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Travel With Bender

Uncovering the best family holidays

Johor, Malaysia

Pulai Springs Resort, Johor: An Impressive Utopia

Arriving in Johor

The traffic was heavy for 7am, but we managed to get to the airport with 10 minutes to spare, thanks to Air Asia’s web check in. It was my first time doing it and it was very quick and easy I must say. I love flying with only carry on, it’s so much more enjoyable, even though I lost a pair of scissors and had the same argument with 4 staff members about our travel-friendly pram.

Our pram is a Quicksmart Stroller. It folds into the size of a briefcase and can fit in the overhead compartments very easy, saving on the damage that strollers obtain when flung around the luggage compartment of planes. Demonstrating is the easiest way to get them off my back, bluntly refusing to stow it is another way. i tried both.

Johor is 1 hour from Penang and the flight passed uneventfully with our consecutive record 6 seats remaining intact. When we arrived in Johor the modern, spacious and very clean airport surprised me. Much better than Penang’s, currently going through renovations (for the better I’m sure).

Pulai Springs Resort had a driver waiting with our name. I love that feeling, getting off the plane and immediately being wanted. It does something to your ego even though you know they are being paid to wait and want you.

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We were through the airport and in the car in less than 10 minutes. Arrived at 10am, in car 10:05am. Love having no bags!

Pulai Springs Resort, home away from home

The resort was not too far and the entrance is magnificent. A majestic sanctuary off the freeway, it is open, airy, filled with flowing fountains and a botanical dreamland. A security hut guard’s entrance with each car checked over providing that complete sense of well being. Down the long gorgeous drive lies the lobby where a giant, colourful “Happy Deepavali” rice art greeted us.

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The staff were very smiley and friendly chatting with us about Penang and travelling.  Arriving early we had to wait in the lobby for our room. While the time frame given was not exactly accurate, the lobby was relaxing and helped us unwind from our journey. The lobby is fully open to the elements, except the roof, of course. There are lounges and I am writing this post as I wait. The kids are tired and watching a movie on the iPad.

If this is just the lobby, I can’t wait to see the rest…

Our suite

We were given a room on the 4th floor in the Cinta Ayu Suites. It is as roomy as our apartment in Penang. A 2-bedroom suite with a kitchen, lounge, bathroom. One bedroom with a King, one with 2 singles. Perfect for our family of 4. Tiled floors, wooden furniture and a view of the green golf course, which never ceased the entire time to call for Josh to come and play.

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Notably the televisions is pretty big, if only we had time to sit here looking at that or sit on our balcony watching the golfers but there is so much to do in Johor and not enough time. The fridge is also a full size. This is a perfect place for families who bring milk, drinks and refrigerated food. There is also a dining table. There is apparently a room for every family from one bedroom right up to 4 bedroom suites.

With family rooms like this it’s a wonder why we would ever want to go home?

It had a couple trivial maintenance issues, like a leaking shower and the master bedroom aircon was not cold and very noisy. However it’s hardly worth mentioning since the two other aircons are quiet and work great.

We did notice that while there is an extensive kitchen there is no cutlery or plates, bowls, etc. This struck me as slightly strange, but since we are not there to cook it didn’t phase us in the slightest. But if you’re bringing your own food, it’s a good idea to bring some plastic plates, bowls and cutlery.

The room was in a super quiet corner of the massive grounds of the resort. Just like the grounds the rooms are also super spacious with a clean, natural beauty.

Food, glorious food

Wow, this place has plenty of food to choose from. There is a little store in the lobby for snacks and swimming toys. The breakfast restaurant is known as the Cinta Terrace and each morning put on a tasty buffet with freshly cooked eggs, Malaysian delights such as rice, fried chicken, noodles and western delights such as hash browns, sausages and of course my son’s favourite, baked beans. No bacon, sigh. Pastry, fruit, salad and cereals are also available.

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The first morning we had breakfast with the Marketing Manager of the resort, Charlotte, and she filled us in on many details of the resort. A lovely lass doing a great job with the social media aspect of the resort. Their page is always filled with offers and events check it out.

On top of the Cinta Terrace there is also the Gleneagles Restaurant located on the golf course. We had lunch here one day. The décor was very classy, but the food was pretty average, which is painful considering it was a simple burger and chicken focaccia. Perhaps their forte is not western food, should have ordered something local.

Our first night after a busy day at the Little Big Club, we ended up staying in and getting room service. I was delivered delectable lamb chops with mash potatoes and vegetables. My husband had a luck-luster nasi goring and the kids enjoyed delicious spaghetti bolognaise. It was delivered promptly and I loved my chops!

What other food options are there?

Well leaving the best to last is the 13 consecutive years award-winning Chinese restaurant Qing. On our last night we once again met with Charlotte who was fast becoming friend, more then work colleague. She introduced us to some of the signature dishes on the menu – a tea smoked duck, General T’zo Chicken, fried rice, hot & sour soup and French beans with minced chicken. We went home with left overs, of course and very satisfied. The duck was juicy and smoked subtly, inserted into a small hot roll it was scrumptious. Josh loved the chicken, which turned out to be very similar to honey chicken. The beans were yummy as was the fried rice. The chefs at this restaurant know how to make magic.

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On our way out the door we were honored to meet with the owner of the resort and compliment him on his marvelous hotel.

No need to leave

Our last day in Johor we decided to fully use the extent of the resorts facilities. Josh tried his hand at the driving range, while the kids and I decided on which pool to swim in.

There are 3 or 4 pools depending on what you count as a pool. There is one on the second level near the Cinta Terrace, a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the immaculate landscape. And then there are several more on the ground floor. A lap pool, a spa pool, another infinity pool littered with giant boulders (on which my 3 year old insisted on climbing and perching on like a mermaid) and a main pool with waterslide. Yes waterslide! A fun one too, right through a rocky mountain and into the 100cm deep pool.

There is also a café located beside both pool areas.

We spent 2 hours here recuperating from yesterday’s Legoland adventures before heading back to our room for a catnap.

The rest of the afternoon/evening we had plans to skitter from the kids club, the abundant library, the playground and back to the pool before packing our bags ready for our flight home to Penang. In reality we sat down for some lunch beside the pool and the kids never got out for the rest of the day.

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But having to leave

A full flight back to Penang we have broken our 10 flight streak of 6 seats and only managed 4. Me stuck with three kids and Josh managing to score a free exit row all to himself! At 9pm at night my daughters asleep in seconds and my son more of a challenge. But the real tribulation comes when we have to carry 2 carryon’s, a pram & 2 sleeping children off the plane?!

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Our stay at Pulai Springs Resort was undeniably over and as we flew back to Penang I can only reminisce on the comfortable surroundings, scenic landscape and great time we had in Johor. We would definitely like to revisit Johor. It seems more like Kuala Lumpur then Penang and could be potentially a place to discover in the future.

We have to thank Pulai Springs Resort for their hospitality and warm service. I hear they have a sister beach resort also situated about 45 mins away near the coast, which is definitely on my priority listing to attend next time we return!

You can check out more accommodation photos here.

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