World’s largest overwater resort, with 522 Pool Water Villas, is now open
Until about 2010, the resort with the most overwater bungalows in the world was the Four Seasons Bora Bora with 100 overwater rooms. Then the AVANI Sepang Gold Coast Resort opened just south of the Kuala Lumpur Airport and it looked unbeatable with its mind-blowing 392 Water Villas (some of which share a structure). Move over, AVANI Sepang, because the Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson Resort is open and it has an amazing 522 water villas, each complete with a private plunge pool.
I had an opportunity to tour the Lexis Hibiscus Resort a few months ago as they were still putting the finishing touches on the last water villas that had yet to open. It's truly an amazing place in many ways, including the surprisingly reasonable room rates at around US$200 per night for the time being.
Every water villa is huge, luxurious, and has a private plunge pool
If this exact resort was located on a private island in the Maldives or on Bora Bora, these overwater villas would start at around US$800 per night, in the low season. So for US$200 per night they seem like an amazing bargain, and they are, but there is another important thing to know.
There are now 5 water villa resorts in the Kuala Lumpur area, and none of them allow swimming directly below the villas, this place obviously included. In fact, the water is usually a very long way down, and the tide comes in and out so much that swimming would be dangerous or even impossible. On the plus side, each of these resorts has swimming beaches on the actual shore, but it's still important to note that you can't walk down stairs into the lagoon like you can in the Maldives or Bora Bora.
With the location, this resort makes for an inexpensive luxury weekend trip
While the resorts in Bora Bora and the Maldives have advantages such as swimming in the lagoons directly below the water villa, these Port Dickson-area resorts have their own huge advantage in that they are far easier to reach. For the other places it's an expensive flight and then another expensive flight just to get to the resort. With the Lexis Hibiscus Resort, you can catch a cheap flight into Kuala Lumpur International Airport, and then catch a taxi or shuttle to reach this place in about an hour.
If you are in Asia or already going somewhere near KL, you can do a few nights at this amazing resort, with your own private plunge pool, for less than the price of one night in the Maldives. The novelty value of an overwater resort is extremely strong, even if you can't swim below your room.
The scale of the place is stunning
Similar to the AVANI Sepang Resort with its 392 water villas, the Lexis Hibiscus Port Dixon Resort is shockingly large when you get there. A walk from the lobby in the main building on shore to the farthest water villas in the base on the hibiscus flower would take nearly 15 minutes. Fortunately, like the AVANI, there are golf buggies waiting to shuttle guests from one place to another, so you actually don't have to walk much in the Malaysian heat if you don't want to.
Each Pool Water Villa is also larger than it looks in the aerial photos. The smallest room category is the Executive Pool Villa, which is 71 Square meters, which is 764 square feet. A typical city hotel room is about 300 square feet, so these are over two and a half times as large.
Can the rates stay this low?
With Pool Water Villas starting at around US$200 per night as of August, 2016, it seems clear that the managers are being aggressive with pricing in order to fill the rooms with satisfied customers. Considering how large and luxurious each water villa is, and that each has its own private plunge pool, I'd expect these rooms to start closer to US$300 per night most of the year.
The earliest reviews have been a bit mixed, which is typical of these large new overwater resorts. It seems that growing pains are inevitable with not only a new resort, but a whole new resort design like this one. With this many water villas the resort can definitely keep rates reasonable and still do well, but I'm guessing that the US$200 rate going now won't last too much longer.