I enjoyed five days at this resort hotel on Malaysia’s mainland East coast. Taking the bus from Singapore up to Kuantan and getting a taxi to the hotel was straightforward, and much cheaper than flying. I had found Swiss Garden Beach Resort and Spa hotel while searching for holiday accommodation in Malaysia, accessible by land from Singapore. Although the hotel had mixed reviews on TripAdvisor we thought we’d give it a try.
The resort hotel is laid out in typical Southeast Asian resort style, with the reception area, lobby and bar near the hotel entrance, and the restaurant downstairs. The swimming pool was pleasantly large and only got busy during the late afternoon when the Malaysian guests used it. We were there during the Malaysian school holidays, and the majority of the guests were Malaysian. There was also a children’s swimming pool and a large outdoor jacuzzi hot tub.
Our room was fine, though the décor felt old-fashioned. We had a bath with a shower over it, air-con, TV, and a balcony with sea view. Unfortunately the room we were given was an adjoining room, with just two flimsy doors between us and the next-door neighbours. When new guests arrived next door on our second day, and their baby cried for the whole night, we had to complain or it would have ruined our holiday. After trying to make us move to an inferior room, the hotel staff eventually agreed to move the newer guests with the screaming baby. The trouble that we had to go to in order to not have to repack and move everything in the middle of the night showed a poor level of service.
The hotel restaurant, where we had breakfast every morning, and ate other meals on occasion, was very good. The breakfast buffet had a great range of foods, and the a la carte menu for lunch and dinner was also good. Outside the hotel, across a very busy main road, were two other eateries where we enjoyed eating Malaysian food.
The beach, where sun loungers and shelters were supplied, was often completely empty, and I enjoyed gazing out to sea. The strip along the beach was not full of resort hotels, as is common in Southeast Asia, but was tree-lined, with only a couple of other hotels visible quite far along the shore. This made it feel more like a real place, rather than some tourists-only area.
We swam in the sea. Although there was a red flag flying throughout our entire stay, we saw another woman in the sea, which appeared calm, and decided to go for it. It turned out to be perfect for swimming. Although it wasn’t too shallow, we found we could go quite far out while still being able to touch the sand with our feet, and swim easily. I have rarely been in sea that is so well-suited to swimming.