Vivanta by TAJ Rebak Island Resort

Vivanta by TAJ Rebak Island Resort

Having stay here in 2010 on an invitation to experience a resort on an island away from an island, it brought back many memories of this place. This time around, the TAJ group had re-branded the TAJ Rebak Island Resort to their new signature series of properties called Vivanta by TAJ. Second in the luxury tier after the TAJ Palace, this was the first and only Vivanta property in Southeast Asia.
Upon arrival at the Langkawi International Airport, the resort arranges a pickup where I was pleasantly surprised with the cold towel service at the airport itself. Usually this customer service is done at the resort reception and many luxury hotels still practice this. However, in this case, it was a bonus for the resort. Our group of media was immediately whisked away in their resort vehicles to the nearby jetty which is only a 5 minute drive from the airport. 

From the Vivanta jetty, everything was coordinated well where we were ushered to the waiting boats for our 15 minute boat ride to the resort. Vivanta by TAJ is a stand along resort on Rebak Island which faces the famous Pantai Cenang in Langkawi. This means, guests will have a private and peaceful time at the property. There are no other resorts of hotels here except for a marina that houses yachts from around the world.

Vivanta Rebak Resort Pool
The main pool at Vivanta Rebak Resort
The resort practises high levels of safety and comfort for their guests therefore just before the boat ride, a casual briefing was conducted to everyone. Life jackets are a must while they boats do not overcrowd. Once the seating is filled, the boat will depart. I have to say the journey there was pleasant and smooth without any choppy waters. The minute we departed, a staff handed out a selection of cold drinks which included cola, coffee and even the Malaysian Milo. Bottle water was also available for those who needed it. 

Arriving at the main Rebak Marina saw the staff waiting in their eco-friendly buggies that would shuttle groups of 5 to the main lobby. From the marina, it takes about another 5 minutes to the lobby via buggy. From my previous experience here, things looked pretty much the same except for the jetty area which was renovated nicely. 

A welcoming group which included the Vivanta by TAJ General Manager Mr. Sandeep was among the ushers and traditional dancers that moved into action the minute the buggy stopped. A beautiful shell garland was put around our necks while we were welcomed by the many front office staff. Again, cold towels and welcome cocktails were passed around - I had never had so many welcome drinks and cold towels on my many resort and hotel visits.

Rebak Island Resort
The Malaysian Beach Dinner at Vivanta
Looking at the main lobby area, it had not been changed except for the new Vivanta branding. The overall look and feel of the resort is similar to a tropical style architecture with a lot of wood used. The place gives you a relaxed feel when you step in. Nothing like one of those modern city hotels with lots of design and colors. Anyway, I am glad that they kept the original design here. 

As I was travelling here with my partner who is also my Chinese editor, I explained to her that this place has not changed much in the last four years. It was her first time here therefore the place looked very interesting. Heading to the villa units, I could vaguely remember that I had previously stayed in one of the 8-unit blocks. For some strange reason, the room given to us was in the same block! What a coincidence, this time around it was the room with a garden view compared to the last time when I stayed at the sea view. Ironically, our room was right behind where I stayed last time. I remember the room being very rustic as a beach resort should be so on opening the doors, a flashback of the old room came. The place looked similar.

Vivanta by TAJ Rooms at Rebak Island Langkawi
Some of the Vivanta room units 
Minor changes had been done to the villa units. One of the obvious ones were the new 40 inch flat screen LCD televisions which replaced the old huge box TV sets. The king sized beds were pleasantly decorated with welcome gifts, one which included a box of home made black and white chocolates. A bottle of red wine with two glasses stood proudly on the table accompanied by a platter of local fruits. Nice touch I thought. 

Somehow, the room looked a little bigger than I last remember. My next check - the bathroom area. It was a surprise for me when I opened the door to a wardrobe area before the main bathroom and toilet. Yes, they had definitely renovated this part of the villas as it looked very new and modern.

The welcome message and some of the items given to us in our rooms
Vivanta Rebak Garden View Room Chalets
Vivanta Rebak Garden View Room 
Vivanta Rebak Island Resort Bathroom
The main bathroom at the Vivanta Rebak Island Resort
Vivanta Rebak Bathroom Amenities
Vivanta Rebak Bathroom Amenities 
The toilet amenities set was very interesting with a whole range of products catered to him and her. For the man, a shaving kit with ‘Gillette shaver and foam, for the ladies, a pouch with nail polish and remover. This was the extra mile that they went apart from the general amenities available. A bath tub with an incense holder by its side looked inviting while the shower area enclosed in all glass featured a rain shower. 

