Sepilok Nature Resort (Sepilok, Malaysia)
Sepilok Nature Lodge, Sandakan, Borneo We spent two nights in this rather lovely lodge or hotel which is just outside the town of Sandakan and next door to the Sepilok Orang Utang sanctuary. WELCOME As we arrived we were greeted in a welcoming manner and helped with our bags over to our room. The person who ... took us over to our room gave us a big of a tour of the room and showed us how to put the fans and air conditioner on and where things were generally.
The Sepilok Nature Resort is just beautiful with chalets set in natural surroundings. The main building faces a large lake in which we saw a monitor lizard swimming one day while we were eating our lunch. Everywhere you walk on boardwalks of wood which can be a bit slippery when wet so care had to be taken but it did mean that you only had to lift your bags up and down the few odd steps as most was flat or had slopes. In the garden were lovely, orchids everywhere, lilies and a variety of trees and bushes, many with flowers.
Our room was huge with polished wooden floors and rattan patterned ceilings. We had a double and single bed so a family with one child could share the room or three friends I guess. The bed was pretty comfortable, all the beds on this trip were hard but the pillows were okay so we slept well. In the room was a fridge with complimentary bottles of water as well as a kettle with local Sabah teabags, coffee, sugar and creamer. I have become very used to drinking very weak black tea! There was no safe which was a bit of a pain as we had to carry all our money, passports etc. The laptop and phone I just had to hide in our bags and make them not so obvious, I don't think there can be much crime as staff are around the resort gardening etc and any reports of thefts were quickly get around. We enjoyed the choice of using the fan or the air conditioner and we had an open wardrobe and shelves to store our clothes and bits.
There were plenty of windows so we looked out on to vegetation and not straight into the next door rooms. The ceiling was beautiful with woven patterns in square blocks which created a really unusual effect. I loved lying on the bed and looking up at all the different designs on the squares.
The bathroom was a huge wet room with sink and large shelf with a mirror but sadly no hair dryer. I am thinking that maybe I should replace the small travel one I had for journeys like this. There was toilet with the usual hose attachment for those who wash themselves but strangely there was also a brand new tap that just came out from the wall too. We tried to think of a reason for this but failed! The bath was great, really big and strangely about eight inches away from the side wall. The shower head at the top was removable which was just as well as the knob to change it so that water came through the bath tap didn't work so I had to fill the bath with the shower head.
There was another huge shower head half way along the bath that was also very good at volume of water but some of it went onto the side of the bath and it was VERY hard to adjust the temperature which was either scalding, I am not exaggerating it was almost boiling, or totally cold which was okay during the day but not what I wanted first thing in the morning. Underneath that shower head was a second removable shower head so there were plenty to choose from all with their different idiosyncrasies!
A shower/gel shampoo came in a refillable soap dispenser bottle but I thought it smelled a bit unpleasant so I used my Lush solid shampoo and conditioner and gel taken from the Pan Pacific in KL. There were also a few small basic unexciting soap bars which did an okay job.
We had a small patio area looking backwards onto the gardens and this had a couple of chairs and a small table. We tended to use the main building when sitting as we could get tea and coffee and pastries as well as buying drinks from the bar. This was where you could log onto the wifi too as there was none in the rooms.
These were lovely and the way the resort was laid out was rural and tropical. The rooms were all individual lodges so quite private and surrounded by vegetation. The gardens were extensive and the rooms covered a large area which you accessed by the raised wooden walkways. You could walk around the resort and see something different each time. We watched a large monitor lizard swimming in the lake one day and several beautiful birds but they were hard to photograph as they are so quick. The orchids and other tropical vegetation were really beautiful and I spent some time trying to take photos of some of the plants in the grounds.
BAR AND RESTAURANT
The bar sold beer and some other drinks but wine could only be bought in bottles. I got very excited as 'spitzer' was on the bar list and ordered that but sadly that is the brand name for bottles plain water!! I was very disappointed.
