Hard Rock Desaru Review: Everything You Need To Know About Staying Here

Published Categorized as Desaru
This article may contain compensated links. Read the disclaimer for more info. We follow our review guidelines

When we were planning our trip to Desaru, there was only one place we wanted to stay – the Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast.

With plenty of facilities, good looking rooms and super easy access to Adventure Waterpark, the main reason we were coming to Desaru, it was the smart choice. It’s also super close to a stretch of private beach which is gorgeous.

So is it as good as it sounds? Is it worth spending your money on? I think yes!

Hard Rock Desaru
Hard Rock Desaru

The easiest way to work out whether this hotel is for you is to keep reading this full Hard Rock Desaru review. Below, I walk you through everything you could want to know about this hotel including its location, what room types are available, what facilities are here, the dining options and what it’s all like!

Click here to see the latest prices now.

Hard Rock Desaru Review

Hard Rock Desaru Reception

I stayed at the 5-star Hard Rock Desaru Hotel over a long weekend with my two kids aged 6 and 11. I wrote this Hard Rock Hotel Desaru review based on this experience staying here.

Something we noticed immediately was the huge guitar on arrival and the rock memorabilia around the place. We knew we were at the Hard Rock!

Check-in was super smooth. It was very busy in this area (it was a long weekend in both Singapore and Malaysia and school holidays), but we were served quickly and professionally.

I did find it a little weird they kept mentioning our free early check in that they were nice enough to give us. Check-in is at 4pm, and we arrived at 3:15pm, so while I understand this is an early check-in they didn’t need to give us, I also don’t think it’s worth making a big deal over.

Hard Rock Desaru Where we had our welcome drink checking out the views
Where we had our welcome drink checking out the views

They gave us a free drink voucher and organised our luggage to be delivered which had been taken from the taxi when we arrived.

Usually, I go straight to the room on arrival, but this time, we did have the welcome drink first. The bar, GMT+8, was right by the reception, looked very swish and had views over Adventure Waterpark. We were excited to see the water park so had our drinks (some delicious juice thing) while checking it out.


Hard Rock Desaru Entry to Adventure Hard Rock Desaru Waterpark
Entry to Adventure Waterpark from the hotel

The Hard Rock Hotel is directly next to the Adventure Waterpark which makes this an ideal spot if you want to visit here. You can see it from many of the hotel rooms, the walkways, the bar and more, and you can enter directly through a special hotel entrance.

It’s not right on the beach but you can simply cross the road to the Westin Hotel and enter the beach through there quickly and easily. It takes only a few minutes walk from the reception at Hard Rock Hotel.

Hard Rock Desaru Hotel map
Click the Map to open in Google Maps. You can then access directions to each of the locations discussed in this article.

Address: Jln Pantai 3, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia

Hard Rock Desaru Room Options

Hard Rock Desaru Hotel view
Hotel view

There are a range of room types at the Hotel Hard Rock Desaru Coast Resort.

There are superior and deluxe rooms which are the cheaper rooms. They come with king beds or two doubles. Deluxe rooms are on a higher floor.

Next up is the Rock Royalty Room which seemed the same as a deluxe room but with access to an assistant and a special lounge (Rock Royalty Lounge).

Families will love the studio suites. It’s bigger and made for families with a king sized bed and an alcove with a bunk bed.

For even more space, there is a two bedroom studio suite gold. You also get a private plunge pool!

For adults without kids who want an upgraded experience, there are big Rock Suites and Rock Star Suites. These have separate living areas with the Rock Star Suite also having your own pool table!

All the rooms have everything you would expect from a Hard Rock Hotel including air-conditioning, tea and coffee making facilities, in-room safe, TV, gowns, slippers, on-demand movies and personal toiletries. You also get breakfast.

Superior Double

Hard Rock Desaru superior double Entry

Since I knew we wouldn’t spend much time in our room, I booked a superior double for us although the studio suite gold was very tempting!

Since there was three of us, the superior king room Hard Rock Desaru didn’t make sense, and we booked the room with two doubles.

Our room was quite a walk from the reception – about as far away as it could be. Glimpses of the Adventure Waterpark as we walked to our room made us excited though!

Hard Rock Desaru superior double Bathroom

On entry into our room at the Hard Rock Hotel in Desaru, our bathroom was to our left. The bathroom was spacious and luxurious feeling with separate doors for the toilet and shower and a big basin area.

There were plenty of toiletries and a tap with filtered water for drinking.

