I had high expectations when I booked this resort after reading consistent glowing reviews of The Taaras. At their going room rate ( RM 1500 per night for Garden Suite), I had imagined to have the same kind of pampering as we did in the Maldives. We booked ourselves a Garden Suite for 3 nights during the Hari Raya celebration weekend ( 7-10 Aug). It was probably the wrong time to go to a Malaysian resort.
We took Berjaya Air directly from Singapore to Pulau Redang. The flight was badly delayed but that didn't bother us as we were on a holiday. After a long queue at the immigration, we got greeted by staff from The Taaras who were already waiting for their guests from this flight. We were guided to the shuttle van which left for the resort once it was filled up. The resort was barely 10 minutes from the airport and we were again greeted at the lobby of the seemingly beautiful resort. We were invited to sit in the lobby while waiting for someone to check us in. During the wait, they nicely offered us a lemon ginger drink with a cool towel. Nice touch. It was close to 4.30pm when we got into the reception for our check in. We saw random staff attending to other guests seated all around the lobby except us.
After waiting for 10 minutes, we asked the staff clearing the drink glasses if we were meant to go to the front desk to check in. She promptly replied that we were be attended to for check in. We continued to wait and saw the other people being given their keys to their rooms. After another 10 minutes, one staff walked by and asked if we have been checked in. When we said no, she gave us a form to fill out the particulars we have filled out when we booked the room. No problem. We dutifully completed the form and passed our credit card to her to process the check in. 10 minutes later, she came back to return the credit card and said that our room is not yet ready so we had to wait. I asked what time was check in, she answered 2pm and it was already 5pm. She just gave an apologetic smile and said the room was not ready. When we asked how long we needed to wait, she said she wasn't sure. We waited for another 15 minutes, seeing new arrivals of guests from the airports being served and brought to their rooms. After being fed up of wasting away in the reception for almost a good hour, we went to the staff again to ask what was the status with our room. Housekeeping could not have taken so long. It was only then that she revealed that the room was actually ready but their maintenance staff was trying to fix the air con that wasn't working. We promptly said we wanted to just check into the room and settle down while they fixed the air con. We were finally brought to our room. While we booked the Garden Suite, which was meant to be near the beach and pool area, they changed our booking to be at the Sea Cliff View Suite, which was up on the hill and almost the furthest possible room from the reception. If you don't take the buggy, it would be a 10 minute vertical climb via the stairs which is only possible if it is not raining.
We entered the beautiful suite with a staff repairing the air con. The view from the room was spectacular and we even had a jacuzzi tub right at the window looking at the beach. The bathroom was very spacious and tastefully decorated. Connecting to the big bedroom was an equally spacious living room with a balcony of the same beautiful beach view. The room took away the initial frustration of checking in.
There are only 2 main restaurants for meals in the resort. The Asean Restaurant provides both buffet and ala carte choices while the Beach Brasserie serves more expensive ala carte meals. Because there are many guests that buy dinner vouchers for the buffet, the Asean Restaurant can get crowded and noisy during the typical meal times. That said, the food at the Asean Restaurant was really good and the selection of the buffet was extensive. Food does not come cheap at the Taaras. Expect to pay premium pricing on everything. ( RM 110++ per person for buffet dinner, RM 40-50 for pasta/burger). The Executive Chef, Wayne, was a friendly face you would see at both restaurants. I have not seen any Executive Chef so smiley, friendly and humble before. He would help any of his staff to do anything when he saw that they were shorthanded. ( even frying a sunny side up). There was no airs about him and he took time to have a decent chat with guests instead of the typical formality exchange. The wait staff, like the front desk, have inconsistent levels of service. We got served iced water when we ordered warm water, we were told there was no Tiger beer available and saw several other tables being served Tiger beers after that, etc.
The beach was the highlight of the stay. It was very private and unlike the other resorts on the island, the beach was not shared with anyone else. Guests will try to head down early to the beach to book their lounger beds as they get taken up very quickly after breakfasts. The sand was powdery white and the waters were extremely clear. Even clearer than the Maldives. There is a house reef on the left side of the beach near the rocks which houses many many kinds of fish. There were spottings of a baby shark, eagle rays and turtles. There are many activities you could do: canoeing, paddle boating, paddle surfing, etc. There is also a dive centre right at the resort which makes it super convenient when we wanted to go on the dive. We went on 2 dives with the dive school. Their service was great but we didn't get to see much during both dives. A big sting ray hiding under the corals was the highlight. We saw more fish when snorkelling. It may also have been just due to the dive sites we went to.
