20 Aug 2008
Berjaya Resort, Tioman Island, Malaysia
See Below
2°48'32.35"N
104° 8'36.32"E
Timeshare Rental

 

We booked a timeshare rental for a hotel room through RCI at A$339/£165 per week , and whilst on the island a week in a 2 bedroom apartment became available at A$289/£140 per week up so we took it.

The Berjaya Resort is a huge sprawling complex (the only international standard accommodation on Tioman Island) comprising of the Golf Resort, hotel rooms in the style of chalets and on a separate site a short (free) bus ride away, the Berjaya Suites are studio, one and two bedroom apartments. Although it is widely advertised as 5 star, I would give the resort somewhere between three and a half and four stars, the suites between two and a half and three.

The two sites are about 4km apart - the resort is on the beach and the suites at the top of a hill. The hotel rooms have 4 rooms to each chalet, and are set in expansive beautifully kept gardens - we kept ourselves amused for long periods in the gardens watching monkeys dodging the staff to get into the rubbish bins as well as spotting very large monitor lizards.

There were two pools at the resort, one of which seemed not to be used and had no chairs around it. The main pool was large and pleasant but there was no shade in the water, and had a couple of water slides for children and a paddling pool for toddlers. Given the size of the resort (not to mention the number of people vying for them) there were surprisingly few sun beds and umbrellas. Lots of towels left on beds early each morning.

Other leisure activities included a games room, mostly arcade games but also darts and board games, a difficult obstacle course (the resort has a large convention centre and is used for a lot of corporate events) donkey rides and diving and snorkeling.

There was a pretty golf course which seemed to be split into two 9 hole courses.

As is always the case in this kind of resort in Asia, there seemed to be more staff than guests.

A stable and very fast WiFi signal was available free of charge in the lobby, restaurants and around the pool, but if you didn't have your own laptop, the cost was RM1 per minute - in Mersing, where you get the ferry to Tioman Island, we paid RM1 per hour. The restaurants were priced as you would expect in hotels - cheap by western standards but not so by Malaysian standards. The food was good though - we got a quarter-pounder and chips one night from the pool snack bar and it was really quite good value for money, as were the pizza's. There was a nightly buffet alternating between RM55 and RM70 which seemed pretty good value too.

The gift shop was reasonable on some items, and sold the 3 English language newspapers each afternoon.

RESORT/HOTEL

The hotel rooms are huge with a mammoth, very comfortable bed and lovely feather pillows. There was a mini fridge, kettle, laptop sized safe and a couple of chairs that were a lot more comfortable than they looked. The windows had fly screens, although they did nothing to stop both sandflies and mozzies getting their full quota of nourishment from me every night - the first time since we left Australia that I've had a problem with mozzies.

As well as all local channels, the TV had two movie channels, BBC World, National Geographic, Cartoon Network and ESPN. There was no bath, but great water pressure in the showers (beware the scalding hot water). Outside there was a large private balcony with a couple of chairs and a table.

SUITES

The suites have their own reception (complete with free WiFi), although the system is interlinked with the resort - we just transferred our room bill to the new room. Those staying in the suites have full access to all the facilities of the resort and can charge restaurant and bar bills to their room. There is a small pool with hardly any sun beds, a steam room and a tiny shop - everything else is a few minutes free bus ride away.

The apartments were disappointing. Maximizing the number of units with sea views means long, one room wide layouts. Of course this means no windows in either of the bedrooms, although it really wasn't too noticeable in the main bedroom, which had a connecting door to the bathroom where there was a window. There was a ceiling fan and air con in the main bedroom and lounge, but only a wall mounted small fan in the second bedroom. The tiny 1.5m square balcony was cramped with two chairs (from the dining setting as no outdoor ones were supplied). The bed was comfortable, but no feather pillows. The TV only had 2 local channels and BBC World and supposedly 2 movie channels but they weren't working.

There are very few shops on the island with limited stock, and tourist items such as Pringles, Coke and bottled water were double the price they were on the mainland. Other items, bought mainly by the locals, had only a small and expected "island premium" on them. There was no advantage to our staying in the apartment (apart from the extra room and the magnificent view in the unit we were given) as cooking facilities consisted only of a two ring hotplate and a frying pan, although had we brought our own supplies I could have made a couple of meals instead of eating out or getting takeaways or making tuna and tomato sandwiches every day. There are two canteens just outside the gates - one is a very expensive Chinese Seafood restaurant with tables on the beach and the other serving a limited menu of Malay food and burgers. There is also a very expensive duty free shop attached to the Chinese restaurant.

The main village of Tekek is a 2.6km walk over a very steep hill - hard work but a pleasant walk, and there are a few slightly cheaper duty free shops (the whole island is a duty free zone), a reasonable bakery (which makes nice pizza's) and 3 mini-marts, but the range of goods sold is extremely small. There are also a few canteens/restaurants, which are a lot better value than the ones outside the resort. The resort bus goes to meet every ferry, and as long as there's a spare seat (we didn't see it full) you can get a free ride into Tekek, and if you time it right, you can get a ride back - check the arrival/departure times of the ferries. The only other way to get there is "taxi" - falling to pieces mini-buses which charge an unbelievable RM20 each way.

There isn't much to do once you're here except lie back and relax. There are a couple of walks, the sea is crystal clear and everything is very laid back. We probably will come back again (both the resort and suites come up as being available timeshare rentals almost weekly), and given the choice would stay in the resort rather than the suites.