Malay Architecture coupled with modern luxury
After our warm and refreshing welcome, and checking in with reception we were shown to our room by Jin, one of the friendly concierges. Based on our needs and their just being two of us, we opted for the superb value for money Bumbung suite.
The walk to our chosen accommodation was a bombardment on our senses, upon arched wooden bridges over small rivers through lush tropical gardens covered by huge palm trees and the ever present view of the sand and sound of the sea completing the experience.
Our suite was situated on the first floor and was one of only two in the resort with a huge balcony overhanging the beach with far reaching views over the sea, a canopied day bed and table and chairs over a polished wooden floor. Inside the spacious room was a bed that can only be truly appreciated once you have had the pleasure of sleeping within it. It may sound odd to give so much credence to something you just sleep in but this bed gave me the most satisfying sleep that I have had in many a year. High quality linens, feather quilt, topper and pillows, just heavenly! The addition of a further canopied day bed inside the main room, LCD TV with satellite channels, mini bar and writing desk were all icing on top of the cake. The bathroom once again did not disappoint with twin vanity units, a large bath with salts and candles, dressing table, marble encased shower and separate W.C.
Cuisine designed to leave a lasting memory
There are three places within Tanjong Jara Resort for guest to sample a wide range of cuisine from Asian and Western snacks to full A La Carte meals. The ‘Nelayan’ which means in Malay ‘Fisherman’ is situated close to the sea/beach and specialises in seafood. the Nelayan offers a formal and relaxed dining experience, both Asian and Western meals are available and should you feel inclined, an Al Fresco Dining experience in available on the beach front surrounded by flaming bamboo torches and the gentle sound of the waves. Situated beside the Resorts free form pool with a view of the South China Sea is the Teratai Terrace serving cocktails in the evenings and offering private dining experiences. A wonderful feature of the Teratai Terrace is the opportunity to enjoy dinner and drinks under a canopy of stars to the sweet strains of live gamelan music.
Our personal favourite dining location was the Di Atas Sungei Restaurant that literally means ‘Above the river’. This large glazed and timber structure is again in a traditional Malay style straddling a river that flows out to the South China Sea. Guests are given the option of dining indoors under the large ceiling mounted fans or on the expansive veranda astride the river watching the variety of wildlife that lives in and around there. The conductor at the the Di Atas Sungei restaurant is the ebullient ‘Chef Ann’, her professional title being that of ‘Menu Master’. Food at the Di Atas Sungei is prepared using only the freshest produce, personally chosen by Chef Ann each morning at the local markets, should you want to, you are able to accompany her to the market in the morning. Chef Ann has cooked for thousands of guests during her time at Tanjong Jara and based upon where the guests are from she can guage the type of foods she will need to purchase in anticipation of the guests culinary needs. Chef Ann told us “Whatever you want its here, and if its not here I will get it for you”. There is also a range of red and white wines to accompany your meal along with spirits and soft drinks to suit your needs.
For our foray into the Di Atas Sungei dining experience we asked that Chef Ann choose our meal for the evening. For the aperitif, Chef Ann presented us with a Mango and Prawn Salad and Crispy fried Calamari with 5 Spices. The food presentation was as expected and the food crisp and full flavoured, based on the experience we had so far at Tanjong Jara we would have expected nothing less. The Aperitif was followed by Prawns cooked in coconut milk with lemon grass, Stir fried Red Snapper fish with fresh chilis, garlic, lime, ginger, spring onion on a sizzling hot plate. Accompanying this was a plate of stir fried four angled beans (something new to us) with garlic, belachan – a shrimp paste and steamed rice. It was at this point and after finishing all the food in sight that I said to my wife “I’m full!”, only to witness two wonderfully presented desserts being placed in front of us, a beautiful chocolate souffle with fruit sauces and vanilla ice cream along with a plate of freshly cut fruit. A fitting end to a wonderful day, a great meal, feeling relaxed and looking out towards the sea while discretely loosening a notch on my belt.