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“Beautiful Resort but changes are needed...”

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Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Certificate of Excellence
Roatan, Honduras
Level Contributor
97 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Beautiful Resort but changes are needed...”
Reviewed 14 August 2012

Did a 6 night stay with a Dive Pkg at the Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort.
Beautiful resort located over the water. Chalets are comfortable with private decks with windows and doors that open to allow the sea breeze to blow through. No air conditioners, TV’s, or hair dryers but these items are not needed.
Main Lodge for meals gets a bit crazy with meals served within a specific time and everyone hurrying to be the first and taking more than what they can eat so be early. Cuisine is mostly Asian due to the high amount of Asian travelers year round. Limited variety of food served and they could also work on having desserts and more fresh fruit..

Dive shop organized and we were tended well to our needs. Dive masters and crew were awesome. Keep track of your personal dive equipment. My compass was stolen from my console. Everyone is given their own bin but the room is open during the day to everyone. There is an intro dive upon arriving which is a great idea. This helps get all gear sized and weighted correctly. Also the staff is introduced and diving is explained for the week.

Dive sites frequently have a strong current so be prepared. Hard to see a Nudibranch when your swimming buy at a fast pace. Also seen diving are turtles, sharks, barracuda, Jack Fish and so much more.
Best dive sight is Sipadan Island which is limited to only 1 or 2 dives per person a week. Be wary of fishermen using dynamite to fish. Encountered 3 dives were dynamite was used.

Would I go again, no, but glad I did make the initial trip but very costly. Management needs to work on the flavor, variety of food served, and more control over the distribution of it. Dive sites need to be better chosen and scheduled fairly which will encourage repeat visitors. Be prepared to do lots of diving.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank 1AdventureTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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530 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (83)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Blenheim, New Zealand
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 July 2012

My family of three adult divers stayed here for 8 days/7 nights. The resort is in an outstanding location, completely isolated from land and other resorts. The chalets are comfortable and private, with a large deck and sun loungers. The shuttered windows and doors were left open each night (unless the wind came up in the early hrs), providing the perfect temperature for sleeping. The fish life is excellent around the resort. You can see and hear the turtles coming up for air while sitting in bed. The diversity of fish life is fantastic at the different dive sites. We managed 21 dives each during our stay. The dive centre staff are professional, helpful and and friendly. Initially we were surprised so many chinese families were staying at the resort, we were told the resort was opened up to the chinese last year, which is very good if you are a diver as you have more opportunities to dive at Sipadan Island with the smaller ratio of divers to the snorkellers. The diving around the resort, Mabul and Siamil Island is very good. Lorna and her team of helpers in the kitchen/restaurant consistently serve delicious meals. There is plenty of food to go around, some cultures are definitely very pushy when the food comes out. Either get to the restaurant 10 mins early or stand back and wait for the lines to clear, we found securing cutlery quite important, as often it ran out. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Kapalai and highly recommend this resort and location if you want to dive the Sipadan area.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
3 Thank JennyB6186
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
herts, england
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 July 2012

