Spent 3 nights here after some work in KL - what a revelation!
I'll get my negative point out of the way first: the food in the main restaurant (the one that serves Malaysian-style food, as opposed to the European Beach Bistro) isn't all that great.
It's tasty but, as is common in Malaysia, there's too much sugar everywhere - even if you take the most innocuous-looking salad items from the buffet, you'll discover that many have been pre-dressed with sugary dressing.
The very pleasant new F&B manager (French) acknowledged this and said she'd been trying to instill a more modern ethos in the kitchen, but that it's taking time to take hold.
It would be lovely to be able to eat clean, fresh, healthy food in the main restaurant.
You can do this in the bistro - but it's only open in the evenings.
Oh and the hot water in our room didn't work very reliably, even after maintenance had come to fix it. But we sort of didn't care, the place was so lovely.
Ok, that's the negative. The positives are:
1. Very pleasant, relaxed vibe. It's not a show-offy place, even if it's rather luxurious. People are there to chill out, not to strut their stuff.
2. Amazing beach. Probably the best I've been to. Gently-sloping, white sand with the finest grains, and water as clear as Evian. (Speaking of which - a side note: why was I drinking bottled Italian water on a Malaysian island? How far had the water travelled? I like San Pellegrino, but it's kind of obscene to drink it so far from its source, from an ecological point of view).
3. Great weather (mid/late August).
4. Easygoing, easy-to-arrange snorkelling trips, which were small enough to be intimate (group of 10 or so). We saw sharks (small ones), and all manner of beautiful fish.
Pack rubber sea shoes for the snorkeling. They don't let you wear fins in case you damage the coral (nice), but this leaves you vulnerable to cuts in the shallower areas.
If you're a bearded or stubbly snorkeller, bring some silicone to make your mask seal work - they don't have any of their own.
The "Robinson Crusoe" experience - where they take you to a secluded beach which you have to yourself for 5 hours or so, with picnic and drinks etc – was a great idea, but a bit marred in the execution. First, the beach chosen was nothing like the one at the hotel - it was rocky and slippery, hard to get on and off, hard to swim off. Actually quite dangerous given that you're there alone - what happens if/when someone slips and bangs their head on a rock? There's no cell phone coverage on the Crusoe beach, unlike the resort. Also they hadn't quite cleaned the beach properly - we found some cigarette butts, a condom wrapper and, yes, a condom. Nice. Have to say that compared to what you find on public beaches in the area, this wasn't unexpected (we found diapers on the public beach). I think the guys who prep the Crusoe trip just hadn't spotted those bits of sexual detritus - and it was frankly disgusting of whichever guests left it there to do so, so I don't blame the hotel for it, though another guest might take a different view.
Oh, and they positioned the parasol/canopy thing in the wrong spot given that we were spending the pm. It was up against a rock, such that as the sun moved, the shade provided went up the rock on not on the ground. So we huddled under towels for a while. They should consider the sunpath before setting up next time.
Finally, the Crusoe menu isn't all that astonishing - lots of fried things - so my advice is go off-menu if you're going for the Crusoe (@ around 280ukp...they could I'm sure have given us something fresher if we'd asked). Again, though, I could've anticipated this but decided to go with the flow.
Other minor tweaks they could make: the sunloungers don't have intermediate angles between 45-degrees and flat, which is a shame. And they're covered with black vinyl, which makes them very hot unless your towel covers every square inch. White vinyl would have been smarter.
The windsurfing activity looks tempting, but there was only one windsurf at the resort and it was broken.
Internet connection isn't all that fast.
You have to buy tokens to play pool or table football in the games room (for a nominal fee but it's annoying - why?).
But the rooms are nice, the bathrooms lovely, the beds comfortable, the chalets sympathetically designed in timber. There's a good gym. Didn't try the spa.
Bit of a pity that the view inland from the sea is dominated by the two large blocks of non-chalet accommodation - which could have been designed better to blend in with all the greenery.
Thing is, though, I'd go back. It's a no-brainer, so these criticisms are details, really.
One lovely thing (for a Brit) is that there weren't many other English people there - the place is full of Italians. And - for a Brit - it's so much more pleasurable and holiday-ish to hear Italian spoken on the beach, than to hear your own language.
There were plenty of other nationalities there too, but for me the preponderance of Italians was a nice touch. For the Italians themselves it may have felt more mundane, of course.
Getting on and off the island takes a bit of planning. Depending where you're going to/coming from, it may help to fly straight in/out of Redang airport (book early). Otherwise there are two hotel ferries per day to the mainland and one (I think only one) private one at 1pm. If you want to cross the water later than that (say for an evening flight out of Kuala Terranganu), you can rent the hotel boat for a lot of money (3000ringit) or ask reception to find a local guy who'll do it much more cheaply (we were taken to the mainland and driven to the airport all for around 550 ringit - albeit in a rather bumpy and basic vessel).
I'd go back to this place. It's on my top list now, along with Jade Mountain, The Ventana Inn, the Mount Nelson, Babington House......you get the picture.
Well done, Taaras.
A few tweaks and you could be approaching perfection.
- 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