There are just a handful of private island resorts in Malaysia, most of which are not known to the public. However, the one that stands out among them is none other than the world-renowned Pangkor Laut Resort. This resort is built on a fraction of a 300-acre private island owned by YTL Hotels. This small island is located west to the more popular and affordable tourist attraction – Pangkor Island. I remember the late Luciano Pavarotti once stayed in this resort and the suite which he stayed in still bears his name to this day. Throughout the years, many other celebrities had also hosted special events in Pangkor Laut Resort.
I thought it would only be a dream for me to be a guest in this resort until last year when hubby and I were planning our honeymoon. It was then that he mooted the idea of spending our local honeymoon in Pangkor Laut Resort (yup, we’d already planned for our international honeymoon). Hubby too had his story of being shooed back some years ago, when he and a couple of friends arrived on the the shores of this island by kayaking all the way from Pangkor Island. As such, he was hell-bent on going back to this island one day.
It didn’t take us long to decide on this trip as we found the best deal on Expedia after going through a few other websites. There were various villas and suites for us to consider but we were extremely fascinated with the Sea Villa which stood on stilts in the middle of the ocean. It was priced at RM1216.30 (US$300.50) per night inclusive of tax. This was the price after a 10% discount from a voucher code (MASTERCARDMY) that hubby found from the internet (Tip: always look hard for voucher codes in the internet to get the best deals).
That wasn’t the only reason why this package was such a bargain. When you book with Expedia, always look at the “Options” column (words in green), which basically specifies what is included or not included in your package. In our case, there was a “Special Deal” that was included and just by hovering the mouse over it, we were ecstatic to find that we were entitled to a 30% discount for spa treatments at the Spa Village. We quickly called up the resort to find out if indeed this was true and they confirmed it verbally and via email.
One of the things you ought to do if you decide to spend time on this island is to go for its spa treatments. The resort flies in professionals from various parts of the world in order to provide the best spa services to its guests. This tells you how serious it is in maintaining such a high and admirable standard, however, the drawback is the price you have to pay for its service. As for us, the 30% discount was so much of a relief and we quickly booked the Thai Massage as well as the Javanese Lulur Treatment, both of which amounted to Rm1540 (US$380.20) for 2 persons inclusive of tax.
Our package included breakfast, but not lunch and dinner. We thought that would give us more flexibility in choosing the different places to dine. Well, there are at least 7 eateries throughout this small island, some of which are only open at a certain mealtime and they all serve different cuisines. Except for Chapman’s Bar, most of the other eateries are located within walking distance from the villas.
When that special day arrived, we departed and took a slow drive from Ipoh at around 10am. By around noontime, we’ve arrived at Marina Island Pangkor (man-made island opposite Pangkor Island). How did we get to the island? Well, the resort has a jetty (used to be at Lumut) at Marina Island Pangkor where we purchased our return transfer tickets for RM160 (US$39.60) per person. We parked the car at Best Western Pangkor (free and shaded carpark), which was just 100 metres away. Otherwise, we might have to pay quite a lot for an open-air parking. The lounge at the jetty was very comfortable, somewhat like a hotel’s lobby whereby we were served with cold drinks and a wet facial towel to refresh ourselves. There was even free wifi access for those who needed it.
Our speedboat to Pangkor Laut Island took about 20 minutes and upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by the resort staff. Each guest, couple or family was assigned a personal butler who would help to check in, explain the facilities and send us to our respective villas (via buggies). We were also provided with a map of the island (very handy in case we lose our bearings) and a portable 4G wifi hotspot – YES (which belongs to YTL), which we must return upon checking out.
When we arrived at our designated Sea Villa, the butler sent in our luggage and briefed us on all the amenities that the villa had to offer. The villa presented us with a breathtaking view of the south west coast of Pangkor Island, in fact more spectacular than the one we once experienced at Grand Lexis Port Dickson. It had one door which separated the bedroom from the bathroom and another door which opened to a veranda facing the sea. The bathroom which was as spacious as a medium sized bedroom could accommodate a huge bathtub within.
