrooms are great, and while you miss air con there is something to be said for listening to the sounds of the rainforest at night (bring ear plugs if you are a light sleeper). Food and service are fantastic here.

We weren't as lucky as some - and I wouldn't say that I was overwhelmed by the wildlife as a whole but we did see some of the unique creatures once can only find in places like Borneo (i.e. gibbons, civets, tarantulas, and then many of the "flying" creatures: lemurs, lizards, frogs, squirrels).

It was incredibly humid, making the relatively short hikes quite challenging. Personally I found the leeches to be incredibly distracting and at times unnerving. Ultimately though, it only made for a more challenging and ultimately rewarding experience. For those who wouldn't want to challenge themselves on the longer hikes, it's worth noting that the vast majority of the quality wildlife sightings we had were either at night, or around the lodge (or both).

Overall, a solid recommendation.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Caerphilly
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
50 hotel reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2010

We had 5 nights at Borneo Rainforest Lodge ( happily just after the fuss over Martha Stewart's visit - no idea who she is but they had gone a bit mad fussing over her and other guests had been feeling rather neglected). The main lodge is really lovely and you get a very polished welcome. We were pleased to be assigned Andrea as our guide - she spent time finding out what we really wanted to see and do and then spent the rest of our visit quietly going about finding them for us - she found everything except the Slow Loris but she found lots of things we hadn't even thought of as compensation. we didn't even know there was such a thing as a Great Argus! The location is great but Andrea's skills made this a 5 star stay.
The wildlife is right on your doorstep and sometimes even closer - sweet little gekkos all over the walls inside and King the wild alpha male orang dozing just outside. Then there are the odd encounters with venomous snakes of course!
Throughout Sabah we found our hosts struggled to cater for us as vegetarians and here too the food was based on the assumption that you were ok with 'chicken juice' in your vegetable soup and that you ate fish and shellfish. the difference here was that when they found out that you didn't they went to the trouble of making you something you could eat - and actually enjoyed eating! Puddings were FABULOUS too!

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sondrio, Italy
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2010

I spent 2 nights in early July 2010 at BRL. The lodge is just amazing and deep in the rainforest. We did morning canopy, early morning, afternoon and night jungle walk and night drive. I expected to see much more wildlife (I think the best wildlife viewing are around the lodge) but walking in the jungle is an experience you can't miss.
Animals spotted: orang utan, gibbons, bearded pig, sambar deer, mouse deer, leopard cat, monitor lizard, millepiede, tree frog, stick insect, hornbill, porcupine, spiders, and leeches of course. I missed both western tarsier and slow loris, that's why i want to come back soon!!
Our guide Dean was well prepared and helpful.
The only thing I disliked is that you can't hike the paths without a guide.

  • Stayed July 2010, 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berlin
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2010

Perfect place to see the Borneon rainforest and free roaming orangutans (rangers look for them and inform tourists about sightings), excellent guides and services.
We stayed 3 nights and were able to see orangutans, gibbons, western tarsier, slow lories, flying lemurs (on night drive) with excellent information.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LONDON, UK
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
81 hotel reviews
Reviews in 75 cities Reviews in 75 cities
163 helpful votes 163 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2010

I really liked Borneo Rainforest Lodge but a few niggles slightly marred our stay here. However, as you are unlikely to have serious American celebs staying when you visit here, you won't have the same problems. I hope.

firstly be careful when booking: there's a "real" website for the BRL and another one which is nothing to do with the resort. I initially contacted the "wrong" website and had a conversation with them when they told me that BRL was full. Once I found the proper website, I was able to start booking.

This was a bit more complicated than I would have hoped and again a couple of niggles. The price that BRL wanted to charge for a transfer from Semporna was twice what Mataking dive resort quoted which was a bit annoying, and on top of this they still wanted a further fee for the transfer from Lahad Datu to BRL; this seemed excessive and a bit mercenary.

When we got to Lahad Datu the transfer along the bumpy road to BRL was in a rather old minibus. The 4WDs were all in use, for reasons which will become clear.

Transferred to BRL; we drew the short straw with the cabin, and had one at the end of a walkway with no view either of jungle or river. This was a shame and it's unfortunate that any of the cabins overlook effective have no view at all.

We were introduced to our guide, got kitted up and went for our first hike.

Then, while in the forest watching an orang utan the peace of the jungle was shattered by a helicopter overhead - the celebrity guest Martha Stewart and her entourage were arriving - she by helicopter, the rest in the 4WDs hence the lack of availability at Lahad Datu. And for the next couple of days the resort went a bit overboard making things special for MS, to the detriment of other guests. Go on an early morning hike to the canopy trail: fine but it's a bit busy because there's a trestle table and cook setting up a morning breakfast at the canopy for Martha. Want to hike back via the Jacuzzi pool and have a dip. OK but there's a marquee been set up and tables so Martha and co can have a bite of lunch down there. Quietly enjoying watching the Red leaf monkeys by the side of the road? Well and good until Martha and the gang's four wheel drives turn up and they trundle along the road, sitting on benches on the back of the trucks, rather than turning the engines off and walking like mere mortals.

