Like others, having read earlier reviews, we were hesitant about the hotel, but in the event our concerns were unfounded.
We travelled with SAGA and found the organisation very good. The journey to/from Kota Kinabalu is long and tiring, but the provision of a day room at the Sheraton in Brunei was most welcome. The local representatives Melanie and Gilbert were both knowledgeable and very helpful. In the two weeks we were there we don't recall them not being around if we needed them (which we didn't!).
The hotel will not win any awards for its food, but having said that there was plenty of choice and what we had was good; a mixture of Malay and western food. The pizza's in the pool bar at lunchtime were great. The hotel's biggest asset was the staff; always smiling. always friendly, always very attentive. It is the only hotel we have stayed at where, when we were leaving, all the staff gathered in reception to say goodbye. You could tell this was genuine sentiment and not a management directive.
Our room was very comfortable with excellent air conditioning. We had a TV with BBC World, a fridge and tea making facilities - fresh milk was available from the main restaurant. Every morning we were left two bottles of water, which were replenished as necessary when housekeeping came back in the evening to turn down the beds.
We tended to sit on the beach where we had the benefit of a cool breeze, but the pool area was also nice to sit around. We walked down the beach in both directions - an hour out and back each time -other than other guests doing the same walk we saw no-one apart from a couple of lads fishing in the sea and some horses.
The hotel is quite remote and this makes it a great place to relax; there is certainly no heavy night life, just a duo singing most nights who were very nice to listen to. The hotel provides a shuttle bus into Kota Kinabalu several times a day, another into Tuaran Village and one on Sundays to the local horse racing course. With the included SAGA tours there were only five days out of the two weeks that we did not have something planned for at least part of the day. If you are a bird watcher then remember to take some binoculars.
The hotel has no money changing facilities to change some at the airport on the way in. It does have free WIFI in reception which we used to talk to our family over the internet regularly.
We didn't make the trip to Sepilok to see the Orang-utans as it would have been a very long day and quite expensive. Instead Melanie organised for us to go a neighbouring hotel, the Rasa Ria, which has its own small Oran tang sanctuary attached to Sepilok. It was brilliant; we saw more Oran-utans than those that actually made the long trip to Sepilok!
In summary we had a great time. The hotel is quiet and basic; more three star than five star. The food will not get any Michelin stars, but is more than adequate with lots of choice. There is plenty to see and do from the hotel if you are prepared to make the effort. The staff are fantastic. We would (and probably will) go again.
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- Also Known As:
- Tuaran Beach Hotel Kota Kinabalu