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“Best place on Coral Bay” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Shari-La Island Resort

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Shari-La Island Resort
Coral Bay, Perhentian Island, Pulau Perhentian Kecil 20300, Malaysia   |  
Hotel amenities
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“Best place on Coral Bay”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2009

We've stayed 3 nights in the resort and we really enjoyed it.
Coral Bay is a small and very pleasant beach (compared to Long Beach on the other side of the island) with amazing sunsets!
It might be a bit too big for a honeymoon stay but the romantic beach behind the hotel and snorkling spots are excellent.
You can have cheap bbq diner on the beach every night.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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309 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
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12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2009

The resort is very well-placed just next to the jetty on Coral Bay. The rooms are built like chalets, and have a small sitting area (with chairs) next to the bedroom. The bathroom is very clean (yeah!), but there's no hot water. It normally should not be a problem as the weather is hot. But it was cold as we came back late after a night dive. There's tv and fridge, but both of them did not work. The tv had sound, but no images. The fridge was not cold at all.

The rooms are all built inland, and only a few have seaview. It's not really important to us as we spent our time diving and on the beach. There's also a small area outside the room, where you can sit and relax. The sheets were clean, but pillows had a strange smell (ok if you do not sleep face down).

One small problem was the reception. Even though we had made reservations and paid in advance, they were not able to confirm which room would be assigned to us when we reached there at 9am. They can only confirm after 2pm when all the guests had checked out. It was a problem for us as we would be out diving the whole day. It seems like they were handling rooms very ad-hoc and would give out rooms on a first come first served basis. After we came back during lunch and kept asking them, did they finally squeeze out a room for us at 1pm.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2009

Absolutely disaster . Staff doesn't speak English, chaos at the reception desk - even if you book night you have no sure that your reservation is still stands. Every day we were standing at reception desk about 3 hours waiting for the information if we have place to stay tonight or not?
Price absolutlety not adequacy to living there.

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
218 reviews 218 reviews
67 hotel reviews
Reviews in 63 cities Reviews in 63 cities
118 helpful votes 118 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2009

Stayed here for 4 nights and received some truly dreadful service.

On arrival, early in the day in order to try and get a good room, we were shown to a room as far away from the main resort as possible, and right next to towering, smelly waste tanks (really horrible!!) The verandah of the chalet was just a few feet from the tanks, how on earth they can build a chalet here and expect anyone to be happy with it is beyond me. So we asked for another chalet further away to which we received the response 'what is wrong with that one' as if they didnt know! We told them it stank, and to be fair gave us another one promptly.
It was in a better location, but on inspection of the bathroom - we found it to be quite dirty - the scum surrounding the plughole in the sink was disgusting. So we asked at midday if this could be cleaned - and were told it would be - after 4pm. So 4pm came and went, still not cleaned and it was not cleaned until we asked a further 3 TIMES, and even then not until the following day. We also had a broken shower (no hot water) which the staff subsequently admitted they knew about (all rooms are quoted as having hot showers however)
We therefore asked if some discount might be given for our first night without a properly working shower, and the response to this was that they claimed to have given us a good rate for the room anyway, and instead threatened to increase the nightly rate should we persist with our request for discount!!!
In all our years of travelling round the world (and we've been to many places) we have NEVER been subjected to such poor treatment, very unprofessional and downright rude.
Whilst the other staff were not rude like the women who spoke to us about the shower, there was a general lack of organisation running throughout the place. There seemed to be very little cohesion between staff and therefore looking back no real surprise that they couldnt even get it together to clean the bathroom properly until we had asked 4 times.
Luckily for us, we only had to put up with this for 4 nights, having spent 6 nights prior at Petani Beach - which cost 1/2 the price and was about 100 times better in every aspect.
Its not often i get so annoyed at a place we stay in, but Shari La really let us down, and i would never recommend it to anyone.
Finally, when walking through the resort (which is not beachside but instead is set back within the trees) there was a regular stench wafting through the air - was probably sewage and was really awful. They really need to get their act together and sort this out too.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
11 reviews 11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2009

We stayed at Shari La for 5 days & 4 nights in late July 2009. We didn't take any of the packages, instead we opted for the Standard room which comes with brekkie & dindin for 2 persons. In the end, I think this was a good decision on our part, because from the way we saw how the resort was run, we have serious doubts as to whether they could properly manage our itinerary if we had chosen the packages instead.

