In the previous article, we shared about our journey to the memorable Manukan Island. We enjoyed our stay so much, that I am happy to share briefly about the luxurious and spacious accommodation offered at the Hillside Villa of Manukan Island Resort.
Journey from Sutera Harbour Marina
Day visitors usually depart for Manukan Island from the Jesselton Point, Kota Kinabalu. But as we found out last year, as guests of Sutera Sanctuary Lodges (SSL), our journey to Manukan began at Sutera Harbour Marina, Golf & Country Club, where we got to see so many beautiful yachts, boats, etc.
We were actually hoping to experience a ride in The Amazing Love2, but it was on repair. No worries, what’s most important is that we had a safe trip. The wonderful service of SSL during reservation continued with the warmth greetings by the staff stationed at the Marina. We truly appreciated the cool mineral water. It was an especially hot day.
We reached our beautiful destination safely and super quick.
Upon reaching the island, we were received by cheerful SSL staff who graciously offered to help us with our luggage, but we quickly declined. I hope we didn’t offend them. Honestly, we are used to carrying our own stuff.
For future visits, we may have to rethink our independent attitude, now that we have an idea what’s in store.
Check-in at the Hillside Villa of Manukan Island Resort
After paying the entrance/conservation fees charged under the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, we registered at the SSL office. We prepared all our ICs in advance, so checking in was fairly easy. Meanwhile, the staff brought our family to the rooms that were ready, even though we arrived 1 hour before the check-in time.
Thanks so much for allowing us the early check-in!👍🏻
There are 3 types of accommodation available at the Sutera Sanctuary Lodges’s Manukan Island Resort:
- Beach Suite
- Beach Villa
- Hillside Villa
We shared some pictures in a much earlier post, Vote for Manukan Island Resort. The first 2 are nearer to the public beach and do not involve too many flights of stairs. However, they were on limited availability during our selected dates.
At the recommendation of the reservation staff, we booked the Hillside Villa, which actually turned out to be perfect for us, as it was more private and extremely spacious.
The Hillside Villas consist of single and double storey units located at lower and upper hillsides. It has an amazing view, a private beach and also other facilities. The above is the single storey unit.
Luckily, we managed to get for my mum the single storey unit, so she didn’t have to climb the stairs to the bedroom.
The living room is so huge, right?
Since we booked our stay during the promotional season (“Manukan Bah Ni“), we were entitled to the following:
- Price RM450 per night
- Free breakfast and boat transfer
- Welcome ice cream potong for each of us
- Free mini-bar daily
- Free cancellation up to 7 days prior to arrival date
If you book months in advance, you might get an even sweeter deal.
Our trip was in the early days of the opening of inter-zone travel, when the hospitality industry was just starting to pick-up momentum, but can still be considered as off-season. The price was slightly lower during weekdays.
The Walk Uphill to the Hillside Villa
How we wished we had accepted their staff’s kind offer to carry our luggage! We could not have foreseen the demands on our strength and stamina required lugging our luggage up the little hill. 😅
As aptly named, the Hillside Villa requires a bit of a climb, up a hill. First there was a walk up the cobbled path from the reception area. Then, a few steps down the stairs to the Villa. Followed by a few more steps up to our respective units. A bit of huffing and puffing for some of us.
For our boys, a daunting flight of stairs awaited them! Lucky for them, a single storey unit was available, with an amazing view.
We have to admire the guests that get the units at the furthest top! They must be really fit.
Inside the Hillside Villa
The Hillside Villa would really be a wonderful haven for honeymooners.
There are 2 balconies downstairs for seating/lounging, complete with cushions.
Inside, there is a cozy living area, complete with tv and a few Astro channels. The space is just nice for holding a small family gathering or a game of scrabble or monopoly.
Although the Villa is fully air-conditioned, there are also ceiling fans provided. From our Villa, we had a splendid view of the ocean.
Let me emphasise it here: what we got was not a hotel room. It’s a fully air-conditioned, one-room house, complete with a bathroom, a living area, a kitchenette and balconies. The villa is huge enough for a family of four. I even saw the staff carrying a mattress up the steps, so I guess we can make a special request for kids staying with their parents.
