Since it opened its doors on Sept 6, One&Only Desaru Coast has quickly become the playground of choice for Malaysia’s travel lovers. Granted, everyone deserves a holiday this year but its popularity is easily understood when you enter its grounds, which offers a sense of spaciousness and intimacy all at once. The resort is harmoniously designed around the lush rainforests it sits in—a final, parting gift by the late architect Kerry Hill whose stellar body of work includes the serene Amanemu in Japan.
With only 42 Junior Suites, two Grand Suites and its one and only 4-bedroom Villa One spread out across a private stretch of land along Desaru’s coastline in the south-east corner of Johor, the resort is akin to a private island, whose other inhabitants are the wildlife that can be found in this area, including the bold and brash macaques, shy dusky leaf monkeys, plus 42 species of birds. Sea otters have also been spotted on the beach and the golf course next door!
The architecture is decidedly modern, but gives a nod at the cultural heritage typical of coastal Malay villages. Featuring double-height timber-clad buildings, airy verandas and terraces, the place positively brims with good chi as the spaces between indoor and outdoor are blurred. Meanwhile, the walk to the rainforest and ocean-facing suites that fan out on either side of the main building is fringed with gardens and towering mature trees that provide protective shades along the walkways.
The Welcome: Personal Touch
After passing through a discreet gated entrance, a warm welcome awaits once you step foot in the open lobby, where your gaze will inevitably be drawn to the 50-metre pool that appears suspended as it merges with the foliage. Don’t be surprised to be greeted by Jerome Colson himself, the resort’s affable general manager. Over here, guests are treated like family that by the time you say goodbye, it seems like you’re all fast friends. Not unlike that famous sitcom bar where everybody knows your name. And do you notice that the staff always greets you with their hand placed over their heart? For all intents and purposes, it’s a gesture meant to let you know that they serve from the heart.
Butlers are also on hand to facilitate a smooth and easy check-in at your suite, and to get you acquainted with your home away from home, for the duration of your stay. They also help make bookings for you, whether for a spa session or to partake in any of the resort’s signature experiences like the Call of the Gibbons, an adventurous guided trek with their resident naturalist in the Panti Forest Reserve for a close encounter with the white handed gibbon. All to make your experience at the resort a smooth and hassle-free one, with your only thought being to maximise your time with all that the place has to offer. Believe us, there is so much to do here that three days is barely enough to scratch the surface.