In a word this hotel is OVERRATED. It is not five star.
Gimmicks such as the ferry to the private island and golf cart from the marina to the reception area try to give the impression of luxury resort but it was soon apparent this was just a facade to an overpriced, average quality hotel.
First up, travelling with my wife and baby daughter on our first overseas holiday together we specifically requested a room with a separate living area to allow one of us to sleep in as our daughter is an early riser, and we agreed to pay a premium for this above the price of a standard room. We were checked into a room which was quite spacious and had an open plan lounge and dining but no door separating this area from the bedroom despite our request?? We raised this with the hotel and was advised that we were given the wrong information as none of their rooms have this layout. We told them that the room we were booked into provided no benefit to us as the there was no separation between the living and bedroom and asked if we could change to a standard room. The hotel advised we could move into a smaller room without a lounge but as we had already checked in a refund on the difference in room rates was not possible. Unhappy with this level of customer service we contacted our travel agent who agreed with our position and took up discussions with the hotel on our behalf.
With two days of our 5 day stay left to go we were advised by our travel agent that the hotel was willing to move us into a room which met our requirements at no extra charge. When we approached the reception about this we were advised this was not possible!!
The finish of the room was certainly not five star. Really basic things like rough painting adjacent to the airconditioning unit and exposed fans covers do not give a good impression and detract from the overall appearance of the room. Also while recovering some of my daughters toys from under the bed I discovered exposed electrical wiring from what appears to be the room below.
The food in the restaurant was only OK. (I should note one meal was so bad it had to be returned, but otherwise it was acceptable) Unfortunately this is the only place to eat in the resort. There are options available on the main island but the hotel management have made it near impossible to eat dinner elsewhere. The main strip of restaurants is approx 15-20min from the ferry port by taxi. Most restaurants open at 7pm and the last ferry back (with having to pay an extortionate fee) is 7:45pm so basically you would have about 20min to eat before you would need to leave to get back to the island in time.
The service in restaurant was slow. One evening we were the first guests to sit down when it opened for dinner service, then having to wait over 25min for a kids meal. For anyone reading this that has kids this is a long time to wait for a tired, hungry toddler.
The service of the hotel in general was also quite inefficient. There was a permanent light on above the staircase to our room. At night this shined straight through the bathroom window and through the glassed door between the bathroom and our bedroom. On the first evening we called and asked for this light to be turned off. 3 phone calls and two visit later the light was finally switched off. The next night the light was back on again requiring us to go through the same carry on.
Upon checking out I asked the reception how I could provide feedback on stay. I was advised that I would be sent a survey to complete via email. I’m still waiting. Before boarding the ferry to leave our friendly golf cart driver asked how our stay was. He was the only employee during the entire visit to ask us this. I have no idea if the hotel had a manager as I certainly was never approached during our stay.
A week or two after returning home from our trip our travel agent had obtained a copy of the room layout from the hotel for the room we should have been staying in. This layout DID have a door to separate the living and bedroom but was completely different to the room we stayed in. Despite forwarding images of the room we were in the hotel refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing and therefore any compensation/ refund for the problem during our stay. To our travel agent’s credit, they refunded the difference of the suite out of their own pocket.
I will never stay in a Taj hotel and will recommend all friends, family to do the same to avoid disappointment.