Desaru – a coastal town in Johor has been on my “To Visit” list for a while now. It is known for its pristine beach and is easily accessible especially if you stay in Peninsular Malaysia. So while doing some research for our family vacay, I came across Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas, which recently opened its doors to the public in December 2019.
I’m familiar with the Anantara brand having visited their hotel in Seminyak and Ubud, Bali. From their great hospitality to amazing rooms and amenities, I knew I just had to make a visit to the brand’s first luxury hotel in Malaysia to see if they are child-friendly as well.
Anantara’s hospitality was immediately prominent the moment we arrived at the resort. We were greeted with sounds from the kompang accompanied by their staff singing the Rasa Sayang song (a beautiful Malaysian welcome, in my opinion!).
We were then led to a beautiful check-in lounge that overlooked their pool and the ocean – a truly breath-taking view that left us at awe. We were offered their signature welcome drink and a strawberry smoothie, which my boy enjoyed, and it was straight to our room for some much need rest.
Stunning Sea Views & Child-Friendly Amenities
It’s good to note that all of the rooms in Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas’ main blocks are facing the sea. We stayed in the Deluxe Sea View Corner Room which has some extra balcony space – perfect for my boys to run around.
The rooms in Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas are also child-friendly. We were very happy when we saw that they had a cot set up in the room and also had a baby bathtub prepared in the bathroom together with toiletries for the kids. Definitely a plus point in my books! Besides that, they also provided a kite and some batu seremban – another very Malaysian element – for some good ol’ family fun.
The balcony, which has a nice relaxing sofa bed, was one of our favourite spots. With the breath-taking view and windy weather, putting the boys down for a nap was a breeze indeed (pun intended).
The resort also has 13 stand-alone double-storey luxurious one- and two-bedroom pool villas located around a lagoon and 5 expansive family-sized three- and four-bedroom residences with an infinity pool, spacious contemporary living areas, full kitchen and chef and butler service.
Kids Club & Family-Friendly Activities
Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas has 2 swimming pools – one located in the centre of the resort, near Tumeric Restaurant and another infinity pool overlooking the ocean. The infinity pool – although a great spot for The Gram – is a little too windy and cold for the kids (it was the end of the year), so we preferred the latter as it had a shallow end too.
The resort also offers guest bicycles with child seats that are free to use throughout your stay. But one of the things that made Anantara Desaru Coast stand out for us was their kids’ club.
The resort has 2 kids club- Layang- Layang and Lungur Ombak – where kids and teenagers alike can laze the day away playing the latest high-tech games or partake in cross-cultural educational activities in separate dedicated clubs. Layang-Layang kids club are for the younger children. Parents have the option to leave the kids there for a period of time under the supervision of Anantara’s friendly and professional staff where they’ll get to do activities such as wall climbing, watch cartoons, colouring and arts and crafts. Their teens’ club, on the other hand, is equipped with traditional games, board games, pinball machines, PS4 and also Nintendo Switch (which we- the parents- enjoyed as well!).
Turmeric restaurant, which is also their main restaurant, serves authentic local Malaysian fare and delicious Thai, Chinese and international cuisine. They also have a kids menu that serves child-friendly meals such as Oven-baked Chicken Nuggets or Fish Fingers, Mac & Cheese, Chicken Soup and Peanut Butter & Jelly Tacos.
Although the restaurant is equipped with high-chairs and wooden cutleries for the kids, a few things that we felt were missing were the child-friendly crockery (plates, bowls and cups) which we felt were essential especially when you have toddlers or young children. Other than that, the food was delicious and we enjoyed it very much.
Sea. Fire. Salt. is another one of their restaurants, which specialises in succulent grilled seafood and steaks served beachside. My husband and I had one of the best steaks here during our last night in Anantara, and the seafood platter- AMAZING! My compliments go to the chef and staff who made our last night in Anantara Desaru Coast a memorable one.
Bags packed and ready for check out, we were surprised with a little parting gift– a photo frame of our little family, which was taken on the day of our arrival. Truly hospitality at its best, and a reason why this newly opened resort in Desaru should be on your vacation list.
Also, unlike many other hotels around the area, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas has direct access to the beach – a huge plus point for me.
The resort also has 15 luxurious 3 and 4-bedroom beachfront residences for sale. Managed and serviced by Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas, the development offers the option for each owner to participate in a flexible resort-managed rental program and generate investment income when not in-residence.
For more information, check out www.anantara.com/en/desaru-coast . You can also get a feel of the resort by watching our review video below:
Originally Written for Parenthood.my