Cameron Highlands Resort
Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Set amidst tea plantations and rolling hills, this boutique hideaway is built in a forested mountainscape, 1,500m above sea level, in a long extension from an existing 1930s cottage. Promising splendour, romance and nostalgia, the interiors hark back to its grand colonial heritage with tall French doors, timber-beamed ceilings and plantation shutters combined with the colours and textures of Jim Thompson’s famed Asian silks.
I adore everything about the hotel, especially the real wooden beams and ceiling, which quickly send my mind to the good olden days. In fact the whole hotel will do just that the moment you climb the steps onto the lobby and reception. You'd easily feel like being in an English countryside home as the cool weather greatly instils that scenario. Endearingly known as the 'little piece of England in Asia', the cool climate on the picturesque plateau and its hilly greenery are tailor-made for rounds of golf, nature walks and rejuvenating life.
Location The Resort is strategically located between 2 small towns, Tanah Rata and Berinchang and to get anywhere is best just to drive it. We were told though that on weekends the roads leading up and passing the resort can get jammed with weekenders visiting the highlands, so do take note on this point if you do plan a visit.
Resort The property is rustically gorgeous and beautifully set opposite a golf course with hills in the background. Just sitting on the balcony sipping a cuppa of the local tea (one of the best in the world) is invigorating. The public areas at the hotel are delightful with an elegant colonial era decor. There is a piano player in the evening in the area off the lobby – referred to as the Jim Thompson tea room as they serve afternoon tea there.
Stay Spread over the ground and first floors, the rooms with high-ceiling are large, spacious and well laid-out. Each room has an attached balcony with seating that overlooks the golf course so it’s a great place to relax with your morning coffee or afternoon tea. There is an electric kettle with tea/coffee service, a mini fridge, flat screen TVs with cable channels. But I decide instead to pull down the blackout curtains and have an afternoon siesta. There is no air-conditioning, as it’s really not needed, but the rooms have fans and they recently had double glazing done so the noise from the street does not intrude.
Dine Breakfast is a buffet at the main Dining Room restaurant with a multiple choice of fresh, hot and individually plated mains and sides. Their range of fresh baked breads is delicious, especially the mini pain au chocolat. Indulge in the age-old ritual of English Afternoon Tea with oven-fresh pastries, delicate sandwiches, homemade scones, clotted cream, strawberry jam and plump strawberries complemented by fine teas at Jim Thompson Tea Room. The semi-alfresco Gonbei restaurant is a great Asian restaurant serving a very substantial steamboat, with a wide choice of broths, salads, meats, seafoods, vegetables as well as dessert. You cannot miss the British elegance of comfort and decadence at the Highlands Bar; snooker table and an extensive selection of whiskies, cocktails and other beverages.
Relax Spa Village is the branded spa outlet located at the hotel and offers a range of traditional spa treatments in beautiful, tranquil yet luxurious surroundings. Every treatment is preceded by tea, a soak and scrub in a hot tea bath and a little nap with a warm buckwheat pouch applied to your back and tummy. Post treatment, you are invited to lounge in their pavilion while being served tea and oat cookies. Amazingly restful!
One More Thing The resort also organizes complimentary guided nature walks and we participated in one called the Jim Thompson Trail that is highly recommended. It was a one and half hour trail along what is said to be the last trail that the legendary of Jim Thompson took before he mysteriously vanished. If you decide to take this tour then please be warned that you need some decent walking shoes! It’s not a long trek but it is steep and narrow in some parts and slippery especially if there has been rain.
Malaysia Airlines operates to major International airports worldwide and connects from KL and from Singapore to Langkawi, Penang and Medan. The budget carrier Air Asia connects from KL to all major Malaysian and Indonesian airports, including Langkawi and Penang, plus major southeast Asian airports. From the UK, you can fly Malaysia Airlines from London Heathrow and Air Asia from London Stanstead.
Public transport in Malaysia is reliable and inexpensive, particularly in Peninsular Malaysia. Budget flights are a great option for hopping around the region, especially given that no ferries connect Peninsular and east Malaysia. Sabah and Sarawak have their own travel peculiarities – in Sarawak, for instance, you’re reliant on boats, and occasionally planes, for some long-distance travel. Cameron Highlands can be accessed by road from both coasts, though most travellers enter from the west.