Hotel: The resort looked quite beautiful as you come in by boat from the jetty...it's like 'Wow!'...there is no doubt in my mind that Shari La is one of the nicest/most decent/proper/beautiful places to stay in Pulau Perhentian Kecil. The whole resort is made up & decorated in the style of traditional Malay kampung houses..with lots of wood. This gives the whole place a rustic & cozy look. When we stayed there, it rained 3 out of 4 nights...during those times, it felt so calming & serene there, with the steady patter of rain & the wind blowing around the trees. It was simply lovely. Certain places in the resort were also very nice & beautiful...especially certain tables at the restaurant, where you could look out on the sea & feel the wind in your hair as you enjoy your food. It was simply awesome. However, I wish I could say the same for all the other things that we experienced while we stayed there...

Rooms: This is where it all started to go wrong for us. When we got into our room for the first time (Standard Room with 1 double bed), the whole room stinked of dead fish! Simply put, the smell was unpleasant. However, we got accustomed to the smell and being so tired from our journey, we chose to put up with the smell for one night and see if it was gone in the morning. Well, it didn't so we asked the resort to give us another room..which they did quickly, but we had to move our bags & stuff ourselves, from the old room to the new one. What we couldn't understand is how come the fishy smell was there in the first place? We checked everywhere we could in the room but we didn't find the source of the bad smell. Didn't the resort's housekeeping staff at least try to find out what was causing the smell before they gave us the room? Didn't they smell it? Well...it'll always be a mystery I think. The old room also had some other problems...there were ants on the dressing table, especially when we put some drinks/food there. The bed's headboard had a plastic covering which was torn almost to pieces. The sofas in the room was badly stained. The toilet looked like it wasn't cleaned thoroughly. So, the replacement room we got was better in some aspects, but not all. The only major problem we can see with the new room is that the toilet door was cracked & broken. That's about it. The room was quite spacious & not too overly cramped. The mattress bed was quite hard but it wasn't so bad. The aircon is sufficiently cool but noisy. The satellite TV is good, so is the mini refrigerator in the room. One major gripe I had is the lack of a telephone in the room...if we had any question/requests/complaints, we had no choice but to walk all the way to the reception counter at the hotel lobby to get it settled. Other than that, everything was okay, but not great. Oh, and one important note, the hotel's housekeeping service DOES NOT clean up your room every day, you have to request them to tidy up your room every single day if you want to, which is troublesome. So, while we stayed there, we had to make up our own bed & tidy the room ourselves....but there wasn't anything we could do about the floor. So the floor went uncleaned for the 5 days we were there. We paid RM230 per night for our room, so we expected them to at least provide a housekeeping service daily to us. I mean, it's not like we're staying in a budget hotel/chalet or anything! Oh, and another major gripe...2 out of the 4 nights we were there, there was no running water!!! Can you believe it? It'd be okay throughout the day, but towards midnight, around 11PM or so, the water would simply run out! The water came on again the next day though, but it's quite bad not being able to use the toilet in case of emergencies :( We asked the hotel about this water problem, but they only had vague answers for us. It was okay the rest of the time we stayed there though, so at least that's something.

