Innovating one’s offerings is something every business operating in the hospitality industry in 2020 needs to be doing and Malaysia’s Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat is doing exactly this with the introduction of its incredible ‘Cave Dining’ experience.
2020 has been a very tough year for the hospitality industry; in fact, it’s probably the most challenging year for the sector in living memory. Although many hospitality businesses are back up and running, simply opening the doors isn’t always enough. Businesses need to introduce new experiences to enthral guests and a simple way to explain this is by borrowing a well-known phrase from a movie, “if you build it, they will come.”
Truly unique experiences are few and far between in the hospitality sector. As soon as a business comes up with something innovative, another tends to ‘borrow’ it. However, suppose you have the advantage of natural geological formations, 100s millions of years old on your doorstep. In that case, you can rest comfortably knowing that a rival business won’t be replicating what you’re doing.
What is the Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat
Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat is a wellness resort in Ipoh, Malaysia. It is part of the renowned Sunway Hotels & Resorts’ group and is just over two hours from the capital Kuala Lumpur.
There are far too many resorts using the word wellness in their names and let’s be honest; most are properties which just so happen to have a good range of wellness associated offerings. And let’s not look past the fact that not all of them are blessed with true natural beauty wherever you look. This is is not the case with the Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat.
At the retreat are 45 self-enclosed luxury villas and each one has the benefit of plunge pools and hot tubs. Guests have the choice of a 155-square metre Water Villa set on the banks of the canal or the larger (260sqm) Garden Villa with private outdoor rain showers and hot spring jacuzzi’s.
The resort sits within a 22.7-acre valley filled with tropical rainforest. Wherever you look, you’ll be wowed by natural wonders including cascading waterfalls, geothermal springs and of course, the incredible limestone rock formations with its unique caves. If you’re planning to head off to somewhere to escape the stress and problems of the world, could you imagine anywhere better?
The Cave Dining Experience
Many frequent luxury travellers will claim they have experienced everything, but in all honesty, few will have had the unique experience of fine dining in the ethereal surroundings of a cave. At the Banjaran Hotsprings is a vast cavern and within it is Jeff’s Cellar a unique restaurant and wine bar. This is no run-of-the-mill bar, CNN has called it one of the “Most Magnificent Bars in the World” and Tatler has been wowed by the restaurant.
The caves at the Banjaran are quite extraordinary, and within this otherworldly environment, you can take your palate on a gastronomical adventure with a seven-course meal and savour the finest wines at a private table. You will have some company; these will be in the form of incredible natural water features and stalactites hanging from the ceiling.
If you feel like stretching your legs after your meal, take a stroll over to the star deck overlooking the hot springs lake and gaze at the stars through the telescope twinkling above.
Free your mind and recharge your body
The incredible caves at the Banjaran and not only somewhere to treat your palate, but they are also an ideal place to reset your spiritual side and recharge your internal batteries.
The use of crystals is a mystery to me, and from a personal perspective, I cannot say whether they would have a physical impact on me, others swear differently. One thing is for sure, natural beauty improves my mood, and with this must come a placebo effect. There’s no doubt that the caves at the Banjaran do have a profound effect on guests as many will attest to.
If you’re a fan of crystal healing, you must pay a visit to the crystal cave which is used for energy healing treatments such a Reiki. The retreat also has a meditation cave which allows guests to refocus their minds and discover their inner-peace. Once again, for anyone who practices meditation, this is likely to be your very first opportunity to do it in a 260-million-year-old cave.
For those that would prefer to find themselves via more traditional routes, the retreat offers a wide range of body treatments via high-experienced staff at its Spa and Wellness Centre. Some of the experiences on offer include a dip in the geothermal hot spring or the thermal steam cave and having your feet cleansed in the Garra Rufa Doctor Fish Pool. And given how hot it can be in Malaysia if you have the courage, you might even decide to try out the dreaded ice bath!
As you’ve no doubt gathered from this piece, The Banjran is at one with nature, and you can experience this to an even greater degree with a walk in the jungle.
After rediscovering yourself and with your body recharged to 100%, one of the best ways to end the day is with a trip to the resort’s Sky Bar. Here you can take in the breath-taking views over the hot springs, luxuriating in the natural environment, with an obligatory refreshing drink in your hand.
Health and cleanliness a the retreat
Properties within the Sunway Hotels & Resorts operate a stringent cleanliness and hygiene program. This consists of a huge number of protocols to ensure the highest cleaning and wellbeing standards. The program is directly in-line with the Malaysian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization guidelines. The program has been in operation since the start of the year and is designed to let guests relax in a worry-free environment.
Having lived in Malaysia for many years, one thing I can confirm is it is unlike anywhere else I have been to in the world. When you head out of the built-up areas, you start to see the true natural beauty of the country and although the Banjaran Hotsprings is one of the very few places I hadn’t visited, friends who had, tell me that it is a life-changing experience.
So, if you’re looking for somewhere to escape the madness, politicking and finger-pointing in the world and want an idyllic place to recharge your batteries, I can think of few better places on Earth. – Paul Godbold.
For more information about The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, please visit
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