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These luxury resorts in Malaysia are perfect for vacation in the \"New Normal\"

These luxury resorts in Malaysia are perfect for vacation in the "New Normal"

Hello, paradise!

Text: Ronn Tan


Have you started with your domestic travel plans yet? If you're thinking about places that allow you to practise social distancing while on holiday, we have compiled a list for you

Although travelling overseas is still prohibited with the borders shut, Malaysians can finally travel between states. This means that domestic tourism is back and alive again! Many Malaysians enjoy the opportunities to relax and unwind away from home. With the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) in place until 31 August 2020, the government has encouraged Malaysians to give domestic tourism a go—while maintaining social distancing and f0llowing health and safety guidelines. This includes going on staycations and glamping spots.

Resorts—especially the ones on secluded and private islands—are ideal spots for holidays in the "New Normal". With privacy and seclusion, contact between you and others can be minimised without compromising the complete vacation experience. Many of the resorts on this list are now accepting bookings again but make sure to check with the respective places for more information. Some resorts might not have reopened for guests yet.

The list consists of resorts from all over Malaysia—both East Malaysia and West Malaysia. Get ready for a well-deserved holiday!

1. Tanjong Jara Resort, Terengganu

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Located in Kuala Dungun on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Tanjong Jara Resort is a secluded paradise filled with serenity and age-old Sucimurni philosophies. The resort is designed to reflect 17th century Malay palaces and faces a crescent-shaped beach of golden sand.

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In addition to a plethora of dining options, there are also many fun and engaging activities to do at Tanjong Jara Resort. You can visit a Malay herb garden, dive at Tenggol Island, attend traditional handicraft classes, and trek to Chemerung Waterfall among others.

Contact: 09 845 1100 or 03 2783 1000

Website

2. Pangkor Laut Resort, Perak

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Nestled in a two million-year-old rainforest, immerse yourself in a private island sanctuary along with emerald waters and sandy beaches. To house this resort and its Estates—set along the Straits of Malacca, only a fraction of the island's 300 acres has been developed.

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Whether you're staying in the villas or the Estates, expect warmth and comfort. Dine at Uncle Lim's Kitchen and Fisherman's Cove or get a tipple or two at the Royal Bay Beach Club. Treat yourself to one-of-a-kind rejuvenating experiences at the Spa Village—with treatments such as the Ayurvedic Rejuvenation.

Contact: 03 2783 1000 or 05 699 1100

Website

3. The Datai Langkawi, Kedah

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Photo by The Datai Langkawi

If you're looking for the perfect escape, this resort—situated in the heart of a 10-million-year-old rainforest—is the serene haven for you. Private verandas and breathtaking views come with each room, suite, and villa.

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Photo by The Datai Langkawi

Go for Malaysian cuisine at The Gulai House or relax over a drink and pizza at The Beach Club and Beach Bar. In addition to spotting wildlife such as Dusky langur, Tokay gecko, and Sunda colugo, you can also siam on board the Naga Pelangi. There are cooking classes and a myriad of well-being and holistic activities too.

Contact: 04 9500 500

Website

4. Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan

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Photo by Lexis Hibiscus

Located on the Pasir Panjang Beach, the resort comprises of water villas and tower rooms. Each villa in Lexis Hibiscus is equipped with a private dip pool and steam room.

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Photo by Lexis Hibiscus

Dining options here include Umi Japanese Restaurant, Roselle Coffee House, and Coralz Bistro. From Segway to karaoke to the cruise, there are an array of outdoor and indoor activities for both adults and children.

Contact: 06 660 2626

Website

5. Cameron Highlands Resort, Pahang

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Set amongst rustling tea leaves, this resort is the place to go for a highland retreat. The architecture here is reminiscent of the grand colonial heritage from timber-beamed ceilings to tall French doors. Located 1,500 meters above sea level, Cameron Highlands Resort is great for those looking for a cooler climate.

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Indulge in traditional English Afternoon Tea at Jim Thompson Tea Room or enjoy a hotpot experience at Gonbei. Treat yourself to Orang Asli inspired rituals at the Spa Village and go for a round of golf at the Cameron Highlands Golf Course.

Contact: 03 2783 1000 or 05 491 1100

Website

6. One&Only Desaru Coast, Johor

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Photo by One&Only

Scheduled to open late 2020 (delayed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), this new resort comprises of a collection of luxury suites, a crowning villa, and One&Only Private Homes. One&Only Desaru Coast is situated on 128 acres of white powder sands on the south-eastern shoreline of Malaysia.

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Photo by One&Only

At Ambara, feast on Malaysian-Mediterranean flavours with produce sourced locally and from the chef's garden. Indulge in Japanese cuisine at Hoshi or enjoy afternoon tea and special cocktails at Dusky Monkey. Head over to Ember Beach Club—helmed by Chef Andrew Walsh—for culinary flair and live music. From beaches to the spa to the plethora of interesting activities, One&Only Desaru Coast is filled with fun things to do.

