Travel review: 3D2N @ Lotus Desaru Beach Resort

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Note: This is not a sponsored post. All accommodation fees and expenses were fully paid by myself and my family.

Earlier on this year around April, I went down to Desaru with my family for a family vacation and to also celebrate my dad's 55th birthday!


There was no way that we can squeeze 6 adults and 1 baby into my dad's OLD 5 seater Mercedes... and so we rented an MPV! I must have called a gazillion car rental companies asking for the vehicles available on the selected dates and the price to rent the car to drive into Malaysia over the long PH weekend!

We finally settled on a Honda Odysseys from Hirva Car Rental who were quick and patient in attending to all my enquiries!

Hirva Car Rental made the whole rental process very smooth and easy.

Just a few clicks and taps of my keyboard on their online reservation system, pulled out my credit card and viola I've secured the car for my family vacation!


Hirva Car Rental
Website: www.hirvacarrental.com/
Contact: 6693 1942 (Main office) / 6345 9433 (West branch)

I like how Hirva Car Rental had a wide variety of cars for me to choose from, plus they had 2 branches (one at the East, the other at the West) from which I can choose where to get my car!

Another important thing about them is, their website is up to date and easy to understand!!

Some of the car rental companies' website had terrible website designs that were hard to navigate and their car rental prices were written in complicated tables that was difficult to understand! Worst part is when I called to ask for the price... the number that they quoted for me is not even in the damn table. Bloody fuck

Also, Hirva Car Rental doesn't have the ridiculous rule that only because I can return my car on the next day thus I must pay for another full day of using the car wtf. For one more day, it's like an additional 100 bucks or so.

Hirva Car Rental count their days by a full 24 hours so that makes it more cost efficient!

Anyway, a quick glance at the car rental cost:

Note: NO GST CHARGE!!!! Save more monies! \o/

"Hi everybady!"

"It's my first trip abroad!"

"I'm so excited!!"

"BUT FIRST.. Lemme take a snooze during this 90 minutes journey. Zzzzz..."

Going to Desaru is a lot easier and faster now thanks to the new expressway E22!

Also through this trip, I learnt something new: I DON'T NEED 3G FOR "LOCATION" TO WORK IN GOOGLE MAPS!!!!!!

And all my smartphone years... I always thought that I needed 3G for the compass function on Google Maps to work. I feel like a fool now. All the times I bought another SIM card when I was abroad just so that I could navigate my way around. Gahhhhhh!

To all you folks out there, if you don't wanna waste money on getting a SIM card but need a map to find your way around a foreign area here's what you can do:
  • First use a nearby wifi to load your map by selecting the start and end points of your journey
  • Then start the journey with your chosen route
  • As you stepped out of the wifi zone, keep your location setting on and viola! It works!!!!

You Kee Seafood Restaurant

Desaru is all about seafood... LOBSTERS especially.

This is the seafood restaurant that my family frequents over the years and I dare put my life on it when I say that the food here is so much better than the famous Jade Garden Seafood Restaurant featured on television.

We've ever had ONE meal at Jade Garden's and it was also the last. Everyone at the table concluded that Jade Garden failed miserably in comparison for quantity and quality of food.

At You Kee's... The lobsters are bigger — I love their deep fried butter lobsters and it is a must-have on the table every time! Their food is more fragrant. The whole place has a rustic feel that I LOVE! And the price for food at You Kee's is a lot cheaper than the price at Jade Garden too!

So, be smart and have better food at a cheaper price!


You Kee Seafood Restaurant
55 Jalan Pantai, Sungai Rengit
Pengerang, Johor Bahru

Operation days/hours: All days of the week, 1100hrs - 2230hrs
Google map: http://goo.gl/maps/v4CU8


Arrived at Lotus Desaru Beach Resort

Lotus Desaru Beach Resort has gone through an extensive renovation since its golden days as Desaru Impiana Resort.

I remember my first trip to Desaru Impiana Resort (now known as "Lotus Desaru Beach Resort") when I was about 7? My mom coined the place as the Disneyland of Desaru... and that's what it really seemed like to me!

The place had a ferris wheel, merry-go-round, spinning teacups, a brightly coloured choo-choo train that went around the resort compound... and the whole place was lit up with neon lighting at night! It was like a carnival!!

But now all of that is gone, and I am sorely disappointed with what I uncovered during this trip.

I miss the good ol' Desaru Impiana Resort :(

Happy baby in sight

Regardless of what I said, there is still one little fella who was super happy about the trip!

She still wasn't able to walk when we travelled there, and so she mostly furniture cruised (ie. walk while holding onto nearby furnitures for support) around the area and crawled over all of our beds.

Here's a brief introduction of our 3-bedroom suite:

Bedroom #1: King size bed

This room is the biggest of all 3 rooms, has its own balcony and ensuite toilet!

I gave this bedroom to my sister and her family as we didn't get a cot for baby, and even if we did she wouldn't sleep on it. She has gotten used to sleeping on big beds! :/

Ensuite toilet to bedroom #1

A ridiculously large bathroom with a bathtub that had no hot water!

Oh FYI both toilets in the suite had NO HOT WATER!!!! Everyone had to take cold showers during our stay.


