While we’re all yearning to explore new lands, one question looms large in our minds: how safe is it out there? If the thought of travelling to far flung locales stirs up feelings of unease, we have a less anxiety-inducing vacation idea. Luxury resort brand One&Only has recently opened its first property in Asia, and it’s just a mere two-hour drive from Singapore.
Set on a 128-acre estate in Johor, Malaysia, One&Only Desaru Coast’s stunning suites and villas are the work of Kerry Hill Architects, which are also behind a number of Aman’s resorts. In keeping with architectural heritage of the “kampung” life — albeit with a dash of modernity — the sleek, earthy-hued interiors are Malaysian-inspired and thoughtfully designed to evoke a sense of calm. Of course, this is accompanied by private plunge pools, sprawling indoor and outdoor living spaces and lavish bathrooms where one can pamper the body and soul. Framed amongst flora, like the perfect picture in a frame, privacy is ensured to those all guests.
Choose between a breathtaking ocean view or wrap yourselves in the warm embrace of the rainforest. For those worried about being in close proximity of strangers — an understandable worry today — you’ll be happy to know that the suites and villas are self-contained.
Foodies need not venture out of the property for great grub. Ember Beach Club is where guests can indulge in culinary offerings by critically acclaimed Chef Andrew Walsh. The menu takes its cue from traditional one-fire cooking and is infused with big Asian flavours. Visit the Mediterranean via Ambara, which offers a seasonal field-to-fork dishes, or entice your palette with a contemporary take on the art of tempura by Hoshi. Local flavours come to life at Essential, located next to the resort’s 50-metre infinity pool. Straits inspired bites, tailor-made cocktails, regional rum and other fine spirits call at the Dusky Monkey, a beautiful spot to enjoy nightcap while surrounded by the acoustics of nature.
Last on the list of must-dos for any holiday: a luxurious spa experience. Combining scientific and holistic approaches to health and wellness, treatments at Chenot Spa are crafted only once the individual needs of each guest has been understood. The goal is to strengthen the mind and body. Complete your wellness journey with a trip to Studio by Bastien Gonzalez, where you can be pampered with a pedi and mani unlike any other.
If doing nothing sounds like a tall order, there’s a full range of activities on grounds for the restless, from tennis and panel courts to the traditional Malaysian martial art of Silat Melayu and an array of water sports. Itching for a chance to hone your swing? Head over to the Els Club with its championship-level golf courses. The young ones can join KidsOnly where they can learn about the local ecosystem and discover local aquatic life at the EcoLab and The Fisherman Hut respectively or channel their inner Picasso at the Art Studio.
For more information or to make a reservation, please visit oneandonlydesarucoast.com.