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“Wonderful spot”

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Pom Pom Island Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Certificate of Excellence
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
69 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Wonderful spot”
Reviewed August 8, 2013

After enjoying the forest we headed for PomPom Island. Having traveled from Lahad Datu we traveled independently to the jetty. The departure was slightly delayed due to the passenger arriving from the airport. PomPom has wireless available at the jetty , so we were not too hassled with what turned out to be a short delay.
They are very organized on arrival – arrival drink , check in and briefing from the dive centre and spa. The beach cottages are great – you relax immediately! We stayed for 4 nights!
We snorkeled every day and enjoyed each outing. Never thought I would see so many turtles. The Dive Centre is friendly and professional and added to the enjoyment of the stay significantly.
Despite a resort feeling – you have enough space to relax and enjoy the beauty of the island.
Services were very good – rooms were always cleaned on time and restaurant staff attentive.
As a vegetarian, on arrival, I had asked to speak to the manager overseeing the restaurant and was assured it would be no problem to provide vegetarian food. Most guests to this resort are Chinese, so the food is Chinese. The resort's concept of vegetarian food is to make soya taste like meat using much soya source. Despite being specific that this is exactly what I did not want – the kitchen could not produce anything else. So if you like fresh food and vegetables and do not want to eat food to mimic meat – suggest you include a list of what you do not want included in the meals on arrival and have a longer discussion with the manager. The breads are freshly made as are the pastries – great.Each meal has fruit and a small salad selection. So you could survive on that.
The transfer to the airport was very professional and smooth. We were concerned we would be late – but the airport itself does not seem to open the gates much before an hour before departure times.
We loved our stay here and enjoyed the peaceful way the resort was organized and managed. Staff across the board were extremely friendly.

The dive centre takes an active roles in turtle conservation - which means we were able to see 2 new sets being released - which was an unexpected pleasure. Thank-you!

I would just suggest that the resort broadens their ability in the kitchen to provide fuller vegetarian options, other than traditional Chinese meat soya.

Room Tip: Cottage 17 on the edge of the resort - so nice and quiet and quick access to your own beach!
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank 192RoseM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
StevaeW, General Manager at Pom Pom Island Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 16, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write a review. We are very happy you enjoyed spending your time with us. Just to be fair, we do offer several dishes with bean-curd, five different fresh fruits and a full salad tray with seven different toppings every meal (post breakfast). If requested, we are also happy to prepare other dishes if any of our guests have specific desires. Please feel free to ask us while you are here, and we will do everything in our power to accommodate your requests.
We appreciate you spending your precious vacation time with us, and hope to see you again at Pom Pom Island Resort very soon.

Kind regards,
Stevae Weible
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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397 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (72)
Date | Rating
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
43 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed August 2, 2013

We spent 6 nights at this resort. We initially hoped to stay longer but there was little availability due to our late booking (1 month out). Do not pay any attention to any travel warnings in place for the unrest that took place in Lahad Dhatu in March as we found no evidence of any problems and the visible local military in Semporna and on surrounding islands was very reassuring.

We have nothing but praise for this resort as this was one of the most relaxing holidays we have had. The resort is focussed on giving their guests a great experience and ALL the staff do this in a genuinely warm, friendly and professional way.

Our transfer was hassle-free with a pick-up from Tawau airport followed by an hour and a bit drive through to Semporna. At the wharf we were met by a resort rep and our luggage was transported to the boat. There are toilets here and a small shop (if you want to quickly stock up on any snack items as there is only a small souvenir shop at the resort). The boat ride was 45 minutes.

Check in was smooth and efficient with each new guest being met by members of the resort team on the jetty. Room functionality was explained well (i.e. hot water, air con, beach towels, lounger protocol etc.). Even though we arrived mid-morning, our room was ready and we were able to settle in and relax before lunch. Thank you Ashley for being so efficient, informative and friendly!

We stayed in a beach villa. The water was right out in front and each villa has its own hammock and x2 loungers on the sand. On the very large verandah we had another two loungers which were great to use if you wanted to sit out of the sun. The rooms are very spacious and clean with plenty of storage for clothes and luggage. The rooms are not overly luxurious with flashy fixtures and fittings but you don't need this as you are at the beach! Furniture and decor is simple and modern with traditional feel. Bathroom amenities were shampoo and shower gel. There is a mini-bar and drinks were the same price as the main bar.

We found the buffet meals to be of a very good quality with great variation each meal time. There was also a chef onsite with daily specialties for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Coffee, juice and snacks are always available. We had BBQ one night which was a nice twist and every fourth night the resort puts on a local dance show. There was also a turtle conservation presentation talk one evening during dinner. A good variety of alcoholic drinks - wine, cocktails etc. were available, although the wine was quite expensive but to be expected.

