“ Nestled between the shores of the South China Sea, fronting the tropical islands and the majestic Mount Kinabalu, is the grand expanse of Sutera Harbour Resort & Spa. The 384-acre resort provides a spectacular array of activities from its luxurious five-s „
* Prices may differ from that shown
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!