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“A tropical island paradise dream - but it exists!!”

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Sipadan Water Village Resort
Ranked #5 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Reviewed 15 May 2008

I first saw SWV several years ago when I was staying at another resort on Mabul, so this time I booked it. It looks very nice, with bungalows over the water on stilts but I have to tell you, staying there is simply spectacular!

The rooms are well-built, well-appointed, spacious, and have wooden balconies....and the VIEW!!! OMG!! Open sea, coral seabed below, reef fish drifting under the bungalow, cool sea breeze, the sense that somehow you have blundered unwittingly into paradise.

And it doesn't end there - the restaurant is over the water as well, and one evening I saw 3 turtles swimming in the water nearby while having dinner! It's far more spectacular than words can describe - somehow the combination of open sky, shallow and clear sea, and those wooden bungalows make the whole more than the sum of its parts.

Diving? Sipadan is 30 minutes away, and it's better now that there are no more resorts on the island (all moved out by 2005). Mabul offers muck diving and SWV has a nice house reef with resident barracuda and school of fish....very very nearby is the hidden treasure...a coral which harbours the very elusive mandarin fish. Sign up early to go on the guided tour, it's worth it.

Diving facilities are generally excellent - good dive masters, good boatmen and the luxury of hot water showers!

You can visit Mabul island as well, you can walk all around in less than an hour and its safe and quite interesting. There are 2 villages on the island, but at the end of the walk, you can walk on the wooden walkway and back to your own private paradise at SWV. nearby are the water bungalows of Mabul Water Bungalows - they also look very nice, but I don't know what it's like staying there.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Leeyuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 16 April 2008

SWV is a stilted resort built over crystal clear waters with plenty of fish and the odd turtle swimming by. This is definitely a dive resort and although it’s attached to the island of Mabul, you’ll struggle to find much else to do other than dive or sunbathe.

We were here to dive and it was fantastic. Well run and efficient dive school which operates several boats giving you the opportunity to do 2 dives off Sipadan (about a 20 minute journey) and 1 dive off Mabul. You are also free to dive off the house reef and also do night dives. The diving at Sipadan was spectacular with amazing visibility and marine life. The diving at Mabul is macro with poor visibility but all sorts of weird and wonderful fish. The dive staff were great and would set up your kit before each dive and help you into it as well.

The accommodation at Sipadan Water Village is comfortable. Large rooms with a sun deck and loungers. The ensuite facilities are a little tired and the rooms do not have aircon. We had a sea view room which meant our sun deck got the morning sun until about 1pm. If you like to sit out in the afternoon / evening sun then ask for an island facing room (although the view is not as pleasing – there is a shabby looking fisherman’s village on Mabul island).

Drinking water is complimentary at the resort and tea / coffee and homemade cakes are available throughout the day for hungry divers.

Meals are served in a large restaurant and were of an adequate standard. If you are a foodie don’t expect anything special.

There is a bar near the main reception which serves a good range of drinks and cocktails and is a social place to have a drink after a long days diving.

All staff were friendly, helpful and efficient (as we found throughout Malaysia).

We had a fantastic time at SWV and it was definitely the highlight of our trip to Borneo. If you are looking for 5* luxury with aircon and TVs then you would probably be better off staying at the Mabul Water Bungalows next door (but expect to pay a much higher price).

  • Stayed: March 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank Les_vacances
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2008

Stayed for 5 days diving. Rooms were large & cool, even though they dont have air condioning, but dont need it

Diving is great around the 3 main islands of Mabul, Kapali & Sipadan.

Diving was very organised, small groups, all with similar intrestes, ie macro, big stuff, dive masters very knowlegable.

All the staff say good morning/ afternoon & willing to help with any problem.

Only down side, despite working very hard over the catering & meals, they were never really anything but ordinary.

