Friday, November 01, 2013

Rejuvenate at Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat @ Tambun, Ipoh

For someone like me who have been born and raised in Ipoh for 17 years, I have not truly discover Ipoh unlike some tourists who had only spent a few days there. Well, I know Ipoh is famous for its delicious hawker offerings at very affordable prices but little do I know that Tambun, which is just 15 mins from the city is situated on a 16.59 acre valley full of picturesque limestone hills and beautiful sights. No wonder, the place now has been developed into hotels, tourists attraction and residential by the Sunway Group.

A hidden gem in Ipoh

It was my first time discovering the area of Tambun and it was also Luc's first trip to Ipoh. He had heard so much about my hometown and I wanted to make Ipoh a surprise trip for him. I was looking through the internet for hotels and I finally bit my tongue and decide to book 2 nights at The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat even though its prices per night is ten times the rate of the budget hotel I stayed in Ipoh.

We were asked to hit the gong to announce our arrival to the resort..

Check in time is at 3pm. Upon checking in, we were shown around the resort in a buggy by one of the hotel staff while our luggages are being sent to the villa. There are altogether 25 villas and even though the resort is running at full occupancy, I hardly see any guests wandering in the resort compound. I wonder why...

Just in half an hour from our first step into the resort, Luc already wanted to extend another night and we did!

 Lush greenery, large Thermal spring lake and waterfalls within the resort

We were then ushered to our Water Villa after a tour around the resort. The water villa is nestled on a water lily pond and it has a open roof concept for the living area and pool but a closed bedroom and bathroom area with air-conditioning. The private pool is more for dipping than swimming due to its size and there is also a thermal bathtub with jacuzzi. How cool is that?!!

 The villa is well-furnished and big...

Your very own geothermal tap for a dip in the private bath!

To make the trip more memorable, I arranged something special for him. I asked for rose petals on the bed, champagne, chocolates and roses. And the staff did it really well. Luc was really surprised and I'm glad he really like it. Well, that's the romantic side of me...

What I like most about this resort is that you don't have to worry about losing the room keys as the keys come in a form of a waterproof bracelet with chip. We even wore the bracelet for hotspring pool dipping and it's all fine! The Ipoh famous pomelo is complimentary and we are advised not to leave any food in the open living area for monkeys will be eating them. Luc fell in love with the Labu Sayung that holds our daily drinking water from the natural springs which the hotel will gladly offer it to the guests at RM100 a piece. It is said that the pot has cooling effects on the water and it also cure cough and fever. Well, we did try it out and the water in the Labu Sayung has a refreshing cooling effect and it does help with Luc's cough. A drive along Jalan Kuala Kangsar, you will find the Labu Sayung on sale at the pottery shops for RM18 each. We bought 2 and there's still a lot of money left for delicious hawker food!

So what can one actually do in a resort like this?

Well, I think I can just stay here all day and do nothing! We both take this trip as a rejuvenating trip with lots of indulging especially in Ipoh hawker food. In the resort itself, there's a steam cave which works exactly like a sauna but this one here has natural steam from the hotsprings in an enclosed cave. After a nice steaming session, you walked out from the cave and straight into an ice pool filled with ice-cold water. I nearly die from a freeze-attack. For those who enjoys yoga and meditation, there's a crystal cave (filled with crystals and positive energy) and also a meditation cave for that purpose. Along the thermal sprig lake, there are 4 dipping pot filled with water from the hotspring and also a tap for you to adjust the temperature of the water. We first started with 41°C but after a while we got used to the hot temperature and we tried the hottest pot and it was fine! After dipping, we turn on the shower head above the pot for a cold shower and it feels so good...

Of course you cannot just dip yourself in a hotspring pot the whole day. There's also a gym and Spa centre in the resort which provides the usual massages, spa packages, facial and manicure and pedicure services but this one here also provide a few unusual treatments like aqua treatment (using hydrotheraphy), antioxidant restoration therapy, colonic therapy (which cleanses your colons), Qi healing and also acupuncture. Luc went for the colonic therapy which costs RM300 for a-45-minute treatment that involves cleansing of the colons with a machine and at the same time there will be a staff to monitor the progress and to massage the points on the feet that affects the digestive system. I, on the other hand went for a nice head and shoulder massage! hehehe... The service provided is very good and professional and I like the fact that my masseuse has good massage techniques that releases the tension from the muscles of my shoulders.

In the morning, especially after a rain, it's very nice to walk along the thermal spring lake as you can see the hot water vapour rising from the surface. At night it can look a little eerie... Every morning there will be yoga lessons held at this platform and also a jungle walk activity.

The most-talked about Jeff's Cellar in this resort is indeed a sight to behold. It is only opened from 9pm to 11pm daily and one night, we decide to check it out after dinner. The cave is indeed beautiful especially with the special lighting that accentuates the cave. It is a big cave with many sitting corners for privacy and also interesting cellar that showcases bottles of wine stuck in the holes on the walls of the cave. One can enjoy a bottle of wine or even cocktails here. It is also told to us that Jef has a collection of a thousand over bottles of wine here and the cave was actually a gift from the Sultan to him. What an impressive cave but I still think Luc has a better collection than him. lol..

Our breakfast of Egg-benedict and half-boiled eggs at Pomelo restaurant...

Actually I was quite disappointed with the restaurant in the resort. The Pomelo serves a very healthy menu but it is just not my cup of tea. There was one night that we both wanted to have dinner in-room but there was nothing in their limited in-room-dining menu that we both felt like eating and thus every night, we drove out to town for some delicious and cheap hawker food! Of the 3 mornings, we only dine once in Pomelo for breakfast and there were only less than 10 guests but our breakfast took more than 45 minutes to be served. Service was slow and we were not impressed at all at the food. That is the set-back of the resort.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay here very much. Upon checking out, Luc already made a booking for our next trip here during Chinese New Year! Although it may seem a little far by Ipoh standards, a mere 15 minutes drive to the city is really a breeze! This is not a sponsored post as we paid for the bills and it is worth every cent for the wonderful scenery and peace that lies within a small city called Ipoh.

The Banjaran Hotspring Retreat
1 Persiaran Lagun Sunway 3, 31150 Ipoh, 
Perak, Malaysia
Phone:+605 210 7777

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