Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review: Tiara Beach Resort, Port Dickson

This is our second visit to the Tiara Beach Resort, with the first being in 2007. Even though the gap was a mere three years, but the once-proud Resort looks like it has aged thirty years. From its worn-out furniture to its lacklustre rooms, the Tiara is like a crown losing its gems and diamonds, bit by bit.

Reservation and check-in:

We tried our luck on the Friday, and luckily, we got ourselves a room. The reservation informed us that we booked for a one-room apartment, but upon check-in, it turned out that the rate which we paid was for a studio room only. It was poor communications and a serious error by the management, but no amount of complaining was going to rectify the situation. We double-checked our reservations, but my tip to you is, triple check if you want to reserve rooms at the Tiara.

The check-in process was chaotic. I have not seen anything like it before. There was a pre-check-in counter to get your confirmation slip and a queue number, before we can proceed to the real check-in counter to get our keys. the queue number was so long that it was worse than at the Immigrations Department. The Lobby was so packed that it looked like the market and the toilet was so filthy. The staff was made up of trainees and clearly lacked experience and courtesy.

Imagine my irritation, when at the pre-check-in counter, the staff could not find my name and blankly stared at me and said, "Sorry encik, nama encik tiada..", much to my chagrin and annoyance. She didn't even try to double-check. Finally, her colleague next to her came and help, and of course she found my name, as it was right there all along. And my queue number was a good and solid 70 persons ahead.

while waiting for check-in

If it wasn't for the entertainment provided at the Lobby, I would have lost my temper. Being Christmas, the Tiara had Santa Claus, the Teletubbies and two clowns (one of them was on stilts, which was cool) to keep the children occupied.

So a misinformed reservation department, chaotic check-in and lazy staff, we would like to proudly rate 1 mark out of 10; and the single mark is for the entertainment.


We were given block F (the last block), which was okay, but we had to make one big turn around to get there, and the parking were full. The annoying thing was the parking bays were full because the management of Tiara deemed it fit to fill about 10-15 bays with kiosks and stalls to make more profit. Maximizing the profit but depriving the paying customers of comfort and convenience.

Our room was on the 3rd floor (all blocks have 6 floors with about 20 units on each floor); but there was only one small and miserable elevator to serve them all. The management would like their clients to use the stairs but, in all their stupidity, forgets that people who come to Tiara do so in large families and carry lots of luggage. The notice at the elevator lobby reads - "Strictly for unloading baggage only" - do you think children and senior citizen would be able to climb the stairs all the way to level 6?

Anyway, upon entering the room, that's when we realized we got the studio room. Calling front desk would be useless, because they insisted that the rate we paid for was really for studio room on weekends, but I was informed otherwise during reservation. It was miscommunication but I still blame the management for giving inaccurate and contradicting information.

As for the room itself.. where do we start to complain. The furniture was so worn-out it looked like it came from a government rest house. The curtains were so dirty and looked unchanged for eternity, they were so decayed and torn apart. The toilet was not clean too. And the room was dusty like it was not cleaned for a long time. We had to pay deposit if we wanted the remote controls to the air-cond. And nobody from housekeeping showed up when we requested for.

Disappointing and a shambles, totally unworhty of our money. 2 marks out of 10.

The Water Park:

The one and only reason people still come to Tiara - the massive pool and man-made beach and water park. Since the 13th of December, entrance to the Water Park area will incur entrance charges of RM20 per adult and RM15 per children, but when you book a room, you get complimentary entrance according to your room types. For studio, you get complimentary entrance for 2 adults and 2 children, and you get to wear wristbands according to colours designated for the day. But we saw that the implementation was not strict yet, but at least bring the wristbands along to the water park because there will different prices to pay for other facilities, if you have the wristbands (like renting a bike, foot masage, fish spa and more).

The massive pool was really big enough and we still managed to find a spot for our little family to soak and splash. However the much smaller kiddies playground pool was packed and the water looked murky. Anyway, the whole park has enough water and inflatable slides to keep everyone happy and enjoyable. There were enough lifeguards on duty too.

As for the bike rental, it was RM8 for 30 minutes for single rider (with wristband) and RM10 for 30 minutes for twin (the bipeds). A bit expensive but you can cycle around the vast Tiara area, and we don't think they're too rigid with the time. Other facilities available are gymnasium, games room, indoor playground, sauna and karaoke.

The Pavillion Area:

At nightfall, the Pavillion area comes to life with its brightly decorated and colorful trees. A giant screen monitor was showing cartoons as early as 7.30 pm. Kids were safely running around the area, and playing the UFOs (of course, sold at the area). There were stalls selling toys and snacks.

Then the stage hosted a magic show and an acrobatic performance from China. For the more relax-inclined people, a live band played at the restaurant, where you can also test you karaoke skills. In short, there are many activities to keep you occupied until your bedtime.

The water park and pavillion are the only saving grace left for Tiara, but there are now many up-and-coming water parks. And some of the facilities should already be included in the entrance fees. We give the pool and pavillion combo 8 marks.

Service and food:

The temporary staff was, like stated above, lazy and unhelpful. However, the more experienced permanent staff at the front desk was friendly and courteous. Don't expect concierge service though.

Breakfast was no longer included in your room rates by default anymore (replaced by the entrance fees), so we never had the chance to try the food. There are a number of restaurants in Tiara. Or else you could head for PD town or down to the Melaka border for seafood.

We didn't try the food so we can't rate it, but we can give the Tiara staff 5 marks out of 10.


The Tiara could boast of its unique attraction a while ago, but with so many other similar-themed resorts, why should we come back? A total refurbishment of the accommodation facilities should be on the resort's priority list, as well as a total revamp of their reservation and check-in mechanism. The water could do with some updating too. The entrance fee will prove unpopular in the longer term.

A disappointing place to have your holiday, we will decline to recommend Tiara to people looking for a value-for-money vacation in PD. An overall mark of miserable 4 for this miserable resort.