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Harris has shown its age...
Picked Harris as recommended by my friend for a relaxing tour with 3 close friends. We paid SGD172 per person for 2d1n including 3 hours of spa and 1 free pizza per room.
There are 2 wings at Harris, the funky and the trendy which is the new wing. But we were told Trendy does not have connecting rooms which was our priority so we took the funky wing eventually.
The rooms are indeed bigger than most resorts or hotels but the rooms are very aged and look its age too. The furniture are poorly maintained and there are very obvious stains on the sofas and seats. There were stains on the bedsheets too but because its for 1 night only and they were faint stains, we didnt ask to change it. The foor felt abit sandy too and we had to wipe it over oursleves to make it cleaner. The bathroom was adequate but perhaps too stingy on the toilet paper even for 2d1n.
The pool was a free-form pool which was excellent for pool lovers but we didnt get to try it. Harris is also very family friendly as they have a whole host of activities to prevent hotel guests from getting bored. Spa, bowling, foot massage, KTV, F&B, Lounge, sea activities etc. We had a foot massage for 1 hour for only SGD17 per person which was a steal.
The 3-hour spa we had comprised of 1 hour scrub, 1.5 hour massage (aromatherapy or stone), and 0.5 hour bath. The masseurs were not bad, but the spa was outdoors and it was very warm, esp when the fan in the hut stopped working for a while midway through. The towels and spa facilities in the hut was also very poorly maintained, as there were insect droppings on a lot of things. The privacy of the spa huts outdoors is a huge concern to me, as the huts basically have no doors, just curtains and blinds which is not total privacy. While we were undressing, there were also male guests walking around. Plus they allowed male construction workers to be in the same area as us, which is potentially very dangerous for female guests. They seriously should do something about it.
We also felt misled by the lady at the spa counter. When we asked about the choice of aromatherapy or stone massage, she said for the aromatherapy, they use essential oils, so we picked that. But during the massage, we found out that they were using normal lotion instead. We queried the same lady at the counter after we were done -she said what she meant by 'use essential oils' was that they burn essentials oils in a burner during the treatment, not use on the body. And for that matter, we didnt even smell anything in the hut throughout.
The variety and quality of breakfast leaves much to be desired, although we had ala carte lunch orders the previous day and it was not too bad. The complimentary pizza was also quite good, surprisingly - thin crust.
I also do have to say, the staff at Harris were quite smiley and accommodating and exhibits a fun character that made the short stay more bearable. The cleanliness issue is my main gripe but perhaps the trendy wing is much better. The spa too should do something about the security of female guests - it is an accident waiting to happen.
Upon reaching the Harris Resort lobby, we were greeted by a group of very friendly staff with loud jingles and a clown hiding in a soup. I was quite impressed by the enthusiasm of the orange tee-shirt staffs.
There was a big crowd at the reception and a staff approached us for the hotel confirmation slip. My friend passed to the staff and we were asked to wait while they process the check-in.
We understand that it may take a while for us to check in due to the high volume of guest, I decided to wait at a corner where there is a sofa. After waiting for almost an hour, it seems that there is no response from my friend at the reception area. The reception area is cleared with only 2-3 couples - obviously most guest had checked-in. I went to check on the situation and was told by my friend that there are several staff handling our package. So I went back to the same sofa corner and waited for another 30mins or so. Then my friend came and told us to go for lunch first at the cafe.
I found a nice space in the cafe and served by a waitress asking for our choice of food. She then explained to us some very confusing food vouchers entitlements that we are not aware of. She asked for the food vouchers which we do not have it. My friend told the waitress to check with the manager for the voucher - we did not received any vouchers or anything besides the map in a lanyard.
There came a man and claimed that he is the 'senior manager' of the resort. He asked if we are having some problems with the resort. I said yes we are having some big problems. Another friend asked him to imagine that how would he feel if he is the customer who had waited for rooms for hours but the request was passed around a few staff.
His words was ,'If you do not like this resort, you can always go to other hotels and we will refund you'. At this moment, all of us were extremely SHOCKED by his reply.
Two of my friends pulled him one side to discuss further.
After that, my friends came back and told us that we had our rooms and the 'Senior Manager' had realised that his staff had made some mistakes on our arrangement. He offered us some 'Foot Massage Vouchers' and persuade us that it will definitely be 'a place to heaven', we rejected the voucher and he did not want to take it back. we left it at the receptionist - No apology was given to us for your information.
I need to call up both the Harris Singapore & Jakarta office using my mobile phone to demand for an explanation. I had asked for the superior of the 'Senior Manager' however it seems that they are not available(Saturday). I left a message in both offices to the subordinates of the 'Senior Manager' and requested for an acknowledgement of my greivances via email by Saturday night - A check on Sunday night showed that both office did not acknowledge me.
Anyway, we had our lunch, check-into the hotel rooms however, there is something that is permanent in our mind - Are we going to enjoy the Harris after the commotion?
The key points:
1. We were not given any vouchers to go for lunch which the waitress asked for. - That means we had not check-in and get any of these vouchers
2. If there are no rooms available, the staff should inform us about the time to check-in so that we would not have to wait at the reception for so long.
3. My friend who organised this trip is embarrased in front of all his friends. It is supposed to be a short getaway for us to catch up. - That is why he pulled the 'Senior Manager' aside.
4. When the 'Senior Manager' asked what is our problem, did he investigate or check with his staffs before talking to us?
5. Is he listening to our problem?
5. If a 'senior manager' can tell a guest such things, would the rest of Harris be the same?
After all the commotion after 10mins check-in, we decided to seek other available resorts in batam and again my friend used his mobile phone to enquire. Fortunately for us, we manage to secure an alternative room.