The bar was part of the main building which had a roof but no walls. The reception area had a counter here but their office was closed in behind. There were chairs and tables all around the area as this was also the restaurant.
The kitchen was closed in behind but open to the restaurant area. In the central part of the seating area was a buffet table with heated serving dishes which were used at breakfast and then for lunch and dinner too. To one side was a BBQ open grill which was used at breakfast to cook eggs, pancakes and waffles fresh for you.
We had a couple of lunches but didn't try the buffet for any meals as it was quite expensive, we found by ordering off the menu we ate for less than half the price of the buffet and that included drinks. We ate beef rending and other Malay local dishes including fish and all were tasty and freshly prepared which was something that put us off the buffet!
This was a buffet service with plenty of choice. I always enjoy my tropical fruit for breakfast and I wasn't disappointed. I am not that excited by cooked food but my husband gets good value from his and really enjoyed the choices in the dishes and combined this was eggs from the egg man at the grill. I tried pancakes one day and waffles the next and both were good and specially cooked for me which is always nice.
There is no pool here, only the large pond where we saw the monitor lizard and kingfishers at different times. Wifi is available in the main building at extra cost but I think it was about £6 for 24 hours but mine seemed to last longer. The connection wasn't great but did enable me to get a few reviews read and emails to the kids written.
Next door was the orangutan sanctuary which you had to pay extra for as it was a separate establishment. You paid (30 ringgits) about £6 per person for a day and in that time you could see two orang-utan feeding sessions, one in the morning and a second in the afternoon.
A thirty five minute walk down the road the other way took us to the Rainforest discovery Centre where we spent the first afternoon after we arrived.
Apart from this there was not much around and as we were only there for the two days and left early on the third day we didn't have time to take the bus or taxi into Sandakan so I can't say what was there really apart from the boat terminal where we caught our speedboat to the Kinabatangan River lodge.
This is a lovely peaceful resort and a perfect place to see orangutans in a sanctuary and you are pretty well guaranteed to see at least one orangutan when visiting. The rooms were large, comfortable and fitted with the eco lodge atmosphere combining comfort with a rural local feel.
I would thoroughly recommend this as a comfortable hotel with a very local Malay feel about it. The grounds were just gorgeous and worth visiting for those alone.
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Pan Pacific Hotel Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
PAN PACIFIC AIRPORT HOTEL , KUALA LUMPUR We booked this hotel as we had a flight from Pakse in Laos via Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur and our flight o Sandakan in Sabah was not until 7.45 the next morning. I chose this hotel specifically as it was actually at the main airport KLIA ( Kuala Lumpur International Airport) and we could ... walk to and from the hotel and the airport. Unfortunately the best laid plans were cast aside when Air Malaysia cancelled the flight we were booked on and we had to then book an Air Asia flight which leaves from the other Kuala Lumpur Airport LCCT ( Low Cost Carrier Terminal) and that was a shuttle ride of 30 minutes away. We had to pay about ten ringgits each for the shuttle which was a bargain at about £2.50. Had we known we could have saved ourselves a longish walk and checked-in at the arrival hall and then hopped on the 24-hr complimentary buggy shuttle service between KLIA's Main Terminal Building and Pan Pacific Kuala Lumpur International Airport but anyway it picked us up on our way so we didn't have to walk all the way.
The hotel is pretty luxurious with the most enormous lobby area and around 440 rooms. I was impressed with the choice of two cold drinks for you to help yourself to; one was rosella and the other winter pear which is sort of herby and very tasty. Reception was efficient and quick and we were soon being escorted up to our room. The corridors were carpeted in a beige sort of colour with rectangles of pattern in browns from time to time; it was subtle and quite classy looking.
This was a good sized five star hotel size with a huge king sized bed made up with white cotton sheets and two big soft pillows. There was a bed runner in gold at the end of the bed and two decorative gold cushions on the bed. An arm chair in matching gold was in one corner with a footstool in the same gold colour. On the desk was a bank of every sort of socket you might use from around the world and wifi was free and fast too.
