We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Excellent Stay at Mataking”

Best prices for -
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 2 more sites!
The Reef Dive Resort
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Mataking
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 31 March 2012

Just got back from our 3 night vacation at Mataking. We have travelled quite a bit around SE Asia and can say this was one of our best holidays. The staff at Mataking were absolutely amazing and extremely friendly. Always went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable. Just an amazing setting. Myself, wife and son went diving while my two other girls were attended to by a staff member who was excellent. While I was disappointed that there were no permits to Sipadan available, this was really the fault of my travel agent who had indicated that this could be arranged when I arrived at the resort. This is not the case and needs to be arranged well in advance. Despite this disappointment, we still got to go on some great dives. The clarity of the water was amazing and there was a great diversity of marine life to view. There is also great snorkeling right in front of the resort. We stayed in a King Chalet and is was great for our family of 5. Housekeeping was fantastic and the room was always cleaned while we were at breakfast. We really enjoyed sitting out on the deck at the restaurant and taking in the sunsets. A fantastic place and really look forward to returning again (this time to dive at Sipadan).

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Martin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 10 July 2012

Dear Martin

Thank you for choosing The Reef Dive Resort@Mataking Island as your preferred vacation destination. We were glad that you were happy and look forward to the Sipadan trip.

We look forward to arrange the trip on your next visit. Please contact us at sales@mataking.com or mataking.manager@live.co.uk

Thank you once again and we look forward to serve yours and you again and again

Best wishes

eddie lim
Resort Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (420)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

170 - 176 of 420 reviews

Reviewed 31 March 2012

I and my wife had a 4-day snorkeling vacation here in Mar 2012 and found the experience very satisfying. Weather was perfect. The sand bank connecting the two islands is spectacular. The house reef just in front of our Chalet actually extends all the way off the sand bank to the deserted small island almost a kilometer away. The reef edge could be 30 meter from shore or 100 meter, depending on location and tide. We entered the sea from off our chalet, snorkelled along the reef edge all the way to the far island and swam back for a total of about 2 hours. Water is very clear when the tide is steady. But in between low and high tide the water is not so clear and there are currents. Corals are nice but not as abundant as in some Maldives islands that we have been. Fishes are plenty and turtles are everywhere. We spotted about 20 turtles during the 2 hours. Two turtles got interested in me and swam towards me until I could almost touch them! The more interesting fishes include a 4 foot barracuda, Titan triggers, Bat fishes, Sand Perchers, Hump Heads, Sweet Lips, Lion fishes, Porcupines, squids, eels, various parrot fish, banner fish, triggers, nemos and many whose names I know not.. We joined the Resort-organized snorkeling trip once to nearby sites. Corals are a lot more at these sites. They had three staffs snorkeling with us. One leading our group of 9, one at the rear and one dragging a non-swimmer lady in life jacket all the way. Poor soul. I heard the lady complaining about the guy was too slow as he laboured hard to drag her.

The King's Chalet is ok - completely detached, good a/c, king-size bed, large shower room with a big bath tub we never used, coffee pot, balcony. In fact it is too large for us. We chose King's Chalet because of its location - beach front and near sand bank. There was absolutely no mosquito, both inside room and outdoor. The restaurant has no a/c and lunch could be a little bit too warm. The buffet for all three meals have Western and Eastern dishes, but the quality is pretty average. The resort has quite few rooms and with few guests there are not many facilities. On the other hand, you can enjoy a peaceful stay and you can find plenty of beach beds under trees for relaxation and appreciation of how lucky you are to be in this paradise.

Our inbound journey from HK included a stop over at a Tawau hotel and we had to depart very early the next morning at 7:15 am for a 2-hr drive to the jetty at Semporna. Later we found out that if we stop over at Semporna, we can save 1 hr in land travel and have a much easier schedule.

Room Tip: There are 7 King's Chalets but only 5 are at beach front with splendid seaview and privacy. They...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank jimmylam11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2012

While the place might seem expensive, being able to snorkel and dive at your leisure on grounds like these is a rare thing. The reefs surround the island, and even if you're not a diver you can get good access by snorkeling (I went on a non-diver package). They offer a boat tour (I don't recall the price) of the best spots for snorkeling, and you can easily go back to those spots on your own afterwards. They have day trips to Sipadan which is something I can't encourage enough... awesome. I booked RDR last minute and stayed in a deluxe, which was spacious and comfortable. I think it was low season because I also got that permit for Sipadan, and evidently those can go quickly. On dry land, I would call this an ordinary type of resort; the people are very pleasant, such that I don't really want to be critical, but you're not going to find some kind of 5-star odyssey here; the activities are few and the food is mostly Chinese comfort food, which might be from customer feedback (appeared to be heavily Chinese clientele). The fish dishes do stand out, presumably being fresh and local. But again, you're going for what's underwater, and I think it would be very tough to be disappointed in that. Also, they have marine cameras for rent (not that many though) and a marine biologist onhand, plus there's a video service, although it seems like a big part of the focus of the video is to amuse, where I really just wanted the best footage possible of the marine life, so if you're like me, you might want to direct the content a bit, before the editing is done.