You can make you holiday on Pom Pom as relaxed or as active as you wish. Snorkelling in front of the resort was always available. When the tide is in it is a great swimming beach and if the tide is out, you can head out to the end of the jetty for some snorkelling. Corals, fish and turtles were in abundance. We were able to sit on our deck and spot the turtles mid-tide that had come in to eat the sea lettuce. On several occasions we were able to snorkel with the turtles just 40 metres out in front of our villa. There are nightly turtle nest spotting walks guided by the resort's marine biologist, Tess, who was very informative and passionate about this cause. If you do the turtle walk, however, we suggest you wear reef shoes or trainers especially if there is a particularly high tide as when we did this walk, we were often in water calf deep and had to jump over tree branches that were jutting out over the beach making it easy to lose your flip flops or fall over. Unfortunately the staff member at the front of the group holding the torch, strode on ahead meaning the group became separated and, despite us being quite intrepid and outdoorsy, we found it difficult to walk safely in the dark - perhaps this minor issue could be improved for future high-tide walks.

The resort also held a beach clean-up event that was well-attended by guests and resort staff. I hope they are able to make this a regular event. On the whole, I really liked the way the resort is trying to promote conservation and I feel that there could be many more opportunities for them to develop this aspect of their business as this could be a real attraction to guests and a unique point of difference between Pom Pom and other resorts.

We spent 4 days diving the various sites within 20 minutes boat ride from Pom Pom as well as the reefs surrounding the resort. As a newly certified diver, I could not have asked for a better or more positive experience and my confidence has increased as a result. All the dive centre staff were welcoming and professional. Raynor, our dive guide, was particularly patient and knowledgeable and he showed an astute awareness of the needs of the divers in his care. He is an asset to this team - Thanks Raynor! If you want to dive Sipidan, we suggest you contact the resort in advance to see if a permit can be arranged.

The only frustration we experienced during our stay was that the wifi was down for our first 4 days. However, perhaps this was a blessing in disguise as we were able to fully switch off.

Would fully recommend this resort.

Room Tip: Beach villas 3 to 6 are close to the communal dining/bar area but far enough away so that you don...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank coastr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
StevaeW, General Manager at Pom Pom Island Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 16, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write a review of Pom Pom Island Resort and Spa. We appreciate you spending your precious vacation time with us, and are extremely happy that we could give you such a great travel experience. We also truly hope to see you again at Pom Pom Island Resort very soon.

Kind regards,
Stevae Weible
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tilburg, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed July 25, 2013

I visited Pom Pom Island with my family (4 kids, 9-4 yrs old) for 4 days after 3 weeks of travelling from Kuching to Sandakan. We stayed in two adjacent beach villa's for 5 days and filled our days with snorkeling, diving, walking, swimming, going to the spa, and we even were able to watch the hatching of 168 turtle eggs.

It was just perfect.

Houses were perfect. Staff was perfect, professional and very friendly - also to the children - diving and snorkeling trips were organized very well (no additional charges for Nitrox). Finally the food was brilliant: each day a variety of new dishes were available, going from a live BBQ to Pizza with a "pasta bar" to Thai to Chinese food to a Lobster menu.

Wines were good. Pom Pom has its own wine cellar with European wines and Japanese Rice wines. We mainly had the Chili white wine, and for the Lobster menu they offered a great French Sauvignon which went very well with the food.

For a couple of days we could swim in between the green turtles in front our beach house(!). A great experience for the kids and for us as well. Since Pom Pom also acts as a turtle conservatory there was also an educational element in our stay: our eldest kids joint the turtle walk in the evening, learning a lot about these animals.

Pom Pom is really the best way to end an active holiday in Borneo!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MeindertvanD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
StevaeW, General Manager at Pom Pom Island Resort & Spa, responded to this review, August 16, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write a personal review for us. We truly appreciate you spending your vacation with us, and hope to see you again at Pom Pom Island Resort when you are ready to take your next trip.

Kind regards,
Stevae Weible
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed July 10, 2013

As part of our honeymoon, we stayed here for 4 nights. We took advantage of their "Stay for 4 nights, pay for 3" deal, and are so glad that we did.
We were totally overwhelmed with how beautiful the island and the facilities were. It took us one day to just kind of get used to being in such a stunning setting.

We are from Canada and are not experienced divers, though we have our advanced certification (just got it before going to Pom Pom). The dive centre was fabulous -- friendly, professional, very attentive to the safety of the equipment. The divemasters were extremely knowledgeable and also a lot of fun.

The food here is good... good enough. Better than just "okay", but you really aren't there for the food.

I think that this resort's biggest asset is its staff. They were friendly, welcoming, and just extremely helpful.

