Heaven On Earth
Tien Chew shares how a two-day excursion at The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat serves as a good break away from the rat race, thus rejuvenating both the mind and body
A relaxing experience you never know you needed
City life can take its toll on any individual, where your senses are constantly bombarded throughout the day, before you go to sleep, then hit the reset button and do it all over again the next day. Ask yourself this: when was the last time you had a well-deserved R&R? I’m not talking about grand trips to Europe that may require you to take a large period of time off work; I’m talking about short getaways, in our own backyard, that give you the ability to recharge your batteries after a night or two and put the bounce back in your step. One such location is a mere twohour drive from Kuala Lumpur, to Ipoh. At The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, my partner and I were able to temporarily leave our stresses at the check-in counter to enter a resort devoid of anything that would distract us from ourselves and were surrounded by lush greenery and tranquillity. Here are some suggestions on how to spend your time there. First, you’re going to want to decide which of the resort’s three villas you and partner
would want to stay in. Ranging in size, (from smallest to biggest) there’s the lake villa, water villa and the garden villa. We opted for the garden villa—a luxurious 2,808 sqft space we called our own personal slice of heaven for the day. The villa gives you all you need to de-stress: your own private pool, a private hot spring jacuzzi, a generous outdoor living room plus lofty bedroom quarters. After checking-in, you may be tempted to jump into the pool, or start exploring the resort’s premises, but do yourself a favour and book a couples’ massage at thehe spa for a late afternoon session, followedd by dinner at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant Jeff ’s Cellar. Trust us, it t will do wonders for the mind and d body—but more on that later. Should you resist the urge to turn on some relaxing tunes and wade into the pool with your better half, which itself is a fine idea, the resort has plenty tot offer. Remember, The Banjaran is a hot springs resort and it would be a shame ifi you didn’t get to test their signature offerings. Sure, there’s a private hot spring jacuzzi in your villa, but that will take time to fill up, after checking-in, so save that for later. Our recommendation? Head for the geothermal hot spring dipping pools or the thermal steam cave for a relaxing and refreshing start. The naturally heated dipping pool offers a gorgeous view of the surrounding hills that populate the resort, while the steam cave is a natural sauna that helps to open up the pores for a good sweat. Side note: if you need a good laugh, head to the garra rufa doctor fish pool to receive a foot cleaning that will be sure to induce a few ticklish giggles. When it’s time to go for your spa session, you may notice a number of treatment options that may seem daunting at first. For a complete head to toe experience, go for the ‘The Banjaran’s Signature Massage’, a one-
Ask yourself this: when was the last time you had a well-deserved rest and relaxation?
and-a-half hour revitalising fusion massage that starts with an Indian head massage, followed by a traditional Malay body massage and ending with a Chinese pressure point foot therapy. The spa’s masseurs are very well-trained, and ensure you have the most relieving and relaxing experience possible. Our time at the spa left us re-energised, and in a state of serenity for the entire duration. Truly one of the best ways to breathe new life into your weary, work-tired body. Come dinner time, dine at Jeff ’s Cellar, the resort’s fine dining restaurant built within a limestone cave. The eatery smartly uses the cave’s interior with wondrous effects, and although it is a tropical cave, the interior is air-conditioned, so be sure to come dressed as you would to any other top restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. Jeff ’s Cellar offers degustation experiences as well, with the ‘Chairman’s Favourite’ menu leaning more towards Western-inspired dishes, while the ‘Taste of Malaysia’ option features more locally inspired choices. We opted for the Chairman’s menu, and enjoyed delicious dishes such as foie gras, lobster bisque and A5 Japanese wagyu. The lobster bisque in particular was a standout, thanks to its rich shellfish broth. When it came to the mains, the Japanese wagyu and the alternative cod fish, were also fitting climaxes, with the beef having an umamipacked jus and the fish having an incredibly flaky and juicy texture. At the end of the meal, we tried the restaurant’s white coffee cheesecake, a nod to Ipoh’s famous brew. Pair your meal with a choice bottle of wine and you’ll leave the restaurant satisfied and ready for deep slumber back at your villa. So there you have it, a one-night itinerary that although packed with things to do, will definitely provide the downtime you need to recharge and tackle the coming week. If you think one night is too short, you are more than welcome to extend your stay.
BLISSFUL BRILLIANCE With world-class hospitality and amenities, including a fine dining restaurant and an on-site spa, The Banjaran has everything you need for a couple’s getaway or to recharge your batteries
ISOLATED OASIS The Banjaran is located in a serene slice of Ipoh’s well-known natural beauty
HOT FOR HEALTH A main attraction at The Banjaran is of course the hot spring waters that flow through it, allowing guests the benefits of soaking in the dipping pool; relish in thoughtfully prepared meals the resort has to offer (below)
CAVE OF WONDERS From top: Jeff’s Cellar restaurant at the resort is built into a limestone cave; a look at the garden villa’s bedroom