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“"Overpromise & underdeliver" - a 4 star, not coming close to a 5 star” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Vivanta by Taj Rebak Island, Langkawi

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Vivanta by Taj Rebak Island, Langkawi
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   P.O.Box 125, Langkawi 07007, Malaysia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #9 of 98 Hotels in Langkawi
Oslo, Norway
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“"Overpromise & underdeliver" - a 4 star, not coming close to a 5 star”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2013

Stayed 6 nights at Rebak Island Resort in March/April 2013, together with friends. I will try to balance this review, to make it as useful as possible.

Getting there: Airport pick-up and jetty to the private island where Rebak Island Resort is located, went seamlessly. Great service score for this part of our stay. Very helpful staff.

Check-in: Greeted by nice staff at reception and offered cold refreshments. However, the check-in took way to long. Especially for staff not having that much going on.. The check-in took so long that we went to lunch, during which the receptionist came over with our keys and message that our bags was being delivered to our rooms. 40 mins later, no bags had appeared in the room and I had to go back to the reception where the bags was still waiting to be transported to our rooms. And beside the bags, two guys working as bag handlers were standing looking into thin air... Not so great service score for this part, as you can imagine!

Rooms: Not at all what they look like in the pictures. Like I mentioned, we were traveling with friends and got to see 2 different rooms. None of which resembled the pictures we had seen on the resort site. That said, the rooms were not all bad. Spaceous and nice rooms, but with a need for a refurbishment of the bathrooms and air-con (working, but making all sorts of crazy noise).

To top this, the outside ceiling fell down on our terrace due to poor maintenance. Had we been sitting there when the big wooden plated came falling, we would have been seriously hurt. We looked around at other houses, and more seem to need some maintenance work. Once it happened, the staff was quick to getting it fixed, but they turned our terrace and entrance into a building site for a couple of days. The ceiling just does not come falling down on a 5 star resort - sorry, but it doesn´t!

Prices: As this is the only hotel and commercial centre on this private island, the prices demanded are very high! Although you would expect -and accent - a 5 star hotel to be pricey, the product delivered must be aligned with this. And this is not the case. Although food is good, it is not THAT good. And as the resort claims to have several different restaurants, you will be disappointed finding out that this is in fact just different outlets for the SAME MENU (and yes, it does not change during the week - it remains the exact same for all the different outlets).

Facilities: See above comments regarding restaurants. The dinner buffets were actually really good, although not corresponding with the prices. The general service level is good, but slow. The beach is not much to write home about. The tide transforms the beach into a pond, where you can not swim for half the day. And for the other half of the day, the water is all but clear.
Apart from this, the beach is nice enough and the beachside swimming pool is nice and offers a swim-in bar. Especially great for children!

The resort has two tennis courts of relatively mediocre/poor standard. The concrete painted courts do not accommodate experienced players or those looking for more that merely knocking balls around. There is also a squash court, but I did not visit this.

Water-jets can be hired and is recommended to check out the island from different perspectives. This also applies to the kayaks made available to hotel guests. Great stuff.

The resort spa is also a nice experience. Not to be missed.

The resort surroundings are very nice, with a jungle covered hills. The hotel organizes 1 hour walks two times a week, but this is an overrated offering. You walk for 20 mins on a paved road, while you spend the remaining 40 mins listening to stories about the local fauna. Interesting, but not recommended for those looking for morning jungle trekking. You will be disappointed.

There are other activities organized. For instance fish feeding. This is just tragic. They feed fish in a small - on-land - pond, where the water is dirty and the excitement quickly dies. Did not get to check the lizard feeding, but saw a few lizards around the resort.

Conclusion: The hotel facilities probably lives up to a 4-star level at it´s best days, but is nowhere near coming close to a 5-star. And that´s for facilities alone. Factoring in the total experience, it might actually come closer to a 3-star. But the island in it self and the resort as a whole will in sum end up with a 4-star rating.

If you choose Rebak, I would recommend limiting your stay to max 4 nights. After all, it´s just not that good or that exiting.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2013

This resort is meant for rich and different kind of travellers who would like to just bask under the sun, eat and relax. However, we are of the opposite type, we like to see how people live, eat the local food and visit as many places as we can. Thus, we felt trapped there.

