Another staycation in Kuantan! One of the few good things to come out during this time (of the pandemic) is that I got to spend lots of time back in my hometown with my family… and explore Pahang’s capital city that I never found the time to re-discover since I left to Kuala Lumpur more than 20 years ago. This time, I was off to a staycation slightly out of the city centre to a luxurious resort surrounded by nature — the Mangala Resort and Spa Kuantan. I’m writing this post a little later after my visit in December 2020.
Mangala Resort and Spa Kuantan, Pahang
The Mangala Resort and Spa is located in Gambang, about 30km from Kuantan town. Coming from Kuala Lumpur (on an approximately 2.5-hour drive), the resort is just a couple of minutes away from the East Coast Highway’s Gambang toll exit. What I love about the resort is that it is integrated with nature — so it is just greenery all around, with its wetlands and huge lake in the middle of the resort. After all, this eco-friendly resort is actually lying on an abandoned mining area that was laid barren by more than 70 years of mining.
I was actually really curious about the name Mangala; and during my stay, I found out that it is actually a Sanskrit word that means “auspicious well-being”. And the resort truly lives up to its name — it offers its guests a luxurious retreat to rest, relax and rejuvenate in the arms of mother nature.
The Mangala Resort Experience
I was visiting the resort from the town of Kuantan — so it was a half hour drive to the resort. A guardhouse at the entrance confirmed our reservation; and there was a designated carpark in the resort right next to the lobby. Check-in was relatively simple and straight-forward… our luggage was handled for us, and within no time we were ushered into the resort buggy and whisked to our villa.
The resort is really huge, and because all the villas are dotted all around the vicinity — so the most convenient way to travel around is by buggy. It was pretty easy to get one from the lobby, hail a passing one while walking around the resort grounds, or call for one from the villa. However, I still preferred walking around the resort on foot; pushing my baby Ava in her stroller while introducing her to the world around her (Ava was 3 months old during our visit to Mangala Resort, and due to the pandemic lockdown, had been indoors for most of her life). And it was also nice to breathe in fresh air and be in the midst of nature too!
The Amani Pool Villa
During our visit to the Mangala Resort and Spa, we stayed at the Amani Pool Villa. These villas come with a private saltwater plunge pool, and are the latest addition to Mangala’s luxury villas. We loved our villa’s beautifully designed contemporary interior — and it came with luxurious facilities like a King-sized bed; a spacious bathroom with a rain shower and a standalone bathtub; a lounge area with a sofa and television; and a poolside balcony with a sun-lounger. Basic facilities include coffee and tea making facilities, a refrigerator, bathrobes, and bathroom amenities. There was a lovely basket of local tropical fruits (grown in the resort) waiting for us upon our arrival, and at night we had turn-down service too. And the resort also found out that we were celebrating Ava’s 100 Days during our visit — and sent us a yummy chocolate cake. Such wonderful hospitality and attention to detail!
The Amani Pool Villas are a single villa divided into two separate guest rooms; with some units having interconnecting doors. The villas are located on a slightly terraced land within the resort, and built around a small orchard of mangoes and the popular Musang King durian trees. We enjoyed a nice evening walk along the winding lane that connects the villas, while trying to spot these tropical trees!
Other Villas at the Resort
Other than the Amani Pool Villas, there are many other types of villas spread out within the resort that can suit any kind of traveler (or staycationer). For the birdwatchers, the Sara Cottage overlooks the wetlands — where you can spot some of the 100 species of birds found at the resort. For those looking for a beautiful view to while the day away, look no further than the Jala Villa that is set over the resort’s main lake. And if you’re looking to feel like you’re living in seclusion in the middle of the forest, the Vana Villa is the perfect choice. There’s also a 6-bedroom bungalow at the resort that can accommodate a huge group for up to 20 people.
I would definitely love to return to Mangala Resort again to try out these different types of villas, for a different sorta staycation experience.
