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“10 reasons not to go to Pom Pom Island”

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Pom Pom Island Resort & Spa
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 October 2013

I spent 4 days in Pom Pom island. Besides the fact that the entire resort is totally run down and badly needs renovation (not worth half of what you pay for it), here are 10 annoying things about it, i.e. reasons not to go:
1) The food is horrible. Mostly chinese food (as the clientele is also mostly chinese). But in case you are chinese or like chinese food, I met a chinese guy there who told me that the food was horrible by his standards as well
2) The rooms are spacious but basic to use an euphemism. You pay for a 5 stars resort and all you get is a decent bed and air-conditioning (no TV, no internet, ...)
3) I found quite ridiculous that, after paying EUR400/night, they charge RM10 (EUR2!) for things such as bike rental or in-room internet
4) Even more annoying is to find price lists for everything (see photos attached... had to take them since someone might not believe). For example, they stick a price tag of RM50 to the bottle opener, and even add it to the price list! Or, in the bathroom, they show the price list for stuff like shampoos, and even the hair-dryer!! (and on the hair dryer they wrote "pom pom island" with a marker!!) I wonder, do they have special promotion for professional thieves in this place?!?
5) One more... They'll charge you RM1200 if you misplace a sunbed and it can't be found again! I wonder, how on earth can that happen?
6) There are literally 6 sunbeds on the beach. Just 6, for 40 villas or so. No comment.
7) There are 2 beach bars, but they are empty. No waiters, no bottles... They are just standing there but not actually used. You have to go to the main house for everything
8) Every afternoon, a guy was operating a chain-saw just beside the main house, near the beach. Very relaxing.
9) There's absolutely nothing to do in the evening. They have a projector but don't use it (would have been nice to watch a movie...), no games, no music, no bars. NOTHING. One day we found a small room with a pool table, but guess what... Only 7 balls to play with (maybe because those balls are not on the price list...)
10) Are you still reading? Are you still looking for more reasons not to go??? Alright... EVERYTHING in this place looks and smells old.

On the other hand: 2 reasons why our stay was not a total nightmare:
1) The sea is fantastic, especially for divers. But you can chose a different (less overpriced) resort to enjoy that
2) The staff was really friendly and helpful, they even arranged for a separate boat for us on the way back to Semporna (so that we didn't have to wait for 3 hours in the airport). The staff at the diving center was also awesome, very experienced and professional

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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11  Thank GilandCintia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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80 - 86 of 414 reviews

Reviewed 14 October 2013

My bf and I have been in POM POM for 3 days. It was absolutely an unforgettable experience for us. We were so into diving and the attractive sea views. The buffet was dilicious and fruits was very juicy and fresh.(both of them were so much better than those in KAPALAI ^-^). What suprised us was the kitchen cooked special soup as we asked to relieved my stomachache. It was soooooo warmful!! And thank Mike for carrying the soup to our room. Everything in POM POM was perfect. I think we will be back soon ^ - ^.

  • Stayed: October 2013
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1  Thank Fionaaaaaaaa112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 October 2013

My husband and I stayed at Pom Pom for 4 nights and came primarily to dive. Overall, the resort is friendly, with great staff, and well maintained. However, for the price we paid (USD250/person), we expected much more and Pom Pom didn't deliver as follows:

1) Sipadan licensing/Diving - While I booked two months in advance of our stay, and asked at booking if a Sipadan license was possible, I was told by the office that they would try, but no guarantees. I checked in a few times as we got close to our trip and still no word. Finally, when I got to the island/dive center and asked the dive center manager, I was told that it's almost impossible. By boat, Sipadan is about an hour and a half. No one is clear how we'd go about getting a license, except to say it's by chance, which makes me think that Pom Pom isn't the place to go if you hope to dive Sipadan. The places that we did dive had lots of small reef fish and beautiful corals, in general, but local fishermen have been bombing and so there has been some damage. We saw some larger flute/trumpet, batfish and jack schools off the jetty of the island, but that was it. We had hoped to see more large schools of fish and so missed this.
2) Water villas - While the concept and proximity to the sea is indeed wonderful as most have mentioned in prior reviews, I have included some pics of the interiors, which look to me like Tier 3 city Chinese hotels (old, heavy, dark furniture, brown 80s style curtains, brown bathroom tiles, etc). For the price, given our experiences in Malaysia and Asia, in general, we hoped for much more.
3) Food - Depending on the time of year, there are significant amounts of Chinese mainland tourists. This means that the buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner, caters primarily to them. Think fried noodles and rice with zhou (Chinese style porridge) at every meal. The kitchen tries hard to please everyone but you can expect squid, fried, processed and overcooked meat/fish, Chinese-style cooked vegetables and white bread at every meal. Again, for the price, we'd expected more options and better quality.

