I had read some of the reviews of this hotel before booking and travelling to Langkawi and I had some doubts about booking a room here. But as we were on a weekend trip up from Kuala Lumpur and travelling with a small child (18 months) I was looking for something close to the airport and which had some facilities for children. So I eventually decided to book a room as it seemed to have all the facilities we were looking for. It was also a plus that I had been told by a friend that he had some relatives visit it the week before and had enjoyed themselves very much.
On arrival my doubts seemed to be justified. Our taxi pulled up behind another taxi van or one of the hotel's own shuttle buses. There seemed to be a hotel person in attendance but he was obviously way to busy with what was going on even to pay attention to us. So we were left to get all our luggage out of the taxi and to drag it into the reception. This was an inconvenience that I was still willing to excuse as he had obviously been very busy.
But there was no excuse for what happened next. We were struggling up to the doors with our bags and a kid in a stroller and I notice two of the hotel staff standing just inside the doors talking and laughing with each other. They obviously saw us struggling with our stuff and trying to make our way into the reception, yet none of them even moved over to open the door for us. Only when we were inside the doors and making our way to the reception desk did they finally come to their senses and offer to help us with our luggage. I have to admit that I was so angry and disappointed that I simply told them that if I had managed so far alone I didn't really need their help at all. However, after having learnt a little bit about the layout of the hotel I agreed for them to take my bags back out again to the concierge's desk for transfer to our room.
The check-in staff were all friendly and helpful, and they told me with a smile that we had been upgraded to a sea-front room with a jaccuzi, and they asked me if we wanted a king size bed. I was a bit puzzled as I had explicitly booked a sea-view room with a jacuzzi and a king size bed. So I asked them to clarify with me what the actual upgrade was as it wasn't immediately clear to me. This seemed to confuse the reception staff as they are obviously used to people just accepting the offer of an upgrade without any questions. But in the end it eventually became clear that the difference was that this room was located in a building right next to the beach front while the original room was a in a building set a little bit back from the beach but which still had a sea view. We were also given a complimentary voucher for the buffet dinner.
The rest of the check-in went just fine and we were eventually taken to our room by one of the Hotel's shuttle buses. This turned out to be room 1015 which was close to the edge of the hotel grounds, and located about 30 meters away from the beach.
I had specifically requested a cot for our son, and I had again reminded them about this at the reception desk. After the service we had received on arrival I had my doubts about whether it would be there and was preparing myself for having to chase it. But luckily the hotel got this absolutely right and the cot was there waiting for our son who by this time was ready for bed.
With some of the initial disappointment gone I was starting to feel that perhaps things would not be so bad after all. But the next morning the hotel quickly managed to erode all of the goodwill that they had gained by getting the room ready for us and by giving us a room upgrade and a complimentary dinner.
We made our way to the restaurant for breakfast and followed the path shown as leading towards the reception. Initially we made good progress with our son in his stroller, but once past the pool area the problems started again. Firstly there was no clear indication where we needed to go to find the breakfast buffet. We made our way around the side of the building facing towards the pool and the sea, but were stopped short by a long flight of stairs and no lift. So we turned around and tried to make our way around the other side of the building towards the reception. Up to that point the path had been completely even with no real obstacles for our son's stroller but for some incomprehensible reason the hotel had seen it fit to add a set of steps right at the end of the path. We were able to make our way past this with the stroller, but why add the steps in the first place? It would have been so easy to have avoided them altogether.
I was starting to realise that this hotel had been built without any thought to families with children in strollers, or to people in wheelchairs. This impression had started to form when I had noticed the spit level layout of our room, and was further confirmed by these steps and the fact that even the reception had a split level without any provisions for actually rolling a pram or a wheelchair from one level to the other. And the impression was absolutely confirmed when I realised that the only options for actually reaching the restaurant was by either walking up a long flight of stairs or by climbing down a slightly shorter set of stairs.
Having finally arrived at the restaurant we were pleased to find our friends waiting at a table for us to join them for breakfast. I found a high chair for our son and I sat down to look after him while my wife went to get some food. A few minutes later she came and announced that there was no food and that there was a huge queue for getting any fried food. I thought she was probably overreacting and suggested that she simply joined the queue while I continued to look after our son. After about 20 minutes of this one of our friends eventually decided to go look for her and came back and told me that she was still in the queue, but that she was getting close to the front. After about another 10-15 minutes she eventually returned with some friend eggs and an omelette but had been unable to get any sausages or turkey bacon.
