AFTER hearing so much about Berjaya Tioman Resort’s many charms, in particular, its pristine turquoise waters and sandy beaches, we were thrilled to receive an invitation to visit the resort and experience them ourselves.
The most popular way to reach the island is by ferry, and thus we travelled to Johor to set off from the busy Mersing Jetty, where the ferry departs twice daily.
While waiting for your ferry to depart, guests of Berjaya Tioman Resort can rest awhile and grab a hot drink at the newly opened Berjaya Lounge located at Plaza D’Jeti, a mere minute’s walk away from the main ferry terminal.
If you decide to explore the town, you can leave your luggage at the Lounge and pick them up before your departure.
Also, if you’ve forgotten any essential beach supplies, fret not. Plaza D’Jeti is packed with shops where you can make last-minute purchases, ranging from swimwear to sunblock.
The ferry ride itself takes about two hours, with a few stops along the way around the island. Once you reach the Tekek Village Jetty, you can arrange for a shuttle van to greet you at the jetty when you book your stay.
For those preferring to arrive in style, there are charter flights via SKS Airways from Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, and Senai Airport in Johor.
Once we boarded our shuttle van, it was a pleasant ride across the island towards the resort. We drove past several smaller kampung areas that were populated with dive shops and homestays.
The island has so far managed to avoid the intense overdevelopment that comes with tourism, with its natural rainforests and clear blue waters relatively untouched.
We finally reached our resort, with its rustic, recently-varnished chalets glistening under the bright afternoon sun. The resort, and its accompanying 18-hole golf course, sits on a massive 200-acre plot of land, with a direct view of the sea.
We were greeted by a brief musical performed by the resort staff, which is how they welcomed all their newly-arrived guests. We also got the opportunity to meet the General Manager Simon Tan, who helped guide us throughout our stay and made it all the more memorable.
Those planning a trip with their families will be pleased to note that there are plenty of options for outdoor activities to suit the whole family. Located right next to the swimming pool, which is always a hub of activity during the weekends, is a huge field with a children’s playground and an archery course. Larger groups can also arrange to host their own games in this space.
There is also a football field, as well as a tennis court where you can test your skills. During our stay, we ran into a gentleman who occasionally hosted tennis workshops on the court.
For facilities aimed at younger children, the resort’s Kids Club has an array of games that would keep children occupied for hours. And in the evenings, there is also the option to enjoy an outdoor movie night, with a variety of films available for screening.
Rooms with a view
We were given rooms in the resort’s Garden Premier Terrace, which aside from being spacious, were also located a stone’s throw away from the lobby, making it extremely convenient for us as that was the starting point before we headed for most of our planned activities.
The resort has several other room options to suit various budgets and family sizes. For those looking for chalets located in quieter parts of the resort, we were told that the best rooms to pick were the Garden Terrace and Garden Chalets.
Meanwhile, those travelling in larger groups or with their families have several options available to them. There are Double or Twin Rooms for all room categories, except for Beach Terrace, as well as a Two Bedroom Chalet, which features adjoining rooms. Those looking to make the most of the beach may prefer the Beach Terrace Chalets.
But no matter where your room is located, getting around the resort is a breeze thanks to markers set up along the footpaths which feature QR codes that guests can scan to bring up a map of the grounds.
A variety of dining options
After settling in our rooms, we immediately headed to the resort’s main dining area, known as Asean All Day Dining, which offers guests three meals a day, mostly consisting of local dishes that offer familiar tastes while also satisfying hungry guests looking to replenish the calories they burnt up during the day.
Located right next to the main dining area is the Matahari restaurant, open from 3pm to 11pm, which offers delicious Thai and Indian cuisine. During our stay, we got to try the Shell-Out, of one Matahari’s signature offerings, consisting of a generous serving of lobster, mussels, crab, squid and clams cooked in tom yam sauce together with fragrant white rice. It is definitely one of the must-try dining options at the resort.
While we were there we also got to sample some of the dishes that will be served at the recently launched, pork-free Jia Chinese Restaurant, which is managed by Chef Law Heng Juan, an experienced and long-time employee of Berjaya Hotels & Resorts who also oversees the resort’s other restaurants. Jia is set to offer another option for guests who want to sample more varieties of local cuisine.
And for those looking for a cool drink, the Pool Bar and the Beach Bar are the perfect spots to stay and rest while enjoying the view.
Fun under the sun
One of the things we were looking forward to was the opportunity to go snorkelling, especially since we were told that Tioman had several renowned dive spots where there were plenty of marine creatures and colourful corals.
We set off on a chartered boat from the Berjaya Tioman Jetty, located just at the edge of the golf course, and visited three locations – Pulau Tulai, known for its colourful coral reefs and harmless jellyfish; Pulau Soyak, where we saw sea turtles (fulfilling one item on my bucket list) and an array of colourful fish; and Pulau Renggis, the broccoli-shaped islet just a few hundred metres from the resort.
Each location is also a popular diving spot, and there were quite a number of other chartered boats alongside ours. Despite this, the sight of healthy corals indicated that the risk of overcrowding was kept in check.
For those preferring more land-based activities, the resort lets you rent bicycles which you can ride around the grounds, as well as ATVs that you can ride to a distant beach located on the other side of the golf course.
This option is probably more suited to advanced riders, however, as the path takes you across some pretty rough terrain that may be challenging for most newbies.
If, however, you are looking for something more low impact, the resort offers daily hour-long yoga sessions at 8am and 4pm. Our instructor for the day, Ong Vern-Tsing, helped us stretch our muscles after long hours tied to a desk.
But of course, for the ultimate feeling of relaxation, we booked ourselves a session at the resort’s Ayura Spa. On-duty therapist Rose worked her magic and pretty soon, our worries and stresses fell away.
Going above and beyond
The resort staff do their utmost to make every guest’s stay feel magical. Aside from the cheery smiles that greeted us almost everywhere that we went, the resort staff also perform a Fire Show every Friday and Saturday night at 8pm, which is a hit among younger guests.
We also enjoyed speaking to the trio of musicians who performed nightly at the resort’s Beach Bar, where we stopped by each night after a long day of activities.
Lenglui, Liza and Eugene would visit each table to chat in between their sets, and treated everyone like their best friend.
It was this personal touch that made our holiday all the more special. One of our party celebrated his birthday during our stay, and they performed several songs for him, including his favourite, The Bee Gees’ How Deep Is Your Love.
Besides that, General Manager Simon Tan, who was one of our guides throughout our stay, even took the time to drive us out to Kampung Tekek where we could purchase some duty-free items to bring home, and even brought us to the Tioman Marine Park, where we spent some time feeding the fish swimming around the jetty.
The resort can also work with guests to organise specially curated experiences, including for couples on a romantic getaway.
While we were there, we were given a taste of these, including a picnic breakfast by the beach, and two candlelight dinner meals, one located on a pontoon near Pulau Renggis, and the other on the deck by the swimming pool with a beautiful view of the sunset.
It’s because of little touches like these that Berjaya Tioman Resort recently won the HAPA Award under the category of “Best In Malaysia Island Discovery 2023/2024” and Resilience Winner.
To find out more, or to book your own stay at Berjaya Tioman Resort, visit tioman.berjayahotel.com.
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