One thing I thought was a great idea was that there was a mini bar but you had to phone and have it 'unlocked' if you wanted to use it. This way there was no questioning as you checked out, they knew if you had not asked for it to be unlocked there was no way you could have taken anything.
The wardrobe had extra pillows, a safe and towel bathrobes, slippers and an iron and ironing board plus shoe cleaning wipes as well. There was also a luggage stand which actually held both our bags. The room was decorated in muted colours and had tasteful pictures on the wall. The bedside lights were good and even though we were only there for a night so the curtains were closed, the room was pretty light. We did open the curtains and have a look out but there was not much to see, you could see the tops of trees and not a lot else, certainly not the airport or the city of KL.
It really had everything you could possibly have needed in a hotel room and the bed was pretty comfortable too as were the lovely big but soft pillows.
This was just what I needed after a long day of travelling. There was a huge shower cubicle as well as a separate bath. The basin had a shelf the entire length of the room so plenty of space to put things. The toiletries included shampoo, bath /shower gel, conditioner; all lovely lemongrass scented stuff as well as lemongrass scented soap. I also liked the body lotion too and there was a toothbrush with mini toothpaste but only the one. I was thrilled to find a hairdryer as I hadn't had one for quite some days now and in the humidity my hair was starting to get bigger and bigger. Not only was there a hair dryer but it was also able to be connected in the bathroom and near a mirror so I could see what I was doing which was a bonus.
There are at least three restaurants, and we chose the 24 Hour Bar and Grill as it was convenient, comfortable and casual. We were both tired and really just wanting something simple and easy.
So after a long soak in the bath we changed out of our travel weary stuff and went to see what was on offer down in the bar and restaurant. The bar area had a live pianist playing and indeed singing the usual background lounge music stuff but quite pleasant. We ordered a drink each and asked to see the menu. We were quite surprised to be handed a tablet computer as the menu but looked through the options. I was a little sick of Asian food or at least the five Laos dishes we had eaten over the last two weeks and fancied something plain. I tried to suggest sharing a pizza but my husband told me that was not going to be enough for him so he ordered a club sandwich. Sadly I wasn't feeling 100% and ate a part of one slice of pizza and couldn't mange any more. I asked the waitress to put it in a bag for me as I thought we could have it cold the next day at the airport or on our flight as it was only a short hop and we were unlikely to get fed on it. Unfortunately she asked them to bag it up but they threw it away; she offered to have another made but we said not to bother.
The atmosphere was one of calm, efficient luxury and this was just what I needed after our long day in planes and airports. After our meal we headed back upstairs and had a really comfortable night's sleep until about 5am when we had to get up to catch the shuttle to get us to the airport.
Checking out was equally efficient and I handed over my credit card, pinned in my number and that was done. Our luggage was put on a trolley and then taken out and loaded onto the mini bus shuttle when it arrived and off we went. It was quietly and unfussily efficient and just what we needed for the night's stay. I felt a lot better after my slee0p and fully recovered from my funny tummy episode that I suffered the night we left Laos. Two Imodium instants later and a good night's sleep and I was back to normal.
I thought the hotel was perfect and typical of the five star luxury I expect in Asia. Service was always with a smile and very efficient. The main lobby and reception area was sumptuous and the restaurants offered a wide choice of foods at reasonable rather than bargain prices.
There are meeting rooms and a gym but we had no need for either and I am afraid I wasn't up for exploring. I did however appreciate the huge orchid displays around the hotel which were truly stunning.
This hotel apparently won the Trip Advisor Traveller's Choice Award in 2012 which presumably was for reviews and so forth in 2011 as 2012 hasn't been around for too long.
If you need to overnight between flights in Kuala Lumpur then this is the perfect hotel as it really is right at KLIA and only half hour drive from the other airport as well with no problem with fighting the KL traffic.
