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“as close to a guaranteed hammerhead experience as you can get” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Avillion Layang Layang

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Avillion Layang Layang
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Layang Layang
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“as close to a guaranteed hammerhead experience as you can get”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 August 2015

80's style resort, looking a bit ragged around the edges, but who cares? the pool's fine, food's good enough, rooms have splits and anyway, as long as I got to see the hammerheads, I'd've been happy sleeping in a tent.

sure, its a bit pricey especially when you're paying for a family of 5 and they're all divers. but the staff were brilliant and we had some spectacular diving.

guides were excellent (my kids still talk about them) and even when it looked like our boat was going to miss out, they didn't lose their cool despite the mounting pressure they must have felt to track down the hammerheads. made it all the more sweeter when we did encounter them on the second to last and last day.

many thanks to all of you who made layang layang a most memorable dive experience, not just for me, but for my family as well and lighting the fire of passion to dive in the hearts of my children.

  • Stayed May 2015, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank guy n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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108 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
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Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam
Level Contributor
30 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 July 2015

Layang Layang Island = School of hammerhead sharks!, I'm very sure that's what attract all divers from all over the world come to this tiny island. As most of the reviewers/divers have mentioned pretty much everything in detail, I couldn't have agree with them more except that I still have to give credit to the resort have keeping the place In well maintain shape (especially knowing this is a real remote island from the mainland and no flight in on daily basis). The friendly staffs at the resort is definitely one of the reason that make my stay the most memorable one. With the DM's good eye sight, our group spotted hammerhead and manta ray on most of our dives. Nothing is guarantee as nature is involved, sometime we have tons of surprise and someday we may ended our days with disappointment but that's how it supposed to be when we are dealing with nature. Beside that I want to give credit to the amazing housekeeping crews for taking the effort to give their guest a daily surprise towel displays on their bed...that little surprise really brighten our day when we didn't have a good dive day.

  • Stayed May 2015, travelled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Doris C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bright, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 July 2015

Read all the reviews before going so were well prepared for standard of rooms and facilities. No complaints from us as we went for the diving and comfortable beds and tasty food were the bonus. Beautiful diving.
The only negative was the pushiness of the divers with cameras. It would be great if the dive brief included some strong emphasis on respect of each other when diving. Just because a diver has a fancy camera does not mean they can push in front of other divers and often scare the fish away. It's a big ocean!!!

Room Tip: Tired enough to cope with room being directly in line with kitchen fridge motor noise but couldn'...
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  • Stayed June 2015, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank 60helene2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reno, Nevada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 June 2015

We were looking forward to diving with Avillion at Layang Layang at the beginning of March, 2015, to see what diving off an atoll in the South China Sea was like. Just two days before we were to arrive at the atoll, however, Avillion notified us through our travel agent that the trip was canceled because their runway couldn’t be certified. Did they not know this earlier, at least to give us some warning? Especially since the runway has been an ongoing problem, causing other cancellations (see review by FamilyJensen, Tripadvisor, September 12, 2014)?

Such a cancellation might not be quite as devastating to someone who lives in the southeast Asia area with shorter and cheaper flights, but we live in the United States and were already in Singapore at the time with non-changeable, nonrefundable tickets. Thus we chose to follow our air itinerary and continue on to Kota Kinabalu where we spent an enjoyable week, all planned on the spot. Forget the diving there, however, even with a national marine park. There was as little fish life there as there was visibility (15-20 feet), although there are some times of the year when the visibility is much better.

Avillion gave us 3 options with the cancellation: 1. Switch to Sipadan Mabul Resort. Sipadan Mabul would have been fine except for a few things. First, diving off Sipidan Island itself is limited. Second, we weren’t sure that Avillion could match up the flight times to Sipidan with the flights we already had in and out of Kota Kinabalu, not after they canceled so close to our arrival date. And third, unbeknownst to Avillion, we had already canceled our plans for Sipidan due to US State Department’s warnings about attacks and kidnappings at the Sipidan area resorts (2014). Avillion’s Layang Layang was our backup plan.

Avillion’s second option: Change our booking dates to later in 2015 or 2016. After the way we were canceled and that we would have to pay for flights again, this was a non-option.

Option 3: “Full refund on your current booking.” We chose this option, but unfortunately their definition of “full” was not the same as ours. A bit over a month later we did receive a refund minus some fees. Our travel agent spent a lot of time with them just to get that, and then spent more time to try to get the refund to be “full.” As of this writing (June 24, 2015), we probably finally do have a full refund, or pretty close to it. Our travel agent will be applying it to future trips.

