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Mulu Marriott: a gay friendly oasis in the heart of the jungle of Borneo

Stefan Arestis
Mulu Marriott: a gay friendly oasis in the heart of the jungle of Borneo

The UNESCO listed Mulu National Park should be one of the highlights for any gay traveller visiting Sarawak on the Malaysian side of Borneo island!

This place is a paradise for nature lovers, with an abundance of activities like caving, jungle trekking and bird watching.

We stayed at the super gay friendly Mulu Marriott Resort and Spa, located right at the heart of it all. It's a luxury base after a day’s hiking through the lush humid rainforest of the National Park.

Wait – “gay friendly” in a country where being gay is illegal? Yup, you read right! What we love about the Marriott brand is that wherever you are in the world, you know they adhere to more international standards rather than local standards, with staff trained accordingly. In short: there were no issues for us getting a double bed here!


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A room on wooden stilts?


The rooms and suites at Mulu Marriott are built on 15-foot indigenous inspired stilts, each connected by wooden walkways. Each room has its own private balcony with a view of the neighbouring wooden huts and surrounding jungle.

But why the wooden stilts? Well with the immense and super dramatic rainfall that breaks out at random intervals, there is a great deal of water build-up. So having the rooms on stilts gets around any flooding concerns! We thought it also nicely adds to the whole rainforest feel of the area.

The view from our balcony
The view from our balcony at the Mulu Marriott

Our cosy gay nest at the Mulu Marriott

Our room was a treat. Imagine, right in the heart of this hot, humid rainforest you have your own little paradise to enjoy with your lover. Couldn't get enough of it!

The contemporary design of the bathroom featured a high-pressure walk-in shower and a large bathtub to relax in.

The plush bedding in our hut made for a great night’s sleep, coupled with the 5-star amenities you’d expect from the Marriott brand.

And their beds are pretty damn comfortable!

Our bedroom hut at the Mulu Marriott
Our plush bedroom hut at the Mulu Marriott

Cocktails at the Riverbar

Oh we loved having a few cocktails at sunset by the Riverbar. It's perfect here and super romantic, especially after a long exhausting day spent trekking through the jungle. You're surrounded by lush greenery, water and plenty of wildlife to spot.

Just remember the bug spray, otherwise, you'll be covered in mosquito bites quicker than you can say Margarita!

Lounge area and the Riverbar
The lounge area by the Riverfront bar

Activities and facilities at the Mulu Marriott

It’s all about relaxation and serenity here. The Bali inspired Mandara Spa is on hand for massages and spa treatments, and the outdoor swimming pool is a great place to chill and catch up on some reading.

In terms of public displays of affection, yes you're in a country where being gay is illegal, but being here felt like we were in a gay haven. Here we were surrounded by international visitors and gay friendly staff who are used to dealing with LGBTQ travellers. For this reason, we didn't feel too uncomfortable expressing affection in the bar or at the pool.

Swimming pool Mulu Marriott
Stefan enjoying the swimming pool of the Mulu Marriott

Obligatory hotel gym!

For us, keeping fit while travelling is a must! So we were delighted to find a super modern (and full air con) gym!

The gym is one of the largest we’ve encountered in our travels and has an array of cardiovascular machines, weights machines, free weights area and swiss balls. We loved using the gym and swimming pool in the morning to open up our tummies, ready for the large buffet breakfast.

Sebastien at the Mulu Marriott gym
Sebastien working out at the gym at the Mulu Marriott

Exploring the Mulu National Park

The Mulu Marriott is only 5 minutes away from the National Park. The hotel provides a free shuttle for guests to/from the park entrance. Most people who come to stay at Mulu Marriott are here to visit the park and explore the beautiful surroundings.

The Mulu National Park has some of the biggest caves in the world. You can arrange cave activities directly with Mulu Marriott or you can also book your tours at the information centre located at the entrance of the park. There is a discovery centre and a few trails you can explore to learn about the Borneo rainforest.

Sebastien at the Mulu National Park
Sebastien in the heart of the rainforest at the Mulu National Park

A grand and lavish cafe by the pool

The Marriott café is where the meals are taken by guests with a choice of sitting indoors or outside by the pool. The breakfast buffet is damn good. Everything is cooked well with a variety of naughty treats to test the limits of your weight line.

Well, considering you’re going to spend the majority of the day burning it all off trekking and caving in the National Park, we say why not?

An excellent buffet dinner is also served at Marriott café featuring a wide variety of delicious local and international cuisine.

To book your stay at the luxurious Mulu Marriott Resort and Spa, visit


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The Mulu Marriott is a gay friendly oasis in the heart of the jungle in Borneo

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Stefan Arestis

Stefan is the co-founder, editor, and author of the gay travel blog As a travel nerd, he has explored more than 80 countries across 5 continents. What he loves the most about traveling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends, and learning new cultures. His advice about LGBTQ travel has been featured in Gaycation Magazine, Gaycities, Gay Times, Pink News, and Attitude Magazine. He has also written about gay travel for other non-gay-specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. Stefan is also a qualified lawyer, having practiced as a commercial property litigator in London for over 10 years. He left his lawyer days behind to work full time on Nomadic Boys with his husband Sebastien. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.