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US$498
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Certificate of Excellence
  • Breakfast included
  • Beachfront
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Reviewed 9 August 2012

We booked our stay with the hotel's agent in Tawau. While we eventually managed to get it all sorted out in the end, it wasn't the most efficient booking service I've come across. One particular point of irritation was that because of delays in processing our booking the room we had intially been told was available had actually been booked by someone else by the time the booking was made. In addition they also got a few other details wrong, but these were quickly corrected when I pointed them out.

On arrival at Tawau airport we were met by a representative and quickly led to a bus that took us to Semporna, where we and our luggage were transferred to a boat that took us to Mobul Island. The bus trip took about an hour, and the boat about 45 minutes. At the hotel all the paperwork was waiting for us to sign and we quickly completed the formalities before going to lunch while waiting for our room to become ready.

For the first three nights of our stay we were in room S128, which was a Grand Deluxe room located almost at the end of the pier stretching from the reception. It took just over 5 minutes to walk from the reception to the room.

The room was quite spacious and had two small double beds, a seating area, and a desk in the main room. There was also a minibar with a selection of soft and alcoholic drinks. The prices were reasonable compared to some other hotels.

The bathroom was fitted with sinks, a toilet and a shower cubicle, all of which was in pretty poor condition and in desperate need of refurbishement. Next to the bathroom there was an outside jaccuci, again in some need of refurbishment. Although it did work we found that the water was too cold. We tried to switch on the heating and leave it on to give the water a chance to heat up, but the friendly housekeeping staff obviously thought we had simply forgotten to switched it off and did that for us.

There was also a large patio facing towards the west, which meant that we had a view looking towards Mabul Island and had plenty of afternoon sun. The sun beds provided were in good condition and quite comfortable.

The room didn't have AC. However, this didn't turn out to be quite as big a problem as I had anticipated. With the fans running and with the doors open during the day, I found the temperature to be bearable. During the night it was a bit more of a problem as we kept the doors closed in an effort to keep at least some of the mosquitos out, but with the portable fan provided running at full speed I was able to stay cool enough to sleep comfortably. The hotel provided mosquito repellants that they came around every evening. This seemed to work quite well and none of us experienced any particualr problems with mosquitos.

For the rest of our visit we stayed in S117. This is a standard room but had an AC fitted. The room was a bit smaller than S128, and it didn't have an outdoor jaccuzi. There was also less storage space for clothes and suitcases. And the patio was also a bit smaller, and the sunbeds provided slightly less comfortable. The AC helped keep the room a bit cooler, but it didn't make an awful lot of difference.

The food is served buffet style in the restaurant. As standard you get a choice of water or ice tea drink with your lunch and dinner, and some sort of fruit squash and milk at breakfast. It was possible to order other drinks separately if you fancied some wine or beer with your food. The food was adequate, but nothing spectacular. The one big surprise was that we actually got real belly pork for breakfast one morning.

Our package incldued all diving for me (I was the only diver in our party) and four snorkeling trips for the non-divers. The dive operation was quite well run and the guides were all friendly, helpful and very knowledgable about the diver sites they took us to as well as the wildlife we could expect to see there.

I had five days of diving, three at Sipadan and two aorund Mabul and Kepalai. Most of the dive locations we were taken to were good, especially those around Sipdan. Lots to see everywhere, the only disappointment was that the visibility was quite poor in most locations, especially later in the day. But some of the dive sites around Mabul, especially the hotel house reefs, were pretty boring. Personally I would prefer to dive a dive site with nice looking corals twice than to swim around a man-made underwater obstacle course such as the Mabul Water Village house reef or the reef below the Seaventure Rig Resort (what an eyesore!).

You could also dive as much as you liked at the two house reefs between 06:00 and 18:00. You simply entered your names on the board, picked a tank, kitted up and jumped in. The house reefs were not great though, and the visibility was in general quite poor. But there was actually quite a lot to see, including lots of turtles, morey eels, frogfishes, and lots and lots of other interesting stuff.

