This post is in partnership with The Culvert Resort in Santubong. I received a complimentary night in their Santubong resort in exchange for an honest review, but all opinions are my own.
On a cliff somewhere in Santubong, you’ll find 43 concrete cylinders overlooking the Kuching Wetlands and the South China Sea. The resort looks peculiar from above, a bit like something out of Lost. Wander along the paths snaking around the grounds, and you’ll find that inside each of the cylinders is a luxurious room. A perfectly sized bed spans the width of the tube, and a sliding wooden door elegantly divides the sleeping area from the compact bathroom. Sleeping inside of a concrete drainage pipe might not exactly sound like your idea of luxury, but The Culvert has found a way to make the experience positively dreamy.
Just 34km outside of Kuching, Santubong is something of a resort town, but with independent properties like the Damai Beach Resort, Permai Rainforest Resort, Cove 55, and The Culvert, you’ll need to forget everything you know about resort towns. There are no Señor Frogs and all-inclusive getaways here. You won’t find hotels with hundreds of rooms or taxis with rigged meters. While most resort towns have developed beyond recognition of the local culture that once was, things are different in Santubong.
Santubong is a resort town with small and exceptionally charming hotels. Where you’ll hear little more than the loud chirping of cicadas from the nearby Santubong National Park. Where you can watch the waves crashing onto sandy shores below and look out on the mangrove forests as local fisherman jet through them on wooden boats. It’s a place where clouds gather around the 810m peak of Gunung Santubong every morning and clear just as soon. You can see orangutans and hang out by the beach in the same day. You get none of the bad and all of the good parts of staying in a resort town in Santubong – beautiful beaches, access to nature, elegant hotels, Sarawakian hospitality, and plenty of rest and relaxation. All this, and the secret highlight of Sarawak – Bako National Park – is just a boat ride away.
Want to take a look inside the dreamiest resort in Santubong? Here’s a peek at The Culvert.
About The Culvert
Newly opened in 2018, The Culvert Resort in Santubong is an eco-friendly resort and retreat made of refurbished concrete culverts. The resort has aimed to use the rainforest surrounding without disrupting it, and the results are pretty damn stunning.
The Culvert has really got the details down. From beds that perfectly span the width of the pipe to under-bed storage, no inch goes unutilized. There are 43 rooms, all of which are located inside the culvert pipes, but the Culvert offers two types of room: Suites and Standard. Suites feature a king bed, a detached bathroom, and views of the beach or the wetlands while standard rooms offer a queen bed, an en-suite bathroom separated by a sliding door, and less notable views. Both room types include access to the pools and sauna, have an air conditioning unit, and come equipped fun, resorty items like robes and slippers that you can wear around the grounds.
Value: Rooms at The Culvert range from $54-$105 depending on your dates and suite type. The standard room can feel a bit small if you’re sharing with someone for more than a night – in this case, splurging on the suite is totally worth it. You can check prices or read more reviews here.
Swim + Sauna
The Culvert has two infinity pools, one sauna, and a private beach on the property, though if you’re running as hot as we were, you’re more likely for a swim than a sauna. The smaller pool is just beside the restaurant. It has a stylish aboveground concrete exterior and is surrounded by tall reeds and white stones. The bigger pool sits down a long flight of stairs from the property, halfway between the rooms and the beach. It’s similarly picturesque (seriously Instagrammable, if you’re into that kind of thing), with plenty of big swings, deck chairs, and a poolside bar complete with a pink neon sign.
Perhaps best of all is what you get if you continue down the stairs; The Culvert has a private beach that you’re likely to have all to yourself. It’s a great place to watch the sunset at high tide, or go down in the morning and kick off your slides to walk through the sand in any direction or wade up to your knees into the South China Sea.
As I mentioned, Santubong is an incredible place to be. You can spend hours hanging out at The Culvert! But there are lots of things to do in surrounding areas, too.
If you want to sweat, summit Gunung Santubong, one of the highest peaks in Sarawak. It’s a short walk along the road to the trailhead. From there, it’s a 5-hour climb to the top on ladders and ropes. Also in the area is Kuching Wetlands National Park. Hire a boat and jet between the mangroves in search of wildlife, birds, and the rare Irrawaddy dolphin. Across the peninsula, you can reach the epic Bako National Park where you can spot Proboscis monkeys and bearded pigs. And if you’d rather take it easy for the day, Damai Beach is super popular amongst locals and offers beach access with plenty of cheap food stalls. And while I didn’t check it out myself, I’ve heard good things about the Sarawak Cultural Village in Santubong. It’s a replicated longhouse which gives a glimpse into traditional Malay culture.
Thanks again to The Culvert to hosting us at their resort in Santubong! Let me know if you have any questions about the property in the comments below.
Wanna stay at The Culvert?
Phone: +60 (19) 889 9925