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Vivanta by Taj Rebak Island, Langkawi
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Reviewed 13 March 2012

After reading some rather negative reviews (some people have personal gripes and as a result are emotional and not able to write an objective review…), I decided to write this review of our first stay at the Rebak Island Resort.

My husband and I stayed at the resort for six nights in February, and had a very relaxing time, especially after a hectic week in KL. We brought plenty of books and a laptop. It’s easy to take a taxi from the airport to the simple Langkasuka pier and the ferry trip was fast and exciting. The check-in and check-out were quick and easy. After check-out we were taken with our luggage from our room straight to the ferry pier. The ferry goes back and forth between the islands regularly. However, we did not leave the resort at all during our stay as we know Langkawi Island and were going to spend some time there as well. The views from Rebak Island are breathtaking.

The lobby is comfortable with a tropical ambiance. We never used the bar in the lobby area, so cannot comment on that.

Our deluxe room with a spacious lounge area, built in the Malay style and right on the beach, was very comfortable. The furniture was a bit old and the room could use some refurbishment, but was kept very clean by the room attendants. The room was cheerful and light because of the large windows and glass doors to the balcony.
The bathroom had a spacious cubicle with a wonderful rain shower (and always plenty of hot water) and a separate bathtub. The bathroom needs to be renovated though. We had a full range of bathroom amenities, including toothbrushes.
There were two sinks in the spacious dressing area with plenty of closet space and an easy-to-operate safe. Don’t leave anything of value lying around in a hotel room! There was an iron and ironing board as well as a large umbrella and a flashlight which you may need. The bed was comfortable and not too hard. The linens and towels were soft and white. No need to have these changed every day! Think of the environment… The view of the beach and the sea from the room was lovely.

As we always like to follow the local news, we arranged for a newspaper to be delivered to our room on a daily basis. The free internet connection in our room was good, depending on the time of day.

The breakfast buffet (included in our room rate) was excellent, especially when one likes exotic food (delicious curries, dim sum, noodles, fried rice, etc.) in the morning as we do when traveling. However, there is also an egg and waffle station and a choice of cereals, breads, Danish, cold cuts, yoghurt, smoothies, juices, tropical fruits, etc. Plenty to choose from and nothing to complain about. We always enjoyed sitting at a table on the terrace by 7.30 to 8 a.m. It’s very quiet at that time and the buffet still looks very neat.

The restaurant is pleasant, especially the terrace, but we found the food a bit pricey for what it was. The choice was all right but don’t expect high cuisine, and the service was not always that professional. The staff definitely needs more training. But most of them were very nice. Jose even made a lovely CD for us with music we had heard in the restaurant at breakfast and liked very much.

The pool is lovely, especially in the early morning which is the best part of the day anyway, when nature is waking up. Too bad some people sleep half the morning… We usually spent our time on the beach, which was clean, with small crabs and a monitor lizard every now and then, and very quiet with beautiful views. In February there was the odd jellyfish in the sea, so we always stayed alert. The resort should actually provide some information to their guests about jellyfish (more prevalent during certain times) and what to do when stung, as the Berjaya Beach Resort does.
During low tide the black coral appears and it is not possible to swim at that time. The pool and beach attendants were efficient and very friendly.
We were not bothered at all by the landing and take-off of aircraft. In fact it was kind of fun trying to take a picture of the planes. Other resorts such as the Bon Ton, the Pelangi Beach and the Casa Del Mar on Langkawi are also located in the flight path of aircraft. You either accept it or you don’t.

The gardens are gorgeous, a bit wild in places and fortunately not overly manicured. I’m sure many people, especially the moaners, don’t notice the beauty of the grounds. They can only think of the issues they have with the resort… There are so many different kinds of palm trees and other trees, some of which with lovely flowers! Every morning by 9.30 a.m. we took a walk of at least an hour through the gardens, trying to spot hornbills and monitor lizards (unfortunately we didn’t see any macaques), and along the picturesque Marina.
Yes, there are some abandoned buildings. This is probably due to the economic downturn. Hopefully the Boardwalk at the Marina will be revived sometime in the future.
There is a simple shop near the Marina and a restaurant for the so-called ‘boaties’. We spoke to several of the ‘boaties’ who had wonderful stories to tell.

Being in the tropics there are of course insects and small house geckos, sometimes inside the rooms. The geckos eat the bugs and one should not be afraid of these, they are harmless and are doing you a favor. We always travel with plenty of insect repellant containing DEET as well as a repellant for the room which is plugged into the wall. The resort provided an electric insect repellant for the room and we never had any problems.
In tropical climates, from the late afternoon, it is advisable to wear long sleeves and long pants in addition to the insect repellant. We didn’t see too many mosquitoes, but there were other little insects, perhaps sand flies? Sometimes we were bothered by some flies around our breakfast table. If you don’t like insects, you should not travel to the tropics!

