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“Peacefulness at its best” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Japamala Resort by Samadhi

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Japamala Resort by Samadhi
Ranked #1 of 19 Hotels in Pulau Tioman
Certificate of Excellence
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Peacefulness at its best”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 August 2014

Amazing resort. Jetty restaurant provided delicious options. Beachside relaxation at its best. Stayed in a treetop chalet for only two nights, which was nowhere near long enough to enjoy this beautiful place. Both pools were stunning. Staff were friendly and catered to any needs we had. downside for this place was that it was too expensive to travel around the island, the only two options were water taxi (which would charge double due to lack of pickup after drop off at the resort) or using the resort's private shuttle boat, which was very expensive for short trips around the island. Even in our short stay our rooftop was invaded by monkeys which was not something you see every day. would definitely stay there again if the opportunity arose.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Josh L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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484 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (100)
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English first
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 August 2014

Before you read any further, please ignore all other reviews which comment on this resort 'not being up to par'. Yes some towels may be frayed, some walls may have slight marks on them but does it really matter? In our opinion these things are the mark of a well loved hotel in an isolated location. We literally cannot fault Japamala, the location, the amenities, the food but more than anything the service. Aruni leads the most amazing team of cheerful, helpful and fabulous staff. Sam at Mandi Mandi always with a smile, Mike and Jay who seem to be everywhere helping you with anything and everything. Then there is lovely, funny Lin in the spa. Every single member of the Japamala team always greets you with a smile and hello, seeing if there is anything they can do to help.
It helps that this corner of Tioman Island is probably the closest thing to paradise you will experience. We spent days in a cabana or on a soft mattress on the beach, both equally comfortable and enjoyable. There is the option of the pools or the warm, clear sea. Snorkeling equipment and canoes are readily available as well. It's the little touches though which have made this the most memorable holiday we have ever had. Afternoon snacks brought to you, wherever you might be hiding. Complimentary laundry service. A personalised, handwritten note from the resort manager with chocolates and cognac each night. A basket of 'useful items' like tiger balm, toothbrushes etc.
The food is delicious, simple Italian style food at the end of the pier and more sophisticated choices at tamarind restaurant. Breakfast is just what you want to start the day, fresh fruit and a choice of delicious smoothies and fruit juices.
The spa added to the luxury we experienced and the substantial choice of DVDs helped us end our lazy days perfectly relaxed.
We also took a day trip with Jay to coral island and would wholeheartedly recommend this. The snorkeling was incredible and the visit to long beach was like something from a film set...utterly mind blowing.
There is so much more I could tell you about...the monkeys, the views, but it wouldn't want to ruin the surprise!
We cannot thank Aruni and her staff enough for making our honeymoon and stay at Japamala the most memorable trip ever. They go above and beyond to make sure their guests feel at home and beyond relaxed whilst staying with them. Thank you so much and I truly encourage you to stay at this wonderful hotel.

Room Tip: Room 16 has the most amazing view, it is a sea cliff chalet.
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Hinksy24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 July 2014

we have just returned from 6 nights at japamala resort on tioman island- we had a pleasant and relaxing stay. the resort has lots of positives although we did feel that considering the price we paid (close to £200 per night) the resort may be slightly punching above its weight.

the biggest asset of this resort are the staff- aruni and her team are fantastic - all are extremely friendly, always smiling when they pass you. the food is also lovely, at both the western themed pier restaurant and the asian "tamarind" on the beach- we enjoyed some lovely meals (many thanks to an amazing chef!) in a romantic ambience. the cocktail list is very impressive and tasty, we tried quite a few! the evening cocktail happy hour with tasty taster snacks between 6-7pm is a nice touch although as someone else mentioned it could be expected considering the price of the resort.
the beach is lovely, a beautiful stretch of white sand and blue water- we didn't try the snorkeling as it was very choppy the entire time we were there but did spot some fish walking across to the restaurant.
the room was nice, rustic rather than luxury. we stayed in sea cliff chalet 14 and the view from the shower is probobly one of the best i've ever had anywhere i been in the world. the tv has international channels and there is an extensive dvd library should you wish to use it.

