At Easter break a year ago we visited Sand & Sandals at Desaru and, coincidentally, this Easter we headed down south again! This time our destination was Desaru Coast, “a premium integrated destination resort” – a newly developed 17 kilometre stretch of coastline east of Johor, about a 4,5 hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. The first attractions opened here last year, so everything is still brand new.
There are three options for accommodation at Desaru Coast:
We stayed at the Westin Desaru as their pre-opening rate was too hard to resist! We booked their Deluxe Room with two queen beds. The room is clean and spacious, and the bathroom had a nice stand-alone bath tub as well as a separate shower.
The room comes with breakfast and the buffet breakfast was the best breakfast spread that I have ever come across with! It even had a whole corner with gluten free choices. It could easily be mistaken as a dinner buffet rather a breakfast one!
There is a kids club, that comes with a fee if you leave the kids there (just like a nanny service) but if you stay with them it is free – however, you may need to pay for some of the activities like kite making etc.
The restaurant was on the pricey side. Do some research before you go as there are some famous seafood restaurants not far from the hotel.
Tip: ask for a higher floor with a balcony facing the sea. It is worth waking up early in the morning to enjoy the sunrise from your balcony with a cup of coffee or tea. Make sure to check out the gift shop by Batik Boutique – that also stocks the Happy Go KL games for kids!
Hard Rock Hotel Desaru
We popped over to The Hard Rock Desaru for dinner – it’s just opposite The Westin, a 5-minute walk across. The hotel didn’t seem as vibrant or lively as the one in Penang. The pool is also rather small compared to the one in Penang. The Hard Rock Hotel is a little further away from the beach, but it has a direct access to the Adventure Water Park.
Tip: as a guest of Hard Rock you get multiple entries (per day) to the Adventure Water Park via the side entrance.
This brand new resort is a great place to stay with older kids. Have a look at our review here.
What to do in Desaru
Desaru Waterpark – The Adventure Water Park
This is what everyone is talking about – the new Desaru Coast water park! It is famous for having the the biggest wave pool in Malaysia. We had pretty much the whole place to us – with less than 20 visitors! This means no queues on the rides.
Check out the available rides here. The older kids tried every ride in the park, while the young adventurers’ area (Kids Ahoy) was very good as they had a mini tornado ride for the little one!
There are a lot of food choices here to fill the hungry tummies. Please do not attempt to bring in outside food as they will check your bags at the entrance. For non-Hard Rock Hotel guests only one entry is permitted so you can’t leave the park for lunch.
The entrance tickets are on the expensive side, however, if you have the whole place by yourself it is well worth it! Ticket prices for the water park start at RM129 for adults (MyKad) and RM96 for kids (MyKad). You can save a bit by booking the tickets online.
The Riverside shopping and dining area is located just outside of the Adventure Water Park, however, due to low season all the shops and restaurants were not operating when we visited. I was also told that many shops are still not occupied as the place is still so new. It will be nice when fully operational!
The Els Club
If you are a keen golfer this is the place for you! Playing gold by the coast overlooking the sea! Some hotels offer a ‘Stay and Play’ package. More info can be found here.
Tip: there is a shuttle bus every 30 minutes to take you to all the hotels and attractions mentioned above.
During our stay we spent some time at the beach every day. The water is nice and clear (of course not crystal clear as on the east coast islands) and the beach is clean. There is a shop by the beach that offers beach activities like kayaks, sail boats and zorb balls at very reasonable price.
Tips: they only accept cash so have some cash with you if you would like to try out some of the activities they offered.
We encountered quite a number of jellyfish in the sea during high tide. Avoid them and just play at the beach instead. We saw some locals collecting clams along the beach and the kids were happy to help and dig through the sand in search for clams! Kids also had a blast during low tide searching for crabs in the rock pools.
Tips: we were told to be careful when swimming, especially with children as there might be a sudden drop on the sea bed.
Desaru Fruit Farm
If you have extra time just pop over to Desaru Fruit Farm not far away from Desaru Coast for a fruitful tour. Start off by riding at the back of a lorry to the fruit orchard – a great experience for city kids like mine. Make sure you buy some local fruit on the way out. We bought some huge mangoes to bring back to KL and they were super yummy! We’ve also written about a crocodile park near Desaru – you can read it here.