Room Tip: If you can afford and there is availability, I think the Water rooms are special for the view and di...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank MBeijing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 October 2013

We stayed in both the Water Villas and Beach Villas.

The water villas were as everyone else says, really great. No problem sunbathing au naturel if that's your thing and being able to go down the steps to meet the turtles was lovely! Only problem was that the nocturnal rain and wind made one unsure if you were about to be blown away as these were quite noisy. Or emotional perhaps.

The beach villas were great too, we were right down one end where the coral was good and swimming straight off the beach found several turtles on every trip.

The night time walk around the island to look for turtles revealed some guests doing an unguided version of the tour. Although they were reported to the marine police, I suspect that they were genuinely unaware that after dark the beach was out of bounds as there's no signs to remind anyone. Trouble is that signing the acknowledgment of eco-principles on check in was a bit of ablur when we checked in (jetlag etc) so although we were told that the management don't want to get too rulesy with signs, it would help.

Food was OK, nothing special, the staff were great when it was my daughter's 15th birthday, made a cake and did a special song and dance.

Wifi was a bonus given our location on the planet (it's worse here in leafy Winchester) and the manager was trying out various schemes to avoid all the staff and non-resident guests - whoever they are...the turtles?...using the internet as it slowed it down.

It seemed very quiet compared to Maldives resorts we've been to, no hard sell on excursions and everyone quite chilled.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank Spongthrush
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 October 2013

During our six day stay, we were able to see the other resorts and their local dive sites through dive excursions. Pom Pom has the best of both - the island is clean and beautiful; the bungalows are spacious and clean; and the local dive sites are good (better than Mabul). The transfers were well organized and timely. A really great vacation.

Room Tip: We really loved the Kapung House.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank jensp52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 September 2013

It is really a wonderful experience in the pompom island resort, we enjoy the hospitably and considerate services and the excellent ecological there. We feel like stay in the heaven those days. We are especially fond of the balanced feeling between nature.

Room Tip: Beach Villa
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Ling C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 September 2013

We stayed at Pom Pom for 3nts in mid-September. The island is beautiful and the villas fine. They are a bit dark but are spacious and comfortable except for the bed mattress which was either very old or, of inferior quality. We snorkelled from the beach and although there isn't much coral, work is in progress to culture a reef. There are some fantastic fish to be seen, especially near the jetty. We saw 6 angel fish, the largest we have ever seen, just hanging out together, they made for a beautiful sight. The turtles were the biggest thrill, to swim with them and be able to actually look into their eyes as they swam past is beyond anything we have done in the past. From our beach loungers we were able to count 5 turtles all at one time. There is good work being done with the turtle hatchery and the release of hatchling. We absolutely loved everything visual about Pom Pom and felt we could have stayed longer had the food not been so diabolical. It was the worst we have experienced anywhere. Having made this statement, it must be said that the bakery department is excellent. We existed entirely on some very basic salad (totally unimaginative), bread and cake. The breakfast was the best meal of the day. Have read that the manager speaks daily to the kitchen staff about providing a more balanced menu, they are not responding! The resort seems to cater entirely for Chinese guests but during our stay, there were many Western guests too. If the owner of the resort is happy to take the money off us Westerners then food should be provided for our palate too. Another comment on mealtimes was the Chinese children racing round the tables bumping into guests as they were carrying their plates. There seemed a total lack of parental control. Would we recommend this resort to friends? Yes, if they are prepared to tolerate all of the aforementioned, then the rest is glorious!

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank BritintheOrient
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Pom Pom Island Resort & Spa

Address: A-2-1 Jalan Karamunsing | Lorong Kapital, Block A, 2nd Floor, Pulau Sipadan 88000, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Sipadan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Price Range: £343 - £431 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Pom Pom Island Resort & Spa 3.5*
Number of rooms: 49
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A beautiful peaceful, paradise island resort with PADI Dive Centre, dive packages available with luxury accommodation. Enjoy diving the 6 nearby islands surrounding Pom Pom Island, amazing macro plus beautiful coral fish and turtles. Resort has range of luxury detached beach and water villas constructed for every comfort. Packages include 3 meals per day plus snacks, juices, coffee and tea, etc in our famous traditional Malaysian restaurant. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sipadan Pom Pom Hotel Pulau Sipadan

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