The resort flies in professionals from various parts of the world in order to provide the best spa services to its guests.
After spending some time enjoying the picturesque scenery from the veranda, we got ourselves ready for the next agenda – Thai Massage. The Spa Village was just a short walk south of our villa and so happened it started drizzling when we were almost halfway there. There wasn’t any other guests when we arrived. Two masseuses led us to the starting point of the massage – feet washing and massage. Thereafter, we had to change to spa attire (sarongs) for the bath rituals , then proceeded to a huge pool to be soaked in cold (Malay flower bath) followed by hot water. Next was the Japanese bath, in which we had to scrub our bodies clean with the toiletries provided. Finally, we were led into a room where the massage commenced and lasted for the next 80 minutes. At the end of it, we were presented with a sarong each as a memorabilia.
The Spa Village, which faces Coral Bay was nothing less than a paradise by itself. It has its own private swimming pool, specially built to cater to guests who opt for the Spa Villa. Besides, there are also many huts with mattresses within the village where guests can just relax and enjoy the sea breeze.
It was almost twilight when we left the Spa Village. We decided to just head on the Uncle Lim’s Kitchen for dinner. Oh, by the way, we had to reserve a table here when we first checked in as we were told that the eateries might be fully booked. We purposely took the table by the edge just to enjoy the scenery of Coral Bay. Shortly after, we ordered two dishes and two glasses of red wine. The food was indeed great, I must admit. Shockingly, the bill amounted to RM298 (US$74.30) inclusive of tax, but I guess that was the price to pay for such luxury.
Having filled our stomachs with a sumptuous dinner, we strolled along the boardwalk back to our villa while listening to the waves breaking against the rocks and enjoying the gentle breeze blowing against our faces. It started drizzling halfway through and the rain built up throughout the night. The next day, we woke up to a drizzly, misty morning with the sun hardly seen in the horizon. As soon as the drizzle stopped, we made our way to the Feast Village for breakfast, traversing the Garden Villas along Royal Bay beach. Along the way, we noticed a few garden pots that were diligently adorned with colourful floating petals.
Breakfast (more like brunch actually) was arguably one of the best I’d ever eaten. It had a reasonably good variety of Asian and Western tastes. We tried practically everything there was until it was almost noon, which also meant that there was no more room for lunch. Then, we decided to walk around and explore the vicinity. There is a mini library with a good selection of novels, which will help you kill some time on the island. Besides, there’s also a TV room if you’re feeling bored. There are no TVs in all accommodations (not too sure about the suites, though) if you are wondering. Why do you need them anyway? You’re supposed to be getting away from the distractions of your daily routine, right?
If you are into birdwatching, this island seems to be a sanctuary for hornbills, bats and perhaps many other species.
Next, we were planning to explore the west coast of the island to see for ourselves the famous Emerald Bay, where Lt Col Frederick Spencer Chapman, a British army was eventually rescued by submarine during the Japanese occupation in 1945. The resort even dedicated a bar to his name – Chapman’s Bar. There were vans going back and forth the bay but we decided to walk there. It wasn’t really that far away, perhaps 20 minutes, but the gruelling part was the hike up the hill and before descending to the bay. Beach chairs and hammocks were aplenty along the beach. This bay is part of the island which faces the Straits of Malacca.
That evening we proceeded for our Javanese Lulur Treatment back at the Spa Village. It was a wonderful and relaxing 105-minute experience, going through almost the same routine as the Thai Massage a day earlier except that this time it included a 20-minute Javanese bath. When we were done with our treatment, thunder clouds were already looming on the horizon. We quickly got back to our villa for a short rest and prepared for a candlelight dinner at the Feast Village that night – 2 plates of pastas which costed RM205 (US$51.05) inclusive of tax.
After breakfast the next morning, we packed up and prepared to leave the island. We had a few hours to go before the speedboat arrived, so we decided to do some last minute exploration on the island. Definitely going to miss this island a lot!
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