4 Oct 2007
Legends Water Chalets, Port Dickson, Malaysia
Chalet
A$329/£142 week
2°33'5.12"N
101°47'47.30"E
1 Room
No kitchen
Timeshare Rental
Week

 

 

Most internet booking sites are very ambitious with their star ratings. The Legend deserves every one of its 4 to 5 (depending on the web site) stars. It's brand new, with the Goggle Earth ref showing an empty block at the time of writing (there are almost identical water chalets at a hotel south of Port Dickson - 2°30'22.59"N, 101°49'49.46"E gives an amazing birds eye view them).There is a 100-odd room hotel tower and more than 100 chalets over the water as well as huge conference facilities. It appears that most of the accommodation is privately owned, with about half being managed by the hotel (chalets go for US$80/night on last minute booking sites), with 6 owned or managed by the Eagle Century timeshare company. Fixtures and fittings in all chalets seem to be identical, so we got a real bargain.

First, the criticisms. Before checking in, you have to phone Eagle Century in Hong Kong to tell them your arrival date and time so they can have someone on standby to check you in (having only 6 units, there's obviously no need for full time staff). I phoned from Bali, and a when a combination of a really bad line and communication difficulties got the better of me I tried to get an email address which would make things easier. The lady I spoke to could speak English, but as heavily accented as me - I couldn't understand her, and I don't think she could understand me although that could have been due to the appalling quality of the line. It took over 5 minutes of repeating and re-repeating it, and then I did a web search to check - just as well because what I had written down wasn't correct. It would simplify things if they published the email address rather than the phone number for non-Chinese speakers, not to mention an expensive international call. The email was responded to within minutes, giving a number in Malaysia to phone when we arrived.

Living Area

Again, there were communication difficulties - on arriving in Port Dickson I phoned to ask what the earliest time we could check in was, but couldn't make myself understood. We decided to fill in time until 2pm and phoned to tell him we had arrived. He was there within a few minutes, but it could have been hours for all we cared - there was a fast, stable and free wireless hotspot in the hotel lobby. Face to face communications were easier and we checked in with no problems. The RM200 deposit has to be paid in cash (local currency only) - fortunately we'd found an ATM and withdrawn enough money to last us a few weeks. As it turned out, the unit had been empty, so early check in might have been possible. In fact, all 6 of the Eagle Century units were empty. Ours (and I suspect the others) had been unoccupied for some time, as evidenced by a build up of dust on the wooden floors and the water line in the toilet which comes from not being flushed for a long time. I sent an email to customer service in Hong Kong pointing out that due to lack of occupancy they might consider selling us a rental week so we could stay on a bit longer. Then I sent another a couple of days later. I know the email address was working as they had responded to my arrival time information, but they never did get back to me or even acknowledge receipt. Even if the answer is no, replying to an email is a basic courtesy. It's rude not to, and it's not customer service. The chalets were not one bedroom as described, but one (albeit very large) room with a king size and a queen size bed and a chair at the writing desk was the only seating except 2 chairs on the balcony. The chalets are serviced weekly, but there was no brush for the floor, cloth for the sink top or either for the toilet. A week is a long time without cleaning, so I had to buy my own cloths and borrowed a brush from the hotel cleaners - I got the impression they weren't supposed to. Perhaps an option of the chalet being serviced mid-stay for a reasonable fee would be a good idea. If this isn't possible, they should provide at least a brush and cloth. Although occupancy is for 4 people, it would be very hard and seemingly unexpected if 4 people turned up. There were 2 towels, 2 cups and 1 fork (?) and the doors on the TV unit meant you could only watch it if sitting on the bigger bed. The bath and shower were open plan, just in from the entry door with no door on either, so there would be no privacy. We also had to defrost the bar fridge as the ice box was one solid block with the door firmly iced up - maybe down to not being used for a while.

