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Borneo Rainforest Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
129 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“Loved it”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 3, 2014 via mobile

Couldn't recommend more. Definitely worth paying for a deluxe room, even if just for the view. Food fantastic, always great choice (which is what you'll want after a few days on the river).

Our guide (mike) was great, so enthusiastic it was great to see. Great to see primary rainforest. And we saw a good amount of animals. This is the wild, so don't expect to see anything, that way you won't be disappointed. The BRF is not about the animals, but the location. Loved it!

Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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791 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
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (223)
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English first
West Sussex, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
146 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 25, 2014

We stayed for just 2 days and it was great to escape the usual routine. Smooth pick up and fun transfer to the resort which is really tucked away in the middle of the rainforest. Beautiful wooden villas connected to the main building by wooden walkways are very authentic to the setting. No cell service and limited wifi encouraged us to withdraw from technology during our stay which was refreshing! We went for a night drive on arrival and then 4 walks during the next day broken up by returning to the lodge for meals. Our guide was good - looking for the usual haunts but also they all use one another to notify of which animals have been seen and where. The number of sightings was limited but the range of life in the rainforest and understanding the ecosystem was interesting. No need for fitness as no walk is very long but you do need stamina as the day can be long and hot. We were very pleased we took long sleeve tops and trousers to keep the leeches off! The leech socks are for sale in the gift shop as is insect repellent - both cost effectively and so worth it. The leeches are small and a few per hour - all we had to do was to give them a good flick before properly latched on! We saw one orangutan, red leaf monkeys with babies, lots of birds, millipedes and centipedes, civets and an amazing flying squirrel. Food is buffet style with lots of choice and freshly cooked. Lovely chill out areas and the whole of main building is shoe-free so very relaxed. No need at all for any smart clothes, everything is laid back. Our room looked out at a grassy area leading to the river and a huge hill of rainforest on the other side of the river - could have spent hours sitting watching nature. We didn't take advantage of it in our short stay but there is also an enormous bath outdoors! Lovely deck. Indoors everything is wooden and rustic with large hot showers, ceiling fans. No curtains, just insect barriers on doors and through breezes - very relaxing. Expensive but a great back to nature experience.

Room Tip: Deluxe rooms have great views over river
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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1 Thank MCP247
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kl
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 5, 2014

very nice botanical garden if you like trekking. however if you seriously want to see animals from nearby, this is not a good place for you. considering the high price(more than USD700 per night per two people wven with standard room) i point out as below.

first, we couldnt see many animals there. we couldnt see any major animals from nearby. the rainforest is preserved in its natural form and animals are not fed at all and not used to human at all. forests are very deep with many trees more than 50 meters long. so, animals (orangutans, monkeys, squirrels, eagles) can stay deep in the forests and tend to stay away from human. even early in the morning(in my case 6am) i walked 30minutes deep into the forest but couldnt see any animals although i heard many animals making voice. of course it is 'luck' due to the jungle surroundings. in my understanding, the reality is that there are very few animals in the visible range.

even so, the resort must make more efforts to enable guests to see more animals, considering the high price. i.e., the resort take memo of which animals were seen on what place on what day and with which guides and should put the list on website. by doing so, everyone can see in advance what the environment is like. guests dont need to overestimate the animals there. like us, many guests tell that they want to see big animals(elephants etc) upon arrival, and end up seeing very few animals and at the very end they even missing small monkeys.

second, we didnt like the tour system in the lodge. ideally there are several tours going on and guest can take a look at the entire list and can select which to join or which not to join. guests can join everything and come to know which tours are interesting and which guides are capable explainging/finding animals. however, in the system here, this was not the case. although there are several similar tours going on at similar time, one guide takes care of the one group entirely. if one guest doesnt want to join the tour or wants to join another group/tour, guides reject this. in our case, our guide kindly changed the schedule in our favour, but did so by changing the other guests' schedule, which we felt somewhat sorry for them. i think guests need more flexible and effective system.

third, closely linked to the second, the management is very poor. when we ask for changing the date of our tour, staff tend to avoid us and say 'ask your guide', guide tend to keep us in the group rigidly and do so by even changing the other guests' schedule. i think staff and guides must ask their managers for good advice in such a case(if i was a manager i would provide something more flexible), but they didnt consult with managers because there are no managers at all. the lack of managers is the headache here. i think staff and guides are not blamed, although guides need to improve their animal-finding skills in the first place.

thus, considering the very-high price, i want to say that resort is somehow overadvertising the existence of animals. if few animals, then the resort should advertise as such. also, the tour sysytem and management need to be improved more for the sake of convenience/consideration of guests. the management should consider what guests expect. i know 5-6 star hotels providing better service for much more reasonable price in asia or within malaysia.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank klia67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 29, 2014

