The Luxe List 2010, Malaysia: Banjaran Hotspings Retreat, Ipoh

In a country known for its beach resorts, The Banjaran marks a bold—and very welcome—departure. Located outside Ipoh on an estate framed by towering limestone karsts, the retreat is a good 80 kilometers from the sea. But only the most inveterate beachgoer wouldn’t swoon at the sight of its lush, Edenic surrounds. As the name suggests, there are hot springs here; the main pool has been fitted with “dipping pots” where guests can steep in 36°C water. Given that wellness is high on the Banjaran’s agenda, there is also a full-service spa (offering everything from crystal therapy to colonics) and an alcohol-free restaurant that has struck the right balance between healthy and delicious. But this is no fat farm: the 25 thatched-roof villas are downright lavish, each with a plunge pool, open-air living area, and big, Jacuzzi- equipped bathroom. The New Agey soundtrack piped across the property is a gaffe, though it’s easy enough to escape, particularly inside the vast natural cave that now serves as a meditation space.

1 Persiaran Lagun Sunway 3; 60-5/210-7777;; doubles from US$564

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