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Tanjong Jara Resort
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Reviewed July 10, 2014

I recently returned from my honeymoon. We stayed at the Tanjung Jara Resort for 5D/4N. Oh how, I regret my decision to stay there. To set the scene, Tanjung Jara belongs to the YTL hospitality group, a "supposed" renowned Malaysian group famed for being classy and luxurious. I've attended prior functions organised by the group, and they are or "were" classy.

Here's what went wrong:
1. Arrived at Room 1501, and the door couldn't be opened. 10 minutes later, someone got it fixed.
2. Entered the room, and found a leaky fridge. It was pretty cool that they got 3 technicians to my room within 15 minutes to fix both the door and the fridge. However, bear in mind that I was with my wife and we're supposed to be enjoying a "romantic" honeymoon. Nothing beats having 3 male technicians trying to discuss things in my room as we checked in.
3. Bathtub water release couldn't work at night. Whilst I must say that the room was big (I did pay for a big room), the resort is old and many installations within the resort is just tired and outdated. They're planning to shut down the resort and carry out a 6 month renovation soon. With that, I'm puzzled why charge people 6 star rates when you don't have the ability to impress. I regret trying to trust the YTL brand, and should have gone to a Thai resort. People, there are many more resorts that you can get at RM 1k per night (meals included). Don't get cheated by their branding.
4. Got pretty much snubbed at the D'Atas Sungai (or whatever restaurant). On my first night there, I was served by the famous Chef Ann (she's pretty much written up all over TripAdvisor for this resort). 2 issues: (a) She graciously highlighted to me that I was under the resident package. As such, I can only eat this, this and that. If I want something else, I must pay for this, this and that. I had only wished that I was informed upfront of the "limitations" placed on me. But more importantly, I brought my foreign wife back to see how "Malaysian hospitality" works. How embarassed I was as my wife thought that I was being cheap by limiting her meals. That wasn't my intent but they way she paraphrased herself, I felt "cheap myself". Super wow effect, Tanjung Jara. (b) She said that there wasn't a menu to look at - What a liar she was. I was shown a menu on Day 3 which showed what kind of meats you have and what kinda sauces you can have. Why can't this just be shown to me upfront? The way I was attended too, I felt I was in a concentration camp.
5. I found a army of red soldier ants. No one tried to clear it off, hotel management doesn't even know about it and didn't bother to enquire where it was. I pity kids that would get stung by it. Hint, it's near to the kiddie pool.

At the end of the day, it's a pretty decent resort. Decent in the sense that it would be a 3-star to me. Yes, they've got a huge plot of land, pretty old but sizeable rooms but there is a lot of "hospitality" that needs to be injected into it. As a honeymooning couple, I didn't feel any wow effect. I might as well have stayed in a 3-star resort. I do regret going to Tanjung Jara but now look forward to planning a real honeymoon.

I did speak to the Assistant Resident Manager who refunded half my payment. Whilst I kinda appreciate their partial refund, it was a crappy stay. I will never return to a YTL resort (do read their lame comments throughout the Tanjung Jara resort site and their sister, Pangkor Laut resort) because of their very bad hospitality.

I got other grouses, they're petty. But that is because this is a 5-star resort that shouldn't even fail. I don't want to go down that route.

Certain hotel staff do come to mind, Denise and Hamdan at the breakfast hall. They take pride in serving you, they're not pretentious. I do hope YTL recognises their efforts and attempt to train up the remaining crew to be half their standards.

Room Tip: Pls don't stay here.
  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank mozii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Souvanaphoum, General Manager at Tanjong Jara Resort, responded to this reviewResponded July 11, 2014

Greeting from Tanjong Jara resort.
Thank you for taking the time to write to us through the TripAdvisor in regards to your recent stay at Tanjong Jara resort. It will allow us to continually work on our product for the benefit of our guests.
We, at Tanjong Jara resort strive to provide a Malaysian experience equal to your expectations. Therefore, the quality of our guest experience is of the utmost importance to us, an intimate and objective knowledge of how we perform – in the customers' eyes - is critical in moving Tanjong Jara resort to a higher level of service orientation, and it is through this type of feedback that we can confirm the direction, quality and quantity of our effort.
It is always a disappointment to hear from a guest that their stay was not flawless. While compliments are nice to receive, it is criticism, such as yours, that helps us pinpoint areas where corrective measures are necessary to bring us closer to our goals.
Please accept my heartfelt apologies for the shortcomings which were not to your expectations. I’ve gone through your comments and noticed your disappointment, we have regular maintenance of our rooms and I apology if somehow we missed few things. As for your disappointment in Di Atas Sungei restaurant, I will address your comments with Chef Ann as they do not follow our philosophy. All our guests enjoy their food and services there, the graciousness/kindness of our employees is renowned throughout Malaysia. On another point, rest assure that Pangkor Laut is an amazing hotel as is YTL hotels company. All our employees take pride in serving our esteemed guests, sometime we fall short, yes! for that please accept my apologies. We do hope to see you back at our resort in a not too distant future so as to witness our improvements!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2014

