Hanna Hussein

At Westin Desaru Coast Resortin Johor, Hanna Hussein chills out in a sea-themed location with a fine selection of food and beverage outlets

WESTIN Desaru Coast Resort, one of the newest premium integrated destination resorts, is located at the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia. The beach-front hotel is the third Westin hotel in Malaysia and I’m intrigued!

I have been to the Westin in Kuala Lumpur, and despite it being a city hotel, I remember a stress-free weekend where I spent my days doing yoga and indulged in spa treatments as well as dined well! So, I have high hopes that Westin Desaru Coast Resort is more relaxing, with its stunning location by the beach.

Plenty of selections

After more than three hours’ drive from Kuala Lumpur, we finally arrive at the hotel and we are welcomed by the friendly workers at the stunning lobby. With the ocean as an inspiration, the visual design aesthetic of the hotel incorporates elements of the sea, such as the wave-like ceiling rippling at the lobby.

Oh, I’m already in love with the concept. Can’t wait to see the room!

SEA VIEW STAY

With a breathtaking view of South China Sea, our Premier Room offers a spacious balcony where I can laze on the outdoor chair, and chill and watch the sun set this evening.

The inside is very cosy, in a contemporary style. The wooden flooring gives a warm luxurious feel to the room. The deco incorporates the cool calming effect of ocean elements such as the purple clams bed frame and reef-inspired carpet.

Wake up to an endless blue sea.

The room has the typical hotel amenities which include workdesk, TV, safe, highspeed Internet access as well as coffee and tea facilities, and a sizeable bathroom too!

The luxurious room offers the Westin Heavenly bed, with layers of comfort which includes soothing linens, plush pillows, cosy down blanket and custom duvet.

Indeed, the bedding is so comfy and plush, and I may doze off instantly if I lay on it.

So, instead of lazing around in the room, I head out to check out the beach a short walk away from the hotel.

It is a public beach, but hotel guests have the advantage of sitting at the beach lounge. There’s a Beach Bar located by the beach which offers a fresh menu including seafood barbecue and light healthy cuisine.

ITALIAN INDULGENCE

In the evening, my friends and I head for dinner. We have reserved a table at Prego, the hotel’s signature Italian restaurant with its lively, colourful decor enhanced by tempting aromas of fresh bread and pizza baking in a wood-fired oven. It is an elegant yet casual restaurant featuring an open kitchen where you can see Chef Massimiliano Ascione and his team in action.

We let the good-looking waiter surprise us with recommendations, beginning with the freshly baked homemade breads served with olives, mixed pickle of shallot, sun dried tomatoes and gherkins, as well as the signature salsa dip.

Next, for anti-pasti (starters), we are served with both hot and cold selections — Insalata Caprese (a refreshing dish of tomatoes served with buffalo’s mozzarella cheese and pesto) and the Fungi Gratinati (unique taste of portobello mushroom with rich goat cheese). My verdict— definitely a must to kick off your meal.

Branzino in crosta di sale, definitely a must-try in Prego.

For mains, we opt for a sharing meal. We have Branzino in crosta di sale, a salt crusted seabass, baked in oven. Looking at the hugeseabass covered in huge chunk of salt, I am eager to begin but will it be salty? The waiter starts to plate the dish in front of us, serving the fish together with steamed potatoes and fennel. The fish with lemon butter sauce tastes so good and so moist. Definitely not salty!

We also have the signature spaghetti carbonara served with beef bacon. Chef Ascione himself serves this amazing dish.

He torches the huge Castelmagno cheese wheel, tosses the pasta in and mixes them, giving the dish an extra heavenly creamy taste! This is ideal for cheese-lovers!

For desserts, we have the creamy rich Tiramisu made with mascarpose cheese and espresso. Tiramisu usually has brandy but we have requested the dessert to be non-alcoholic.

The pizza is also a must-try. The dough is made in-house, hand-tossed and baked in the stone-fired oven — thus the light, thinly crispy crust! We order takeaway — the diavola, which is my favourite, and beef pepperoni pizza — perfect for a midnight snack while watching a movie.

SEASONAL TASTES

For breakfast, we head to Seasonal Tastes, the all-day dining venue, offering both buffet style dining and an ala carte menu. What I love about the restaurant is that it offers a live interactive kitchen concept which provides a truly personalised dining experience, showcasing the best of Asian and international fare.

Plenty of selections at Seasonal Tastes

The restaurant has ample space and seating arrangements, and it’s so comfy too! You can opt to sit alfresco, overlooking the pool or inside with cooling air-conditioned environment.

The buffet is extensive. My favourite is roti Tsunami, a variation of the popular roti canai served with dhal curry, sambal and half boiled egg. The roti canai is so crispy, just the way I like it! There’s also laksa Johor with thick and rich gravy.

Other selections include Indian, Chinese, Malay and international cuisines, and noodles. If you like something sweet, do check out the waffle station!

FAST FACTS

THE WESTIN DESARU COAST RESORT

Jalan Pantai 3, Desaru Coast,Bandar Penawar, Johor

TEL 07-838 3333

WEBSITE www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/jhbwi-the-westindesaru-coast-resort/

STAY The hotel offers 275 premium rooms — Deluxe Room, Premier Room, Executive Suite, Premier Suite and Presidential Suite.

EAT There are five F&B oulets — Prego is the Italian restaurant, while Seasonal Tastes is the main restaurant. There are also a lounge and bar — MIX Lounge, Splash and Beach Bar.

DO This family resort welcomes its young guests with a Westin Family Travel Journal and Activity Guide at check-in, and the Westin Kids Club is a bright and cheerful space for kids to make friends, learn, discover and explore through fun and educational activities. There are also a spa and gym.

GO Thrill the family at Desaru Coast Adventure Water Park or laze by the beachfront.

HIGH Every room has a balcony with breathtaking views.

LOW Parking is not free!

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