Despite the fact that my flight was two hours late, the driver from Cove 55, Malaysian Boreno, was still wearing a smile when he collected me from Kuching Airport for my latest Luxury and Boutique Hotels review.
We drove along the coastal road to Damai beach and the hotel seemed to be in a secret location, nudging the ocean and under the view of Mount Santubong. We turned into a private driveway with unobtrusive signage. Although later than planned I had a very enjoyable night time swim with my friend Kate and gratefully collapsed in my comfortable bed.
The next morning I got the full effect of the hotel with it’s dazzling white exterior.
The enchanting turquoise pool beckoned invitingly but I was excited to see the rest of the hotel.
The rooms have been designed to blend indigenous Iban culture with a chic artful look and every piece of furniture has been handpicked by the Iban owners. There are poems dedicated to the Iban goddess on the door sand walls.
You can also relax in the large dining room or living area.
There is a full kitchen for guest use, although guests can engage the services of the on call chef. I thoroughly enjoyed the mixture of western and Malay cuisines at breakfast.
There is a beach but it’s not recommended for swimming due to the nearby mangrove forests and muddy, sandy seabed. The hotel are upfront about this, which I appreciate, and I didn’t find it a problem. There was always that inviting 23 metre lap pool.
The hotel embraces the concepts of service and private hire. The 12 rooms (eight classic, and two larger suites) and two chalets can be hired exclusively, either in its entirety or individually. The main reception office hours are between 9am and 5pm, intentionally leaving you to yourself. After 5pm, the night manager and other staff are still on hand but remain unseen, unless you need them.
The famed Iban hospitality shines through in the staff. They are happy to give advice for activities across Sarawak and can organise trips for you. Iban manager, Grace, even took her own time to show me the delights of Iban and Malay cuisine. She first took me to a local cafe for dessert (life’s short, get the sweet while you can!) of ABC and some squid. We then went to a fantastic Iban restaurant, Tanju, for our main course. Chicken cooked in traditional bamboo was my favourite. Grace showed me a side of Kuching, and Borneo, which I would never have experienced on my own. I had some great conversations and I met some inspiring friends of Grace.
The main benefit of Cove 55 is it’s privacy and seclusion in which to relax, for the entire day or after a day or evening of activities. Their slogan, This is Where Your Secrets Come To Dance, is perfect. Nobody’s watching here. Cove 55 is perfect, and is in demand, for, weddings, private functions, retreats, or a getaway with close friends.
Cove 55 has been nominated as a finalist for the 2014 World Luxury Hotel Awards.
I was a guest of Cove 55 but all opinions are my own and nobody from the company reviewed or approved the text.
You can read my review of Cove 55 at LuxuryandBoutiqueHotels.com here.