My husband and I spent 10 days here in the middle of June. We came here in June 2013 for 3 days and loved it so much that we wanted to return for longer. We could not fault the resort, everything was perfect and the staff were so kind, friendly and helpful. I cannot understand the negative reviews I have read about this resort and wonder what extra it would take to make some people happy. It is a beautiful resort set in the jungle in a fairly remote part of the country. It is so natural and unspoilt with regular entertainment from families of monkeys who share the resort with guests. An abundance of monitor lizards, amazing bird song and the sound of gentle lapping from the South China Sea makes this resort perfect.

The staff are amazing and I was so touched by Zainab one of the waitresses at the Nalayan restaurant (which we loved) as on our first night I had a very sore stomach and she made me a pot of green tea with fresh ginger in it. This I had for several days and it really helped. Throughout our stay Zainab was so kind and went to a lot of trouble with many kind gestures. She is a real gem. The young Italian manager was also lovely as, indeed, were all of the staff from housemaids to gardeners. We also loved the doorman, who we always chatted to during our stay. His smile lit up his face and he was such a lovely man.

It was my birthday on our second day and I was presented with a chocolate cake and candles and happy birthday written on it. When we returned to our room, the room staff had made a white elephant out of towels, put flower petals around it and added sunglasses to the elephant. If this wasn't enough, Happy Birthday was inscribed on the pillow and the bath was filled with bath scents and flower petals. I took my bath the following morning. It was amazing, and so very kind of all the staff.

We thoroughly enjoyed the activities on offer from the Suchimurni each morning with Captain Mokh to the visit with Chef Ann to the morning fish market. The local games and opportunity to sample local specialities was also a lovely touch. We thoroughly enjoyed the half day river cruise with Captain Mokh, who was so knowledgeable and interesting. We were amazed when we came to settle our bill at the end of our stay to find that we were not being charged for this activity. A very big thank you to whoever was responsible for this kind gesture.

During our stay, my husband developed some discomfort in his knees and Captain Mokh very kindly went out of his way to give him a local preparation which really helped to relieve some of the discomfort. This is yet another example of the kindness of the staff.

I really can't think of how this resort could be improved. Of course, there can always be little things, for example, more spice in the food in the Asian restaurant. However, this is minor and I quite accept that tastes must be geared to the majority. We loved the Nelayan restaurant as the setting in front of the beach with the waves lapping was perfect. Without exception, everyone of the staff was kind, attentive, friendly and helpful. We have never stayed anywhere before with this high level of service and such a willingness to please.

We had the full package for 5 nights and the resort obligingly let us have this every other night which was just perfect. Included in our full board package were 5 spa treatments each. These were amazing and once again, the staff were lovely. I experienced the traditional Malay massage three times and it was fantastic and the best massage I have ever had. The setting is so natural and occasionally I was lucky enough to watch one of the monkeys whilst sipping my ginger root tea prior to treatment.

We met with Philippe Cavory, the General Manager, during our stay, and were really impressed at how attentive he was to all his guests. I wish we had Managers like him in our hotels in Scotland.

I think the strength of this resort is that is what it says: Unmistakably Malay and I hope it never loses this. With wonderful staff and a perfect setting, it is truly our idea of Paradise and we would like to thank everyone for a holiday we will never forget.

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank kerriekhowe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2014

Just returned from a week at the Tanjong Jara Resort in East Malaysia.
Despite being advertised as 5 star I'd say it was a long way from achieving that standard.
When we checked in the front desk team couldn't open the door to the villa - we then ended up going in via the back door. I was surprised that the housekeeping team hadn't thought to get it fixed.

We were then let down on our complimentary meal at the Nelayan restaurant on our first evening.
The next day we booked to go on a turtle watching evening and ended up have a rushed meal in the Di Atas Sungei restaurant - awful service, 20 minutes to get a beer and dreadful food. Not only that, we'd been misinformed and told that we'd be advised whether the trip would happen sometime between 9pm and 11pm. Never got the phone call so a completely wasted evening.

Managed the following day to speak to David, the assistant manager, and raised our concerns with him.
In fairness, he took genuine interest and promised to help make the holiday better.
He surprised us with a bottle of champagne to the room and organised a snorkelling trip to Tengoll Island which was just fantastic - saw sharks and sea turtles - amazing.
Serena, the young Italian lady, running the Nelayan restaurant really looked after us. We choose to eat there every night - the food was superb, setting lovely and great service - the total opposite from the Di Atas Sungei

They also arrange a complimentary meal on the beach to make up for our problems which was delightful and much appreciated.

