As you all know I’m a perpetual luxury traveler. Even before I finish exploring one destination, I’m searching for my next. But when I know I’m going to visit one of the magnificent resorts in the YTL Hotels’ group I get especially excited! Each of their properties is a chance for me to indulge in extravagance at it’s finest. My plans this time brought me to Dungun, Malaysia where I had the chance to experience Malaysian opulence at Tanjong Jara Resort.
I’m impatient when I travel, always searching for the quickest way to get to my destination. Happily it’s an easy 1.5-hour flight from Singapore to Kuala Terengganu Airport then a scenic 60-minute car ride to the resort.
As we pulled up we were greeted with smiling faces and the ringing of a gong! Immediately I felt like I’d walked into paradise. Located on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, the resort encompasses the spirit of the Malay culture. It’s catch line “Unmistakably Malay” rings true throughout with it’s exotic design, warm charm, and exceptional service.
After a delicious welcome drink, cool face towel, and smooth check-in, we headed down a path blooming with tropical flora and fauna toward our villa.There are 99 authentic, lavishly decorated rooms and villas spread over 17 hectares of flourishing landscapes facing the South China Sea. Very often we felt as if we had the resort to ourselves. The landscaping and strategically placed hammocks, swing seats, and loungers’ invite peace and tranquility.
We chose to stay in the Anjung Room, one of the 10 single-story beach rooms complete with its own canopied verandah overlooking the sea. It’s perfect for a romantic get-a-way or honeymoon and with the outdoor bath situated in a private alcove, my husband and I very much enjoyed the time alone afforded us.
As with all the YTL Hotels’ properties, cuisine is one of the mainstays of their success. Tanjong Jara Resort presents three wonderful restaurants where guests can choose from a variety of local and international dishes.
Di Atas Sungei sits above a river leading to the sea and is open each morning for an elaborate buffet breakfast. At night it transforms into a distinctive restaurant. A menu master, who is an expert on the local Malay cuisine, visits each guest in turn. Taking information gleaned by the visit and using only local, high quality fresh produce, fish, and meats the chef prepares a one of a kind meal. The encounter is an indulgence for your palette.
Teratai Terrace is located near the resorts lobby and serves cocktails and local delicacies. They also organize private romantic dinners under the stars complete with live music. We treated ourselves to one of these and the experience was breathtaking.
Nelayan is a seafood restaurant inspired by YTL Hotel’s Gaya Island Resort’s Fisherman’s Cove. With ocean breezes and the sounds of the waves lapping on the beach, guests enjoy recipes expertly crafted using the freshest ingredients. Incorporating sustainable fishing practices, something that the YTL Hotels’ group is passionate about, makes the experience exceptionally enjoyable.
As you all know one of the highlights of all my travels is delighting in a good Spa and Spa Village Tanjong Jara is now among my top 10 favorite. I spent 3 hours at the masterful hands of an exceptional masseur who’s skillful knowledge of traditional Malay treatments brought me through varying degrees of pure relaxation and rejuvenation. I walked out in unadulterated ecstasy! Using natural, organic Asian ingredients every treatment is bliss. You even get to keep the Batik Sarong that is wrapped around you at the end of your session.
The resort has two pools to enjoy. One is close to the lobby and Teratai Terrace. It’s a deep pool great for diving. In the evenings the staff places bean bags and candles poolside and transforms it into an outdoor theater. Each night is a different, recently released movie. It was awesome watching movies under the stars while enjoying light snacks and cocktails.
Near the Spa Village and next to the wide sandy beach is an infinity pool. It has varying degrees of depth making it perfect for families with children. Both have plenty of loungers and towel and refreshment service. WiFi signals are strong making it excellent to hang out for the day for those who don’t want to disconnect. I loved that the staff brought around fresh cold water and face towels every hour or so, the pampering makes all the difference in the world!
Even I, who love to relax beach and pool side, like to experience local activities, and Tanjong Jara Resort offers several. Regardless of your taste there is something for everyone.
I’m an avid scuba and snorkel enthusiast so that’s usually the first thing I book after a spa. As my husband doesn’t scuba dive (yet…I’m working on it!) we chose the snorkel trip. The resort has an onsite PADI facility that offers a myriad of water sports and fantastic staff to guide you through any activity.
After a hearty breakfast we set out for Terengganu Marine Park. As it is protected and still relatively unknown its reef is in excellent condition for exploration. Turtles, clown fish, and black tip sharks are abundant and were among several of the fishes we witnessed. We spent the first part of the day enjoying the underwater sights.
A BBQ lunch is included in the snorkeling/diving package so we reluctantly dragged ourselves out of the water and enjoyed a sumptuous spread.
The second half of our snorkel trip was spent enjoying anemones, parrot fish, and marine life I’d never seen before. By the time we headed back to the docks everyone on the boat was happily exhausted! It was an awesome day. (Click here to see a video of everyone passed out!)
On day 3 we took a cooking class with head Chef Ann. I can’t remember another time I enjoyed myself more! In the morning we ventured to the local wet market where we picked out fresh ingredients. She walked us through each stall and explained how the fruits, veggies, fish, and meats were used in Malay dishes…adding her very funny anecdotes.
In the afternoon we joined Chef Ann for a cooking class where she taught us to prepare local favorites. Her wit and charm added more to the dishes than the ingredients…we all became fast friends.
As is always the case, vacations are often determined by the service we receive during them. With Tanjong Jara Resort not only do you find the most sublime service but guests will also experience opulent decor, attention to detail, and an exquisite sanctuary mixed with Malaysian culture making the resort second to none.
I would absolutely recommend a visit to Tanjong Jara Resort for a romantic getaway, honeymoon, girl’s escape, or even a solo trip. You’ll arrive a stranger and leave as family.
Tanjong Jara Resort
Batu 8, Off Jalan Dungun
23000 Dungun, Terengganu, Malaysia