With borders between Malaysia and Singapore slowly opening up, it’s the perfect time to peruse some travel destinations across the border. One that instantly springs to mind is just a stone throw’s away in Johor. 

Though it seems like a fledgling compared to established tourist havens the likes of Penang, Langkawi and Sabah, Johor in recent years have begun to blossom into a compelling tourist destination. The comprehensive offerings range from the wholesome to the luxurious. Johor Premium Outlets is fast becoming the place to be for style mavens seeking a bargain from European labels. Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Fendi and Gucci are some of the tenants in the modern open-air complex.  

Families flock to Legoland Malaysia Resort, the first Legoland theme park in Asia and one of only six in the world. Spanning 76 acres, the resort houses three roller coasters and two water rides. With 20 attractions in the park, it’s impossible to completely explore them all in a single day, thus warranting a repeat visit.  

Named by TIME in 2021 as one of the greatest places on Earth, Desaru Coast is also now a playground for the rich and famous – a far cry from the soporific village it used to be. Desaru Coast is also where you can tee off at the immaculate greens of the Els Club.  With a slew of high-end resorts opening in recent years, it’s only a matter of time before travellers are wooed back to the long, golden beaches, and the numerous islands dotting the cerulean South China Sea. Johor Bahru is home to some of the best luxury beach resorts in the country, here’s where to find them.

This article was first published on Lifestyle Asia KL.

6 best luxury beach resorts in Johor Bahru to unwind at:

01
One&Only Desaru Coast
One&Only Desaru Coast

At the acme of luxury hospitality is One&Only Desaru Coast. The opulent, breathtaking resort is a harmony of wellness retreats and epicurean encounters. Thanks to the superbly appointed Villa One boasting a 27m-long private pool, the Kerry Hill-designed hideaway is drawing in the country’s most discerning tastemakers. Every facet of this expansive resort feels curated and personalised. There is so much to savour sensorially, not least at Ember Beach Club helmed by Michelin-starred chef Andrew Walsh. 

02
Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast
Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast

With amenities exclusive to the Hard Rock brand where aural delights are prioritised, Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast is all about good vibes. Beyond memorabilia-bedecked interiors, the hotel is a thoroughly luxurious resort. Catering to the musically inclined, the outdoor infinity pool is equipped with an underwater sound system, while the exceptional suite, of which there are 29, comes with handpicked records and playlists. Not to mention that a Fender guitar can be rented should you be melodiously inspired. 

03
Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas
Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas

Awake to a stunning sunrise vista over the lagoon, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas is home to a collection of one-to-two-bedroom abodes, each fitted with elegant furniture thoughtfully put together. A modern living space juxtaposed with traditional Malaysian design, it opens up to a timber deck that leads to a private plunge pool and a spacious gazebo where privacy is a guarantee. If the pool villa doesn’t measure up to your lofty standards, you may want to check into the colossal 3-bedroom beach residence where a personal butler is tasked with taking care of your every need. 

04
The Westin Desaru Coast Resort
The Westin Desaru Coast Resort

A sanctuary flanked by an immaculate garden at one end and powdery sands at the other, The Westin Desaru Coast Resort is an invitation for weary urbanites to unwind and recharge. Luxury here has no bound. Spanning 2,625 sq ft and boasting a private balcony, the presidential suite houses only one bedroom with its own dining, living and study areas. With space and privacy ferociously safeguarded, the accommodation offers a sense of grandeur and serenity where life is never hurried.

05
Rawa Island Resort
Rawa Island Resort

While the room and list of amenities aren’t on the same heavenly level, Rawa Island Resort offers natural beauty unmatched by those located on the mainland. Waters surrounding Rawa Island are perpetually azure. The resort champions sustainability to ensure this fragile island remains lush and untarnished for the years to come. With 77 rooms individually designed to blend into the idyllic environment, the resort echoes the excitement of a private island. Never mind luxuriating on the white sandy beach, the resort possesses a house reef just off the shore inhabited by a kaleidoscope of marine creatures. 

06
Sari Pacifica Beach Resort & Spa Sibu Island
Sari Pacifica Beach Resort & Spa Sibu Island

Vying with Rawa Island as the top offshore destination in Johor, Sibu Island mesmerises visitors with dense vegetation and numerous bays that can be traversed on foot. Pristine waters around the island are speckled with coral reefs. Naturally, Sari Pacifica Beach Resort & Spa Sibu Island caters to divers and snorkelers demanding creature comfort sans the round-the-clock pampering. Composed of 44 villas, the resort offers excursionist activities, including jungle trekking and kayaking. 

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