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“A stunning tropical hideaway” 5 of 5 stars
Review of JapaMala Resort - By Samadhi

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JapaMala Resort - By Samadhi
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Kampung Lanting, Tioman Island, Pulau Tioman 26800, Malaysia   |  
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Luxe for Less
Ranked #2 of 17 Hotels in Pulau Tioman
Hong Kong
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
“A stunning tropical hideaway”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013

Judging by the title, I'm sure you can see I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here. Kicking off our tour of Malaysia in KL for one night, we found it to be a nice modern city, however the terrible traffic meant that things didn't go so smoothly so the following day, we were relieved to arrive by propeller plane at the tiny landing strip and airport in the tropical paradise of Tioman Island. There to meet us at the airport was Belle and we were immediately whisked off by speedboat to the Japamala resort. On the speedboat ride, we were given a refreshing iced lemongrass drink - a very nice touch in such a warm country.

We arrived 10 minutes later, disembarked at the over water Italian restaurant - Mandi Mandi and walked along the wooden bridge towards the small reception area serving the 13 villa resort. Check-in was handled very smoothly by Aruni, the resident manager and our suitcases were promptly wheeled to our 2 bedroomed villa - the "Penghulu's House". Perfect for families like us, the villa is set aside right by the beach with its own garden and plunge pool overlooking the sea.

The next few days were spent lazing by the hotels main pool (Although small, the pool suited us just fine - we spent many afternoons on the shaded daybeds) soon to be replaced by a fabulous new pool with a stream trickling into it and a view out to sea. During the cooler times of the day (Morning and late afternoon) we went snorkeling in the water just off the resort's beach and embarked on kayaking trips to neighbouring beaches and hamlets. There was no need for us to leave the confines of the resort over the entire duration of our 3 day stay.

Mealtimes were held at both restaurants - Mandi-Mandi and Tamarind. Mandi-Mandi is located on stilts over the water, accessible by a wooden bridge. With seats hanging over the ocean and serving delicious Italian food, this is a great place for sun downers and dinners. The pasta and risotto dishes are excellent - the tuna and capers pasta and the seafood risotto both come highly recommended by us.
The main restaurant, Tamarind serves South-East Asian cuisine. The sister restaurant of Tamarind in KL, this place is sure to impress. We loved all the dishes we had here - and we had several, but the ones that we loved most of all were the mouth-watering Thai prawn and papaya salad, the Thai green curry and the chicken and glass noodle soup. The Tom Yam Gung soup was absolutely delicious but the immense level of spice took us all by surprise - a perfect dish for spice aficionados though.

Service was absolutely fantastic and we would like to give a special thank you to Belle who handled our arrival and departure as well as many of our requests during our stay, Mike who served us several times at the Tamarind restaurant and showed us our rooms, Ben who served us at the Mandi-Mandi restaurant and Aruni - the hotels charismatic resident hotel manager who really managed the whole resort effortlessly and smoothly. The little touches such as the homemade chocolates and handwritten cards in our rooms following turn-down service, the welcome drinks, the "goodbye" cookies, the complimentary in-room teas and coffees and the daily snacks really impressed us and certainly went a long way.

Snorkeling was the highlight of our stay - having lived in Asia for decades, we have been to several countries known for their snorkeling (including Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Burma) but the coral we saw off the beach at the Japamala was by far the best we've seen. We spent mornings and afternoons swimming with large turtles (Rarely seen - during our stay we saw 3), stingrays and even a reef shark (Harmless creatures - we saw one from around 5 metres away swimming around the coral). The coral was teeming alive with fish featuring beautiful colours and patterns - it was a truly magical sight.

Overall, we were thoroughly impressed with the Japamala resort - for the majority of us, it was the most special place we have stayed in having ticked all boxes and surpassed our expectations and we would certainly love to come back some day!

Room Tip: If you're here for a romantic getaway, make it memorable and pay the premium for a "ocean v...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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355 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (73)
Date | Rating
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English first
Vienna, Austria
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013

This hotel ist really unique. It ist smal which gives it a familary touch. The staff ist very friedly and courteous. The rooms are well equiped and very clean (no insects or bugs in the room). Also the food was very good - we loved the risotto at Mandis. Prices are ok. The restaurants are not cheap but affordable and offer a real good quality.
We had a treetop-chalet wich was in the jungle but also had a fantastique view to the sea.
The only thing to complain about are the mosquitos. So bring enough insect repellent!
At the moment there are some constructions (they are building an new pool) but we were not disturbed at all.
We loved our stay here and will definitely come back.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2013

It's my 3rd time here and I have to say that Japamala still does not fail to impress me. The staffs are as friendly and attentive as I remembered them to be. The resort is absolutely stunning, they have a new swimming pool overlooking the beach which is gorgeous. I will certainly be going back there again real soon.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Puchong
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

Spend 2 nites at the resort and boy it was a totally relaxing experience, Penghulu, one of the biggest room available is unbelievable! Overall, staffs are friendly and ever helpful.

