I'll start off by saying that I am undecided about whether I would stay here again. I'm tempted to see what others in the area offer, but talking with other tourists at the Orang Utan Sanctuary, I think SJR was probably the best.
The Pros: Location is great. It really is 5mins to the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre, and if that is your priority, then this is the place. The deluxe room is a good size - fits double bed, extra single bed, and we could still fit our portable kids tent. The balcony looked over the lake, and the closest bench seat to our room was within internet access of the reception hub (which means we didn't have to walk all the way to the restaurant). A/C is reliable, pool is awesome (the kids loved it and really benefited from a cool down between rehab visits). Regina at the reception is brilliant - very helpful and super friendly.
Cons: The reviews about the restaurant staff were accurate. They truly give the impression that you are inconveniencing them. We were very patient, tried to lighten the mood with smiles and friendliness, and still waited 15mins (yes, we timed it) for a drink to arrive. The food is nice, but expensive and when the service is so unreliable, the cost hits harder. I understand that it costs extra to have the food transported from Sandakan, but the additional cost wouldn't bother too much if the food could be served with a smile. Considering how friendly and warm we found the rest of Malaysia, the restaurant/cafe staff were a real shock to us. Management has commented on here previously that perhaps it was just a rough day for the staff - no, that's not it at all. It's more like the staff have contempt for the tourists staying there. It didn't upset us - it merely disappointed us.
Neutral points: Yes, the accommodation is cheap - it is worth your comfort to upgrade. We had a deluxe room with a/c and it really helped. Sepilok Rehab Centre is really hot and humid, even on the most comfortable of days, so coming home to a/c and a nice pool really make a difference. Organise a night tour through Regina if you can - it's brilliant. A guide walks you through Sepilok at night and the wildlife are very different!
I'm glad we stayed there, but I wasn't blown away. Yes, I did expect to see a slightly run-down lodge, and was pleased with the clean and comfortable state. But it's not a place I am going to run off and rave about to my friends.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Just 5 minutes walk to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, Sepilok Jungle Resort offers comfortable lodging for visitors around the world to get close but un-intrusive glimpse of this nature paradise. It is enclosed within a tropical virgin Borneo Rainforest in Sandakan, Sabah (Borneo), Malaysia. Let its beautiful landscaped gardens and wide expanse of lush jungle transport you back in time. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sepilok Jungle Hotel Sandakan
- Sepilok Jungle Sandakan
- Sepilok Jungle Resort Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia