A cockerel loudly crowing.
River water rushing downstream.
The jungle opera reaching its crescendo.
It’s morning here at Sentosa Villa, a complex of rooms and bungalows set in a sprawling orchard at the foothills of Bukit Larut. The mood here is sleepy, as sleepy as the town of Taiping itself, as the sun has yet to rear its shiny face even though the clock is inching closer to 9:00 a.m.
I was here with my family for an two-day stopover, acting upon a recommendation by a resort-owner friend while keeping a promise I made to myself back in 2011 of going food hunting in this oft-overlooked town.
The food hunt went really well (you can read about it here) while our overnighter in Sentosa Villa fell a little bit short of a perfect stay.
We initially thought Sentosa Villa consisted of only a few closely-spaced bungalows with a running stream cutting across but our expectations were blown away when we set foot in the compound of this resort. The timber-made reception was fronted by the main building, housing all the single rooms while the private villas that could accommodate from 2 to 10 people were spread out across acres of lush and green environs.
These cottages were complemented by an array of amenities designed to blend in with nature – there’s an open-air activity center, a barbecue pavilion with gazebos and a cafe serving reasonably-priced local and Western fare. These are all connected through a network of footpaths criss-crossing a couple of streams and a fish pond complete with ducks and geese.
We had great fun just walking around the resort exploring every part of it. It’s currently fruiting season so we saw a lot of durians perched on their trees, getting ready to drop onto the safety nets when ripe and ready to be eaten!
We opted for the Standard Room with King Size Bed since my son co-sleeps with us. The room is situated on the ground floor of the main building so it was convenient for a little family – we didn’t need to climb any stairs and the reception is nearby if we ever needed anything.
The room was homey and spacious with some wooden finishing complementing well with the tone and color. The bed was big enough for little Aqil to roll around while the flat-screen television, coffee maker and hair dryer were much-welcomed additions.
So, it came as a surprise when we found out that the shower did not have any hot water. It was totally fine if it had been just my wife and me but not for a 6 months old infant. The front desk confirmed to me that there is no hot water available so we had to use the kettle to boil the water for our son to take his evening and morning baths.
The service we received from Sentosa Villa’s staff was efficient – the check-in was a breeze as we made our booking online and we only had to pay a RM50 deposit. They were also very accommodating and quick to attend to our request of extra pillows and bottles of water at no additional charge.
Sometimes bad service can be due to important things being overlooked. While our son was having his morning nap around 11:00 a.m., we started hearing loud drilling from upstairs presumably from a renovation going on. He was startled and could not sleep from thereon so we decided to check out early.
It is common for resorts to issue notices about on-going maintenance or renovations during the course of a guests’ stay so we felt annoyed that there were no signs and no one informed us earlier. It might not be a big deal to some people but it is pertinent to parents wanting the best comfort for their children.
Sentosa Villa’s tagline “Hideaway to Relax the Mind” is undoubtedly true.
The rooms are tastefully designed for one to unwind from the bustle of the city and the landscape is impeccably crafted, giving an air of calming solitude as if you’re deep in the jungle. The price we paid was definitely good value-for-money considering concept jungle retreats are the rage in Malaysia nowadays.
For a first-time parent like me traveling with a kid, I definitely learned a lot of lessons when it comes to accommodating the needs of an infant. Thankfully, our little one has been very flexible about it as he has been happy throughout the stay and was unperturbed by the “lost” nap as he continued sleeping in the car throughout the journey home
Would we ever come back to Sentosa Villa?
Absolutely – if the management could pay a bit more attention to the small niggling things that could turn “okay” into “amazing” when it comes to giving the best experience to all hotel guests, young and old.
After all, a little bit goes a long way.
Jalan 8, Taman Sentosa, 34000 Taiping, Perak
Tel: +605-805 100 / +6013-593 1000
- Taiping is one the many historical towns in the northern state of Perak. It is about 3 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur and the nearest exit on the North-South Expressway (PLUS) is Changkat Jering is you’re coming from the south or Taiping (U) is you’re coming from the north.
- “We Do Not Have Wifi in the Rooms. Talk to Each Other, Pretend It’s 1957” says the sign at the reception counter. Mobile internet can be patchy in the room so you either start talking to each other or make your way to the lobby for a stronger signal.
- Sentosa Villa is situated a bit far off from the town center (which is actually a 5 minute drive away) so it’s best to stock up on snacks and supplies if you decide to bunk in at the resort.