24-Hour Room Service: Elegance and luxury in an idyllic setting

Tanjong Jara, Malaysia

The east coast of the Malaysian peninsula is washed by some of the most pristine waters in the region, containing spectacular marine parks, turtle hatcheries and coral reefs. Tanjong Jara, the jewel in the crown of the luxury YTL Resorts group, is the only hotel for hundreds of miles to match natural with man-made splendour – the quiet state of Terengganu has not yet made it onto the mass-market tourist map.

First opened in 1979, Tanjong Jara was bought, then comprehensively refurbished and renovated by YTL a decade ago, its design based on the 17th-century palaces of the Malay sultans. It was way ahead of the trend for incorporating local rather than international style into its design and won an Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Although the steep pitched roofs, gables and intricately carved fretwork echo the heyday of the Malay rulers, it is doubtful that they ever lived as sumptuously as guests at the hotel do now, especially so after the resort opened its award-winning Spa Village. Here, traditional Malay treatments all begin with being bathed and blessed seven times with Mandi Bunga water, which is paraded to the spa in jars with trays of flowers each morning, accompanied by a slow drum beat which was originally part of a sultan's coronation ceremony.

This procession happens just around the time late-risers finish breakfast, and is about the only sound to break the silence of a resort where the tempo is determinedly slow, the evening lights are dimmed, and the only drama comes from the occasional tropical storm.

Visitors (such as the actor Sam Neill, who was there when I stayed) who are content to laze at such a pace may have to stir themselves from the shade of a beach-front sofa or pool-side lounger, so beguilingly calm is the atmosphere. Watersports, a gym and tennis courts are there for the active, although few availed themselves of these on my visit. Most took it easy with a book by the two pools, the larger of which has a built-in Jacuzzi and easy access to the fresh catches and grilled meats served at Nelayan (Malay for fisherman) restaurant.

At the other end of the sprawling site, by the main entrance, Di Atas Sungei is built over a river channel. Here you discuss your dining requirements with a "talking menu" waiter (you can have pretty much anything you like, cooked however you want it) as the sound of the gamelan drifts over from the poolside Teratai Terrace bar. The only slight annoyance is the lack of a proper room service menu for those too relaxed to walk to a restaurant.

Location

Tanjong Jara is eight kilometres from the coastal town of Dungun and one hour's drive south of Kuala Terengganu airport, which is a 45-minute flight from Kuala Lumpur. Set between tropical rainforest and the South China Sea, the resort has no neighbours; sandy beaches stretch to the horizon to the south, while a small promontory marks its limit to the north. For those who choose to explore, there are plenty of diversions: the chef accompanies visitors to the morning fish market in Dungun, a nature cruise travels up the nearby Marang river, and trips are available to the 200m-high Chemerung Waterfall, to the traditional artisans and shipyard in Kuala Terengganu and to the fabulous coral gardens at Tenggol Island, 45 minutes away by speedboat.

Comfort

The low-lit rooms echo the colonnades of the main reception, with a series of dark wood arched panels covering the white walls of the main bedroom. A large double bed faces a TV and sound system built into a wooden pillar. Behind that, almost separating the room into two, is a lightly draped four-poster day bed, desk and chair. The wardrobe is a room in itself and the bathroom is enormous, fitted out with two washbasins, separate shower and large bath. Most of the hotel's 99 rooms are in two storey wooden chalets. Serambi rooms come with private verandas, Bambung without; single storey Anjung rooms have sunken baths and their own garden and the vast Anjung Suite has a bar and powder room.

Tanjong Jara, Batu 8, Off Jalan Dungun, Dungun, Terengganu, Malaysia (00 609 845 1100; tanjongjararesort.com )

Rooms 5 stars
Value 4 stars
Service 3 stars

Double rooms start at $403 (£268), room only.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning:The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people'Bring It On' actress says her legal team will combat the 'vultures'
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Dennis Rodman has confirmed he is not going to the Middle East to 'talk to with the leaders of Isis' as claimed in a recent satirical report
people
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam