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Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat Review

8.31.2015

this is my 4th time here! still love this lil' heaven

Did you know there's this heavenly hotsprings retreat 2 hours away from Kuala Lumpur called The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat? Yes I'm not kidding and I have been to this sanctuary to escape my city life 4 times since I saw the advertisement in The Star Newspaper back in 2010. It is an ideal place to come to relax and switch off from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. A sanctuary that creates the stress free environment to forget about all of life's worries. If you need to get away from everything and treat yourself for a few days or a weekend then I recommend Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat as the perfect choice of destination for you. I felt as if I was in a little slice of paradise only a couple of hours from my doorstep - ask yourself how many other places do you know that can offer this?

A lil' bit introduction about Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat who recently won the TripAdvisor 2015 Traveller's Choice Award. The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat is nestled in a 16.19-acre valley, cradled by 260 million-year old towering Paleozoic limestone hills, verdant rainforest, rejuvenating geothermal hot springs, natural caves and cascading waterfalls. Your getaway to regain balance and rediscover your sense of true self, this unique hideaway is designed to luxuriate in, with therapeutic value in mind.

Housing 25 Garden and Water villas, a pampering Spa and Wellness Centre and a host of retreat experiences combined for ultimate seclusion and bliss. Restore what life takes from your body and soul as you dip into the Geothermal Hot Springs Dipping Pools, or stare and be overwhelmed by the near-vertical rock formations around the retreat. Perhaps take a relaxing stroll through the jungle to breathe in the sights of rarity. Otherwise, simply immerse in a state of enlightenment and inner peace in the Meditation Cave.

Interesting facts about The Banjaran:
  • Electric buggies as a mode of transport for guests
  • Use of geothermal hot springs water for private villa Jacuzzi, Geothermal Hot Springs Dipping Pools, Garra Rufa Doctor Fish Pool, swimming pool and manual irrigation system for the landscape
  • Recycled wood, deadwood and driftwood as decorative items
  • Local vegetation and fruit trees for the freshest servings of healthy delights
  • Locally-made natural skincare range used in spas (free from artificial perfume, colouring, preservatives or harmful chemicals)
  • Use of ceramic containers instead of plastic for personal care amenities
  • Eco-labelled printing paper and recycled paper
The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat is an exclusive haven who only welcome adults and guests above 12 years of age.


    me sounding the gong before entering, it's a tradition here

welcome to the Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat

the hotsprings amongst the lush limestone hills

the steam cave above the hotsprings
(natural hot steam to awaken your senses)

the geothermal hotsprings dipping pods

surrounded by aged old limestone hills

the swimming pool, the natural hotsprings

you can hear soothing music around the swimming pool

the perfect place to read a book & enjoy the scenery

I felt like I was a million miles away from home when I was relaxing in the tranquil isolated surroundings of the geothermal hot springs dipping pools and the meditation cave. Any aches or pains that my body had before seemed to disappear pretty quickly when I set foot in the jacuzzi-style dipping pools and I felt my mind feeling a little lighter and carefree when I entered the meditation cave. As you can see from my pictures, the view from within the meditation cave when it is all lit up is truly breathtaking - I'm sure you guys will all agree that it wouldn't be hard to get motivated to meditate or participate in a yoga class in such a dramatic and inspirational environment, right?  

If you feel a little energetic you can go for a 30 min jungle walk through the forests of the lost world of Tambun where you can find flora and fauna, waterfalls and mysterious caves...sounds adventurous and exciting right? For all the gym rats out there don't worry there is a modern design fitness centre with a full range of quality fitness and training equipment to work off all the delicious tasty healthy food on offer at the retreat's all day restaurant, Pomelo. If you are brave and daring enough like me to plunge into the freezing ice bath, you will be rewarded with increased circulation throughout your body and a reduction in blood pressure. Overlooking the crystal clear geothermal hot springs water, lies the Thermal steam cave (Steam Cave Spa), which has a soothing, relaxing and detoxifying natural sauna.

