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Reviewed 4 April 2018

I stayed here from 1 April 2018 and I checked out on 3 April 2018 in morning time. I wanna share my experience here with other travellers. There's pro and cons but I will write in detail.

The location - 1st Home located in the middle of Semporna town in front of Kuree Hut and just beside local night market that sells fried noodle, mee bakso and grilled chicken meat. The exact location of 1st Home is at Haji Herman building at Jalan Panggung Wayang Lama. It is a new building painted in white and grey. You can find 1st Home easily at Google Maps and other online map app. There's a bundle shops nearby. If you can find Kuree Hut you can find 1st Home because both are just next to each other. There's a lot of retails shops and restaurants (chinese restaurants and Muslims restaurants) around the area. There's also a 24 hour retail shop nearby called Anugerah 24. You can buy prepaid reload, cigarette, instant noodles and canned drinks there just in case if you are arrived in the middle of the night or at early morning just like I did (at 4 am from Kota Kinabalu by bus). 1st Home located at the first floor of the building.

The staff - they are are females, they speak English and Malay fluently. Aishah is the one who handled by online booking and she is the one who greeted my at the time I arrived at 6 AM in early morning. I only saw 3 staffs. They do all the job from front office to housekeeping. This is a small place and still new, so I understand everybody need to be multitasking. Never had a chance to meet their boss.

The room - I booked for Deluxe Queen Bed with bathroom. But there is no tv in the room, no curtains and no hooks to hang towel or other clothes in the bathroom - for me these are the things that really annoys me and that are what I didn't like about this place. I paid for a premium private room (120 Malaysian Ringgit per day and i stayed there for 2 days) but no tv inside the room. To watch tv you have to go out from your room to common area (also referred as the living room area) and watch tv there with other guests. So if other guest want to watch other program on the other channel so you have to talk to them nicely or argue with them. Some guest talks loudly in the living room while you are watching tv - which annoys me. You have to share the tv. There is no way you can enjoy watching tv inside your room in your pajamas (or in your own comfort) because the management does not install any tv in the room I stayed. The wall is thin too. You can hear what your next door is talking or when they are laughing in the middle of the night at the time you try to sleep. Lucky for me the guest in the room next to my room checked out early so there is no noises from the next room. But, when they are still in the room I can hear their voice talking in Chinese. The room is very clean, looks new and very comfortable. Everything is new. My room is close to backside veranda where you can hang your wet clothes and towel.

The shower - water pressure is OK. Except that water pressure is very low at morning time until 7:30 am, maybe because a lot of people use shower at the same time in the building. There is also external shared shower and toilets for guests who stayed in bunk beds or dorm rooms. Water heater works very well. I really enjoyed the shower except there is no hooks inside the bathroom. So I have to put my towel at the window frame which makes it becomes dirty because of the dusts at the window frame.

The common area - this is what i like most about 1st Home. Resting and relaxing at the common are really makes me feel like at home. You can sit comfortably at the grey couch. There's a free flow of 3 in 1 coffee packs, instant noodles, free bread and jams which you can eat anytime, there is also a toaster, spoons (include tea spoons), tissue box, coffee mugs and cookies - all you can eat anytime. Breakfast provided here at common area until 10 am. They cooked fried mee (also fried noodle) together with boiled eggs. You can ask for "telur goreng mata lembu" during breakfast and the staff will cook it for your. If you want to smoke, you can smoke outside. They prepared an open area for people to sit and smoke. You can read books and newspaper in the common are while enjoying your coffee. During my stay, 1st Home not so crowded so I can sit for long hours at the common area to read my book and enjoying my coffee. You can recharge your electronic device here. There's more than 3 electric sockets available for you to use. If you don't want to sit on the couch, you can sit at the high chairs and eat your food at the table attached to the wall.

The inside area - overall area is so clean, very neat and looks like new. They provide slippers for you to wear while in 1st Home.

Payment - during my stay, 1st Home only accept cash payment. I really upset because I prefer digital payments either by using credit card, debit card, PayPal or Alipay. I am afraid my cash is not enough to pay for my room. Lucky for me I bring enough cash with me so I can pay right in time. But, in my opinion the management should add online digital payment options so guests can pay easily in cashless way such as by using online banking from mobile device. If you don't have enough cash you have to go to nearest ATM machine which is about a few blocks 3 to 5 minutes walk from 1st Home) at Maybank Semporna or BSN Semporna. If you want to withdraw cash money from the ATM better do it in early morning because the ATM machine starts to get crowded around 7:30 am onwards until late evening. I don't know why this happened, but the staff told me there's only 2 commercial banks at Semporna. No other banks there - no international banks either! Semporna is a small rural town. This place still retains its old building and it is less developed compared to other towns in Sabah such as Tuaran, Papar, Lahad Datu or Keningau. So if you're planning to go to Semporna for vacation, better bring enough cash for your stay. Most accommodation here at Semporna prefers cash payments.

Overall experience - i really satisfied with my stay here at 1st Home all because of its location. I didn't go to the islands like chinese tourists and other Peninsular Malaysian tourists did (yes, there are so many Chinese tourists at Semporna and people go to Semporna because they want to go to the beautiful islands such as Sipadan, Mabul, Kapalai, Mataking or Bohey Dulang) but I do enjoy walking around the town and taking pictures for my personal collection.

If you want to stay at 1st Home, better book this place early about 1 or 2 weeks before you arrive at Semporna because they fill up fast especially by Chinese tourists and tourists from Peninsular Malaysia. In my experience I was very lucky there was a vacant room for me to stay at the time other hotels and accommodation around Semporna town already full house.

There is no sea view when you stay at 1st Home because this property located at the heart of the town and not near the sea. If you want sea view hotel better book a room at Seafest Hotel or Sipadan Inn. It is not a trendy hotel and not luxury hotel.

For me 1st Home is more like hostel experience although they didn't use the word 'hostel' to explain what type of accommodation they are . Being here feels like home especially when you are at their common area.

For me my sleep quality here is good. No noise at night, only at day time because there is a bazaar and stalls near the property. 1st Home is located at busy area during day time.

For me this is not a budget hotel, it is more to a mid-range homestay with premium rooms, also suitable for traveller who are looking for hostel style or backpacker style accommodation in the middle of Semporna town.

Date of stay: April 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
4  Thank EthanHuntNeo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2018 via mobile

I think we couldn’t be more lucky. Arriving at night in semporna, not knowing what to expect of the town, was a bit of a letdown. Trash everywhere, smelly, fish leftovers. Stray dogs and cats. It is horrible what the locals do with such a place.
But as soon as we met the keeper, we forgot about all of that. The sweetest lady in the world. It was clean. There are shower. Toilets. A living room with fresh hot or cold water. You can take a coffee or a tea. Breakfast included. We had noodles one time and baked eggs the other time. There’s toast and some things you can put on them. Everything is basic but perfect.
Thank you for letting us stay!

Date of stay: February 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
3  Thank Gert P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2018 via mobile
Google Translation

Date of stay: March 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC