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“Mammoth size diminishes appeal but Sutera still delivers”

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Sutera Harbour Resort (The Pacific Sutera & The Magellan Sutera)
Ranked #8 of 91 Hotels in Kota Kinabalu
Edmonton, CANADA
Level Contributor
82 reviews
70 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
“Mammoth size diminishes appeal but Sutera still delivers”
Reviewed 8 June 2009

My wife and I had just arrived in Kota Kinabalu--for the second time in a month--after "roughing it" in the Danum Valley and a river eco lodge in northeast Sabah. To prepare for the looming long flight back to Canada we thought an uber-relaxing beach hotel would provide suitable preparation. The Shangri-la seemed a bit far out of town, so we opted for the Sutera Habour Magellan.
Our cab ride from the airport was just 10 minutes and suddenly we were cast into the jaws of One Big Resort--the Magellan and Pacific hotels hold about 700 rooms, and the Marina with its Olympic size swimming pool serves as an imposing border between the two.
This sprawling complex seemed even bigger when we strolled through the seemingly endless lobby and saw virtually no other guests. "Where is everybody?" we asked.
"We are now experiencing the recession, sir," was the rehearsed reply from all staff.
Gossipy cab drivers told us that all hotels were suffering, and the Sutera Harbour twin hotels were probably running at 20% occupancy.
Given this, it was no problem to upgrade to an oceanview room. The room was well-appointed with king bed, free internet, and a nice sitting lanai overlooking the ocean and swimming pools.
The pools, restaurants and perfect little private sand beach were virtually deserted so we soon grew accustomed to VERY good service from the pleasant staff. We particularly liked the small but sheltered beach and the beach sidewalks that snaked through the resorts and served as excellent jogging or bicycling paths.
We tried a couple of the hotel restaurants and weren't that impressed--expensive and predictable. Better to take the five minute free shuttle or 10 ringitt cab ride into town.
The Malaysian prime minister was visiting the hotel during our stay so the whole place was on maximum service alert.
Overall, we certainly had no real complaints during our four day stay. An intimate retreat? No. But for a mega-sized resort, the Sutera kept its standards high and certainly gets our recommendation if you are looking for a relaxing oceanfront stay still within the shadow of KK shopping and restaurants.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Ron N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Rooms
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  • Value
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  • Cleanliness
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English first
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 May 2009

KK was a great choice for our honeymoon as it was remote enough for our privacy yet close to local tourist attractions. The town itself is a much laid back, but an aging centre. In my opinion, the shopping and local markets, although interesting, were all old and uninspiring.

The local food is great and cheap - especially from the open air, market type food courts. Definitely worthwhile to try them! We especially loved the laksa from the "KG Air" open food court. We also tried Little Italy after reading the reviews from Trip Advisor but I thought it really was just an average family restaurant - something very much like a Sunday lunch at Pizza Hut however I have to say that the restaurant was better presented than other eateries in the area. At the hotel we ate at three of the restaurants, Five Sails for breakfast, Al Fresco and Spice Island for dinner. My pick of the three was Spice Island. It was the most delicious and value for money and the meals were beautifully presented.

In terms of local attractions, we went on the Rasa Ria Orang-utan Tour which was a 45min drive away -well worth seeing these monkeys. They were very cute and you were given the opportunity to see them in their nature reserve park. We also did the canopy walk tour. Although the canopy walk itself was great, we decided that the travel time of 3 hours each way on the road was a little too much. That tour started at 8am and we got back to the hotel at 7pm. It was a long day! From advice from other tourists, the Proboscis Monkey and glow fly tour was definitely the one to go on instead.

We had massages outside of the hotel at a place called LV Reflexology. Their price was a third and the quality of massage was fantastic in my opinion. A better value option if you are prepared to catch the short taxi ride out to the city.

The weather whilst we were there was very humid and warm - perfect for a resort. There is always an air conditioned room around the corner so you can always take a break from the heat if you need it.

If you are looking for a relaxing resort type holiday but with a few tourist attractions available (just in case you get bored!) then KK is highly recommended.

  • Stayed May 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank marshling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
1,737 reviews
324 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 662 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 May 2009

Stayed at the Pacific for a business conference. The estate is made up of the Pacific business hotel and conference, the Megellan family hotel, and the golf club and boat marina, all owned by 1 rich man apparently. They have a shuttle buses that do transfers among the 3 locations, but you can walk, especially in the cool evenings.

