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“A lovely location hidden in the Borneo rainforest”

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Permai Rainforest Resort
Ranked #9 of 54 Hotels in Kuching
Certificate of Excellence
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
255 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
“A lovely location hidden in the Borneo rainforest”
Reviewed 26 April 2014 via mobile

For the record can I just say I find the negativity of some reviewers here bewildering and vexing. We stayed in a treehouse at Permai for three nights and it was a lovely experience. Yes, they are basic but it's part of the charm. You are in the rainforest for gods sake! The rainforest cafe has a decent menu and everything we chose from it was satisfying. Breakfast was fine too. I had no problems with the staff who were all friendly and helpful. Heaven forbid this place will become like the concrete monstrosity down the beach! Kayaking around the peninsula, feeling like you are totally alone with the sounds and sights of the jungle is an experience that will live long in my memory. Oh and Mosquitos in the cafe were not a problem. See for yourself - we would stay again in a heartbeat.

Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank Basemess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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453 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (133)
Date | Rating
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English first
St. Albans, England
Level Contributor
36 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2014

To stay in the rainforest is a privilege. These beautiful, dangerous, noisy, hot and humid places are an assault on the senses. Walk down paths with (mildly) venomous snakes in the bush just next to you, wait while a basking three feet long monitor lizard moves out of your way. Lie awake tot he sound of a bird shouting its alarm all night. Watch monkeys play in the trees outside your cabin. Calm down the distraught mother whose child has just skipped happily over the venomous snake sunning itself on the path. All as you wipe the deet poisoned insect from your neck. Awesome, and I do mean, truly awesome.

So why doesn't someone recognise that spending a little money on this resort and bringing it up to standard would make it so much more enjoyable. Even if you had to pay more. Until they do get used to the fact that this resort is basic. If there were a category below basic I would award it.

Accommodation comes in three forms. Tree house, fairly new cabin and fairly old cabin.. The tree house is an experience and offers a hut in a tree. Most of the amenities worked including the air conditioning. Everything is tired and needs complete refurbishment but its ok.

The newer cabins aren't that bad. I am told some have AC but all have a fan. They are of a standard usually reserved for outward bound dormitories. You get a fan and a fridge (ours didn't work) and a shower.

The older cabins (we stuck one for three nights) are pretty awful places. The very romantic among you may be able to excuse them. I don't.

Food is served at the cafe which is ok and has some really nice staff (the younger they are the more helpful they were). However they kept running out of things and couldn't be bothered to replace them. We only had a desert one night because they 'ran out of fruit'. Breakfast was ok but again nothing got replaced once it had run out. One tip, we think the restaurant was the best place to get bitten by mosses.

Three wonderful things. The cultural centre next door is well worth a visit. The boat trip to see crocodiles and dolphins is good fun although you probably won't see crocodiles or dolphins and the trip to Baku Island is amazing. It was one of the most wonderful experiences of our life and we saw so much wildlife. One tip, the resort will tell you that you organise a guide when you get there. the staff on the island will tell you that you should have organised it before you came. I would book one privately online if you can. It makes a huge difference, is safer (some of the monkeys are very dangerous) and you will learn so much more.

There is no doubt that being at Permai offered the most adventures and amazements of our entire holiday but that really had nothing to do with the resort just its location. If you are hardy, expect very little and genuinely are prepared to put up with poor quality for the experience then go for it. If not, book into the hotel next door and get a day pass to Permai.

It could be so much better.

Room Tip: Book a treehouse and book it well in advance. Check carefully and double check they have your booki...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Martin W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
29 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 April 2014

I spent four nights at Permai with my family of four. We stayed in a cabin, which was simple but quite neat and tidy. No complaints about the accommodation - it was about what we expected. The housekeeping staff do a good job each day.

Unfortunately there is only one place to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner here. The Rainforest Café has a pretty good menu, but they often seem to run out of things. You only find this out when you attempt to order and can't get what you are after. Over and over again. I did email the management team to ask about this, but they have chosen not to reply. Perhaps there is an explanation for this problem. Kuching is under an hour away, so there really shouldn't be any issues with supply.

There is a small selection of nice restaurants/bars down the road at Damai Central, which I would strongly recommend. It's only a five minute walk away, but as those with young children would know this isn't always feasible at meal time!

Breakfast here is basic but not bad. You can get fresh pancakes and omelettes, unless you happen to be staying here at a time when there is a large group booking. In this case the pancakes/omelette station is packed away and you are left to eat the well below average "school camp food" which is dished up. We had to endure two such breakfasts while we were here, and quite frankly it was beyond embarrassing.

The beaches are lovely and the 2km jungle trail is very scenic and somewhat challenging. The jungle pool is quite refreshing and a great place to cool off.

I wouldn't stay here again, but at the same time wouldn't discourage others from giving it a go. Perhaps we just came at a difficult time.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank SingaSomers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 April 2014

I was so excited for our nature trip in one of the largest rainforest in Asia. This resort caters to nature lovers and adventure seekers. We stayed in the cabin and love hearing the crackling of the branches n leaves as I step on it and hearing the forest bursting with life. I do not need to turn on my white noise application at all this time! I have arrived!

