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“The biggest disappointment I have ever had”

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Planters Country Hotel & Restaurant
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“The biggest disappointment I have ever had”
Reviewed June 12, 2007

I was so looking forward o my holiday in the highlands and staying at this wonderful sounding hotel. The website enchanted me with images of cosy log fires, fresh cream scones, beautiful rooms, views, and friendly staff.
I have never been so disillusioned in my life.
The fun started on arrival when we were told we could stay in the superior room we had actually booked, or pay more for a deluxe room. That's strange, we thought. So we thought ok let's go deluxe. We paid another 40 rm a night and were taken to our 'deluxe' room'. It was utterly disgraceful. Small, damp with a ceiling covered in mildew. The television was tiny and might as well not have been there as there were only 4 channels with poor reception. The shower was a hand shower and a bucket!!!. The hotel is next to a mosque which starts wailing at a very early hour of the morning and goes on for ages. The room is freezing at night as there is no heating, just damp blankets.
The restaurant was very poor value indeed with the scones that we ordered far from being 'the talk of the town' as advertised on their website, but stale and with a cheap jam and pathetic excuse for cream.
I tried to confront the manager about this but he just stood in front of me, folded his arms and with a huge smile just kept saying 'yes I know, yes I know' He then said that we were racist foreignerswho did not understand his culture and that we thought we still ruled the world!!! I was so shocked at this tirade but felt I couldn't do anything as he is such a big man.
The only plus point about the place is the garden, which is quite relaxing. The rest of the hotel is an utter disgrace.

  • Liked — The garden
  • Disliked — Absolutely everything else
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
6 Thank Bryan_Bannister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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313 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Oslo, Norrway
Level Contributor
68 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2007

We are 2 friends who decided to escape the heat of KL and visit Cameron Highlands for a weekend. On recommendation from friends, we found Bala's Holiday Chalet and decided to stay for the night. We do not regret this decision. The hotel, which is built in traditional British Tudor style, is beautifully located with an excellent view, a great English Tea Garden where afternoon tea with scones are served. The rooms we had were large, very clean and with a small "garden" outside from where we could enjoy the view. The restaurant was typical English and was even equipped with a fire place. The food was quite English but we have tasted better. This is was really our only negative experience but still rate the Hotel as excellent. It was well worth RM220 per room/night.

  • Liked — Location and view
  • Disliked — food
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1 Thank brutusOslo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
23 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed February 12, 2007

The situation and initial appearance of this hotel are wonderful. After that it's all downhill. Our room was damp and the en suite shower room comprised a toilet, washbasin, handshower and bucket. Yes, bucket. The bucket came in very handy when my husband was taken sick with food poisoning shortly after eating undercooked chicken in the hotel's British India restaurant. The manager showed no interest in our complaint nor sympathy for the distress we'd been caused and even had the temerity to add the cost of the chicken meal to our bill. Subsequent discussion had this removed.
This manager gives Basil Fawlty a bad name.
It's such a pity because the setting is stunning but the hotel looks worn out; the room towels were ragged and threadbare, the bedding was ancient and grey, the bedroom carpet was stained and ill-fitting. All in all it's a waste of a good opportunity.

Stayed February 2007
3 Thank Woolywanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Tanah Rata hotels

Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed December 31, 2006

On a 3D2N trip to Cameron Highlands, a group of three other friends and myself selected Bala's Holiday Chalet as our choice of accomodation, after reading and hearing about it offering an English-countryside, French-Colony style atmosphere.


Almost non-existent. The service crew, including the owner, Mr Bala himself, seriously needed a crash course in service etiquette as well as basic courtesy.

Arrived at the hotel at around 10.00a.m. Even though there were rooms available, we were told curtly by the owner that "check in is only at 12noon".

We asked if we could wait around the dining area for our rooms, but subsequently got chased out because they didn't want us lurking around the area while they did their cleaning

Thus, we were forced to roam around the hotel exterior - which was beautiful, I must add. But one can only roam around the beautifully-designed but SMALL landarea for some time before getting sick of it all. After all, this was a two hour wait we are talking about.

After the painful wait, we headed back to the reception at 12 sharp, but were again told to wait further because according to them, "our room was not ready". Just as we were about to head to the sitting room for the remaining wait, we were chased out by another staff member, who claimed that they needed to clean up.

