The Kasturi Resort is a five-star beach resort located at Chendor Beach, Pahang, which commands perfect view towards the sunrise, over the forested point of Tanjong Geliga and off to the South China Sea. With rainforest behind and beach in front, the villas and suites at The Kasturi offer a superb retreat, encapsulating the reality of being embraced by land and sea. This tiny resort of just 23 keys is designed to escape city stress, without sacrificing the comforts and luxury we crave.
The resort’s 15 acres have 800 meters of beach backed by forested dunes. The site has virtually exclusive access to another kilometer of beach towards the north, right up to the estuary of Sungai Pak Siak, wonderful for dawn walks or evening runs. The estuary is a magical place where we occasionally see a family of otters basking on the banks. Sea eagles regularly swoop over our villas, and fireflies twinkle beside our walkways. The beach is famous for fishing stingray and of course for the endangered green turtles, whose eggs are safely buried in our hatchery.
The Kasturi is the finest small luxury resort along the East Coast, embraced by the gifts of nature and breezes from the South China Sea.
The resort is laid out along the beach with individual chalets, each with a private pool and deck, looking out over the beach to the sea. The chalets are reminiscent of traditional Malay architecture, but have a very modern expression of A-frame structures with roofs like folded origami. Facing the beach, and backed by the forest, this is nature at its best: you enter your door through the forest, and then come face to face with the beach as you walk across the deck.
The main building is the last structure along the elevated forest walkway, and this is where the restaurant, bar, lounge, fitness facilities, spa, meeting room and the main pool are found. Walking or riding along the elevated pathway is a real ‘tree bathing’ experience. The main building also has six suites for those who prefer to be closer to the facilities, but still want the unrestricted sea views.
We started the project by building a turtle hatchery on the beach in 2014, to compensate for the inevitable environmental damage that any development incurs. Our second objective was to stay small, to minimize the footprint on this special site, so we limited the resort to only 23 keys on 15 acres.
As with our previous project — Hotel Penaga in George Town, Penang — we opted for labour-intensive construction using local materials, in particular the rubble walls, terrazzo floors and the re-milling on site of all the recycled timber, all of which was reclaimed from old buildings. We saved small plants from the inevitable clearing, and bagged them for future use in landscaping. We saved big trees by perforating buildings. We minimized touching the ground, by elevating walkways and structures. We built tanks to save rain water from each chalet, supplying garden water and toilet flushing. We used the mountain of sawdust from our carpenters’ workshop to mulch the sandy soil. We fertilize the garden with local goat dung and we mulch all garden waste. We have solar-assisted aircon in the main building and plan to install solar panels on the car park roof in future. We sourced energy-efficient LED lights. We also buy our food from local sources as much as possible, including fish and other seafood, herbs and vegetables.