Extra Photo Gallery: Superior Seaview Room
Sipadan Inn is located at Block D of the new shophouse rows in Semporna waterfront. If you are arriving by minivan taxis from Tawau Airport (TWU), the hotel is just a short walking distance away from Semporna town.
In general, Semporna is best accessed from Tawau Airport (TWU) some 100km away. From the airport, daily flights are operated by both Malaysia Airlines (MH) and AirAsia (AK) from Kuala Lumpur (KUL), Kota Kinabalu (BKI) and Johor Bharu (JHB). The airport transfer takes about an hour (RM10 per person for local bemo or minivan taxis, or RM120 for airport taxis). Many dive outfits based in Semporna, Pulau Mabul and Pulau Kapalai can also pre-arrange for airport pick-up.
Opened in early 2007, Sipadan Inn sits in a freshly-painted block spanning across a few shophouse units. The hotel often prides in offering well-furnished rooms for avid backpackers with some extras thrown in. With its name obviously derived from the famous Pulau Sipadan, arguably the world's best dive spot, it goes without saying that Sipadan Inn is in full swing to lure budget-conscious visitors to Semporna and her idyllic islands such as Sipadan, Mabul, Kapalai Reef, Mataking, Sebangkat, Sibuan, Mantabuan and Maiga.
The lobby on the ground floor boasts a modern yet simplified look with fresh wall paints, exquisite teak wood furniture, and a wireless internet kiosk. Interestingly, the hotel also provides a laptop computer is conveniently provided at the internet kiosk for the patrons. While the hotel claims that the wireless network can only be accessed from the main lobby, my experience was that the wireless network can also be detected from the rooms on the 2nd floor, but that really depends on how close your room is to the main lobby.
In total, Sipadan Inn offers 32 rooms of various categories and all are located on the 2nd floor of the building. The room categories being offered are Standard, Superior and Superior Seaview. In general, each room comes with individual A/C unit, flatscreen TV with selected ASTRO channels, electronic hot shower, bottled water, water kettle with complimentary sachets of tea and coffee and wireless internet hotspot. As for the spacious Superior and Superior Seaview rooms, the added extras are a mini fridge and a living lounge which extends from the bedding area. This review shall cater for the Superior Seaview, which is the highest room category available at Sipadan Inn.
It is hard not to be impressed with the Superior Seaview room. It is generously sized with plenty of creature comforts thrown in that probably creates the impression of an international-class hotel rather than a so-called budget accommodation in a converted shophouse block. The front entrance opens into the bedding area which is appointed with timber-strip flooring, a queen-size bed and two bedside stands. The bedding area extends to a living area which is decorated with wood-carved chairs and coffee table. The living-cum-lounging area is perfect for relaxing while watching TV, not to mention to enjoy the sea-fronting view of Semporna town. The attached bathroom, while not exactly jaw-dropping in terms of finishing and size, features separate sections for the wash basin, water closet and shower stall. Electronic hot shower is fitted in the shower stall which is a welcome addition to the overall room offering. In short, for a budget hotel, the room is simply marvelous and exceeds every imaginable expectation for the price you pay.
Guest facilities are not directly housed inside the hotel. The hotel is affiliated with a neighbouring dive outfit called North Borneo Dive & Seasports. There is no F&B outlet at the hotel itself. A bar-style called Turtle Tomb Café is located next to the dive centre and it serves mostly local and western delicacies. I strongly recommend the guests to check out the evening food bazaar at the waterfront as exotic yet affordable local dishes can be enjoyed such as gado-gado and succulent banana fritters.
Luxurious offerings with a backpacking price. Impressive room arrangement.