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“great location on a private island, worth staying for a couple of days”

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Gem Island Resort & Spa
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Marang
bologna
Level Contributor
22 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“great location on a private island, worth staying for a couple of days”
Reviewed 27 September 2009

Very nice, colonial style four star hotel. We spent there three nights in august 2009. Very nice room on the upper floor (actually we booked a sea view premier villa room, when we arrived at the resort they gave us room number one: although the room was really beautiful, it was too close to the restaurant kitchen and the smell of the food came to the balcony, and there was a small wall just in front of the balcony that prevented a full sea view..there were no other room available so the owners up-graded us to a hideaway villa, the room was a bit smaller but had a wonderful view of the sea and private and spacious balcony). Food choice was good. The room rate included free kanoe rent for an hour (you can easily reach kapas island where you can both enjoy a walk on the beach, a drink in one of the many beach bars, and of course nice beaches). Great open air spa center with wonderful view of the sea..
Snorkeling is great and you don’t even have to be far from the shore to sea wonderful and colourful tropical fishes. Just not to be taken aback by their sudden encounter, there are sharks in the sea. Actually we met a few big ones (almost as big as us!!) but the people at the resort told us that if the sharks have a black tip they are harmless..Stuff at the reception was very friendly. Great location on a private island, definitely worth staying for a couple of days

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank bulagna75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Australia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 September 2009

After much looking around and reading a lot of different resort reviews, my boyfriend and I decided on this place because you just couldn't beat the value. We had initially booked for 4 nights, however extended our stay for another 2 nights simply because we were having an amazing time. There were hardly any people at the resort and we were able to completely relax!

The staff are very friendly and helpful. They organised a taxi to pick us up from the airport, and also made sure the boat waited for us (as we were running a bit late) so we didn't have to pay extra for an out of schedule boat transfer. Throughout our stay the service was excellent, and the owner was also very helpful.

The seaview villa's were great - we had an uninterrupted view across to Kapas Island and thoroughly enjoyed sitting on the balcony during the evenings and just relaxing. The rooms are cleaned daily while you have breakfast which is also great.

The food was good - breakfast is fairly simple but more than suffice. The menu at the restaurant is fantastic - there is a huge variety of meals to chose from and lots of fresh seafood. We would often see the chef head out in the afternoon to catch fresh fish for the evening.

There are 3 beaches however the best one for relaxing/sunbaking is definitely at the front of the resort. The back beach is great to snorkel from however and if you can make it out to the tiny rock island you might be lucky enough to see a black tipped reef shark. We saw one swim right past our villa - just a baby one but it was great to see! The tide tends to be in in the mornings so the snorkelling is better then. In the afternoons take a sea kayak across to the beaches of Kapas Islands - they are fantastic and remember to bring snorkelling gear!

The power is turned off each day from 3-5pm... this didn't really affect us at all, but if you are having an afternoon nap, except the fan and a/c to turn off!

The spa at the resort is great - we had an hour full body massage which was excellent. And the views from the spa are brilliant.

Overall we were really really happy with the Gem Island Resort and Spa and the only thing I would suggest to them is to fix up the pool as this would really add to the resort!

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank becpaus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Waalwijk, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
86 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 September 2009

We stayed at the Island for 4 days, it was amazing, friendly people, very nice surroundings with lizards and turtles. One night they were releasing baby turtles!! very nice.
The Spa is also recommendable very relaxing too. They do everything to make you feel at home. It has a typical Malaysian feel, and the sea is so nice, with colors from green to light blue wauw!
The snorkelboat is adviseble too. We will visit the island next year with the other family members.

  • Stayed August 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Mieke4361
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Petaling Jaya
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 September 2009

This as absolutely brilliant. We came here after we walked out of the Berjaya Tioman because it as so terrible. Like there e arrived late and had missed the last ferry. Unlike the Berjaya the hotel immediately rang a boatman and arranged for us to be collected and brought across. So smoothly done that we didn't mind the slight surcharge.

When we arrived we were greeted with loads of warmth by the staff and just felt ourselves relaxing. It was a wonderful place to stay for 2 nights - eventually 3 because we liked it so much.

There's loads of good stuff written about it in other reviews so I won't go on at length. The food was great. Typical Malay food - but not just the standard recipes and it tasted great. Smiling helpful staff - even with a 2 year old daughter on the rampage. They were always looking out for her and taking time to keep her happy - as well as doing their jobs.

