One & Only Desaru Coast

Malaysia - November, 2022

One&Only Desaru Coast is a gem of a weekend getaway. In the almost literal sense. This is a hidden paradise, tucked safely between a lush rainforest and the expansive South China Sea, flanked by a glittering, golden coast. Two hours of scenic travel from Singapore, and you’ll find yourself on a blissful, beachside escape, with locals and tourists needing only a ferry or a car (and a a passport) to Malaysia’s south-eastern shoreline to get there.

Step on the soft sands of the Southeast Asian coastline and enter the tranquil luxury of One&Only Desaru Coast. As Kerry Hill's last project before his passing, inspired by the Malaysian kampung, or village, this contemporary take on a traditional architectural concept boasts a collective of private homes, villas, and self-contained suites–all spread out over 128 acres of unspoilt land known locally as the Village of Palms. 

Once you’re at home, lounge in the seclusion of your own private plunge pools, laze about in cosy living spaces or lay content on the sun-warmed outdoor decks. Each suite gives you either a picture-perfect view of the ocean in all her splendour or the soft, serene calm of a naturally thriving rainforest.

When you’re ready to leave your peaceful abode and mingle with other travellers, find solace and rejuvenation in One&Only’s Ember Beach Club’s state-of-the-art communal amenities. They are nothing short of breathtaking. Go for a refreshing dip in the 50-metre infinity pool that mirrors the crystal-blue waters and waves nearby. Or dive deep into the rich, local culture by participating in a Silat Melayu lesson–a traditional Malaysian martial art form that guests can learn at One&Only’s Club One. Other activities include golf, tennis, watersports, and kite surfing. 

For those looking to heal their body and soothe their soul, targeted spa treatments and expert massages at the One&Only Spa by Chenot are a must. Their holistic approach to health and wellness combines the very best of western and eastern therapies. Alternatively, a full pampering session at their bespoke nail studio, Pedi:Mani: Cure Studio by Bastien Gonzalez can be just as indulgent and relaxing.

A little ways away sits the yoga pavilion overlooking the sea. A safe haven for meditative guests and yogis to find their peace amidst a backdrop of stunning, crystalline blue. Drift away to the soundtrack of nature unguarded; waves crashing, wind whispering, birds humming. 

Meanwhile, kids can discover local aquatic life at The Fisherman Hut or place their imagination on the canvas at The Art Studio. One&Only offers a KidsOnly program specifically tailored for younger guests to enjoy themselves in this natural haven, ensuring their weekend is one to remember. 

For dinner, enjoy the ethically-sourced cuisine of Ambara, the contemporary fusion of Hoshi, or the vibrant, local specialties of Essential. Fresh, flavourful dishes are masterfully prepared and served to perfection every time. You’ll retire to your suite—your place in the kampung—with bellies full and spirits satiated. 

At sunrise, an in-house nature expert can guide you through the rainforest, a rare, opportune moment for you to bask in the stillness and solitude of an earth untouched. Listen to the early-morning birdsong, spot elusive (yet playful) fauna, and breathe in the fresh forest air. The trail ends with breakfast on the beach, a spread of authentic Malaysian cuisine, both healthy and hearty. Rich, colourful plates bursting with local flavours, tempered with lightly seasoned side dishes; a feast for the eyes and the self. The roti is especially outstanding.

Truly, One&Only Desaru Coast is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. A modern, contemporary resort that combines comfort and luxury with vibrant, traditional colour.

We were guests of One&Only.