The Westin Desaru Coast Resort: A Perfect Weekend Getaway

Never thought I’d actually come back to Desaru after more than thirty years—what a blast from the past! I first visited with my family when I was around 7 or 8 years old. Back in the 80s, Desaru and Kota Tinggi were hot spots for holidaymakers. I don’t remember much from those trips except for the big waves and building sandcastles on the beach all day long. There wasn’t much to do back then besides hanging out by the sea. Fast forward to now, and I’m excited to share my experience of rediscovering Desaru.

A Smooth Start to Our Weekend Getaway

This time around, my husband signed up for the IRONMAN 70.3 Desaru Coast, so it was the perfect opportunity to turn it into a short getaway. For convenience, especially with a large bike box and suitcase, we booked a private car for our trip. The driver picked us up at 10:00am on Friday from our home in Punggol, and luckily, the traffic at Woodlands Checkpoint wasn’t too bad. The drive from CIQ to Desaru was smooth, taking about an hour and fifteen minutes. By 12:15pm, we arrived at The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, ready to kick off our weekend adventure.

The Westin Desaru Coast Resort
Jalan Pantai 3, Desaru Coast
Bandar Penawar, Malaysia, 81930
Tel: +60-7-8383333

Hotel Lobby

Swift Check-In

At the front desk, we were each offered a welcome drink of honey lemongrass, which was cold and refreshing.

The check-in process was fast and furious due to the high room take-up during the IRONMAN period, with many guests queuing up. Despite the rush, we were pleasantly surprised to be quickly assigned a room, which was ready and available, even though check-in time was supposed to be at 3:00pm.

By the way, if you are driving to Desaru, you can park at the hotel, which is complimentary for hotel guests. You just need to register your car plate with the front desk staff.

Getting Around in Desaru

We hired a car from a local car transport company that we found on Google so we could drive around, as we had plans to head out for seafood and also check out the Desaru Mini Zoo. You may wish to know that Grab cars or taxis are not available in Desaru, unlike JB Sentral where drivers are aplenty. If you don’t drive, you’ll have to ask the hotel to help book transport or contact transport companies to hire a driver.

Room with a Tropical View

Initially disappointed that we couldn’t book a sea view room, we had to make do with a tropical view. However, upon settling into our room, we were pleasantly surprised.

Our room boasted a tropical view, overlooking trees and a serene pond below, with glimpses of the sea adding to its allure. Situated in a quieter part of the hotel, away from the main lobby, restaurant, and swimming pool, we loved the peaceful ambience.

Our stay at room 407 was nothing short of delightful, boasting ample space and thoughtful amenities. The presence of ceiling fans both above the bed and on the balcony added a breezy touch.

Bedroom Comfort and Amenities

The bedroom was cosy, featuring a king-size bed. The mattress was soft—perhaps a bit too soft, as I would sink into it when lying down. This isn’t ideal if you have a bad back, as it doesn’t provide ample support. The pillows were a little flat as well, so if you prefer higher ones, you’ll need to stack two together for better support. No big deal, though; we still managed to get a good night’s rest throughout our stay.

Entertainment Options

There was an ample selection of local, Singapore, and international TV channels, including movie channels like HBO.

The WiFi was also stable and fast. I managed to watch YouTube and TikTok videos with no problem.

Balcony Seating and Amenities

The balcony was a pretty good size with seating, but it was too hot and humid to chill out there comfortably. Handy to have a hanging rack to dry your swimsuits properly instead of draping them over the balcony railing.

My Favourite Relaxation Spot

A firm daybed provided the perfect spot to unwind, while the adjustable air conditioning ensured optimal comfort. I found myself spending quite a considerable amount of time chilling on the daybed with my iPad—pure relaxation, haha. However, one thing to remember is to close and lock the balcony door; otherwise, the air conditioning goes into energy-saving mode and won’t be as cool.

Thoughtful Toiletries and Bath Amenities

The array of amenities provided, from toothbrushes to shower caps, catered to our every need. The toiletries, including white tea-scented soap, body lotion, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, left us feeling refreshed without being too drying.

The inviting bathtub, complete with a pack of no-brand bath salt, tempted us to indulge—just be sure to bring your own bath bomb for added luxury.

Other conveniences included an iron/ironing board, slippers, umbrella, and bathrobes, ensuring a comfortable stay. A hairdryer and weighing scale were also available.

Hydration and Beverage Options

The provision of three refillable bottles of still water daily, along with a coffee plunger and a selection of Jing green and black tea bags, ensured our hydration and caffeine needs were met. But honestly, I would still prefer an automatic coffee machine, haha.

While the mini-fridge was empty, it provided ample space to store our own snacks and drinks. Given the lack of nearby convenience stores, it’s advisable to pack and bring along supplies to ensure you have everything you need during your stay.

A thoughtful and unexpected addition was the provision of lavender essential oil, perfect for unwinding after a long day of activities. Not only did it help us relax, but it also promoted a good night’s rest, adding an extra touch of comfort to our stay.

Room Service and Food Delivery

Room service was easily accessible through a QR code scan of the food menu. I captured some screenshots so you could get a feel for the prices, which, of course, weren’t cheap.

If you’re looking to save a bit on food expenses, ordering through apps like Foodpanda or Grab is a good alternative. While there isn’t an extensive selection of restaurants, there’s still a decent spread worth trying.

During our stay, we opted for food delivery twice. One time, we got Subway, while the other occasion we had a delicious ayam geprek (crispy Indonesian-style fried chicken paired with spicy sambal) from a local eatery.

Lack of Soundproofing

It’s worth noting that the room lacked soundproofing, allowing noise from neighbouring rooms and the corridor to filter in, which could be a minor inconvenience for light sleepers. Additionally, while walking along the corridor, voices and laughter from adjacent rooms were easily audible, indicating that conversations and laughter could be heard if spoken or laughed loudly.