The room is large, but not great. It looks dated, and the tv is no flat screen. Internet is FOC though, so I can't complain.

They have 2 restaurants in the Pacific, 1 in the clubhouse, and 3 in the Magellan. Food is so so, and the breakfast is also only average. Had better in 5 stars in Kuala Lumpur.

The reception and operator are sometimes a little clueless - I give the name of the guest and ask to be connected, and they ask you for the room number . If I knew, wouldn't I just call room to room myself? Had a few such misadvantures with them.

I decided to rent their yacht Puteri Sutera for a sunset cruise. For RM5,000, you can a full staff , canapes and wine/beer. It was $ well spent and all 8 of us thoroughly enjoyed it. We also had a quick stopover at the nearby island Manukan Resort. It's nice and rustic, but cost RM750 a night. Maldives anytime, for double the price.

  • Stayed May 2009, travelled on business
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank bcheong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mellieha, Malta
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 April 2009

3 weeks at this resort which fulfilled all expectations and beyond. Warm and friendly staff, top quality food with choice of several restaurants to suit everyone's tastes and pocket. Wonderful views, superb rooms with excellent service.

So good I have booked for 2010.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Maltaman1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
fremantle
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 April 2009

From the minute we stepped out of the taxi to the time we left I found everything in this hotel to be superb. The staff were friendly, courteous and very helpful in everything we asked. The breakfast was amazing and in such a lovely setting. We ate mainly in town and used the shuttle bus frequently. The restaurants on the foreshore were great, as was Little Italy - one of the best Italian meals I have had, and only a 10 ringitt ride back to the hotel.
The room was spacious and clean and housekeeping very thorough.
We compared to the two Shangri-la hotels and felt we had definitely stayed at the better hotel.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank janeetal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne
Level Contributor
235 reviews
68 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 152 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2009

My partner and I spent eight days at Magellan and for the most part had a great time and would recomment this large resort. The hotel is about ten minutes from KK airport. You need to buy a pre paid taxi voucher at the taxi stand at the airport; the cost was MR 20.

When we first arrived at the hotel we were greeted with a cup of iced tea served in the central cafe/bar overlooking the ocean; not a bad start. We were shown to ocean view room which was quite large and well appointed with one exception; there was no clothes drawer and only two small shelves to store clothes. I do not understand why a destination resort who want their guests to stay for at least a week does not provide a place to store clothes. I hate living out of a suitcase.

The room had a small balcony with a beautiful view over the water to the islands just off the coast.

There was no free internet available in the room although there was a free wireless connection in the very large and comfortable open lobby.

The Magellan resort is part of the large complex which includes a Country Club and the Pacific Hotel; all the facilities are within 10 minutes walk. There is an internal free shuttle which operates on call between Magellan, the Pacific and the Country Club which is very useful when it rains, as it frequently does.

Guests at the Magellan have use of the facilities of the whole complex which include a 50 m swimming pool, a 10 pin bowling alley and a movie theatre at the Country Club.

There are about nine restaurants in the whole complex. Our first (and only) disappointment was the cost of food within the complex. We had expected to pay a premium but the prices were similar to prices in Melbourne which I thought was too much although I have to say that I have no complaints about the quality of the food and service which was first class. Alcohol was very expensive. A beer or a glass of wine was MR 22 - 25 (about A$10 - 12) so I don't recommend this part of the World if you are a big drinker unless you have rather deep pockets.

When we were planning our trip to Sabah we were expecting to eat most evening meals in KK which is about ten minutes by hotel shuttle which runs every hour. The reality is that we had all our evening meals in the hotel complex. The reason was the weather. Every day we had sun until around 3.00 - 4.00 pm and every day the sky filled with dark clouds in the late afternoon and the heavens opened up for at least three or four hours. The rain was great but it was so heavy that it really made going anywhere at night very difficult.

On our second night and then each night we went accross to the Pacific Hotel where we enjoyed the restaurants more than the Magellan. We particular liked Silks, the chinese restaurant, where the food was really enjoyable and not too expensive. The buffet at the Cafe Boleh at the Pacifica was considerably cheaper and just as good as the one at Five Sails at Magellan which was very expensive at 115 MR per person.

In the end we felt a little trapped by the rain but there was enough variety to keep us happy although we would have liked to have spent evenings in KK itself.