We also booked a massage at the spa which was a pleasant experience. Again, prices are on the high side ( RM 210-280 for 50 minute massage) but the treatment rooms were really nice and service was distinctively better than the rest of the resort.
Back to the room, we made several calls to front desk to ask for help on air con repair as it never worked since we got into the room and were told it was repaired. We finally managed to get maintenance to come back the 2nd day to attempt to fix it again. This time, they concluded that the blower was spoilt so they would need 2-3 days to get the spare part. We would have checked out by then so we lived with just the ceiling fan. We also had a big spider in our room that required several calls for housekeeping help/insecticide requests before we got the insecticide to deal with the spider ourselves. While the room was fantastic, there was the smell of the sewer during the nights. Our water heater never worked so we had to take cold showers. We never bothered to inform the staff about that after the level of service standards was established from the first day.
On the final night, we went to speak to the duty manager regarding the non working air con to which he nicely offered a discount, as he put it ' I'll give you 10% discount for each night, so the total is a 30% discount'. We didn't know if he genuinely believed 3 nights of 10% discount equated to a 30% discount but we just left it as that. It has been tiring dealing with the service standards.
The duty manager was present when we were checking out. He promptly reminded his staff attending to us to include the 10% discount into our final bill which was appreciated. 2 minutes later, the staff printed out the bill with NO discount and asked us to sign and pay. I asked about the discount and she went back to her records to add that in. By that time, we were just glad we won't have to deal with this kind of service for much longer.
The shuttle back to the airport was swift and efficient. While the resort was beautiful in so many ways, the inconsistent service standards and disappointing interactions with certain staff have left us wondering how they are rated as highly as they are. Maybe it was the wrong time to come when they are at their peak or maybe we just expected certain details to be thought of when we are paying so much per night. If we return to Redang, it would be unlikely that we would come back to The Taaras. I'd rather pay a third of the price and not expect much.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- ‘The Taaras’ is a bespoke Private Beach Residence, tucked away and hidden from the outside world on a small Island found just off the unspoilt East Coast of tropical Malaysia. Considered to be one of the most beautiful Island locations in the South China Sea, the Isle of Redang is home to our natural, yet stylish resort found on one of the most spectacular bays surrounded by one of the bluest oceans on earth. The resorts ethos is to provide a contemporary, barefoot luxury experience with warm Asian hospitality, remembered with a smile long into the future. The name of the property is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘TAARA’, meaning ‘Star or Apple of my eye’ as well as ‘Goddess of the Sea’ which are all represented and epitomised by our mermaid figurehead. The resort is managed by The Taaras Luxury Group, and was formerly known as Berjaya Redang Resort managed by Berjaya Hotels and Resorts. With the stylish suites and rooms, as well as a stunning five bedroom Private Villa perched high up on the cliff overlooking the ocean and resort below. The resort boasts commissioned furniture and bespoke photography of Redang Island and the landscapes of Malaysia. Each suite or room contains oversized beds and hand-picked linens and fabrics for your comfort. Most rooms and all suites have larger washrooms containing both bath tub and separate rain or monsoon shower (some with spa bathtubs looking out over the rainforest or the bay). Most residences have an outdoor balcony or verandah and our suites at the top of the cliff summit have spectacular views over the beach and ocean below. For clients who prefer or require further privacy ‘The Cliff Private Villa Bay & Sea View’, our private five bedroom residence perched high up on the cliff more than meets the requirements; private access, a Villa Host at your ‘beck and call’ as well as twenty four hour security; should it be a necessary requirement. The residence also enjoys a sixteen meter Infinity swimming pool, personal fitness room and both interior and exterior lounge. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Berjaya Redang Resort - Malaysia Hotel Pulau Redang
- Berjaya Redang Beach Hotel
- Berjaya Redang Beach Resort
- Hotel Berjaya Redang Beach