I have looked on line and the rate for booking 21 days in advance is about 440 Malay Ringgit which is about £80 so not that expensive for what we got I feel.
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Sutera Harbour Resort & Spa Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia)
I stayed at the Pacific Sutera Hotel from October 3rd until October 14th in 2006. The Pacific Sutera hotel is built within the The Sutera Harbour Resort which included another hotel named The Magellan and also a Health Spa. The resort is surrounded by the Harbour which gives you easy access to explore some of the surrounding islands that ... are a short boat journey away.
This hotel was in a perfect location for us. The flight to Borneo was 13 hours in total and when we arrived, we were pleased to find that the hotel was 10 minutes away from the airport by taxi which are very cheap; you shouldn't need to pay more than 10 ringetts (£1.70)
Arrival and check in
Upon arrival, the staff were more than eager to take our cases and escort us to reception. Check it was quick and easy, so this made our first impression very high! The hotel had 12 floors; all with lift access so would be easily accessible for wheelchair users.
When we got to our room, it was very clean and when the porter bought out luggage to the room, he also bought a tray of chocolates and a tray of fruit which was a very nice touch. From our room, we could see the Harbour and surrounding islands and also the other hotel and health spa. We also had a great view of the grounds of the hotel, fish ponds, swimming pool and bars. We did have to ask for a sea view when we booked though. If you get a room the other side of the hotel which over looks a massive golf course. Our room was big, with a massive king size bed! No exaggeration, it was huge!! The room was also air conditioned which you needed with the heat! We had a large bathroom, with a walk in shower and a full size bath. There are shutters next to the bath which open out into the bedroom, which means you are able to watch TV while having a bath or still talk to the other person you are on holiday with while you're having a soak! There was also a large sink area with a large mirror in front of it. On the sink section, was a tray of toiletry items including toothpaste, toothbrush, cotton buds, emery board, moisturiser, comb and a razor with shaving cream. Every time we used one of these items, it was replaced by housekeeping the next day. There is a safe in the room, inside the wardrobe which is great for keeping all your valuables in. There is an ironing board and an iron on one of the cupboards, and a hairdryer on the side. There were two dressing gowns hung up in one of the wardrobes for us to use while we were there. All the plug sockets in the room were three pin so there was no need for an adapter. The room has a medium sized fridge which we found useful for keeping fruit and bottles drinks in. In the room, there were 2 wardrobes so there was plenty of space to unpack all your clothes. There was also a 5 drawer, chest of drawers. The TV was fairly large and you had a selection of local and international channels. A few good film and documentary channels. There were internet points within the room in the officer area, where there is a desk, chair and lamp. There was a phone in the room where you could make calls to reception free and also make calls to home that would then be charged to the room. The hotel offered 24 hour room service and we thought the prices were very reasonable. The food was more based on snack foods than proper meals though. Items like Caesar Salad, Burgers, French Fries and Spring Rolls.
Sister Hotel - The Magellan
As we were staying at this hotel, we were also allowed to use the facilities of the sister hotel The Magellan and the Health Spa in the middle of the hotels. The Health Spa offered a sauna and steam room that are both free of charge, although there are separate rooms for males and females. The Magellan Hotel had a bowling alley on the 2nd floor which cost us £10 for 2 games each and a complimentary soft drink. On the same floor, there was a Billiard Room where there were two tables and it cost about £2 per hour that you play. Next door to Billiard Room was a restaurant called Spice Island which did Indian based food. Men will be asked to wear long trousers as dress code but for women there isn't a dress code! The food was very nice although quite spicy. It was a lot more expensive to eat here than it was in town. Our meal cost us £20 for both of us and in a smaller shop in town nearly the same meal cost us £8 for both. Across from the restaurant there was a cinema although in the time we spent there it never appeared to be open and wasn't showing very up to date films. The Magellan also has a fresh pizza bakery where you can also have a meal. This was also more expensive that in town. There is also a large gift shop selling souvenirs, food, cigarettes, drinks and toiletry items and medication. The Magellan had an Olympic size swimming pool and a smaller kiddie's pool with a couple of waterslides that were free of charge. There was a poolside bar which offered snack type foods and soft and alcoholic drinks.
