I've been wanting to stay in a treehouse for ages, but as I like my creature comforts (ie en-suite) I'd pretty much given up hope of finding anywhere that ticked all the boxes. I was therefore hugely excited when I came across Permai, and our five days there definitely lived up to expectations.
We had treehouse number 10 which was an unexpected surprise (I was told it was booked when I requested it back in January) - the extra balcony was cool and the views were great (we loved sitting out watching the sunset with some drinks), but probably the key benefit for us was that it had a king size bed (my husband and I are both really tall so this is a bit of an essential). The room itself was pretty basic, but excellent given the price and the fact its a treehouse, and it had everything we could have wanted including very efficient air-con (essential given the humidity), a fridge, hanging space, a couple of chairs, and a surprisingly powerful shower.
Having seen the mixed reviews I wasn't expecting much from the restaurant but was pleasantly surprised. There was a good range at breakfast including fresh fruit and someone making omlettes to order, enough variety on the menu for lunch and supper to keep us happy for the time we were there, pretty much everything we had was really tasty (including some great desserts), and the staff and service were good. We went to Damai Central a few times for meals to mix things up, and found the prices and quality to be pretty similar to what we had at Permai.
We did the evening mangrove trip, where we had great sightings of proboscis monkeys and dolphins, and Bako NP, which was stunning. Both were really well organised, and the staff arranging them were really helpful in making sure they adapted them so I could do them when six months pregnant (little things like checking that the wind wasn't expected to pick up before going out on boat trips, and adapting the Bako trip to include a 1hr rather than 3hr hike), which was hugely appreciated. They also arranged our visit to see the orangutans at Semenggoh - after the peace and quiet of Permai the number of people at the centre came as a bit of a shock, but we had a great time and were really lucky to see the orangutans - apparently it is very hit and miss at this time of year as it's fruiting season so they often don't come to the feeding stations.
The only thing we thought could be improved during our stay was the quality of the information given by some of the staff at reception. When we checked-in they didn't seem to have any record of my more recent emails so still had us booked on a package I'd cancelled months ago, told us we had a room with a queen size bed (I'd asked for twin beds as I'd been told there were no king beds available, and in fact the room they'd given us did have a king size bed), and that I wouldn't be allowed to do any of the boat trips as I was pregnant (in fact the boat team were happy to take me as long as it wasn't rough, and I obviously wasn't planning to go out if the sea wasn't very calm). All the issues got resolved very quickly when we spoke to the manager, who was hugely helpful, but it wasn't the best start to the stay! We then also had a couple of issues on the morning we were trying to get to the orangutan centre as the packed breakfast we'd ordered wasn't ready, and they then said it was going to take double the time it actually did to get the centre so we thought we were going to miss the main talk. Again, it all worked itself out but did cause a bit of unnecessary stress.
All things consider, we had an absolutely fantastic stay, and would recommend Permai without a doubt.
- 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