New Hotels & Attractions In Desaru To Check Out, Now That There’s A Direct Ferry Service From Singapore
Luxe resorts, pristine beaches and beach clubs. Are we in Bali?
If you’re yearning for a quick getaway from Singapore but aren’t a fan of flying (and all the hassle that it comes saddled with), you may want to consider Desaru. After all, the Johor beach destination is no longer that sleepy seafront town that you vaguely remember going to in your childhood years, now that it's got a recent facelift.
Desaru’s been rejuvenated not only with the launch of Batam Fast’s direct ferry service from Singapore on Jul 7, but there’s also the addition of new resorts and attractions that are all part of the Desaru Coast integrated destination resort. With four hotels, a golf resort and a water park at Desaru Coast, there are sufficient options for every traveller and budget.
#1: Take the new ferry service to Desaru for a fuss-free journey.
If you’re the sort who values convenience over anything else (especially while on holiday), then this may be the option for you. Don’t get us wrong, destinations like Bali and Phuket are fab, but rising airfares and crowded airports make a beach vacay that’s just a ferry ride away seem all that more enticing.
The direct ferry service between Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal currently runs Thursdays to Sundays with one round-trip service per day. Tickets are currently sold at a promotional price of $98 until Oct 6 (more info here).
What is it like taking the ferry from Singapore to Desaru Coast, a journey that, at 90 minutes, is double the time it takes to travel to Bintan or Batam by sea too? For starters, time passes pretty quickly — head out to the deck to enjoy the sea breeze and plenty of Instagram opps and you won’t even notice how time flies by until you spot Desaru’s pristine beachfront as you arrive.
The icing on the cake is the convenience of getting through immigration at both ferry terminals — you just need to arrive at the ferry terminal about one hour before departure. Getting through immigration takes less than 10 minutes, something we’ve come to appreciate after having faced long queues and waits at airports of late. It helps, too, that there are resorts less than a 15-minute drive from the Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal.
#2: Stay at an upscale resort that makes you feel like you’re in luxe Bali villa.
Step through the lobby of Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas and you’re greeted by infinity pools in an expansive courtyard, a view that carries on to the azure waters, sandy beaches beyond.
Views are fab no matter where you go, whether it’s from the rooms or villas, the Observatory Bar with an elevated view of the resort and beach, an al fresco restaurant on the beach, or the two swimming pools in the sprawling resort.
The luxurious beachside property has rooms nestled amid lush greenery as well as standalone ocean facing villas, both offering the type of serenity and comfort you’d expect of, say, a Bali resort. Anantara’s best flexible rate starts at S$266 per night, inclusive of breakfast and a RM150 (S$47) resort credit.
For ultimate indulgence, splurge on a stay at the breathtaking idyllic hideaway that is One&Only Desaru Coast. This is as luxe as it gets, not just on Desaru Coast, but in the region too.
The, er, one and only One&Only resort in Asia has only over 40 suites, each one with their own plunge pool (the two-bedroom Grand Suites come with private lap pools too), while some have direct access to the beach. It’s all about privacy and tranquility here — it’s no wonder it’s been a favourite among Malaysian celebs over the course of the pandemic (the luxurious retreat opened its doors in September 2020 but, amid closures and restrictions, was fully up and running only from September 2021).
You don’t have to leave the resort premises with more than enough activities to keep you occupied, from water sports and yoga to nature walks with an in-house naturalist and four F&B outlets, including a 16-seater Japanese omakase restaurant. There’s also the Ember Beach Club (main photo), helmed by Cure Singapore’s Andrew Walsh, which offers a slice of that buzzy Bali beach club life much closer to home.
Among other highlights of the decadent idyllic hideaway are the Instagrammable infinity pool (pictured below) and the Chenot Spa, the Swiss leading experts in science-based bespoke wellness treatments. Prices from S$1,166 per night, includes daily breakfast for two and one onsite daily activity per pax.
#3: Entertain the kids with a host of family-friendly activities.
The Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast is among the most family- and wallet-friendly accommodation options on Desaru Coast. Bonus: There’s direct access from the hotel to the Adventure Waterpark, which boasts a sizeable wave pool and some theme rides that will entertain kiddos.
Parents can chill out by Hard Rock’s cabanas (pre-booking required) that come with, not just a full view of the water park, but also snack and food promos that start from RM350 (S$110) for lunch for four people and half-day access to the cabana.
A 3D2N stay for two starts from RM2,379 (S$750), inclusive of two Adventure Waterpark tickets, a RM50 F&B voucher, one set lunch and one set dinner, and two return ferry tickets.Over at The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, the hotel its own slice of paradise in the form of a beach bar by the pristine beach where DJs take to the decks on weekends. Water activities like paddle boarding, jet skiing and other water sports are also available.
While Westin’s contemporary and modern facilities are geared towards the business traveller, staying in one of their beach-facing rooms is for anyone who wants a beach stay with a view, modern comforts at a reasonable price. A 3D2N getaway for two is RM2,499 (S$791) and comes with daily breakfast, a pair of Adventure Waterpark tickets, and a set lunch and a set dinner for two.