A lover of rocks and caves? Go on a cave exploration in Banjaran as you discover the many years of beauty inside and out of these wonderful mysterious secrets of the Tambun. I would recommend taking a stroll down Jeff's Cellar with a glass of wine in your hands. Enjoy the amphitheater music surrounding the cave, echoing throughout every inch of the magnificent curvatures of one of the treasures of Tambun.

So, as you can see, there are so many health benefits in choosing to stay at Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat. The facilities are awesome you want for nothing because every one of your needs are taken care of. I felt like a VIP with the way the staff and managers treated me during my stay I can't speak highly enough of the friendly, professional and courteous service. They made me feel like I was in a home away from home.


10 THINGS TO DO IN BANJARAN


1. GEOTHERMAL HOT SPRINGS DIPPING POOLS
Relieve stressed muscles and tired joints. Enjoy a relaxing soak in the natural Jacuzzi-style dipping pools containing fresh hot water from the three million litres that billows up daily from the ground below.
2. THERMAL STEAM CAVE (Steam Cave Spa)
Seek solace in this cave with a platform overlooking a body of crystal clear geothermal hot springs water. Indulge in its natural sauna for a restorative therapy to soothe, relax and detoxify.

3. ICE BATH (Ice Bath Spa Treatment)
Elevate your state of health by plunging into the freezing ice bath which helps improve blood circulation, reduce blood pressure and strengthen the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.

4. MEDITATION CAVE
With calming temperatures and the absence of external sounds and interruptions, focus your mind in silence for complete relaxation and contemplation in the natural granite and limestone Meditation Cave.

5. CRYSTAL CAVE
Restore and balance your natural life force energy in a crystal cave with amethyst and quartz crystals that facilitate metaphysical healing. This cave is perfect for a session of Reiki.

6. GARRA RUFA DOCTOR FISH POOL
Dip your legs and feel the tingling yet relaxing sensation of exotic Garra Rufa fish. This therapy is a natural form of exfoliation and relaxation, eliminating dead skin cells and rejuvenating the skin.
 Explore Malaysia Jungle Walk

7. JUNGLE WALK
Explore and appreciate unique flora and fauna, cascading waterfalls and mysterious caves as you embark on a leisurely half-hour jungle-trek through the deep limestone hill forest of the Lost World of Tambun.

8. FITNESS CENTRE
Spacious with a relaxed atmosphere, you will enjoy a satisfying workout in the modern fitness centre which accommodates the latest movements with a full range of quality fitness and training machines.
 The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat Facilities Malaysia

9. FREEFORM SWIMMING POOL
Created over the natural hot springs bed, the outdoor mineral-rich geothermal-heated swimming pool invites you to simply relax in its healing waters, or swim up to the pool bar to sip on refreshing beverages.

10. SPA & WELLNESS
Restore life and soul into your exhausted self with a choice of over 40 Asian holistic treatments and therapies offered for the full relaxation of the body and rejuvenation of the mind.

my Garden Villa *screams*


the plunging pool is a sight to behold

could just laze around whole day relaxing next to my pool

the hot tub with hotspring water at the backyard

his & hers wash basins
(you know you're in heaven when you have your own basins)

the beautifully crafted fan, reminds me of Bali

luxury comfort for a good night's sleep

    study desk overlooking the garden



everything put into place, perfect pieces of the surroundings

There are 2 types of villa - Garden (set within secluded tropical gardens overlooking the lush rainforest) and Water villas (which rest on the banks of a water canal and feature an indoor plunge pool). I stayed in one of the Garden villas which was very spacious and came with a luxurious master suite equipped with a 40" LCD TV that included a 7' king sized bed for an extra comfy good nights sleep. There is also free WI-FI throughout the villa and the added bonus of a private butler service. I particularly liked the layout of the villa which included an outdoor terrace with a plunge pool and a natural geothermal hot springs water filled Jacuzzi all to myself.

taking a stroll along the river banks

admiring the beautiful flora around the retreat

calm serenity, perfect weather, lush grenery

     a great place for photography

    the water villas at the river bank


the all-day organic restaurant, Pomelo

                                           has outdoor verandas above the river bank

truly romantic at night for a candle light dinner

the indoor dining area, fresh air, plenty of sunlight

carefully put together menu by Chef Felix Eppisser (Culinary Director)

upon being seated, you're presented with cool towels, cold drinks
and hearty freshly baked organic bread