The Pacific Sutera Hotel Facilities
The Pacific Sutera Hotel had fish ponds on the grounds with hundreds of rather nice Koi Carp! The bridges across the ponds, led you to the swimming pool and bar area. There is also a small Cove area where you can lay on a small section of beach and swim in the sea and snorkel. The pool is large and has an area in the middle that is only about 1.5 feet deep so you can lay on this to keep cool and still sunbathe!
There were lots of sun beds, all with soft mattresses on them and a small table between the beds. There was a small poolside bar, you could swim up to it one side, or walk up to it the other. This bar serves alcoholic drinks such as beer and cocktails and also did some snack type foods. These are also large than our type of snacks though. For example, I had a tuna baguette and it came with two medium sized baguettes stuffed full with tuna, cheese, egg, salad and mayo and also a large portion of chips. The average price of the snacks is about £3. A can of coke was £1.50 which we thought was quite expensive for a can of drink. Beer was £3 for half a pint and cocktails were the same price! They also served some gorgeous smoothies, banana, mango and other varieties of fruit which were also £3. The bar had waitresses which would come around the sun beds, regularly and ask if you would like more drinks, we found this very useful as we were getting far too lazy in all the sunshine! The waitresses also bought round flannels that had been in the fridge and were ice cold. This was lovely as it gets very hot out there!
Adjacent to this area is a Diving Centre where you can take part in Scuba Diving and Snorkelling on a neighbouring island. We did an intro dive with this school and it cost us about £20 each. This included a briefing, try dive and then an actual dive that lasts about 1 hour. The price also included a return trip to the island you were diving from and hire of all scuba equipment and a BBQ lunch with tea and coffee.
Food and Drink
We stayed on a Bed and Breakfast basis. Breakfast was served from 06.30 - 10.00 every day. The breakfast was a buffet and had lots of variety. It offered cereal and milk, croissants, waffles, pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, fresh made omelettes and lots more. You also got Tea, Coffee, Apple Juice, Orange Juice and Pineapple Juice. The restaurant that served breakfast was large and had an outside area and well as a downstairs section. The food was served from metal containers, all with lids so the flies couldn't get to the food. It was all very clean and hygienic. There is also a waitress service in the hotel and then seat you once you arrive at the restaurant and then offer you tea and coffee throughout your breakfast
Spa / Gift Shop
On the ground floor, there was a Spa where you could buy various massages. A small massage i.e., head would cost about £10. The full body and specialised massages were about £30 and lasted 90 minutes. Next to the Spa there was a medium sized gym, although we never used it, it looked very clean. On the other side of the Spa, there was a small gift shop that sold souvenirs. One half of the gift shop had a rep from a local company who you could book various trips with. You could book monkey watching, helicopter rides and to climb Mount Kinabalu. We had all our trips booked so didn't bother with looking at the prices for this.
Pubs / Clubs
Out the front of a hotel and down a flight of stairs, there is a pub/nightclub called Jugs. The hotel holds a special evening i.e., Friday night is Girl's Night and all girls get drinks such as Wine, Beer and Tequila free all night! The nightclub was a fair size, with a couple of pool tables which cost 50p a game. The nightclub also played English music but not so loud that you cannot talk to one another. They had a good selection of International named brands. The nightclub is air conditioned which was lovely!
