Langkawi Maylasia and the St Regis hotel.
I was staying at the St Regis Langkawi and had organised a luxury car for my airport pick up. On arrival at the airport after collecting my baggage, I saw the St Regis representative, he welcomed us then started to escort us and the luggage to our car. All of a sudden another guest approached him and requested their car and the he tried to leave us to help the other guest. I said “No, No” we were here first, so please take us to our car and the other guests can be taken care of after. He reluctantly did this, but it was not a good start as there should have been more than one st Regis representative helping guests at the prices paid.
Anyway when we arrived at the hotel we were offered a welcome drink. I had researched the room categories before booking my room. We had booked the penthouse suite with 360 degrees view of Langkawi which I was rather excited about seeing. Sadly, I was informed on arrival that this suite was being refurbished and was unavailable, so we would receive the presidential suite as an upgrade. Yes, the presidential suite was very nice, but not what we wanted or needed. It had a large living room area, very large dining room inside and out a kitchen, a bathroom, a small office and finally a bedroom.
When viewing the room on arrival I thought it was lovely on the surface, but on closer inspection there were quite a few stains on the furniture and there was dirt and hair on the floors and carpets from the previous guests. The room had not been cleaned to a good standard at all. As I have mentioned in previous blogs when I pay a lot of money for a room I want no traces of another guest on arrival, especially not stains all-over the furniture. I escalated this to the director of rooms Lilliana who dealt with the situation well. She offered us dinner while she resolved the problems and she made sure all was cleaned eventually to a good standard. So finally at the end of the first day the house keeping issues were resolved we were content with the room.
The next problem that was never resolved was the restaurants within the hotel. It was impossible for me as a vegetarian to eat anything or very little throughout my stay. I asked for spaghetti arrabbiata one day and they cooked it for me, but with olives and anchovies in it. They made beautifully thin crusted pizza, but they put so much cheese on the pizza it was destroyed in my view. When I asked the chef for something cooked the way I liked it, they ignored my requests and made it their way.
The breakfast was probably the worst that I have had in a 5 star hotel and for sure the worst I have ever eaten in a St Regis hotel. The main issue for me was that 90% of the food at the buffet was Asian. I asked for four days for a lobster omelette with no bisque and they ignored my request and used the thick bisque so no eggs for me throughout my stay. This was very disappointing given that the signature St Regis dish at breakfast is a lobster omelette. The bread was like rubber or funny coloured. They eventually made French baguette for us as we found a French Chef in the hotel. Each day though it was like starting from scratch as there was someone new serving us and they had no recollection of what we liked or wanted. The service at the breakfast buffet was also so slow. The last day I waited 20 minutes for the coffee and 30 minutes for eggs that were uneatable, I wanted to scream. The reason why we stay at an International global luxury brand like the St Regis and Starwood hotels is to have the luxuries of home while away. Yes, it is nice to have some Asian influences at the buffet and on the menus, but we can’t forget that it is an international hotel brand hence the global clients staying so this needs to be addressed and taken in to consideration with regards to the food on offer and the menus within there hotel. We found out during our stay that the St Regis Langkawi and the St Regis Bali were owned by the same people. Yet, after having stayed at both hotels I believe there is no comparison with regards to the quality of service as the St Regis Bali is so much better.
This seemed to be a key observation throughout the hotel – the lack of management and service throughout. The beach was very small and quaint yet for me a little disappointing to be honest. You could walk from one end to the other in three minutes. I would dread to think what it would be like during holiday season.
The staff on the beach were also very slow or non existent. There was rarely any towels or they would be left in bags as the staff were on the phone or not visible on the beach. On day one a staff member offered to clean our sunglasses and we were offered some fruit, but this never happened again throughout the stay. There was never any staff member stationed at the water sport station, so we ended up just getting the paddle board ourselves. To be honest, there was not really a luxurious feel within the hotel. It is the little things that make the St Regis what it is and the hotel seemed to have very little of this.
I came to the conclusion that the hotel was not well managed throughout. We found out that the hotel manager had recently left the hotel — which was very apparent on all fronts. I think that the hotel staff may not have been trained sufficiently to an international standard as most staff members were Malaysian from Langkawi. In general this can work and is great as the Malaysians are lovely people, but the managers need to at least be International bringing the International service and standards to the hotel. In my view, this is what the hotel was clearly lacking.
Langkawi in general was a nice place to visit, but I don’t know if it was worth the 15 hour flight from the UK and the jet lag. The weather was great, there was stuff to do, but I have seen most of it before. We went on a jet ski tour of the islands, zip lining through the rain forests, we went on the Langkawi cable car with fabulous views of the Langkawi.
I would not return to Langkawi though as it did not do anything for me, but at least I can tick it of my bucket list.