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“The worst place in the world”

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Scuba Jeff Guest House
Ranked #2 of 3 Pulau Mabul B&B and Inns
Reviewed 24 July 2014

To anyone thinking of staying or diving at Scuba Jeff's on Mabul Island we would strongly advise you not to bother.

The staff take laziness and incompetence to a new level, Tahir the so called on-site manager was totally useless and the supervisor Patricia was the same. The only person who did any work was the boat captain Dasir. He was incredibly helpful with guests and on the boat, the other staff were content to sit around smoking, playing guitar and watching TV and made no effort whatsoever.

Despite being a very budget operation several of the PADI courses offered were more expensive than other vastly superior resorts on the island.

Snorkel guests were just shown to the equipment room and left to kit themselves up, a difficult task when there's no light due to the power only being on between 6pm and 6am. There was no forward thinking or planning at all, we watched several times when other guests were waiting to be taken back to the mainland but couldn't leave as they had run out of fuel and had to go begging around the other diveshops or the village. They would only think about doing this 10 minutes before they were due to leave despite having plenty of notice.

There was no oxygen available for emergencies but apparently there were agreements with other companies that we could use theirs if required - thankfully we never had to find out if this was the case. The boat was often packed full of 30+ guests which made it dangerously overloaded and watching the staff trying to organise divers into the water along with the snorkelers was chaotic. Other companies running same sized boats limit numbers to 18 passengers maximum. One day 40 people were scheduled to be on the boat before some cancelled.

The bins were rarely emptied which attracted a lot of cats which howled all night. The toilets often had dirty nappies and toilet paper in the bin for days on end and were only cleaned when we insisted as we were gagging from the smell so couldn't even use the showers.

The food was generally poor quality. There was an onsite cafe that sold burgers etc, however, after seeing they were kept in a broken fridge we didn't dare try them. Food was included in our package but we ate out for most meals as did a lot of the guests! Food was always brought out at the same time regardless of whether guests were back from diving or snorkelling and the staff were always the first to be eating.

Wifi was advertised on the website but was non-existent due to the staff playing youtube videos non-stop we would then have to then go and ask the staff to stop downloading stuff which they would do for about 5 minutes before resuming.

We were amazed to see the number of good reviews but interestingly they all seem to coincide with Jeff being around, when he's not it's like staying with a group of kids having a party when the parents are away. Despite telling Jeff this he didn't seem to care!

Do yourself a favour and chose a properly and safely run company to enjoy your stay on Mabul!

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Francesca A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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49 - 55 of 147 reviews

Reviewed 16 July 2014 via mobile

Scuba Jeff's was incredible. We spent 4 days snorkeling here and tried the discovery scuba diving for the first time, which I would highly recommend. The equipment all seemed new and the dive instructors were super competent and made us feel like we were in good hands. Corals were great and there are tons of fish and turtles everywhere you swim.

There was three of us sharing a four person room, although we ended up sleeping outside in the hammocks most nights. When else can you sleep under the stars and wake up with sea turtles swimming around you? It's magical.

Scuba Jeff's is a smaller business than some of the competition, which we liked because you really got to know everyone you're with and you become like a little family. It was also much cheaper here than other places we looked at. The staff were incredible, knowledgable and really made us feel at home. Food was a little repetitive but still good. And if you want to switch up the menu you can by crab from the locals and the staff will cook it up for you - delicious!

Overall it was an incredible experience and we were so happy that we booked through Scuba Jeff's!

Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
1  Thank Alannah_Llama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 July 2014

we booked and pay for 9 person but 2 of us need to share bed when sleeping since they didn't gave us extra mattress. i don't think they have extra mattress since all room were full. we asked to rent gopro for snorkelling but the gopro don't have battery. please make sure you asked the staff to charge the gopro the day before you went to snorkeling.

the food was okay. we didn't expect much since the price is cheap. 3 days --> chicken-tuna-chicken. the staff is kind. they helped us negotiate for crab and fish sold by villagers. please asked the staff about the price when you want to buy seafood from villagers. btw, the villagers didn't understand english.

electric is on 6pm-6am. make sure you bring power strip. there are only a few plug in the chalet.
for snorkeling, i think that the coral is just okay. redang island in terengganu has better coral (in my opinion) but you can try kapalai island by adding RM80.

overall, this place is recommended for solo or with friends. if with family, i suggest you better find another place. the sunset is beautiful. wake up early to see sunrise at the other side of the island and if you are lucky, you can see turtle swimming in front of the chalet. the toilet gave you sea water. it is not filtered. you can taste the salt when you take bath.

sorry for my bad english. still learning :p

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Service
Thank benzhafiz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2014

I may have to agree with other reviewers about the staff whom taking advantages while Jeff is not around, yes agreed with Pearl. I am expecting nice food but sadly same old same food for b'fast, lunch and dinner. Tuna fish for 3 days..wth. Jeff the owner is very nice person and friendly. In my opinion scubajeff guest house not suitable for family especially those with babies.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank wanderfool89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 May 2014 via mobile

There was a bit of miscommunication prior to our trip as the staff told us she failed to retrieve the bank slip even though she confirmed in the email upon receiving it. However, it was all okay when we arrived cos she never asked for it when we arrived at the Semporna's office. The driver failed to turn up and we have to call him twice in order to get into the tour mini bus with the rest.
We love the view at Scubajeff! It was superb. We're very lucky that there wasn't many guests when we were there. Basically, we kind of do everything we wanted to! The Dive Master, Tahir is an amazing guy. He's cool, friendly and he even entertained us by playing the guitar! Not forgetting the two snorkeling guides, we showed us turtles and beautiful fishes ! We saw beautiful sunset and double rainbow in front Scubajeff, sunrise at water bungalow.. Overall, we are quite satisfied with the trip. However, we feel that Scubajeff should improve on it's management.

  • Stayed: May 2014
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Thank Chl0e_Cheah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2014

Jeff the owner was around. However, due to public holidays that led to long weekend, the place is overcrowded. From the moment we arrived in Semporna, the office where we were made to wait for the boat is without water, having us to go to the nearby restaurant for nature's call. Later, there was something really wrong with our boat's engine, having to stop numerous times just to fix it and stop again until at last we arrived behind scheduled time. We had to wait for our room, which didn't come by even after 3 hours of waiting. Lucky the view from the sundeck is simply breathtaking, and we were in no hurry for any trip that day. We were given a room at last, but not at Scuba Jeff but about 10 mins walk in the village. Every meal time we have to go to Scuba Jeff and then walk back to our place. It is believed that the management failed to do total headcounts versus nu of available room, which is quite disappointing given that we booked about 3 months in advance. Food was so-so but we did not care much as the main point we came to Mabul to indulge on its beauty and its rich marine life. Jeff just so much as to reply 'pls check with my staff' if u asked anything about accomodation, snorkeling trips or even boat schedule time. This lack of attention on admin stuff makes lot customers feel frustrated. However, the location of the place is very nice, outstanding view, turtles swim around the place and you can actually relax once u find your own spot at the crowded deck, playing guitar and just lazying around.

Room Tip: Pray that you get a room once you reach the place. Chances are, u have to wait for a while and being...
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Aidelia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 May 2014 via mobile

Well maybe the staf taking advantages while their boss is not around...i'd read many reviews said that...the food is amazing...but sadly it's not...we ate the same breakfast meal for 3 days...which was...fried mee (which was tasteless) + fried egg...no varieties in menu for lunch n dinner...

No towel! Everyday for 3 nights we're asking for towel...but the lady didn't even care...fortunately some of us brought our own...

But that's it...despite what had happen...others are fine...the view is beautiful...every morning we saw a turtle swimming around...the sea is crystal clear...snorkeling is amazing...scuba (DSD) is fantastic...


Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
2  Thank Pearl S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Scuba Jeff Guest House

Address: Mabul Island, Pulau Mabul 91308, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Mabul
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Pulau Mabul
Price Range: £15 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Simple, budget accommodation on Mabul island in stilted longhouse right over the sea. Look out of your room to the infinite sea views or across to the local fishing village bustling with local life. Room rate includes all meals, tea, coffee, water. Friendly staff will treat you like family and make you feel at home. Snorkel right off our jetty or join our dive trips to the famous sites of Mabul and Sipadan. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Scuba Jeff Guest House Hotel Pulau Mabul

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