We stayed at the Kapalai dive resort for three nights as part of our trip around Borneo. The resort can only be described as stunning, with the sheer isolation of the resort, on its own sand bar island being a real stand out feature. Sitting on our balcony at night watching the turtles will be one of the stand out memories of our holiday. Considering that this resort really is out on its own in the middle of the ocean the resort provides an excellent level of service, with the food being a good example of this (the mango for desert was particularly good).
The accommodation was lovely, individual huts with big bathrooms and lovely balconies with sunbeds. The rooms are cool and airy with everything you need. But lets face it, the real reason you come to this resort is for diving, and for this you can not find fault. In short the diving was fantastic.
When you do a Sipadan trip (20 mins by speed boat) you will go for the day and do 3 dives and have lunch on the island. Other dive sites are there and back for one dive and not more than 10-15 mins transfer. We were one experienced diver and one new diver but both had an amazing few days and dive experience should not prove much of an issue as long as you are confident.
There are however a few areas for improvement. Firstly the dive guiding was a little hit and miss, with our guide at Sipadan not really conducting much of a briefing and not pointing anything out or talking about what we had seen post dive. Secondly, although the food is good, dinner time was a bit chaotic with dinner being served between 7.30 and 8.30, though anyone arriving for dinner much after 7.45 being disappointed with much of the food already running out. This was a little disappointing particularly for some of the European guests who may like to eat a little later and at a more leisurely pace.
One point that should be noted for those planning on trekking in the rain forest after your diving is that due to the altitude of some of the forest camps the dive center treats this as a no fly day, so you may find that you lose some if not all your dives on your last day. This was of some concern to us as we only had two days diving that was cut back to one and a half due to this.
This does not however detract from what was a fantastic part of our Honeymoon in this most unique setting. We are already talking about a return visit in the not to distant future.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank carvers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
St. Petersburg, Russia
Level Contributor
27 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 July 2012

It was my second trip to Sipadan island area. I'd traveled with my niece for diving and completing her open water course. It was a great place for it. Surround water was clear and reach of the sea animals: small coral fishes, sea anemones, corals, big turtles and huge fishes (I don't know its names) in the artificial structures on the bottom near the resort. And of cause the diving at Sipadan!
Resort itself .... There was clean, comfortable with beautiful view bungalow. The staff was professional but a little bit "cold". They were doing all that they have to do but at all. will try clarify: in such places as a dive resort I expect more warm, friendly atmosphere between the staff, instructors and a client. The atmosphere there was as in 5-stars hotel: perfect service and standard smiles.

Room Tip: Bungalows on the ends the "street" a little bit far and you have to go to the center point...
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Sergey68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wanaka
Level Contributor
23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 July 2012

Stayed 4 nights with our 2 children aged 13 and 10.

Dive staff- really helpful and friendly, George was great with the children and they offer a range of PADI quals and intro dive courses. Some dive guides were a little reckless underwater, touching fish and brushing coral, but so were many of the divers.

Food- great range and very tasty, catered to both Asian and European tastes. Plenty of food, but there was a mad rush to the buffet at every meal and a bit of pushing, seems to be the way some cultures behave.

Rooms- very nice, quiet, except when everyone comes home from dinner and it sounds like party central.

Snorkelling- fantastic snorkelling all around the resort, stingrays, turtles, plenty of fish and nice corals. A few jellyfish towards the end of our stay which can be itchy, but the dive shop has vinegar.

Overall- we met a few people who had stayed at both Kapalai and Mabul, and both preferred Mabul as it was a bit quieter. Kapalai seems to be promoting their business to non-divers from Chins, bringing large groups over. Also, we stayed 4 nights and got one day at Sipadan. Others who stayed at Mabul 4 nights got 3 days diving at Sipadan! Not sure how that works with permits, as nothing is guaranteed before you arrive.

Room Tip: Room 14 was not too far from restaurant or dive centre, but didnt get the noise from the dive centre...
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Woody5958
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort

Property: Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort
Address: Kapalai, Pulau Sipadan, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > Semporna District > Pulau Sipadan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 60
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A few minutes by boat from the islands of Sipadan and Mabul but a full world away from it lays the exhilarating Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort, sitting on its sturdy stilts on the shallow sandbanks of Ligitan Reefs. Planned and built in full style as an airy, comfortable, sunny water village with no land in sight, it boasts a mile-long sandbank of powdery white sand where one can suntan at complete leisure while gazing out to the miles of brilliant turquoise stretching into the horizon offering the purest image of natural serenity. Dive spots Sipadan and Mabul can be reached in just a few minutes by speedboat. Sipadan-Kapalai is an ideal destination for diver and non-diver alike seeking a great holiday experience. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Hotel Pulau Sipadan
Sipadan Kapalai Island Hotel
Hotel Sipadan Kapalai Island

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