The hotel is built completely above the shallow reef of Mabul Island. Only the staff accomodation parts of the hotel are actually on Mabul Island itself. It is possible to wlak onto the island, but there is little to see. Also we were advised that it may be a good idea to stay away from the village and the sea gypsis that live in their boats which are moored up in the area between the hotel and the beach.

Room Tip: Rooms closer to the reception have shorter walking distances to the restaurant and the dive centre, but there is also more traffic outside your room as there is only one walkway for all the rooms.
  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank TheEagleGuy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2012

I returned twice this year! March'12 and June '12, and my experience is still amazing.
This time round i stayed at chalet S110 (March) and S109 (June). View is marvelous!

I would like to urge SWV to start renovating their chalets , especially the washroom cubicle, as its falling apart! Every time I took shower the whole shower room will be WET!

Room wall need to be replaced a well, tighten up the electrical output sockets, as well as re-assessing the in-room furnitures. Some of the rattan sofa seems like gonna collapse soon.

Overall no complain on the diving.
If you have always done dawn/morning dive, do add 1 more dive (RM115) for the afternoon experience of diving in Sipadan Island.

I added 1 more dive on Jun 19 after 3 dives in the morning, and that's the BEST dive!
I was playing with the jacks almost on the surface , around 1-5 metres and its amazing! Checkout the pics.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank pinkyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 July 2012 via mobile

My wife and I came to Mabul for the 3rd time, but it was our first in SWV. The first impression i got on arrival there was the feeling of being a VIP, being greeted by at least half the crew. Lets start with the crew itself then.

The Crew - I guess due to on going training, they are a bunch of work horse with discipline and accurate timing. They even took the trouble to arrange a surprise birthday cake for me during dinner. Excellent team and kudos to the manager.

The Rooms - Old but well maintained. It is not exactly the 5 star room you expect to get for the price paid, but having stayed in many island hotels and resorts before, i guess its ok. I would give a 3 star level. The view from the Sipadan wing was breathtaking, either facing the sea or the beach. Afterall, the rooms are placed on the water.

The Food - I can see every effort is made to cater for the varied tastebuds, but the overall rating is just average. Breakfast, lunch and dinner was provided.

The Dive Centre - Very well organised with experienced divemasters. Equipments were all good and well maintained. Shore dive was very worthwhile with many critters and macrolife around. They allow unlimited shore dives.

Transport - Shuttle was provided for us from the airport and back.

Cost - For a 3 days and 2 nights stay for both of us cost around RM2600, which includes all the above plus 3 dives in Sipadan and snorkeling.

Overall, the stay was pleasant with almost zero glitches. We were very happy and satisfied with the money spent.

  • Stayed: July 2012
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1  Thank drnara
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2012

For the price we paid, it was a fantastic experience!! Have paid more before to dive in Pulau Weh where accommodation was absolutely unacceptable and diving conditions were bad. Only peculiar thing is that there are different price for Malaysians/Singaporeans vs other foreigners. If you have a Malaysian working permit (ie.expat), then try applying for the Malaysian price. The operation of the resort is seamless!! From the return transfer from the airport to resort, meal times and dive center. The diving activities were very well organized, our DMs were friendly and informative and the boat driver friendly and courteous. The staff in general are all very friendly except for the ones we've encountered in the gift shop. Maybe they are pissed with getting stuck in the gift shop all day?

I'm not going to comment on the dangers of being over-developed because that is obvious in all dive destinations. Having said that, the room we were assigned on the Sipadan wing, while spacious and comfortable, the bathroom requires some serious scrubbing and cleaning to maintain a decent appearance. The grime and stains can be quite off-putting but you know it's somewhat clean (cleaner than lots of places) and they were just collected over time.

Room Tip: Pay the surcharge for an air cond unit. While it could be very breezy during the day (and night), you'll need to close the windows at night to keep the mosquitoes away. It could get quite stuffy.
  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank silveryz80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 May 2012

To get there we flew to Tawau where the driver from the resort was waiting for us. Then one-hour drive to Semporna and half an hour by motor boat. And you are in a different world! Turquoise water, beautiful views, great marine life (we even saw a turtle in the morning just from our terrace), very nice chalets all with a sea view:-). Although we are not divers (just snorkelers) we really enjoyed the stay.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Bajonka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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