The hotel is located on Jalan Kastam in the town of Semporna. From Tawau Airport (TWU), it takes slightly more than an hour by taxi to get here. Taxi fare should cost about RM80 per way.
Seafest Hotel is the only business-class hotel in the area. The hotel has a decent selection of conference and meeting halls and seemed quite popular with government and private agencies holding their events during the time I was there. In fact, the hotel has won a number of local tourism awards in its category.
The hotel is built such that all rooms will have a decent view of the ocean and the floating villages. The room that I stayed in was facing west, so the sunset view was quite spectacular against the backdrop of fishing trawlers harboured near the hotel.
There are 63 rooms in the hotel, of various classes. The most basic one is a standard room, followed by superior, deluxe and suite. I think the general condition of the room and the hotel is very good considering the price I paid. The design is quite contemporary, with somewhat quality finishes inside the room. Standard room amenities such as air conditioner, ceiling fan, hot shower, cable TV, built-in wardrobe, coffee and tea making facility, etc are available in each room.
Actually, the hotel hosts a number of health club facilities such as a basic gym, steam and sauna room, but I did not get the chance to try that (well, I came here for the dives).
There is only one restaurant at the hotel called Lepa Cafe. I had my daily morning buffet breakfast here.
Actually, there is almost no reason for anyone to come here except for the world-famous diving spots in Sipadan, and to some extent, Mabul and Kapalai. Daily dive trips can be arranged from Semporna to Sipadan and the boat journey takes about 1 1/2 hours. Considering one usually pays through the nose to stay at Mabul or Kapalai, staying in mainland Semporna isn't exactly a bad idea, especially for yours truly.
Other than that, the daily lifestyle of the local Bajau Laut tribe (or sea gypsy) is worth mentioning. I am always smitten by their exotic lepa boat design and how they associate themselves with the bountiful ocean surrounding them. A quick stroll to the nearby fishing harbour as well as the wet market is quite a spectacle, to say the least. Also, just right before sunset, you can witness the dozens of lepa boats parading themselves home, bringing back daily catch.
The published rate for a standard room is RM128 per night, superior (RM158), deluxe (RM208) and suite (RM288). Nonetheless, you can get discounted price if you call them directly. The discount may not be applicable during the high season for diving in Sipadan, said to be from May to September. I paid only RM88 per night with two breakfast during my trip in March.