The Olympic-sized swimming pool. One of the resort's most celebrated facilities in hot and humid Mulu
The spa-like presidential bathroom. I'd never get out of that bathtub

Get an opulent rainforest experience at this luxury resort sitting amidst natural surroundings, writes Nova Renata

THE Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa is a mammoth contradiction. Perched in the midst of a remote small town of Mulu, this five-star resort is a stark contrast to its surrounding — in a good way — being the only luxurious entity amidst a quiet and rustic template, complete with a sprawling outdoor pool, business centre and banquet hall.

Surrounded by undulating limestone hills and a sea of greens and perched by the Melinau riverside, the Mulu Marriott was built back in 1994 under a different company. It however, underwent a major facelift in 2015, which gave the resort a major “oomph” factor.

Designed in the style of an ethnic longhouse, the hotel has 101 luxurious rooms and suites which are built on stilts and are connected via a network of wooden boardwalks.

Each room is fitted with locally-crafted wooden furniture that are made from Belian, a type of quality local hardwood, and plush beddings. Facilities include a 42-inch flat screen television with cable channel, spa-concept bathroom with rainforest view and a private balcony offering a soothing view of the verdant rainforest or the Melinau River.

The Mulu Marriott is also one of only two entities in the whole of Mulu that has 24-hour electricity and internet access, the other being the Gunung Mulu National Park headquarters.

Approximately a five-minute drive from the National Park, the resort provides free shuttle to the park for its patrons. They can either take part in showcave tours provided by the park or opt for private tours led by the hotel’s own certified guides.

Some of the most popular tours at the park include the Lang and Deer Cave tour, the Clearwater and Cave of the Winds tour, the Fast Lane Cave tour and the Mulu Canopy Skywalk.

If you’re looking for a different experience, you can also sign up for the different activities available at the resort itself, ranging from blowpipe demonstration and fly-fishing to cooking demonstration and a guided cycling tour around the area.

Those who are more adventurous can opt for the Palad Hill hiking activity in the evening. This takes you up to the peak of Palad Hill for a spectacular view of the sunset. However, bear in mind that not all of the guided activities are available daily.

Another great way to enjoy Mulu is by going on a sunset tour (family or couple). This two-hour tour takes you on a cruise along the Melinau River to drink in the pristine beauty of Mulu’s undisturbed rainforest and to bask in the breathtaking vermillion sunset. The family cruise package includes light refreshment, whilst the couple’s cruise comes with a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine and two cheese platters.

In addition, there’s nothing that makes a travelling experience more meaningful than getting to know the people and culture of the place you’re visiting.

The hotel also conducts boating tours, such as the Long Lesat River Walk and the Long Desai Waterfall tours that give visitors the opportunity to meet with the local Penan community in the neighbouring Long Iman settlement.

Visitors will also get a chance to see some traditional Sarawakian longhouses (many of which have ceased to exist in the modern world) and support the local community by buying their handmade products.

Needing a TLC boost after a long day of trekking and boating? Make an appointment at the Mandara Spa — the one and only spa in Mulu.

FAST FACTS

Mulu Marriott Resort & Spa

Sungai Melinau, PO Box 1145, Mulu, Sarawak

Tel: 085-792388 / 085-402855 (Toll-Free Reservation Center)

Fax: 085-792399

Website: www.marriott.com

STAY 101 rooms that are divided into seven types, ranging from Deluxe and Premier rooms and the Presidential Suite, all of which come with a choice of river or rainforest view

EAT There are two F&B outlets: the Marriott Cafe that serves international and local fusion food and the River Bar that serves cocktails and finger food

DO Jungle trekking, boating, cycling, guided activities at the Gunung Mulu National Park

GO MASwings flies direct to Mulu from Kota Kinabalu, Miri and Kuching daily. The resort provides free airport shuttle, be sure to inform them of your flight schedule

HIGHS Provides a touch of luxury in the midst of a pristine rainforest — the best of both worlds!

LOWS Not easily accessible, especially if you come from Peninsular Malaysia. Pricey

RATES Rates range from RM450 for Deluxe rooms and RM6,000 per night for the Presidential Suite

Pictures by Nova Renata

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