Let me begin by saying that I would have loved to have given this hotel a 5/5 rating but so many things happened while we were there, that has pushed it down to a 2/5.
If you fly into Kuala Terengganu, check what time your flight arrives, as the ferry to Redang Island has set times (which are not published on the Taaras website, even though that would be helpful to guests) We were told not to worry if we missed a set time, as we could always charter a boat but, to cut a long and frustrating story short, we eventually learnt that even if you paid for that, they also wouldn't leave the jetty after a certain time in the afternoon/evening, so we had to stay one night in an airport hotel at Terengganu and then travel to Redang the following day.
The ferry journey was smooth, about an hour and a half, and once we arrived we spotted the Taaras van that had come to collect us and our luggage. Check in was fine and the golf buggy tour, past the ocean and swimming pool is an awesome way to get people excited about the resort.
When we got to our room, we realised that we had been upgraded (looking at other Trip Advisor reviews, it seems quite common that they upgrade most people if there is space) and this was the moment we definitely considered giving them a 5/5 rating, as we looked at the incredible ocean view from the balcony.
At our first lunch, we realised that service was not up to par and we are really not fussy about that sort of thing but despite it being hot, we had to ask for a cup of water, instead of it just being something that automatically comes around and our other drinks we had ordered didn't arrive until after we'd actually finished our meal! Slow drinks service (whatever drink you order, even if it's from a can) is one of the big niggles about this place - you'll have to keep reminding them that you ordered a drink and you'll always have to ask for water.
At the end of our week, we realised that we didn't have a single smooth lunch or dinner. We always had to ask for bread in the evening, we always had to check where our drinks are, one day we had even waited 45 minutes at lunch with no drink, no food, not even a glass of water - completely unacceptable at a 5 star resort.
The food was OK, nothing particularly special and it certainly wasn't consistent, especially the evening food at the Beachfront Restaurant. We had a smooth, creamy creme brulee one night and on another night, it looked like curdled slop. I order the seabass one night, which had a large amount of fish and when my partner ordered it the following night, he got half the amount and was charged the same. On one night we had a nice bread roll with oil and vinegar and then on another night, we got a dry bit of crusty bread and when we asked for oil and vinegar, we were told they didn't have any, despite another table getting some 5 minutes later. Ridiculous. Maybe this is a good time to say that the hotel was hardly busy at all, we often saw the same couples and families and I reckon they were about 25% full at the absolute max. I saw another review which said that the staff were on strike (which wouldn't surprise me if they are frustrated with the current management) but how come there were no management staff helping out, if they knew that there were fewer waiters/waitresses who needed support and advice. More about the lack of management later...
So, a hugely frustrating part of our trip was that the resort lost the use of water (i.e. no toilets working, no taps, no showers etc.) There was a letter shoved under the door saying something about a dispute with the water company but then when we asked a worker later, they said it was something to do with a burst pipe under the ocean... who knows, you get the impression here that they are just told to lie about anything, as long as they do it with a smile.
If it is something out of the hotel's hands, then of course we understand that on an island these things can happen. However, you'd think that if you can't have a shower, can't get any water out of your tap, can't even flush the toilet, that perhaps, just perhaps they'd recognise that inconvenience and decide that they should compensate guests in some way. Any other 5 star hotel would, but this hotel (of course) did not.
After the second day of being unable to wash and flush a toilet, we went back to the front desk to ask again when the water supply would be returned and this lady acted very shocked that we had been without water as other rooms had now got their water supply back. We said we didn't want to move rooms, if it was just our building that was now still having problems, but that we would take even a cheap room somewhere just so that we could shower and use the toilet. We were told that she would TRY to get us another room but that she couldn't promise anything until she had checked with her manager. REALLY?!?!?!?!? You have less than 25% occupancy and you have other rooms with water but you're going to just CHECK that it's OK for us to be able to have water somewhere?!?!?! UNBELIEVABLE. Realising that they were actually not going to offer compensation or hold any accountability for the problems, I asked what they were going to do to acknowledge the fact that we had spent most of our holiday asking about problems, calling up constantly to say the toilet wouldn't flush or going round to the front desk to say we couldn't have a shower etc. and they begrudgingly gave us a free meal that evening, actually coming over to the restaurant and telling us in front of everyone, which was slightly embarrassing and inappropriate. But after hearing other guests share their frustrations and problems with the service, we felt better knowing we weren't the only ones.
While on the topic of food, let me agree with most other reviewers on here that say it is over-priced. Don't believe their whole 'it's in line with industry standards' spiel... yes it is if the food is up to par and the service is good, however both of these are not. How can you charge these prices when food and service is not in line with industry standards? Hmmm....
So, we got another room to shower in and went there after dinner, having now not showered in 2 days, and when we went back to our main room, a worker came round (AFTER 10PM!) to ask us for the key back as our shower was now working again (it did, for about 5 minutes when it started spluttering and coughing and then stopped again) and he took the key back and asked if we'd used the other room, looking annoyed when we said we'd had. Why the desperation to get this other room back which NOBODY was going to use... like I said, the occupancy rate was so low at this time! SUCH. POOR. SERVICE.
And now on to the management... ah, the elusive management... if anyone can find the name of the manager of this place, I'd love to know. My guess is that whoever it is does not want to associate their name with this places, especially given the recent spate of average reviews. Every letter comes signed from 'The Management', all of the information in the book comes signed from 'The Management', even the Trip Advisor reviews come signed from 'The Management'. Hardly the personal touch that other 5 star resorts understand is important. The one time when we asked to see a manager, we were basically asked what the problem was while the manager hid in their office and came out to decide how much of a fuss we were going to make and whether it was worth her time or not. We also saw one Western man who could have been a manger, but again he said nothing to us, we didn't see him or any other manager getting their hands stuck in and actually helping out. The staff who work there, everyone from the friendly gardeners to the lovely cleaners, were delightful people and most of the restaurant staff were also lovely, they just need management and guidance and support and this is something the management are accountable for and something that they are absolutely failing in.
The best part of this resort is the ocean, which is something that the resort have nothing to do with! It's thanks to Mother Nature for that one and it is absolutely gorgeous! In between all the phone calls, discussions, questions, constant reminders for food and drinks etc, we did enjoy the beauty of this place, but it's a shame that a holiday (where people want to relax) has to be taken up with all of the above issues, when there should really be no issues to worry about once you get here.
I am sure I will also receive the typical 'Thank you for your comments etc. etc. We really appreciate your advice and will share this feedback with the team' It's all a load of &^"$(*&(. They won't and they haven't done, otherwise people wouldn't keep mentioning EXACTLY THE SAME THING IN THESE REVIEWS. If this resort loses its various awards and accolades, then the management solely have themselves to blame as guests are telling them exactly what they need to do (it's called free consultancy!) and it is their choice if they choose to ignore it and bury their heads in the sand as they seem to be doing.
I would recommend going to this place once the management has either changed or has sharpened up its act.
- 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