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Sipadan Mabul Resort
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Reviews (208)
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101 - 106 of 208 reviews
Reviewed July 26, 2012

Mabul Water Bungalow is a beautiful 5 star luxury resort that sits on top of the water. The service is fantastic, the food pretty decent (we asked for hamburgers and fries and the chef made them special and the diving is good. You have three scheduled dives each day with a chance to dive Sipadan. You can dive the house reef as many times as you like. I did it for a night dive and it was really fun. The diving on Kapalai and Mabul is macro diving but pretty interesting. I saw some critters that I had never seen before including an orangutan crab, ghost pipefish, and others… Each dive is only 50 minutes including safety stop. They have a nice set up for gear, rinse tanks and fresh water showers. The spa is not to be missed. I purchased a spa package including: coconut body scrub, mud mask, and one of the best massages I ever had with Vivian. My only real complaint was that we had no hot water in our room even after asking Ava (the director) that we should have had it. So that was a big bummer.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank ScubaChickJamie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2012

We spent 6 days in a clean and comfy stand-alone bungalow.

I find that the resort has the best location on the Island. Located in the south side of Mabul Island, it has a west/south sandy beach and an east (water bungalow jetty&bar) sea access. Great for sunset and sunrise sights!

The restort is well organized. The food is excellent (sunday barbecue). Very very friendly staff and excellent divemasters! Worth the price.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank cajuga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2012

No point in writing a review as the previous two reviews cover everything you need to know!

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled solo
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Thank tkab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2012

Hotel is surrounded by nature which is wonderfully comfortable & relaxing. Room is clean & comfortable with all the necessities (water heater, air-con, ceiling fan).
Not sure about other rooms, but one thing lacking though is hair dryer (which i think is very handy with all the diving & snorkelling)
Noticed comments about lack of TV, but wasn't a concern to me, didn't need it with all the activities around (diving, snorkelling, kayaking, explore the island, swimming, volleyball, or just relax outdoors and enjoy the breeze.)

Enjoyed the food there throughout my 4D3N stay, not the western food you normally have in hotels, more to oriental food but tasty and varies day to day which I appreciate alot. Had a big feast on the grill night. much enjoyable!

Best of all had to be their staff & service. I only went snorkelling and was a bit uncomfortable at first. But my dive master was very patient and help me until i got use to it. He's also knowledgeable and direct us where to discover the wonders (turtles, school of jack fish, sharks etc) I also liked their attitude which seem genuinely happy and enjoying what they do which is infectious. All in all a wonderful stay!

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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6  Thank Viviene T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 22, 2012

We just returned from 10 days at SMART. We love this area... this was our 4th visit, having stayed twice on Kapalai and once here. We had a wonderful holiday! Below you will find my review of the hotel as well as my concerns about the future of this special place.

Concerns about the area:
* Since our last visit 3 years ago, many more resorts have opened in the area. We counted 10 resorts and backpacker hotels on Mabul Island, plus a new one under construction. The local people are being slowly pushed off the island to make way for more tourists, and putting more pressure on this fragile eco system. Additional mainland divebases in Semporna are springing up, and also run daily boats to Mabul/Kapalai/Sipadan.
* There are only 120 permits granted daily to dive Sipadan. These permits are divided among the divebases in the area. There is already a sort of black market trade in permits, with some permits being sold at a premium price (when we were there, the going rate was about $175 on top of your diving package - but that was in low season)
* Excessive boat traffic and overcrowded dive sites have become the norm, with 3 or 4 boats on each dive site at any given time. With the expansion in the number of accomodations, it is no longer primarily serious, responsible divers coming....it was frustrating for us, as photographers, to suddenly see a big group of flapping arms and legs coming through the water and then to suddenly have people on top of us and kicking up the sand with their fins.

Ok, I got that off my chest, so now I will tell you the great things about Mabul!

Hotel:
* The hotel is well run and has a laid back atmosphere. Very friendly staff who will do everything they can to make your trip enjoyable. We were a party of 3 and had 2 stand-alone chalets facing the beach - we spent some perfect evenings sitting on the patio and watching fruit bats in the trees. Our room was clean and comfortable, but could have used a coat of paint to spruce the place up a bit.
* The food served in the restaurant is good and plentiful - they have a different theme every night, like grill night, satay night, sasheemi night...the food is somewhat simple but well prepared and tasty.
* Advice for animal lovers: there are quite a few cats hanging around...they are hungry and some of them need extra help. We brought some dry cat food with us to feed them. The kittens have particular problems - sand gets in their eyes and they can be blinded. The blind ones die. We found 2 kittens with crusty infected eyes and were able to carefully clean their eyes and apply an antibiotic eye creme which we had with us (polyspectran, which can be used on both humans and cats). After 2 days their eyes were clear and open....their lives are hard, and any small kindness you can show them will help.There is also a resident dog who seems to live under the chalets - he is very sweet and not aggressive - appears to be well fed and in good condition.

Diving:
* Diving is at Sipadan (if you can get a permit) or locally.
* Local diving: we found the local dive sites improved since our last visit 3 years ago, with many more turtles and better coral growth. The SMART house reef is excellent, with an extensive artificial reef. There is a large school of jacks living there, and we have also seen bumpheads, turtles, and lots of critters. The boat dives are to Kapalai, Seaventure, or around Mabul. While we were there they were not offering any trips to Siamil Island.
* Sipadan diving: Sipadan to me is the most fantastic place on earth. I fully agree with the need to protect it and am glad they are limiting the number of divers (although I am not convinced that the allocation is being done in the best way). SMART is allocated 14 permits per day, and they can only guarantee 1 day at Sipadan for every 6 days you stay at the resort (depending on the package you have booked). However, if they are not fully booked there is a good chance to get an additional day. If you are staying less than 6 days there is no guarantee, but you can request to buy a permit on the open market - some resorts sell their "unused" permits and if you let the divebase know you want to buy one, they will try to get one for you this way. The SMART divebase did a good job of trying to maximize the permits given to their guests - we were given 3 permits on a 10 day trip.

So will we go back? My heart says yes, I would love to dive Sipadan again.
A lot hinges on the permit situation. With the ever increasing number of hotels, I believe it will become increasingly difficult and expensive to get a Sipadan permit.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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8  Thank Batfish-B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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