This sprawling resort is situated at Damai Beach, hence the name. It is located about 45minutes from the airport and the resort charged us one way RM120 for airport pick up, an exorbitant fare, but Michael felt it was safer. No, the hotel did not send a limousine, but a small van. That similar van would also send you around to Kuching (RM20 per pax both way), to Kumpong which is less than 5km away from our resort (RM5 per pax per way), Buntal Village (RM7 per pax per way). That means to go to Buntal Village for seafood, we needed to pay RM42 on transportation for a sumptuous seafood dinner which costs RM50. However, we really had no choice as there weren’t any taxi service around.
Damai Resort offers a few types of accommodations. There are the standalone beach front chalets which were popular with young people; the luxurious hilltop rooms over looking the bay, with a spectacular sunset view every evening. Then there is the in-between for families, rooms that were neither beach front nor hill-top, which we were booked in.
We were given a family suite, a two-storey unit apartment. My son had his own room downstairs with bright solar décor.
The master bedroom is linked via a narrow stairway upstairs with its own entrance.
The room was huge and a sofa bed at the side means we could sleep a family of five if all my sons were with me. The rooms were decorated with framed artifacts from local tribes, and I really enjoyed looking at them.
Daimai Resort has a beautiful long stretch of beach. We arrived there on a weekend and the beach was strewn with garbage, cans, drink bottles and even diapers (shame on the parents!). The situation improved when the crowd left during the weekdays and we were blessed with beautiful sunset view every evening, enjoyed in pristine condition.
With such a wonderful beach, we really can’t complain about the small odd-shaped pool in the hotel. Other than the pool, there were kayaks that could be rented, a spa, two restaurants, a small shop selling essentials and snacks and a travel office.
I wanted to go fishing but the hotel has no equipment although boats can be rented at RM600. Daily free activities listed on a board were also not carried out.
We tried the breakfast buffet one morning (RM30.20+ per pax). While the variety of nasi lemak, fried bee hoon, porridge, salad, cereals were standard fares in local hotels in Malaysia, the food was disappointing. The nasi lemak was not fragrant, the condiments were lacking, and the beehoon very oily.
Dinner buffet did not look appetizing as well, and I pointed that the buffet offered at a private function at the other side of the restaurant had looked better, which I was told by a staff that it cost more. We decided to order the ala carte menu and were glad we did. The local Sarawakian menu serving food from the Dayak tribes were exotic and delicious. (Another blog on food later!)
We tried the body massage at the spa (RM130+), located at the hilltop units. Mike and I were given a couple-room. Our masseurs was a man for Mike and a lady for me. I was rather uncomfortable sharing a room with a strange man in my state of undress and was surprised at this arrangement in an Asian hotel. My masseur was the spa manager but her massage was random and uneven, one side was stroked more than the other or totally left undone, leaving me towonder about her qualification.
The most service we used from the hotel was the shuttle service. On the recommendation of the man at the travel office, we were given tips on where to eat: food court next door to the resort (5-minutes walk), Chinese seafood at Lim Hock Ann Seafood Restaurant in Kampung Buntai(book the shuttle), something we wouldn’t have known if not for him, for the hotels were not fore-coming with information.
The shuttle to Kuching town had a time-table which was not convenient if you wanted a meal in town. (Back by 6pm). Once, we had arranged to go to Kampung Buntai for seafood, and when we called for the shuttle after our dinner, no one turned up. I had to call again and we ended up waiting 45 minutes for our ride back. When I complained to the front desk, there was no effort to waive our fare after making us wait so long.
The best service at the hotel came from room service. Our safety box was locked and the manager promised to come and open it. When she was late coming, as she needed a security staff with her to open the box, she called to let us know why she was late. When I called for a change of pillows (as the one they had on the master bed was too hard and too high), it was done immediately. Our bathroom did not have a bath mat and this was brought up very fast. We were most impressed with the room service crew.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay at Damai Beach Resort, but this was because our expectation of our stay there was not very high. What was disappointing was that wifi was chargeable, and only available at the lobby and restaurant. This was surprising as even the smallest hotel I stayed in Taiwan and Japan provided free wifi, if not in room then at least at the lobby.
Still this hotel was luxurious for our trip, for we didn’t know we were leaving comfort behind when we headed over to Mulu.