Positioned on the shoreline of Malaysia, One&Only’s first Asia resort offers a true escape from the stresses of life. One&Only Desaru Coast extends across 52 hectares of wild flora and is surrounded by private white-sand beaches, tropical jungle and the South China Sea.
"One&Only Resorts around the world are known for their exceptional locations," says Philippe Zuber, CEO of Kerzner International – owner of One&Only Resorts worldwide.
"When considering adding a new resort to our portfolio, we seek out the most outstanding destinations – that might be a remote nature reserve in Australia’s Greater Blue Mountains or an idyllic bay on Montenegro’s new Riviera.
"One&Only Desaru Coast is setting a new standard for ultra-luxury in South East Asia." – Philippe Zuber
"One&Only Desaru Coast is a natural paradise, a secluded beachfront haven and a compelling destination for us to open the first One&Only in Asia as part of the brand’s strategic growth," Philippe tells The CEO Magazine.
The resort is two hours away from Singapore by car and only 45 minutes from Johor’s Senai Airport.
"One&Only Desaru Coast is setting a new standard for ultra-luxury in South East Asia," Philippe confirms.
"The opening will introduce the destination to an international market of luxury travellers that are familiar with other resorts within our portfolio, such as One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives or Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley in Australia.
"The resort will also inspire Malaysians to explore this corner of their country that has so much to offer with pristine beaches, fascinating wildlife and unspoilt rainforest."
One&Only Desaru Coast is designed to showcase the region’s architectural heritage with a modern interpretation of the Malaysian kampong, or village.
Each standalone suite offers privacy and space to relax or entertain. Facing the ocean or the jungle, accommodation options include 42 junior suites, two expansive two-bedroom grand suites and an exclusive four-bedroom residence, Villa One.
All facilities contain private plunge pools, indoor and outdoor living spaces, separate bathrooms and Malaysian-inspired design features.
The most exclusive offer at One&Only Desaru Coast is Villa One, featuring 1,500m2 of luxury living. The two-storey villa has a private spa treatment room and indoor and outdoor living spaces, including a courtyard garden with ocean-facing lawns surrounding the 27m swimming pool. The resort also accommodates 50 private homes available to own or rent.
The opening of One&Only Desaru Coast is a sign of hope during these difficult times.
"It is a strong statement of our confidence in the long-term future of the luxury travel market," Philippe notes.
Since its opening on 6 September 2020, One&Only Desaru Coast has seen a positive response from the local market, as visitors want to reconnect and celebrate with loved ones and enjoy the seclusion of the resort.
"As borders begin to reopen and travel resumes, we anticipate we will see our source markets broaden due to the resort’s easy access from Singapore to include regional travellers first followed by Australia and Europe further down the line," Philippe comments.
"Across the Kerzner portfolio, we are observing pent-up demand for travel and healthy bookings for our higher categories of suites and villas that offer more space and exclusivity.
"I don’t believe the situation has altered our desire to travel. For many of us, in fact, it has heightened the importance of these experiences.
"But the global situation has undoubtedly changed how we travel and accelerated some of the trends we already saw, such as a movement towards more considered travel, transformational experiences and meaningful connections."
One of the objectives for One&Only Desaru Coast is to grow itself as a wellness destination.
The resort is home to Chenot Spa – the first Chenot Spa in Asia – as well as the first in a brand partnership between One&Only and Chenot.
"It is a strong statement of our confidence in the long-term future of the luxury travel market."
"We also continue to celebrate local talent," Philippe adds. "We have partnered with Chef Andrew Walsh for Ember Beach Club, as One&Only has become known for our beach experiences around the world."
Education on sustainability will also form a significant part of the resort’s offering, from the composting station in the Chef’s Garden and the green food waste practices to the activities at KidsOnly.
"Many of the activities are led by a qualified marine biologist, and kids can learn about the local ecosystem at the EcoLab or observe footage from cameras hidden in the nests of oriental pied hornbills," Philippe notes. "This is an area we want to continue to grow in the coming years."
One&Only Desaru Coast highlights
One&Only Desaru Coast features three restaurants, a dynamic bar and beach club.
Chef Andrew Walsh has "elevated the art of barbecue" at Ember Beach Club, a lively venue with a restaurant and bar set on the sand overlooking two infinity pools.
Ember Beach Club is open to resort and local guests from morning to evening with a calendar full of events including outdoor movie screenings, live bands and DJs.
The resort’s signature restaurant, Hoshi, combines Japanese with modern culinary techniques. Guests can enjoy the theatre-style preparation of seasonal tempura, sashimi, nigiri and maki sushi, and sip from a menu of Japanese sake and whiskies.
Ambara embraces dishes from the Mediterranean using produce from local farmers and the Chef’s Garden for breakfast and dinner. Guests are also welcomed into the open kitchen to watch chefs prepare dishes including woodfire-baked bread, grilled meats and seafood.
The flavours of Malaysia are explored with local specialities at Essential, located next to the 50m infinity pool. While the open-air Dusky Monkey bar is perfect for bites and cocktails.
The Chenot Spa at One&Only Desaru Coast is built around four pillars – sport and physical activities, emotional wellbeing, nutrition and aesthetics. Programs include tailored nutritional menus, fitness schedules, targeted spa treatments and stress-relieving activities.
The spa facilities include 10 treatment rooms, a relaxation pavilion, hot-and-cold pools, steam rooms and Pedi:Mani:Cure by Bastien Gonzalez.
There is also the option to visit the fitness centre, Pilates studio, or unwind with yoga and meditation.
Club One and watersports
At Club One, guests can enjoy sports like tennis and basketball, or gain insight into local culture with a lesson of Silat Melayu – a traditional Malaysian martial art.
Young ones can dive into an array of activities at KidsOnly, whether it’s learning about the local ecosystem at the EcoLab or discovering local aquatic life at The Fisherman Hut.
Additionally, One Tribe, a tailored program for teens, features an art studio, bicycle riding, training lessons and sports programming.
Situated on a private beach, the resort also provides a selection of watersports, from Hobie Cats to stand-up paddleboards, jetskiing and kite surfing.
Adults and kids can learn skills to gain a Professional Association of Diving Instructors certification, and seasonal deep-sea sail fishing is also available from mid-August to November.
Guided by the resort’s naturalist, guests can explore flora and fauna in the nearby Panti Forest for a morning of birding and listening to the gibbons’ calls, or ascend the trees in the resort’s rainforest, chosen by a tree arborist for a birds-eye view of the resort and the South China Sea.
Additionally, Bonfire Legends provides a series of quarterly events, where guests can listen to various personalities on topics such as astronomy, wellness and conservation.
Next to the resort, golfers can tee off at two championship-level golf courses at The Els Club, featuring both the Ocean Course, a 27-hole layout, and the Valley Course, a further 18-holes.