A breathtakingly beautiful 17 kilometre stretch of beach in Johor. Read on to find out how Desaru Coast rose to a new status of Malaysia’s prime coast side destination — and the two hotels with a special place in our hearts.
The coast was once a sleepy beachside town in the 70’s and 80’s. Flanked with mangrove forests, fruit farms and clean beaches, Desaru was more so popular as a vacation spot for Singaporeans given its close proximity across the Johor border.
In more recent years, developments have included a waterpark with the largest wave pool in Southeast Asia, 27-hole golf course, and five-star resorts. The area enjoys in year-long sunshine, even during the rainy months from November and February. Desaru Coast invites its peak season during “summer” from June to August with an average temperature of 32.4°C, but experiences an additional warm month in April with lesser crowds.
Time magazine, which recently revealed its annual World’s Greatest Places list, honoured Desaru Coast as one of its top worldwide destinations. In fact, it was the only Malaysian destination to make the list this year.
If Desaru Coast has been (or now is) a Malaysian destination high up on your list of places to travel to, there are two places we highly love and recommend, Anantara Desaru Coast and One&Only Desaru Coast — two major hoteliers with resorts so luxurious, you have to see them to believe it, and check-in to experience it.
Christian Gerart General Manager of Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas, comments: “The timing of the announcement couldn’t have been more perfect. With the imminent opening of the Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal, reaching our shores from Singapore is about to become even easier. Being recognised as an aspirational holiday destination that stands out for its unspoilt beauty is an honour”.
Anantara Desaru Coast has multi-storey residential villas with full-size swimming pools. ‘Sunshine Butlers’ are always on hand with even face misters and iced tools at the infinity and lagoon pools, and its spa offers decedent treatments like the 24-carat gold facial and Roots of Malaysia massage.
For families with kids, vacations at the resort include activities at the kid’s and teen clubs, with guided nature walks alongside Anantara Desaru Coast’s in-house naturalist. The most interesting and educational experience to embark on is Belungkor Mangroves Eco Tour that educates on the traditions and customs of local fisherman, as well as inviting you to plant mangrove saplings and taste local food at Kampung Linting Village.
If you’d like to experience more of the unique outdoors at Desaru, nature-related activities also include a cruise through the Sedili Wetlands (home to the endangered water trumpet), Anantara’s foodie tour of Johor Bahru, and scenic bicycle rides with the resort’s downloadable maps to guide your way.
While both Anantara Desaru Coast and One&Only Desaru Coast are equally luxurious, the later is perhaps more suited to couples and groups of friends given its energetic f&b scene and offerings tied to the designers and brands like Tesla and Louis Vuitton.
One&Only Desaru Coat was developed by Kerry Hill Architects around the theme of tropical modernism. Its centrepiece that blends into nature is the 50-metre infinity pool with a view over the ocean ahead. Accommodation comprises of 42 junior suites, two grand suite, and a four-bedroom Villa One. Think modern day kampung-styled homes with handwoven throws, batik prints, songketwoven headboards and rattan floors arts, all sourced in partnership with Sarawak-based atelier Tanoti Crafts.
The stay experience begins with a chauffeured ride from the airport in a Tesla Model X, and if you please, an afternoon of drinks at the Ember Beach Club. If shopping tempts, you’ll find fashionable items like the custom-designed LV Keepalls by Jay Ahr at the gift shop. And with dinner definitely part of the plan, treat yourself to an intimate omakase meal at Hoshi, prepared by Uzbekistan chef Aziz Abduraimov whose credentials include Zuma in Dubai and New York.