Damai Beach, Sarawak

Tribal totem pole, Sarawak

On Sunday we caught the shuttle bus to the Holiday Inn Resort Damai beach, where we were booked for the following week. This was supposed to be our big treat, a week in a resort with beach etc. There are two Holiday Inn resorts at Damai; the Damai Beach and the Damai Lagoon, and guests staying at one can use the facilities at the other, with a free shuttle bus between the two.

Have to admit the Damai Beach was a bit of a disappointment. We had booked through the Holiday Inn website but the hotel seemed to have no record of our booking when we arrived. We sat in the lounge for more than half an hour with no sign of anyone coming to confirm that we had a room. We got a bit bored so went back to reception who said that they were waiting for someone to bring a fax over from the other hotel. So we booked over the web, the hotel has internet access, but they needed a fax to confirm that we had a room. Technology seems to have passed the business processes of the Holiday Inn by a decade or so.

Our room was way up on a hillside above the main hotel centre, with a free shuttle bus on request. Spectacular views of the mountains from the balcony of the room, and plenty of space in the room. No in-room internet access here though; RM12 gets you an hours internet access on one of the three terminals in the reception area, though there may also be wireless access at the same rate down there.

The service in the hotel restaurant was a little woeful, involving long waits, cold food, limited selections and (relatively) expensive buffets. The staff were all very friendly but didn’t seem to get the whole service thing in the ways that the Thais seemed to.

The information on the web indicated that the Holiday Inn Kuching and Damai Beach had gym facilities. In the case of Kuching this actually consisted of a room with two running machines and two exercise bikes. The rest of the gym had been converted into a massage centre. At Damai Beach there are no gym facilities at all. The facilities are at the neighbouring Damai Lagoon. The gym there has a couple of treadmills (not powered running machines), a bike with no working resistance control, a stepping machine with no controls at all, a weights machine and some hand-weights. Despite being disappointed with these, we gave them a good go and actually quite enjoyed the work out.

By Wednesday, almost a week after visiting the hospital, I was feeling much better so we booked a day out at Bako National Park starting at 7:30am the next day. This is one of the best places in Sarawak to see the elusive Proboscis monkey, famous for their oversized noses, who also featured on the cover of Pigbag ‘s first album sleeve (but not on the CD re-issue).

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