The sharks one morning at dawn were a highlight for me as was dancing on the headland to the sunset on another evening. We tried to book for Christmas there and then - alas it's closed due to the monsoon. :( Still, going back in April :)

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
2 Thank Hanseatic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Malaysia
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 August 2009

My partner and I stayed at Gem Island for 5 days and we enjoyed ourselves very much. We had much fun and spent our time snorkeling, kayaking, taking many beautiful photos and simply relaxing at the beach.

The room that we stayed was the water villa and we were surrounded by the sea and it was a great sight. Water was crystal clear and it was fun watching many colourful fishes and crab beneath us. We even spotted a baby shark and huge Malayan water monitor lizard!

As for snorkeling, although there were quite many jellyfish (do be extra careful), we discovered and saw plenty of fishes and colourful coral. There were also many sea cucumbers of all shapes and sizes and do beware of the sea urchins too. You wouldn't want to hurt yourself especially when the tide is low.

Also, there's a turtle sanctuary at Gem, nearby the infinity pool and gosh, the baby turtles were very adorable. How I wish I could bring one home!

For your little info, Pulau Kapas is just opposite Gem Island and it's nearby so if you have time, do kayak over to explore more of the island.

Liked - Clean room with nice decor, balcony and ocean view, delicious food, beautiful sceneries, crystal clear water

Disliked - Small beach, island too close to mainland

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank StephGlow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
singapore
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 18 August 2009

Highly recommended. It was turtle season, they have a little hatchery, too bad when we were there the tide was low. The owner manager is very knowledgeable about the turtles and the children enjoyed the stay.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank CWTY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kuala Lumpur
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 August 2009

I just came back from the resort about 2 weeks back with my bf. Even while we were there we kept saying we have to come back. I have been to several islands in Terengganu but by far this has been the best island trip reason being:
1.) Close to mainland. Only half an hour ride by speedboat.
2.) Friendly and chatty staff from manager til the cleaning people. One was really kind and more than willing to entertain us around the small island. Even took us on a walk at night on the shores when the tide was low to show us the sea creatures lurking in between the corals. We got to see an octopus and the tiniest colorful fishes! Thanks to him there wasn't a dull moment at all!
3.) Room and bathroom is clean and tidy. All rooms have ocean view! Those who wants to be as close as they can to the water should stay at the water villa.
4.) Night can be boring because there's no pubs or discos but you can watch some TV which has movie channels. (some places claim they have TV but it's barely watchable due to bad reception)
5.) The restaurant serves both asian and western cuisine and the food was quite good. Just a bit pricey so be prepared to pay 20 over bucks for fried rice.
6.) Full handphone coverage!
7.) Claims they have 24 hr electricity but they shut down for 2 hours after lunch. According to the staff it's because they need to cool down the generator. Well, it wasn't a big deal cuz we were busy snorkelling or chatting on the hammock anyway.
8.) Snorkelling was great because you don't even have to go on a boat to see all the colorful corals and fishes. Just careful of the sea urchines on the main beach in front of the resort. I recommend you skip the main beach and go snorkelling from the other 2 beaches on the other side of the island.
9.) We didn't get to do it but the next island, Kapas Island is less than a kilometer away for you to kayak to have a beach all to yourself and do a bit more exploring or you can head to the spa for a massage.

The resort was no 5 star resort but it was great for us to unwind, relax and have alot of quiet time together.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank orrey58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Gem Island Resort & Spa

Property: Gem Island Resort & Spa
Address: Lot 2804 Jalan Rusila | Daerah Marang Terengganu, Marang 21600, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Terengganu > Marang
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Marang
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Gem Island Resort & Spa 3*
Number of rooms: 45
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The resort have 45 sea frontage villas, comprising of 2 suites, 4 hideaway Villas, 4 Premier Villas and 35 water villas. All villas are equipped with air conditioning and king sized beds with aside lounger. All villas have a balcony with a swing chair for your convenience. Villas are all ensuite with a toilet and shower room. The resort is built on the ridges of the coastline, thus preserving the hills and its natural physical formation. There is a main beach and 2 other smaller beach for your private use. There is a restaurant where all meals are served there. Seaport facilities like kayaking and snorkelling are also available. Guided snorkelling is also available upon request with minimum of 4 pax. Airport transfer can be arrange upon request with some charges. Rates are available on our official website. Thank you and hope to see you in Gem Island soon. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gem Island Hotel Marang
Gem Island Resort And Spa
Gem Island Resort & Spa Malaysia/Terengganu - Marang

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