Service: Hmmm, how do we say this....the service you get at this place is quite horrible. The staffs seemed to be incompetent and slow to accommodate our requests...but some of them were quite good. However, we don't know if the bad service we got was because of the fact that we were locals. Maybe the foreigners got better service? Even if they did, it'd be discrimination...which shouldn't be happening. We are all paying the same rates/prices as they are, so we should be getting equal attention/service. The service at the reception was quite okay, although at times they could be quite inefficient & slow. One peeve that we had is that when it rained at night, and we wanted to go back to our room (which is a 5 minute walk), we asked the staff at the reception if they can give us umbrellas as it was raining very heavily. Guess what? They didn't have any umbrellas! And they didn't make any effort to help us at all! At the restaurant the service was especially bad...every day, there would be 2 waitresses working there..one of them is okay while the other one is totally hopeless and such a pain the [--]. It's like she doesn't know what she's supposed to be doing at all! When we ask her to take our order, she'd give us one type of look that makes you feel as though you're doing something wrong. I mean...what the??? Another thing, most of the staff there didn't seem to be friendly at all...if we met them while walking around, they don't greet us & say hello as is customary at other places. Perhaps, it's not so bad for foreigners...I don't know. But for locals, expect to have a hard time getting a semblance of service at this place.

The beach: Okay, the beach at Shari La is called Coral Bay or Aur Bay. It is perhaps 500m long, and is shared with several other chalets/resorts and restaurants. The sand on the beach is quite coarse and is brownish in color, so forget about white fine sandy beaches. The water there is quite clear, especially in the afternoon when the sun is shining. However, the thing that makes this beach falls short of being great is the sheer amount of dead corals/rocks that litter the seafloor :( This makes it hard for people to swim or wade in the ocean, let alone snorkel...it gets especially impossible to enjoy the beach when it is low tide. The seafloor is also kind of muddy & silty, and not sandy. The marine life on the beach is quite abundant, there's lots & lots of black sea cucumbers on the seafloor, they're soooo fat, ewww! :) I even saw a baby shark swimming in the shallow waters off the beach, which was nice. However, if you're a beach bum & would like to enjoy & swim in the sea all day long, then you can do a lot better by staying at some other beaches in Perhentian Kecil, such as Long Beach or D'Lagoon. For the 5 days we were there, we only swam/snorkeled at Aur Bay once! The rest of the time, we hiked through a jungle trail to Long Beach, on the other side of the island. It's only a 15 minute walk, and the beach/sand/water at Long Beach is definitely waaaayyyy nicer than Aur Bay. Hmmm, having said that however, Shari La resort also has their own 'private' beach, called Romantic beach...we didn't get a chance to swim/snorkel there, but it was quite rocky & narrow...it seems to be better than Aur Bay, though. So yeah, Romantic Beach could be good, but I'm not sure...

Food: As I mentioned before, our room came with brekkie & dindin for two persons at the hotel's restaurant. The food there wasn't tasty most of the time, and it lacked variety. The buffet spread consisted only of 3-4 dishes, together with the same sort of rice and drink (mango cordial juice) every single day. In short, the food lacks variety, isn't so tasty and is nothing to shout about. Ordering food ala carte there is also nothing special, just the ordinary fare. On one occasion, they played a very inappropriate song on the radio system at the restaurant as we had our dinner there...the song is by 50 Cent and it contained the words like [--], and others that are just as crude. As we know, the State of Terengganu is a very pious Islamic state, so we find it quite jarring to have to listen to that type of song while dining at the hotel's restaurant. I mean, there were kids there for goodness sake! As we were quite disappointed with the hotel food, we did on occasion walk to the nearby restaurants to try out their food, but still...it was quite normal and is expensive too!!! A tip: There's a really good restaurant on Long Beach that serves real good Western food, it's called Panorama. You have to walk there from Shari La, through a jungle trail...it takes about 20 minutes or so. Okay, back to the main point..the only highlight of eating at Shari La's restaurant is it's superb view of the ocean, the sea breeze blowing in and also it's comfortable setting, compared to the plastic chairs/tables that you get at the outside restaurants. The food? Forget about it.