Overall, the resort is tied and needs a refurbishment together with a lot of staff training and a major overall of the Di Atas.

Breakfast is chaotic and nothing special.

Also, the resort is remote and because of this, they really need to ensure that everything is perfect, which, unfortunately, it's not.

On the upside, the beach is just beautiful, very quiet and the South China Sea is fantastic. The pool is lovely and staffed by the best pool guys I've ever come across.

The room was very comfortable with a huge and comfortable bed. Slept very well throughout the week. The bathroom was also huge and had everything you could possibly need.

One other treat - the resort is home to a troop of Spider Monkeys - didn't see them every day but when we did, they were super.

A special thanks to Serena who made a real effort and runs a great restaurant - try it, you won't be disappointed, especially the Sea Bass, Malay style.

Room Tip: Get a Anjong Room - private and quiet, well appointed and lots of room with a balcony
  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank richardhudson5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Souvanaphoum, General Manager at Tanjong Jara Resort, responded to this reviewResponded July 7, 2014

Dear Mister Hudson,
Greetings from Tanjong Jara resort...
Thank you for taking the time to write to us through the TripAdvisor in regards to your recent stay at Tanjong Jara resort. It will allow us to continually work on our product for the benefit of our guests.
We, at Tanjong Jara resort strive to provide a Malaysian experience equal to your expectations. Therefore, the quality of our guest experience is of the utmost importance to us, an intimate and objective knowledge of how we perform – in the customers' eyes - is critical in moving Tanjong Jara resort to a higher level of service orientation, and it is through this type of feedback that we can confirm the direction, quality and quantity of our effort.
It is always a disappointment to hear from a guest that their stay was not flawless. While compliments are nice to receive, it is criticism, such as yours, that helps us pinpoint areas where corrective measures are necessary to bring us closer to our goals.
Please accept my heartfelt apologies for the shortcomings which were not to your expectations. I’ve gone through your comments and noticed your disappointment on our turtle watching event, it seems my employees did not informed you in due time that the trip was cancelled due to no turtles on that evening. I am glad to know too that we did try to make up for our mistakes, thank you for your complimentary comments on David and Serena. As you rightly pointed it out our dining venues on the beach are very popular... Thanks!
We are closing the resort on 12th October and will reopen on 13th February 2015, to do some upgrading and Di Atas Sungei restaurant is part of it so thank you for your comments. We will make sure everything is perfect then! Saying that I thank you for noticing that our resort has a lot of to offer, like a beautiful beach, great employees, a fantastic South China Sea, lovely pools with great services, large comfortable rooms where you can sleep well and recover, huge bathrooms with everything that our guests could possibly need. We do have a troop of Spider Monkeys and leaf Monkeys and they are super yes!
Dear Mister Hudson, we do hope to see you back at our resort in a not too distant future so as to witness our improvements!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2014

Having read all the reviews repeatedly, we decided to extend our stay by two nights prior to going. Therefore, I may sound very critical (purely cos I had uber high expectations).

We arrived around 10pm and the staff seemed to know who we were before we even mentioned our names. They gave us a drink, cold towel and suggested we should eat in the restaurant as it was getting late – so all very efficient and friendly. We ate dinner which was nice at the main restaurant, however, without the ‘talking chef’ the menu didn’t seem so exciting (she talks you through what you like and recommends dishes but these items are already on the a la carte menu). We were shown to our room which was nice and clean - we deliberately didn’t upgrade to a room with a veranda / balcony due to the overall cost of our holiday, so we knew what to expect. I part wishes we had / the other part thinks the additional cost may have not been worthwhile. The room had a small / mini bed thing (we used for a suitcase but seating would have been more useful)… and king size bed was fabulous. The bathroom was massive and we had all the essentials– toiletries, safe, decent enough hairdryer etc.

When we were there it was really quiet which was wonderful. I had assumed we would spend most of the time by the pool but actually the beach was fabulous, clean and rustic. The beach sun loungers are placed away from each other with two towels each and the waiters bring cold water and top ups throughout the day. This was amazing and efficient – you would snooze and turn around to see a chilled glass of water waiting for you, perfect service! We swam in the sea although a waiter did advise there were jelly fish at high tide, but we were fine. The pool area was also lovely (but a bit hotter as it lacked the sea breeze), the pool was fabulous and clean although a little too warm to be deemed refreshing.

We used the gym facilities once when it was a little overcast and the equipment was good, plus there was water, towels, music etc.