Bedroom #2: Queen size bed

Gave this room to my parents. It is a tad small but cozy and comfortable.

It came equipped with a cupboard and a dressing table (not taken in the picture above).

I like how the room had ceiling to floor windows which allowed adequate sunlight to flood in. It gave the room a cheery + relaxing vibe!

Bedroom #3: Two single size bed

Mine and H's room. Quite obviously you can see which bed is mine (hint: spot the green frog).

Our room was pretty big,and well-equipped with a cupboard and a dressing table too. The only downside was that the wooden flooring was uneven and I could SEE and FEEL the cracks in between.

I was hesitant about letting le puffball to crawl around our room as I was afraid of it causing her knees to be scraped! Some serious repair works truly needs to be done.

Common space: Living / Dining / Kitchen / Study area

My mom was most satisfied with this living space because (in her words) "everyone is TOGETHER!"

If your mom is like mine, you'll know that this holiday place is a prime choice for your family!

In holiday mood!

Retail shop

A convenience store in the resort that sells whatever that you might possibly have forgotten but need, at a fraction higher of its average cost.

So if you don't wanna spend the extra ka-chink, PACK WISELY.

Funfair

From aracade machines (I saw bishi-bashi!) to bumper cars... there is sufficient indoor entertainment for the kids when it rains or during the night.

Or you can also book a room at their karaoke lounge and the whole family can sing their lungs heart out.

Seaview hall

The venue that everyone in the resort gathers at to have their breakfast in the morning. There is a guaranteed satisfying array of food available, however be warned... the place is FUCKING crowded.

Also, be warned that the place is not air-conditioned.

The hall is furnished with big round tables that can fit about 12 pax? Perhaps more.

There is the choice to sit outside by the beach but I doubt anyone in the right mind would wanna do that unless they are desperate for somewhere to sit. The 9am sun beating down on one's head, the heat emitted by the sand and the blinding reflection of sunlight is sure to drive anyone mad.

It already drove me mad as I stood within the shelters of the hall staring at those outdoor seats. I was so thankful for the ceiling fans that provided little (but at least some) cooling to the huge room.




Take a dip in the pool

After having breakfast, there are two obvious choices for water activities: pool or sea.

There are about 3 pools in the resort if I did not recall wrongly:
  1. The first pool one of the two larger pools and is the nearest to the funfair. Few adults in the pool but it is packed with kids and their respective floats.
  2. The second large pool in the resort is situated at the Waterpark where the water slide and Giant Coconut Fall can be found. However the water in this pool is incredibly murky — it made me wonder how many tens of people have peed in it?!
  3. The last pool is the one that my family used. It is the smallest but thank goodness, IT WAS THE CLEANEST. It is surrounded by block I, L and M. There was a kids pool and an adults pool that you can't do laps in it, but you can at least frolic and splash some water around.

There is one towel counter stationed at each of the 3 pools; ready to provide you with freshly laundered pool towels.

Take a walk by the beach

A friendly word of advice: ARM YOURSELF WITH INSECT REPELLENT.

On our first night at the resort, H and I took a stroll around the compounds of the resort.

As we neared the beach, we could smell a distinctively strong scent of insect repellent from the nearby hotel guests who were either dining at the beachside bar (Rhu Bar) or building sandcastles at the fringe of the beach. I suppose everyone was terrified of blood-sucking mozzies or even the more dreadful sandlies.

I didn't have time to take a dip in the sea but at least I managed to squeeze some time in for a walk at the beach after breakfast. The experience was wonderful.

Kicking the cooling sea waters and watching the sand beneath my feet being washed away by the waves...Most importantly, NO dirty tar on the beach. THANK GOODNESS.




Rating: 3/5

My two cents:

It has been a pleasant vacation and I would return to Desaru for another short weekend vacation, but I unfortunately would not be staying with this resort again.

PROS
  • Thumbs up to good service provided throughout the entire stay... what with our electronic door lock being buggy, the need for the hotel's tech staff to personally make a trip to our room and assist H in getting internet connectivity for his work laptop, and my barrage of enquiries at the front desk on several occasions.
  • The staff were quick to top-up any food that might be running low or have run out. The quality of food served at their breakfast buffet is decent and I must highly compliment on their banana cake! Fabulously tasty, fluffy and still dense! I did the most auntie thing ever by wrapping a few slices in a couple of serviettes and tabao-ed it back to the room! HEHE!!!

CONS
  • There was too much to just check-in. I forgot to mention that they have 2 lobby areas and both had a counter titled "reception". The further one is where you are suppose to go to get yourself checked in, and the nearer one to the entrance is deserted with no directions or information board to give proper directions that would lead to the right reception area. I was so bloody confused.
  • The room is adequate for staying but based on the room rates, I was expecting more. The room looked old and was in need of a good check and some repairs. The toilet was disappointing and REALLY... NO HOT SHOWERS???? After emerging from the pool, one is often freezing cold and would like a nice hot shower when they return to their room. However we were greeted with disappointing icy cold showers.
  • The pool...... urrgh. Crowded pools, that I can take. But pools with murky water is a HUGE no-no for me! So unhygienic!!!!!!!

As for everything else in the resort, it was decent and well-acceptable.