No fitness centre, but if you are a nature lover, be in for surprise workout in the jungle behind the resort. Kid's activities is limited but once your kids are confined to a safe and clean private beach, no complaint here.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lijiang - China
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2013

No words to say how I enjoyed stay in Japamala Resort - Malaysia. Experiences stay in Jungle will be the best place for people who like to escape from city.Design of rooms, staffs, food all match with the place.
Thank you Ms. La and Team, to take care of me during stay there.

I will be back sooner!!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

Everything you hope for in a boutique island experience...

Rooms are lovely, set into the jungle hillside, surrounded by wildlife. You will see (very naughty!) monkeys, possibly a HUGE monitor lizard, so many colorful butterflies, fish, and birds.

The design aesthetic of the property is exceptional - very nice authentic detailing, lovely use of lots of deep wood, spacious and comfortable. Well laid out to take full advantage of the natural setting, a beautiful walk out a long pier to an area for cocktails/snacks. Great framing of views and use of paths to create a sense of place and space.

In case it rains, not to worry. Your room is a terrific cozy retreat, there is a library with books (and a little python who lives in one of the rafters, sleeping all day), tons of video to checkout to your room, and lots of nooks to hang out in. (Suggestion to the resort: a few decks of cards on hand would be a great addition.)

Beds are on the firm side but very comfortable, I slept like a baby in my peaceful Hillside Sarang. The rooms are designed to take advantage of the natural setting, with views from small patios looking out over the ocean, shower walls of glass to enjoy the lush jungle surrounding you.

Open air cabanas on the beach with lounge chairs, large overhangs for shade, icy bottles of water refreshed constantly. The beach is small but plenty of space to feel uncrowded given there are only 13 bungalows on the property. 3 thatched roof cabanas are supplemented by cushions on the sand if you like them.

Staff are beyond gracious, friendly, accommodating. Atmosphere is very intimate as there are only 13 bungalows. And the place seems to attract cool people - we enjoyed interacting with other guests by the beach or over the open air scrumptious breakfasts.

Although I didn't experience it myself due to other priorities, other guests told me there is world class snorkeling in this area. We enjoyed jumping in off the pier and saw some fish by the coral head nearby. You can borrow snorkels from the staff or they can arrange expeditions. There are 2 kayaks on the property you can borrow any time, we really enjoyed easy paddles down the coastline to explore.

The food is very very good, especially for such a small property. Very large menu of scrumptious Thai & Vietnamese food, Italian food out on the pier, and staff was even kind enough to arrange a candlelit dinner on the beach for our party. Cocktails at the perfectly comfortable lounge areas on the pier were divine, no better way to start the evening.

Had several spa treatments, in the most relaxing open air rooms nestled into the jungle - unwinding to the sound of waves crashing below is a dream come true.

All this in the most rustic and secluded atmosphere, a wonderful break from the sterility and globalization of most luxury hotels.

I will definitely be returning.

Cons? Rooms are extremely clean and well maintained but you may see a few ants from time to time, wood sometimes shows age & use... to us, this felt like character and home but if you prefer a very sterile environment, this is not the place for you.

Room Tip: Hillside Sarang was excellent, loved the daybed by the plunge pool. Request higher rooms for better...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2013

From the moment you get onto the jetty, your journey of discovery begins ... I have been to Japamala twice already and cant wait to plan my next trip back. An ideal place to relax, unwind and reconnect with nature.

If you are looking for a place to de-stress or spend quality time with your loved one, look no further- this boutique hotel truly is a gem.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about JapaMala Resort - By Samadhi

Address: Kampung Lanting, Tioman Island, Pulau Tioman 26800, Malaysia
Phone Number:
Location: Malaysia > Pahang > Rompin District > Pulau Tioman
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Pulau Tioman
#1 Spa Hotel in Pulau Tioman
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — JapaMala Resort - By Samadhi 4.5*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
JapaMala is Tioman Island’s only boutique resort, and one-of-a-kind in Malaysia. This small and exclusive resort of 13 rooms is hidden amidst 11 acres of lush tropical rainforest. A one-village-one-resort property, JapaMala has its own private and quiet beach. While some charming Malay village-style villas and chalets dot the jungle and beachfront, others nestle in the most breath-taking spots.Best described as an ‘eco-luxe’ resort, JapaMala transcends the experience of living close to nature by redefining it with a touch of luxury. Designed by natural streams, steep cliffs, towering boulders and where no trees are felled, the entire resort borrows from nature its elements to offer an exceptional sense of paradise, freedom from the real world. While serious relaxation is an elusive commodity for many, one can truly succumb to the healing effects JapaMala imparts through its holistic blend of sumptuous gourmet treats, intimacy between man and nature, unique spa experiences and truly unprecedented hospitality. Many say JapaMala is not just a place, but a state of mind. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Japamala Hotel Pulau Tioman
Japamala Resort
Japamala Pulau Tioman

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