The pros.
1. beautiful island which is secluded and isolated, ideal for guests who want stress-free and undisturbed vacation
2. Staff: very courteous and friendly

The cons.
1. Food:
- Pricey; a buffet dinner per pax will cost you RM110, lunch- RM5 lesser. The a la carte's price was exorbitant; a plate of chicken biryani (RM53), lamb biryani (around RM75), salad with local mozarella cheese (RM48)
- Tasteless: it caters for foreign guests (Western food) more and even an Indian dish like sambar was a bit bland. However, the fresh fruit juice is a saving garce.
2. Boat service: the last boat is around 7:00 p.m something which is too early to get your dinner, thus you're stuck with their resort's. However, you can buy your provision before you land there.
3. The water is not that crystal clear and you can't do much swimming during low tide (really really low). Beaches in the main Langkawi Island are better. The sewerage system is questionable.
4. The room is nice but the bed isn't comfortable.

Room Tip: 1. Choose the room facing the sea 2. Buy especially food stuffs before you go there 3. Make a p...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manila
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2013

I am not even sure where to start, but I think I will start by saying we feel this hotel is an embarrassment to the Taj Group’s name!! We live and travel in Southeast Asia frequently and this has to be one of the worst hotels we have stayed in for many reasons. There is NO WAY this hotel should be given a 4 or 5 star rating – it barely qualifies for a 2.5 or 3 star rating at the most. We were so disappointed, we decided to also send our review to Agoda and Expedia in addition to Trip Advisor in the hopes you will all adjust their star rating more appropriately. I may even send it to the Taj Groups corporate office in Mumbai.

To begin, we were not met at the airport which was included in our reservation; we had to ask the airport information desk to call the hotel for us (and were told that happens frequently). When they finally showed up our name was not written on the placard and the placard was so old the hotel’s name was not even visible!! Once we finally took the boat and arrived at the dock on Rebak Island there was no one there to greet us or to tell us what to do or where to go. Our luggage was placed in the hot sun and we found a shady place to stand until an electric cart finally came by. We had to ask them to load our luggage and take us to the lobby. All the way to the lobby you could see how run down the hotel grounds and buildings were. The furniture in the lobby looked very worn and the table we were seated at had a huge chunk of wood broken off the side! A manager by the name Ms Pantea was in the lobby and we explained to her what had happened up to that point and how unhappy we were. She had nothing but excuses and barely apologized, stating she hoped our stay there would make up for it. We never saw or heard from her again!! – Unlike the lovely hotel we stayed at in Penang where the GM was visible each and every morning at breakfast, talking with the guests making sure their stay was enjoyable. During our stay we received two letters thanking us for staying there and hoping we were enjoying ourselves. They were signed by Maureen – Senior Guest Service Associate and Sandip Mukherjee – General Manager. We never met them – we saw no one walking around that even looked like they were in charge!

Attention to fine details was nowhere to be found: different towels were left in the room each day so we had to call housekeeping more than once; the coffee maker was located in a very inconvenient place with no spoons or sugar; the one time we used room service and asked for extra silverware none was sent; the tiles were falling off roofs of the units which we could clearly see sitting on our balcony; two of three wooden blinds over the bathtub window were peeling and could not be opened or closed; the food was mediocre; the internet connection in the rooms which was free was very poor; our deluxe sea view room barely had a view as the trees had not been trimmed in quite some time; there was little shade by the pool which was exceedingly warm and not at all refreshing or inviting.

The photos on the websites we found must be incredibly old, maybe this resort used to look like some of those photos, but certainly not now! The 4 star hotel we stayed at in Penang for almost half the price was hands down better in every way. If we hadn’t prepaid our entire stay we would have left. This hotel is in need of a huge amount of TLC, the entire staff needs to be retrained, the food needs to be improved, and a new GM that is out, visible, and speaking with the hotel guests on a regular basis is desperately needed. The only positives we can say for this hotel is the hornbill birds were great to see and the Malaysian iced Teh tarik in the restaurant was great. We would not recommend this hotel to anyone.

Room Tip: We do NOT recommend staying here!
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013

Rebak Island Resort is a lovely holiday experience: beautiful location, attentive and friendly staff, excellent food, and well-maintained rooms and facilities. Our room was spacious, clean, and perfectly maintained during our stay. Staff frequently referred to us by name (we felt like celebrities) and were unfailingly gracious and helpful. The pool was wonderful and the beach just picture-perfect. If you are looking for a relaxing, unhurried and stress-free holiday, then Rebak Island Resort is the perfect location.