Stayed: February 2012, travelled solo
3  Thank ACD_76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 February 2012

I want to make a comment on Dilla who handled my query on. She needs to be re-trained, her phone matters are atrocious, not polite nor helpful and bad listening skills as i had to repeat several things twice. Even worst the prices she quoted were extremely high (how about more than twice what the second reservation officer quoted). Is she trying to put off local visitors? Why is it when we called and spoke to a different reservation officer the rates differ so greatly?

Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
6  Thank Nodi3567
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2011

I've signed up to tripadvisor to submit a review in response to a negative review on 27th Sept '11. I was on Mataking when the reviewer stayed here and although I agree with some of the negative comments, I have to counter some.

The Diving
Although my partner and I have only completed 60 and 30 dives respectively, I hope we would not be regarded as "novices" and in fact found the diving excellent and on the whole, the dive staff where ok. Yes there were some who were below par and didn't really seem to engage with the guests and it was apparent that Mr Luke clearly does not have enough quality staff to support the dive operation. However special mention needs to go to Hardy and Sorian who were superb, professional, good fun and made our holiday a memorable experience. In fact Hardy and Sorian are probably the main reason I'm giving this 4 stars! We'd go back again just to dive with them.
My biggest criticism of the dive operation was the reluctance from most of the staff to operate a zero tolerance approach to the numerous Chinese and Japanese divers who damaged the corals with their fins and tanks, poked and prodded coral and anemones with 'tank-bangers' and were frankly dangerous when diving (one swam straight to the service from 13metres down for no apparent reason and was allowed to dive again that day!) Mr Luke needs to take this in hand and support his staff to educate divers and if needed, not allow them to dive on the reef if they cannot control their buoyancy - particularly as Mataking tries to pride itself on being eco-friendly. Some of the divers clearly had no idea what coral was nor the damage they were causing from their clumsy diving. Unfortunately, the cynic in me feels that as it is these guests that represent most of the clientele, Mataking does not want to upset them.
Sipadan was great and we felt the MYR 150 per trip was acceptable given the boat journey, inclusive lunch and exclusivity of Sipadan permits - you're lucky to get to dive there and we were fortunate to be given 2 days out of 8.

The Food
Unfortunately the food is geared towards the many Chinese that visit Mataking. We were disappointed not to be given more Malaysian dishes and I agree with the earlier negative review, the buffet was a bit repetitive. Beware, the Chinese seem to have a custom of taking too much food so unless you were down for dinner at 7pm, it was likely the best of it had gone. The wait for food from the separate counter was often long - again due to the Chinese who would order 5 or 6 portions at a time, leaving a long wait for the other more considerate guests. Ironically, the restaurant could be so much better if it did not align itself to Chinese tastes so much. It has plenty of good staff, is clean and has a nice setting and atmosphere. On the rare occasion there was a Malaysian dish on the menu, it was so much better (the beef rendang and Malaysian chicken curry were excellent).
The drinks were expensive on Mataking - even during the happy hour but we were warned of this by our agent. We went on holiday to dive so were not intending to drink lots of alcohol. It is some way from the mainland so one has to be conscious of this.

The Room
We stayed in a standard room (Clownfish) and found it spacious and perfect for our stay. Comfortable bed, decent bathroom and spacious. Mozzies were not a problem for us as we had hardly any in the room and a blast from the bug killer before we went out to dinner and a dose of Deet around the ankles seemed to do the trick. We stayed on the island for 8 days and I left with about 5 bites. I can tolerate less than a bite a day! Mataking is a tropical island so there's going to be biting insects there. If you don't like being bitten, don't go to such a place.

Overall
We've been back 4 weeks now and think about it every day. Despite the negative comments I have made, there's clearly something special about Mataking. If you focus on the negative as some reviewers have done, you'll never be happy and there were definitely some people on the island who could have tried harder to enjoy themselves ;-) We'd definitely go back, I just wish they'd sort out the divers who damage the reef and serve more Malaysian food!

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
12  Thank Martin W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 October 2011

I stayed with group of divers and I am also a diver myself. I loved and enjoyed a lot staying there and I surely want to go back!!!! Great service of the front desk, great service of restaurant and great diver masters. Except..there was a one Japanese DM and he really needs to learn how to be a DM -_-. I only can say he needs more experience even to be a "qualified" DM by all means. This is the reason why I give you "four stars" instead of "five stars". Anyways, thanks a lot for you guys to give us a beautiful memory....

Room Tip: VILLA is recommended!
See more room tips
  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Josephene S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 October 2011

I stayed 4 wonderful nights in this resort during end September to early October 2011 as a non-diver in full board package. Originally I planned to stay in Mabul Overwater Bungalow but it was all full even my booking was made in 2 months advance. My travel agent then recommended this resort to me and at the time when I made my reservation the only room type available was villa. It ended up to be a very good choice.

Transfer

3 hours flight from Hong Kong to Kota Kinabalu, then 45 minutes flight from KK to Tawau, then 1 hour drive from Tawau to Semporna and finally 1 hour speed boat riding from Semporna to Mataking Island. Maybe I was lucky, I didn’t need to waste any time for waiting. The only waiting time (waiting for the van to Tawau) which I had experienced was ≤10 mins after the speed boat riding during the return transfer. That few minutes gave me time to go to the washroom (using the washroom inside Sea Feast Hotel) and took some last-minute pictures of the pier. The car and speed boat were basic, no bottled water or scented cold towel were served but the transfers to and from Mataking Island were smooth and safe.

Check-in

Cool towel and drink were served during check-in. After filling-in the form, a guy briefed us on the resort facilities and house rules (putting on clothes and no shoe at internal areas). I didn’t find the briefing offensive as different places have different culture. I was in my villa within 10 minutes after arriving on the island.

Room

I am very glad that my agent booked me the villa. It is a huge difference with all other three types in terms of spatial quality but not that big in terms of cost. I agree with a previous comment that sometimes the indoor shower could be smelly. I only used it in the first night. I then used the fantastic outdoor shower during the rest of my stay. The outdoor shower was perfect!!! In my case, using of the private Jacuzzi was free of charge. Nonetheless, I never used it as I had the feeling that the water in the Jacuzzi was reused. Both the front court and the backyard of my villa were beautiful. The interior design and finishes were not on par with other 5-star luxurious hotels in Asia. Don’t expect fluffy bedding or fancy toiletries. 4 channels (HBO, AXN, ESPN and a local channel) were provided in flat-screen TV. 2 bottles of mineral water were offered for the entire stay, not each day. It could be refilled in the restaurant. No mosquito problem but I was bitten by a giant ant one night. Towels were replaced each day, nicely smell and clean. After all, the villa was comfortable (not luxurious) with beautiful outdoor spaces.

There are 4 types of room in the resort: Villa, King Chalet, Lodge (Premier Deluxe Room) and Room (Deluxe Room). From my observation, the front row of room (deluxe) on the side facing sunrise enjoyed good view and privacy. There were two rows of King Chalet. The front row enjoyed good sea view and facing sunset. The second row only enjoyed partial sea view and was indeed quite far away from the beach. Therefore, getting the front row is very important or otherwise paying extra for staying in King Chalet is not worthwhile. All Lodges (premier deluxe room) were built in the worst location (sandwiched between King Chalets and Rooms), no view and privacy at all. Therefore, I will not opt for staying in Lodge. If I visit Mataking again, I will choose between villa and room (deluxe).

Food

This was the weakest aspect of the resort. I agree very much with previous comment that food variety (in particular hot dishes) was limited and quality was poor. It was poor because of the way of cooking. All meat and fish dishes were overcooked. If they could find a chef or even just a better cook, the situation could be totally different. Another aspect which I found it difficult to accept was that there were a lot of flies around food stations during breakfast which further limited my choice of food for hygiene concern. Having said the above, I didn’t feel hungry or suffer from food poisoning throughout my entire stay. Other good aspects on offer in the island make the intolerable tolerable.

Staff

Nice, helpful, friendly……. Most of them deserved all the good words. Several deserved special mention were: (1) the guide leading the turtle patrolling, (2) Mas Rabie and Jiju? (I forget how to spell his name) the snorkeling guides and (3) the lady (the one with makeup) in the reception.

Activities

Snorkeling Excursion - Fantastic!!! I joined it 3 times.

In the first morning I went to sites around Mataking Island at MYR280 per boat shared with 4 other guests. It stopped at Coral Garden, D’wall and Sweet Lips Rock. Sweet Lips Rock was the best among these 3 sites. In fact, Sweet Lips Rock was a strip along the sand bank connecting the 2 islands which was accessible during low tide if you didn’t mind the walk. Since then, I walked there every afternoon. A lot of lion fishes. I visited Sweet Lips Rock four times and in there I saw turtle, sting ray, titan triggerfish, picasso triggerfish, big barracuda, flatfish, moorish idol, bannerfish, goatfish, moray eel, flutemouth, hump head, different patterned parrotfish, butterflyfish, wrasse, surgeonfish, pufferfish, goby, sandpercher, Nemo……..

In the second morning I went to Timba-Timba Island at MYR350 per boat with another guest. We stopped at Jalan-Jalan, Sting Ray City and Pandanan Bay. While I considered Sting Ray City the best in this excursion, the other guest loved Pandanan Bay more.

