Desaru Coast offers premium stays set amid the unsullied natural beauty of an era gone by.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Located on the south-eastern coast of Johor Bahru, Desaru was the de facto beach resort destination for many families in the ’80s. A two-hour drive away from our little red dot, the promise of sparkling clear waters from the South China Sea never failed to draw Singaporeans.

Today, Desaru still boasts pristine beaches and tumbling waves, as well as world-class stays in the four-year-old Desaru Coast development.

The oasis most recently welcomed 20,000 bikers to the International Bike Week, graced by the Crown Prince of Johor, His Royal Highness Tunku Ismail Idris, which featured his extensive private motorcycle and vintage car collection.

Come April, it will play host to a multi-sport festival that includes two triathlons and sprint races run over scenic racecourses, in collaboration with Ironman Asia. 

Luxury resorts Westin and Anantara opened last year (see sidebar). Joining their ranks this March is the One&Only Desaru Coast, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. Renowned for their classy opulence, One&Only properties pride themselves on setting up homes at enviable locations. Their beachfront properties can be found in Dubai, Maldives, Mauritius, Montenegro, Mexico and Cape Town – homes to the best beaches in the world.

The Desaru Coast property offers breathtaking sea views and is furthermore nestled in a lush tropical forest that offers respite for tired souls. Myriad dining options include healthy fi eld-to-fork fare at the Ambara as well as fresh seafood at the Ember Beach Club. Better still, the resort’s location just beside the Els Club championship course means you’ll never miss another 7.30am tee time. 


Come for golf, stay for the activities

My Reading Room


The Els Club boasts two 18-hole courses with scenic views. The latest Valley Course, designed by Vijay Singh, has a mind-boggling 175 bunkers that will take seasoned players down a notch or two. Precision is the name of the game for this course. The flatter Ocean course, designed by Ernie Els himself, overlooks the South China Sea and provides breathtaking views. Choose from two of the three nine-hole courses to change up the challenges. 

My Reading Room


The Westin Desaru Coast Resort’s expansive grounds feature the works: poolside bars and intimate restaurants, as well as presidential suites and recreation and fitness studios. The Westin Family Kids Club lets guests park the children without guilt while they enjoy a meal or get a couple’s massage at the Heavenly Spa. The on-site conference set-up makes the hotel a good venue for company retreats or regional conferences as well. 

My Reading Room


Anantara Desaru Coast is a sanctuary with lagoon views, personal plunge pools and landscaped gardens. Here, guests can reset their minds, bodies and spirits with tailored wellness programmes, healthy fresh food and access to a multitude of activities. The resort faces the beach and is a stone’s throw from the Ocean Course of Els Club Desaru. Check in to unwind, if not for the exquisite views from the green.