Monday, October 14, 2019

Mulu Marriott: The Rainforest Experience

Wooden walkways, rainforest location, Mulu Marriott experience
A Marriott is a Marriott is a Marriott, right?

Well, not if it's one located in a tropical rainforest.  And the Mulu Marriott is exactly that.

The Marriott touch of understated elegance and sophistication is there alright.  The architecture is different though.  In lieu of concrete, there was the generous use of wood.  In place of vertical monoliths, the hotel is almost all single-storey, like modern longhouses built on stilts and spread horizontally in the forest.  Treading on wooden walkways, walking to and from your room becomes an occasion for nature immersion.  We saw squirrels clambering up and down the trees; a catfish in the occasional pond on a depression underneath the stilts; swifts flying all over.   It's a radical departure from a clinical, carpeted existence really.
Generous space, wooden floors, comfy beds, well-lit reading/sitting area
THE PHYSICAL.   Our Premier Double Room is on the huge side, with a balcony at the back (on Block 15) facing the Melinau river.  It's comforting to just sit on a chair and contemplate.  Maybe try to spot where the trilling birds are, see the skinks (short-legged lizards) hunting for insects, or watch the flat-bottom boats ferry locals and tourists along the river.   The floor is all wood, the better to walk barefoot all the time.   There's a generous sitting area for reading or lounging, a long desk for working (but why work when you can relax?), a mini bar, and our own mini coffee/espresso machine.
T&B that opens up to the room and the forest
The toilet and bath have blinds that open up to the room (watch TV while sitting on the loo) and the forest (see the trees and birds while lying on the tub).   The water closet is nicely configured as to stay hidden from the angle of the partly-opened door.   The aromatherapy toiletries are nice, if only overly fragrant; the rice bran Thann soap is a nice touch though.

Sleep quality is de rigeur Marriott -- cuddle-worthy pillows, warm, thick sheets, and just-right-kind-of-firm bed.  Our A/C though is quirky, going off in the middle of the night even after repeated resetting.  Minor nit in the scheme of things as the room is so comfy, it can spoil you rotten (read:  tempt one to stay indoors when you should be exploring the outdoors).
Balcony to the river and forest
THE "METAPHYSICAL".  Admittedly, the biggest draw of the Mulu Marriott is exactly the reason why it cannot be duplicated elsewhere -- the rainforest location.   In a world of homogeneity, where worldwide chains bank on templates that make one hotel look more or less the same everywhere you go in the world, this Marriott seems like a beautiful anomaly.  

I understand that the complex used to be another hotel (Royal Mulu) having been taken over by the Marriott chain about four years ago, but I must say that the choice was impeccable.  The structures are ecologically sound; the rainforest location is a distinct characteristic (it's sacrilegious to call it an amenity).
M Cafe dining hall (order local -- you'll love it!)
OTHER TANGIBLES.   M Cafe, the Mulu Marriott's F&B outlet, serves really good Sarawak Laksa and Beef Rendang.  I mean, forget about the international offerings because this is really where they shine (besides, one should be sampling local foods anyway).  In fact, I was having Beef Rendang for breakfast to go with my breads.

Eating a lot to compensate for lost sleep the past days made going to the gym a logical choice.  Maybe, gyms are a token amenity in vacation resorts like this one but it's much appreciated by people like us.   There's ample space and mats for yoga if you prefer but I took to the Life Fitness weight stacks/chinning station and rack of dumbbells (goes up to 40 kilos) to catch up on exercise; foregoing the treadmill and elliptical machines as we've had ample walking earlier, hiking the caves.  There's a spa next door to the gym but we opted to eat and sleep for downtime.
Airy lobby and receiving area
INFO:  Book your stay at this five star accommodation in the Mulu rainforest by clicking here.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:
Many thanks to Mulu Marriott and Place Borneo for making our stay here an incredible experience.

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