I had a massage one morning which was fabulous! 80 minute body massage, which started with a ritual of throwing water over yourself… they give you a souvenir sarong too. The hotel had given us a 30% voucher for spa treatment so for £55 it was great value and lovely treat after a long flight!

We went to the night market but this was a disappointment. I am glad we experienced the hustle and bustle but it is for the locals so no souvenirs and hard to know what to eat – lots of fried things. We had to wait for our pre-arranged pick up as there were no cabs whatsoever which was a little frustrating.

Breakfast was good – lovely fresh juices (orange and watermelon) and strong coffee and good selection although I think the toaster may need replacing  - Nice fresh breads and hot croissants from the oven are handed out. Lovely fruit, cereals, egg station etc… nice way to start the day on the veranda and watching monkeys jumping around! we had lunch a couple of times by the pool which were tasty enough and good portion sizes. We also ate by the pool for dinner, at first we were cynical as there weren’t many others around and people rave about the main restaurant, but we were pleasantly surprised. The ambience and setting was much nicer (more special and romantic) and the little touches (bread, amuse bouche and cookies afterwards) made a nice change. We really enjoyed the ‘talking chef’ too, but we did actually have to ask if we could speak to her (it wasn’t a given)… but nice to have someone advise.

The staff were lovely, some needed to good dose of assertiveness (I sound bad complaining they are too sweet), having said that, one guy by the pool was just amazing and so sweet – addressing us by our name, topping up pour water and letting us know when we had left something on the beach.

Now one thing to note, as an English person (stereotype), we knew alcohol was going to be expensive – paying £5 for a small beer did make you think twice as the bill can stack up quickly (also bear in mind that all prices exclude the govt tax and service charge 16%)… they did have happy hour on select items so that made it better value. We went to the local restaurant and topped up on Tiger beer (and cheap and tasty seafood). C.B. Wees is about a 10 minute walk but the hotel did drop us off one night which was good.

On check out, the staff ordered us a local cab to take us to the jetty as well as phoned our next hotel to confirm they would pick us up. When you leave they hit the gong three times meaning thank you, safe onward travels and see you again (I think this is what it was) which was a nice touch and by that stage I did feel a little sad to leave.

The whole place prides itself on being authentic Malay so it is this feeling you have more than the feeling of it being a 5* resort… the landscape, the layout, traditions, lizards/monkeys etc.

All in all, it was a lovely resort and I enjoyed my time relaxing in a calm, safe and Malay environment. However, if the balcony was included in the price we paid and if the alcohol/food/drink had been a bit better value for money then I would probably give it 4.5/5.

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Clairebearuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2014

Drove from Singapore to Dungun - 480km, via Mersing and Kuantan, took us about 7 hours. The drive was worth it as we had an exclusive and completely relaxed vacation at TJR. We loved the beach, it was private, quiet, clean, and we just lazed there for hours enjoying the sun and the breeze. The staffs were attentive by serving/refilling complementary ice cold water keeping us hydrated.

TJR was built on a big piece of land quite some time ago, and understand that it will be close during monsoon season end of this year for approx 5-6 months to undergo renovation and upgrading. I have nothing to complain about the current condition, we stayed in the Bumbung room on the 2nd floor, and everything was good and comfortable. All the rooms interior layout/amenities are almost similar (1 king size bed and 1 single poster bed), room prices vary depending on the balcony/outdoor area. The resort is thoughtful, by providing beach bag / umbrella/ pest repeller in the room. The toilet was impressively huge, it was a pity that we did not want to use the bath tub due to the stained condition.

One recommendation for the resort is to add anti-slip rubber strip on the wooden stairway. HE slipped and luckily did not fall while walking down the staircase. It was slippery after the evening rain.

Breakfast at In Atas Sungei did not attract me as I felt that the food was only acceptable with nasi goreng/ mee hoon goreng stood out from the rest. And the river doesn't look very clean to me, which can be a potential mosquito breeding area. Nelayan served great dinner and cocktail with very friendly staffs who shared their experiences with YTL hotels. Our dinner was frequently disturbed by the local cats eyeing our "catch of the day" and jumping up onto the chairs.

If you are at TJR, you have to do the "turtle watching" and snorkelling trip to Pulau Tenggol. The turtle whisperer/dive instructors are very fun loving and knowledgeable. The trip is make memorable with the "Kampong Sucimurni Lifestyle" prepared by the resort to share Malay traditional culture with tourists from all over the world. The local snacks taste really good and there is a monkey climbing up coconut trees to fetch you a fresh coconut.

Room Tip: All the rooms interior layout/amenities are almost similar (1 king size bed and 1 single poster bed), room prices vary depending on the balcony/outdoor area.
  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank hmm_t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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