On the whole, the staff there are unsmiling (what a lovely welcome - sarcasm induced), curt, and downright rude. They walked around with stoic, overconfident expressions that seemed to imply that it is a priviledge to be served by them.



We reserved and checked into a ramily room which provided only the basic necessities a room should have.

The beds were dusty, and a musty smell lingered in the room. The wooden floorboards creaked, some parts of which were sticky. The carpets were stained but (thankfully) were not smelly.

The towels were stained - which made me regret not bringing my own towel because I needed to save space in my baggage. I had no other choice but to still use it anyway.

We had a very small television in our room which is only about the size of my computer screen - and provided a grand total of four channels only. My group and I had to contend with the HBO channel for all three days of our stay there.

Room provided basic coffee and tea making facilities - normal for every hotel I've been. So it was nothing special. Although I was surprised that it was there considering how run-down the room was.

Cupboard was dusty, as if it hasn't been used for aeons. Hangers provided were in various colours, and were the type that are sold in neighbourhood stores in bundles. Some of the hangers were in very bad shape - bent and rusty.

No central heating system - so the room has a tendency to become very very cold especially in the middle of the night. The blankets provided were insufficient and so I had to pile on layers of jackets just to keep myself warm.

Rooms weren't soundproof either, so it was easy to get disturbed by the screams of the kid in the room next door. Likewise, they banged at our walls continuously, yelling at us to keep the sound of the television down when it's volume was already nearing it's minimum.

And OH MY GOODNESS - the toilets.


Cobwebs dangled from the ceiling, the sink was small to an extent that it was impossible to balance my toothbrush, toothpaste and soap on it's edges - even more so with three other people in the room.

The shower hose was faulty. For some reason, the hot water supply seems to be getting clogged up quite frequently - so one minute, you are having a nice warm shower as a reprieve from the cold air outside. Suddenly, all the hot water disappears, leaving icy cold water gushing out from the hose - leaving a screaming girl in the bathroom.

My sinus condition was aggravated because of this.

Additionally, the water supply seems to be shared among several rooms. So as long as another guest in a nearby room is utilizing the shower, only a trickle of water comes out from our hose - which can be very frustrating especially when there are four people in the room waiting to shower.


The decor of the place was very much worth it. There were beautiful landscaped gardens almost everywhere we looked, lined with colourful flowers and beautiful fauna. The chirping of the birds added on an already pleasant atmosphere.

The interior of the dining room was tastefully furnished. The lamps that dangled above added on a rather romantic feel to the dining area. A fireplace sat in one corner, and the furniture looked as though it was made from rather expensive rosewood. It is such a pity that the staffs' attitude did not complement the place's atmosphere well at all.

The reading and tea rooms looked ordinary - like my grandmother's living room, if I want to make a direct comparision. The seats and tables were dusty and so, I was unable to remain in there for long without sneezing.

On the whole, Bala's Holiday Chalet looks rather majestic from the outside, but lacking very badly on the inside - especially when some of it's facilities and (especially) the guest rooms are concerned.

Then again, considering the price - you pay peanuts, you get monkeys, so why am I not surprised?

  • Liked — Nothing.
  • Disliked — Everything.
  • Tips/Secrets — Unless you can put up with rude service personnel and dingy rooms, this place is not recommended.
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7 Thank brendalogy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed October 29, 2006

Arrived just before sunset to a reception with a complaining guest and very impolite receptionist. Got put into a 'Raffles' room (dearer than the deluxe room that I had booked) which was tiny, with an upstairs area that was unusable and a shower that did not work. I complained to the reception, who were not helpful.
The next morning, I complained to Mr Bala himself. We were moved to a much nicer deluxe room with only half a day of our holiday wasted. When I say nicer, it was a nice size but not terribly well appointed and damp (as was everywhere in the hotel). The bed, towels, walls, everything was damp for the rest of our holiday - Mr Bala clearly does not believe in dehumidifiers or central heating.
The 'famous' cream teas are missable, with 'cream' that was not really what I call cream. We did not have any of our evening meals there.
A couple of nights, a nice open fire was set in the tea room that we were told we could relax in front of, only to be thrown out both times as Mr Bala had booked the room out for a function. There were families with small children that had the same treatment from our esteemed host.
The last night, I set a fire in the library myself, with the grudging permission of Mr Bala. A few minutes later, some workmen came in to start drilling with the door open - lovely!
Take my advice; do not be lured by the price - stay elsewhere!
Unlike Arnold Swartzenegger, I won't be back.