Review on the Room. Excellent for the price you pay. Love the spacious rooms inc the toilet and the bathroom. There are no in house telephones, tv . Rooms are fitted with aircon and ceiling fans. Had a funny incident while I wanted to move my bed away from the aircon and as I moved it, a gecko was shocked as it was hiding under my bed and was frantically trying to escape thru the windows. Since the windows are fully secured, it went to hide behind the cupboards. Yes, we screamed our lungs out! Omg!!!

Now the EXTREMELY POOR service comes from the reception desk. Check in was a breeze and as a traveler who does not expect a whole lot more, I would expect BASIC information such as how do I get a transport back to the airport was crucial. They have 2 morning shuttle to the airport which was not a time that we wanted and I ask them about arranging for other taxi service, the service agent ask if I knew the number instead. They had no guides for our interest in forest trekking and mountain climbing to Mt Santubong. We walk away from the desk feeling devastated and neglected. Food, since we hear reviews about the poor service online and received that treatment ourselves, we did not even want to have our free breakfast at the Feeding Tree. We find what we want at Damai Central.

Damai Central, it just opposite to the Cultural Village. I found 7-11 store, a food court and finally found a recreational center that helps us with our needs ( which Permai Resort failed to cater and could redirect us there too..urrgh.) Jose Rizal,a recreation executive, help us to arrange our transportation back to the airport...hurray!, serves as our guide to the forest trekking and arrange our evening fun on a boat to watch dolphins,Proboscis monkeys, crocodiles(we could not see them as they were hiding) and fireflies. It was a breeze and a joy!

Please use www.damaicentral.com.my for your activities or airport shuttle.

Room Tip: We stayed at cabin 18. Gecko may still be hiding under the bed!
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Dewi19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cheltenham
Level Contributor
25 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 March 2014 via mobile

We loved our stay at Permai! The minute we arrived and walked along the pathway through the trees we realised how special this place was; you really felt like you were in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nothing but trees and wildlife!

Our treehouse was amazing- the experience of lying in bed listening to the sounds of the waves crashing and the cicadas and tree frogs was just magical- especially when you added a truly awesome thunder storm to the mix!

I think the negative reviews are a little unfair- yes, there are insects; you're in the jungle! It really wasn't that far at all to walk from our treehouse to the restaurant or both beaches and the paths were well lit at night.

I notice the signs all said "Camp Permai" and that's actually a pretty good description- the back-to-nature feeling of camping with better creature comforts of a comfortable bed, en suite shower and air-con!

We loved chilling out in the cafe- the views were amazing! We thought the food was great- breakfast was fabulous with a good selection and all of our evening meals were great- some were truly outstanding! Prices were reasonable and similar to hawker places in town. The only criticism I would have is that if you don't drink beer or wine there isn't really any other choice if you want an alcoholic drink- I really only drink spirits so had a dry few days, but the (hideous) beach resort next door had an OK cocktail bar so we popped over for a few drinks one night when I really fancied a G&T which was a lovely walk along the beach, and really made us realise quite how special Permai was- the only sign that there was any habitation at all was the top of the cafe poking out of the trees!

The second beach was just stunning and nearly almost deserted! We loved idling our time away and the sea was so warm!

We did a couple of excursions- the evening mangrove tour was just incredible and Clay, our guide was really friendly and he and the boatman could spot a monkey from 30 metres! We also went out to Bako which was just amazing- so beautiful and such an amazing experience to see wildlife so close- I would recommend getting a guide as we wouldn't have seen anything without him! The rainforest walk was also really worth doing (do wear proper hiking shoes though and take water- it was beautiful in the forest and the waterfall you get to half way around was stunning- but it was a proper hardcore hike!

All the staff were so friendly- we spent a good half an hour chatting to the lovely manager on our last night and every single other member of staff was so friendly and helpful.

There can't be too many other places that are as unique and untouched as this- I would recommend to anyone wanting to come to Borneo to experience the rainforest and wildlife as you are totally immersed in it- just a fantastic few days we will always remember!

Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank LouiseB82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Level Contributor
59 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 March 2014 via mobile

It's been a month since our visit at Permai. I still remember how excited were we once we reached the resort. You can hear the sea breeze from the check in area. We stayed for 2 nights at treehouse no. 9 which is quite near to the 'pool' & the second beach. Everything was great at first. We enjoyed chilling at the 2nd beach, swimming at the jungle pool, wandering around, chilling at the treehouse's balcony. But there's nothing much to do at night. We went out for dinner at the cafe, food was so so, then when we get back to the tree house there's no TV. We couldn't stand chilling at the balcony since the mosquitoes were everywhere. There was no live band or anything at the resort. Should you want entertainment, you need to walk to the Damai Park/Sentral (i don't remember the actual name) opposite of the cultural village. We had so much fun at Permai but we tend to get bored at night. The other downside is the resort tend to get crowded on weekend as they open the resort to public. We have to squeez our way in the jungle pool. And they don't accept Debit Card only Credit card is accepted. The nearest atm is located at the Damai. We used their pick up and drop off service which was quite reasonable in terms of pricing.

Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank nurullizasaleh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 March 2014 via mobile

We arrive this afternoon at Permai. We booked a treehouse for 4 nights one year ago, in March 2013. We've received an email yesterday to say they've 'made an error' and we will be in a cabin. So disappointed and not impressed.

Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank ScKL11
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

Property: 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 On the Beach Hotel in Kuching
#1 Romantic Hotel in Kuching
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Kuching
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
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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