Lotus Desaru Beachview Resort & Spa in Johor lives up to its image as the perfect family holiday destination for Zulkifly Ab Latif
WHEN I was given the task of finding out if Lotus Desaru Beachview Resort & Spa in Desaru Johor is really an ideal family holiday destination, I have to admit that it made me pause. How would I do that without a wife and children of my own?
I was being daft since I was thinking in terms of the nuclear family— the traditional family unit of both parents and their children. So I decided to take the family that I do have — my mother, sisters nephew and niece.
Located near the southern tip of Johor within the district of Kota Tinggi, Lotus Desaru Beachview Resort & Spa is built along the white sandy beach of Desaru, a 26-kilometre beach famous for its casuarina trees along the shore.
My initial impression of the resort is that it is massive, due to its 700 accommodation-style apartments withone to three bedrooms. These apartments are housed in two sprawling complexes with a palm tree-lined boulevard separating the two.
Swiping the keycard to open the two-bedroom apartment that will be my family’s lodgings for the next two nights, my 4-year-old nephew gets visibly excited when he steps inside and sees the large television in the lounge area, exclaiming out loud that he can watch cartoons.
My mother is equally pleased to see the kitchenette, complete with a refrigerator and microwave as well as hot beverage making facilities.
Settling in, the two bedrooms with their own bathrooms prove sufficient for my family of six, with my sister and her two children getting the large queen bed and my mother and youngest sister getting the two single beds. As the only male I naturally get the comfy couch in the lounge area. Although extra beds are available upon request, I opt to not ask for one as it would make the living space feel cluttered.
Feeling pleased with the accommodation, we proceed to the next pressing matter, which is to let the children have some fun. The swimming pool located next to the main lobby building is a natural choice as the attached children’s pool and attending lifeguards ensure they would be safe while frolicking and splashing away.
THE SPLASH-TACULAR WATER PARK
One of Lotus Desaru’s main attractions is, without a doubt, its water park, made up of several play areas such as splash pads, a water ride with a slow current that’s suitable for children, and even a giant coconut.
My 3-year-old niece Zara finds the latter somewhat exciting as the giant coconut tilts down periodically, splashing everyone and everything below with water when full. Even adults find it fun as I see several parents waiting patiently below for the next big splash.
With its waterfalls, spouting geysers, and spraying fountains, the Lotus Desaru’s waterpark is easily the highlight for any child who visits the resort. It is only when my nephew and niece start shivering from the cold and their fingertips go wrinkly pale from the water that their mother decides they’ve had enough fun in the water.
Built near the waterpark is the resort’s Lotus Suria Spa that specialises in the traditional Indian health practice of Ayurveda. The spa offers various kinds of Ayurvedic treatments such as oil baths, steam baths, oil dripping and a de-stress therapy. I cannot help but think the latter will be particularly enticing to the many parents I see patiently attending to their children in the swimming pool.
Personally, I believe dinner is the most important of the day while on vacation. Not only is it an occasion unto itself it also marks the end of the day when we get to share new memories with loved ones. Vacation dinners are also an excuse to indulge in things we love and discover new tastes.
The Rhu Seafood Restaurant does not disappoint. Built near the beach, it offers a selections of Asian and western cuisine with entertainment from a live band.
The Thai-inspired cuisine we are served is tasty and fresh. To my relief, my mother, who is one of the most discerning of food critiques I know, seems to agree. The service is warm and friendly, and one of the waiters even produces a plate of cherries, which we did not request, when my niece throws a mini temper tantrum after trying to steal her brother’s cherry that came with his fruit drink.
With its lighting and music, the ambiance of the Rhu Seafood Restaurant is airy and casual. But for those who are seeking a more intimate and romantic dining experience, the restaurant also offers a special candlelight dinner by the beach upon request.
With the waterpark and other outdoor activities closed at nightfall, much of the resort’s guest activities shifts towards the fun fair near the Recreation & Activities Centre. Brightly lit, the atmosphere is warm and exciting.
There is a myriad of indoor games to chose from, ranging from table tennis, pool tables and arcade-style video games. Clustered in one corner of the games area are cute little coin-operated children rides in the form of cuddly animals in pastel colours.
Located next to the indoor games area is a well-stocked convenience store that sells snacks and even swimwear.
One can even buy a smartphone charger if they have forgotten to pack theirs. Browsing the store’s aisles I can’t help noticing the prices. Rather than taking advantage of being the only convenience store within the vicinity and charging premium prices, the prices here are surprisingly reasonable, similar to other convenience store in towns.
Thanks to their slightly neurotic and protective grandmother who thinks her nephew and niece are too young to go splashing in the sea, I find myself alone on the beach as the others restrict themselves to indoor activities.
With time on my hands and without the responsibility of watching over the safety of two small children, I opt for a little thrill-seeking with a jet ski ride. Skimming the water’s surface and occasionally powering through the waves, the jet ski ride is a fun experience which also affords a different view of Desaru’s sweeping beach.
Other than jet ski rides, other sea sports activities are also available at Lotus Desaru’s sea sport centre such as banana boat rides, family tubes and also parasailing.
Thanks to its strategic location, guests staying at Lotus Desaru can choose to visit a plethora of places of interest, including the Desaru Fruit Farm, Desaru Ostrich Farm, Teluk Sengat Crocodile Farm and the nearby fishing village of Sungai Rengit which is famed for its cheap fresh seafood.
But Lotus Desaru’s wide range of indoor and outdoor actives prove more than enough to occupy our time, specifically the children’s. As the final night of our stay rolls in, I am thinking that a return visit is in order.
With its apartment style accommodations, delicious food offerings that come in generous portions and children-centric attractions and activities, I can say that Lotus Desaru Beachview Resort & Spa is an ideal choice for a memorable family vacation.
What’s more, the resort is reasonably priced, which means that one does not have to dip deep into his savings for a truly remarkable and enjoyable family holiday.
Lotus Desaru Beach Resort
Lot 1854, Jalan Desaru
81930 Kota Tinggi
Tel: 07-884 2800
Fax: 07-884 2998
STAY Modern one- to three-bedroom apartments in extensive beachfront lodgings.
EAT Enjoy breakfast as well as buffet-themed lunches and dinners at Teratai Coffee House. Ala carte meals are also available. For fresh seafood and live band entertainment by the beach, Rhu Seafood Restaurant is the choice.
DO Definely try the Water Park.
GO Explore the greater Desaru area. Various places of interest are recommended and can be arranged by the resort.
HIGHS Three swimming pools, a water park and a wide stretch of pristine beach. There is also a barbeque and picnic area if you bring your own food.
LOWS With so many activities within the resort as well the surrounding area, one might feel pressed to experience and see as much as possible.
Pictures by ZULKIFLY AB LATIF