The Lakeside Restaurant
During our 3 days 2 nights stay at the Mangala Resort and Spa; we enjoyed our meals in the room, and also at the resort’s Lakeside Restaurant. The restaurant offers an all-day-dining experience, including the delicious buffet breakfast spread in the morning. We really enjoyed the Lakeside Restaurant’s lunch and dinner a la carte selection (we had in-room service too) — I especially liked the Beef Burger and had it a few times during my stay! There has recently been an update in the restaurant menu, and now include the chef’s signature local and international dishes like Oxtail Asam Pedas, Braised Australian Lamb Shank and Smoked Salmon Spaghetti.
Just like its name suggests, Mangala Resort’s Lakeside Restaurant is situated by the resort’s huge lake — so you can enjoy a lovely view while dining. During our stay, I invited my family over for a meal to enjoy the scrumptious food while basking in the resort’s tranquil atmosphere.
The Mangala Resort and Spa has many of the essential facilities to ensure a relaxing getaway — the infinity pool that merges into the surrounding landscape overlooking the huge lake; the gym that also overlooks the calmness of the lake with the view of nature; and also a luxurious grand ballroom that is the perfect location for a dream wedding. There are also two smaller ballrooms and function rooms in the vicinity.
And of course, not forgetting the most important one of all — the Mangala Spa. The spa was under construction during my visit, so I didn’t get to enjoy the luxury and pampering! We made a quick stop to have a look at the spa though, and I can imagine how soothing it would be to have a full-body massage overlooking the lake and surrounded by lush tropical plants. The spa offers a range of restorative and rejuvenating treatments and therapies — and I do hope one day I’ll get pampered here!
Fun Recreation at the Mangala Resort
There are also many fun activities and recreation to be enjoyed at the Mangala Resort. You can go for a morning or evening walk to enjoy the surroundings and just listen to the sound of nature, or rent a bicycle (or a tandem bicycle) to cycle among the palm trees and along the shady lanes. There are also more than 100 species of birds found around the resort area — so the bird enthusiasts can enjoy bird-watching, and the rest of us can just listen to the chirping of the birds.
A short buggy ride away from the main grounds of the resort (where all the villas are gathered), there’s another lake that is used for kayak-ing and paddle boating — and you can spend some time floating along the calm lake while being immersed in nature. There’s also an archery range in the area. Oh, and I also got to take some pictures with Ava at the “Mangala Bridge of Love” that crosses over the small lake where I can wave to the kayak-ers below me!
At the End of the Stay
We had the most wonderful and luxurious stay at the Mangala Resort and Spa — and we especially loved our villa and the private plunge pool (little Ava got to enjoy the bathtub instead). The resort (and our villa) was just the perfect place to getaway from all the ‘noise’ of the city; and just enjoy the sounds of nature, breathe in the fresh air, bask in all the luxurious comfort; and to spend days with not a care in the world. We also got to have private celebration of Ava’s 100 Days in our villa, where I decorated the place with lots and lots of pink balloons!
A staycation in nature is great for not only the romantic couples or those looking to get away; but also families to spend time together and even corporate groups for team-building activities. So if you’re looking for a place for a vacation on your next visit to Malaysia’s east coast — look no further than the Mangala Resort and Spa.
MANGALA RESORT AND SPA
Address: Lebuhraya Tun Razak,
Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia.
Website | Facebook | Instagram
Book with AGODA
*She Walks the World stayed at the Mangala Resort and Spa as a guest; and as always, all opinions stated here are my own.
*All information shared are correct at time of writing, but for up-to-date details; please head to the hotel’s website here.
*This post contains affiliate links, which means ‘She Walks the World’ receives a certain percentage of a sale if you purchase after clicking. These funds go to maintain the site. Thank you for your support!
**At the time of my staycation, the world was still in the midst of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. We still can’t fly out of the country yet at this moment, so Malaysians will be planning holidays within the country. It’s an unprecedented time to be a travel blogger, so I’m taking the opportunity to write more about my beloved country. It’s important at this time to adhere to all the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place. Read more about my Malaysian travels here.