The Berjaya Hotel in Langkawi is a resort immersed in a natural environment as you stay within an ecological rainforest, which sounds soothing and like a nature-lover’s dream, but while the views on offer are truly breathtaking, the experience requires some tempering of expectations, especially for those not used to the climate and all it brings.
On arrival, the first impression is positive and the Berjaya welcomes you with a large round lobby complete with different desks designated for different areas. There’s a food ambassador on one, another dealing with sports and recreation, one for the spa and so on. The check-in experience went smoothly and although there was a long queue for the reception desk, staff offered us a seat on some lush sofas while we waited our turn. Within 30 minutes, we had our room and were all checked in. Given the location and reputation, Berjaya is very busy and the lobby area itself was full of people, so if you get claustrophobic, be warned.
The resort is very large and occupies approximately 400 acres of land, meaning that you not only are welcomed by gorgeous vistas but also will need to take a buggy to your room. Some rooms are 1 km away from reception, so unless you’re into trekking the Amazon, you’re better off taking the supplied buggy to get to your abode.
First impressions of the room were underwhelming. It was average at best and looked tired and in need of refurbishment. The hotel is over 30 years old and the excitement of staying in the middle of a rainforest soon wears off as the practicalities of this can cause disappointment. The room’s amenities were sub-par and disappointing. The bathroom door didn’t close, the toilet didn’t flush and the safe wasn’t working properly. It was as if we had arrived for a jungle adventure but ventured back in time by around 30 years to a more primitive era where renovated rooms were not on the agenda. There were other refurbished rooms on site, but not ours. We did complain and were given a free lunch. The manager did say that if we were staying more than one night, he would’ve offered us an upgraded room but with only a few hours left of our stay, it hardly seemed worth the hassle. This sore point could have been rectified if we had booked another room or even taken up the offer of swapping to an upgraded one, but be sure to select the right room when booking.
The resort has a shop on site which is like a large convenience store selling everything from basic clothing and caps to jewellery, ice cream and snacks. Our package included breakfast and lunch, which was fine and dinner would cost around £5 to £6 a dish, but had a variety of things on offer, including Indian food.
The on-site pool was good and had an Atlantis feel about it and the beach was nice, but smaller than other ones in the area, making it less appealing. The other thing to note is that the pool and beach were always busy. This resort seems to be a people-magnet and if you’re after some quiet time or a spot away from the crowd, you’ll struggle to find it here. Even mealtimes were densely populated with the conversations and cheer from visitors drowning out the monkeys, birds and other exotic animal sounds that you could typically hear while staying at or exploring the resort. There were many from Europe, India and across the world ensuring that a sea of languages accompanied the multitude of calls and echoes coming from the rainforest’s trees alongside the swaying waves of the sea.
The main problem with Berjaya Resort is exactly what its charm is: the rainforest. This meant that there were a lot of bugs everywhere. We were bitten by bugs throughout, could feel them crawling on our skin, spotted lizards, insects and other creepy crawlies as well as the atmospheric monkeys and birds. The greenery is nice but beware the bug bites, although staff are on hand to help with any after-bite care.
The Berjaya Resort offers a unique experience and the opportunity to stay in a rainforest environment while enjoying some of the creature comforts of home. However, you may get closer to nature than you expect and in unwelcome ways, so stay with tempered expectations.
SE Staff Reviewer.