Set directly on the Chendor beach in Cherating, Pahang, The Kasturi Resort is the perfect five-star gem for a retreat from city life. With the rainforest behind and the beach to the front, it encapsulates the reality of being embraced by land and sea; commanding perfect view towards the sunrise, over the forested point of Tanjong Geliga and off to the South China Sea.
The 23-keys resort — of which the majority are beach-front villas with their own private pools — is located just a three-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. Built on 30 acres of coastal forest with 800 meters of East Coast beach, The Kasturi has exclusive access to another kilometer of beach towards the north, reaching the estuary of Sungai Pak Siak on the South China Sea. It is a magical place where we occasionally see a family of otters basking by the river at low tide; where sea eagles regularly swoop over our villas, and fireflies twinkle beside our walkways every now and again; the beach is famous for fishing stingray and for the endangered green turtles, whose eggs are safely buried in The Kasturi’s hatchery.
The resort is laid out along the beach with individual chalets, each with a private pool and deck. This is nature at its best: you enter your door through the forest, and then come face-to-face with the beach as you walk across the deck. The chalets are reminiscent of traditional Malay architecture, but have a very modern expression of A-frame structures with roofs like folded origami.
The main building is the last structure along the elevated forest walkway, and this is where the reception area, main swimming pool, restaurant, bar and lounge, fitness facilities, and meeting spaces are found. Walking or cycling along the elevated pathway is a ‘tree bathing’ experience. The main building also has six Studios and Suites for those who prefer to be closer to the facilities, as well as a Penthouse that consists of one exceptionally large double bedroom suite with beautiful beachside views.
The line of twelve villas along the beach includes four double-storey Beach Front Family Villas (279–301sqm) with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, perfect for families or two couples holidaying together. The lower bedroom opens onto the private plunge pool and dining deck, while the upper room has a veranda with elevated views to the sea. An individual gate leads to the sand, and forest trees that have been preserved puncture through the deck and the roof of these chalets, creating a leafy natural ambience. Interior luxury reflects the best of Asian design and materials, accentuated by beautiful works of art.
Meanwhile, the Beach Front Villas (261sqm)feature one bedroom with a private plunge pool, perfect for couple staycations. On entering from the forest path into the enveloping timber structure, guests are transported to a private luxurious enclave. A deck with a lotus pond and tinkling water, perfect for outdoor dining, leads to the private swimming pool, the recreation area, outdoor shower and your own gate to the beach.
Inside, a superbly finished sitting room, with original art works from the Rimbun Dahan collection, opens from the deck and leads up to the elevated sleeping area and luxury bathroom, that in turn leads to an open outdoor shower garden enhanced by herbal plantings and discretely enclosed by beautiful stone walls.
For those travelling with the whole family or with a bigger group of friends, escape into the richness of the surrounding foliage in the larger double-storey Forest View Villas (195-225 sqm). Each unit has three bedrooms and three bathrooms and also comes with a private plunge pool that is nestled in the greenery. These units were really designed with the whole family in mind as the ground floor bedroom and bathroom is entirely handicapped-friendly, allowing any and all guests to enjoy their stay at The Kasturi. Meanwhile, the upper floor houses the master bedroom and bath as well as a second bedroom with two single beds (perfect for the kids) and an accompanying ensuite bathroom. The entire villa maintains the resort’s signature feel with unique design accents and local touches.
Exquisite Dining Experiences at Kenyang Restaurant and Ketumbar Lounge
The intimate restaurant has been designed around an open concept, allowing views into the kitchen and behind the bar where final presentations are detailed. Air conditioned in the main area, doors open onto the generously proportioned open air verandahs where guests dine with panoramic views of the sea and sand dunes, and to the swimming pool and surrounding decks.
The Kelip-Kelip Gift Shop
Whether you are looking for a precious keepsake to remind yourself of your holiday at The Kasturi, or as a special treat for family and friends, the Kelip-Kelip Gift Shop is the perfect place for lazy afternoon browsing. Spend a blissful hour losing yourself in our glossy coffee table books which explore Malaysian art and culture, or get up-to-style instantly with our selection of boutique resort wear. While you are indulging yourself, rest assured that you are helping others, by purchasing our hand-selected artefacts sourced locally from the community.
Land and Sea Experiences
Turtle Hatchery • Beach Walk • Kayaking • Yoga
The natural setting of forested beach is perfect for long walks up to the estuary and then back along a different route through the elevated forest pathway. The Kasturi has its own turtle hatchery with daily release of hatchlings between May and October. The mangrove-fringed river bounding the west of the resort provides for long kayak adventures suitable for parents and children looking for a natural experience. A yoga deck is also currently being constructed (completion in mid-April 2019), perfect for a lone yogi to have a space to practice or to accommodate any wellness retreats.
The resort is operated by Rimbun Dahan, a company owned by the family of Hijjas Kasturi, a renowned architect and supporter of the arts in Kuala Lumpur. In 2014, the project began with the family building a turtle hatchery on the beach to compensate for the inevitable environmental damage that any development incurs. The family’s second foremost objective was to stay small, to minimize the footprint on this special site.
As with the family’s previous project — Hotel Penaga in George Town, Penang — they opted for construction using local materials, in particular the rubble walls, terrazzo floors and the re-milling on site of all the recycled timber, all of which was reclaimed from old buildings. Small plants were saved from the inevitable clearing, and bagged for future use in landscaping; while big trees were saved by perforating buildings. Hijjas Kasturi made sure to minimize the architecture of The Kasturi from touching the ground, by elevating walkways and structures. The family built tanks to save rain water from each chalet, supplying garden water and toilet flushing.
Mountains of sawdust from our carpenters’ workshops were used to mulch the sandy soil. The Kasturi has solar-assisted air conditioning in the main building, and plans to install solar panels on the car park roof in future. The resort also buys its food from local sources as much as possible, including fish and other seafood, herbs and vegetables.
For more information, please visit the-kasturi.com.