Pulau Redang 101 – The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort – Review

Not Quite The 5-Star Hotel That I Was Hoping For – The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort

Over the long Malaysia Day weekend 2 weeks ago, Big Teddy and I spent 3 days 2 night at The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort for a much needed getaway and beach holiday.

I booked a Hill Deluxe room through Agoda for 2 nights at RM1,448, expensive I know but I was hoping it worth the money since it was rated the best resort on TripAdvisor.  However, we were massively let down by the resort’s extremely poor service, but more of those stories later…

Redang Island, or known locally as Pulau Redang is one of the largest islands off east coast of Peninsular Malaysia famous for its crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches. We started our journey from Subang Airport with an hour flight to Kuala Terengganu Airport at 7.30am. Then from the airport we took the resort land and sea transfer return package for RM340 per person which consist a 15 minutes bus ride to the jetty from airport, followed by an hour speed boat ride to the island.

Taaras Beach & Spa Resort
Crystal Clear Water and White Sandy Beach

The resort’s private speed boat was new and spacious. Although the sea was choppy but it was overall a pleasant ride to the island. I even get to shut my eyes for a while during the bumpy ride. After an hour, we finally reached the beautiful island of Redang. The hotel pick up at the jetty was a little chaotic (no enough transportation to take all the passengers and luggage) but we made it to the resort just before noon.

The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort
The Resort’s private speed boat

Checking in was easy as they sat us down at the lobby lounge, took our IDs and did all the paperwork while we sipping our welcome drinks. We finally got our keys to our Hill Deluxe room after more than 6 hours on the road, air and sea. That was about the end of the few good things that happened to us during stay here. The room was pleasant, spacious and functional. However, there were some mold in the shower and our mini fridge was not working, which highlighted the poor housekeeping job. They did change the entire mini fridge after we complain about it, I still thought that the housekeepers should have noticed the faulty mini fridge whenever they replenish the daily supply.

Taaras Beach & Spa Resort Redang
Our Hill Deluxe Room
The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort
Inside the room
Bathtub overlooking the bed

After we checked into our room, it was way past our lunch time so we decided to go grab some food at their all day dining restaurant. It wasn’t a busy restaurant with only a handful of tables occupied. We were starving and ordered a salad and satay for starter, plus a fried rice and chicken dish for our mains. However, the food took such a long time to arrive, we almost walked out of the restaurant. For instance, our started took more than 20 minutes to arrive after a few inquiries and follow-ups, then we waited for another good 30 minutes before our mains arrived. The food wasn’t even hot when they were served, and the frustrating part was even other tables that came after us got their food before us. The food actually tasted okay but the service was just appallingly poor.

Our starters for lunch. Forgot to take the mains as we were too hungry

After the rather disastrous lunch, we took a stroll on the beach. The private beach here was the main selling point for me to book the resort in the first place, and it was truly the best part of the entire resort. I haven’t seen such blue and clear sea water in a long long while, it was absolutely breathtaking.

Private Beach at the resort
The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort
Beach Bar where we had our cocktails and beer

As this was the 1st night here, we decided to check out their fine dining restaurant, The Beach Brasserie. We tried to make an early dinner reservation, however was told that they could only seat us at 9pm. Hence, we decided to order some snacks via room service while waiting for our dinner at 9pm. When I called the in-room dining at 7.40pm to order a soup and some chicken wings, I was expecting the food to be delivered within well reasonable time. However, after 2 more phone calls which I was told that the food was on the way, the food never came when I left the room at 8.55pm. It was a total let down and unacceptable service from the resort. How long could a soup and some chicken wings would take to make and deliver??! I was mad walking to our dinner just thinking about how bad the service was!

Anyway, we still went on with our dinner plan and after a rather frustrating day at the resort encountering bad services, we vented our unhappiness to the waiter serving our table, Salman. To our surprise, he actually took note of our comments and promised he would do his best to speed up the serving of our food. Thanks to him, our 1st night at the resort didn’t end with bad taste in our mouth.

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The Beach Brasserie
Seabass main dish
Thin crust pizza which was good
More food!
Seafood Aglio Olio Spaghetti – Quite oily but tasty

Day 2 we started bright and early for our supposedly 3 hours snorkeling trip at 9am. After a quick breakfast, we registered ourselves at the resort activities desk where we were handed a life vest and a bottle of water, ready to set off for our snorkeling trip on the resort’s speed boat. Everyone was on a happy mood sailing out to the sea, but the happiness was short lived as less than 20 minutes into our ride out, our speed boat broke down in the middle of choppy sea. I started to wonder whether the bad lucks had plagued us this trip… Our broken boat was left rocking in the choppy sea for a good 30 minutes before the rescue boat came to help us. Most of the passengers on board were already seasick and a poor Japanese boy was vomiting what I presumed was his breakfast. I felt dizzy too and was trying my best to hold it together. After the new speed boat (bigger and better) came to transfer all the stranded passengers on board, almost half of them decided to return to the resort and aborted the snorkeling trip. Big Teddy and I decided to stick it out and continued with the snorkeling trip, even though we had wasted an hour of the beautiful morning in Redang Island.

