A surprising abundance of understated luxury, comfort, customer service and a healthy devotion to responsible tourism, the family run Lime Tree Hotel was a hidden gem in the heart of Borneo and a perfect boutique choice for a flashpacking upgrade.
No incentives or payment were offered or given in return for this review or any links used. The views and opinions expressed are entirely the authors own based on personal experiences when travelling and are honest and factual without any bias.
Deep impenetrable jungle, exotic longhouses and mysterious tribes. These are the images that are evoked by the very mention of Borneo. That is why landing in the relaxed mini city of Kuching with its pleasantly feline air and an unmistakably laid back frontier town feel is such a surprise to many visitors.
If that wasn’t enough, the Lime Tree Hotel comes as an even bigger surprise. A great hotel that competes and surpasses all of the larger international brand name hotels in the city in terms of style and quality, but retains the price and the genuine friendly quality of smaller individual guesthouses. The Lime Tree Hotel oozes individual character and charm, invites you into genuine comfort and luxury and does all of that on a reasonable mid range budget.
The immediate surroundings aren’t fantastic, the hotel is surrounded by a few bars and garages that are typical of the run down shabbiness that exists beyond the gentrified riverfront area. In a lot of ways the modern glass and chrome design looks a bit out of place here, but this is not really much of a negative because frankly the hotel is pretty central to everything. Once you get beyond the confines of the surrounding streets and get onto the waterfront, you will get all the views you need. Kuching is pretty small and it is easy to walk to many of the areas of interest from the hotel, the riverside is just a few minutes walk and the Top Spot food court (one of the best places to eat in Kuching) is literally around the corner.
The stay is as comfortable as you can get at this relatively modest budget and surpasses itself in terms of quality, comfort and value. The rooms are squarely in the mid range bracket of most backpacker budgets but the quality is far beyond that, and given the fact that Sarawak in general is so cheap your budget can afford to take a little hit on your accommodation.
The rooms are all decorated with the hotels signature Lime theme and have a lot of nice touches. They are large, spotlessly clean and have all the conveniences you could want, and the staff are unfailingly polite and friendly. They really have maintained the intimate, friendly service of a small guesthouse within the luxury and trappings of a large hotel.
After the quick and efficient check in, my first evening in Kuching was spent at the hotels very own Limelight lounge, initially for the complimentary drink but later for the food and the ambience. It has a feel of a modern, chic bar in a larger cosmopolitan city and the cool breeze from the balcony overlooking the city is a perfect tonic after a flight and a long hot day. I wouldn’t take every meal here, as there are just too many other amazing foodie options to choose from within easy walking distance, but that shouldn’t detract from how amazing this restaurant actually is and it is well worth coming up here at least once during your stay. In fact, even if I wasn’t staying here I would consider coming to this restaurant at least one night during my trip.
This family owned hotel is a prime example of how boutique hotels are outpacing the larger luxury chain brands in every category and offering a far better experience at a far better price.
I had an amazing time in Kuching, and staying at the Lime Tree hotel was a major part of that. I would stay here again in a heartbeat and would recommend it to anyone who is visiting Kuching or passing through.
The Lime Tree Hotel is located at Lot 317, Jalan Abell, 93100, Kuching, Sarawak.
Ready to book? The Lime Tree Hotel website can be found here.