It is not often that a major hotel chain, particularly a renowned luxury business-standard hotel, would advertise its lack of connectivity. That is, however, how the Mulu Marriott promotes itself, with its ‘Unplug at the Mulu Marriott’ tagline.
Sounds a little ludicrous, shocking maybe? Well, it has its fans, me being one of them. How often can you go away to a fancy resort and legitimately say ‘I did not open any work-related communications’? Plus, it is the perfect base to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mulu.
Unplug and Unwind
You will be constantly reminded that you are in a secluded place while at the Mulu Marriott. A secluded, private, quiet place. The only place you can ‘plug in’ if you really need the internet is in the public areas around the lobby.
Connectivity, both cellular and internet, is temperamental, and subject to the weather. Due to Mulu’s remote, mountainous and densely jungled location, only certain spots get decent connections, and the Mulu Marriott just happens to be one of them.
But look at the bright side: little to no distractions from those pesky emails, social media is kept to a minimu and a lot of time can be devoted to inward reflections and actual, physical socializing…with real people! Time spent by the pool reading a book, without needing to check your phone, is severely underrated in our constantly connected world.
Basecamp for Adventure
With a private jetty just outside the lobby, you really do not need to head out to the Gunong Mulu National Park HQ to catch any of the day trips to the caves and treks beyond the Park HQ main compound. That is what my agency took full advantage of when I did my trek to the Pinnacles: my guide and boat picked me up after breakfast, and we headed straight to the start of the Camp 5 Trek without me needing to go to the Park HQ to get to the main jetty.
If you like adventure, but still need your creature comforts, this property would be a good staging post for your little treks out. The Resort Car provides complimentary shuttle services between the Gunong Mulu National Park HQ and the property, so after a sweaty day of caving, hiking and spelunking, always be rest assured that a super comfy daybed by the River Terrace is ready for you to lounge on.
If one looks through my Instagram account, one would notice I have a thing for places to lounge in. Granted, it usually includes sky-high views, or an iconic vantage point, of which the Mulu Marriott has, at least at the latter point.
With the Melinau Paku river meandering by the ‘beach’ and landscaped gardens fronting the riverfront, the Terrace is an absolutely perfect spot to lounge, especially with the sheer abundance of day beds, sofas and, if you are so inclined, proper seating. The daybeds are extremely comfortable, so do not be surprised if you end up sleeping with a book while enjoying your tipple.
The pool is small, but after a day hiking and trekking, the daybeds by the pool will just beckon you to chill. The River Terrace, as I mentioned above, will just encourage you to do absolutely nothing. The spa? Well, they do call it the Mulu Marriott Resort and Spa for a reason: it’s nice, it’s bright, and it’s open to nature outside.
So, after a long hike, or caving adventure, or for the more adventurous, 1 night at Camp 5 after reaching the Pinnacles, the creature comforts at the Mulu Marriott will make you want to do just absolutely nothing. After all, you are meant to unwind!
Lounge and Dine
This may be the third time I talked about the River Terrace but….RIVER TERRACE! The All-Day Dining is pretty decent at the Marriott Cafe, but if you want something other than hotel food, there is a small restaurant just outside the hotel, at the end of the iron bridge which serves decent food. For something more local, there is a small restaurant called ‘Good Day’ suspended above the river just outside the National Park HQ entrance.
For nightlife? Well, there is ‘Good Day’, which seems to be popular with guests from the National Park HQ who just want to chill and enjoy cheap beer. Otherwise, chill at the River Terrace. Yes, all guests will congregate here for WiFi and drinks. Ask Bibi for suggestions on wine. She always gives me a nice carafe of Merlot to end my evening.
To be honest, the main reason people come to the Mulu Marriott is to both enjoy the quiet solitude amidst creature comforts while exploring the unique sights and sounds that is the Mulu UNESCO World Heritage Site.
(Posts on the caves are here and here, the Pinnacles here and a 24 hour trip here.)
The resort itself is at the edge of the Gunong Mulu National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the endless sights, from the Deer Cave and Lang’s Cave close to the Park HQ to the Clearwater Cave and Wind Cave a boat ride away, to the majestic Pinnacles close to the summit of Mt Api are all stunning sites within easy reach of the Mulu Marriott.
And the Rooms?
Somehow I managed to talk about the Mulu Marriott and not touch about the rooms. Personally, go for the Riverside Rooms: those rooms are really nice, and front the Melinau River. The jungle view rooms are basically the same as the river view rooms, no difference there but you only see trees.
The rooms are in ‘blocks’ and are raised on stilts, all of which are connected to a walkway that links the entire resort together. The construction and layout is made in such a way to minimise environmental impact and avoid any untoward incidences in the event the Melinau River decides to burst its banks.
Agency: I used Borneo Rainforest Trekking as my agency. They provide bespoke services and can easily pick you up from the Resort Jetty.
For hotel bookings, I went direct to Marriott.com
Peak Season?: Ah yes. June until September, and December until January can be peak season for Mulu. While it would not be that crowded, it can get a bit…’congested.’
Jason is a world traveller and avid seeker of high perches, on a mission to capture the unique experiences that makes destinations iconic.