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“Unforgettable experience”

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Manana Borneo Resort
Reviewed 10 August 2014

This is probably one of the most amazing places I've ever stayed in and I couldn't recommend it enough. If your in Borneo its's a must! The food is also amazing! I like anyone else love my luxury five star resorts but I really enjoyed the experience of staying in Manana. It's certainly not luxury and no one will be treating you like the queen. But if you want a place to relax and be yourself then this is the place to go!

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank joeyjojo89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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70 - 76 of 180 reviews

Reviewed 23 July 2014

I had great expectations when I booked at Manana ,Basic doesn't have to be so dirty and not working .For example our pillows were mouldy. There was intermittent water and electricity. The front door didn't close properly.
The rubbish at the front of the cabin doesnt ever seem to be emptied. The stray dog rummages through the rubbish.
Manana may be basic but I don.t consider it to be cheap. The taxi from Kota Belud is possibly the most expensive in Sabah.
I am surprised that Manana does not provide free transport from the village.
Possibly the worst thing is the food .The staff didn't seem to enjoy being there and the Manager in particular seemed to be always frantic and stressed. Apart from two young guys who drove the boat and helped with breakfast the staff were very hostile.
With some attention and a more appropriate menu Manana could be a great place to stay .It wouldn't even cost much if finances are an issue.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
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2  Thank ganesha88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2014

This review has been difficult to write. On the one hand, my wife and I did enjoy our 4D/3N stay on Mañana. On the other hand, there are so many things that could (and should) be improved, and based on the other reviews here, it seems like the owners are a bit reluctantt to make these improvements. For this reason I will mainly focus on the "could be better"-part in the following.

First of all there is the question of value for money. As other reviews mention, Mañana is quite expensive compared to other comparable resorts, especially when you consider that your only option for all meals, snacks and drinks is the bar on the resort and that the resorts arranged transport from KK costs 140 each way including a short boat ride. In this light, I think that the owners should make a bigger effort to make some improvements. I have seen that "the Mañana team" have commented on other reviews basically stating that you pay for the location and that the whole point of the resort is to be "basic". The location IS good and I have no problem with "basic" accommodation in terms of no A/C, semi-outdoor bucket shower, bugs, power cuts etc. However, in my opinion it is possible for a resort to be "basic" and still well-maintained and well-managed. And with the price of a stay of Mañana I expected this to be true here as well.

Turning to the things that could be better, there are of course a lot of smaller things, but I will only mention the things that in my view are quite fundamental:
- Poor management. Us and the other guests experienced a number of misunderstandings and when the managements English is so poor, it becomes quite frustrating. This is no critique of the staff as such, who we found to be very friendly.
- Wet boat ride. We might have been unlucky with windy weather, but we started our stay at Mañana with getting ALL of our luggage soaking wet by the waves. This could easily be solved, e.g. by bringing some big plastic bags on the boat.
- insufficient mosquito nets. Our first night we were put in "Villa no 4", which had a net with 1 single tying point above the bet, which meant that it is impossible for two people of normal size to lay in the bed without getting the net in the face and kicking up the opening in the net during the night. The chalets are apparently the same. On the second night we switched to one of the "beach front"-villas (which we had ordered in the first place!), and here they have set up a much better square 4-point net.
- No locks. Neither of the two villas we stayed in had any lock on the front door. Someone mentioned that there has never been a reported theft on the resort, but still, I at least find it comforting to be able to lock the door, e.g. when going on a day trip. To make things worse, the door could not even be closed properly, which meant that we had to use a hanger to force the door to stay closed.

As mentioned, we did enjoy our stay in spite of the above, and this shows that Mañana with just a little effort could be excellent!

Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank Jesper N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 May 2014

Intro

We stayed in Manana in April 2014. It is a nice place cut off from the rest of the world with chalets right on the beach. However we were slightly disappointed as Manana promised so much but delivered so little.

Pros:
- Arriving by boat (not accessible by car)
- Chalets right next to the beach
- No reception/internet and limited electricity (get the feeling of being really cut off)
- The rooms were okay
- Beach is nice and not many people

Cons:
- Overpriced relative to delivery
- Food (limited selected, poor quality, team often forgot requests, many things were not available – eg we were once brought coffee only to be told there was no milk, no pancakes, no salad)
- The staff are disorganized – they were not sure about our booking (had to call ‘The Boss’) and we were moved chalet each day.
- Little vibe in the place – the restaurant felt a bit dead
- We found a rat which had it’s burrow in our “garden bathroom” – these are bathrooms in the chalets which have gardens.
- Beds (poor)

Conclusion

We were left moderately disappointed by Manana. We had the impression that Manana was created and run by ‘The Boss’ who is no longer present but lives elsewhere. Beach and chalet setting is nice but the service delivery is poor (which then means that it is overpriced relative to what you get). However the guestbook on the wall is a reminder to the current guests that that people once had a really good time here.