we felt that in order to justify the price, which is high for SE Asia (for food and accommodation it cost us approx £230 per day which is on par with an all inclusive resort we stayed at in the maldives) some improvements could be made at japamala. others have mentioned that the rooms are beginning to look tired which i can to an extent agree with- small things like staining on the bathroom ceiling are not going to lead to the destruction of your holiday but at such a high cost these things should not be present. the resort has only a small number of rooms which helps keep it feel quiet however there are not enough cabanas with sunloungers for all the rooms - if you are unlucky enough not to get one (which we were on occasion) then you are confined to cushions on the beach. it was incredibly windy the whole way through our stay which meant that being directly on the beach we spent a lot of time being sandblasted which wasn't very pleasant when combined with suncream. the cabanas are also roofed with palm leaves, which looks lovely but means that you are either entirely in the shade there or being sandblasted on the beach cushions- a few sunloungers on the beach could easily solve this. the restaurant also has a 10% service charge which i thought was a bit cheeky as the service although friendly was simply taking your order/giving you your food (usually only one or two people serving) rather than fine dining. a small improvement could also be that more storage is added as we didn't have anywhere to store our backpacks which were just a mess in the corner for our stay. the bed was high and not the most comfortable in the world so i didn't sleep particularly well most nights.

overall it is a nice resort, we enjoyed our stay but left feeling it was a little overpriced and will most likely not return as other venues are better value for money.

Room Tip: seacliff chalets are lovely- we were in 14 which had a beautiful view across the bay
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank christinarog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gothenburg, Sweden
Level Contributor
44 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 July 2014

Just back home form 6 night at Japamala and I can't describe the resort as anything but a slice of paradise. A tranquil paradise with 13 chalets,(approximately 26 guests) with two pools, two beaches and enough pavilion/beach beds space for all. I'm not sure how I will adjust to a normally crowded resort again...

The chalets are made of wood giving a charming rustic feel which is enhanced by the shower and toilet being half-way outside. If you have issues with animals this might however be an issue since geckos will most likely show up in the shower, the day bed might be occupied by monkeys and ants are to be found all over. If that is not an issue you will find the rooms lovely with a comfortable not too soft bed, fan and AC, enough space to store luggage, large bathroom with clothes rack, tv with international channels and a reasonable priced mini-bar. There is no room-service or store but you will most likely not miss it. A stay at Japamala includes a complimentary afternoon snack, served at the beach or you room depending on where you are (they will find you), a complimentary drinks and hour d'oeuvres hour before dinner and turn down service with night cap and chocolates.

The two restaurants, Italian on the jetty and mixed Asian at the main building, serves high quality meals and drinks to a reasonably price (average entree price 40-50 RM, bottle of wine from 105 RM) which is a big plus since leaving the resort will require boat transfer.

Overall, a stay at Japamala will be pampering in a discretely luxury environment.

Room Tip: Sea view chalets number 15 has a great layout and an excellent view. The waves might be slightly lou...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Cecpet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 July 2014

Having spent 3 night in another resort on Tioman we were absolutely delighted to arrive in Japamala for a further 3 night stay. The resorts private speed boat collected us and after a short 20 minute trip from Tekek we arrived.

Aruni, the resort manager welcomed us and showed us around. There are only 13 chalets in Japamala so you never feel crowded, on the beach, in the restaurants or bar. The setting in the rain forest is spectacular and having troops of monkeys walking across your balcony is a great experience, along with the pythons sleeping in the trees and giant monitor lizards lazily walking around.

The beach is amazing, the snorkeling is fantastic. On previous holidays we have had to take boat trips to go off to coral reefs, in Japamala just swim out to the end of the jetty and you will see the most amazing coral and array of fish, all colours and sizes, and even the odd shark.

Food is of a very high standard and the daily free cocktail hour in the bar at the end of the jetty is very welcome after a hard days sun bathing - thanks for the great service Sam!

When leaving, we availed of the private speed boat again back to Mersing which at about €23 each is a bargain (saved getting on the smelly, unreliable, crowded ferry!) .

I cannot speak highly enough about the hospitality of the staff, all very friendly and courteous. We thought this resort was amazing and would highly recommend it.

Well done Aruni, we loved the stay, only wish we had stayed longer with you!

Following Japamala, we returned to KL and stayed in the sister hotel, Villa Samadhi, equally fantastic, see separate review.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Hugh G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
24 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 July 2014

We had a nice time at Japamala, and if we had paid a lot less for the experience I would have given it a better rating. But having spent over £250 a night to stay at a beach hotel in south-east asia, as a splurge for our last holiday before our first baby, we had certain expectations in terms of service and facilities, and unfortunately Japamala failed to live up to these.