Okay, so in short, if you are not a beach bum and want a comfortable/decent room to stay in at Perhentian Kecil, with reasonable prices, then Shari La is the place for you. However, you must not mind the horrible service. But...if you're a beach bum that wants to enjoy the sea/beach all day long, and doesn't mind staying in a cheap A-frame hut, and has little use for A/C or satellite TV, then there's lots of other options for you other than Shari La. Last but not least, I'd just like to conclude my review by saying that we are totally dissatisfied with the staff & service that we got while on our stay at Shari La. Even the managers/senior staff members treated us indifferently. You shouldn't treat people differently just based on their nationality/race. You should provide service equally to all of your guests, regardless if they're locals or foreigners. We, being locals, speak the same language and we are of the same race as you are, so there's no reason for you guys to have a communication problem with us. In fact, it should be better because we understand each other perfectly! Please...just by doing what you guys are doing to the locals..it just shows that you guys are bodoh sombong!!!!!!!!!

All the time I was there, I can't hardly wait to go back home. I guess that statement alone tells you a lot of things, doesn't it?

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Singapore, Singapore
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2009

The resort is located very near the jetty, with some units overlooking the beach. The rest of the units are located in rows further in. So in terms of view, there isn't any for most of the units. But it seems like they are building more just above the sea.
The rooms and bathroom are clean. That's important. The a/c works well, and in fact, it was too cold at certain times. But even with the fan, without opening the windows, it was still cool enough to sleep comfortably.
Breakfast wasn't that good though. We didn't eat other meals here. So can't really rate their food.
Originally, we booked a fullboard package, which included meals and a round island trip. However, we decided to change to a free & easy package, which included breakfast and a 3-hr snorkeling trip. They were very flexible, and charged us lesser than what was stated on our booking slip, which was good.
Thus, service at the resort itself was good, though somewhat a little shy. They could not really understand what we were talking about though they did try to help.
The only bad point about it was the management. Somehow, we did not get any land transfer from the airport to the jetty, though it was agreed upon, and any form of communication to the office was not clear at all. The management staff did not tell us what to do once we got to the airport, and somehow, it just seemed that whatever booking we had was not cascaded properly. That was the only peeve.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2009

We booked Shari-La through the internet and the in charge : Hairi replied us with an invoice to confirm our booking. He also took down our flight number and said that he will provide land transport at RM30/person. However, when we arrived at the airport, there was no one to pick us up. Its was better as the taxi only cost us RM20/person to go to the jetty. When we reach the jetty, we spent quite some time looking for the Shari-La office. And the lady there doesn't seem to know that we have made a booking. Somehow, we managed to get to the resort.

When we reached Shari-la, the staff also seem very disorganized and they took quite some time to settle our bookings. The snorkelling trip in the package only lasted 3 hours. It was better to book the trip with other agencies as they last almost the whole day.

The room in Shari-la is clean and neat. That was the best thing in the resort I think. However, for the price, you may want to explore other more establish resorts with better services.

The breakfast is not delicious and the service staff seems very inexperience. There were ants in the syrup and orange juices. Most of the staff there seem inexperience which I believe is due to the inadequate training.

The coral view beach is NOT fantastic. The beach is rather overcrowded with many speedboats docking at the beach. Hence, try you may want to try other beaches (long beach) which is much much bigger.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Shari-La Island Resort

Address: Coral Bay, Perhentian Island, Pulau Perhentian Kecil 20300, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Terengganu > Pulau Perhentian Kecil
Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 8 Hotels in Pulau Perhentian Kecil
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 102
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Shari-La Island Resort located at Pulau Perhentian Kecil (Coral Bay), 8 minutes walking distance to long beach. Nice place, nice room, nice environment with natural beauty. Our rooms come with hot shower, satellite TV, mini bar, air-condition + fan and 24 hour electricity. Moderate for all budgets. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Shari-La Island Hotel Pulau Perhentian Kecil
Shari La Island Resort

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