Prior to the pandemic, I didn’t even know Desaru Coast is located at which state… or country for that matter. It was during the first opening of state boarders a couple years ago that I got to learn about this coastal town of Johor being quite a popular tourist destination, with a few world class hotels offering relaxing times for locals and international travelers alike.
A few weeks ago, we got to experience just that from an invitation by Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast for a 3 day 2 night staycation.
In this post I’ll talk about a few aspects about the hotel, food, and some activities/perks available at this establishment.
We checked ourselves into Rock Suite for our stay. The checking in process was done at the Rock Royalty Lounge as part of the privilege.
The suite is over 1000 square feet and is basically like a luxurious one room condo that’s without a kitchen or laundry area. You can pretty much host a party of over half a dozen people at the living area. Interior was tastefully decorated, and most importantly, with music filling up the entire suite.
There’s also a coffee machine, mini bar, shower, bath tub, Bose sound system, and two smart TVs that’s intelligent enough for in-demand movies, music, and even to order for room service (more on that later.)
After a bit of R&R in the room, we head to The Elephant and the Butterfly restaurant for our first meal at Hard Rock Desaru.
The outdoor restaurant is situated by the pool, with a relaxing ambiance perfect for winding down the day after the 4 hour drive from KL earlier.
The menu carries a Mexican flair (perhaps Tex-Mex?) with a selection of cocktail, mocktail, wine, beer, spirits, and even juices to choose from.
We had mocktails, including Pink October (for breast cancer awareness), and a couple of starters in Deep Fried Shrimps & Jalapeño Guacamole with tortilla chips. Great way to open up the appetite, the shrimps were crispy outside and tender within, excellent.
For our main courses, we had a couple of beef dishes in Frijoles Con Veneno (RM 160) & Campesina (RM 180), or Angus Tenderloin and Wagyu Rib Eye.
My oh my, both versions were super excellent. The tenderloin were over one inch thick and perfectly seared, I had it mostly just as is even though the accompanying sauce was rather nice. The wagyu were as you’d expect with any high grade Blackmore wagyu, tender and melt in your mouth kinda deal, Jean loved it. To me though, the mouth feel of old school tenderloin is something that wagyu can’t replicate. Superb dinner.
Breakfast was at the convenience of Rock Royalty Lounge, with a slightly smaller spread but much comfier setting.
After that we were picked up by the good people at Junglewalla for the Sungai Lebam River Cruise.
Sungai Lebam is a 15 minute’s ride away from the hotel. We then went onboard on a boat for a two hour tour of the mangrove ecosystem. We spotted monkeys, a variety of birds including king fisher, monitor lizards, crabs, and got a whole lot of education from our guide Shahrool about the local wild life & the different mangrove trees.
Quite a fascinating experience, and we certainly learned a lot about nature over the tour.
Yes, we’ve became the type of people who actually workout while on holiday. And for this I’m grateful that Hard Rock Hotel packs a fully equipped gym – Body Rock, with the most advanced treadmill that I’ve ever seen. In fact, you can even watch Youtube or Netflix while running, what a concept!
Then it was time to refuel after a good run, we headed back to The Elephant & the Butterfly after being impressed with dinner the night before.
For lunch, we had Colossal Garlic Scilla (Tiger Prawns, RM 140) and Bacalao (Cod Fish, RM 120). We did favor the cod over prawns, but both seafood dishes were competent and rather satisfying. I thought the sauce accompanying the fish was particularly flavorful.
Next on the agenda on day two was what Jean most looked forward to – a visit to Rock Spa.
I have to admit, while being a somewhat regular patronage of massage places (especially whenever I’m in Thailand), this was the first time I’ve stepped foot in a 5 star hotel spa, I didn’t know what would be the differences.
Well, other than the serene and luxurious setting, what I was most impressed with was the skills of the therapist I was assigned to. The “serenity massage” was so good and relaxing I actually fell asleep towards the end, a first for me.
As one of the perks of staying at the Rock Suite, we have access to the Rock Royalty Lounge’s evening cocktail session. There’s a selection of cocktail, mocktail, beer, wine, and food (enough probably for entire meal if you’re a small eater).
We had a couple glasses of wine, some small bites and baked goods. Perfect follow up after Rock Spa.
We decided to stay in for the night and ordered room service (since our suite came with a living hall & dining table, so why not?).
Ordering was actually done via TV remote controller, it was fast, simple, and hassle free. A call from the kitchen came a minute later for confirmation, and that was it! I didn’t even know such technology exists.
We had seared king salmon & yet another beef dish in-room before retiring to the bed for some quality Zzz.
After breakfast at Rock Royalty Lounge, we decided to check out the infinity pool and had a bit of a morning swim. There’s also a water spa area with strong water jets if you’re into having water assisted back massage. Also, since the pool is right next to The Elephant & the Butterfly, you do get to access to the full menu to be enjoyed while being semi naked, your call.
After the swim and prior to checking out of our room, we took the opportunity to partake in the free Hard Rock memorabilia tour. This was a one hour tour on Hard Rock Hotel’s rock star memorabilia collections. The tour is actually available at pretty much all Hard Rock properties, and it’s basically like a museum tour, but for rock star stuff! There were items from Lady Gaga, Amy Search, No Doubt, Tim Skold, The Who, and more, ranging from items of clothing, lyrics, drums, and even guitars.
Time flies when you’re having fun.. it was time to bid goodbye to Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast after a pretty awesome 3 Days 2 Nights much needed staycation. Thank you Hard Rock for the experience, certainly hope to be back again in the future.