Sand & Sandals Desaru Resort and Spa is a contemporary casual and relaxing resort located in the heart of Desaru, Johor. It provides an ultimate gateway for romantic couple retreat, an excellent location for family reunion, dream beach wedding, blissful honeymoon, as well as a family-friendly vacation.
Formerly known as Pulai Desaru Beach Resort & Spa, Sand & Sandals Desaru Resort and Spa has been rebranded, revamped and opened in Mar 2017. This resort is very popular among the locals because it’s set on Desaru Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, overseeing the panoramic views of the South China Sea.
Truth be told, I’ve been wanting to visit Desaru for a long time. My first trip to Desaru was 20 years ago when I was studying in UTM, Johor. It was such a memorable trip to me. So, when I stumbled upon the resort brochure in a travel agency recently, I told V that we must make a trip there soon. And after a few website clicks, we’ve landed in this beautiful resort. Yay me! 😎
Getting to Sand & Sandals Desaru Resort and Spa
There are several ways to get to Desaru:
- Driving – It’s about 1.5hr drive from Singapore via Senai-Desaru Expressway
- Private Taxi
- Ferry – It’s just 30mins from Changi Ferry Terminal to Tanjung Belungkor Ferry Terminal. From there, you can arrange for a transfer to Sand & Sandals Desaru Resort (~20 mins).
Personally, I find that the easiest way is to travel by ferry – which we did! The journey is just half an hour. We took the 9:30am ferry from Changi Ferry Terminal (not Changi Point Ferry Terminal, they are different places!). The ferry operator is Limbongan Maju Shd. Bhd.
It’s a small ferry with a capacity of about 60 people. Frankly, I’ve always been sea sick on smaller boats, but this ferry is quite stable despite its small size. And thankfully, I had NO seasickness at all!
First off, I love that the resort offers a wide variety of room types to cater for different needs, and as you can see here, the room sizes are really huge – starting from 55 sqm in a Superior Room up to 120 sqm in an Executive Suite. There are total 208 rooms in the resort.
|Room Type||Room Size (sqm)|
|Deluxe Garden View||55|
|Deluxe Pool View||55|
|Premium Deluxe with Private Garden||55|
|Sunny Deluxe Sea View||55|
|Romantic Deluxe with Private Pool||55|
|Couple Suite (Duplex)||85|
|Family Suite (Duplex)||85|
The room type that we booked is Premium Deluxe with Private Garden. The rate is ~RM800 per night (including breakfast). Except for Superior Room, all the rooms come with an outdoor bathtub which is a unique feature in this resort!
You can see that the room is very spacious. It comes with a king-sized bed, a work desk, a sofa, complimentary wi-fi, LED TV with cable and satellite channels, complimentary bottled water, coffee and tea, in-room safe deposit box, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, as well as a mini fridge.
We love the balcony with an outdoor bathtub that overlooks the swimming pool. Take a few steps down, there is also a private garden with a swing and a gate for direct access to the pool. Additionally, we also like the large open two-sink vanity area with separated shower (twin rain shower!) and toilet.
If you’re looking for a kid-themed room or suite, check this out! This is the Family Suite in a duplex lay-out with a whooping size of 85 sqm! We’ve the privilege to view it, but nope, we didn’t upgrade to one even though it’s SO enticing. 😮
On the lower level of the suite, there are two single beds in bright and colourful Pirate theme for the kids. This is the coolest pirate ship bed ever that will definitely thrill the kids to no end. As I typed this, I could still remember Edison asking me repeatedly on why I didn’t book that Family Suite (next time, baby… I promise!).
On the other hand, there’s a king-sized bed for the adults on the upper level. And on both levels, there are shower areas, toilets and TVs so both parents and kids can enjoy their own private times. What a wonderful lay-out!
If you want something even more private, you’ll thrilled to know that some units come with a private pool like this. Hahah! Good, right?
Activities & Facilities
In Sand & Sandals Desaru Resort and Spa, there’s no shortage of activities you can indulge in. The swimming pool is one of the highlights in this resort, it’s huge and comes with a water slide, waterfall, Jacuzzi as well as a sunken bar where you can enjoy a selection of cocktails and draft beer, complimented with tapas. Uniquely at the center of the pool, there’s also a newly-built gym.
Walk up to the upper deck of the sunken bar, you can admire the views of the Desaru Beach (very beautiful at night!) and also catch a bird’s eye view of the resort.
Staying in a beach resort like this, you’ll definitely want to explore its private beach. It’s a 22km stretch of white-sand beach with dazzling sunlight and sparkling seas. We love the swings, armchairs, huts and hammocks along the beach. If you’re an early riser, kick-start your day by catching the beautiful sunrise here. But if you’re not, catching the cool sea breeze at night is equally enjoyable too.