Our rate included breakfast at Five Sails. The range was vast, as you would expect in a top Asian hotel which caters for all tastes. The quality was okay but perhaps a little below my expectations for such a large four/five star hotel.

The hotel runs a free shuttle to KK every hour. There is reasonably good shopping in KK but you wouldn't go there for the shops. Restaurants are plentiful and cheap, other than the sea food restaurants which are much closer to international prices.

We found the people at the Magellan to be friendly and efficient. The complex as a whole has more facilities than any other resort at which we have stayed. We noticed that there were facilities for take care of children and several pools specifically designed for kids.

There is no beach on the hotel grounds but the main free form pool at the Magellen is a delight and there were plenty of other swimming pools to enjoy.

I am looking forward to going back.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank NSMKMelbourne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canadian in Hanoi, Vietnam
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 April 2009

Upon arriving (Magellan side), I was shown to a room that I did not book - not a deluxe, no view, and it was all around rather shabby with furnishings that were worn and old. When I queried and showed staff my original booking printout, they responded that they could not move me until the next day. I moved the next day and my new room was wonderful -- clean, new, and very acceptable.

Overall the stay was nice -- good food, lovely pools, great breakfast buffet, etc. The location really can't be beat -- it's a great place to explore the little islands off the coast. It is truly a beautiful setting and one could be quite comfortable here. The only major complaint I have about the facilities is that their internet is painfully slow and unreliable -- not acceptable for a conference facility, which was why I was there.

However upon checkout I had a similar problem, though worse. Staff were completely unprepared for my departure, and my bill had several errors. It took them a good 15 minutes to correct the errors, only to then discover that although I had asked, they had *not* added to the bill also the charges of my colleague, who had left the day prior. This took a further 15 minutes and at this point the shuttle I had booked to the airport was leaving. I told them I had to go, and I was visibly agitated. The staff told me that they would bill me later, via email, and asked me to fill out a credit card authorization form. I did so, but using details of my direct debit VISA card, which takes money directly from my account in Vietnam.

Upon returning to Vietnam I received the correct bill (but not the first time -- they sent 2 incorrect ones first) and asked them to go ahead and charge the Visa. But they replied that the VISA card was not valid (my bank confirmed this to be the case because VISA debit cards must be used on premises -- ie., swipe only, you cannot enter details later). Magellen Sutera asked me to supply another credit card -- this is extremely problematic for me because my other credit card is on a Canadian account, to which I will need to send money (Telex transfer) which costs $30. I was outraged, but there was nothing I could do. Either I could Telex the money to them from Vietnam, or to my Canadian bank account, but all at a cost of $30.

Magellan Sutera's front of house staff need to get organized so that they can be of service to their clients. This treatment -- now resulting in me having to pay an extra $30 on my bill because of THEIR mistake -- is unacceptable.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled on business
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank CanadianAEh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sutera Harbour Resort (The Pacific Sutera & The Magellan Sutera)

Property: Sutera Harbour Resort (The Pacific Sutera & The Magellan Sutera)
Address: 1 Sutera Harbour Blvd, Kota Kinabalu 88100, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > West Coast Division > Kota Kinabalu District > Kota Kinabalu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#3 Spa Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#3 Business Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#5 Family Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#6 Luxury Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
#6 Romantic Hotel in Kota Kinabalu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:5 star — Sutera Harbour Resort (The Pacific Sutera & The Magellan Sutera) 5*
Number of rooms: 956
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sutera Harbour Resort is Malaysia’s foremost premier integrated property. The resort encompasses the luxurious accommodation of The Pacific Sutera and The Magellan Sutera hotels, a 27-hole championship golf course, Sutera Harbour Marina & Country Club, two Mandara Spas and a host of dining and recreational facilities. Sutera Harbour Resort is also affiliated with 5 other eco-destinations in Sabah managed through Sutera Sanctuary Lodges including Kinabalu Park, Mesilau Nature Resort, Laban Rata, Poring Hot Spring & Nature Reserve and Manukan Island Resort. The resort also offers a luxury charter division, North Borneo Yachting and steam locomotive through North Borneo Railway. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sutera Harbour Resort (The Pacific Sutera And The Magellan Sutera)
Sutera Harbour Resort (The Pacific Sutera & The Magellan Sutera) Hotel
Sutera Harbour Hotel
Sutera Harbour Kota Kinabalu
Magellan Sutera

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