HONORS CIRCLE: MALAYSIA
Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas
Persiaran Pantai, Desaru Coast, Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia
Serenity awaits at this charming high-end resort on the southeastern shores of the Malay Peninsula, perched along a 17-kilometer stretch of golden sand on the South China Sea. Opened in December 2019, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas is the Bangkok-based hospitality brand’s first-ever Malaysian outpost. The tranquil beachside retreat is located just a 90-minute drive from Singapore and one hour by car from downtown Johor Bahru.
Here, guests will find an alluring blend of indigenous-inspired hospitality and contemporary five-star luxury. The Anantara Desaru’s 108 rooms, suites, and villas overlook the resort’s verdant tropical gardens and the azure ocean. Of these, 90 are tastefully appointed deluxe rooms in low-rise buildings inspired by the traditional houses of Malay kampong (villages). Elsewhere on the property, 13 standalone one- and two-bedroom pool villas have been built around a lagoon; each one has two stories of living space.
Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the rooms in natural light, while carved wooden panels, louvers, and vents borrow from the vernacular architecture that evolved over centuries to suit Malaysia’s equatorial climate. All accommodations also come adorned with locally woven textiles and exquisite wicker work.
Families or groups of friends seeking out even more space and privacy will want to book a three- or four-bedroom residence; these measure between 288 and 597 square meters, promising plenty of room to roam. The residences all boast an infinity pool, spacious living and dining areas, and a fully equipped kitchen. Better yet, a personal chef and dedicated butler will be on hand to take care of guests throughout their stay.
Wellness-minded travelers should not miss the Anantara Spa, where skilled therapists deliver Thai and Malay therapies in six treatment rooms. Be pampered like royalty with the 24-carat gold facial, or book a signature offering like The Roots of Malaysia, a 90-minute muscle-melting massage that incorporates guided breathing techniques and passive stretching.
Guests bedding down at Anantara Desaru will not need to leave the boundaries of the property for a memorable dining experience. Right beside the beach, breezy alfresco venue Sea.Fire.Salt is just the place to tuck into grilled seafood and steaks, or you could indulge on a tantalizing array of local Malaysian delights alongside an assortment of Thai, Chinese, and international fare served at Turmeric, the all-day restaurant. At the elevated Observatory Bar, patrons soak up panoramic views of the resort while sipping on refreshing cocktails, top vintages, and premium spirits.
While it’s possible to swim or paddle a kayak in the ocean when conditions are right, holidaymakers can also cool down in Anantara Desaru’s two freshwater pools (both of which feature a poolside bar). Other diversions range from an outdoor cinema experience to cooking classes and guided nature walks, which help inspire a deeper connection with the outdoors among kids and adults alike. Keeping younger guests entertained is easy: the Anantara has separate clubs for children and teenagers, ensuring that activities are always age-appropriate and fun. Teens will enjoy high-tech video games and foosball, and kids can look forward to pizza-making classes on top of a changing roster of cross-cultural educational experiences.
And as the health and safety of guests is a top priority at Anantara Desaru, contactless in-room dining options are available; the resort practices enhanced hygiene measures that are already in place across all the brand’s properties. If you’re based in Singapore and Malaysia, an unforgettable beach getaway is much closer than you think.