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“Perfect”

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Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Perfect”
Reviewed 12 July 2008

My boyfriend and I stayed for just under a week in Kapalai in the middle of June and it was brilliant. We are both divers and chose the resort for this reason: Sipadan is one of the world's top 3 dive locations... a title it certainly deserves.

The accommodation is chalet-style on silts and is one of the roomiest we've experienced; a huge bathroom, bedroom and balcony to boot. Yes, you have limited hot water (activated in the room with a button when required) but we found it ample time for a shower and de-seawatering of long hair :-) The resort itself is a nice size - it didn't feel at all crowded and the staff were always friendly & helpful.

We were very impressed with the general standard of the resort considering it was an hour away from land by boat; both staff and supplies were brought in daily, whatever the weather, and all waste and rubbish was removed for safe disposal.

The food was plentiful and good; meal times were roughly set but we never turned up at the allocated times and never felt we went without or didn't have all we could. There was enough choice everyday that you didn't eat the same thing twice, lots of lovely fresh seafood and as a big a breakfast (cooked or not) that you could manage! There were always snacks available (cakes / biscuits / bread / toast / fruit etc) for refuelling between dives and - most importantly - water was ALWAYS available whereever you were. It was provided daily in your room, was always in dining room throughout the day, in the dive centre and on the dive boats between dives.

The resort is of course principally for divers and I'm not sure I would really recommend it to anyone who wasn't diving... it is literally in the middle of the ocean and unless you like to snorkel (a lot) there's not a whole lot else to do. The dive centre was efficient but there wasn't a great selection of kit...maybe we were unlucky... but my boyfriend struggled to find a wetsuit that would fit his stocky rugby-player shape! The dive staff were very helpful - this is the kind of dive place that encourages you to be VERY LAZY. All your kit is set up for you, so all you need to do is turn up & put it on.... makes for a very laid back stay though!

You get three boat dives a day:
- 5.30am start with 2 dives before breakfast and another at
11am.
- 9am start with 2 dives before lunch and one after lunch
- and we think an 11am start with 2 after lunch...maybe...

but unlimited house reef dives - which was great! Sunset dives and night dives were also possible on the house reef. The house reef is literally straight down from the dive centre and has a real variety of fish life. We loved the freedom of being able to go down by ourselves when we wanted to.

The diving in Sipadan was fantastic - my first time for turtles & I stopped counting them after my 3rd dive. Barracuda point is amazing and you have the potential to see hammerhead sharks.... sadly we missed out when we were there (the group before us saw them...and scared them off ;-)

We felt very lucky - our divemaster Alvin was good fun & we were lucky enough to join a group of Malaysian divers who were outgoing, friendly and fun, which made our dives all the better.... I really couldn't recommend this place enough!

  • Liked — Paradise location
  • Disliked — The choppy boat ride back at the end :-(
  • Stayed June 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Kitcat321
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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539 reviews from our community

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London
Level Contributor
54 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 July 2008

Wow. Such a beautiful place. Could rave for pages, so here are the highlights.
- accommodation - huge, beautiful wooden chalets, looking over the water. Turtles swimming up to your private deck. Good food (probably great if you love Malaysian food). We took too many photos just of the resort.
- Staff. The kindest, happiest, most helpful people you can imagine. The looked after our 4 year old daughter free of charge so we could have the odd dive together, rescued us completely when we lost our passports - filed the police report, called immigration, sorted flights. All within an hour.
- Diving and snorkelling: Superb. Excellent dive masters. Great visibility. Too many turtles, sharks, trigger fish, beautiful reef fish to count. One caution, they tend to stick to reef diving unless you ask for open water. But if you ask, it is no problem. When we were snorkelling with our daughter off the jetty, a turtle swam so close, she was able to reach out and touch it.
Note, they charge a reasonable fee for diving equipment.

All up, a really wonderful place. Recommend is very highly.

  • Stayed July 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank LondonKjc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rotterdam, Netherlands
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 23 May 2008

We stayed at Kapalai for 7 days, 6 nights and really have had a great time. The food was very good, diving was of course great. I would for certain recommend this resort to other people.

  • Stayed April 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Milus72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
82 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 May 2008

Amazing place the welcome and hospitality was second to none and the diving best ever so far for me. a must for anyone wanting to experience quality diving must say again amazing

  • Stayed April 2008
    • Value
Helpful?
1 Thank redchad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bangkok
Level Contributor
109 reviews
83 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 May 2008

Spent two weeks diving in Sipadan area, Did not want to spend all the time at one resort so did a week at Kapalai & a week at Sipadan Water Village.
Kapalai beat SWV for:-

1) Food, plenty of it, always fresh & a good selection.
2) Dive master’s tended to be slightly better at finding the smaller stuff.
3) Hotel better laid out & was a lot shorter walk from room – dining room- dive centre than SWV. Important cos it can get hot around lunchtimes.
4) Rooms were excellent, no air con, but again you don’t need it. Very comfortable.
5) Plenty of hot water, never seemed to run short, but have seen comments on here about it.
6) The place is immaculately clean & credit to all the staff who always seem to be cleaning & getting rid of rubbish by recycling / sending it to the mainland.
7) The majority of dive sites away from Sipadan are around Kapalai so it is only a short 5 -10 minute boat ride away. The other resorts tend to come over to this area for diving, so a good recommendation.


Now for the bad stuff
1) the internet can get expensive if you need to check emails on a daily basis.
2) Tried to watch a DVD one night relaxing, but had to call on receptionists help as they did not have enough leads to connect TV – DVD – Sat system. Also had to borrow batteries to get the remotes to work. Small stuff I know, but annoying.
3) There are no happy hours, so even a couple of drinks can start to get expensive.
4) Can’t buy single shots of alcohol, fancied a Whisky one night & was told I had to buy a bottle.
5) Boats tended to be full 11-12 divers, with 1 dive master, however we were stopping to take photos & the rest just tended to swim off. After the first day, we were paired with other photography divers & the boat was a lot less crowded. Again only cos we complained.
6) During the welcome briefing told that all our dive equipment would be looked after. Went back to it, for our afternoon dive to find it was exactly where we had left it.
7) Wetsuits left out to dry after the last dive were just thrown in a heap on the floor. Everybody fighting to find their own suit in the morning. We complained about the way the staff looked after the gear & the manager did go down. It did improve for the last few days. SWV are very well organized in this department with lockers & wet suit hangers all marked
8) Staff never smiled until the last day, could be that they were glad to see the back of us though.

If Kapalai ran the dive side of the operation like SWV then it would be the best by far.

  • Liked — Diving was second to non
  • Disliked — Need to work at the other side of the dive operation, looking after personal gear etc.
  • Stayed April 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank LukChang
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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