Style Rustic-chic treehouses
Setting Jungle-covered isle
Reached only by boat, just-remote-enough Japamala Resort on tiny Tioman Island is the ultimate back-to-nature escape. Joined by a series of canopy-skimming walkways, the hotel's luxury treehouses and cliff-clinging chalets are secluded and serene, promising rainforest-ringed privacy and vertiginous vistas of the South China Sea.
Need to know
- Rooms 13 chalets, including two suites.
Double rooms from $203.36 (MYR642), excluding tax at 6 per cent.
The price shown represents the lowest nightly rate for a double room available at this hotel over the next 21 days. Any price conversions from the hotel's local currency (MYR642) have been conducted using today's exchange rates from xe.com.
- More details Rates include buffet breakfast.
- Facilities Gardens, day spa, boutique, library, free WiFi in common areas. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD player, iPod dock, minibar, Samadhi toiletries.
- Poolside There's a petite pool in a courtyard behind Tamarind restaurant, but the beachfront is currently the prime spot for splashing. A curvaceous, seaside stunner is set to open late 2012, complete with overwater cabanas and a soothing waterfall.
- Check-out Midday; check-in, 2pm.
- Children This is more of an adults' retreat – leave the smalls at home.
- Also A second pool is currently being built, with minimal disruption to guests. Be sure to check flight availability with Berjaya Air before you book your room, as these planes fill up weeks in advance.
Food and drink at Japamala Resort
Breeze-blessed Tamarind restaurant is set in an open-sided pavilion between the beach and the pool, dotted with Buddha statues, solid wooden furniture and a series of ponds (mind your step!). Authentic Thai and Vietnamese dishes are the stars here, including zesty salads and lip-smacking seafood curries. Bountiful breakfasts and virtuous juices are also served. At the end of the jetty, Mandi-Mandi deals in classic Italian fare, such as pasta, pizza and steak.
- Dress code During the day, simply slip your sarong over your swimwear. Things aren't too fancy at night, either, with jewelled sandals and sundresses for the gals, and cotton shirts for the guys.
- Top table We liked the laid-back elegance of the overwater perches at Mandi-Mandi, cabana-style tables that jut out over the sea. For a more look-at-me locale, ask staff to set up a torch-lit table on the beach.
- Last orders Japamala isn't a late-night lush... expect things to wrap up around 10pm.
- Room service No, but there is a minibar stocked with snacks and wine.
There's a little lounge in the Tamarind pavilion, overlooking the pool, or pop over to Mandi-Mandi for a freshly shaken fruit cocktail and chilled tunes. You can also order drinks in the cushioned salas down on the beach, which are perfectly placed to take in the sunset.
Japamala Resort Kampung Lanting, 86800 Palau Tioman, Tioman Island
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Smith extra at Japamala Resort
Javanese massage for two, plus a Japamala gift
In the know
Our favourite rooms
With a day-bed cantilevered out over the ocean, the views from Seaview Chalet 16 take some beating. If privacy is your priority, plump for the Seaview Sarang, which has a cool waterfall pool, courtyard Jacuzzi and a secluded sun-deck.
Leave the sarong at home – there are colourful batik wraps to borrow in your room. Be sure to stash some hard-core insect repellent – the sandflies here are vicious.
You'll need to be an early riser to nab one of the three cushioned cabanas that line the beach, but latecomers aren't left out: staff will happily spread sunloungers and bamboo mats on the sand.