The Ultimate Vacation Destination – Heaven on Earth

Written by admin on February 13, 2006 – 4:31 pm -

Close your eyes as you board the hotel’s launch and after a 15-minute ride across the Straits of Malacca. When the launch arrives you’ll feel as if you’ve landed on heaven on earth. The Pangkor Laut Resort is located on a private island off the west coast of the Malaysian Peninsula. Although it may be a long way to travel to experience nirvana, once you’ve arrived, you’ll know it was worth the journey.

The Pangkor Laut Resort has won every award in the travel industry and they’re merited. There’s something for everyone. Some choose it as the ultimate spa vacation; for others it’s a Buddhist retreat where they go to get in touch with their spirituality; others are taken with its many aspects of nature and spend the days walking and exploring. Others simply enjoy being spoiled and consider it the vacation of a lifetime.  If they live in that part of the world, they return repeatedly since it’s impossible to be bored at the 300-acre resort that initially opened in 1993. Even though it’s one island and one resort, no one departs feeling identically. It’s impossible to board the returning launch without leaving a bit of your soul at Pangkor Laut and taking away some of its enigmatic beauty.

For those in the market, you can even get married at Pangkor Laut.  When I visited, a wedding was taking place. The radiant bride and groom and friends and family members flew in from the U.K for the occasion. It was a spectacularly beautiful ceremony where vows were exchanged as the sun was going down. The hotel had arranged for everything to be picture-perfect and even for the minister who officiated. Couples can obtain wedding licenses within a day so this is the ideal location for a destination wedding.  If the couple were to decide to divorce, where could it be better to make the break legal?

In spite of being one resort, there’s nothing homogenous about the getaway. There are 126 deluxe villas and suites on the main but the settings are so different that you could be on a different island albeit the view of the vibrant emerald green water that’s surrounded by a coastal fringe of palm trees and low vegetation.  All of the materials used in the villas are natural and indigenous to the area – from the wood to the fabrics.

Depending on your mood, you have the choice of twenty-one Sea Villas which are perched on stilts; Beach Villas have private outdoor bathtubs; Garden and/or Hill Villas are selectively placed throughout the property subtlety blending in with its tropical environment.

I stayed in one of the 22 Spa Villas. No matter the time of day, I was continually overwhelmed by the beauty of the interior design. It was sumptuous in an elegant and understated way. After a day of various therapies from all parts of Asia, I felt so relaxed and rejuvenated that I’d return to the room and listen to tranquil music emanating from a CD player before falling asleep either on the king-size bed or on the chaise overlooking the water. This island isn’t a place where you’ll find televisions or high-speed Internet connections. It reeks of tranquility — it even feels out of place to speak much above a whisper. Each day, guests are given batik sarongs to wear from their air-conditioned temporary home to the spa area. Evening temperatures cooled down so the room’s plantation fan more than did the job as I felt the bay’s breezes.

Spa – did I say spa?  People can always find massages but the treatments at Pangkor Laut are more of a healing process. All of my aches and pains were addressed. I met with a Chinese physician at the Ayurvetic Hut; he looked into my eyes, took my pulse and asked questions and subsequently prescribed treatments which he felt would be appropriate for me. I happen to love hot stones and could have extended the two-hour-long massage that included herbal steaming, a Malay-style whirlpool that was strewn with flower petals. Afterwards, my body was caressed with oils (I chose the lemon one) and would gravitate to the Yoga Pavilion where I would meditate and stretch. Each spa treatment began and ended with a cup of tea served on a tray accented by perhaps, a single blossom.

For the more active, there’s a fitness center, tennis and squash courts (wear white please), swimming pools, a water sports center where guests can sign up for sailing, water skiing, fishing and more.  There are water and land excursions.

For the fitness crowd, there are three jungle treks from which to choose that meander through 350 acres of forest. Don’t be surprised if you encounter a snake. I was assured that snakes are more afraid of me than vice versa. However, I opted to take the chauffeured golf carts between longer destinations. I’m terrified of snakes and didn’t want to meet one or the on-site doctor.

What would a resort such as this be without restaurants varying from extremely casual to more formal?  The five restaurants offered different cuisine. I especially liked the Fisherman’s Cove that specialized in seafood that is fished daily from local waters.

Would I return?  In a heart beat. I have a “significant birthday” approaching in a couple of years and hope I’ll have enough money to rent the private complex that is composed of three bedrooms, a living area, a dining room , a private pool – not to mention a personal butler.  I’d want my family to come and celebrate and experience the beauty of this oasis.

It’s a dream — but one about which I’d like to fantasize and will until I return.

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