The sheer bravura of the design — 315 villas built on stilts in the Strait of Malacca
Free bikes for guests to use around the resort
Fabulous free water sports (paddleboarding, surfing, kayaking)
What To Know
Free daily shuttle service to/from Kuala Lumpur
A choice of five restaurants
The mud flats are pleasant underfoot, but they give the water a murky wash; don’t expect Caribbean clarity
Parking on site
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Palm tree–shaped overwater villa extravaganza with top-notch water sports, just over an hour from Kuala Lumpur
All 315 Balinese-style thatch-roofed villas are built on concrete stilts in the Strait of Malacca, arranged in the shape of a mammoth palm tree. The central trunk starts at the open, airy lobby and extends almost half a mile into the water, terminating at the Club House, the circular hub (home to the pool, a couple of restaurants and the spa) from which eight branches of villas fan out. The scope of the project, which took six years to complete, is mind-boggling. Guests make use of free bicycles to get around. In addition, golf carts regularly loop between the lobby and the Club House.
Bed and Bath
All villas have stained oak floors, solid teak furnishings, a generous sofa, a work desk that doubles as a TV stand, a four-poster bed, plain white walls and lofty pitched ceilings that highlight the workmanship of the roofs. Each has a spacious balcony with views of the water, rattan chairs and sometimes a full-size table. Marble bathrooms are remarkable for their restraint, and the showers' picture windows overlook the water. Family Villas have a spacious separate living area and Two-bedroom Villas feature a large master bathroom with a sunken tub, dual vanities, a study and two bedrooms. In the three-bedroom villas you'll find spacious Jacuzzi tubs, daybeds on the split-level balcony, a kitchenette, and a consummate sense of privacy, since they are located at the ends of branches 5 and 6.
The five restaurants include Perahu, which specializes in Malay seafood and has a romantic setting by the beach, and Stimbot, which serves, not surprisingly, steamboat (seafood, noodles and vegetables cooked in a tableside hot pot). Hai Sang Lou’s Cantonese dishes are remarkably light, while Sepoi Sepoi’s all-day menu includes pizza, pasta and Penang street food. Bila-Bila, in the Club House, caters to guests who don't want to stray far from the pool. The four-room spa is a classic dimmed-light, hushed-tone, corridors-lined-with-black-and-white-pebbles environment. The resort’s strongest card is the water sports center, where guests can attempt to master stand-up paddleboarding, surfing and blo-karting (three-wheeled masted carts propelled along the sand by the wind), all for free. At low tide the mud flats teem with sea life, including sand bubbler crabs scurrying into their holes. Daily bike tours take visitors through villages and past palm oil plantations.
In the Area
Extreme Park, across the road from the Golden Palm Tree, offers go-karting, archery, ATV/quad rides and paintball. About 25 minutes from the resort, the Sepang International Circuit (where the Formula 1 Grand Prix is held) is open to visitors to take a spin, though you’ll need to bring your own car. Alternatively, you can try the go-kart circuit. The village Tanjung Sepat, about 20 minutes away in the direction of Klang, is famous for its seafood joints, and also the immensely popular Hainanese steamed bun restaurant Hai Yew Heng, where six varieties of pau come filled with pork, preserved vegetables, red bean paste, coconut jam, peanut paste or vegetables. The resort also offers two free shuttle buses daily to Kuala Lumpur for anyone craving the urban life.
Avani Sepang Goldcoast Resort
No.67, Jalan Pantai Bagan Lalang
Sungai Pelek, Malaysia
How to Get There
Flights are available to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) via connecting flights from) from major U.S. cities on a variety of carriers. Transfers to/from KLIA, about 25 miles away, are approximately $39 per car, each way, and can be arranged through the property. Taxis to/from KLIA are approximately $18, each way. if you're renting a car for the transfer, free self-parking is available or valet-parking is available for an additional $5 for the first entry, $2 all subsequent entries