A trio of hotels offers environments that simply scream ‘relaxing holiday’.
Walking into the lobby of the newly-refurbished Swiss-Garden Resort & Spa Kuantan is a little like entering a peaceful grove of palm trees what with the ceiling seemingly held up by enormous “trunks”.
The newly-refurbished hotel has obviously, and fittingly, taken its interior design cues from its setting: it sits by a 10km stretch of beach that is backed by lush greenery and lapped by crystal blue waters.
The rooms and other areas of the hotel have a contemporary style that is blended with natural elements; dark wood set off against natural hues, such as in the deluxe sea view room, give off a modern vibe.
The hotel’s website says about its Samsara Spa – found in all three of the larger Swiss-Garden Malaysian properties – that “we are devoted to pampering both mind and body amidst beautiful calming spaces”. The virtual description is spot on: the abundant greenery soothes the senses and each pavilion is done in a restrained Balinese style that further adds to the calm ambiance. It’s a space that’s very much suited to the Balinese beauty and healing treatments that the spa offers guests.
Creating spaces that suit what’s offered to guests seems to be a strong point of the Malaysian properties of the Swiss-Garden International group, which has hotels, resorts and inns in this country and in Australia.
The group’s hotel in Lumut, Perak, for instance, has all the simple charms you would want of a seaside resort. The lobby of the Swiss-Garden Golf Resort & Spa Damai Laut looks like a grander (much grander!) version of the central hall of a kampung house, complete with exposed wooden rafters and high ceilings creating a sense of openess and coolness. Natural elements are, again, a big part of the interiors, which feature lashings of wood and wicker.
The resort’s restaurants offer unassuming spaces in which great food can be enjoyed; there is the Thai Taste Restaurant, the Noodle House, the Garden Terrace and the Gayam Seafood Barbeque. The latter, for instance, is a space that doesn’t try to compete with the amazing sea views it has – the restaurant sits on stilts on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Straits of Malacca – or the signature fresh-from-the-sea BBQ dishes offered.
This resort has become the destination for couples looking to tie the knot amidst beautiful natural settings – surely thanks in part to the fact that it has the biggest pillar-less ballroom in Perak boasting a capacity of 1,000 guest at any one time!
The other Swiss-Garden group property we looked at is a complete contrast to Damai Laut: the Swiss-Garden Hotel & Residences Kuala Lumpur stands right smack in the middle of the city’s golden triangle and between the wildly contrasting shopping gems of Bintang Walk and Chinatown.
The lobby’s symphony of reflective metal and mirrored surfaces, marble floors and strategic lighting will tell you right away that you are in a lively, modern, space.
And, hey, you don’t get much more modern than an “e-lounge”. This lounge on the 11th floor has Internet access, as well as a comfortable reading area and large flat-screen TV.
Like the restaurants at the Damai Laut, the eateries here are all focused on the food rather than a fancy ambiance. The new Green Treats Café has healthy sandwiches and buns on the menu, while Flavors offers a wide array of international, fusion and local dishes; and the lobby level Blue Chip is known for the cocktails it serves.