Let's start with the positive things about this place: the rooms (we stayed in a chalet) are just fabulous! Not like any other place. You can slide away almost all walls, so you feel like being in the middle of the jungle while still in your bed. The open air bathrooms are also quite an experience. The Paganakan Dii boosts an attractive open air communal area with comfy cushions. It's a good place to meet fellow travelers.
Unfortunately this place has downsides as well:
- the service is slooooow. Sometimes you'll have to wait 10 minutes just to ask a question at reception, while there no other guests and there are four members of staff doing nothing than chatting with each other. Patience is needed! Some of the staff members are okay though, but some of them did nothing but eating out of their noses all day long.
- we had to wait at least an hour for our food (lunch/dinner) to arrive. Not once, but every time we ate here! (3 times)
- half of the menu was unavailable during our stay. Not only the food, but the drinks as well.
- we had to wait well over 3 days for our laundry, and it was still humid when we collected it (so we have to wash or at least dry it once again at the next hotel). It's also rather expensive.
- The night before we had reception book us a taxi for 7:00 in the morning. We asked reception if it was possible to collect some of our luggage (which was in storage) and pay in the morning. They said this would be fine. At 7:00 there was someone from reception waiting for us, but she had no clue we still had to pay and the luggage storage was locked and she didn't have the key. She woke someone else from staff who tried to help us, but something was wrong with the bill (they lost one of the receipts I guess). After half an hour it was finally sorted out. The taxi was already waiting for us since 7:00, so of course we had to pay more for the ride to the airport.
In short: this place certainly has a lot of potential. Considering it's beautiful setting it could be a wonderful plaxe to spend some days. But when we were there it looked like it was rather mismanaged. There are lots of things they could (should!) improve on. Instead of expanding the place (they opened a couple of new chalets this week), they should make their service more reliable first. For now, I can't rate it higher than 3 out of 5...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Paganakan Dii is the perfect retreat to experience Nature in its most serene and natural state. Built on a site high above the surrounding foliage, the combination of cool longhouses and cosy duplex chalets makes for an experience worth a thousand images. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Paganakan Dii Tropical Retreat Hotel Sepilok
- Paganakan Dii Tropical Retreat Sepilok, Sandakan Division