5K points per night and no resort fees: A review of the Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort in Malaysia
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The Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort is an absolutely beautiful resort in Malaysia overlooking the South China Sea. And it's even more beautiful when you realize you can book a standard room for just 5,000 World of Hyatt points per night and there are no resort fees. TPG's latest valuations peg the value of 5,000 Hyatt points at $85, making this one of the top low-level Hyatt redemptions you can make. You can get up to 12 nights at the resort using just the World of Hyatt Credit Card sign-up bonus (30,000 Bonus Points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 more Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spend on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening).
The resort originally opened in September 1980 as the Hyatt Kuantan but closed in October 2015 for three years of extensive renovations. The resort partially reopened in August 2018 and is mostly open now. Here's my take on a two-night stay at the newly renovated Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort.
I was thrilled to find the Category 1 Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort when I was researching where to stay in Malaysia near Kuantan's Sultan Ahmad Shah Airport (KUA) during a Malaysia Airlines status run. Between only needing 5,000 Hyatt points a night and the photo of the resort on Hyatt's webpage, I was sold.
For the dates I stayed, standard rooms with one king bed or two twin beds were bookable for 5,000 Hyatt points or 405 Malaysian ringgit (about $100). The cancellation terms for the award-night stay I booked required cancellation at least 48 hours prior to check-in to avoid a penalty.
Sea-view rooms weren't bookable with points, but you could pay 540 ringgit ($130) per night to reserve a room with a view.
The Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort occupies a beachfront in the Pahang state in Malaysia, about three hours by car from Kuala Lumpur. It was about a 30-minute drive from the airport, which cost us 28 ringgit ($7) each way using Grab. KUA airport only gets a few flights each day, with the main service being on Air Asia or Malaysia Airlines from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) or on Scoot from Singapore (SIN).
The resort is outside Kuantan in a small village called Teluk Cempedak. My husband, JT, and I found it easy to walk between the resort and village for meals, snacks and souvenirs.
When we walked along the beach past the village we reached a boardwalk that hugged the coast and led to another beach -- it's definitely worth talking this short walk.
At the end of the boardwalk, we found a natural beach.
We arrived at the resort slightly before 8pm. A couple cars arrived right before us, but the sole bellhop hustled to bring over a baggage cart for our luggage. We joined the check-in line for the three check-in agents and were brought cold towels and welcome juices while we waited.
At check-in, we asked if we could get a room with an ocean view. We were told the upgrade cost would be 135 ringgit per night (about $35), which was exactly the cash-rate difference between ocean-view rooms and standard rooms.
We also inquired about using points to upgrade but were told by the manager that we needed to do this by modifying our reservation on Hyatt's website. There were two problems with this: The cancellation deadline had already passed, and Hyatt's website only offered a choice of one king bed or two twin beds if you were using points -- there was no option to use extra points for an ocean-view room.
We said we'd pay for the upgrade if they could give us a top-floor, ocean-view room. But the check-in agent and a supervisor countered by offering us a partial-ocean-view room at no additional cost, so we accepted that offer.
We booked a room with one king bed and were given Room 3301 in Village 3 -- the farthest grouping from reception. Rooms in each of the groups, called villages, were situated around central courtyards.
Our room had a king bed with several large pillows. The bed was firm -- I found it comfortably firm, but JT thought it was too firm.
There were nightstands on each side of the bed. On both sides of the bed were a universal power outlet, two USB outlets and a light above the nightstand.
Across from the foot of the bed was a 43-inch flat-screen TV and a large table with one chair. There were two available universal power outlets next to the table, since the table also served as a workspace.
In the corner of the room was a lounge chair and footstool.
The room had a large patio with two chairs and a coffee table. The chairs weren't tall enough to provide views over the balcony rail, though, which was disappointing.
Near the entrance to the room was a closet. There were two white robes, ample hangers, an iron and ironing board, a prayer mat and a safe in the closet.
There was coffee, tea and a kettle in the closet.
There was also a minibar -- with all items included in the room rate -- in the closet, which was restocked daily.
Across from the closet was the bathroom. The sink area was open to the bedroom, but there was a sliding door that could be closed for privacy. The sink was large, and there was enough counter space for my toiletries.
Portico amenities were provided on the counter and in the shower.
The toilet was separated from the rest of the bathroom by a clouded divider.
The shower cabin was large and contained a large bench. The shower head was handheld and easily adjustable to various heights.