In addition, there’s a huge variety of water sports such as banana boat, Jet Ski, viper and canoeing, as well as fishing (rod is available for rental). For more outdoor adventures, you can also try out ATV, paintball, Bon Fire and Telematch.
Now, let’s ATV into the tropical jungle for some fun!
The resort also has a big Game Room and Kids Play Room that will surely delight the kids. Every night after dinner, Edison went to the Play Room to play with other kids while V and I enjoyed a drink at the Beach Hut Bistro. Except for Monday, there’s a live band at night. Wow, it’s SO nice to spend some couple times like this. I want more, please!
If you prefer a family game, you can get some game sets such as chess, Monopoly, Scrabbles, Congkak etc. There’s also a Kids Club offering plenty of activities such as bottle painting, cup painting, frame painting and fun colouring from 8am till 11pm. It’s great to enjoy a day of fun, be it indoor or outdoor, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
And if you wish to tour around the resort, you can rent a scooter or mini scooter. You can also book the sightseeing tours from the Game On counter at the lobby. These are the tours available (min 4 pax to go):
- Fireflies Experience Tour (very popular in Desaru)
- Fruit Farm Tour
- River Cruise Tour
- River Fishing Trip
- Sunset Cruising
Last but not least, the resort also offers these services – resort shuttle, airport transfer, currency exchange, laundry and dry-cleaning. There’s a mini mart next to the Beach Hut Bistro, you can conveniently pick up some snacks and drinks whenever you need.
The Senses Spa
The other place that caught my attention during my stay is The Senses Spa. Thanks to our currency conversion rate, we can indulge in a blissful couple spa treatment without guilt. Hahah!
Truth be told, V is not into spa at all! It took me some coaxing before he agreed to go with me. The 1.5hr couple spa treatment consists of back massage, back scrub and milk bath in an outdoor love-shaped bathtub. It was heavenly! The best thing is – V totally enjoyed it and yes, there’ll definitely be more couple spa for our next vacation lol.
The Senses Spa has 4 outdoor spa pavilions specially designed for couples and 2 indoor treatment rooms. Each spa pavilion comes with a love-shaped bathtub and open-air shower made of bamboo in a secluded zone (not to worry, you get full privacy here!). If you still prefer to have it indoor, you can opt for their indoor treatment rooms.
The spa treatments offered here include body massage, body scrub, facial treatment, hair treatment and foot massage therapy.
It was raining during our treatment, so the outdoor pavilion doesn’t look so nice in this picture with wet floor. 😕
The resort brings a selection of dining experiences from 7 restaurants, bars and café. Our favourite among all is Spices & Herbs that serves fusion cuisines comprising Western, Malay and Indian. We loved the food SO much, that’s why we dined here for two consecutive night. Food prices are very reasonable too.
We also love the Fortune Kitchen that serves Chinese food and dim sum. We were pleased to try-out some unique dim sum such as charcoal egg tarts, crispy avocado rolls, and Ginseng Chicken Soup served in a tea pot.
The resort also partnered with Snuk Thai Street BBQ (just a minute walk from the resort) that offers authentic Thai cuisines. We tried it and loved it! Other dining options include Shiokaze Teppan (Japanese bento and Teppanyaki), The Café (specialty cakes and coffee), Beach Hut Bistro (western delights and drinks), and The Sunken Bar (full bar by the pool).
The complimentary buffet breakfast offers a decent selection of food from local delights such as nasi lemak, mee goreng and porridge, to salad, cereal, pancake, French toast, assorted pastries, as well as an egg station and toast section. There’s a variety of fruits and juices too.
Sand & Sandals Desaru Resort and Spa offers adventures for the little ones without compromising on relaxation and comfort for the adults. Instead of usual hotel rooms, you’ll get a spacious room with outdoor bathtub and private balcony (depends on room types).
In addition, there’s a huge variety of water sports, land sports, indoor activities and sight-seeing tours. There’s never a dull moment during our 3D2N stay at this resort. Did I also mention that there’s a championship golf course with 27-hole and 18-hole that is just 5 mins’ drive from the resort?
Dining wise, I’m impressed with the fascinating cuisine ranging from Chinese, Japanese, Malay, Indian, Western to Thai. You’ll be spoilt, for sure!
If you’ve been cracking your head for ideas on short getaway that are family-friendly (perfect for couples too!), fun and relaxing, I’d recommend Sand & Sandals Desaru Resort and Spa to you. What’s more? It’s just 30mins ferry ride away from Singapore!