The Hotel Reception Area
The reception area of the hotel was pretty big and had seated areas, where you could enjoy a few drinks for the evening as there was a small bar in one corner. There were 3 women who sang at the hotel in this area, every night. They sang easy listening British songs and it was nice as background music. The reception was large with 10 counters so service was always very efficient. The hotel could change your currency fro you which was very useful to have. Also there was a Concierge section where you could book yourself on a free shuttle bus into town (which is about 10 minutes away) and ran every hour. You had to book yourself on the bus 15 minutes before you wanted to go into town. The busses drop you off at several main points in town. There is no need to book yourself onto the bus going back to the hotel; you just wait at one of the points at whatever time you want to go home according to the times the busses run. Also at the Concierge section you could order a taxi. There was a taxi rank in the basement of the hotel so a taxi literally took 2 minutes to pick you up which was great! The taxi to town cost us £1.50 each way but you can also use the free shuttle service. There is also a smaller gift shop on the 2nd floor which sold cigarettes, food item, toiletries and souvenirs.
On the top floor of the hotel there was a Club Lounge where you could get alcoholic and soft drinks. Again you could get snack food here. We found that this was normally full of business people and golfers so we tended to stick to the downstairs drink area.
Trips To Other Islands
As I mentioned earlier, we had a Harbour outside our hotel and we booked a few trips to surrounding islands. The islands were between 10 - 30 minutes away and cost £5 each person for a return trip. The other islands were great for Snorkelling from. You could book these trips from a little booth that was on the corner of the Harbour. Along the Harbour, you could see a lovely selection of fish as the water was so clear! You could also see some crabs sneaking around between their hiding places!
The hotel also had a 18 hole gold course in its grounds. They also offered night time Golf as the course was always lit but not enough to annoy people staying in that half of the hotel. We enquired about Golf and it would have cost us around £50 each for 9 holes so we gave it a miss. Although that price did include the hire of everything, clubs, shoes, buggy etc.
Charging Items To The Room
Throughout the hotel, in all restaurants, shops etc, you had the option to charge everything to your room and then pay it at the end when you checkout. We found this useful as sometimes we found ourselves with a small amount of money and we couldn't be bothered to get the taxi into town so we just charged items for that evening to our room.
We stayed at this hotel for 5 nights and then we went away to another area of Borneo to go Turtle Watching and Monkey Watching. The hotel very kindly stored all our luggage that we didn't take free of charge, and were very efficient in getting our luggage back to us when we returned from our trip.
All the staff at the hotel exceeded our expectations. They were extremely helpful and very well mannered. They where very smart Malaysian uniforms and always look very well presented. They all speak a high level of English so there is no language barrier.
Our rep told us when we first arrived that this hotel was used mainly by business type people and I must admit that there were not that many English people staying at the hotel. There were a few Australians also and the rest were Koreans, Chinese and Malaysian's on holiday.
This hotel is rated as a four star but it definately lives up to what you would expect from a five star hotel. I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone wanting to go to Kota Kinabalu!
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Malaysia Hotel International
Hotel International / Address: The Majestic Malacca, 188 Jalan Bunga Raya, 75100 Melaka, Malaysia
Hotel International / Quality accommodation within walking distance of Sepilok Nature Resort, Malaysia.
Address: 68 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur / Hotel International / Tel: +60 3-2148 8111
Address: 10 Lebuh Farquhar, 10200 Penang / Hotel International / Tel : +(6) 04 222 2000 / Stars: 4.5
Hotel International / Address: Tower A, Unit 37-9, Level 37 Menara UOA Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Tel : +60 3 2302 7555
Hotel International / The Berjaya Hotel is centrally located in the heart of the business and shopping district of Kuala Lumpur.
Address: Kuching / Hotel International / Malaysia 93100 / Tel: 60-83-584-388
Address: 39007 Tanah Rata / Hotel International / Cameron Highlands / Pahang Darul Makmur / Malaysia - The grounds consist of a majestic colonial bungalow, a longhouse, a cabin & 6 Nissen Huts that overlook the Tanah Rata town.
Address: No.65 / Hotel International / Jalan Haji Hussein / Off Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman / 50300 Kuala Lumpur / Malaysia
Address: Lot 398 / Hotel International / MK. Kuah / Keilbang / 07000 Kuah / Pulau Langkawi / Malaysia
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