To me, a bathroom and toilet is very important in my travels and I am sure for many as well, therefore the Vivanta by TAJ scored big in this area. I would not ask for more as even a laundry basket was provided. The space offered was generous while the warm lighting completed the overall experience. 

Overall, staying here will isolate you from the hustle and bustle of the main island, but that does not stop you from visiting popular tourist places there. A boat shuttle service is provided for guests at no cost and a scheduled timing is available at the main reception for those wanting to go to the main island for some shopping or sight-seeing.

Naam control center at Tanjung Rhu beach
Naam control center at Tanjung Rhu beach in Langkawi
During our visit here, Vivanta by TAJ had worked hand in hand with a popular tour operator called Naam on the main island. On asking about this joint-venture, the general manager had mentioned that they wanted to give guest the best experience with a proper and professional operator and Naam had superseded expatiation in safety and comfort. I will most definitely agree as we were brought for a couple of adventures with Naam in Langkawi. 

Apart from relaxing on the island, we were also treated to a mangrove tour on the main island at the Langkawi Geopark. The trip took us to Naam’s beach headquarters at Tanjung Rhu where we were to board their latest Jet Boats that would take us from sea into the mangrove. The safety procedures practiced by the operators were absolutely top notch. Life jackets were the latest types from the USA, simple looking straps which did not even look like life jackets where you just put them around your neck, compared to the old bright colored orange or red vest jackets. Very impressive I thought as the Naam staff did their safety briefing on how to use them.

Mangrove Cruise by Naam in Langkawi
Mangrove Cruise by Naam in Langkawi
Each of the Japanese Jet Boats could take 10 people at any one time and as for me, always taking all sorts of boars, these jet-boats were very very impressive. Did I mention very? Yes, they cost around RM500,000 per boat and are sleek designed. They come with an on board sound system too! So our journey into the mangroves was a very relaxed and fun trip. We stopped at various interesting points like Gorilla Hill and even an old abandoned charcoal factory before heading to where eagles come to feed.

Stingray Feeding at Hole in the Wall in Langkawi
Stingray Feeding at Hole in the Wall in Langkawi
One stop was included at the local floating fish farm called ‘Hole in the Wall’ which is the original and pioneer fish farm here. Asking the boat man why they selected this place, he replied that this was the only place that practiced safety for the guests and when I looked around, I agreed. The floating fish farm is where you get to see live fish kept in multiple huge water cages where a guide will bring you to show you the various sea fishes here. The highlight here is feeding a huge stingray. This is something that anyone visiting this place should try as it is quite an experience. 

After the fish farm, the journey takes you towards the Bat Cave where we simply did a pass through. Reason for this is also due to the tides as when the tide is high, the ,main exit of the cave gets flooded. Finally after the mangrove cruise is done, we jet out back to the open sea where one last stop for photographs are done at the Langkawi Geopark signage.

Naam Adventure Jet Boats Langkawi
Jet boat racing, well actually, this was after the mangrove tour by Naam and we were heading back to the beach
Arriving back at the Naam beach station, a scrumptious barbecue lunch was awaiting us on the beach under a beautifully decorated tent. I could see from the level of service that the staff were either from the hotel line of the manager in charge is formerly a hotelier. When asking the Naam manager, he replied that he was indeed from one of the top five star hotels in Langkawi before moving here. That explained the level of professionalism and quality of service given.

Parasailing with Naam Adventures and Tours
Parasailing the proper and professional way by Naam Adventures and Tours
After lunch, Naam had also arranged for our group to experience para-sailing and jet skiing with them. Now, I have never in my life done para-sailing before and from the many times I have seen it being done, I was a little uncomfortable. However, Naam assured us that we would have a fearless experience and seeing how professional they were, I left my life in their hands which turned out to be one of the best experiences in my life.

Overall, I have to say, my second time here at Rebak Island totally opened up my perception on holidaying at an island resort. Well, an island off an island, that is as Rebak Island is a 10 minute boat ride from Langkawi Island. for comparison with last time, take a look at my earlier Rebak Island Resort review 4 years ago in 2010 and also one of the Nature Walks at Rebak Island which I did back then. Unfortunately, the tree that I planted back then is no longer there. I wonder if the management has something to say about this? Because when I was there recently, they showed us the 'Tree Planting' area but I did not see my old tree and I did not ask them about it.

For more information, you can visit Vivanta by TAJ - Rebak Island website. This trip was also made possible by whosyn'Signature where all the media attendance was arranged by the speciality public relations company. With that, I hope that you enjoyed this article and in future if you are looking for something different in Langkawi, do consider Vivanta by TAJ Rebak Island Resort.

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