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Located in a former coconut plantation near to a lagoon, the setting of the boutique Temple Tree is stunning, and it’s also just a short drive from one of the best beaches on the island.
The hotel is comprised of eight Malaysian heritage houses, with a total of 14 rooms (six of which are suites) spread between them. Each is true to its heritage, and they have all even been relocated from their original birthplaces and meticulously restored at Temple Tree. The Chinese House, for example, has come the furthest from Johor near Singapore and was originally a farmhouse; and Penang House from, well, Penang, is a colourful 1930's house with a blue and red exterior. A lick of paint has given them a modern flair and brought them into the 21st century, as is evident in the eye catching Black & White House, which has a wooden bath, small gym, and coloured windows in the living room.
The Straits Club House is a 1920s mansion originally built for a Penang Eurasian family. Today it houses the Straits Club restaurant, whose food is inspired by neighbouring Bon Ton, which has a gourmet reputation. Menus consist of five-spice roasted chicken with kaffir lime, hot and sour mango salad, and homemade puddings. There is also a definite Western influence as evident in the 'Big Breakfast', comprised of fried eggs, lamb roll, beef patty, fried potatoes and chilli jam. They do say breakfast is the most important meal of the day…
The pool is the central hub of the hotel. Sandwiched between a century old Chinese mansion (one of the villas) and a banyan tree with a small temple at its foot - hence the name of the hotel - the large pool is a great place to relax. There is also a smaller pool, more suited to a cooling dip than those early morning laps.
Away from the hotel, one of the nicest beaches on the island is just a few minutes drive away, and there are a few excellent restaurants and bars nearby. We also recommend walking through the rainforest and kayaking through the mangroves looking for birds. The Temple Tree staff know all of the best nature guides who can accompany you and share their local knowledge.
Why we love it
Temple Tree is a haven for animal lovers. There is a sanctuary founded and funded by the owners, and guests can take dogs for walks or help out at the shelter. Non-animal lovers welcome as well, although let the hotel know if you have any allergies and they'll keep the offending animal out of the way.
Holly, Original Traveller