Room Tip: Get a chalet/villa on the beach
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank neilcampbell31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 April 2014

When you step off the little dinghy that ferries you from the nearby fishing village to the private beach, you enter a whole different world which is Manana.

Situated 1 hour away from Kota Kinabalu in the district of Kota Belud, you make your way into a fishing village before coming upon a breath-taking view of the gulf on which Manana is located. Manana consists of several villas, chalets and a dorm with a restaurant cum common area. A dive shop is being constructed and should be a nice addition this piece of heaven.

We stayed in a villa, which is situated directly on the beach, complete with your own verandah and hammocks for you to laze in. There were no electricity during the daylight hours and all you get is a fan to help you keep cool and hope that the mosquito net which surrounds the queen-size bed does its job. Phone coverage was abysmal at best and and there's not much to do apart from role-playing as a sloth.

But it is all these things that make Manana one of the BEST places we've ever stayed in! Manana gets back to basics and totally disconnects you from the world. It's a place that forces you to slow down, rest, relax and to enjoy the things around you. Lying on the sand, talking to the love of your life as the sun sets in front of your eyes on a private beach in front of your own personal villa, can you ask for more?

Thank you for the experience Manana, will definitely return for more.

Room Tip: Splurge a little and choose a villa, totally worth the extra Ringgits as you get your own private li...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank HezryAbuHasan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2014

I visited Manana for the THIRD time in March this year, and once again, LOVED IT :-)

The staff, including quite a few newbies, made me feel welcome from the minute I arrived at the kampung jetty.

There's been a few improvements since my last visit;

The menu is more varied and extensive - loved the roti canai
They have bigger, much quieter generators - no more black outs
Awi has found a phone signal in his 'office' - much easier to book transfers out
The villa bathrooms have been updated
One of the chalets has been extensively refurbished
The chalets now have toilet seats!
There are new kayaks
There are water troughs outside every room to clean sand off your feet
They have parasols to keep the sun off you on the beach
There is a spanking new big 'family room' - a great option if there's more than 4 of you
They are part way through constructing a dive centre, due to be finished this summer
Tommy has a new friend, Mickey the dog. While Tommy's the original and best dog in the world, Mickey is pretty cool too.

The weather was amazing when I was there, scorching hot sun and virtually no rain. The only issue was the 'red tide' - a naturally occurring algal bloom, due in part, to the extra hot dry weather. This meant there was no prawns or fish on the menu. On most days it was clear for a few hours, so I got out for a swim. But towards the end of my trip, the red tide turned a blacky brown, smelled very bad, and there were loads of dead fish washed up on the beach, so I didn't go in. On my penultimate day, they had a strange tide that washed up loads of rubbish. Quite incredibly, despite the resort being very quiet, 4 staff worked non-stop for 4 hours in the afternoon sun, and cleaned the whole lot away. I was especially impressed that they separated plastic rubbish from seaweed, the former put in bags to be taken to Kota Belud, and the seaweed removed to be burned once dry.

Overall I had an absolutely fantastic time. Yes the sea towards the end was uninviting, but this is temporary. Thanks to all at Manana - I look forward to returning in late summer.

Room Tip: The chalets are great value, have great airflow and are very quiet.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank mjsw13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 March 2014

I stayed in Manana from 2nd till 5th March. And on the last day that I had to check out, I was very tempted to extend my stay. I had the best time relaxing. No network coverage nor wifi, I had no distraction but to just take time and enjoy the nature. They have very basic amenities, which I had no problem with.. Loved the hammock and the clear night sky.. It's the place to be one with nature..

If you're expecting a full service hotel, then probably this is not a place for you. I had a great time here and definitely will go back.

Room Tip: Stayed in chalet, which is very cute and nice, facing the beach.. the bathroom has no door though! I...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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4  Thank AfifaKasim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Manana Borneo Resort

Address: Kampang Pituru Laut, Kota Belud 89517, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > Kota Belud District > Kota Belud
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 7 Speciality Lodging in Kota Belud
Number of rooms: 7
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Also Known As:
Manana Borneo Hotel Kota Belud
Manana Borneo Resort Kota Belud, Sabah, Malaysia

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