JapaMala, Tioman Island, Malaysia
A wonderful place to get away from it all, the JapaMala boutique resort is nestled in the forest of Tioman Island overlooking the pure white sands and emerald waters of the South China Sea.
Perched high above the luxuriant jungle canopy, the Tree Top chalets are secluded yet situated only a short walk up from the beach. These rooms offer an entirely different resort experience, in fact their very proximity to nature is what make these chalets so keenly sought after. Here you'll find the noise of the jungle predominates: the soft rustle of windblown leaves; the chirping of crickets and birds; and the foraging of wild creatures at night.
The Sea Cliff chalets offer stunning views of the South China Sea and balmy breezes of the sea. Bask in the most glorious tropical sunsets with a sundowner on the private balcony. Each chalet is unique and offers a unobstructed seaview even from your shower room. Divided only by glass, take in the evening colours and the surrounding beauty of the bay below. Watching life drift idly by on the ebbing tide, the gentle lapping of waves seem to bring inner peace.
The jungle sarangs are ‘nests' tucked away on the lower terrain of the resort. They're adorned with an open-air bath tub with the rainforest as its backdrop, hidden enough to allow total privacy. A spacious private living area good for dining, sunning or simply relaxing, you really could be forgiven for never venturing from your nest. The sarang is distinctively designed for the total experience of living comfortably in the jungle without foregoing the finer things in life. There is now one jungle 'luxe' sarang that also features a small private plunge pool.
The hillside plunge pool sarangs are split-levelled rooms and are perched high on the hillside. These ‘love nests' also come with private features - a hydro pool, outdoor shower, timber dining deck and tanning bed with basic treats like exclusive spa toiletries, a complete mini bar (payable at the resort) with wines, champagne, flavoured teas, hot chocolate and an Espresso machine. Like all the other sarangs, these plunge-pool sarangs bear a unique ambience - a refreshing combination of luxury and nature. Perfectly designed for a dream holiday, be seduced by its sense of adventure and some serious relaxation.
There is only one seaview sarang villa at the JapaMala and this rests on a low terrain and is built with a kitchenette and a semi-outdoor dining room. Adding to the opulent comforts of a 'jungle luxury' holiday are some extra special features; a bathroom with both sky view and the jungle view, a private swimming pool, timber sun deck as well as a separate open-air hydro pool.
Resting on the beach, Penghulu beach house is the resort's only two storey two bedroom villa. Sitting on low terrain, this modern village-house has the jungle at its front door and the seashore, its backyard. While ancient-aged boulders fashion the interior, the rustic-style rooms are furnished with modern comforts of an urban home. Tall glass windows perimeter the villa, nakedly displaying the wonders of nature that surrounds it. The Atas Residence (main bedroom) offers the luxury of vast living space which opens out to a spectacularly close view of the sea. Guests staying in the Bawah Residence (ground room) have direct access to the private swimming pool, just steps away from the foot of their two single beds. Penghulu beach house has many little comfort zones where one can sprawl, nap or daydream all day long.
The main restaurant here is part of the award-winning Tamarind chain (be sure to try the sister restaurant in KL 'Tamarind Springs' if you get the chance) and specialises in Malay, Thai and Indochinese cuisine. The JapaMala's recently opened Italian restaurant has an enviable position on the tip of the jetty, 100 metres away from the beach, offering memorable sunset views where you can also enjoy a relaxing cocktail after a day swimming in the crystal clear waters off the private beach.