You don’t have to board a plane to escape the hustle and bustle of city life
Things are looking up. Thailand will be reopening its borders, and Singapore will be lifting border restrictions to visitors from Vietnam and Australia (excluding those from the state of Victoria). Perhaps we’ll be able to pack our luggages and head to a nearby island for a visit by the end of the year. For those who aren’t comfortably with flying just yet, we’ve rounded up a couple of resorts that don’t require a flight to get to.
Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas, Malaysia
Getting there: It’s a two-hour drive from the causeway, if the traffic is smooth. Alternatively, book a boat ride from the Changi Ferry Terminal or better still, take your yacht to the Tanjung Belongkor Ferry Terminal, where it’s a 30-minute car ride from there. Access will be much easier when the new jetty opens in 2021.
What about: Anantara brand brings its Thai hospitality to our shores. Well, almost. Apart from enjoying the usual resort facilities, guests can sign up for a mangrove tour of the Belungkor Forest at Kampung Linting Village. Avid golfers can also tee off at The Els Club Desaru Coast, but for those who aren’t keen on heading out, simply chill by the resort’s two pools or catch a movie under the stars at night.
Robb tip: Large families should opt for the Four-Bedroom Beach Residence. The 380-sqm villa not only offers direct beach access, but also comes with a personal butler and chef to see all your needs.
Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas
Persiaran Pantai, Desaru Coast
Bandar Penawar, Johor
Tel: +60 7 828 0888
One&Only Desaru Coast, Malaysia
What about: It’s One&Only’s first-ever resort in Asia, and the closest wellness resort to our city. It offers plenty of privacy, great accessibility to The Elfs Club’s ocean course, and a buffet of forest and sea views; stay at the Rainforest or Ocean suite. The Villa One, however, is the resort’s crown jewel. Set over two levels, it comes with four bedrooms, a private 27m pool, spa treatment room and all the space that you need.
One&Only Desaru Coast
Persiaran Pantai, Desaru Coast
Kota Tinggi, Johor
Tel: +60 7 878 3400
The Residence Bintan, Indonesia
Getting there: Book a ride from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and stop at either Bandar Bentan Telani or Tanjung Pinang, where the resort staff will get you. It takes roughly an hour to get to the resort from there.
What about: The largest island on Indonesia’s Riau Archipelago is home to a hidden gem that’s The Residence Bintan. Adventure seekers will be in for a treat as the resort offers a host of activities on land and water including kneeboarding, snorkelling, jet skiing, hiking, ATVs and yoga. Most of the resort’s 127 rooms come with its own private outdoor deck and pool, with the only exception being the One-Bedroom Upper Sea View Suite, though the ocean views will more than make up for it.
Robb tip: Book a table at Rica Rica, the resort’s signature restaurant, for a taste of traditional Indonesian cuisine. The restaurant works on a farm-to-table concept that features ingredients sourced from the island.
The Residence Bintan
RT.005/RW.003 Kepulauan Riau
Tel: +62 778 6000888
The Sanchaya Bintan, Indonesia
Getting there: Transport yourself from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to the Bandar Bentan Telani terminal. The Sanchaya Bintan will pick you up and you’ll be there in 10 minutes flat.
What about: It’s a luxury colonial beach getaway that sits by the tranquil waters of Lagoi Beach. The resort offers two different accommodation options: Thai-style villas, which overlook a lagoon, and colonial suites that offer unobstructed views of the South China Sea.
Robb tip: Unwind at The Bar after a day of activities, and have the resident mixologist will whip up a bespoke cocktail for you. Wine drinkers, though, will feel more at home at The Decanter, an intimate glass-walled cellar that’s also ideal for private dinners.
The Sanchaya Bintan
Plot 5, Sebong Lagoi
Tel: +62 770 692200