Huge Bath

Criticism over. This place is magnificent. It has the biggest, deepest corner bath I've ever seen outside of an outdoor spa pool. Opposite, the equally proportioned recess for the shower was so big it didn't have (or need) a door. There was a very clever pulley which retracted the roof over the shower giving heaps of natural light in what could have been a fairly dark corner. The chalets and everything in them are shiny and new. Very tastefully decorated with rich teaks and terra cotta vases, the chalets have imaginative hidden mood lighting, a good in-ceiling air conditioner and two glass "windows" in the floor, giving a view of the sea below. In theory, these are a great idea. Barrier Reef, OK. Fiji, OK. Straights of Malacca? Lets face it, the Straights of Malacca is the busiest shipping lane in the world. And one of the most polluted waterways. Not to mention the oil refinery a couple of kilometers away. Just can't see the point - but late afternoons, with the sun going down, there were the most magnificent shimmery patterns reflected onto the ceiling. Just like when I get a really bad headache but only in a nice neat box not everywhere I look.

Peter assessed the glass as being so many millimeters thick (I forget how many) and declared them unsafe to walk on. He spent the week forgetting, spotting them just before he put his foot down and hopping off to one side. I could Photoshop the floor windows the way they do in the publicity photo's, but it would be less than honest to show crystal clear, blue, sparkly water. The TV had all of the local channels and Star Movies and ESPN - apparently there isn't the demand for any others. For the size of the hotel and number of chalets, the swimming pool was quite small, with no shade at all in the water, and very little around it. There were only a few tables with umbrellas and chairs and a dozen or so sun beds (no foam mattress, so very uncomfortable). The gym met with Peter's full approval as being commercial standard and he spent far too much time in the sauna. The restaurant looked as good as you would expect from a hotel of this standard.

The location is a bit odd. We came here because we want to see all of Malaysia and the chalets looked good and were cheap. Port Dickson is to Kuala Lumpur what the Surf Coast and Peninsula is to Melbourne. The nearest beach to KL, Friday evenings sees the town fill up. By lunch-time Sunday, they've all headed back to the city. We just about had the place to ourselves during the week, which was great. We were also amongst the very few westerners in town. The Legend is about 5km north of Port Dickson, a pleasant enough walk although people thought we were mad - Malaysians don't walk anywhere so there were no footpaths for most of the way. If you want to be lazy, the bus costs 33c/14p. A taxi from town costs A$2.40/£1, but less than half that amount going into town as they are going back into town empty, and often pull up at bus stops taking passengers for the price of the bus fare. There are 2 supermarkets in town, fruit shops (they don't sell veggies - you have to get those from the supermarket for some reason) and several canteens and fast food places.

Pool with Glory Beach Resort in background

Within walking distance from the hotel there are several mini marts, which were no more expensive than the supermarkets selling everything you'd expect in a mini mart as well as a limited range of fresh fruit. We were at the "Indian" end of town, meaning that most of the canteens and warungs within walking distance were Indian or Malay with an odd few Chinese. A good filling meal of rice and something cost in the region of $1.30/55p at all the local places, the bigger restaurants seemed closed during the week but I would reasonably expect them to cost about 3 times that amount. Walking about 4km away from town is a township called Lumut with a busy shopping strip including some very good eateries and a good selection of large mini marts, some even selling fresh meat and fish.

Port Dickson has no tourist information centre, but talking to locals there didn't seem too much to do except walking and people watching. This was great fun of course, particularly when we were wandering around the back alleys and talking to people over their garden fences. Or Peter teasing barking dogs until he realised there was a hole in the fence. There was a museum sign-posted, but it was too far to walk and we were told buses were no good, we'd need a taxi as it was out of the way. A final note on Port Dickson. There was a road sign in town telling everyone that Glory Beach Resort (the big one behind The Legend) was 2km. It was 5km. Coming into Port Dickson from the opposite direction on the bus, we saw a Glory Beach Resort 5km ahead sign. After 2 or 3km we saw another Glory Beach Resort 5km ahead sign. Another km or so, another Glory Beach Resort 5km ahead sign. This last one was probably correct. But it's not just the Glory Beach Resort. Some of the official-looking direction signs that I wouldn't doubt were government placed were just as inaccurate.

Would we come back? I can't see any reason why we would return to Port Dickson, but if we ever did this is where we'd stay. I'm not saying don't go - just that once is probably enough and if you're coming through timeshare exchange, expect the above. I should add that the water chalets managed by the hotel were very thoroughly cleaned with fresh linen provided each day.