Renovation in Progress

Despite being relatively new, having opened in 2019, the hotel already showed signs of wear and tear, particularly in the furniture. During our stay, we noticed some areas undergoing renovation, with barricades set up in certain areas. It seems the hotel is already taking steps to revamp and improve its facilities, which is promising for future guests.

Now, let’s take a tour around the hotel:

Here we have Seasonal Tastes, the main restaurant that serves all-day dining and hosts the buffet breakfast every morning. To the left, you’ll find Prego, their Italian restaurant.

MIX Lounge is the hotel’s bar/lounge/cafe located next to the lobby, where you can enjoy a cuppa or unwind with one of their signature cocktails.

Splash Pool Bar & Swimming Pool Area

24-Hour Gym

The Beach Bar serves up light bites, BBQ and seafood

The hotel organises daily activities to keep both kids and adults occupied, providing options for those seeking entertainment.

Make sure to keep an eye out for jellyfish when swimming in the sea.

That’s the Westin Desaru Coast Resort in the background.

After the IRONMAN event concluded, we made our way to the beach in the late afternoon. Previously barricaded and marked with flags for the competition, the area had now been cleared. As a result, beachgoers began to gather and enjoy the serene atmosphere by the shore.

Bountiful Breakfast Buffet Delights

The breakfast spread at Seasonal Tastes was impressive, and when it got crowded, they opened up Prego next door for seating, which was a relief; otherwise, we would have had to sit outdoors, which would have been too hot. At Prego, there was also a limited spread of salads, cold cuts, fruits, yogurt, pastries, pizza, and an egg station.

DIY Salad Bar: Freshness Guaranteed!

Having a salad for breakfast was a fun affair, as we got to snip the leaves ourselves to assemble our salad.

There was the standard Western fare like bacon, sausages, baked beans, hash browns/tater tots, and more. Behind this section was the egg station, which caused a bit of congestion as people queued for eggs while others tried to grab food from the Western section. I tried the beef bacon on the first morning, and it was just too salty. I’m not sure how one guy managed to fill up an entire plate of it, haha. However, on subsequent mornings, the bacon tasted fine.

There were also cold cuts, cheeses, different cereals, milk (dairy and non-dairy), pancakes and waffles, an assortment of bread and pastries, and a variety of spreads like Nutella, honey, maple syrup, butter, and kaya, perfect for customising your breakfast to your liking.

Making my own kaya butter toast and half-boiled eggs set 😉

Local selections included Nasi Lemak Bungkus and Nasi Kerabu with various sides and condiments, perfect for those who like rice for breakfast. Different proteins would be on rotation, such as fried fish, beef rendang and curry chicken.

Lighter Options: Congee and Live Noodle Station

For those seeking lighter options, there was plain congee available with a variety of condiments, including fried dace with salted black beans, braised peanuts, Sichuan beancurd, salted egg cubes, and pickled cucumber. Additionally, there was a live noodle station where you could customise your noodle dish.

Steamed dim sum items like siew mai, dumplings, and buns were also offered, with different flavours available every day. At the dim sum area, there was a daily rotation of fried items like fried wontons or prawn rolls, which were pretty good.

Also spotted a small selection of gluten-free bread, muffins, and cookies.

Beverage Variety: Juices, Smoothies, and Coffee

Beverages at the breakfast buffet included lots of freshly squeezed juices and freshly made smoothies. Among them, the pineapple juice stood out as a favourite, being both refreshing and not overly sweet. For coffee lovers, the coffee machine offered a variety of options like americano, mocha, latte, and cappuccino. Tea drinkers weren’t left out either, with a variety of tea bags available. Additionally, there was someone making Teh Tarik (“pulled tea”) on the spot, although it was a bit too sweet for my liking.

Trying Kacang Pool with thick toast for the first time was an interesting experience. It consisted of beans, minced mutton, and runny yolk, although I thought it might pair better with naan or rice. The Roti Canai with dhal curry stood out for its flavourful taste, making it one of the best dhal curries I’ve had.

Other highlights included the madeleine with chocolate, tapioca kueh with a good ratio of shredded tapioca, and the unique pandan croissant with kaya filling.

Macaron-looking strawberry scone in the middle. I really wished there were real macarons!

What a delightful surprise to find yogurt ice cream being served at breakfast! Both the chocolate and matcha flavours were refreshing and not overly sweet, making them the perfect treat after indulging in savoury dishes.

What I love about this hotel:

  • Polite staff always greeting us with smiles.
  • The beach has a rustic charm, and the whole area feels like the countryside—very tranquil, providing a true getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life.
  • The resort is not overly large, so it’s easy to navigate and not too far to walk to the lobby, making it convenient for us to collect our food delivery orders at the lobby drop-off area.
  • They did a commendable job at managing peak occupancy during event periods, such as IRONMAN, by starting breakfast hours early so that participating athletes could eat before the race.
  • Serving all-you-can-enjoy yogurt ice cream at breakfast—what a treat!
  • The big and spacious bathtub in our room, perfect for a relaxing soak after a long day.

What could have been better:

  • The mattress seemed to be well-used and in need of replacement. It was not very comfortable as I literally sank into it when lying down, and it didn’t offer adequate support for the back.
  • The lack of soundproofing was a downside for me, as I am a light sleeper. Even slight sounds and noises could easily wake me up.
  • The manual bidet on the toilet bowl seat didn’t aim properly, which was a bit inconvenient, haha.

But all in all, we had a fantastic time here at The Westin Desaru Coast and would not hesitate to recommend this hotel to anyone planning a trip to Desaru. Its close proximity to Singapore makes it an excellent spot for a quick weekend getaway. We’ll definitely be back for another stay!

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