The Kitchenette and the Bath
The kitchenette serves as a simple dining area and also a workspace. The mini-bar next the sink is stocked with complementary soft drinks and mineral water. There are enough mugs, coffee, tea, sugar, etc.
In addition to the complementary drinks, we also received complementary fruits, just as we did at Hotel Sixty3. What a sweet gesture! I always prefer fruits to candy and snacks.
Some of the Villas also came with a telescope, though none of us could figure out how to use it, or if it was in good working condition.
Next to the kitchenette is a lavatory, with a proper door. The second lavatory is located further inside, partially concealed behind a hanging mat.
The vanity is lovely, with hairdryer and basic toiletries provided such as soaps, hand towels, face towels, etc. No cotton buds, though. A small clerestory windows above the sinks allows the flow of natural light.
A few steps down, was a shower and an open tub, which for me, could use a door for more privacy. Overall, I think it exudes a Balinese vibe.
Towels are aplenty, including dedicated beach towels and bathrobes. In the shower are 2 sets of Shampoo & Conditioner, and Bath & Body Gel.
Here is a clearer look of the snug tub. Kids would need a bit of help to get into the tub. Can you see the rattan laundry basket?
I love the fact that there were not only room slippers (soft rubber slippers), but also beach slippers provided.
The spacious bedroom is fitted with a super king sized bed, complete with a sitting area. If I remember correctly, there was a two-seater sofa, an armchair and a standing lamp, which makes for a perfect reading corner.
There’s a sitting area on the bedroom balcony as well, with a total view of the calming blue sea.
Overall, the bedroom was spacious, cozy, clean and quiet, except for the lull of the waves. The bed was comfortable with plenty of pillows, cushions and throws. The aircond remote was easy to control and figure. The iron and ironing board are placed here.
But I must say, going to the loo in the middle of the night can be hazardous for sleepyheads. Look at the stairs!
Need to be extra careful.
I can’t recall the quality of the Wifi services but I know my Digi and Maxis line was ok, though not excellent. The kids could carry on with their online classes.
Room For Improvement
During our stay, we experienced some issues such as problem with the front door lock of our girls’ Villa and with the aircond at my mom’s living room. The staff promptly responded and took action within minutes to fix the door lock.
However, with regards to the air conditioner, they could do nothing until the next morning. I believe the technician lives on the mainland. They offered my mom the option of moving to another villa but of course she declined as she had already settled in, and because there were no other single storey unit at the lower hillside. Luckily, there was a ceiling fan and the aircond in her room was working fine.
True to their words, the air-conditioning was repaired first thing the next morning.
Things to Remember
One thing we failed to bring was the insect repellent and mopiko for insect bites. My son had an unfortunate encounter with a bee while at the restaurant. What can we say? We are city dwellers, used to having pharmacies everywhere. Being among nature, minus cars, is something novel to us.
Luckily, we remembered to bring lots of snacks. There’s no grocery store in the island, just a souvenir shop selling limited items.
Therefore, we need to be imaginative and be prepared for all eventualities.
The Food at Manukan Island Resort
There are 2 restaurants at Manukan island but only one was open during our weekend stay. We will write more on this in another article. Suffice to say, food is not a problem. As long as you bring enough money.
As we were a large group, the staff thoughtfully reserved this area for us. So, we have had wonderful and comfortable breakfasts, lunches and dinners here.
Check out was a breeze.
Though the check-out time was 12pm, we were allowed to keep all our belongings in one Villa and to check out after we’ve had our lunch.
Overall a wonderful experience and we will definitely come again.
We had an absolutely marvellous time. Three days and two nights of peace and tranquillity in a tropical paradise coupled with excellent service from start to finish by the staff of the Manukan Island Resort.
A special shoutout to those who crossed paths with us – Edna, Redzuan, Walter, Jaxter and Rauf for being very helpful, courteous and patient with the bunch of us.
And I hope one day to be able to have another taste of SSL yummilicious welcome drink – the Ice Lemongrass Tea with pandan (so I was told).
Previously an IR consultant focusing on industrial harmony, she now serves as a Legal Manager. She still loves exchanging ideas and thoughts with others on many subjects. An occasional knitter and an aspiring crooner.