Contact: 07 878 3400

Website

7. The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi, Kedah

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Photo by The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi

Situated on the edge of the Andaman Sea, this five-star resort is a combination between contemporary style as well as elements of nature and tradition. Accommodation here comes with views of the 10 million-year-old rainforest and villas are equipped with private pools. The island's only overwater spa is also located in The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi.

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Photo by The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi

Savour traditional Chinese seafood at Hai Yan, international dishes at The Beach Grill, and local culinary offerings at Langkawi Kitchen. Adults can enjoy romantic sunsets or evenings at Horizon, a lounge featuring a swimming pool. Create your own cocktails, go for a yoga session, paint a batik, attend a pottery class, and more.

Contact: 04 952 4888

Website

8. Gaya Island Resort, Sabah

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Photo by Gaya Island Resort

Based on the sandy coast of Malohom Bay and on an island within the protected Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, this beachfront resort is where you should go for a distinctive Borneo experience. The villas here are designed to highlight Sabahan elements while staying contemporary and elegant.

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Photo by Gaya Island Resort

Go on fishing excursions, visit the Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre, create your own handicraft, snorkel, and more while you're here. In need of a rejuvenation treatment? Head over to the Spa Village for unique spa programmes. While Gaya Island Resort is yet to reopen for guests, you can add this to your list on your next trip to Sabah.

Contact: 03 2783 1000 or 018 939 1100

Website

9. Cove 55, Sarawak

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Photo by Cove 55

Originally built as a holiday home for an Iban family, Cove 55 is a luxury boutique resort situated at the foot of Mount Santubong. Comprising of one villa, two suites, and 13 rooms, this is the ideal hideaway for those who prefer privacy and seclusion.

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Photo by Cove 55

Tee off at an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, check out crocodiles on a boat tour, or hike up Mount Santubong. You can also dine at Kechala for a modern take on Sarawakian flavours and Cove Bar for an extensive drinks menu.

Contact: 082 846 068

Website

10. Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa, Penang

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Photo by Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts

Located on the iconic Batu Feringghi area, the resort comes with a lagoon-style pool, expansive tropical gardens, and architecture designed in traditional Minangkabau style. 

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Photo by Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts

Dine at restaurants such as Feringgi Grill, Spice Market Cafe, and Pinang Restaurant or get drinks at the Feringgi Bar. Attend a cooking demonstration, try out water volleyball, and go for a morning stroll on the beach. 

Contact: 04 888 8888

Website

11. Philea Resort and Spa, Melaka

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Photo by Philea Resort & Spa

With a combination of luxury accommodations and rustic architecture, the resort is the prime spot for tranquility and relaxation. Surrounded by lush green forest and rolling hills, expect tastefully furnished rooms with exquisite amenities. 

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Photo by Philea Resort & Spa

Dining options include Cravo Cravo, Bayu Cabana, Chillout, and Tropics Lounge. About a 15-minute drive from the resort is a golf course whereas the Melaka International Motorsports Circuit is only five minutes away. At the resort, you can also swim, workout, and get pampered at the spa.

Contact: 06 289 3399

Website

12. Mangala Resort and Spa, Pahang

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Photo by Mangala Resort & Spa

Located in Kuantan, Mangala is affiliated with Small Luxury Hotels of the World. To allow the surrounding greenery to flourish, each nature-inspired villa is designed in small-scale pavilions. 

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Photo by Mangala Resort & Spa

In need of some well-deserved relaxation treatments? The Mangala Spa offers holistic therapies—including manicures, pedicures, scrubs, and facials. You can also opt for archery, cycling, kayaking, birdwatching, and more while you're here.

Contact: 09 505 7788

Website

13. The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, Johor

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Photo by The Westin Desaru Coast Resort

This sanctuary—packed with all things serene and tranquil—is set along the South China Sea. From scenic private balconies to the signature Westin Heavenly Bed, you're bound to have a rejuvenating experience at this resort.


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Photo by The Westin Desaru Coast Resort

In addition to Heavenly Spa by Westin, dining options here include the likes of Prego for Italian fare and Seasonal Tastes for a variety of different cuisines. For drinks, head over to the Beach Bar or Splash.

Contact: 07 838 3333

Website

14. Club Med Cherating, Pahang

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Re-opening on 28 July 2020, Club Med's first resort in Asia has collaborated with Ecolab to develop its Safe Together guest assurance programme. Club Med Cherating is a three-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. Overlooking the South China Sea, the resort is located on one of Malaysia's finest beaches. Expect complete tranquility at Club Med Cherating while enjoying the Club Med Cocoon (also known as a safe haven for holidaymakers). Teak plays a major role in the resort—with structures built on stilts in the elegant wood.

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Head over to the Zen pool for refreshing drinks while savouring 360º views of the sea or take part in activities such as treetop adventures, rock climbing, and archery. Feast on a variety of cuisines at the many F&B options—from Mutiara to Rembulan.

Contact: 03 2053 1888

Website

Resorts (especially island getaways) are perfect for travelling during the "New Normal". You get to enjoy serenity and privacy while practising social distancing and minimising contact with others. Malaysians can start planning where to go with the options above—from idyllic beaches to marvelous architecture. Where in Malaysia will you be travelling to next?

For more hotels to check out in Malaysia, click here.

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