8 Best Beach Resorts In Desaru From $46 That’ll Give Bali’s Hotels A Run For Their Money

Best Desaru resorts

With the school holidays just around the corner, picking a suitable destination can be a tough choice especially when there are tons of options to choose from. But if you’re looking for a short getaway, Desaru Coast in Johor is a fairly convenient choice. 

Since the destination is known for its sandy beaches and coastal views, here are 8 best Desaru resorts to choose from when you’re planning your vacation. We’ve also ranked each place for families with kids and couples to help you make the best possible choice. 

1. Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas – Outdoor movies 4 nights a week

When it comes to cosy vibes at a beachside resort, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas is one of the top choices in the area. With unique offerings when it comes to the rooms and the activities, this place is worth visiting for both couples and families. 

All the rooms, from the standard Premier Room (from RM891, ~S$273) to the top-of-the-line Deluxe Sea View Corner Room (from RM1,283, ~S$392), have balconies of their own. You’ll be able to go outside and enjoy the view of the sea. 

This One Bedroom Lagoon Pool Villa (from RM3,847, ~S$1,177) has its own private entrance. 

The resort has small villas that are 2 storeys tall, where the first level is a sitting area and the second level is a bedroom. There’s also a private plunge pool that is shielded by a row of trees which offers privacy for families or couples looking for some alone time.

But Anantara’s most appealing aspect is the fact that the entire resort is located right in front of the beach, which is privately owned by the resort. This means that it won’t be as crowded as a public beach. 

There are amenities like beach volleyball courts, and an infinity pool. There’s also a restaurant and beach bar, complete with alfresco seating. The Sea.Fire.Salt restaurant serves a hearty selection of Surf and Turf, while the Infinity Bar can whip up tropical drinks like Mojitos (RM38, ~S$11.53) to go with your meal. 

If you fancy doing some cycling to explore the rest of the coast, borrow the complimentary bicycles that can be found scattered across the compound. When the sun sets, return to the resort for a night of movies under the stars with their outdoor movie screenings that take place every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 

Kid-friendly ranking: 3/5
Couple-friendly ranking: 5/5

Book a stay at Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas

Address: Persiaran Pantai, Desaru Coast, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia
Contact: +60 7-828 0888 | Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas website

2. Sands & Sandals – Duplex units with kiddy themed rooms

Image credit: Sands & Sandals Desaru Beach Resort & Spa

Sands & Sandals Desaru Beach Resort & Spa takes things a step further by having dedicated family and couple rooms with special amenities. 

Image adapted from: Sand & Sandals, Sand & Sandals

Rooms like the Family Suite (from RM1,100, ~S$333.65) make use of the duplex layout to create a kids themed room on the lower level with colourful wall motifs and boat beds we secretly wished we could also sleep on. This arrangement allows parents to enjoy their privacy on the upper floor while the children indulge in their personal play space down below. 

Image adapted from: Sand & Sandals, Sand & Sandals

The Couple Suite (from RM1,650, ~S$500.48) on the other hand, offers a full-sized living room on the lower level while the top level houses a cabana-style bed. They even have a bathtub on a private terrace that overlooks the beach – you and bae can soak in it while enjoying the view. 

Don’t worry, there are plenty of wooden shutters to shield you from any prying eyes when you’re enjoying your tub time. 

Image credit: Desaru Fruit Farm

The hotel is situated in a convenient spot as well, with the Desaru Fruit Farm just 12 minutes away by car. They organise different tours like an ATV day tour (RM75, ~S$22.75) around the farm where you can appreciate some locally grown produce and take a fruit box back for yourself.

Kid-friendly ranking: 5/5
Couple-friendly ranking: 3/5

Book a stay at Sands & Sandals Desaru Beach Resort & Spa

Address: Jalan Desaru Desaru, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia
Contact: +60 7-822 2222 | Sands & Sandals Desaru Beach Resort & Spa website

3. Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast- Music-themed resort

The Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast is the best option for families that are planning to spend their weekend at Adventure Waterpark, located right next door. 

There are 7 different types of rooms to choose from, ranging from a comfy Superior Room with Twin Beds (RM665/night, ~ S$204.38) to the top-of-the-line Rock Star Suite (RM10,075/night, ~S$3,096.41). All the rooms have an airy, tropical vibe that offers a clear view of the waterpark and its attractions from the balcony.

Guests can look forward to perks like an underwater music pool and a kid’s club that is open from 7am to 9pm daily, the perfect place to leave your children for some R&R

For RM25/child (~S$7.67) per hour, kids aged 4 to 14 years can watch movies, do arts and crafts with a teacher, and even play games on the PS4 or the VR Set in the IT room. 

There’s a dedicated entrance to Adventure Waterpark located on the first floor.

