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“Absolutely fantastic”

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Sipadan Mabul Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Pulau Mabul
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Absolutely fantastic”
Reviewed 28 May 2014

Amazing diving. Very friendly staff. Nice food. Everything is taken care of for you. The dive masters and all boat crew were fantastic. It was great to know that we could go to the house reef for a swim, snorkel or dive whenever we felt like it. Three boat dives per day was great and every dive site was stunning.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Gemima P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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188 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (39)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hungarian first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
39 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 May 2014

Lovely Resort, we did not have the stand alone chalet as there were none available so were not guaranteed a day at Sipadan, however we ended up with 2 days at Sipadan and were offered a third but did not take up the offer as there was lots of good diving around Mabul. The resort is clean and comfortable. The food is very good and plentiful. The diving is very well organised, however because it is such a big operation it is not a personal as some of the other places we have dived. The dive masters we dived with (4 in all) were all very good although they took on more of a role as a guide rather than actively looking for sea life. The house reef is excellent and we did a dive under the Sea Venture oil rig which was also very interesting. Had a great week here and met some lovely people. The transfers all went very well too.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Laspig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mumbai (Bombay), India
Level Contributor
30 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 May 2014

Imagine a place that is perfectly geared for diving and is a terrific resort and has good food and has a great layout amongst the sand and the palm trees and has sweet and friendly staff. Now put that place in one of the worlds best dive locations. There you have it. Sipadan Mabul dive resort.
Unfortunately not much is written on the place and as such I went there with a lot of questions and no clear picture as to what to expect. My girlfriend had done the booking and the spade work.
Our arrival was an eye opener.
From the airport pickup at tawau to semporna to the boat pick to mabul. We were transported to another world.
It's a small island with the resort set to one side of it. The garden bungalows are amazing set amongst the trees and close to the beautiful pristine beach.
The occasional shy monitor lizards in the garden remind you that this is a world away.
The resorts USP is diving and it's perfectly geared for it. A huge dive centre and lots of
boats. The dive crew is outstanding. Our guide was Ronnie. I can't recommend him enough. If someone wants to train for scuba there, he will be an amazing instructor. Perfect temperament and excellent knowledge.
The dive sites around are amazing but do keep the highlight of the stay, Sipadan, for the end. Once you dive there everything else will pale in comparison. Unless of course you plan to dive at Sipadan more than once.
The restaurant is good. I like the 'no footwear' policy. Keeps the floor sand and dirt free. Just like a liveaboard.
The resort shares it's facilities with the Mabul Water Bungalows where there is very nice man made reef.
I suggest you try a few night dives there. We did and we came away very happy each time. Lots to see and the safety of the location adds to the experience.
Kudos to the facility and the staff.

  • Stayed April 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Kunal737
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Morin-Heights
Level Contributor
21 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 February 2014

Everything went perfectly:
- 3 diving outings a day
- beautiful and cosy houses on the sea (our sun was in the ones on the land), wow !!!
- lovely varied food
- very professionnal diving masters and guides

Except for 2 things:
- the matress we had wasn't very comfortable (we could feel the springs :( ) - house on the water numer 206
- instant coffee is what is available for breakfast, and if you want real coffee, you have to pay at the bar

I think for the price we pay (we went in the low season for a better price, but still, it is not given), we could have a good mattress and good coffee in the morning.

Room Tip: I don't think it is worth paying double price to stay on the ocean. The houses on the land are j...
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Sylvie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
22 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 January 2014

It can be confusing when arriving at this resort... as there are two. An over-water resort and a land resort. We stayed at the land resort and really enjoyed it. We booked last minute so our room was quite simple. There are several floor plans of rooms available, so check these out before booking. The shower felt as if it was fed with salt water-- a bit odd-- and there were quite a lot of insects. Buy some incense from the gift shop and be sure to take your insect repellant. The beach area is quite nice at high tide-- low tide shows lots of rubbish in the water, however. The overwater rooms looked lovely but do not have direct access to the water from the room like other "water resorts". The sunset bar is a nice place to unwind and you don't need cash- you may charge everything to your room so there's no need to carry a wallet.

All meals were buffet style and tended to please the majority of the guests who are Chinese. It was quite delicious nonetheless with plenty to eat at breakfast, lunch, tea and supper. If you want to enjoy a cold beverage in your room, just ask the kind staff for a bucket of ice-- it's free of charge and a nice little perk.

The staff was very friendly and the dive staff incredibly professional. Diving Sipadan was not as good as we'd hoped, however. The visibility was low for this time of year. If you are a very experienced diver, consider renting your own boat so as not to be subject to the beginner levels of other divers that might be in your group.

Before you depart, be sure to strap on your sandals for a walk around the island... either by land or by the shore at low tide. The friendly locals are used to this and if you're a bit intrepid, you'll enjoy seeing the life they lead on this tiny island.

Oh, and if you're a bit sore, book a massage at the spa bungalow at the overwater resort. (You may use the facilities at both resorts!) The traditional massage uses long strokes and strong pressure. My therapist found knots I didn't know I had. It was both relaxing and invigorating!

Room Tip: Choose resort carefully depending on whether you want an overwater or land bungalow.
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank TravelinChance
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 December 2013 via mobile

I have spent 5 nights at SMART for he primary reason of diving Sipadan Island. The resort is located on Mabul Island and operates a number of speedboats to get you to and from mainland as well as all the dive sites. The accommodation is to a very high standard even in the standard bungalows. Not sure whether it is worth the extra money for the water bungalows. There have been a few comments about the quality of the food on trip advisor. All I can say is that it was of a very good quality (bearing in mind this is an island 1 1/2 hours away from mainland) and always sufficient.
The resort is totally geared around diving which is why I went there in the first place. The resort has got a daily allowance for 14 divers to go to Sipadan and guaranties each guest who stays for four days or more at least one day in Sipadan. The resort was fairly quite while I was there and so I was fortunate enough to have the pleasure of diving in Sipadan every single day. Sipadan Island is absolutely spectacular (I have reviewed this separately) and SMART definitely benefits from having the allowance for 14 divers per day. Apart from two or three other resorts in the area, most others have significantly less licences.
The dive masters are very professional and know the sites very well. They have led you to the spots with the best wildlife without getting too hung up with diving very deep or very far. This suits my dive style and ensured that we didn't miss out on any of the wildlife. I suggest though you have at some previous dive experience before heading for this fabulous site as it will make you focus on the amazing scenery rather than you buoyancy control, breathing, ...
Overall a great experience. Hopefully I can go back there next year.

Stayed December 2013, travelled solo
Helpful?
6 Thank Stefan G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong
Level Contributor
29 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 December 2013

First thing first, SMART is the short form for Sipadan MAbul ResorT.

Have been there once at 2002. Now back to visit again and found very good and on-going improvment.

Please be noted that this Resort have two area, the expensive side is water bungalow. SMART is relative cheaper.

The water for drink is OK but for shower is a little salty. Sure this will not happen at the bungalow side.

Two areas belong to same boss and visitor are all welcome to use both facility.

I write this review just to remind people do not mess up these two good Resort. Choose the one suit your budget. No matter which resort, sure you will happy.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Homer_Chau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sipadan Mabul Resort

Property: Sipadan Mabul Resort
Address: P O Box 15571 Kota Kinabalu, Pulau Mabul 88865, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Mabul
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Pulau Mabul
Number of rooms: 42
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

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