Cuti-cuti Malaysia has never rang truer.
A silver lining amidst the chaos that is 2020 is the opportunities this year has given us to discover our own backyard. And as a tropical country with lots of little islands and beaches, there’s much to brag about. The good news is that in recent years (admittedly while we’ve been travelling aboard in search of paradise), Malaysian islanders and environmental groups have put work into beach clean ups while hotels have been refurbished and new ones have popped up to. So if you too are browsing through your social media and dreaming of the local sandy beaches and clear waters you’ve been seeing, here’s where you’ll find it:
Main image credit: The Datai Langkawi
Villas for sale, and for rent. At the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, Anantara Desaru Coast Residences is a holiday home anytime you need one that comes complete with access to exclusive resort amenities; an ocean-front infinity pool, Anantara Spa, fitness centre, kids and teens clubs and a number of dining establishments. Accommodation comprises of three- and four-bedroom private pool villas with open dining and lounge areas, with direct access to a private beach.
If Langkawi strikes you as being too crowded, there’s no reason scratch the island off you list when you head to the north western tip far away from the rest of the island. The Datai Langkawi feels like worlds away built into the rainforest, almost as if hidden away by nature. The Beach Villas are our favourite and they come with larger living spaces and 24-hour butler service. Some of the activities at the hotel include nature walks, coral rehabilitation works at the nursery, and dolphin adoption programmes in partnership with a local conservation NGO.
Mulu Marriott Resort is nestled among the rainforest bordering Malaysia and Brunei, right on the Melinau Taku River in Miri. The resort is a 5-minute drive from Gunung Mulu National Park and located near the Deer and Lang Cave, as well as the Wind and Clearwater Caves. While adventure awaits outside, staying in has its perks too: bicycles are available for rent, there are cooking classes, and even cultural demonstrations.
Welcome to Miami… Beach. DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang sits adjacent to Miami Beach, connected simply by a footbridge. The hotel is cute, modern, and home to Malaysia’s first teddy bear museum, TeddyVille. Expect the usual amenities like an outdoor pool, spa, and fitness centre, with elegantly designed rooms and some overlooking the Malacca Strait.
Where do the rich and famous holiday? Tanjung Jara Resort, for sure. It faces a crescent-shaped beach of golden sand out to the turquoise sea. The resort prides itself on being steeped in age-old Malay traditions and is designed to reflect the elegance of 17th century Malay palaces. Dining on the rocks is something you must experience here — enjoying a delectable five-course dinner over the moonlit waters oaf the South China Sea.
The eco-luxury villa resort is located two hours away from Kota Kinabalu on the pristine island of Pulau Tiga. Framed by a lush jungle and white sandy beach, Borneo Eagle Resort’s azure waters is home to magnificent coral reefs in the reserve. The resort is now offering a weekend staycation package from 28 August onwards for villas at RM2,500 per family of four pax, inclusive of boat transfers, breakfast and a BBQ dinner.