Hotel guests get a 37% discount on waterpark tickets with Malaysian citizens paying RM75/pax (~S$23.08) and non-citizens paying RM110/pax (~$33.85). And if you’re looking to visit other places around the coast, there’s a free shuttle bus service that comes every 20 minutes.

Kid-friendly ranking: 5/5
Couple-friendly ranking: 3.5/5

Book a stay at Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast. 

Address: Jalan Pantai 3, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia
Contact: +60 7-838 8888 | Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast website

4. The Westin Desaru Coast Resort – Private beach with water sports

The Westin Desaru Coast Resort is another option for families who want to visit Adventure Waterpark since it’s located directly opposite Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast. The hotel also has other perks like a private beach and watersports available to guests. 

The Westin gives off Hawaiian vibes and has an air of luxury about it.
Image credit: The Westin Desaru Coast Resort

The Deluxe Guest Room (from RM930, ~S$282.09) is both affordable and lavish with a King bed or 2 Queen Beds depending on your family’s needs. 

Image credit: The Westin Desaru Coast Resort

Outside of the rooms, guests can look forward to taking a dip at the resort’s pool that overlooks the lawn, or walk 5 minutes across the lawn to the private beach where the Beach Bar is at. 

It’s known for its freshly grilled seafood, like their Crumble Fish & Chips (RM55, ~$S16.62) and cocktails, like Mai Tais (RM38, ~S$11.49) which you can enjoy at the outdoor dining area. The nearby deck chairs are also a good place for parents relax while the kids start making sandcastles. 

Try not to have lunch before going on the water rides. 

The beach is also where DASH Outdoors is situated, the go-to company for all things watersports. They run a variety of activities that help inject some heart-pumping fun into your vacation, such as kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. There are even thrilling high speed water rides like the Banana Boat for the daredevils who aren’t satisfied with normal watersports. 

It’s tough to head back into a studio once you’ve tried Shavasana by the sea. 

Once you’re done with the exhilarating watersports, balance that out with some zen and calming outdoor yoga. It’s held every Saturday at 6pm and Sunday at 7am, at the beach or the garden where an instructor will go through a series of poses to help relax your body. 

Kid-friendly ranking: 4/5
Couple-friendly ranking: 4/5

Book a stay at The Westin Desaru Coast Resort

Address: Jalan Pantai 3, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia
Contact: +60 7-838 3333 | The Westin Desaru Coast Resort website

5. Amerald Resort Hotel – ATV rides along the beach

Image credit: Amerald Resort Hotel

Located on the quiet side of Jalan Kampung Punggai Desaru is Amerald Resort Hotel, which is good if you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of popular holiday destinations. 

Rooms are spacious and cosy while offering unrestricted garden or ocean views.
Image credit: Amerald Resort Hotel

The standard Superior King Room (from RM229, ~S$69.46) is perfect for couples on a budget but still want a taste of luxury. The Deluxe Twin Room (from RM400, ~S$121.33) would be a better fit for families since there’s more space in the room and separate beds for the kids. 

Activities like ATV rides and Go Karting cost RM50/pax (~S$15.17), which is affordable.
Image adapted from: Amerald Resort Hotel, @ameraldresort

Aside from the usual amenities like a pool and gym, Emerald Resort Hotel also has more exciting offerings like an 18-rope high elements course and a 100m-long zipline. 

Go-karting within the hotel compound is a popular option and so are ATV rides along the beach. Don’t forget to stop by a set of white swings for pictures or to simply plonk down to watch the sunset in a serene environment. 

Kid-friendly ranking: 3/5
Couple-friendly ranking: 4/5

Book a stay at Amerald Resort Hotel

Address: Lot 1231, Jalan Kampung Punggai, Sungai Rengit, 81600 Pengerang, Johor, Malaysia
Contact: +60 7-824 3000 | Amerald Resort Hotel website

6. One&Only Desaru Coast – Luxurious villas with private pools

One&Only Desaru Coast is the place to go if you aspire to stay in the picturesque hotels that influencers are always posting about. With 44 rooms spread across 128 acres of land, it’s definitely gonna offer more privacy compared to other resorts – perfect if you and bae need a little alone time.  

The hotel is sandwiched between lush forestry and a pristine beach – so you can take your pick of views when it comes to the rooms. 

For those looking for a good view of the beach, the Ocean Front Junior Suite (from RM 3,114, ~S$953.43) is a good choice – alternatively, go for the Ocean Grand Suite (from RM 3244, ~S$993.23) if you want a small private pool.

The Rainforest Junior Suite (from RM2,756, ~S$843.82) that comes with a private butler and small pool will suit the nature lovers better as it’s completely surrounded by trees on all sides. 

Image credit: One&Only Resorts

And if you’re looking to live it up Crazy Rich Asians style, you can book Villa One (from RM26,800, ~S$8,201.37), the most premium option in One&Only. A 27m lap pool and private spa are just some of the things you can expect in this opulent oceanfront villa. 