In the third morning I went to Timba-Timba again at MYR350 shared with 5 other guests. We stopped at Pistol’s Paradise (this spot could be skipped), Sting Ray City and the very wonderful point – Sweet Lips Table. Sweet Lips Table is a MUST-VISIT site for snorkelers. At Sweet Lips Table, below the unbelievably clear water was an expansive carpet of cabbage coral. Besides those common coral fishes, I saw a porcupine and a lobster in this excursion.

Turtle Patrolling – Amazing!!!

I originally planned to join the night safari but the lady in the reception said that it had been cancelled due to the construction of another resort at the other end of the island. She then suggested that I could accompany the staff doing the turtle patrolling at night. I had no idea on this ad-hoc activity and didn’t know what to expect, very low expectation indeed.

At 8:30pm, we (4 other guests and me) waited at the reception. The guide and his assistant leaded the five of us to the beach, not the jungle. Since it was high tide that night, walking on soft sand in water was not easy. We walked along the beach for around ½ hour before we stopped. The guide found a turtle track and there was a green turtle digging hole in the bush. We were then told to wait on the beach. We waited there with nothing to do except star gazing or napping in the wet sand for around 2 hours. When the turtle finished digging and began to lay eggs, the guide let us (one person at a time) to have a closer look of the process. It was truly amazing to see the egg laying process, even for a very short period. The green turtle then filled the hole and made a track of bigger hole to confuse predators. After the turtle swam back to the ocean, we headed back to the resort. During our return, we spotted 3 other mother turtles. All the collected eggs were taken to the hatchery. The guide said that green turtle comes to Mataking Island from July to early October every year. To me, it worth every penny and the long way to come here just for seeing the egg laying process.

Releasing of Baby Green Turtles – Lovely

Hatched baby turtles were collected from the hatchery and released to the ocean in evenings, around 6pm.. I jointed this activity twice. It takes around 1 to 2 months for the eggs to hatch. Therefore, if you visit Mataking Island during the period from August to September, you have a very good chance of seeing both egg laying and releasing of baby green turtles.

Spa

Nothing special. The only thing worth mentioning was that I saw a cute little lizard hunting for breakfast outside when I was having the foot bath.

Overall

In the first few hours on the island, in particular after having my first dinner there, I was quite upset as I thought that I had made a big mistake in coming to this resort and had paid quite a big sum of money. But right after I finished the turtle patrolling, I knew that Mataking was a very special island and every penny which I had paid was worthwhile. My new thought was reaffirmed after I joined the snorkeling excursion in the following morning. My index of happiness kept rising during the rest of my stay. Staying in Mataking Island is a wonderful experience which I will never forget : )

My only regret is that I hadn’t applied for the permit to Sipadan early enough. Application must be made before your arrival in Mataking Island or otherwise the chance of getting one is zero in high season. I was told that Mataking Island was assigned with 7 permits each day, regardless of diver or snorkeler.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank dimsum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Mataking
0 km away
Pom Pom Island Resort & Spa
Pom Pom Island Resort & Spa
#3 of 5 in Pulau Sipadan
414 reviews
0 km away
Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa
0 km away
Seafest Hotel
Seafest Hotel
#1 of 7 in Semporna
279 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
0 km away
Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai
Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai
#9 of 92 in Kota Kinabalu
1,457 reviews
0 km away
Sipadan Inn
Sipadan Inn
#3 of 7 in Semporna
155 reviews
0 km away
Gaya Island Resort
Gaya Island Resort
#1 of 3 in Pulau Gaya
1,287 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to The Reef Dive Resort? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about The Reef Dive Resort

Address: Mataking 91000, Malaysia
Phone Number:
Region: Malaysia > Sabah > Mataking
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Mataking
Price Range: C$690 - C$794 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Reef Dive Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 49
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Reef Dive Resort at Mataking Island is an exclusive romantic & diving destination in the Celebes Sea, located just 40 minutes boat ride from Semporna, East Coast of Sabah in Malaysia. It is a promised island with majestic treasures, natural warmth and friendship for holiday makers, spa lovers, honeymooners and divers alike. Whether it is a retreat for yourself or exciting undersea exploration, you’ll find Mataking the perfect choice.The resort is caressed by the tropical sea breeze. Our executive king chalets, premier deluxe rooms and brand new luxurious beach villas designed in traditional architecture offering simply elegant and exquisite accommodation for up to 100 guests in a serene and cozy environment. Enjoy Malaysian and International cuisine with an enticing spread of fresh local seafood or relish the weekend barbecued favorites at our sea facing restaurant. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia and Hotels.com so you can book your The Reef Dive Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Pulau Mataking Reef Dive Hotel Pulau Sipadan

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing