TRAVEL

The Taaras (Pulau Redang, Malaysia)

Last week, my husband and I packed our bags, flew out of Singapore on Berjaya Air and headed for Pulau Redang, a little island off the East Coast of Malaysia, for a much needed getaway.

Berjaya Redang Resort came highly recommended for many years. While I have been to the island Redang before and stayed at one of the resorts along Long Beach, I had never (until now) checked into the Berjaya Redang property. In 2011, Berjaya Redang Resort changed its brand and management. Today, it is known as The Taaras.  

 

I was very excited flying with Berjaya Air! All the rows were 2-seaters (meaning we didn’t have to share a row with a stranger) and passengers were served a complimentary light snack of salted peanuts, a red bean bun and water. Even on a 90-minute flight!

On holiday with my all-time favorite read, Vanity Fair.

After landing in the small open-air Redang Airport, we were immediately greeted by our hotel’s transfer. Fifteen minutes later, we were checked-in to our room. The flight and ground transfers by The Taaras were seamless. There really is no other way to start a relaxing holiday.

The Taaras is all about holiday luxury, impeccable service, utmost privacy and world-class hospitality.

I never intended to review The Taaras. But after arriving here, I realized that the resort’s group re-branding effort centered a lot of the property’s nature life, as well as, their organic skincare and bath amenities. I was so impressed by their Voya toiletries range (sourced from Ireland) and made from organic seaweed that I decided this was worth a post on the blog.

And so, here is my holiday review of The Taaras.

The Property
Tucked away in an exclusive alcove of Pulau Redang island, The Taaras has its own private everything. Private beach. Private house reef. Private charter boats. Private tours. Private clinic.

The Taaras is situated on the other side of the island; worlds away from the busier Long Beach strip shared by several smaller resorts. There are lot of things about this resort to love: the beach bar situated right in the front center of the beach, the clean and beautifully designed swimming pool, the rainforest spa, and of course – the white powdery sand beach.

I love the use of natural building elements. For instance, just look at the resort’s lobby toilet entrance. It is stoned-walled and sectioned off with this interesting birdcage-looking barrier.

The Rooms
We booked a Garden Deluxe room. It is one of their entry level rooms – but boy, I would book it again! The room’s proximity to the resort lobby, restaurant, pool and beach is much closer than the other room categories. The King bed was extremely comfortable and had a luxurious feel with a thick fluffy pillow-top layer and a firm base. Going into bed was one of my favorite moments at The Taaras. Strange I know, but the cotton sheets were so fine, cool and soft; it felt like satin against the skin.

Sidenote: The one other hotel/resort bed that has left years of lasting impression on me was Sunway Lagoon Resort Hotel. Interestingly, it is another Malaysian property.

The bathroom was super clean and stocked with certified hand-harvested organic seaweed amenities – body wash, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. Normally, I don’t gush much about hotel’s bath amenities. However this time, I was beyond impressed. The body lotion spreads well and fully absorbs into the skin smelling delicious, and the body wash was divine. All had a complimenting mix of strong seaweed marine and citrus scent.

If you like a hot steaming shower (one that can kill germs off your back kind), this is the place. The shower head is so powerful, you won’t be disappointed.

Check out The Taaras’s showcase of rooms on this beautiful property that I got to explore.

The Beach & House Reef
White powdery sand, crystal blue waters and cool strong breeze is how I would describe The Taaras’s beachfront. Every morning, the resort’s staffers would do an early morning beach sweep to pick up any washed-up debris keeping their beach pristine and ever so inviting!

Right in the center of the beach front is the resort’s signature beach bar. The sunset spot where resort guests lounged like lazy lizards with cocktails basking in the warmth of the sun as it sets, and the cool of the ocean breeze.

One evening as I was walking along the beach, I found a few fairly large holes in the sand. Curious, I had a look down one of the holes and found a crab in it!

We spent our entire holiday like a couple of beach bums – just snorkeling, eating and sleeping. Snorkeling at The Taaras’s adopted house reef was simply wonderful. We saw lots of beautiful corals and marine life – turtles, baby black-tipped sharks, barracudas, angel fishes, butterfly fishes, lizard fishes, damsal fishes, clown fishes (nemo), needle fishes, parrot fishes, rabbit fishes, sweetlips and a gigantic grouper the length half of me! Click here to see photos of the most common marine species found in Redang.