We loved staying at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge. We were met at the airport (first time I've seen my name on a board!!!) and taken to the Lodge (2hr drive) fairly quickly after a bite to eat. After briefing and lunch we were trekking and seeing monkeys/orangutans within the day. We stayed for 3D/2N and had a private transfer there and back. The treks were set at a good pace and fair difficulty and our guide was knowledgable and a good spotter! The night walk was fantastic but I recommend a head torch (it reflects in the creatures eyes better than a torch). The food was the best buffet food I have ever had.
The only disappointment was the outside "jacuzzi". We stayed in a deluxe room, it has a private shallow outside bath where you can sit and watch the river and wildlife. Unfortunately, there is not enough hot water to make this usable.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Matthew C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
133 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 26, 2014

finding fault in this lodge is a very difficult undertaking, i'm not even going to bother.

our chalet faces the river (where you can go tubing), and it is simply charming and ecologically designed. much thought was put into the design of the chalet and the air circulation that air conditioning is not necessary.

out time there was regrettably limited (had other places to see), but even then, the activities we experienced were truly memorable.

we went on treks, night walks, canopy walk on hanging bridges (first hand experience of life many metres above ground), saw ancient burial holes on the face of the mountain, had fishes nibble away the dead skin on our feet from a natural spring and experienced the best of borneo cuisine.

our guide (Lister) was warm, friendly, knowledgeable, professional and accommodating. the staff were exceedingly caring and friendly. during an excursion, i told our guide that for some reason my feet seemed swollen (it was ok, it settled down quickly) and by the time we returned to the resort, the general manager met me and asked about my foot and satisfied himself that all was ok.

it would truly be a shame to miss this experience.

Room Tip: they only have two types of chalet to suit your budget, deluxe and normal. our was a deluxe that fa...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank iskoolboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warwickshire, U.K
Level Contributor
32 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 20, 2014

Wow this place is really special and well worth the journey to get there. The road journey is not as bad as I expected and the bonus is you will hopefully see some wildlife on the way in & out. We were very lucky to even see an orang during our drive. We were welcomed very professionally by Yvette who was most helpful when we needed anything during our stay. We stayed in a deluxe chalet which has a bath on the balcony and river view. The room are well done. Bear in mind due to the tropical climate the rooms can feel a little damp as it's impossible to dry everything out. The food was superb throughout and the hotel should be commended for this as it's an amazing achievement in this remote location. Our guide was Mike who was enthusiastic and really could not do enough. We were very fortunate during our treks to see orangs 3 times, red leaf monkeys, gibbons, a bear cat macques samba deer and lots of other beautiful creatures. This place is magical and although it's expensive it's well worth the money.
Things you will need
Torch for night walks
Leach socks - these can be purchased for 20 ringets £4 in the hotel shop
Good sturdy walking boots or shoes together you don't mind getting muddy
Lightweight clothing ideally long sleeves
Refillable water bottles ( you will need plenty of water on the treks)
Plastic bag for your camera
Binoculars
flip flops/slip on sandles for walking to & from restaurant
Earplugs as it is very noisy with all the wildlife at night
It's worth noting as well that although this is a pricey trip the profits go to the preservation of the rainforest !

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank ariley2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manila, Philippines
Level Contributor
156 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 19, 2014

As the photos on the wall lay claim, William and Kate rally did stay here, and so did I... And while I'm sure they probably got even better service, I was still very happy. This is a quite remote area and it is not just very close to nature, it is very much in it. But I have to say, at meal times the quality of food I'd such that, other than the beautiful view, you could be back in a KL 5 star - I'm really impressed, as were the rest of my group, with what came out of this jungle kitchen - fresh veg, meat, fish,... And even bread and butter pudding among the desserts. And a bar for evening cocktails.
Service is very good. Rooms are eco lodge style, so quite simple but with everything you need and a decent shower. Bring a torch for the walk back to your room after dinner, and don't forget your bug spray. The restaurant is open air. You may get a view of wildlife while you eat such as deer.
While the evening tour in the truck is a bit disappointing (lucky to see more than a civet and a flying squirrel), the morning walk to the peak is a must if you wish to be sure (almost) of seeing orangutan up close ( still partially obscured by the trees of course ) - really worth the sweat. An excellent place to understand the palm oil trade and it's impact on the local environment - you can see the differences between primary and secondary forests, the good and the bad palm oil plantations, etc. There are top researchers working full time in this area.

This is a really great place to stay. Satisfaction almost guaranteed, and one in three will surely experience a leech... I'm a big fan of leech socks available at the lodge shop.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank johnni147
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Borneo Rainforest Lodge

Property: Borneo Rainforest Lodge
Address: Danum Valley Conservation Area 88100, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Danum Valley Conservation Area
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Danum Valley Conservation Area
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Borneo Rainforest Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 31
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A low density Jungle Lodge with 31 Twin Sharing Chalets located in the largest Conservation Area in Sabah which is home to 275 species of birds, 110 species of mammals & one of the oldest virgin rainforest in the world. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Borneo Rainforest Hotel Sabah

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