All this got very wearing - enough so to warrant a complaint. Once Martha left things calmed down - all the senior managers vanished. Some of the guides and spotters vanished too. I think the cook vanished for a while because it went downhill the next day. So our very expensive stay here was marred by these celebrity-focussed shenanigans.

On to more positives: wildlife spotting was good; the presence on site of an adult male Orang Utan - King - was a joy. And the spottings of Western tarsier was a joy, even if the poor animal surrounded by twenty flashing cameras, looked utterly petrified. But Tarsier's seem to look petrified in all the pictures.

Also saw gibbons, snakes, frogs, elephant dung and many birds. Wildlife spotting was fairly good. But this takes me on to another gripe. The trails are very short on the whole and, with the exception of the short Nature Trail, you need to be accompanies at all times by a guide. I can understand the need to preserve the jungle and avoid disturbing wildlife but I would dearly have loved to have been able to hike more alone, especially to sit, watch and take pictures. Our guide was good, but in truth the guides are backed up by a small army of spotters who find good animals, and radio through to guides so one is less reliant on the guides skills - though they are still essential for spotting other wildlife.

The food was generally good: sometimes it was excellent. It became a bit ropey just after Martha and on one occasion the breakfast selection was very poor.

I left Danum with quite mixed feelings; given the cost of staying here I had very high expectations. Some of these were met. Others weren't. We went from here to Kinabatangan which completely lacked the luxury (or cost) of Danum but in some respects was more rewarding.

I don't regret staying at Danum and would probably do the same again. And I think our stay coinciding with Martha was just bad luck. My worry is that, if Borneo and Danum really try to woo celeb guests such attention will be more commonplace and the service to other guests suffer as a result.

I guess to conclude though where else in the world could I have spent two hours at dawn watching an adult male orangutan feasting on fruit and flowers from only a few metres away? I guess that was priceless.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Antwerp, Belgium
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
86 hotel reviews
Reviews in 80 cities Reviews in 80 cities
98 helpful votes 98 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2010

My wife and I stayed here in May for 4 nights. As individual travellers, we requested our tour operator (Borneo Eco Tours – highly recommendable) for a de-luxe chalet with jungle view because on the website, this chalet seemed to be more private and – what was more important – it was the only one that featured both twin beds and an outdoor bath tub. In the office in Lahad Datu, we checked if our request came through, and yes, they confirmed that particular chalet was reserved for us. But after having finished the welcome drink in Borneo Rainforest Lodge, we were brought to a de-luxe chalet with river view without an outdoor bath tub and a double bed instead of twin beds. When we told the lovely young girl this wasn’t the type of room we made a reservation for, she politely waited until we finished our refusal before continuing with her briefing on this room. As if we hadn’t made any objection at all!... To make a long story short: eventually we managed to get the chalet we had requested for, but it took a while and a lot of arguing skills – and since the requested room wasn’t occupied, I simply can’t think of a reason why the staff was so reluctant to give us the chalet we had made a paid and confirmed reservation for. Perhaps because it wasn’t ready yet…Anyway, the chalet turned out to be very nice and we really enjoyed the outdoor bath tub after every jungle walk. Apart from this, the room featured a king size and a queen size bed with hard mattresses, a ceiling fan (no air-conditioning here), 24-hour electricity, coffee/tea maker, a couch, a safety locker and a large veranda – but no writing desk. Reading other comments, it seems many people do enjoy the food here. Though the buffet was plentiful and nicely presented indeed, we often found the food itself quite tasteless – but this is perhaps what most tourists want if they haven’t yet developed a taste for spicy food. However, all these things are minor complaints and we would definitely stay here again as it is a luxurious lodge with plenty assets for memorable wildlife viewing. And wildlife we saw! We had prolonged viewings of King, the resident orang-utan (a full-grown male) who visited the same fruiting tree daily and we could make good pictures of a rather tame great argus… While these 2 viewings are probably standard sightings, we also had a close-up view of a Western tarsier and lots and lots of nocturnal creatures… However, we thought wildlife sightings were more plentiful in Tabin Wildlife Reserve, but Borneo Rainforest Lodge’s reputation of Borneo’s

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to Borneo Rainforest Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Borneo Rainforest Lodge

Address: Danum Valley Conservation Area 88100, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Danum Valley Conservation Area
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Danum Valley Conservation Area
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Borneo Rainforest Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 31
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A low density Jungle Lodge with 31 Twin Sharing Chalets located in the largest Conservation Area in Sabah which is home to 275 species of birds, 110 species of mammals & one of the oldest virgin rainforest in the world. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Borneo Rainforest Hotel Sabah

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Borneo Rainforest Lodge, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.