We stayed two nights at a beach villa and two in a water villa. Though the WV is more expensive, we both preferred the beach villa. It was cooler (shaded), and we loved the chairs on the beach and on the villa's back porch, but found the porch on the water villa to be just too hot during the day. And while the water is right below you, it's both shallower than you might think, and also teeming with life (coral, fish, etc), so having a quick dip really must include a mask and snorkel.

We adored Pom Pom and would go back as soon as we could. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank CarryOnOnlyGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kerikeri, New Zealand
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed June 30, 2013

What an amazing end to our Borneo experience when my husband and I stayed at Pom Pom. The 3 hour trip from Borneo Rainforest Lodge was depressing travelling through so many palm oil plantations and convoy of 30 Hummers and Army trucks heading in the opposite direction was a little unnerving. We had considered cancelling our East Sabah trip due to all the Government extreme risk warnings... we are so glad we decided to go and thanks Jesse for your patience.

We were welcomed by Ms Carmalita and although we were 2 hours early, because we were the only guests travelling were quickly whisked aboard the boat to Pom Pom. The dedicated staff welcomed us with umbrellas to the island in the pouring rain. Pina Coladas always help with the weather, and the bar staff do them damn fine. The next day was absolutely one out of the box and we had booked to go diving after our amazing buffet breakfast. The 2 dive sites in the morning were spectacular, the afternoon not so much but Raynor and the dive staff are all very helpful... even pointing out a Frog Fish. Very hard to see.

It is a easy stroll to circumnavigate the island and you may see the police that are stationed on the although the only time we did was when they were replaced each day. To be honest the thought of kidnapping is not on your mind when you are having such a relaxing time and we felt that the level of security in place is extremely reassuring. The snorkelling from the deck onto the reef is on par with the best tropical islands that we have stayed. There are Turtles everywhere and an abundance of tropical fish and rays. The bath with a window opening out over the reef is a lovely touch to a perfect day in paradise.

Room Tip: Get an overwater bungalow... a must
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank FrearFarms
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seoul, South Korea
Level Contributor
75 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed June 23, 2013

The rooms at the resort are great, with a shallow sea reaching to a sea wall just a few metres from the seaview chalet verandahs. Food is so-so, with a decent vegetarian selection.

It's very overpriced for what it is though.

There was a wonderful marine biologist working there at the time we visited, but apart from that there was little evidence of real environmental awareness. The shop offered us plastic bags! The sand is swept every day and forest debris is not allowed to build up, even away from the walkways. Round the back at the staff quarters, there was a LOT of trash scattered around. The marine biologist tried her best, but on one night a turtle visited and laid her eggs right underneath the dining hall, and guests were overcrowding the turtle and shining their torches on her. Staff should have immediately come to the biologist's help and removed all tourists from the scene.

The divemaster was a very patient instructor - one of us took a PADI certificate with her. Diving spots are okay - around the island there's been a lot of damage from fish-bombing, although (again!) the marine biologist had a coral replanting effort going on while we were there. We saw loads of turtles, even in the very shallow area around the jetty!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank nyenyedzi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Level Contributor
42 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed June 22, 2013

Pom Pom is a wonderful place for romantics, honeymoons and families. It has almost all you need in a quiet, idyllic, beach experience.

Booking was easy and Jessie at the Kota Kinabalu office was informative and patient, as we had loads of queries. I would advice booking months ahead as the resort is almost always full, even during low season. While the price of staying here is not for the budget concious, it is a beautifully well maintained island with almost all of the luxuries and comfort of home. Most of all, the Wow factor is certainly the staff.

The point of contact is at Tawau airport. The Pompom team has a driver waiting for you as you walk out of the arrival hall. Depending on the total number of visitors, a comfortable coach or minivan is provided. At the end of the 45 minute ride to the jetty, a representative will meet you at the jetty and accompany you to the boat. Your luggage is carried off by a team of staff and is carefully packed into the boat. We are asked to check to ensure our luggage are there before the boat leaves. As there are only 3 boat trips to and fro the island, do confirm these when you book your flights so that you will not have to wait at the jetty for long. The jetty is comfortable and have seats for those waiting for the boats.

The 40 minute boat ride was over really soon as we took in the sights and sounds of the surroundings. We were met by the team at the jetty in the island and is escorted to the pavilion where we were given fresh welcome juices and were briefed on our stay. Our luggage were taken from the boat and sent to our rooms while we were briefed by the reception, dive and spa staff. As we arrived noon, lunch was served.

All meals in the island have already been included in the room charges. Its buffet style with a combination of western and Asian dishes. Theres all day coffee, tea and juices with snacks as well. Food is well prepared, clean and not too bad ! The baked goods are wonderful ! Freshly baked breads every morning and doughnuts for snacks ....

