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“A surprise visitor”

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Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore
1 review
“A surprise visitor”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 3, 2008

Sitting on the balcony one evening, my bf and I heard a noise, akin to someone gasping for breath. Thinking it was a snorkeler near our room, we looked out of our balcony and to our lovely surprise, we saw it was a turtle who had surfaced for air! Kapalai dive resort is what diving and life should be about!

Stayed September 2008
Helpful?
Thank desireefoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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526 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (83)
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English first
kuala lumpur, malaysia
Level Contributor
19 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 1, 2008

We recently stayed at the Kapalai resort. We had a wonderful time there. We are both divers & took the 5D4n diver's package.

First off, the place is built on a coral atoll, with a series of chalets and main areas built on stilts. There is no dry land for miles around, only the sounds of the sea lapping at your chalets.

The chalets are well designed with hot shower, fan, fridge, and a truly private balcony. My favourite is really the balcony. It has walls on both sides so you don’t have to worry about neighbours. It also has a washing line – which is just the thing for a when you have lots of wet gear!

The service at the resort is something else. We were pleasantly surprised at not only how thoughtful the dive masters were but also the dive crew who insisted on helping us gear up even for our self dives & waited for us to return on these dives.

The food there is plentiful, & if you are not too fussy its definitely edible but don’t go there for the gourmet food.

Lastly the diving. I would describe my diving experience there is divine. There is plentiful and diverse sea life and visibility was crystal clear. You can dive both around the island as well as off Sipadan.

Go now! Its worth every dollar

  • Liked — The remoteness
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank byyap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
43 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 201 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 25, 2008

I stayed at Kapalai for 4D3N on a none-diver package.

The place is absolutely beautiful & amazing- although we were expecting the resort to be on an island or at least some land to walk on but it turns out that kapalai island isn't really an island, it's more like a resort build in the middle of the ocean.
Having said that, there's a beach that apears only during the hours of low tide (around 1~3pm).

The rooms are spacious & basic (there's no air con in the room, only ceiling fans) with amazing views (but be aware that people can also see you from outside!).

The water was amazing as well - you can see sting rays, star fishes and many more just by walking around the resort.

Although there are also couple of downsides...

When I made my reservation, I was told that the resort will be able to take me to the other nearby islands (Sipadan & Mabul) for a bit of snorkelling but when I got there, we were told that it's impossible for snorkellers to go to Sipadan as they only give have enough permits for the people that are on the diver package. He then said that we can still visit Mabul BUT it depends on the number of divers on their boat (which is always full as they always give priorities to the divers), so we ended up having to stay at the resort during our entire stay.

Also, there's not much choice of restaurant since the resort only have buffet - so it's buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner everyday.
And, there's no doctor on site - so if anything goes wrong, you have to go back to semporna, which is an hour boat away.
(So make sure you bring all the necessary medications!)

For none divers, I'd recommand 3D2N as it might start to get a bit boring after that.

  • Liked — Beautiful views
  • Disliked — Limited choice of activities
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Sophdobe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Level Contributor
27 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2008

We stayed here for 4 nights - it was truly fantastic. The resort was not quite what I was expecting. I was thinking along the lines of stilt houses off the beach of an island whereas this is a collection of stilt houses connected by a lot of walkways built on a sandbar in the middle of the sea! It's difficult to describe until you go there, but it is certainly one of the most unusual and spectacular places that I have stayed.

There are any number of positives about this resort - friendliness and efficiency of staff, spectacular location, proximity of wonderful diving, quality of the chalets. Aside from all the brilliant dives, the memories that will stick with me are: 1) sitting on our chalet's private deck and watching parrot fish, lion fish and barracuda swim right by while a couple of turtles were surfacing a little further away and 2) relaying in the evening on the sundeck/helipad with a beer while watching 5 lightning storms occur simultaneously on the horizon while the milky way was in clear view overhead (a novelty when you live in Singapore!).

On the slight downside - as mentioned in a previous review, the vegetarian options are not very extensive (an issue for my wife - I ate like a horse on all the fresh seafood). Also, I am not the most experienced diver, having done 9 dives by the time I arrived here. The majority of people on the dive trips were much more experienced and so I found myself relying on my buddy much more than on the divemaster. This was not a problem as such, but I would advise that if you are diving here as a novice, to take a good buddy and a computer.

In general though, this is a brilliant place to stay and to dive.

  • Liked — Amazing place and stunning diving.
  • Disliked — Leaving
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank SingaporeNick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
285 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 9, 2008

Kapalai Island Resort was a hit for my husband and I and our 3 teenagers! The resort is beautiful, the bungalow's are comfortable, the food was great, and the dive team and dives were fabulous! We are planning a return trip!

  • Liked — Being in the bungalow over the ocean
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank bakerswoodfox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2008

The resort was a dream, we had our own chalet with our own private deck looking out over the sea, which I believe all the chalets have. The food was fresh and delicious and the staff attentive. The diving was next to none, the number of turtles there was unbelievable and there was no need to go to Turtle Island that we also had on our itinerary. We saw reef sharks in the early morning amonsgt other sea life including box fish, baracudda and rays.

  • Liked — Suprisingly comfortable, better than a lot of hotels that I have stayed at
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed October 2005, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank TaliesinUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uk
Level Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 6, 2008

You cannot really describe this hotel until you see it, but it really is worth the experience of going there.

The hotel is built on stilts in the ocean so every bungalow looks directly out into the ocean. The views are absolutely amazing, and if you are going for the diving, you cannot get accomodation closer to Sipadan island.

If you are at the hotel as a diver, its great as the diving is normally included in the price you pay. Snorkelling is also awesome at the hotel and you can tell by the quality of the reef that it's well looked after.

The food was ok at the hotel, but not a great variety if you don't eat meat. Staff are very accomodating however and will make sure you are able to eat something. They even provide a packed lunch on your day of departure if you leave before lunch!!

Staff were great and could not be faulted at this hotel, very helpful, knowledgeable and polite.

The rooms are very spacious and airy, and each room has a balcony directly over the ocean. It's very private as well so this is great for a get away.

The hotel does not have air con as it's eco-friendly. We thought this would cause a problem with the heat, but all rooms have fans and are easily cooled by the ocean air -so this isnt really a problem at all.

Getting to the hotel was a very long journey as we flew from KK to Tawau, (1 hr) then drove to Semporna (1 hr), then took a boat to Kapalai (1 hr)....But it is worth the journey though.

The resort is basic in terms of amenities which is the only downside, but the location more than makes up for anything that is lacking!!

  • Liked — The view & surrounding reefs
  • Disliked — Amenities were very basic
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank quixotic_spider
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort

Property: Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort
Address: Kapalai, Pulau Sipadan, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Sipadan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 60
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A few minutes by boat from the islands of Sipadan and Mabul but a full world away from it lays the exhilarating Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort, sitting on its sturdy stilts on the shallow sandbanks of Ligitan Reefs. Planned and built in full style as an airy, comfortable, sunny water village with no land in sight, it boasts a mile-long sandbank of powdery white sand where one can suntan at complete leisure while gazing out to the miles of brilliant turquoise stretching into the horizon offering the purest image of natural serenity. Dive spots Sipadan and Mabul can be reached in just a few minutes by speedboat. Sipadan-Kapalai is an ideal destination for diver and non-diver alike seeking a great holiday experience. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Hotel Pulau Sipadan
Sipadan Kapalai Island Hotel
Hotel Sipadan Kapalai Island

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