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“not impressed with many aspects of this vacation”

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Sipadan Mabul Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Pulau Mabul
NJ
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“not impressed with many aspects of this vacation”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 28, 2012

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.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank dcr182
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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185 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (38)
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English first
Level Contributor
85 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 2, 2012 via mobile

We went here at the beginning of our vacation and I wish I could have spent more time. We stayed in the Mabul water bungalows which are on the water. The rooms were very nice with air conditioning and a TV. There was a pool on the island as well. Dove and snorkeled Sipadan island which was the most amazing snorkeling ever. Things you only see diving you could see snorkeling here. Stay in rooms 212 or 213. They have the best views. I would just sit out on my back porch and watch the sunrise. It was like being in your own aquarium. The only downside is the food was not anything to write home about. These water bungalows are not to be missed!

Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
Helpful?
5 Thank Hilandl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bengaluru, India
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 7, 2012

Visited the Sipadan_Mabul Resort on Mabul island in Feb 2012. This resort is true value for money. It has an excellent location on the island of Mabul, exclusive beaches which front the property, the rooms are well appointed and have an excellent décor and all of them have a deck/open sit-out and barely a 5 min walk away from the beach. The service is efficient and friendly. The food served is an international cuisine and yes - for vegetarians the kitchen staff made an extra effort to serve suitable dishes. The dining area is an excellent space for interacting with other guests and the staff, apart from the excellent view it affords of the beach and is well lit and airy too.
The resort offers a wide variety of courses for diving, snorkelling and other sea water related activities, apart from taking guests for dives to Sipadan island, a 15 min boat ride away. This area is considered the mecca for diving and other underwater activities and Mabul island and this resort is well positioned to cater to all the divers needs.
Excellent vistas for the photographer as well as an opportunity to travel around the islands of the Semporna Marine Park. Its about 45 mins away by a fast speed boat from Semporna town.

Room Tip: All the rooms are excellent in their location
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Ravindra846
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Flic En Flac
Level Contributor
101 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 31, 2012

It is fantastic place for divers but good accommodation and fantastic food offer also great time for non-diving family members. Friendly and efficient staff, If you buy package locally (I did it in Kota-Kinabalu agency) it is half price comparing to internet rates you can buy internationally.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank DariOlio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
67 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 11, 2012

Best place we stayed in Sabah, somewhere to totally chill. wonderful diving at Sipidan, and the resort being car free is perfect for families...kids can run free wherever they want. Our room was basic but clean and comfortable, and the service & food was excellent - especially the fresh tuna sashimi, straight out of the sea. The only downside is the rubbish strewn around the illegal Phillipino community (which you don't really need to go near) - a problem all over Sabah, with thousands of plastic bags and bottles dumped in the sea a particular problem.

Room Tip: ...unless you want to splash out, go for one of the cheaper rooms (standard), get a first (top) floo...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank nikitak13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
64 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2012

One of the best diving trips that I have been on. We decided to book this trip after we did a 8 day land tour and thorougly enjoyed our stay at this Resort. Great staff, great food and great diving. Enjoyed every minute of it.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank searcherofsouls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 30, 2012

Our family of 3 children (aged 8,11, & 13) plus parents stayed 5 glorious nights at Mabul Water Bungalows. The accomodation blew us away with the beauty and impeccable functionality of everything. Spotless rooms, sublime views, gorgeous decks, amazing food. The children did the Discover Scuba Diving course and received an excellent introduction to scuba diving from Jackey, who was a gifted and patient teacher. I was thoroughly confident in their abilities to manage in their practice dives in the lagoon with him at their side. Couldn't have asked for a better start to their diving education. We snorkelled and Scubaed at Sipadan, Kapalai, and various spots around Mabul. The skill of the boat drivers was greatly appreciated, as they picked us up wherever the current took us on our explorations, and we saw such incredible marine life! Our thanks to all the staff at MWB. Their professionalism and warm smiles made the trip an outstanding success.

Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank Monica R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sipadan Mabul Resort

Property: Sipadan Mabul Resort
Address: P O Box 15571 Kota Kinabalu, Pulau Mabul 88865, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Mabul
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Pulau Mabul
Number of rooms: 42
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

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