Written by 9:00 am Family Fun

Fun Family Getaway to Anantara Desaru Coast & Adventure Waterpark (Review + Giveaway)

After getting a tiny taste of an Anantara resort in Phuket a couple of months back, we were only too pleased to accept an invitation to stay at Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas in Johor, Malaysia. Two nights at a luxury resort along an idyllic 17-km stretch of beach facing the South China Sea sounded sublime. Furthermore, it’s part of the Desaru Coast integrated development — Adventure Waterpark, here we come!

As if we weren’t excited enough, it was about to get better. On our way there, we learnt that Travel Trade Gazette (TTG) Asia just awarded Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas the Best Beach Resort in Asia/Pacific 2022. Our expectations rose even higher and we’re glad to report that the resort in no way let us down.

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And as a special Children’s Day surprise, you stand to win a 2-night stay in a Premier Room at Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas. Read on to find out how!

(See also: October 2022: What’s In, Out, and About for Families in Singapore)

Getting to Anantara Desaru Coast

Anantara Desaru Coast overview
Image: Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas

Quick introduction: Anantara Desaru Coast is one of four hotel brands within the Desaru Coast integrated destination. The development that spans 16-sqm in Johor Darul Ta’zim is also home to two major attractions. One is The Els Club, a 45-hole golfer’s paradise designed by Ernie Els. The other, of course, is Adventure Waterpark — but more on that later.

Desaru’s proximity to Singapore makes it a hassle-free choice for family getaways. It’s about a two-hour drive from Singapore, barring traffic jams at the Woodlands Causeway or Tuas Second Link. As we were travelling up on a Tuesday, those weren’t an issue at all. In fact, we arrived at Anantara Desaru Coast by car in just under two hours.

Desaru Link Ferry Services
Image: Desaru Link Ferry Services

Another option is the new ferry service linking Singapore and Desaru, which began operations in July. It departs from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal at 8.30am, and from Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal at 5.30pm. However, as it currently only runs from Thursdays to Sundays, it wasn’t an option for our journey there. So, we booked a one-way ferry ride back to Singapore instead. The complimentary resort shuttle bus made sure we arrived at Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal in plenty of time.

Return tickets cost $118 nett per person — inclusive of one piece of check-in luggage — while one-way tickets go for $70. The ferry was pretty new, and two decks offered cushy seats with plenty of legroom. The 1.5-hour ride was relatively smooth despite steady rain as we approached Singapore.

Luxurious Pursuits at Anantara Desaru Coast

Anantara Desaru Coast lobby view

The VIP treatment began the second we stepped onto the grounds. We were ushered through the lobby and out onto a veranda, where comfy couches, scented towels, and welcome drinks awaited. The check-in process was quick, only interrupted by the breathtaking view stretching across infinity pools to the sea beyond.

Anantara Desaru Coast premier room
Image: Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas
towel elephants

Our room was on the top (third) floor, with a large balcony offering similar sparkling views. The room itself exudes a contemporary and relaxing vibe, while our towel-elephant bedmates remind us that Anantara is a Thai hospitality brand. And if you’re anything like us, you’ll be glad to know there are plenty of USB charging ports, a Nespresso machine, and solid WiFi connection.

Anantara Desaru Coast premier room bath
Image: Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas

The open-concept wardrobe leads into the bathroom, with his-and-hers sinks, bathtub, and separate shower and toilet. We like that the shower amenities come in full-size pump bottles, including shampoo, body wash, and even after-sun lotion. Very thoughtful!

bathroom toiletries

But should you need an extra towel or bottle of water, simply request for them via the Anantara App. A staff member responds via the in-app chat within minutes. It’s also how we scheduled housekeeping services, ordered room service, or simply asked a question. (Yes, you can still pick up the old-school telephone, but why not embrace the digital life?!)

The Premier Room sleeps up to two adults and one child, and starts from S$259++ per night.

(See also: Family Paradise at Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket (Review))

Epicurean Pursuits at Anantara Desaru Coast

buffet breakfast

Buffet breakfast at the resort’s all-day dining restaurant, Turmeric, is serious business. In the al fresco area, aromas from the live station tossing up roti canai (roti prata to Singaporeans), waffles, and pancakes beckon. Nearby tables overflow with pastries, doughnuts, all manner of freshly baked breads, and condiments.

