About the Hotel
Everyone knows oil rigs as industrial workhorses that drill & extract oil out of the sea, and the rigs are then abandoned once the oil in the area runs out. But located just off Malaysia’s southern coast of Sabah, is an old rig that has been given a new lease on life as a dive hotel for scuba diving enthusiasts. Pretty much the only hotel of its kind in the world, the Seaventres Dive Rig is by far the most creative way of recycling a defunct oil rig and for sure this is one of Asia unusual hotels. The rig was towed from an offshore drilling site in Singapore into its current spot, which is in close proximity to the wide expanse of reefs and coral life in and around the tiny island of Mabul.
The Seaventures Dive Rig is not just one of exclusive hotels in Malaysia, but one that offers economical access to dive sites in Sipadan and Mabul. This converted platform offers guest a wide open platform to suit up into their own or rented diving gear, and features a one-of-a-kind dive elevator that can take guests into a dive boat, or the water directly. The most important part of the diving experience at Seaventures is that guests have access to unlimited day and night dives throughout their stay. The diving sites in around the rig offer sightings of many rare and unnamed species of fish and underwater flora. Various examples of unique fish that can be seen in the area include crocodile fish, frogfish, pipefish and exotic nudibranch. From a diver’s perspective, the Seaventures Dive Rig offers them all the comforts and conveniences that they would need to have an enjoyable scuba diving experience. However, the hotel also offers a number of amenities for guests, when they’re out of the water, including free Wi-Fi, a fully stocked bar, and even a movie room.
Staying on the Seaventures Rig is a novelty in itself, and the convenient and unlimited diving opportunities, and the hotel’s amicable service has made the rig a tourist hotspot. There isn’t much to be said about the architecture of the structure except that it is a redundant oil rig that was refurbished into an off shore hotel/diving platform. The platform is in no way big, and has a shape that resembles a boat more than an oil rig. The rig is painted in shade of blue that reflects well against the hotel’s ocean backdrop, and features red accents on the bottom and the sides.
The refurbished platform is the equivalent to a budget hotel in terms of service & amenities, and is equipped with a helipad (currently the sundeck), a dive elevator, a fully stocked kitchen & bar, movie room, pool tables and a lounge area. The hotel also features a large conference room that can seat up to 60 people, and its very own souvenir shop. The hotel has a total of 27 fully-furnished rooms, which is a healthy mix of dormitory-style and larger family rooms. Single guests have the option of booking rooms on a twin-sharing basis, with other single guests. The hotel’s staff and management are pretty accommodating, and are ready to cater to most demands by guests.
The Seaventures Dive Rig offers guests two accommodation types, dorm style cabins & twin/double rooms. The dorm cabins are the best option for the budget conscious traveller or for guests who prefer to mingle with other fellow divers. The dorm-style cabins can house up to 4 individuals, making them a great option if you’re travelling as a small group of friends. Despite the dormitory like layout, the dorm cabs are equipped with most creature comforts, including well-kept bunk beds, clean & fresh beddings, full air-conditioning, and even personal lockers for valuables and Knick-knacks. Dorm room guests also have access to hot showers in the dorm’s communal bathroom, which features 6 private showering units.
On the other hand, the double rooms at the dive rig are the perfect options for couples or small families. The rooms are cosy & functional, attempting to replicate the feeling of life on an oil rig. The rooms are fairly large and are equipped with fresh beddings, pillows & towels. These rooms offer all other creature comforts, including a remote control A/C unit and housekeeping. That being said, guests staying at the Dive Rig are primarily there for the diving, and their only other lookout is whether they’ll be able to get a good night’s rest for their next diving session. The rooms provide east access to all the other amenities in the hotel.
The sheer excitement that comes from staying and diving off an old oil rig makes visiting Seaventures well worth the visit. This only adds to the experience of being able to dive in one of the world’s most phenomenal dive sites, Borneo. The dive rig is obviously set up to cater to those that are inclined to scuba diving or muck diving. The itinerary schedules an early morning breakfast, followed by an entire day of diving, snorkelling or simply passing time along the rig’s massive helipad, which now serves are the hotel’s expansive sundeck. The sundeck, although not diving related, offers some of the most spectacular sunsets from the island of Mabul.
Diving opportunities are scheduled subject to prevailing weather conditions, but Seaventures Dive Rig guarantees a minimum of two visits to the island of Sipadan, on a minimum of a 6 days and 5 nights package. These trips are scheduled irrespective of the number of guests staying at the hotel, but when the guest permit numbers are allowed, the management schedules 3 dives to Sipadan, with lunch. That being said, it’s best to contact the hotel a few days before arrival and check schedule for that day, so as to avoid any unnecessary disappointment.
Apart from the regular scuba diving opportunities, the dive sites at Seaventures are ideal for muck diving and macro enthusiasts, as the crystal clear waters give them sharp views of the life underwater. Right under the hotel’s metallic structure, guests can find a number of varieties of exotic fish such as nudibranchs, stonefish, scorpion fish, lion fish, and Murray eels. The region has one of the richest flora & fauna among comparable dive sites, and offers plenty of opportunities for unique night dives. The region also offers great underwater photo opportunities for budding photographers.
Although the dive sites Borneo are usually meant for intermediate divers, even amateur divers are guaranteed a safe & fun-filled diving experience as all divers a comprehensively briefed about the topography and geology of the area. The best part about the hotel is that, unlike other sea hotels, the dive site is just few meters from the guest rooms, making it one of the most convenient diving destinations in the world. For a few lucky divers, the occasional whale or shark sighting can be an exhilarating experience. Another major feature of Seaventures dive rig is that the platform has its own dive elevator, which either works to take the divers to a dive boat, or directly into the reef below. For the more adventurous diver, the hotel features a “Rig jump” that allows them to leap into the crystal clear waters from a reasonable height. Other fun activities include a weekly barbecue, hosted by the hotel’s divers, who double up as the hotel’s in-house band, “The Sea Gypsies.”
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How to Book:
- Dorm style living isn’t for everyone, but it is cost effective.
- Don’t expect 5-star accommodation as some of the furnishings & fittings are worn and dated.
- Dive equipment can be questionable at times, and it’s best to come with your own diving apparel, as bringing your own equipment wouldn’t be feasible.
- Remember to make the most of the unlimited free dives, with no day or night restrictions.
- The hotel is more of a novel alternative to budget dive resorts, as it offers instant access to one of the best dive sites in the world. So, book in advance.
- The hotel food is always served buffet style, with no option of an a la carte menu.
- The cuisine is predominantly Asian, and any specific dietary needs will have to be announced prior to arrival.
- Outside food and/or changes in food plan, will attract a surcharge, so you’re mostly be better off just eating at the hotel.
- Outside drinks will attract a corkage fee and a surcharge.
- The rig offers certified PADI 5-star IDC courses for diver, allowing them to undergo training and receive certifications during their stay.
Seaventures is a truly unique hotel, the only one of its kind. Being one of the best diving hotels, the hotel is a great spot for day & night diving opportunities for the avid diver, and offers its guests a host of other activities as well.