Were prepared to cook other meals if you were unable to eat the buffet type meals.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled with friends
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1  Thank LukChang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2008

Sipadan Water Village in Mabul Island is a little paradise at the Celebes Sea, off Semporna. From the 40 minutes boat ride to the socialising with the staff at the Diving Centre, all seem to be perfect. All the staff would make a line at the jetty to welcome you soon as the boat reach the turqoise clear water as well as the moment before you step your legs into the boat and bid the marvellous island goodbye. Food is great-delicously done and the impressively variety. It's a buffet style and included in the whole package. The view is to die for. Where ever you are, no matter what you do, all you can see is the clear turqoise water. The water bungalows are really great. Each and everyone of them has its own verandah/sundeck where you get to relax n destress, listening to the waves and staring at the clear blue sea. It's heaven. The dive centre is our favourite place to hang out. They provide fresh oven baked buns, cookies as well as tea & coffee making facility and they're free flow! A satisfying combo as you reach the jetty from snokerling/diving at the stunning Pulau Sipadan. Imagine swimming with a sea turtle (huge one! and we saw many of them), and having sharks, barracudas, and jackfish swimming underneath and not to forget the lovely corals. What more can you ask for? It's highly recommended, a heaven for the divers and a good place to relax for the non divers, but do try the snokerling in Sipadan, no words to describe the beauty of the underwater world. I will definitely come back and I'm also eyeing for Kapalai and Mataking; am sure they're as gorgeous if not better...Tip : always ask for the water bungalows at the Sipadan Wings...

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled with friends
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1  Thank CookieMon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 October 2007

From the agreed pick up from our hotel, to the pleasant boat trip out to the resort and everyday thereafter....this place is just magic.
The staff make you feel welcome and can't do enough to make you enjoy your stay.
As we arrived on the early transit, our room wasn't ready so they put us into a temporary room while we had our orientation dive. As soon as I entered the temporary room I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. So when we moved into one of our freestanding bungalow after our dive (we had the deluxe - without spa) I knew this was going to be our most enjoyable diving experience. It's actually even more spectacular than the photos show!!
The rooms are furnished quite simply but it has everything you want and more......coral reef and sealife swimming around in paradise-like aqua water all around your bungalow (on stilts). It feels quite rightly that you're a guest in their sea and have this magic view of their from every window and balcony. Super comfy big bed. It's also a really nice feeling when you come back from a dive and the 'room fairies' have turned down the room. Great!

The diving around Mabul Island is excellent and mainly Muck diving but still truly enjoyable and on it's own would be very highly regarded dive site. It's when you go over on the 20 minute flat boat ride to Sipadan that any other dive you've done just feel a little average. The diving around Sipadan is rightly rated as one of the (if not THE) best in the world. All the big stuff, turtles, shark...gsoh they are SO graceful! (incl Leopard Shark), spectacular coral...the list goes on and on. The early (5am) dawn dive in Sipadan is also great...it's a pleasant but slightly weird feeling walking over to the dive shop in Speedo's at 5am and being warm (and I live in Aus). A little like the night dive......jumping into the water on a rare windy and wet late afternoon we were a little cold (still in just Speedo's though). Jumping into the water was warmer than the outside temp....it's 27-28 degrees in the water....feels like body temperature.

The food was excellent....every day...every meal...without exception. The wait staff were very friendly...and most had a great, cheeky sense of humour and made you feel very comfortable. The resort was full when we there but we never had a problem getting a table.

The dive staff were knowledgable and informative and always respectful of photographers and non-photographers at all times.

The whole holiday isn't cheap...but diving never is and this is food included. As always the dive shop will charge you for any extras you use.....torch, batteries (night dive) etc. You do have to pay extra for alcohol and the Sipadan trips so be aware or keep any paperwork.

It was a sad feeling being waved away by the staff when we left...not only as it was a spectacular holiday but also knowing it's gonna be a tough diving experience to replicate or better........we'll just have to revisit sometime soon!!

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank CoopermanMelbourne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sipadan Water Village Resort

Address: Tawau, Pulau Sipadan 91031, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Sipadan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Price Range: RM1,466 - RM2,033 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 276
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sipadan Water Village is a resort built entirely over the water on stilts. In its design, Sipadan Water Village has achieved near utopia in its layout, splendid water cottage accommodations with flowered sidewalks, wonderfully prepared Asian and Continental cuisine, and impeccable and personable service! The dive program is comparable to none as everyone at Sipadan Water Village has an attitude and passion for what the sea has to offer. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sipadan Water Village Hotel Pulau Sipadan
Sipadan Water Village Pulau
Sipadan Water Village Resort Pulau Sipadan, Malaysia - Sabah

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