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“Amazing place, poor management”

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Permai Rainforest Resort
Ranked #11 of 55 Hotels in Kuching
Reviewed 9 January 2014

Overall we loved the location and the opportunity to stay in unspoilt rainforest. The place is lovely - the management and service from reception is very poor. On arrival, at 11pm, after 18 hours travel with 3 kids in tow, the reception had no idea we were coming ,despite making it clear on our booking and following up with an email before we arrived. Night reception is a security man, who had not been made aware we were coming. He spent 45 mins on the phone trying to raise the manager, but failed. With encouragement he showed us to a cabin as a temporary bed for the night. It was not very clean, and some of the bed linen had not been changed, but we made the best of it. When a very large rat ran through it caused some consternation, but we were able to chase it out quickly, via the damaged window through which it had entered. Next day was much better- we were shown to the cabin we were supposed to have, which was much bigger, better maintained, and clean (though not a word of apology for the cock up the night before - it just was not mentioned). From then on the stay was pretty good - the cafe is lovely, the cafe staff were friendly, the breakfast buffet was varied, the dinner menu was nice and location is to die for. The beach is beautiful, the wildlife in the rainforest is amazing.

Really unimpressed with the management - they were disinterested when we mentioned the broken window and the rat, no one came to apologise for the cock up the night before, one receptionist tried to tell us it was a squirrel (really...?!), and then they made lots of mistakes on the bill.

We would go back, because it is a wonderful place. But I would not arrive after normal reception hours

Room Tip: The tree houses have been refurbished and are very well appointed. but they only sleep two. The ca...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Shearsfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 7 January 2014

We loved our 3D2N in Permai Rainforest Resort! It was a completely different and refreshing experience for us, but I suppose this might defer among different people. If you are finicky about cleanliness and comfort, and generally have an issue with insects, you might want to look someplace else!

We stayed in a treehouse, which had a balcony overlooking the sea, and our front door led to the rainforest. There is no WIFI in the cabins - might be a huge turn-off for others, but my boyfriend and I appreciated this disconnection with the outside world. I suppose in a way it frees up your mind from all the needless distractions, and you feel more at peace. WIFI is available at the restaurant, and at the main lobby.

General comments about the treehouse: clean bathrooms (looks like it had been recently refurbished, seems newer compared to the rest of the room), dim lighting in the main room, and some blown bulbs that were not replaced. Also, room could use a bit more cleaning, the lamp beside our bed was full of dust. I also have to agree with previous comments about the lack of a phone in the room; you might feel a little insecure in your room at night because 1. the rainforest starts to get really dark around 7PM.. bring a torch!! 2. I didn't really see security personnel patrolling the grounds and it was really, really, REALLY quiet at night... 3. no phone in the room for emergencies!

There is a beach nearby as well, and you can walk through the entire plot of rainforest. If you want to head into the city, there is a shuttle bus service that you need to pay for, it drops you off around the main attractions in the city, and it can pick you up after. However, there is some uncertainty about the timings; we spent 30 minutes waiting for the shuttle bus in the city, wondering if we had missed the timing to go back.

All in all, I enjoyed my experience at Permai. If you need to unwind with nature, this is a good place to head to. Wouldn't mind coming back for another 2 nights just to relax!

Room Tip: Treehouses are great for couples, as it is near the beach and nearest to the main lobby and can be q...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Julie O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 December 2013

We loved our four night stay at Permai. Even though it was raining most of the time, we enjoyed the bliss of the rainforest and the sound of South China Sea waves. The staff are friendly and the cottage is homely The cafe is a good place to chill out and the internet access is mostly good. The buffet breakfast has a great selection and included fresh fruit. The resort is next door to the cultural village and food court.

Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
1  Thank ggodfrey24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 December 2013

staying for 3days 2nights. 2 tree house and one cabin.
cafe staff attitude are bad and rude. disappointed breakfast ,lousy breakfast ,only refill when it empty. not much variety . not convenient place, no phone in the room and also cabin, difficult to communicate with reception if any goes wrong. no hawker, no restaurant , unless you want to spend more and eat in the cafe with the lousy food. bed bugs , ants etc on the beds. my son whole legs with all the ants and bed bugs bites .
cabin - dirty and sanding floor, dirt bed sheets. ants, bed bugs, mosquitoes etc. not suitable for family. and not worth of money.
tree house- think like giving children hv gd experience staying in tree hse , but end up gain a lot of bugs bites. this is our first and last stay in permai. will not come back again. this permai not the right choice to stay..regret of choosing it. my advice, pls avoid ..and think twice if u really wanna to choose these resort for your holiday. you will get suffer instead of enjoy. 

