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“What a place!”

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Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Pulau Sipadan
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“What a place!”
Reviewed 16 August 2008

We stayed here for 4 nights - it was truly fantastic. The resort was not quite what I was expecting. I was thinking along the lines of stilt houses off the beach of an island whereas this is a collection of stilt houses connected by a lot of walkways built on a sandbar in the middle of the sea! It's difficult to describe until you go there, but it is certainly one of the most unusual and spectacular places that I have stayed.

There are any number of positives about this resort - friendliness and efficiency of staff, spectacular location, proximity of wonderful diving, quality of the chalets. Aside from all the brilliant dives, the memories that will stick with me are: 1) sitting on our chalet's private deck and watching parrot fish, lion fish and barracuda swim right by while a couple of turtles were surfacing a little further away and 2) relaying in the evening on the sundeck/helipad with a beer while watching 5 lightning storms occur simultaneously on the horizon while the milky way was in clear view overhead (a novelty when you live in Singapore!).

On the slight downside - as mentioned in a previous review, the vegetarian options are not very extensive (an issue for my wife - I ate like a horse on all the fresh seafood). Also, I am not the most experienced diver, having done 9 dives by the time I arrived here. The majority of people on the dive trips were much more experienced and so I found myself relying on my buddy much more than on the divemaster. This was not a problem as such, but I would advise that if you are diving here as a novice, to take a good buddy and a computer.

In general though, this is a brilliant place to stay and to dive.

  • Liked — Amazing place and stunning diving.
  • Disliked — Leaving
  • Stayed July 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank SingaporeNick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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545 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (85)
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
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  • Any
English first
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level 6 Contributor
285 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 155 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 August 2008

Kapalai Island Resort was a hit for my husband and I and our 3 teenagers! The resort is beautiful, the bungalow's are comfortable, the food was great, and the dive team and dives were fabulous! We are planning a return trip!

  • Liked — Being in the bungalow over the ocean
  • Stayed August 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank bakerswoodfox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 August 2008

The resort was a dream, we had our own chalet with our own private deck looking out over the sea, which I believe all the chalets have. The food was fresh and delicious and the staff attentive. The diving was next to none, the number of turtles there was unbelievable and there was no need to go to Turtle Island that we also had on our itinerary. We saw reef sharks in the early morning amonsgt other sea life including box fish, baracudda and rays.

  • Liked — Suprisingly comfortable, better than a lot of hotels that I have stayed at
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed October 2005, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank TaliesinUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
uk
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 August 2008

You cannot really describe this hotel until you see it, but it really is worth the experience of going there.

The hotel is built on stilts in the ocean so every bungalow looks directly out into the ocean. The views are absolutely amazing, and if you are going for the diving, you cannot get accomodation closer to Sipadan island.

If you are at the hotel as a diver, its great as the diving is normally included in the price you pay. Snorkelling is also awesome at the hotel and you can tell by the quality of the reef that it's well looked after.

The food was ok at the hotel, but not a great variety if you don't eat meat. Staff are very accomodating however and will make sure you are able to eat something. They even provide a packed lunch on your day of departure if you leave before lunch!!

Staff were great and could not be faulted at this hotel, very helpful, knowledgeable and polite.

The rooms are very spacious and airy, and each room has a balcony directly over the ocean. It's very private as well so this is great for a get away.

The hotel does not have air con as it's eco-friendly. We thought this would cause a problem with the heat, but all rooms have fans and are easily cooled by the ocean air -so this isnt really a problem at all.

Getting to the hotel was a very long journey as we flew from KK to Tawau, (1 hr) then drove to Semporna (1 hr), then took a boat to Kapalai (1 hr)....But it is worth the journey though.

The resort is basic in terms of amenities which is the only downside, but the location more than makes up for anything that is lacking!!

  • Liked — The view & surrounding reefs
  • Disliked — Amenities were very basic
  • Stayed June 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank quixotic_spider
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oulton Broad, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
58 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 July 2008

First of all apologies for forgetting to write this review a bit sooner, only 18 months late!!
However I thought I should just give you an update on my second visit to Kapalai and the changes that were in progress on my previous visit and which were completed by this visit.
To accommodate the additional water huts and their occupants the dining area was extended and had a wrap around deck installed, the service as before was excellent.
On the diving side of things the facilities were much bigger and less attentive than before, however the most annoying aspect was the relentless assaults on Sipadan and forgetting the fantastic diving that is around the water village.
Hopefully by know they're is an option for at least 1 boat a day to be allocated for muck divers who like me were thoroughly cheesed with diving Sipadan every day?
Apart from this minor detail I will be back again for sure.

  • Liked — The Views
  • Disliked — Nothing to dislike
  • Stayed August 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank dazzking
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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