Anantara Desaru Coast Turmeric restaurant
Image: Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas

Inside, the spread continues with a mix of Asian and Western mainstays. Memorable highlights include beef rendang, mini quiches, cheeses and charcuterie, and the egg station’s excellent omelettes. Don’t miss the noodle soup live station, which ladles up bowls of comfort food both young and old will love. The prawn broth was utterly divine!

Sea.Fire.Salt

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Turmeric also serves an authentic Thai-theme buffet at dinner that is a must-try if you’re there. Alternatively, head to Sea.Fire.Salt for fresh seafood and grilled steaks on the beachfront. Must-tries include the signature Himalayan Salt Brick seafood platter and premium dry-aged Angus beef cuts.

Leisurely Pursuits at Anantara Desaru Coast

Anantara Desaru Coast kids club
kids club activities

The Layang-layang Kids Club is where the kiddos will have a blast. They can take part in crafting and games activities indoors, as well as exciting outdoor escapades. There’s even a mini indoor rock wall for little climbers to scale, under the watchful eye of the childcare team.

For older kids, the Luncur Ombak Teens Club is right next door. It offers movie screenings, gaming consoles, a full-size table-tennis setup, arcade games, and board games galore. Your tweens and teens can walk in and chill out any time they feel like it.

bicycle hub

Family bonding activities are aplenty too. Splash about the Lagoon Pool or relax by the Infinity Pool. Cinema Under the Stars also takes place every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. Or why not explore the extensive grounds on two wheels? Simply pop by the bicycle hub to pick up and drop off; no reservations are necessary.

(See also: 15 Best Cycling Trails in Singapore for Families)

Desaru Beachlife and Tidepool Discovery

You can also sign up for complimentary nature rambles to learn more about the flora and fauna in Desaru. Our pick is the Desaru Beachlife and Tidepool Discovery activity, led by the professional in-house naturalist. She opened our eyes to an unbelievable wealth of wildlife that call that unassuming stretch of beach home.

Anantara Desaru Coast Spa
Image: Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas

By the way, mums and dads, when the kids abandon you for playtime, you can hit the 24-hour fitness centre. Early risers can also experience zen at the Infinity Pool Deck with Sunrise Dong Sticks or Yoga by the Beach. After your workout, have a rejuvenating signature massage at Anantara Spa. Housed in a standalone building by the resort’s main lobby, it felt like a sanctuary within a sanctuary.

Dive into Desaru Coast’s Adventure Waterpark

Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast
Image: Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast

Of course, no trip to Desaru Coast with kids in tow is complete without a visit to the Adventure Waterpark. Simply pack your swimsuits, sunscreen, towels, and change of clothes, before hopping on the resort’s complimentary shuttle bus. The waterpark features more than 20 wet and dry rides and attractions for all ages.

Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast

Taller thrill-seekers can take on the region’s first water-coaster, high-energy funnels and flume rides, and the surf simulator. For a total of 13 different kid-friendly waterslides, head to Kids Ahoy, which combines three age-appropriate play areas. Finally, float down Penawar River on tubes and toss about in one of the biggest wave pools in the world. There’s also a ‘beach’ where the little ones can enjoy some sand play.

(See also: 20 Water Playgrounds Your Kids Can Have a Splashing Good Time at While Beating The Heat!)

Can’t wait to do it all yourself? Book your luxury beach getaway to Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas here or email [email protected]

:: GIVEAWAY ::

To celebrate Children’s Day, we have a 2-Night stay in a Premier Room at the Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas to give away!

How to win:

  1. Like and share this article’s Facebook post (make sure your share is public).
  2. Tag two friends whose families would love a fun getaway too.
  3. Follow @anantaradesaru on Instagram.
  4. Answer the question: “What are you most looking forward to experiencing at Anantara Desaru Coast?”
  5. Sit back and relax. We’ll be in touch if you’ve won!

Closing date: 11.59pm, Thursday, 13 October 2022

Terms and conditions: 

  • Prize voucher is valid till 31 March 2023, for a single transaction only.
  • Reservations are subject to availability and blackout dates apply.
  • Email [email protected] at least 7 days prior to arrival date for reservations.
  • Prize voucher must be presented upon check-in and is non-replaceable, non-refundable, non-transferable, and not redeemable for cash.

Rates are valid at time of publishing and are subject to changes.

Featured image: Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas

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