Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas: A new luxury hotel in Johor, Malaysia, just an hour from Singapore

Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas: A new luxury hotel in Johor, Malaysia, just an hour from Singapore

Underrated beauty

Text: Amelia Chia

The coastal town of Desaru in Malaysia has long sailed under the radar, but a newfound paradise looks set to change all that. Located just over an hour's trek from Singapore, the Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas is a photogenic property that is part of Desaru's new high-end resort development. The slick hotel is fringed with pristine beaches, lush foliage dotting a rugged coastline, caramel-coloured sand, and a decent surf break.

Having cracked most of the Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, and African markets, this is Anantara's first foray into Malaysia and the closest property to Singapore from the prestigious hotel group. Designed by Singapore architect firm WOW Architects & Warner Wong Design, and interiors by Malaysia's Environment Design Consultants, the resort gives off a relaxed-chic vibe with furnishings inspired by traditional Malay buildings and crafts. The 13 pool villas are stylish, airy, largely wooden, and made for lounging — built around a stunning lagoon, the design draws heavily from a kampung house to suit the tropical climate with floor-to-ceiling windows, slanted carved wooden panels, and doors that encourage airflow.

Pool villa at Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas

Guests are spoilt for choice for room types. If the pool villas are not up your alley, there are 90 deluxe guest rooms overlooking the garden, lagoon, or ocean, and 20 baller three and four bedroom residences — infinity pool, full kitchen, and chef and butler service included. Two swimming pools offer a cool-off from the heat, and a freshwater alternative to the glittering ocean. If you fancy a pampering day away from the world, the renowned Anantara Spa is at your doorstep. Bliss at new levels await.

The Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villa is just the place for food fanatics, too. Sea.Fire.Salt, the resort's speciality grill and seafood restaurant, serves up the freshest produce and prime cuts in beautiful dishes that is worth its salt. Choose to dine in the al fresco courtyard or along the beach, and make sure you have a glass of wine in hand. Otherwise, all-day restaurant Turmeric will satisfy all cravings with a sensational range of Malay, Asian, and international fare. When drinks are in order, pop over to the Observatory Bar or one of the pool bars for a roaring good time. There are also options for private dining and culinary classes for budding masterchefs out there.

The bathroom in the Deluxe Room

Step outside Anantara's doors and it's a buzzy world out — there are manicured golf courses, an adventure waterpark, retail village, and conference centre within the integrated destination resort. Doors will open in time for the year-end festivities, so start planning. You can either catch a 30-minute ride from Changi Ferry Terminal and a 30-minute car ride after, or drive direct from Singapore which will take about 1.5 to 2 hours to this idyllic beachfront heaven.

Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas will open on 1 December 2019.

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