Chendor beach commands perfect views to the sunrise over the South China Sea and Tanjong Geliga, where the Kasturi Villas and Suites are located for a superb retreat. With the rain forest behind and the beach at the front, they encapsulate the reality of being embraced by land and sea. This tiny resort of just 19 keys is designed to escape city stress, but 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 to the north, right up to the estuary of Sungai Pak Siak, wonderful for dawn walks and runs.
This is a magical place where we occasionally see a family of otters basking on the banks. Sea eagles and fireflies are a regular sight. The beach is famous for fishing stingray and of course the green turtles, whose eggs are safely buried in our hatchery.
The Kasturi will be 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, and this is where restaurant, bar, lounges, 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 sea views.
We started the project by building the turtle hatchery 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 there are only 19 keys on 15 acres. As with our previous hotel project, the Penaga in Georgetown, 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 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 LED lights from China. We buy as much food as possible locally, fish and other seafood, herbs and vegetables. As at Rimbun Dahan, we try to offer cultural development to communities where we operate, so artists’ residencies and a gamelan orchestra are planned, and although this may not impact environmentally, it supports community.