Currently renovations for old and building of new rooms along the beach on one part of the island meant that it is noisy but this did not affect the other half of the island. Rooms are spacious with good sized bathrooms. The beach villa is spacious but the double beds are actually 2 single beds. The size of the room also allows an extra bed with extra room to walk about. The beds are comfortable though. There are 2 entrances, the back of the villa faces the beach with 2 deck chairs and a hammock with a distance of less than 10 meters to the sea. The garden is speckled with a few palm trees which makes the lounge area not under direct sun which is lovely.

The water villa is the best option. While it is the most expensive of all the accommodation, it is worth the splurge. The walkway to the water villa links to the jetty and the walkway is lovely as you could see the pristine water, corals, fishes and yes... turtles. The rooms are spacious equiped with sofas. The bathroom is lovely as it has a rain shower and the window opens with a wonderful view of the sea.
The balcony has 2 deck chairs and has steps into the sea. What luxury, to just step into the sea when you feel like it ! You can watch turtles, fish and squid swim past you as you perch on the balcony. Sheer haven !
While the afternoon can be hot on the balcony, deck chair laze is wonderful in the mornings and evenings and nights.

Staff :
They are wonderful ! Courteous, always smiling, alert and attentive but non intrusive. 2 of our bags did not arrive with us at Tawau airport, the driver and the team coordinated and got the luggage to the island the next day for us. We were really grateful for their help.
The wait staff were really good. The warm greets and smiles that you get everytime you go is a treat. They are efficient and attentive. Basri is wonderful as he is non intrusive yet was on to our table the minute we look up for assistance. We did not even have to signal him as we would in other establishments. Out of the ordinary requests were entertained without hesitation. I feel that they are better than most 5 star resorts.
Spa staff, Agnes was wonderful. She was patient and all smiles. Warm and friendly. Her yoga classes are not to be missed. Spa services were good and the ambience lovely. While it is not A 5 STAR RESORT, it is really well maintained and beautiful. Choices limited but nevertheless, good masseurs.
The dive team was really great. They were professional and friendly. Efficient and ensures safety at all times. We had 2 wonderful dives with a well coordinated team. We had 2 wonderful instructors! Thank you Jessica and Wong ! We enjoyed your lessons Mr Wong ! Keep up that tongue in cheek humour...
Thank you Ray for your efforts with conservation and I enjoyed watching you let the baby turtles into the ocean. Keep up the nightly turtle walks ! For those who would love to see turtles, Green turtle, hawksbill can be seen while the green turtle is the most common. The best times for guaranteed turtle watch experience is between end May til end Sept, with the highest total number of up to about 5 turtles laying eggs seen per night in august.

The area is heavily guarded with armed forces so I felt safe when I was there despite the fear and threats of pirates.

All in all, beach lovers will not be dissapointed. whether you are a novice or professional diver, a beach comber or a snorkeling fan, theres something for all. The limited number of visitors, clean and beautiful pristine waters and beach are only some of the perks. The corals in some areas are rubble because of bomb fishing but the prolific numbers of fish and corals are a divers and snorkelers haven.

We will definately be back !

Tips :

1) Book ahead - months ahead as the water villas are almost always fully booked

2) Bring your own snorkeling equipment is you have as they do charge rental.

3) The shop in the island is small, do not expect a lot from the little store.

4) They do not provide toothbrushes and toothpaste, however, they do sell these at the shop.

5) Be informed of the boat trip schedule as there are only about 3 trips per day.

6) Inform the kitchen team in advance if you have any special dietary requirements.
They will try their best and they do......

7) Wear wet suits as much as possible as there are some baby jellyfish around. Their stings
can be annoying. It could be seasonal and it was in early June. Also, corals are prolific and
the water level around the house reef is low ( knee deep during low tide ) so you may be
scratched by the corals.

8) For turtle enthusiasts, go from June to Sept. The highest number has been sighted in
August.

Room Tip: water villas are the best. Water villa 3 has both sunrise ans sunset views from the balcony. Beach...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank trudy k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pom Pom Island Resort & Spa

Property: Pom Pom Island Resort & Spa
Address: A-2-1 Jalan Karamunsing | Lorong Kapital, Block A, 2nd Floor, Pulau Sipadan 88000, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Sipadan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Pom Pom Island Resort & Spa 3.5*
Number of rooms: 49
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A beautiful peaceful, paradise island resort with PADI Dive Centre, dive packages available with luxury accommodation. Enjoy diving the 6 nearby islands surrounding Pom Pom Island, amazing macro plus beautiful coral fish and turtles. Resort has range of luxury detached beach and water villas constructed for every comfort. Packages include 3 meals per day plus snacks, juices, coffee and tea, etc in our famous traditional Malaysian restaurant. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sipadan Pom Pom Hotel Pulau Sipadan

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