The lodge has a lot to offer - a great location on the river, some wonderful guides who are respectful and helpful and lovely, fantastic nature all around, spacious rooms, and lots of time and an environment to relax and unwind.
The main things letting this lodge down are the food and the general upkeep and service. The food is really difficult to sustain after a day or so. It's hard to cook for people en mass, but even on days when there were only a few groups staying at the lodge it was the same overly sweet, fried and saucy meals with sweetened white bread and rice. Breakfasts, if you are on an early tour, consist of the same fried foods and sweetened bread. With hot, humid days, some fresh food would do wonders.
The other element letting the place down is the upkeep and service. The rooms are large and generally well maintained. Though they are not serviced quickly and general conveniences are left up to the guest to source - we had to ask to get toilet paper and the bathrooms end up with hundreds of ants overnight that aren't ever really removed, just washed into a corner. The sheets and blankets are frayed and stained, but otherwise comfortable. Things like the hammock being free of bugs and cleaned would not occur if there was a manager overseeing the large number of staff at the lodge (which was a positive, having a lot of families around).
There are great things about this lodge too - the drinks are available all day and are cheap. The laundry service is well maintained and our clothes came back lovely. You are left to your own pace - if you want to join in on the river cruises you can, but you can also opt out (though it's generally included in the cost anyway).
The wifi service is not available - even though it's promoted as being in a wifi zone, we could not get the internet at all on the trip.
Ultimately the jungle experience is great and it was wonderful to do the river cruises, cave and orangutan sanctuary, but the comforts of a great lodge were lacking at the Bilit Rainforest lodge, which took away a little from the relaxing atmosphere. With better food and a closer attention to detail, this could be a great place to stay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Bilit Rainforest Lodge is located beside the Lower Kinabatangan River in the village of Bilit, approximately 2 hours drive from Sandakan. It is a set of amidst lush tropical forest and offers comfort and peaceful relaxation as well as a base for easy exploration of the incredible diversity of plant, mammal and birds at the Kinabatangan region. All chalets and the restaurant are made from local hardwood material and are designed to blend into the nature giving a unique local native ambience. The rooms are very spacious and comfortable with a minimum of 600 sq.ft. for standard chalets and 800 sq. ft. for VIP permier chalets. A boardwalk connects the jetty, restaurant and all the chalets. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bilit Rainforest Hotel Sabah