One&Only Desaru Coast
One&Only knew what they were doing when they asked the late Kerry Hill – the great architect behind other iconic hotels in the region – to design their first resort on the Asian continent. The result is a tropical, secluded sanctuary that’s strikingly modern while giving more than a nod to traditional Malay villages and colonial-era mansions.
Only two hours from Singapore, One&Only Desrau Coast is a beachfront resort set in 128-wildlife-filled acres near the tip of the Malay Peninsula, perfectly poised between the South China Sea and swathes of thick jungle. Although part of the wider Desaru Coast development – which includes two Ernie Else golf courses and a waterpark that’s a guaranteed hit with children – the resort has the feel of a private island.
From the lobby, your gaze is channelled down a wide, stone staircase across the 50-metre infinity pool to a break in the treeline and a tantalising glimpse of the azure South China Sea. You’re more likely to spot wildlife than you are other people, with local fauna ranging from bold and brash macaques and dusky leaf monkeys to sea otters, hermit crabs and even hawksbill and green turtles, which come to lay their eggs on the near-deserted shoreline.
Guests can choose from either Rainforest Suites ensconced in the jungle canopy, or Ocean Suites framed by hypnotic sea views. All have terraces and private plunge pools and enjoy dedicated butler service. There are also two larger Grand Suites and the showstopping Villa One, a four-bedroom, split-level beachfront fantasy with its own 27-metre pool and private spa treatment room.
Fronted by a sweep of bone-white sand, Ember Beach Club offers up-beat music, colourful cocktails and an elevated take on barbecues on the beach. Other dining options include a high-end Japanese restaurant and an East-meets-West restaurant where ingredients are sourced from local organic farms and the chef’s own kitchen garden.
There’s also more to do here than you could ever fit into a single stay, with highlights ranging from a visit to the Chenot Spa, whose treatments combine the best of science, beauty, wellness and relaxation, to rainforest treks and bonfires on the beach.