In the end, we were glad that we stayed on with the snorkeling trip as the boat made 4 stops around the nearby islands. The water was super clear and I had never seen so much marine life before in my previous snorkeling trips in Thailand. The coral reefs were abundance and beautiful too (be careful not to step on the coral reef as it cut Big Teddy’s feet). I was hoping to see some sea turtles but unfortunately there were none showed up. My underwater Canon camera was malfunctioned hence I couldn’t show you how beautiful it was under the clear blue water.

One of our snorkeling point
The water was so clear we could see the reefs under the water

It was almost 2pm by the time we got back to the resort. We decided to go for lunch outside the resort, Aima Grill Fish Restaurant was just few minutes walk from the resort main gate and the food was cheap and good too (details coming up in separate post). After that, we just chilled around in the room and beach for the rest of the afternoon.

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Resort Main Gate

Our 2nd and last night at the resort we still went to The Beach Brasserie for dinner since we had a good experience with Salman, the waiter there the night before. However, despite Salman’s best effort, the dinner was still a let down when we discovered a rubber band in our soup! So much so for a memorable last dinner at the resort before we returned home the next day. Salman did try to make up for the kitchen’s mistake by giving up complimentary dessert, but when the damage was done it was hard to reverse it…

This was before we found the rubber band inside the soup
Carbonara spaghetti which was bland and tastless
Cod fish
Complimentary dessert to make up for the rubber band incident

Last day at the resort we started with the breakfast at the all day dining restaurant. It was another disastrous experience when the breakfast area was understaffed and all empty tables were left uncleaned. We literally had to push away the dirty dishes left by previous guests, and find our cutlery from the service station. Furthermore, one of the waiters left a mountain of dirty dishes right next to our table when he took off half way while cleaning up the tables in our area. Big Teddy had a go with the staff in order to get them finish their works. It felt like a war zone inside the breakfast area, as the food and drink glasses constantly ran out and it took the staff forever to replenish them. Seriously this resort has some serious service issues to be addressed here.

Soon after breakfast, we headed for our couple massage session booked the day before. For RM390, we got an hour of couple’s aroma therapy massage and 20 minutes of bubble milk bath. Overall the massage was good, but the room was a little noisy with the hissing fan to be entirely relaxed.

Taaras Spa
Bubble Milk Bath!
Inside our massage room
Big Teddy is quick getting ready for his massage

When it was time to check out, the resort was totally unequipped to handle the mass of guests catching the 1.30pm boat back to the mainland. I was made to stand and wait for more than 30 minutes before they took another 15 minutes to process our room’s check out. Another bad experience!

Overall, I love Redang Island because of its clear blue sea water and white sandy beach. It was the most beautiful island I’d been in a long while, even much better that all the Phuket/Krabi islands that I’d been in Thailand. (Check out 10 best beaches in Malaysia according to tikitouringkiwi too)

However, The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort was a total disappointment although they claimed to be a 5-star luxury beach resort. Their service level is the worst I’d experienced after so many years of travelling and I even felt enraged at some of the incidents that happened throughout our stay here after spending another RM1.9k on food, massage, ground transfer and activities at the resort on top of the 2 nights room charges of RM1.4k.

I’ll definitely return to Redang Island but I’d never put myself through the horrible bad services again that I’d experienced here at The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort. In short, I’d highly recommend Redang Island for a sweet and short getaway (look at all those pretty pictures below) but do try to look for other resorts to stay as The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort is so NOT WORTH your money. Then again, every travel is an experience and this would definitely a memorable one albeit not in a good way. Also since this resort experience had set the bar so low I’m sure my next hotel stay will easily overcome and become a much enjoyable stay than this one.

Address: Pulau Redang, 20928 Redang Island, Malaysia
Tel: +60 9-630 8888

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  1. Hi there, sorry to hear about your bad experience at The Taaras Redang. I was told that they are in fact NOT a 5-Star luxury resort, but they choose to brand themselves as one. The GM/CEO of the Taaras, Château, Berjaya Hill has had a bad reputation over the last 10 years with no luxury experience, and insists that they want to rebrand as a luxury brand. You know, in Malaysia, our 5-Star or luxury status is like a 3 Star in other countries. Honestly, I never have faith in many local resorts that claim they are luxury or 5-star, therefore I would rather spend my money on a smaller boutique resort where service and quality is much better. Berjaya's luxury arm was never a luxury or 5-star, but perhaps for those who never experienced a real luxury hotel or never been out of Malaysia would feel that it is luxury. Again, thank you for highlighting this as seldom, Malaysians vent their frustrations online as they only talk at mamak stalls or cafes about their dissatisfaction.

    1. Unfortunately, I haven’t tried the others so I won’t be able to make any good recommendations. Probably by reading through some of the latest reviews on Tripadvisor might help you with your expectations. The beach and water at Redang Island are pretty amazing though so I hope you’d have better experience than I did.

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