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Reviewed May 12, 2012

Just spent 10 lovely days on Rawa Island. 4 nights in an Ocean Wing villa (the smallest one) and 6 nights in Frangipanni Villa (thanks to the management who upgraded us for better comfort, peace and quiet). The staff did all they could to make us feel welcome. The resort is pretty laid back and not too posh and polished, thank heaven. I agree that the place is even a bit worn and somewhat tatty at places, but I do not agree that it is dirty and mouldy as previous comments imply. The Ocean Wing house has a comfy size, had a large queen bed made up with crisp and clean linen. Being a beach resort, a few extra towels could be provided, you use them quite a lot during the day, and our Ocean Wing house didn't have a clothes line to hang them out to dry. Also the house had a large balcony, but for us people from northern Europe, sadly facing directly towards the naked sun and we had to go indoors or sit outside the front door to get shade from the midday sun. A parasol would have been a real treat. Also cushions for the somewhat beaten up sun loungers would have been nice. The other Ocean Wing houses had a balcony/porch going round the house, allowing to move to the shade no matter the time of day.
But hey, no complaints. The house is on stilts over the coral reef, and the view is spectacular. Also the sound of the waves under the house at night. Note to management: please put a closet in the room. A small dresser and a shelf with a clothes rod and 3 hangers is NOT sufficient for 2 people's worth of clothes to last 10 days.
The bathroom is - oh allright, it's not the nicest bathroom I've experienced by far, nor is it the worst. But again, note to management: please put up a shelf to put things on. There is no room on the sink, and the soap dispenser poured its content out on the sink non-stop, soaking everything, so we couldnt use that.
We were offered the upgrade to the lovely Sandy Bay and Frangipanni Villas, which we accepted wit thanks. I recommend these immensely. Especially top floor. The balcony is not as big as those on the Ocean Wing houses, there is only 2-3 plastic chairs to sit on and it seems a bit crappy, considering the likely pricetag on these rooms. We shan't complain, we were upgraded free of charge. But a sun lounger or a hammock would be great. The beach at Sandy Bay is a bit rocky, but I understand that this changes with the currents of the season. Sandy Bay was quied, we had the beach to ourselves most of the time. Oh and don't be alarmed by the sharks, they are smallish and shy. The corals are not in a good shape, dunno if they are on the rise or in decline. But we saw a lot of Nemos, sea urchins, rays and other coral fish I can't name. Sometimes the water is quite clear, sometimes it's full of tiny jellyfish that stings a bit but are harmless except from the annoying needles and pins on sensitive skin when swimming.
The restaurant buffet is rather plain but nice enough. Staying for 10 days which is longer than most stay, we did have some repetitions on the menu, but it didn't matter. The saturday night barbecue was fabulous. Yumm!
The internet connection, free contrary to what they say on their website, was unstable at best or down at worst. Dear management, a faster connection allowing more people to be online would be really great. We all wanna download our beautiful holiday images to facebook and youtube!
Do know that taps and showers run with salty water. I'm glad I brought some really good conditioner for my hair.
Let me point out that none of the drawbacks mentioned will deter us from visiting again, next time we're in Singapore.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank MaddieBrae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 10, 2012

Following a business trip to Singapore, a few of my colleagues and I decided to cross the border into Malaysia and spend three nights at the Rawa Island Safaris Resort. As we're not familiar with the area, we weren't sure what to expect, but as the boat approached the tiny tropical island, we knew we'd found our weekend paradise. The soft white sandy beach and clear, clean water were exactly what we'd hoped for.

When we booked our trip from North America, we hadn't realized that we were heading to Rawa over a particularly busy long-weekend; however, despite the significant increase in guests (they explained that the number of guests nearly tripled over this long weekend), we were never hard-pressed to find a quiet spot on the beach. We encountered some line-ups in the dining room, but I think this was due to the holiday weekend, and it wouldn't normally be this way. The buffet itself was very good; there was always a sufficient selection and variety of foods, and if they ran out of something, the dish was quickly replaced. We enjoyed the morning breakfast à la carte service, and the fresh fruit was absolutely delicious. Alcoholic beverages were not included in the all-inclusive package, but when we ordered them they were reasonably priced and very well-made. In other words, we felt that we were getting good value for the extra money we paid.