Room Tip: If you book your reservation via the Rebak Island Resort website you will often find special deals...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Viti Levu, Fiji
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

The staff was courteous and helpful, and the many amenities and extras were TOP. The room was very nice and nicely furnished. This place was just as wonderful as we remembered it. The front desk were very kind and helpful. We found this hotel to be a great value for the price, location and abundant amenities.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

Rebak island resort is perfect for relaxation and finding peace of mind. We spent few days of our honeymoon there and it was AMAZING. Lots of nice activities on the island and heavily recommend it for anybody.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Singapore
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

Where do I start? We stayed from 27th March to 1st April. I paid MYR3690 for 5 nights (approx USD USD270 a night). The hotel isn't cheap.

Overall, Rebak Island is a fairly large island off Langkawi (approx 10-15 mins by boat). However, the hotel is located in a small part of the island and the you are advised not to go wandering off in the rest of the island because of snakes etc. As a result, you dont get the feeling of being secluded or privacy. Also, the island, sea, and vegetation is in no way different from Langkawi, so why stay on an island.

Food - given that you are on an island, you expect to eat in the hotel. There is only one restaurant. When we first arrived all but one of our mains arrived and we were told by the server that he had sent back one of the mains to be cooked using fresh vegetable - I didnt know whether to appreciate the wonderful caring service or shocked that the chef would use ingredients that were 2 days old. On another occassion, two mains arrived together and the third took another 30 minutes but there was no apology from the staff. The next day we ordered Indian food which was sickeningly rich. The only ingredient used was cream. On another occassion we ordered Pizza and Lasagne both of which came with oil floating on the top. When my wife informed the servers, they thanked us and said they would let chef know. Funny that they didnt think it neccessary to apologise to us. The breakfasts were just average. Terrible coffee, very poor quality of food. However, the fresh juices were great. But hey - who goes on holiday to eat.

Rooms - The rooms are very old, the flooring outside our room was filthy. The toilet has leaking taps. The shower again doesnt drain properly. The symbols on the electrical console have rubbed off which leaves one guessing as to which button controls which device or light. The bed was uncomfortable so that we didnt get a good nights sleep. But hey - who goes on holiday to spend your time in the room.

Pool - The hotel has a small pool. The water in the pool was hot. Even more shocking was that the hotel did not provide shade around the pool. The umbrellas around the pool do not shade the loungers. Also, the entire pool is uncovered so the water gets very hot and kids cannot play for too long. But hey - who goes on holiday to lie around the pool.

Beach - The beach in front of the hotel is ok but not very good for swimming. But hey - who goes on holiday to swim in the sea.

Activities - we took our kids for fish feeding. We expected we would have a chance to feed fish in the sea. Instead we were taken to a pond where we were given bread to feed the Koi Carp.

Gym - The gym is a joke. It has two treadmills, an eliptical machine, stationary bike and a few free weights. One treadmill, and eliptical machine don't work. Also, the TV's dont work. The gym didnt have any mats for floor exercises (just wooden floorboards). When I asked about air-conditioning, I was told they used to have air conditioners but removed them because everyone sweats in the gym anyway!!! But hey - who goes on holiday to use a gym.

Ferry to main island. There is a ferry which goes to and from Rebak to Langkawi. The ferry runs every two hours or so and the last boat back from the main island is at 19.45. I believe there is a later boat. When I asked about the time, I was told that the hotel doesn't encourage anyone to go by boat at night because it is dangerous and that is why the boats dont run later (interestingly, they will take you any time of day or night if you pay MYR 220!!!). I am not sure why the boats don't operate every 30 minutes. In short, you can't leave when you want and return when you want. If you miss the ferry either way you have to wait approximately 2 hours for the next one. When the ferry does run they operate 2 and sometimes 3 boats at the same time. I do not understand why they can't operate more boats so that the guests wouldnt feel they are in a prison from which they can't get away. Clearly the timings have been calculated to ensure that everyone eats at the restaurant in the hotel.

I had paid a room rate which entitled me to a 15% discount on F&B. I figured it would be a good idea because we would eat and drink in the hotel. After two days we tried to eat out as much as possible. Also when checking out I was told that F&B didnt include alcoholic beverages (its their policy) even though it isnt mentioned anywhere. Also, they apply a 10% service charge on everything. Even a car booked through a hotel!!

Also, the internet didnt work the entire time. But hey - who wants to use the internet while on holiday.

We wished we had stayed at home. The happiest moment was getting on the boat to leave the hotel.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Vivanta by Taj Rebak Island, Langkawi

Address: P.O.Box 125, Langkawi 07007, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Kedah > Langkawi District > Langkawi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 98 Hotels in Langkawi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Vivanta by Taj Rebak Island, Langkawi 4*
Number of rooms: 82
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