My experience at Singamata was largely underwhelming – and I arrived fully expecting budget accommodation. I visited with my boyfriend and spent 3 nights in a deluxe room, hoping to recover from our climb of Mt Kinabalu directly beforehand. The location was fantastic for relaxing, with plenty of hammocks scattered around the boardwalks and stairs directly into the ocean for snorkeling. The island snorkeling trips are also fun (more later), though not the best value. However that’s pretty much all this place has going for it.
The accommodations even in the deluxe room were incredibly basic, cramped and not good value for the price, especially in Asia. The double bed was tiny and old, the only other furniture in the room was a little old desk in the corner, and the bathroom was basically a “wet room” that emptied into the ocean – about 10m from where we set off for our intro dive. Keep that in mind when snorkeling around the hotel! The electricity is turned off during the day, so there are no fans to lounge under on a hot day. We still enjoyed hopping between hammocks and the water to cool off, which is lucky because if you’re not diving, there’s not much else to do.
Be prepared to have the office staff try to sell you on diving programs when you check in, even when you don’t have enough time. (Remember to consider your arrival and departure flights – and if you’ve just climbed Kinabalu, you probably WILL be a bit sore.) There was also some waiting around to take the boat out to the hotel, as mentioned by other reviewers. We ended up being the only guests on a boat otherwise full of staff who seemed to show up late. Use any wait time to walk into town and stock up on snacks and any alcohol you fancy – once you’re at the hotel, there’s not much available.
Food was a fairly bland and repetitive spread. We aren’t fussy foodies but we enjoy exploring other cuisines and felt that we had that opportunity wasted for the 4 days we were there – and being stuck out on the reef you have no other food options. Since I can’t eat fish there were several meals where I basically ate rice and fruit, which might be fine for some but frustrated me that fabulous Asian food was available literally just on the horizon each evening.
There seemed to be about 6 guests total during our stay, but many employees who sat around and watched us. We tried to engage in friendly smiles and quick chats at first, then gave up and just felt creeped out by the end of our stay.
Feeling stir-crazy after 2 days, we did a day trip to a nearby island to snorkel. This was the highlight of our stay, and definitely worth doing if you’re not diving. The island was gorgeous, the staff brought a simple lunch along, our guide actually had a sense of humour and he was great at taking us to specific places he obviously knew were haunts for sea turtles and big fish. It was a relief to have a change of scenery!
All in all, stay here if you’re part of a larger, younger group on a tight budget and you’re planning to spend all day diving. For anyone else, I’d recommend spending only a little bit more to stay elsewhere, where you’ll get much more bang for your buck.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Singamata Adventures and Reef Resort was established in 2007. Built over a beautiful coral reef, the resort offers both tranquility and adventure. It provides an ideal base, not only to divers and snorkelers but to anyone seeking an affordable and relaxing haven to unwind and escape from everyday stress. Being an authorized Padi 5-star resort, we are ideally equipped to offer a wide range of courses catering to different needs and budgets. Our experienced Padi instructors can help you achieve your goals. The resort offers three different room styles, all with ocean views. Plus, we have a a large buffet-style restaurant. We are the ideal choice not only for families and groups, but also for couples, backpackers and lone travellers. Our objective is to provide an excellent getaway… either on one of our brand new speedboats offering daily island trips for snorkeling and diving, or just a tranquil place to read a book on one of secluded sun-decks. We have great diving right off the site, plus we have a sea aquarium with some really large fish that you can swim around or even dive with. We also have free wi-fi for those wanting to stay in touch with the rest of the world, or perhaps show off your beautiful surroundings to envious work colleagues on facebook! Singamata Adventures and Reef Resort – an ideal retreat for divers, snorkelers, families and friends. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Singamata Adventures Semporna Hotel Semporna