Udang Galah Panggang Kuah Percik RM60
(grilled local fresh water lobster, sweet & spicy
coconut cream, seasonal vegetables)

served with steam fragrant rice

The Banjaran Treasure Garden Salad RM28
(with chef's choice dressing)

Prawn with Kaffir Lime & Green Mango RM32
(green mango salad, carrot strips, chilli, ginger, lime)

Warm Chocolate Fondant
with mix berries & white coffee ice-cream

Pomelo Dessert RM28
(caramelised lemon parfait with pomelo & kaffir lime leaves)

This is the retreat's all-day health restaurant "Pomelo", named after Ipoh's famous fruit - Pomelo. The restaurant's menu is creatively crafted by Culinary Director Felix Eppisser whom I personally had the pleasure of meeting during my stay at Banjaran. He introduces a colourful palette of inventive dishes avoiding the typical classic tastes with a combination of senses that awakens your tongue. I was pleasantly surprise by the use of fruits, flowers from Banjaran in his dishes. His cooking style is inspired by Malaysia, South-East-Asia with a touch of European cooking.


waterfall yoga in Banjaran


nature trail around Banjaran


the Meditation Cave
(daily yoga sessions available upon request)

Banjaran is essentially a health & wellness retreat


sundown in Banjaran


serenity sets and the beauty of the night emerges

Dinner at The Pomelo, 3-course meal RM120

Amuse-Bouche

Tuna Carparccio
(honey and lime dressing, mandarin, capers berry & micro green)

Angus beef with truffelsauce
(Mashed potatoes & vegetables from Cameron Highlands)

Pomelo Dessert
(caramelised lemon parfait with pomelo & kaffir lime leaves)

Warm Chocolate Fondant
with mix berries & white coffee ice-cream

Friandises & mignardises

Having been to Banjaran in the past, I was surprised to the new change in menu, it's food presentation and creative use of ingredients in its dishes. The introduction of Amuse-bouche and Friandises & mignardises into it's dining menu, was exciting. Amuse-bouche "mouth amuser" is a single, bite size hors d'oeuvre created by the chef and cannot be found in the menu. It is often accompanied by or to compliment wine, offering guests a glimpse of the chef's approach to the art of cuisine.

I particularly love the dessert creations at Pomelo. They were fun, interesting and deliciously refreshing. The warm chocolate fondant was my favourite, with oozing chocolate from the core and homemade Ipoh white coffee ice-cream. The combination of bitter, sweet and a taste of Ipoh made this dessert sinfully captivating. Just when I thought my dinner course was over, the waiter presented one dish, called the Friandises and Mignardises. Mignardises are small sweet meats / savouries accompanying coffee after a meal while Friandises are large bites of sweets. Definitely a perfect end to my dinner. I adjourned to Jeff's Cellar to admire the splendid wonder of Tambun before going back to my villa.


Jeff's Cellar

 
     dawn in Banjaran

daily breakfast buffet at Pomelo





a hearty breakfast in the morning in Banjaran

The epitome of a luxury private getaway can be said of the Banjaran. It's one of the lil' pleasures in life I partake in every year just to indulge myself. I tell my friends, once you go into Banjaran, you'll never come out. With so many relaxing health and wellness activities and if you're interested in wellness programs cater to your long stay you can find it on www.thebanjaran.com. I'll update my review on the Balinese massage at their Spa & Wellness centre. My first few visits here left me with lil impression of their massages but this trip, changed it all. Impressed by the change, I'll update my review soon here again.

Kudos to the Culinary Director Felix Eppisser and his partner in crime, wife and also the Director of Banjaran Luccia Eppiser for this remarkable lift of the Banjaran. I have the pleasure of meeting the power couple during dinner and have shared to them  about my thoughts on Banjaran from my first visit in 2011 and recently now. I hope to see Banjaran win yet another award for being the best health and wellness getaway in Malaysia.

The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat
1 Persiaran Lagun Sunway 3,
31500 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
contact: +6 05 210 7777

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