We looked for the 'Senior Manager' and told him that we would like to take his offer not to stay in Harris. He agreed however, there was no proper documents given to us and mentioned that we have to claim it back at Singapore office. We left the Harris and headed to the booked hotel. Upon that, We don't feel good as the impression of this 'Senior Manager' seems not reliable for what he had claimed. What if he turned back his 'words'? My friend decided to go back to Harris and demand for a black-and-white. They came back with no outcome and does not want to bring this unhappiness to us.
Anyway, we had fun at the other resort - no regrets for choosing it.
The only consolation came when we are back in Singapore on Monday, when the Singapore office called to apologise to my friend for the unpleasant trip. It was followed by an email to address our complaints which is very professional.
How can I rate Harris after our experience? There seems to be no way to rate these factors -price, service, quality, food, activities. Even if they have the best of the above, I would think twice.
So, consider your choice.
I went with my uncle during May this year. Sad to say, I went with my uncle who is someone that doesn’t really enjoy sports and stuff. The only thing we did was bowling. (-_-”). But overall, it’s like a first-hand experience on the place itself. I might just head back there, but definitely with a group of friends.
We both left Harbourfront at around 9:20am, reaching the Waterfront city jetty at 9:20am. Yes, it’s Indonesian time. Don’t worry. Don’t get confused. Once we arrived there, the resort staff from Harris Resort are already there to settle everything for you, from your passport chops at the immigration check point to the transport to the resort itself. Quick and efficient I would say. They allowed us to check in earlier as the it was a weekday, obviously because there isn’t any other tourist around other than 2 couples and a pathetic me with my uncle. The rooms were fine, like any normal resort. Not that bad. At least the fridge and Cable TV made up for the disappointments, if there were any.
The swimming pool was big, like there’s a 2m deep area for you to swim, plus there’s like basketball and water polo nets for you to have some games. And with all the rattan seats or benches and comfy cushion shades, suntanning and swimming never had such a great combo.
A cafe area at the lobby, with the resort owning a store of their name. Had Carbonara for dinner. The restaurant they had was fantastic, with their food that surprises your taste buds. Just when I expect the least from an Indonesian resort. Really a great job done by them. Service was fantastic as well, with their waiter or waitresses always putting a smile on their faces definitely.
Walked around the area to discover their bowling alley, their pool and billiard area, gym, squash court etc. Not really surprising that it’s rather low in maintenance. But nonetheless, you won’t know till your try.
Woke up and head for breakfast at around 8am Indonesia time. Buffet style. Haha. They have a very good range of food to be served. From omelettes to bread, Honey Stars to noodles, rice to beef, porridge to pastries. Whatever, it’s there. Even fruits. Woo. And it’s nice as well. This place really needs some recognition for their food.
Rested awhile at the room before going for cycling at around 10:15am. It was complimentary for 2 persons at half an hour each. Knowing that we can’t go far, we manage to cycle out and try to go around the surroundings.
Discovered a few restaurants (Don’t expect restaurants to be air-conditioned and high class) opposite the resort. Nice views and some river that stretches across the shady trees and green pastures did prove to be something different that we hardly see in an urban Singapore.
Lunch was this uniquely named dish named the Seafood Vera Cruz. Consist of broccolis, calamari, prawns, dory fish and a crab. Yes. Crab. I was rather surprised. Braised to almost perfection, the crab, calamari and fish were fresh indeed. The prawn was quite fresh but not totally fresh. Love this dish. Nice name especially. =).
After the food was bowling. Yes, sport after meals. Well, we needed air-con and of course, complimentary again. 1 game each for the both of us. We extend a further 2 more games each and the Harris counter staff decided to give us a 50% discount, which means we only pay for 2 games instead of the 4 that we played. Nice and friendly guy. And it’s like damn cheap to play bowling there. Like S$2.50 a game. We were the only 2 playing there la. Sigh. But it was fun. Beat him 2 - 1 hands down.
NO ONE ELSE PLAYING there. And that Harris counter staff was so bored that he HAD to watch the both of us play. That’s life. They have reflexology as well, and the guy was like damn bored la, reading his life away. Haha.
After the sightseeing accompanied with the beautiful sunset at the makeshift jetty, had some Frappe Mocha at S$5 before he came back from his long walk to head for dinner at the resort, with the complimentary set dinner voucher that we have. Yes, I have typed “COMPLIMENTARY” for like many times, and it’s part of the package and I’m glad its free. The voucher was given to us and we have to make a choice with either a Set Lunch, Set Dinner or a free pizza, which I didn’t try. Smells good but still, only my nose was satisfied. Not my taste buds. Damn.
While waiting for our dishes to be served, we had the 4 Amigos that go around entertaining people with their acoustic strings and groupie singing, bringing a smile to everyone’s faces. Talented as usual, they were able to sing Hokkien songs, Chinese songs, English songs etc. Great stuff from them. Just after they left, our food came. Haha. Didn’t take photo of the dish, but sure the Sauteed beef that we ordered was sumptuous. =)
The Monkey Beach Hut just beside Harris Resort Batam not only serves food but also provides Sea Sports facilities such as Parasailing, Cable Skiing, Banana Boats (not that brand of tanning lotions or sprays), Jet Skiing etc. Of course, all for a price. I didn’t try as my uncle himself is someone that doesn’t want to try these kind of stuff. Hmmm. We checked out at 1pm and had lunch over here. Ordered fried rice. Really good stuff indeed. And we definitely pay much lesser here than the resort’s meals. After that it was to the jetty and back home.
Overall, Harris Resort is somewhere that a couple can relax as well as a place where families and friends in groups can enjoy the fun and serenity over here. You could say that it was a weekday that I went, but definitely for sure, it’s worth the stay. Perhaps weekends might not have some peace but overall, do visit this place for its excellent service, various facilities and of course, their food. =)
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