We didn’t use the spa and cannot comment on it.

Many people don’t really understand the hotel star system. Hotel stars are given for the facilities offered (various types of accommodation, safe, Wi-Fi, spa, restaurant, bar, room service, etc. etc.) and there are luxury five star (some over the top) or four star hotels, and laid-back ones, such as the Rebak Island Resort. Information on the star system is found on the internet.

We met several guests who had been coming to the resort year after year. Would we stay at the Rebak Island Resort again? Absolutely yes!!!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank NLOnTheRoadAgain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 March 2012

Right from the speed boat ride to the resort each time to the room, this property is unique in itself. Completely cut off from the mainland. the privacy is amazing. Taj hospitality is just an add on you need to make it a perfect honeymoon destination.
we have probably tried a number of top resorts in Langkawi but for the price and ambience this beats them all. Been 3 times now to Langkawi in 5 years and is certainly an all time favourite relaxation place for us.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Pankajdaga79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 March 2012

We'd originally booked to stay at the Rebak Island Resort for 3 nights - after staying on Langkawi mainland for 1 week - although we left after 1 night due to how poor this hotel is.

The 2 nights we didn't stay at the Rebak were non-refundable, however the fact that we opted to forfeit a lot of money and to pay out more to book elsewhere, should hopefully illustrate how bad this place is - and let me emphasise, we've NEVER done this before, generally we'd just put up with it. But you just cannot relax when you're swatting mosquitoes every 30 seconds, in a run down and dirty room, or divey reception bar with sport on the TV in 1 corner, a band in the other, and people playing fusbal and board games in between. Hardly the Zen-like relaxation paradise it is portrayed as on the website and indeed through the reviews on here.

The hotel is shabby and grubby, and if it were anywhere in Europe would struggle to get a star rating - there's absolutely no way this is 4-5 star.

Don't make the same mistake we made by booking this hotel. Ignore the website, as it looks nothing like this. It's cheap for a reason - it's not very good.

We thought we were getting a great deal when booking this hotel, as it seemed a really good price for what appeared to be a 5 star resort, and after reading lots of the reviews about how - Amazing, Beautiful and Charming the resort was, we decided to ignore the odd review about how bad it was - I really wish we hadn't, and it makes me wonder how genuine all the reviews on Tripadvisor are. I honestly cannot believe that these reviews are from actual guests, and it makes me sceptical as to who is writing the 5 out 5 'AMAZING' 'DEFINITELY STAY HERE!' reviews, as I don't know any of my friends, family, colleagues who would rate this. Even if this place were marketed and rated as a cheap and cheerful stop over, you'd still want your money back and the next ferry away from Alcatraz!

  • Stayed: March 2012
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10  Thank NicolasB1978
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 March 2012

We stayed at Taj Rebak Island for 3 nights in October 2011 and we got the complete opposite of what we expected from a Taj Resort. There is no way this is a 5* resort....at best a 2*. The resort is badly in need of a renovation (some of which is under way). The rooms were very tired and very basic. We had a beach front room (we had requested for one) and asked for a change because of many reasons - stains on the sheets, bathroom sink/faucet/tubs were old creaky and dirty, electric outlets were non-functional.

When we complained the next day, they did upgrade us to a newer room which looked better at first but soon we found it had many problems. The porch light would never be on (after complaining 3 times) and we had to fumble in the dark to open the door. The air conditioner leaked water onto the TV right below . After complaining they sent over people to fix it at 8PM. The technicians wanted 3-4 hours to fix it and this is not what we had signed up for in a Taj resort. In the end they left some dirty , smelly rags to absorb the water behind the TV. The toilet would not flush and despite complaining and them fixing it the next night it had the same problem.

The other problem is mosquitoes - I understand the presence of bugs in tropical climates but this was a bit much. They are an island resort with one restaurant and one lounge and one pool. The only way to entertain yourself in the evening is to sit and have a drink in the lounge - but be prepared to be carried away by mosquitoes. Even though they fumigate the place, it really does not help. We sat there for 30 minutes trying to play some scrabble but got bitten badly.

Like I said before they have only one restaurant and dinner usually is on the island because their boats to the mainland don't run late into the night. They menu is the same everyday for lunch and dinner. The breakfast buffet is not even worth mentioning.

I have stayed in other Taj resorts and this was a complete let down. I have lost faith in Taj and probably will avoid them in the future.

To top it all when we expressed our disappointment during check out, the lady at the reception told us to fill up the feedback forms so that they could make life better for future customers and did not even offer us an apology!!

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Mlsh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2012

We stayed here for 5 nighs with our 2 & 3 year old girls in a beach room. We payd a good last minute rate via their website. We had a great big room, really enjoyed the pool but wat was extraordinary was the great service and attention they paid to us, the free boat to langkawi that went very often and also the great quality of the food. The only thing bad you can say about this place that there is no good snorkelling. We would definetely come back.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Hans073
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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