Next we tried to get some tea for her as the tea she had been given on arrival was obviously cold by this time. This turned out to be another challenge and when they finally arrived they managed to further upset us by giving her less than half a cup and then walking off without even asking if anyone else needed a top up.
By this time we were all pretty upset. We had been at the restaurant for almost 40 minutes and my wife had only just arrived back with some food, and I had not been able to get anything at all yet. And quite understandably our son was getting both upset and restless at being sat in his high chair waiting for all this time.
While I went off to collect my food my friend had had enough of the service offered and demanded to speak with the manager. He apologised for the inconvenience caused and was trying to sort things out for us. He asked for our room numbers and told us that he would look at doing something for us to compensate. At the same time I had it confirmed that my wife hadn’t exaggerated when she said there was nothing to eat. Almost all the plates with the sort of food I want to eat for breakfast were empty and with virtually no staff filling anything up it was obvious that it would be a while if I wanted to wait for my preferred choices to become available.
Having had a real nightmare reception and first morning I was starting to get really worried about what the rest of the stay would be like.
The same morning we also had an issue with the table on our balcony. The stand was faulty, and our son almost managed to topple it over. To make it safe we lifted the top off and put it flat on the balcony floor. The table top was so heavy that my wife and I had to lift it between us. It was obvious that had the table toppled over it could have caused serious injury to us or done considerable damage to the hotel itself. We called housekeeping to get it fixed, and they came within minutes to pick up the base and take it to their workshop. It was obviously a safe option, but left us without a table. It felt a bit strange that they didn't even consider actually replacing it with one of the tables from one of the empty rooms around us. As the table didn't arrive back before we left I don't know what the condition of the repair is, but unless the repair is done properly it will be just a matter of time before someone has a serious accident.
So by now we were really disappointed with the hotel and our opinion of it at a rock bottom level. But from this point on almost all went well. We had a great time at the pool, and we found the housekeeping staff both friendly and helpful. The only issue we had after this was noise from monkeys jumping on the metal roof of our building during the night. And at one point we even had a monkey come into our room while the balcony door was open. We had left the door open while our son was having an afternoon nap so that we could hear him while relaxing on one of the sunbeds near the beach. As luck will have it I happened to be back in the room when the monkey decided to enter our room. I guess it was just as surprised as I was and it simply turned around and ran away. But we made sure that we kept the doors closed after this. This is perhaps not exactly a hotel issue, but perhaps something that they should have warned us about.
The complimentary buffet dinner turned out to be really good and the F&B manager that had taken our room number after our troubles at breakfast asked if we had received anything in our room yet. So we got the impressed he had requested that something was done for us, but to our great disappointment nothing actually did turn up. When we mentioned the issues we had experienced during our first breakfast at check-out we were only offered a complimentary leaving drink. I politely refused.
The hotel is actually quite nice, and in a reasonably convenient location. It is a real pity that it was let down so badly by inattentive staff on arrival and poor staffing or management at breakfast. In addition the lack of adjustments to ease access for families with children or persons in wheelchairs or with problems walking up or down stairs is also a huge minus for me. The split level layout of our room turned out to be a real inconvenience. It meant that it was always a challenge to move around the room while dimly lit and also when moving our son's stroller in or out of the room.
The pool area was nice, but with a lack of sunbeds actually placed in areas with direct sunshine. Only a handful of sunbeds wasn't permanently in the shade from the trees around the pool area. There is a small children's pool and a larger general pool. Both were reasonably clean and nice to use. The swim up bar in the main pool was ok, but again there is considerable room for improvement of the service provided. I frequently found that the staff "went missing" and that I had to shout to get their attention and come around to check what I wanted.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on the northwestern shore of Peninsular Malaysia, an ancient group of islands collectively known as Pulau Langkawi awaits you. Our resort is nestled amidst 38 acres of spacious, lush tropical surroundings with private beach coves. Whether you crave an exciting escape or a peaceful sanctuary – you will find it in Langkawi. The resort is just a short 10-minute car ride from Langkawi International Airport. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sheraton Langkawi Beach Hotel Langkawi
- Sheraton Langkawi Beach Resort
- Langkawi Sheraton