  • Stayed: December 2013
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2  Thank Melissasaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 December 2013

The Permai Rainforest Resort is a very peculiar hotel, it's not easy to put in a particular category, it is actually in a class of it own.
Firstly, the Permai is more of a destination and an attraction in it's own right rather than a hotel.
Location wise, it is absolutely blessed with the most beautiful slice of beach / rainforest / mountain, Mount Santubong. From the moment you lay eyes on that beach and that beautiful forest you will feel truly blessed!
After quite a bit of research, mostly on Trip Advisor, I was left with the impression that the Permai was located somewhere rather remote, surrounded by mangroves & forest, what in part is absolutely accurate, but also is very accessible, about 45min (depending on traffic) from the Kuching Airport, set taxi fare of 70RM and within 5min walk to the Sarawak Cultural Centre (another must see destination), the Damai Golf Club & Damai Central, a bit of a hub with all the modern facilities including wi fi, convenience stores, cafes, pub, restaurant & a very diverse and well priced food court (simple but yummy!), us, as a family of four had number of times gone there for an evening feed and didn't spend more than 20RM with drinks.
So... you can be as isolated or amongst everything, depending on your style.
If leaving the resort is not your thing and you would like a good feed, than, you are in for a treat. The Rainforest Cafe, located at the Permai, overlooking the beach is great. Very helpful staff, special mention to Sheryl and her great deserts. Do not leave the place without having one of her mousses or her famous apple crumble. These little treats are such a comfort away from home, you will find yourself every night asking for more.
At times the cafe will be very busy, as the Permai caters also for groups, so, perhaps ordering in advance is a good idea.
The accommodation at the cabins is basic, the way to stay at the Permai is MOST definitely the tree houses, but if you are travelling with children, beware the tree houses are strictly for 2 people.They are beautifully built with Malaysian hardwood and just blend in with their surrounds. Be prepared for quite a few steps up as they are tree houses after all. There are no TVs or phones for room service, but they are very comfortable (the best pillows we had in hotels for a while!!!), they have a well appointed en suite, bar fridge & coffee facilities. At night, they are blissfully quite, with only the noise of the ocean and the wind on the tree canopies to break the silence. Bring a good book, or, if with children, make sure you bring a few games and load your tablet with a few movies.
Facilities and activities are very fitted to its location, you have a wonderful beach that changes immensely according to the tides, the water wasn't very clear, but we were told has to do more with the time of the year. The 'second' beach is more recluse and its got its own little stream with a little waterfall that is just amazingly refreshing & rewarding after a 1.5 hour rainforest trekking, which is a MUST too!!!.
On the way back from or to the second beach there is also a natural pool, that constantly flows as it is fed by some of the fresh rainforest streams that run down from Mount Santubong.

Also, as a mother of two teenagers, I must mention the thrills of the high ropes & flying fox. The kids just loved it (Thanks John & Fred for your patience and care). There is also body boards, scuba diving equipment & kayaks for hire at a very reasonable cost. But don't expect noisy motorized rides, this is not the place for those and I hope it will never be!!!
I could go on and on about this place, and I understand that perhaps, is not for everybody as there is nothing luxurious about the Permai, yet, you cannot put a price in been in such place, surrounded by the best that nature can offer!
When I said the travelling stars aligned when we chose to come to the Permai, it wasn't by luck, and surely there's room for improvement, but it is the efforts & special touches of people like Halil (operations manager) & Sheryl (F&B manager) and their teams that makes the Permai this magical place. They'll go out of their way to make your stay a memorable experience.
We booked for 5 days, we wished we could've stayed longer, and we'll certainly come back!

Room Tip: Make sure you stay in the tree houses, or if you're staying in a cabin, make sure you ask for th...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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5  Thank Lisavguest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 December 2013

The treehouse option is quite enjoyable. They are all next to the sea so you get the sound of waves crashing which is quite nice. You have a view of the sea but through trees.

There is wifi at the restaurant which. The wifi was decent. The food was good to ok. The location was very nice - again in the forest next to the sea, quite a nice environment. It is quite nice to sit on the porch 20 feet up amongst the trees and relax.

There is a nice trail at the resort which is not marked incredibly well but it nice. It seems longer than they say but maybe that is because I lost the trail, I am not sure.

It is a bit expensive, for me, but I think the treehouses are worth it. The cabins I would likely pass on.

You can walk to the other hotel options, the Damai Center (which is a just a couple food stalls, 7-11 and small shops) and the cultural village. Damai Center main value seems to be for locals to have access to the beach as the resorts block off the beach for their guests. The cultural village is worth a visit.

Other reviews were not so kind to the other cabins so I avoided them (I wouldn't have stayed but a treehouse slot opened up just before I visited).

Room Tip: I recommend the treehouses.
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled solo
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Thank curiouscatMalaysia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 December 2013

Our impromptu getaway to Kuching was made even more worthwhile and memorable with our positive experience at the Permai Rainforest Resort, We opted for the treehouse and were very pleased with our decision! The sound of the crashing waves and the amazing view of the beach from an elevated landscape were very soothing to our senses. It was a truly interesting avant-garde experience!

Room Tip: For those who want a change from the conventional hotel experience, go for the treehouse!
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Jollivet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Permai Rainforest Resort

Address: Teluk Penyu, Kuching 93050, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sarawak > Kuching
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Kuching
Price Range: £56 - £87 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Permai Rainforest Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 39
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Permai Rainforest Resort is an eco-resort set in pristine Borneo rainforest located by the beach at the foot of mystical Mount Santubong, Sarawak. Carefully designed to minimize impact on the natural environment, it offers a unique rainforest experience and a variety of activities from dolphin watching to high ropes courses and guided kayaking tours. Just 40 minutes from the Kuching, its an ideal way to experience Borneo. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Permai Rainforest Hotel Kuching

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