Hard Rock Desaru superior double Bathroom

The cupboards for the room were in between the bathroom and the bedroom. I love this design! It means you can access the cupboard from either room.

The main cupboard was home to the safe, two dressing gowns and slippers.

Hard Rock Desaru superior double Minifridge and tea and coffee making facilities
Minifridge and tea and coffee making facilities

The other side of the cupboard was only accessible from the bedroom and had a minifridge and tea and coffee making facilities. There were a variety of glasses which seemed a bit pointless to me as there were no drinks in the fridge.

There were also two big drink bottles we could use as well as some shelves.

Hard Rock Desaru superior double Main bedroom area
Main bedroom area

In the main part of the bedroom was two double beds, a bedside table, a big flatscreen TV and a big bench under it with luggage storage. There was plenty of places to put luggage although some more shelves would have been nice.

There was also a round table and a chair.

The TV was great with many on-demand movies. There were also some international power points.

Outside was a cute little enclosed and private balcony area with a small couch and table.

Hard Rock Desaru superior double Balcony

There was also hanging space which was great and a nice change. However, it turned out this was infested with ants that went all over the clothes I hung here.

I have no complaints about the room itself in this Desaru Hard Rock Hotel review. It was quiet and peaceful. I’m not sure it had any type of “rock” vibe and I guess I had expected things to have some type of cool vibe at the Hard Rock Resort Desaru which this didn’t. However, it was modern, clean and comfortable.

Click here to see the latest prices.

Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast Facilities

Hard Rock Desaru Pool

There are quite a few facilities in addition to the direct entry to Adventure Waterpark. A plus is that if you are a hotel guest, you can re-enter the water park throughout the day. Pass outs are not available otherwise. We used this and took a time out in our room when the water park was extra busy and hot.

Otherwise, the main thing we enjoyed was the Hard Rock Desaru swimming pool. It’s a decent size and an infinity pool overlooking rainforest. The views here are very green and you can forget you are right next to a big water park and near the beach.

There is also a bar and restaurant here so it’s easy to eat and drink by the pool. More about this below.

Do note that if you have seen photos of this hotel with a huge pool with beach in front of it, this is NOT the Hard Rock Desaru pool. This is the Adventure Waterpark. However, it is not a Desaru Hard Rock water park, so you do need to buy a ticket to access this.

I recommend you definitely visit the water park during your stay. You can find discounted tickets here or read our full review of this water park here.

Hard Rock Desaru Part of the gym
Part of the gym
Hard Rock Desaru Roxity Kids Club Prices
Roxity Kids Club Prices

There is a day spa and a gym as well as a Roxity Kids Club for kids aged 4-14 years old. I wish we had longer to check this out as it looked cool with its drum kit and water playground! It is open until 9pm which I found impressive. The cost is quite expensive though.

Hard Rock Desaru Inside the Rock Shop
Inside the Rock Shop

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Hard Rock Desaru Resort without a themed Hard Rock Shop and you can find this too with clothes and other souvenirs. There’s also a cool lolly and toy shop.

Hard Rock Desaru Toys and Sweets Shop
Toys and Sweets Shop

You can hire an electric guitar or record player for your stay! Or go on a tour through the hotel’s memorabilia collection.

Hard Rock Desaru Shuttle bus
Shuttle bus

There is a shuttle bus service as well that can take you to other resorts in the area including the Westin for the beach if you don’t want to make the short walk. They also go to the ferry terminal and a couple of other places. There are timetables at the main entry to the resort.

One of the best facilities is the private beach the Hard Rock Hotel shares with the Westin Hotel. This is a few minutes walk from the reception. You simply walk straight ahead down the road and into the Westin Hotel and you’ll see it straight in front of you.

Hard Rock Desaru beach

The beach here is awesome, and I am very confused why I saw nothing about this when I was at the hotel. It’s a stand out feature of staying here so make sure you go there.


Hard Rock Desaru Sessions at breakfast time
Sessions at breakfast time

There aren’t many restaurants in the area so luckily, there are some solid options on site. Note that there is no Hard Rock Cafe Desaru Coast, but if you want a Hard Rock Desaru t shirt or other souvenirs usually sold at a Hard Rock Desaru Cafe, you can find these in the Rock Shop.

There’s the all day eatery, Sessions, where you have breakfast. It has local and international options. There is an outdoor bar area here as well and a small toddler playground.

We were frustrated by the breakfast on the first morning when we turned up just before 9am and there was a huge queue. I thought they were probably just checking off rooms, and it would move quick. Half an hour later, we finally had a table.

