One of the perks of working with my current company is that I get loads of fantastic staff discounts for any entertainment/hotel/shopping places own by this conglomerate. And one of it is the Banjaran Hotsprings, located at Ipoh, Perak, about 2 hours north of Kuala Lumpur.
What is Banjaran? To know more about Banjaran, please visit their website. Basically, it is a 6-star holiday resort and spa surrounded by natural hotsprings and caves and trees and you are just inside the jungle.
It's beautiful and pricey as well. The standard price for a night is about RM1k++ and you get personalised services and being treated like royalty. I was there for 2 days/1 night treat.
Even before we arrived, while I was merely doing the booking online, the staff was ever so friendly and polite and asked me and my husband's full name, so that they can call us by name and give us a personalised warm welcome. Car plate number was requested as well as the security in that place was truly tight!
When we arrived, we were met by the staff at the parking area itself. He came and took our luggage. Note, these are not porters, but multi-tasking staff, more like Customer Relationship Officers, from taking our bags to driving the buggy and introducing us to the place.
Like any other hotels, I thought, I walked straight to the Reception table, but was ushered by this guy who took our bags (sorry I forgot his name although he did introduced himself) to sit at a nearby sofa to relax. I did as told and a girl came with wet towels and ginger drinks for me and my hubby. Since my parents came to send us there, they were served as well!
The Reception area
He bought us the necessary documents, took my staff card to be photocopied, gave us our Villa key, which is a green band, like a watch and we were good to go. Very friendly!
Our villa key
Then he told us as Banjaran culture, each guests must hit the Gong to announce our arrival. I felt like a Queen already!
I took the Garden Villa, simply because I thought I would have some grass to do some shoe-beating and I thought if the villa is above waters, there might be too many mosquitoes. I didn't take the picture of our villa though, but it is similar to the Water Villas except that it is on land, not on stilts.
The Water Villas
According to the guy who took us on the buggy and showed us around the place, the difference between the Garden and Water villas, besides one on land and one on water, is that Water villas are smaller and the swimming pools are smaller.
The entrance - View from inside the villa
When the buggy arrived at our Villa, the guy took us in and introduced us the whole villa. It was so big that it could accommodate 5 people. But Banjaran rules is no children below 12 years old and each villa can accommodate only 2 person with an additional bed if needed.
The whole design of the place is Bali based, I feel. Very traditional and authentic as well. What I like about the place is that, all the materials are made of natural resources, glass, wood, leaves and metal. The only plastic materials were the remote control, tv, hi-fi and dvd player.
The Villa is surrounded by trees and plants and grass. Birds and crickets were chirping away. Each villa has its own swimming pool. It's not an olympic size pool, small and about 4 feet deep.
We were greeted with a Welcome Basket which has a pomelo in it. I didn't manage to take a picture of it as my mom was so excited and immediately open it up to eat. Also, the resort gave me a personalised handwritten welcome note, which I didn't take photos as well as the staff were a bit confused with me and my husband's gender and mixed it up. Hehe.
The view from inside the room
The living and dining area
This is the dining area
The living area
As soon as we arrived, the guy told us how to on the hi-fi. In the living area, soothing music can be heard from surround systems. So relaxing!
The fan in the room
Inside each room, there's TV and DVD player. The room is not that big, but big enough for at least 5 people again. Haha!
The bathroom with His and Hers mirror and basin
Hubby and I was disagreeing on how to use the camera. I like to take photos without flash but he loves the flash very much. And because we were using his camera and all the instructions were in Chinese, I didn't take much photos. All the photos taken were mostly by him.
The closet in the villa is so big that it can accommodate another 3 people, like seriously big. Inside the closet, we have the His and Hers mirror and basin and outside the door is the tiny garden. The toilet and shower area and jacuzzi area are also within the closet. We wanted to do some shoe-beating was it was raining that evening.
The shower area
The jacuzzi is located at the outside of the room but still within the villa, means it is in the open, but still private. The water from the hotsprings flow into the jacuzzi. Hubby and I decided to use all the facilities in order to fully utilise our treat. It's not like we get to be treated like royalties any other day, right?
Inside the massage room
Hubby and I decided to try out their Ayurvedic massage and was met by the staff there to get our details. I was a bit disappointed as I was told that a Doctor would actually meet up with us for consultation. Instead, we were consulted by a nurse instead as the Doctor was on leave. Anyhow, the massage was very good and relaxing and they used coconut oil!
The Hotspring - see the steam?
We were told by the staff that the water from the hotspring is actually too hot for bathing or soaking for that matter. It is 70 C, if not mistaken. So, we need to adjust the temperature with cold water if we want to soak in it.
Meditating inside the Crystal Cave
The Crystal Cave is just a small tiny cave which is air-conditioned. Inside the cave, you can see display of crystals, some are bought outside and some are truly naturally grown inside the caves. However, my dad insisted that the crystals were glued to the walls.
The Steam Cave is much bigger and truly steaming hot. The water from the hotsprings flow under this cave and since the steam from the water enclosed inside the cave and therefore, one can use it as a natural sauna. I am not much of a hot water or hot steam person. I get really irritated if I am too hot. So, I can't sit too long in here. It was really hot and I was sweating lots when I was just 5 minutes in it. But it's good. Opened the pores and all that.
The natural waterfall
There is a natural waterfall right outside the Meditation Cave, but I didn't go and bath in it. It is just a small, tiny waterfall.
There is also a path for jungle trekking, about 600m trek into the jungle and you will reach the Lost World of Tambun. Sounds like an adventure right? Again, I didn't wear proper shoes, just my sandals and was really testing my heart chakra climbing up and down the stairs, inside the jungle and just the 2 of us. But no worries, Banjaran made the stairs so well that you won't feel tired at all! I was just afraid of being lost or fall down or I don't know. It was a beautiful trek and I enjoyed it despite feeling worrisome and all. Remember to apply mosquito repellent which is provided in the villa. There's lots of mosquitoes in the jungle.
Overall, Banjaran is a place for relaxation. And it truly relaxes us because it kinda force us to relax. How can you not relax when you are surrounded by nature, beautiful sceneries, lovely sounds and the smell of fresh air? Everyone is so polite from the Resort Manager to the gardener and wherever we went, we were greeted with a smile. The Resort Manager came to talk to me and apologised for not welcoming me and then sent us off with a big, flashing smile.
We didn't spend much time there because check-in at 3pm and check-out at 12pm, but we managed to fully utilised everything, except the public swimming pool, which is fine with me.
I feel if Banjaran is cheaper, then maybe many more people would have a chance to enjoy this. But then again, someone commented, if it is cheaper, then maybe it won't be appreciated? Well, I hope I can go again next year, maybe more people this time.
And now I will end this post by presenting you this beautiful scenery of Banjaran.