The heady smell of exotic flowers is integral to this tropical paradise resort
Architect: Tsao Tse Ann, Singapore
Interior Designer: Tid Associates, Singapore
A traditional gong was sounded to announce our arrival, and a welcome glass of fruit juice was put into our hands, helping no end to dim the memory of the long-haul flight that brought us to this tropical paradise resort next to the Pantai Dalit beach in Borneo.
On route to our room we breath in the heady fragrance from displays of exotic flower displays and lush gardens that line the paths, passing on our way an air-conditioned gym, shop, travel agent and children’s club, as well as a canopied walkway to the wedding pavilion, the grounds of which are fringed by the wide beach of white sand.
Our Ocean Wing room was spacious, even with an enormous bed, its own cosy dining setting, a window seat from which to absorb the breathtaking views, and a dressing area that led to a luxurious bathroom in marble and glass. Another bath, outside yet secluded on the large balcony, proved to be a favourite spot from which to watch each evening’s sunset.
The hotel’s five restaurants cater for all tastes and pockets, from the fine dining in the seafood Coast restaurant to the buffet-style cafe. The Malaysian buffet was amazing and proved to be a great way to sample the native cuisine.
Naturally we spent plenty of time by the pools, where the slides and play area were enjoyed by all ages, in addition to the water sports available on the beach. Relaxation really is the name of the game poolside, as pool staff clean your sun glasses and serve and you iced water and little snacks.
A highlight of the site for us was the nature reserve located in the hotel’s 162 ha of grounds, with a sanctuary for endangered orangutans. Guided walks allow you to see the fascinating inhabitants, while at the same time you learn about the orangutan protection programme.
Feeding time for the young apes was not to be missed, nor was the walk across a rope bridge high in the trees with views across the bay.
One of our most fascinating experiences was a night-time jungle walk amid the fireflies. In a separate area of the resort is an 18-hole championship golf course and spa, which can be reached by a regular shuttle bus.
For a small fee the bus can also take you to into the city of Kota Kinabalu, about a 30-minute drive away, just in case you get a craving for a bit a urban hubbub amid all this luxurious tropical