In terms of service, the staff were on the whole friendly and helpful, but at no stage did they ever anticipate our needs (which I'd use as a marker for somewhere in this price bracket), and in a lot of cases if we wanted something we'd need to track someone down to get it. I wasn't expecting room service or anything like that, but I had assumed that someone would come round and take drinks orders from the beach huts during the day rather than us having to get up, go to the main restaurant, and call out into the kitchen to try and find someone. Similarly in the evening there generally seemed to only be one person serving which meant, despite doing the best job they could, they obviously couldn't cover all the tables at once. I'm not sure whether they were having staffing issues at the time, but it just seemed like they needed a lot more people to make things run smoothly. In addition, the couple of times we had slightly out-of-the-usual requests (in relation to things which would make our stay a lot more comfortable for me as I was six months pregnant at the time), the answer came back that it wasn't possible - so in one case we had to really fight for something and in the other we ended up just sorting it out ourselves which didn't really make us feel very positive towards the place. If I wasn't paying so much money (or if I was making outlandish demands) I would have been less suprised by their attitude, but these were things it would have been pretty easy to sort, and having paid 5 star prices I really was hoping for better.

In terms of facilities, as a splurge we went for a hillside sarang room, but in retrospect I wouldn't have done so as we didn't use the things which cost the extra money. We did use the plunge pool a couple of times, mainly because it was there and we felt we should, but it was pretty dirty and there was nothing you could clean it with (a net would have been v helpful) so it wasn't the nicest of experiences - and given the sea and the pools it wasn't necessary. We also didn't use the downstairs area of the room at all as the aircon upstairs wasn't powerful enough to cool it so it wasn't pleasant to spend time there. There was no storage space in the room which I found pretty extraordinary in this price range and given the fact there would have been plenty of space for it, and the bed was bizarely high (I'm 5'11 and found it a struggle) and insanely hard and uncomfortable (I put the duvet provided under the sheet which made it a bit more bearable, but only just).

There is no question that Japamala has a lot going for it - it is in a great location, the resort is nicely designed, and the food is good. However the overwhelming impression we took away is that they either needed to seriously up their game, or lower their prices.

PS - On a practical note, if you are the type of person who is attractive to bugs, make sure you bring loads of repellant and use it religiously. I got absolutely devoured by sandflies on my first day before I realised it was an issue, and on subsequent days they found any gap in my DEET and attacked so I ended up with 43 bites by the time I left (the reason I know is that the bites are insanely painful so my husband counted on his thrice daily anti-itch cream application duties, lucky him!!!) - I guess it's just one of those things, no-one else really seemed affected, including my husband.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Tori010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 July 2014

My husband and I spent 5 nights here at the end of our honeymoon! We had such an amazing time, the place is so relaxed and chilled out.

The water is beautiful and very clear. We spent the days relaxing on the beach and snorkelling and the evenings enjoying the free cocktail happy hour and delicious food at Mandi-Mandi. I wouldnt say the hotel is of 5* standard, there is no room service available and we regularly had a problem with the aircon in our room cutting out during the afternoon making it very hot on our return. Aruni, the resident manager was brilliant though, although she couldnt do much about the aircon due to it being a problem with low electrical supply in the afternoons she did organise a free massage for us and also a free bottle of wine on our last night. The staff were all very friendly and helpful and we could have spent so much longer there.

Although there have been complaints about the cost of the speedboat, we found it was a brilliant way to arrive at the resort and I would recommend it to others.

We would really like to return here one day for a little bit more of paradise!

Room Tip: We liked the sea cliff rooms, although no 16 is meant to be the best, we stayed in no 15 and also ha...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Bethan E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Japamala Resort by Samadhi

Property: Japamala Resort by Samadhi
Address: Kampung Lanting, Tioman Island, Pulau Tioman 86800, Malaysia
Phone Number:
Region: Malaysia > Pahang > Rompin District > Pulau Tioman
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Pulau Tioman
#1 Spa Hotel in Pulau Tioman
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Japamala Resort by Samadhi 4.5*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
JapaMala is Tioman Island’s only boutique resort, and one-of-a-kind in Malaysia. This small and exclusive resort of 13 rooms is hidden amidst 11 acres of lush tropical rainforest. A one-village-one-resort property, JapaMala has its own private and quiet beach. While some charming Malay village-style villas and chalets dot the jungle and beachfront, others nestle in the most breath-taking spots.Best described as an ‘eco-luxe’ resort, JapaMala transcends the experience of living close to nature by redefining it with a touch of luxury. Designed by natural streams, steep cliffs, towering boulders and where no trees are felled, the entire resort borrows from nature its elements to offer an exceptional sense of paradise, freedom from the real world. While serious relaxation is an elusive commodity for many, one can truly succumb to the healing effects JapaMala imparts through its holistic blend of sumptuous gourmet treats, intimacy between man and nature, unique spa experiences and truly unprecedented hospitality. Many say JapaMala is not just a place, but a state of mind. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Japamala Hotel Pulau Tioman
Japamala Resort
Japamala Pulau Tioman

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