One & Only Desaru Coast was one of the most highly anticipated luxury resort openings for 2020—but having opened just before the world's borders closed due to Covid-19, it never got the opening it deserved, and was only accessible to domestic travellers in Malaysia. Until now.
At the entrance, there are structures and shelter but no walls—an airiness that immediately puts you at ease. The lobby opens up to a lawn and cascading staircases that lead to the hotel's pièce de résistance: the swimming pool, which stretches out toward the ocean and is canopied by ancient trees. Beyond is a vast stretch of private beach, dotted by spectacular rock formations that are over three million years young.
Committed to building amongst rather than against its environment, much of the original vegetation has been deliberately preserved. This seamless unity of ancient landscape with the resort's modern architecture evokes an elegant sense of wild.
None of it comes at the expense of comfort, though. The resort was designed by the late architect Kerry Hill, who is behind some of the world's most spectacular hotels: from The Datai in Langkawi, to nine Aman properties including Amansara in Cambodia and Aman Tokyo. At One & Only Desaru Coast, Hill's signature use of clean lines and raw materials carry his legacy forward.