Although the bathroom was large, there were two annoying aspects: One, there was only one hook and no towel rack, making it difficult to reuse towels, and, two, it was difficult to reach the towels after showering due to the direction in which the shower door swung open.
Food and Beverage
We ate dinner our first night at Kampung, a restaurant beneath the lobby overlooking the beach. You could sit in the alcohol-free area or an area where alcohol was served. Both areas were equally popular during our dinner.
The menu had a wide variety of Malaysian, Asian and Western choices to suit most budgets.
We split the chicken tikka (34 ringgit, or about $8) and roti John (18 ringgit, or about $4) and found it to be plenty of food. The chicken tikka was moist and well-seasoned and came with two sauces and naan. The roti John -- a combination of milk, bread, egg, minced chicken, shallot, coriander, garlic and chili sauce -- was easily my favorite, though, due to its excellent taste and texture.
We ate dinner the second night at the Italian bistro above Kampung.
For dinner, we split a pizza and a pasta dish. The pizza was tasty and contained lots of vegetables, while the pasta had a delicate yet tasty cream sauce. Of the two restaurants on-site open for dinner, the Italian Bistro featured higher prices and a more upscale vibe.
There was a grab-and-go deli near the entrance to Kampung. The deli served cakes, desserts and drinks, but don't expect to get a sandwich. Various promotions, including half-off whole cakes between 8pm and 9pm and coffee and cake for 19 ringgit between 4pm and 9pm were advertised.
There was also a bar that sometimes offered live music next to the Italian bistro.
We only needed one other meal during our two-night stay. We ate at LoTeng, a cafe just outside the resort, for lunch. A set menu provided a drink and ice cream with most meals during the week for lunch and dinner. We split the Maggi curry cheese (6.90 ringgit, or about $2) and fish and chips (14.90 ringgit, or about $4). Although the meals weren't elegant, they were filling and tasty. We'll be eating many of our meals at this cafe if we visit the Hyatt Kuantan again.
Some of the on-site dining options were closed during our stay: the Regency Club Lounge, Sampan Bar and Coals on the Beach restaurant. Speaking of the Sampan Bar, the boat that housed the bar has an interesting history. It landed on the beach just months before the Hyatt Kuantan's grand opening in 1980 with 167 refugees from Vietnam.
The resort grounds were beautiful. From the seasonal decorations in the lobby to the flowering trees near the blue-tiled pools, the resort had many small touches that made it attractive.
There were three pools between the resort buildings and the beach. One had a swim-up bar and was closer to the main lobby. The swim-up bar featured a smaller version of the menu we'd seen at Kampung, as well as the full drink list -- all at the same prices as we'd seen at Kampung.
This pool also had a children's pool nearby and many chairs available in both the shade and the sun.
The other large pool was closer to the Village 2 and 3 room clusters.
This pool was quieter -- although admittedly everything was quiet during our midweek stay in January. Buttons near most pool lounge chairs could be used to order drinks or food.
The beach was closed, marked by a red flag, throughout our stay. Although the waves weren't large, the undercurrents were strong at high tide.
But the resort had chairs and umbrellas set up if you wanted to lounge on the beach.
There was a fitness center on the first floor near a small gift shop. Multiple guests were using the fitness center each time we stopped by. The fitness center included various equipment including yoga mats, two exercise bikes, two elliptical machines, three treadmills, a selection of free weights, six weight machines and an assortment of exercise balls. There were also tennis courts.
A small children's activity room was located between the fitness center and the children's pool. The room felt a bit outdated but would likely be a welcome diversion on a rainy day.
Wi-Fi was available throughout most of the resort, including some areas around the pools. In our room, the Wi-Fi tested at 25 ms ping, 5.01 Mbps download and 4.86 Mbps upload. Although these speeds were likely fast enough for most resort guests, we were frustrated with these speeds while trying to work.
The Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort is my type of resort at my type of price. The resort is approachable and relaxing. The grounds and surrounding beaches are beautiful. The staff work tirelessly to keep the grounds looking perfect and the guests happy. A village with reasonably priced dining options is within easy walking distance. The resort is easily accessible from Kuantan airport, which is just 30 minutes away. And, at 5,000 Hyatt points per night, the resort is extremely affordable.
I struggled to find downsides to the Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort. The lack of hooks or towel racks in the bathroom is my biggest complaint. Those with children or who aren't confident swimmers might find the lack of lifeguards to be problematic. And the red danger flag was flying our entire stay, so it wasn't advisable to swim at the beach. But despite these small issues, I'd happily return to the Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort -- especially for 5,000 Hyatt points per night.