And since there are multiple rooms, it’s great for large groups or families who can split the cost and share all that the villa has to offer. 

One&Only resort also has its own private beach club called Ember Beach Club. It serves  Asian-inspired barbeque cuisine that is artisanal and flavourful like the Woodfire Conit Free Range Chicken (RM80, ~S$24.48).

There’s a 50m infinity pool for guests to swim in and a hidden swing chair, making it a good place to sit down and watch the sunset. 

Kid-friendly ranking: 2/5
Couple-friendly ranking: 5/5

Book a stay at One&Only Desaru Coast resort. 

Address: Darul Ta’zim, Persiaran Damai, Desaru Coast Bandar Penawar, 90, 81930, Johor, Malaysia
Contact: +60 7-878 3400 | One&Only Desaru Coast website

7. Lotus Desaru Beach Resort – Spacious apartment-style rooms

Image credit: Lim Poh Chin

Lotus Desaru Beach Resort & Spa is one of the newer hotels in the area. Still, they have plenty to offer, like a mini water park within the compound. 

Image credit: Lotus Desaru Beach Resort & Spa

The rooms take on more of a service apartment layout, with a kitchenette and a dining area. There are also amenities like a microwave and a medium-sized refrigerator, which makes it suitable for long term stays. 

Rooms here are spacious and you can choose from 1 (RM400, ~S$121.33), 2 (RM500, ~S$151.66), 3 (RM600, ~S$181.99) or 4 (RM1,800, ~S$545.98) bedrooms. All categories have private balconies that overlook the swimming pool and the lawn, making it a good place to enjoy your morning coffee. 

Image adapted from: Lotus Desaru Beach Resort & Spa, Lotus Desaru Beach Resort & Spa

The resort has its own Splash Park which is a miniature water park located inside the resort. Kids can let loose at multiple pools for guests of all ages, a lazy river, a water playground with a slide, and a giant bucket that dunks water every few minutes. 

The time has come to deliver some pew pews.
Image credit: Lotus Desaru Beach Resort & Spa

If you prefer just lazing on the beach, it’s situated right behind the hotel, accessible through a private entrance. Besides that, there are other activities like paintball and combat archery for a little bit of friendly competition. 

Kid-friendly ranking: 3/5
Couple-friendly ranking: 2/5

Book a stay at Lotus Desaru Beach Resort & Spa

Address: Lot 1854, Jalan Desaru, Bandar Penawar, 81930 Kota Tinggi, Johor Darul Ta’zim, Malaysia
Contact: +60 7-884 2800 | Lotus Desaru Beach Resort & Spa

8. Bayu Balau Beach Resort – Chalet-style accommodations

Image credit: @kejora_development_holding

Bayu Balau Beach Resort is an incredibly budget-friendly option that offers roomy chalets for comfy family stays. It’s also the place to go if you’re really looking to spend your vacation to just chill by the beach.

Image credit: Bayu Balau Beach Resort

Those who feel more comfortable in a modern hotel setting can choose a Standard Queen Room (from RM250, ~S$75.83) or a Family Deluxe Room (from RM330, ~S$100.10). But if you’re interested in trying alternative housing, the Fisherman Concept Chalet is the perfect choice. 

Image credit: Bayu Balau Beach Resort

These cabins are similar to the ones found in Changi except there’s no fencing that obstructs your view and access to the sea. The cost of booking a Chalet cabin for 2 is RM150 (~S$45.50) while the Family Room that can fit 3 people is RM260 (~S$78.86)

You can also choose to upgrade your chalet to more luxurious cabins like the Superior (RM190, ~S$57.63) cabin that has 2 levels and looks more like a rustic beach house. 

Image credit: @pedangtakdir

Keeping to the traditional fishing kampung theme, fishing from Tanjung Balau Jetty is one of the top things to do there. Once you’ve reeled in the catch of the day, you can pay RM150 (~S$45.50) to cook a scrumptious dinner at a DIY BBQ pit from 6pm-10pm daily.

Kid-friendly ranking: 2/5
Couple-friendly ranking: 2/5

Address: Kampung Nelayan Tanjung Balau, 81930 Bandar Penawar, Johor, Malaysia
Contact: +60 7-828 0480 | Bayu Balau Beach Resort website

Escape the city bustle at these Desaru resorts

A blue ocean view combined with soothing greenery can be a great reprieve from staring at 4 walls on most days, which is why beach resorts are popular holiday destinations. And since Desaru Coast is only 90 minutes away by boat, it’s the perfect place for a short getaway if you’re looking for sun, sand, and surf.   

For more travel-related articles, check out:

Cover image adapted from: One&Only Resorts, Sand & Sandals, Bayu Balau Beach Resort
Photography by Poh Jin Ron.

Brendan Yee

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