“ Quality accommodation within walking distance of Sepilok Nature Resort, 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.
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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