If you are planning a trip to Layang Layang, be advised that the runway problem may pop up at any time. And then the refunds may not be clean and easy. We have to wonder: since we were the first customers opening the season on March 1, 2015, were there too few customers coming in so that it was more economical to cancel the flight and hope to rebook them for later? Lawrence L, Manager at Avillion Layang Layang, in replying to a Tripadvisor review on September 17, 2014, stated that “issues arising from the runway, of which (sic) also resulted in an early closure for us last season. The repair work by the authorities has just commenced and it will definitely be ready when we reopen.” Unfortunately, half a year apparently wasn’t enough time.

Stayed March 2015, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank David S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lawrence L, Manager at Avillion Layang Layang, responded to this review, 29 June 2015
Dear David,

Thank you for taking the time to send us your feedback.

We were being notify late too on the certification of the runway by the authorities hence we had no choice but to cancelled or postponed few departures.

The runway is all good now and all flights are back to normal.

We apologised for the inconvenienced caused due to the closure of the runway.

Meanwhile we hope you will be able to visit us and do drop me an email of your next plan trip.

Thank you.

Regards
Avillion Layang Layang Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
145 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 June 2015 via mobile

Ok I don't really want to write this review as I don't want Layang Layang to get overdone like Sipadan. But if you want to have great diving this is the place. I have dived in 30 countries and with Tofo, Mozambique and Beqa, Fiji shark dive - this is the best. Every dive of the 10 we saw sharks except the night dive. All 3 mornings we saw the 30+ school of hammerheads. Last dive came within 8 meters. School of jacks insane. 3 mantas. Up to 8 large white tips in Shark Cave.
I would be booking a trip back but worried as I think we had incredible luck, conditions and a small group (only 7 divers on our boat and 20 in the resort in total). Dive masters were even freaking out taking video of themselves w the hammerheads - so you know it was good. Last day the vis got murky with plankton and jellyfish but up until then 30m.
I thought the dive staff were great (Albin, Gavin and Ricky really good). However our group was experienced and chilled out. I can imagine that it would be too relaxed for some but I don't think its a place for beginners. The currents are not that challenging but they are deep dives (30-35m in AM then 20-25m in PM). We were lucky to have a good group of confident divers, although we did have one beginner doing open water and he got great 1:1 treatment (plus school of hammerheads on his 1st dive?!).
Rooms are super basic and the resort knows it needs more activities for non dive time (they are getting standup paddle boards - also table tennis would be great). You can also run around the airfield at dusk which is fun as the navy is out training and the dive masters play soccer and skateboard.
Surprisingly we never got bored. It's kind of like a liveaboard but better as you at least can do some stuff on land and have space
Staff are super friendly as are the management. Really nice touch - they give you a hard copy coffee table book when you check out!
Will probably tempt fate and go back again as we can't resist ;)

Stayed June 2015, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank Dikiwi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Avillion Layang Layang

Property: Avillion Layang Layang
Address: Layang Layang 88005, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > West Coast Division > Kota Kinabalu District > Layang Layang
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Layang Layang
Price range (per night): RM1,063
Hotel Class:3 star — Avillion Layang Layang 3*
Number of rooms: 86
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Layang Layang Island Resort Sdn Bhd is an exclusive resort that dominates the Layang Layang island - an oceanic atoll of Spratly Islands situated approximately 300km northwest of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. Fondly known as "The Jewel of the Borneo Banks," it is truly a diver's paradise. As many as 14 coral reefs have formed here, creating a breathtaking underwater scenery. The dive sites are well known for the intriguing hammerhead sharks and pygmy seahorses among other rare creatures. An hour's flight north of Kota Kinabalu, the island on which Layang Layang Island Resort Sdn Bhd nestles lies in 2,000 m of ocean and, due partly to the depth, this atoll has become famous for sightings of large pelagic species and for wall diving. Layang Layang Island Resort Sdn Bhd is the only resort on the island besides a Royal Malaysia Navy base. The resort, designed to look like the traditional Long House, comprises 86 cosy rooms, restaurant and bar, outdoor swimming pool, dive center with certified diving instructors and a variety of diving courses among other facilities for modern comforts. Come for the exclusive and intriguing diving experience at this remote destination out of the world, where rare and uncommon underwater creatures await you! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Avillion Layang Layang Island Hotel Layang Layang
Layang Island Hotel
Avillion Layang Layang Sabah

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