  • Liked — The outside of the house, the views and the gardens.
  • Disliked — The service/abuse.
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7 Thank Jane_and_Gary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed June 7, 2006

We arrived to a damp, dark and unpleasant room after being told the room cost less that we were actually charged. The bath mat was wet and unchanged. The television did not work properly. We were told this would be fixed, but unfortunately nothing was done by the grim staff. The lights weren't working properly. My asthma was severly aggravated by the mould and damp in the room.

The cream tea was served in a delightful English garden but we were astounded by the ungenerousity of the portions which held no correlation to the high price of the meal.

After arriving at the restaurant at 8.50pm we were begrudgingly told that we could have dinner out of the way in a dark corner of the room since it was so late. But we had decided to rest and then eat at this later time since the leaflet in our room detailed that dinner was served from 7.30 - 10.30. Nonetheless we looked forward the exquisite meal advertised in the foyer that would befit the price, but instead a sub-standard dinner was brought with all courses served at once and piled onto our table. The staff had decided not to honour the opening times. As we were eating, someone began to mop the floor and the lights were put out around us: it was left to another departing guest who took pity on our plight to provide a candle for our table. The staff obviously need a helping hand, and a few lessons in waiting and manners. It was with disdain that the waiter looked at me when I asked him to turn off the CD which was stuck and playing nonesense.

At five to ten the surly waiter came to clear away the food that we were still clearly eating. When we remonstrated he said that the kitchen would be closing at 10 and hurried us up. He returned in a few minutes and tried to take the glasses we were still drinking from. To avoid the loss of our remaining over-priced half-bottle, we corked it and quickly hid it from his beady eye.

As we left/were kicked out into the night, we stupidly enquired about having breakfast in bed. We were informed that room service would have to be ordered in the restaurant the next morning, which in our opinion undermined the point of room service. After explaining our view of the purpose of room service, he agreed to bring two continental breakfasts at 8.30am. I may as well have gone shopping myself, as when the awaited feast arrived (we were so hungry, you see, after the previous evening's meal was swiped from our table) it consisted of one extra-small pot of tea, two extra-small glasses of orange juice and six pieces of stale toast. The cameron highlands are renowned for their fresh produce, including such delights as strawberry jam. However, we received two tiny tubs of heinz jam for our meal. When we asked the duty manager why this was, he informed us that locally produced jam was too expensive to inlude in the guests breakfasts!

The buildings are elegant and worth seeing, but the Faulty-Towers style of management made us feel we were imposing upon the hotel and indeed that they were doing us a favour by serving us/speaking to us. They did not even thank us for our custom as we left, they were too blinded I think by the dollar signs rolling around their eyelids.

We subsequently checked in to the remarkable Old Smokehouse. Furnished in the style of an old English pub, the atmosphere is light and refreshing and a world away from Bala's/Faulty Towers, Malaysia branch.

  • Stayed June 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Banff National Park, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed February 2, 2006

We recently stayed at Bala's Holiday Chalets in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. We booked the Raffles Suite, which was supposed to be one of the better rooms. As we arrived late, the owner plonked us in a room which was very small and was equivalent to a budget hotel room - the bed linen was damp, there was no running water and the shower, which was in the same room as toilet, did not have a curtin and as such, resulted in the floor being drenched with water. In the morning, after a heated discussion with owner, he moved us to another room which was better, but I remain convinced was not the raffles suite.

All in all, I would not rate this establishment too highly, the rooms are OK, very dusty and the owner is grumpy and appears very tired of being in the hotel industry. I would spend more money and stay at the Lakehouse

13 Thank G0rd0n_Ramsey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Planters Country Hotel & Restaurant

Property: Planters Country Hotel & Restaurant
Address: Lot 55 | Cameron Highlands, Tanah Rata 39000, Malaysia (Formerly Bala's Holiday Chalet)
Phone Number:
Location: Malaysia > Pahang > Cameron Highlands > Tanah Rata
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Tanah Rata
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Planters Country Hotel & Restaurant 3*
Number of rooms: 30
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Also Known As:
Bala`s Holiday Chalet Hotel Cameron Highlands
Planters Country Hotel & Restaurant Cameron Highlands/Tanah Rata

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