One of our house reef snorkeling highlights was having a school of spade fishes (commonly listed as promfret fish on dining menus) follow us as we snorkeled.  Like water tour guides, some of them swam ahead of us, some under us and most were behind us making sure we didn’t lose our way. How I know they were following us? Because when we decided to stop swimming ahead and just floated on the water, they circled around us instead. Strange but true. Looks like I won’t be ordering my favorite steamed promfret fish anymore.

Inspired by my feature on Nicole Kidman’s Beauty Secrets of Looking Beautiful Over 40, I bought myself a new surfer’s top and matching bikini bottom for this holiday. I am so in love with the neon pink strips of my bikini bottom. The promfret fishes must have loved them too!

Another highlight was seeing a pair of turtles mating on the water! We were lucky to be there during turtle mating season and saw lots of turtles.

With all that snorkelling and being out in the sun for long hours, yes! I did get a little burnt on my forehead. Luckily, I brought along this organic recovery moisturiser that literally saved my skin (read Margherita Ghel: Renewing Cream). I had five awesome days in the sun, and came back to Singapore with a healthy radiant glow. No dry parched skin to worry about.

The Spa
The Taaras Spa is just a stone’s throw away from our accommodation. Nestled deep in the resort’s rainforest garden setting, The Taaras spa can put a slight dent to your wallet. So, come prepared.

My husband went for the 3-hour spa package that included an interesting seaweed thermal wrap, while I went for the 2-hour body massage and organic seaweed facial. For my facial, they used certified organic seaweed ingredients. I ended my spa session with noticeably clearer complexion. Even my husband commented about how smooth and healthy my skin looked post-facial – that’s got to say something when even a man notices a change in your complexion.

Just to give you a sense of how relaxed this place is – around the corner from the spa, we spotted a little pond with a monitor lizard sunbathing!


The Staff
One thing I have to say about The Taaras staffers is they are well-trained and serious about their level of guest services. During our entire holiday, we never passed a resort staffer without being greeted with a ‘hello’, ‘good morning’ or a smile. Everyone was friendly and very accommodating. We never had to ask for anything twice.

The Guests
There were a lot of young families and older couples. Most of them are expats from Europe stationed in Singapore for work. Because there were not many of us, we saw many familiar faces over the course of our stay and struck friendly conversations. We met people from all of the world – Taiwan, Italy and even Kazakhstan.

The Dive Centre
The Taaras operates their own private dive and snorkeling tours from their dive center. We booked a couple of snorkeling trips with them, and they were just great! Reliable, efficient and right-on-time. We didn’t waste time waiting on other people or doing other resort pick-ups. In fact, the resort has their own private jetty where their snorkel and dive tours takes off from.

The Clinic
The resort has its own stand-alone clinic for both guests and employees. I’m not sure if this is a good sign that we can get immediate medical attention, or a bad sign that we might have to get immediate medical attention.

Special Mention: The Wildlife
The Taaras is surrounded by lush tropic landscape. It would be hard to imagine that one would not encounter some sort of wildlife on the property. During our 5-day stay, we saw lots of wildlife on the resort’s property from butterflies, monkeys, monitor lizards (big and small), squirrels, crabs (on the beach shown in previous photo), eagles and even a baby snake.

If you venture out of the resort’s property into the town’s main road, within a minute you will find yourself walking pass many goats and calves. In fact, you will probably see them as you arrive into the property.

Leaving The Taaras and Pulau Redang was very difficult. My husband and I have a general holiday rule that we don’t visit a place twice. But we both unanimously agreed that The Taaras and Redang would be our exception. 

At check-out, a couple of the resort’s key management people whom we had come to know came out to greet us. From Azmi (Guest Services Manager) to Mr Gulab Rai (Resort Manager). They were all smiles and wished us a safe journey home. Like family, they held our hands and told us they hope to see us back again. I just wished I had taken a photo with them *knocking my head*.

Sehingga masa yang akan datang, terima kasih.

View from above of Pulau Redang from my window seat

For more information on The Taaras, you can visit their website.

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The Taaras (Pulau Redang, Malaysia): A Showcase of Rooms