The accommodations were lovely: beautiful, well-kept cottages with clean, comfortable beds, sufficient lighting (lamps), a ceiling fan, and air-conditioning that helped take the heat off the afternoon. Although we used the air-conditioning during the afternoon, we always turned it off at night and left the windows open, so that we could listen to the birds in the morning.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip, and I would highly recommend the resort to families or couples looking for an escape. Great food, excellent service (thank you to Bikram and Yatie!), and comfortable accommodations. I hope that one day I'll be able to go back!

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with friends
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7  Thank jess_can
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 9, 2012

I am a bit surprised to read some people's negative comments. People say it is expensive and I am curious what it is being compared to. This is an ISLAND where all resources have to be brought in by boat. The price includes three meals a day and drinking water (which has to be brought in by boat). The alcohol prices are a bit cheaper than what you'd pay in Singapore or other large cities around the world. If people think this is expensive b/c it is in Malaysia, where stuff is generally cheaper, it is important to remember that the island is geared to westerners so you are paying for the creature comforts we are used to: hot running water, western toilets, maid service, air conditioning, buffets with everything from chicken nuggets for the kids to 3+ different fish meals for those of us who don't want to eat 'western' food. Regarding the prices of alcohol, etc., we didn't have any 'surprises' on our bill. As long as you more or less keep track of what you drink/buy, the bill won't be shocking at all. We each ended up paying SIN$40 for 3 nights/4 days on the island. We found this method far superior to the "all-inclusive" concept at many beach resorts.

Plus, the water is PRISTINE, the beach is COMPLETELY clear of garbage, sea foam, etc. My biggest problem was "should I get off my chair/hammock and go paddle around in the water looking at coral, fish and sea creatures, or go walk to the cafe area and get an ice cream/freshly squeezed watermelon juice?"

The staff was very friendly, perhaps also because we were friendly to them. We also saw them interacting very sweetly with the hundreds of kids that were running around. I can only say positive things about the staff: from the guy that showed up on the pier with our welcome drink, to the front desk, restaurant, bar and housekeeping staff. And, the guy that fixed our toilet!

So, about the kids: We were 4 friends traveling together, between the ages of 30 and 50. We don't have kids. There were LOTS of kids on the island. But, it was also a long, holiday weekend, so that is to be expected. Our first night had virtually no kids and it was really, really quiet and peaceful. If you don't want to see kids running around, just go during the week and/or not on a holiday weekend.

I was amazed at how relaxed I was after just 3.5 days on the island. It is not everyday you wake up to peacocks on your roof, to stroll down to the cafe area for a delicious coffee (also included in price!) and a stroll on the pristine beach.

Room Tip: hillside is more affordable, but the views were not as nice as the rooms directly on the water. But, if you want to save money, Hillside is clean and roomy. Just get one of the HIllside Deluxe, as they are upstairs and you have a balcony.
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with friends
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7  Thank Leslie H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 5, 2012

visiting with my husband we were disappointed with the quality of the rooms and value for money. more disturbing was witnessing what looked some Caucasians being set upon by locals. The Caucasians were badly beaten and we were left very disturbed. the island itself is set in a lovely setting but i would not return again based on our experience.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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34  Thank betty f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 29, 2012

We opted for Rawa Island Resort as we wanted a few more creature comforts due to travelling with an infant.

The resort is a little tired in places but the staff were welcoming and helpful. The rooms aren't anything to write home about but are clean and comfortable.

The food was acceptable and the barbeque buffet on Saturday was delicious.

As other have said, what really makes the place is the island itself. It is superb and, in my opinion, the nicest of the islands on the east coast of Malaysia.

You won;t leave here thinking you got a bargain, but you will have a great stay. I'd certainly stay again.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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Thank BenLeedsUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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