It started badly.
Despite organising a shuttle to pick us up from the Labuan ferry, after waiting an hour and a half... still nothing.
Ringing the hotel wasn't much better - they had no record of the contact, even though they sent a confirmation of the shuttle booking. Having clearly stated that there were 11 people, they sent a shuttle without room for 11 passengers, then stopped on the way to pick up a staff member who had been out shopping - who got a comfy seat while we, the customer, were asked to double up on seats - without seatbelts.
Arriving at the hotel at 1.30pm, we were told that we couldn't check in until 3pm, this in contradiction to their posted check-in time of 2pm. The couldn't find my Agoda booking, even though I gave them the reference number and showed them the copy on my tablet. As it was, 3pm was wildly optimistic - I sat in reception until 5pm, waiting... which was quite an experience on its own of how shockingly this hotel is run. With four or so front-of-house staff, they don't seem able to cope with the most minor of requests.
One example - a family with a small child came and asked about the beach - was it safe. After much discussion among themselves, the receptionist replied that it wasn't - jellyfish and something else she wasn't able to describe - this at a hotel that advertises a "private beach to make your stay truly unforgettable."
After finally being given the key and told no, I couldn't have a second key for my partner, I was left to find the room on my own (they have SO MANY staff... but no-one to help with bags or show the way) I fumbled around tying to work out the door lock in the dark corridor (no lights - no light switch). Eventually the nice cleaning lady showed me how the door worked.
The room was a pleasant surprise - spacious, airy, light. On first inspection the furnishings were nice - until you noticed the missing bureau door, the non-functional lamps, the balcony doors that didn't close properly - which became a problem. The resort is quite windy in the afternoons and evenings and the wind literally howls through the gaps in the balcony doors - after a few hours it felt like I was in the middle of a ghost movie... very draining. Ringing reception to get some maintenance was a futile gesture. It was the weekend, apparently.
The bathroom is lovely and large, but the huge spa bath doesn't work - it only has cold water and the spa function is broken. There is no ventilation in the bathroom and the louver doors ensure your various aromas are shared. There was inadequate toilet paper on our arrival - less than 1/4 of a roll. Calling reception to ask for more was an exercise in Malay>English relations.
Our friends had other choices of failure: Infestation of giant ants (necessitation a relocation), non-functioning fridge, no hot water, non-functioning bath, no TV channels... but not one of us had a fully working, clean, supplied room.
The bed is advertised as a king - it may be king width, but it is certainly not king length - I could touch top-to-bottom (I am just under 6'). So sleeping necessitated angled accommodation.
But all of this is just a bit of fussiness compared to the real problems - the staff and the food. Both of which are completely sub-par.
We were part of a party of more than 20 who were taking the advantage of a weekend break, so we decided to meet up at the bar, where we were to see first-hand just how badly something as simple as buying a drink can be botched.
To order a drink, you go to the bar, naturally. You ask the bar person for the (limited) beverage of choice... they look at you blankly. You slow down your rapid-fire English and pronounce clearly the drink you require. They look blankly and point you to the end of the bar where there is a separate section with a computer terminal. Slide across the bar to the computer terminal and the person there, also with limited English, takes your order.... this takes 4 minutes, for a single beer, while they hunt and peck at their computer. Then, they give the order to the person you initially spoke to, who gets the drink. Average time of order, for one or two drinks that don't have to be made - 5-6 minutes... every single time. If you order bar food from the limited menu, this can stretch to ten minutes... or more. Every single time.
To say the staff were badly trained would be to indicate that there was some training. It doesn't seem so. It also looks like the computer system they use at the bar is completely inadequate - why do you need a ticket receipt system for buying a beer? It is a cash transaction. I guess it is because it takes so long to get from order to receipt, they need some way of keeping those three or four staff occupied (the bar was never busy...).
The pool table in the bar was popular - badly maintained, tired, poorly repaired. They have the cheek to charge $3 per game, but with almost no other entertainment other than the pool, it got some heavy action.
On to dinner - they had the ubiquitous Asian buffet (at $50 per head!!!) which looked poor, so we opted for a-la-carte. The menus we received were the same as the bar snacks menu - those laminated, much-washed computer-printed volumes of varying fonts advertising chicken wings, burgers, fries, etc. - that was the restaurant selection. And the joy didn't stop there. We were four adults, two children sitting at two separate tables. We two got our meals in only around 40 minutes, while our friends still hadn't been served by the time we had finished eating... so we left them and their children and retired to the bar. It was only half an hour or so before they were finished... their extremely difficult order in the almost empty restaurant? 4 burgers and fries.
This set the tone for the rest of the three days - food was incredibly slow at coming, patchy in quality, sometimes it never arrived, often it wasn't what you ordered but you ate it anyway, you were charged for food you didn't order or asked to pay twice for food you did order and had already paid for. And the quality of the food is really, really bad. Breakfast is a joke. They ran out of nearly everything at some stage during the weekend - noodles, for example, in an Asian hotel... how can you run out of noodles? Ten minutes in a car and you could be restocked to sink a battleship.
The restaurant staff are as useless as the rest of the hotel. Knowing that there were 'issues' with availability of food, my wife and I asked specifically if there was fish and chips available... the girl walked off for about five minutes (literally) and eventually returned to confirm that fish and chips were available. So we ordered. Fifteen minutes later some other waiting staff comes to tell us that there is no fish and chips because they have no breadcrumbs. They have fish, they have chips, they have salad... but no breadcrumbs.
This set the tone for the whole weekend - there is no other option locally, you have to travel the 15 or so miles into Labuan to get any other food and with the incredibly inefficient and unreliable shuttle service, you took your life in your hands.
Finally retiring to bed at nine pm (nothing to do except hang around the bar), our sleep was disturbed by some ridiculously loud disco starting up at the beach - which went on until 11.30. It had a total of 8 customers but probably disturbed a hundred - families and parents that were woken up and subjected to this violation for three hours, despite repeated calls to reception.
There was so much more, but it is becoming tiresome to relate - suffice it to say, the next time we need a weekend break, it will be Miri by car, never, ever, Palm Beach in Labuan by boat.
To sum up:
Awful, awful service from lovely, smiley, happy people.
Shocking food - really, really bad. Ineptly prepared and delivered (often left sitting on a counter getting cold, no-one bothers to find the customer that ordered it - we went looking).
Inadequate facilities - so many things weren't working or unavailable (the Spa, for example...that the hotel is named after... 'no have').
Poor maintenance - broken doors, non-functioning baths, dirty shower stalls, filthy swimming pool.
Never, ever, ever again.
The only tip I can give is to stay at the Grand Dorsett instead.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.