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

Malaysia Tatler - - CONTENTS -

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

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