their website was confusing and we couldnt speak with anyone directly at the resort. everything had to go through an agent. we asked to be at the water bungalows, but were told there was only a two bedroom suite left. we didnt need that much space, so they booked us at the land bungalows. after we arrived, we were quite disappointed to find out that most of the water bungalows were not booked. i dont appreciate that kind of selling techinque. pick up at the airport was easy and we arrived at the boat transfer about an hour later. we had to wait at a hotel lobby near the dock for about 45 minutes while they loaded the transfer boat with supplies. the boat ride was terrible as the captain was going extremely fast and we bounced for the entire 45 minutes. jen did a great job with arrival and orientation. you can only dive depths based on your certification (open water 20m, advanced 30m). we were happy to be diving sipadan our first day. its definitely not a deal if you don't get the sipadan package. you can still dive at sipadan if they have a pass for you but you have to pay $200 per person. everyone else with the package seemed to be going multiple times only paying the entrance fee. we did our first orientation dive at the house reef which was a great dive. my husband had a leak in his rented octopus and asked for a replacement. next day we went to sipadan and unfortunately his octopus was not replaced. i expected sipadan to be one of the greatest places on earth, but i was a bit disappointed. the schooling jacks and bump head parrot fish were quite awesome, but that was the extent of the wonder. nothing else we saw was truely amazing. i was upset when while on the boat we chased schoolinig barracuda, threw our dive gear on and jumped in the water. the divemaster did an underwater sprint for about 15 minutes to try and find them. they were so far away we couldnt even get their attention to tell them that we no longer wanted to pursue this endless chase. we had a different divemaster each day of diving which made it hard to develop a relationship. each dive either our tank was leaking or we were having issues with the equipment. after one dive, the dive master couldnt close the tank my husband was using. this is not something we have experienced withing our 150+ dives. the best sites were the ones that were muck diving. i got very tired of the artificial reefs at most of the other sites. most sites have lots of garbage floating in the water. each dive was a hard stop at 45 minutes no matter how much air the dive group had. food was below average and specifically catered towards the mostly asian guests. there was no water or fruit on board the boats. since all sites were close, surface intervels were back at the resort. you had to wait to get back there for your water and leftover cake from the night before. our bungalow had a nice view of the construction of the new resort being built in the water. outdoor showers were nice in the bungalow. we had two twin beds separated by a night table which isnt conducive for a newly married couple. the walk to the water bungalows was quite pleasant. seeing the sea snakes on the helipad was a unique experience. getting drinks at the sunset bar for 'happy hour' was definitely a highlight. we couldnt get that many though because the prices were steep. didnt like the other guests feeding the stray cats ON the dinner table at night during the service. really didnt like being at one of the dive sites and seeing a large group of guests posing on top of the sea turtles. i dont know if the groups got special rules, but i know we signed a paper saying that we would not touch the sea turtles. their divemaster turned a blind eye and the videographer recorded it! no respect for the sealife. there were no options to do any other activites besides going to the spa at the water bungalows. definitely will not be back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- SIPADAN-MABUL RESORT (SMART) is situated at Mabul Island overlooking the well-known Sipadan Island. It is a dive destination resort that began its modest operations back in 1993 and has since grown into a well-established and reputable resort as it is today. SMART has 42 land-based chalets (22 unit stand-alone detached chalets, 18 unit standard semi-detached chalets and 2 unit suite chalets) which can accommodate up to 84 guests at any one time. All chalets are built from native materials of Borneo, mostly twin-bedded, equipped with mosquito screens, air-conditioning and come with attached bathrooms with hot shower facilities as well as free Wi-Fi internet access in the room. Other facilities include a swimming pool, Jacuzzi whirlpool spa, large dining hall and bars. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Sipadan Mabul Hotel Pulau Mabul