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“bad value for money”

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Smart Divers Resort
hong kong
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“bad value for money”
Reviewed 2 December 2012

Great diving, but this “resort” is taking advantage of the endless flow of tourists. The value for money concept is nil here – 5 Star prices with 2 Star rooms! Old, dirtly, dilapidated bathrooms…more like a summer camp than a resort. The staff are friendly, but not if you have any problems – we had some intransigent arguments with staff about a number of issues. The grounds are nice but overcrowded and there are refugee camps on the island making a “luxury” holiday leaving a sour taste…Stay on Kapilai rather than Mabul. If you choose Mabul, stay at one of the backpacker dives (true dives…), and save a ton of money. Great diving nevertheless, but at a cost.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank nicnicHongKong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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38 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    13
    16
    4
    5
    0
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5
16
5
Business
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Appin, New South Wales, Australia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 July 2012

This was my first trip to an island and it was absolutely perfect. It was better then seen on the documentaries and television shows. The resort wasn't exactly 5 star as we stayed on the land section but it was comfortable. No TV or internet but it isn't needed when relaxing. The beach was just outside with a pool available and free usage of the kayaks. The staff were beyond friendly and helpful.
There was a buffet everyday for each meal of the day and the food quality was exceptional. I will definitely return here on my next trip.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Caroline Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richardson, Texas
Level Contributor
241 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 February 2012

I just returned from my first trip to Mabul island and stayed at the Sipadan Mabul Resort or SMART for short. (all the dive boats are called SMART) This is a very nice resort with two distinct sections, the Water Bungalows (see pic) which are beautiful and expensive or the Chalets which are nice and reasonable. You are free to roam on both areas for diving and to enjoy a beer. After a very confusing introduction by Jackie (greeter and dive instructor) we enjoyed our stay in the SMART Chalets. The Chalet was functional with A/C and a decent bathroom. The Chalet open air dining area was nice and the food was very good. Ben, the manager and Arena were very helpful and got us one of the 14 daily SMART permits to dive on Sipadan island. If you travel to Malaysia and dive, I would highly recommend the SMART resort!

Room Tip: The best dive resort on Mabul island for diving at Sipadan!
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ken R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Miri
Level Contributor
27 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 November 2011

Me and my bf have visited to Mabul, Sipadan & Kapalai in the August and we stayed 5days 4 nights at SMART Mabul Divers Resort. We have choose to stay at the standard chalet. The room no doubt is very basic, no TV. But very spacious. 1 Thing i like most is it has a balcony that facing to the beach! There are 3 different types of accommodation available in SMART- Stand alone chalet, Standard Chalet or Water Bungalow. If you don't might to pay a little big higher, then you should go for Water Bungalow!

The food is ok. At least 1 BBQ dinner per week. Free flow of drinks. And we manage to get the permission to go to Sipadan Island on our 2Nd day but we have to pay an Extra RM70 per pax as the management claim that is the charges to buy the pass from another resort.

Besides than diving and snorkeling, the other activities are including kayaking, volleyball, cycling or visit the nearby village. There are 2 souvenir shops in the resort but suggested you to walk to the nearby village to search for the local handmade goods.

Last but not least, thanks to the management & staff for the special beach side dinner arrangement. Both of us like it very much! What to be sure, we will be back again!!


Tips to get for the Sipadan island entry permission: Avoid to go during peak season and school holiday.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Chewyinc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 July 2011

Was very excited about this resort but ended up disappointed. I booked a standard bungalow - big mistake - if you are going there then make the effort and book the water bungalow. My room was clean but very basic and very tired. Nowhere to sit out front - very dark adn dingy. The water bungalows looked amazing and I kicked myself for not booking one of those. Food was OK - always cold no matter that it was freshly served. Staff very helpful and the diving operation was very efficient if perhaps a bit too infelxible. Foound myself diving with a different group every day so didn't manage to bond much with the dive crew. Be aware that if you are going to there to dive Sipadan - which is probably why you are - then there is a restriction on permits and your dives there will be limited. Other diving in the area was a bit ordinary.

Stayed June 2011, travelled solo
Helpful?
4 Thank DMIves
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
65 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 March 2011

Sipadan Mabul Resort is a brilliant place to escape to from the pressures of everyday life and to enjoy some great hospitality and world class diving at Sipadan.
We stayed in a detached chalet, which are roomy and have all the facilities we needed. If you require more luxury and can't get away from the TV, then try a water bungalow.
A typical day was spent on the dive boats at one of many macro oriented dive sites around Mabul or Kapalai, or out all day on the Sipadan dive boat.
The number of divers at Sipadan is strictly controlled. However, we were there during a quiet spell and hence enjoyed 6 days out of 8 diving at Sipadan.
Sipadan is sublime. It really is Turtle Island. We lost count of the number we saw on each dive, along with numerous white tip reef sharks, huge shoals of barracuda and occasional grey reef sharks. This is interspersed with great wall dives, good hard and soft corals and plenty of smaller stuff to see for those with sharp eyesight.
Evenings were spent relaxing at the Sunset Bar after enjoying some tasty and varied local cooking in the resort restaurant.
Would we go back? – In a heartbeat.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank route66weasel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Geneva
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 February 2010

Diving was good but there is so limited slots to dive in Sipadan.
We got 2 days from 5 days stay but it seems Water Bungalow (higher priced rooms) guests tends to get more days to dive in Sipadan.
Extra items eg. drinks, gear rentals are so expensive
Dive guides have fixed dive plans, everyday going back to same dive sites as everyday there's new divers added to the group and wants to do Barracuda Point

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank globalgee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Smart Divers Resort

Property: Smart Divers Resort
Address: Mabul, Pulau Mabul, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Mabul
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 10 Speciality Lodging in Pulau Mabul
Number of rooms: 45
Also Known As:
Smart Divers Hotel Pulau Mabul

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