There are a lot of things,especially the management arm of SMART needs to improve on as we experienced some hick-ups during our patronage there. We stayed there on the 2/11 until 5/11 whereby my group consists of 9 adults and 3 children under the age of 3. Earlier, we made our bookings during the dive expo in Malaysia (MIDE) with one of the staff there, Michelle, and for the price that we pay for a 4D3N stay it was a good steal. Since we were avid divers, we also requested for Sipadan dives for 2 days and understood that children under the age of 2 are FOC. All good so far. Then, things start to unravel.
Starting with the plus points of our travel:
- Hands down they have the most comfortable, spacious and proper transportation from the beginning you arrive, to the resort and back to airport. Think big vans and big boats.
- The buffet table compliments well with the resort. With a myriad of fruit platter and desserts and delicious cooked food you won;t believe you are miles away from mainland. On sunday they served seafood barbeque too. For other strict herbivores like me, I did not at once felt missed out on anything as there are plenty of other non-meat choices which tasted great. You can also request for special diet food and they will try to cater for you.
1) Miss-communication between the front office (FO) and the main office that handled the booking was the culprit that made the stay less than perfect. In the beginning we were told children enter Sipadan for FOC but here we were told otherwise. This major set back was unforgivable and a big deal since the trip was planned with divers with kids in mind. We have everything in black and white stating children below 2 go in for free.
2) Next, a more confusing part. Initially we requested 2 days Sipadan diving n was approved when we were still in KL. But the night before we leave for Sipadan island we were informed that we only have permits for ONE day not two days as agreed. At that point, nothing surprised us anymore and was content with only 3 dives in Sipadan instead of 6. So since we have an extra day of no diving, we made extensive Plan B on spending time having fun with the kids and families since they have been left out for a while.
But lo and behold, turns out we still have permits for another day! This becomes cumbersome as we go back and forth between plans all because of the unprofessionalism portrayed by the FO. We argued and demanded they fix the issue since they wanted to charge us the permits eventhough we declined to go. Only after heavy berating that they relented probably to avoid making a scene.
I really hope this doesn't happen to anyone else as it can truly be avoided and everyone should leave the gorgeous island with beautiful memories of the perfect trip.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- SIPADAN-MABUL RESORT (SMART) is situated at Mabul Island overlooking the well-known Sipadan Island. It is a dive destination resort that began its modest operations back in 1993 and has since grown into a well-established and reputable resort as it is today. SMART has 42 land-based chalets (22 unit stand-alone detached chalets, 18 unit standard semi-detached chalets and 2 unit suite chalets) which can accommodate up to 84 guests at any one time. All chalets are built from native materials of Borneo, mostly twin-bedded, equipped with mosquito screens, air-conditioning and come with attached bathrooms with hot shower facilities as well as free Wi-Fi internet access in the room. Other facilities include a swimming pool, Jacuzzi whirlpool spa, large dining hall and bars. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Sipadan Mabul Hotel Pulau Mabul