With the waterpark about to open, we were very frustrated by this as we wanted to be inside right when it opened to get a head start on the attractions before the park was crowded. We ended up having to rush breakfast and not eat much at all to make this happen after the long wait.

This did not feel like a 5 star hotel experience at all.

When we were at the front of the line we saw a sign that basically said to come before 8:30am if you didn’t want to line up. It seemed a stupid place to have the sign – at reception would have been much better. We would have come earlier had we known.

The next morning, we were there at 8:15am and the line started forming at this time.

The food was ok. There were a lot of buffet areas, but we struggled to find much we wanted. Not surprisingly, given everyone else at the hotel seemed to be Asian, there was not much beyond Asian options. I liked the juice bar though.

Hard Rock Desaru The Elephant and Wheelbarrow and Pool
The Elephant and Wheelbarrow and Pool

We ate dinner at The Elephant And The Butterfly which is a poolside bar and restaurant. It’s meant to be Mexican but the menu wasn’t that Mexican, especially for the kids menu which disappointed my kids.

The food looked amazing, but it was expensive, we were all still hungry after and it didn’t taste that good. It turned us off eating any other meals at the resort. If I’m paying that much, I don’t want to have to still go somewhere else to get more food straight after.

Hard Rock Desaru Food at Elephant and Wheelbarrow looks great
Food at Elephant and Wheelbarrow looks great

The service was also frustrating. There were plenty of people working there, only one other table and I had to keep walking up to them to get any type of service as they stood around talking. I had the same experience when I tried to have a drink by the pool.

On the upside, I stupidly left my laptop there and they chased us around the resort to give it back. So 5 stars for that 🙂

There’s also Constant Grind, the on-site cafe and coffee bar. We bought some junk food here after the dinner wasn’t enough. It looked like a nice area.

Hard Rock Desaru Constant Grind
Constant Grind

Finally, the lobby bar, GMT+8. This is a cool looking bar and it looks like a great place to hang out.

Hard Rock Desaru GMT+8

It’s also easy to eat at the Westin across the road, and we tried out the Beach Bar there. It was absolutely fantastic, and I had a great burger here. They also had a great priced happy hour on drinks when we were there around 6pm.

Hard Rock Desaru beach bar
Beach bar

I highly recommend you head over here for dinner at least one evening.

Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Video Walk-Through

In the following video, you can experience what it’s like to stay at the Hard Rock Desaru as well as the whole Desaru Coast experience for a weekend. This is a video walk-through of all the top attractions in Desaru and a stay at this hotel. You can see our room and facilities at the hotel including the private beach.

Watching this is the best way to get an idea of what it’s like to stay here.

Make sure you subscribe to our channel for more Malaysian travel videos.

Final Words

I hope you have found this Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast review useful.

This is a great hotel with a great appearance, comfortable rooms and a great Hard Rock Hotel Desaru swimming pool. It’s fun spotting the rock memorabilia, and a gorgeous private beach is only a short walk away.

Hard Rock Desaru Madonna's shoes and other memorabilia
Madonna’s shoes and other memorabilia

However, I was a little disappointed. While I think it’s a great hotel, I have always wanted to stay at a Hard Rock Hotel as I had imagined they would be modern, trendy and funky. This was modern, but it was really just a great hotel. I didn’t find it that special.

It’s also an expensive place to stay. We were here at the end of a month long trip to Malaysia, and it was the most expensive hotel. Everything at the hotel was also quite overpriced. For example, kids clubs are usually free. This one didn’t just have a fee, but an expensive one. The food at the restaurant was too expensive for what you got too.

Overall though, after completing this review Hard Rock Hotel Desaru, I would happily stay here again. This time, I’ll spend a lot of time at the beach and really enjoy that part of the experience and I’ll be prepared for the extra costs.

Click here to see the latest prices and more information now.

Looking for other accommodation options in Desaru? Find our full hotel guide here. You can also find our full guide to things to do in Desaru Coast here and our full travel guide to Desaru here.

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Have any questions? Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!

By Sharon Gourlay

Sharon is a certified Malaysia travel expert and can't get enough of travelling and talking about Malaysia since she first visited 21 years ago. She travels around Malaysia multiple times a year both alone and with her kids. She used to call Penang home and especially loves this food paradise. Sharon also has a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies, a Certificate III in International Travel Sales and has been certified by Tourism Malaysia as a Malaysia Travel Expert. Through this site, she'll help you have the perfect trip to this amazing destination.