Mangala Resort & Spa, Gambang, Pahang – a great destination for pampering getaway amidst lush greenery, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Located 230KM from East of Kuala lumpur. Just 2hours drive from KL, 30minutes from the town of Kuantan, be ready to get welcomed by an inviting, magical tropical paradise.
We have heard quite a bit about Mangala Resort & Spa even before we visited this hidden gem – of how stunning it is from the villas to surroundings; serene and tranquil; like stepping into a tropical garden paradise. But little did we know that, this beautiful resort that is designed in harmony with nature was once a tin and sand mining land for decades, then left abandoned – polluted, with no topsoil, largely covered in clay, little sand, unable to sustain any vegetation.
It was not originally lush green and inviting. The whole area was completely barren, with hundreds of unsightly gullies, ponds, and small lakes before the resort owner took over in 2002 for land restoration and rehabilitation. The transformation took around 15 years – a long process with many challenges, involving serious eco-conscious approach in planning, designing, implementation and maintenance.
However, it is rewarding and inspiring to see this eco-friendly project finally celebrated its opening in 2017. From a once forgotten tin mining site to a luxurious hideaway in the heart of Gambang, Mangala Resort & Spa promises a memorable stay amidst vast lakes, wetlands, palm trees, flora and fauna; highlighting on-going sustainability while keeping vacation in style without compromising the comfortability and well-being of guests.
The meticulous effort that Mangala Resort & Spa put in has won them multiple awards including Best Resort in Malaysia in FIABCI Malaysia Property Award 2019; World Gold Winner of Resort Category in FIABCI World Prix D’Excellence Award 2020, Winner of Malaysia Property Award 2017 under Environmental Category; e Continent Winner – Asia for Luxury Villa Resort in the 2018 World Luxury Hotels Award Luxury Villa Resort; just to name a few. What’s more worthwhile is, the resort is affiliated with the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. A proud achievement to be one of the very few resorts in Malaysia that have gotten into partnership with SLH.
Today, Mangala Resort & Spa is home to 67 villas on a 60-acre site within 400 acres of land. Each villa is specially designed by notable architects, featuring large, all-round windows that frame an arresting view of the outdoors. There are few types of villas to choose from, namely Sara Villa, Jala Villa, Amani Villa, Vana Villa and a 6-Bedroom Bungalow with Pool.
Day 1 at Mangala Resort & Spa.
Now, let’s follow us for an awesome 3D2N stay review at Mangala Resort & Spa!
Check-in to Vana Villa with Pool – a 55 square meter villa surrounded by sprawling palm forest, green trees and plants. Feel so exclusive in our own private enclosure, offering privacy with intimacy in mind. Certainly an ideal setting for those seeking a romantic escapade or simply to have a quiet retreat.
Each room is fitted with King Bed, outdoor rain shower and bathtub, outdoor private pool with mini pavilion, living room attached with pantry and work desk.
Open up the glass-fronted sliding doors and step into the private plunge pool.
Spacious, bright and airy space.
Outdoor bathtub – Have a soak and relax your senses under a blanket of twinkling stars at night. Yes, we did so!
Dinner: The Lakeside Restaurant
As it was nearly dinner time after we settled down, we adjourned to The Lakeside Restaurant and sampled 3-course meal with farm-to-table experience, creatively crafted by the talented chef.
In line with the resort’s effort to enhance the eco-system and create better sustainability, many types of plants and fruit trees are introduced, such as pandan coconut, mango trees, durian trees, and other tropical fruits – kedondong, dragon fruit, passion fruits. They even have a vegetable farm, growing over 20 kinds of herbs, spices and vegetables. Well-taken care of with love, all pesticide free.
Hence this explains the exclusive farm-to-table concept at The Lakeside Restaurant. Some of the vegetables in your salad are harvested from their own farm, the chilli in your sambal is freshly plucked, same goes to the ulam, passion fruit, lime, kaffir lime leaves, coriander, okra, and even mulberry. We were told that during peak season, the hotel easily harvested more than 200 of coconuts a day. Amazing.
The meal began with Mushroom Bruchetta; and Tomato Bruschetta topped with kacang botol infused with basil, pesto oil for dressing.
Starter – Mangala Prawn Salad that put together poached prawn, ulam leaves, mulberry and squeeze of lime juice with white vinegar. Love the passion fruit pulp mixed with pure honey sauce that adds pleasing fruity, refreshing sweetness, helps open up the appetite before the next course.
From the farm: ulam leaves, mulberry, lime juice, passion fruit
Main Course – Mangala Fried Rice.
Chef’s very own version of fried rice that comes with few sides that adds myriad of flavours and texture. It is suggested to start by eating just the fried rice for original taste, then you can go with papadam – crush and mix with the rice for crispiness; ayam penyet with red chili sambal – spicy, pack a punch; sambal udang – our favourite!; and also ulam leaves.
From the farm: chilli, bunga kantan, mango, ulam leaves
Main Course – Poached Salmon
We were also served a Western course, Mangala Poached Salmon that surprised us with the generous portion. Two large pieces of poached salmon cooked to the right tenderness, plus coriander braised with risotto, purple beet root puree and toasted seasonal vegetables based on available fresh vegetables from the farm.
From the farm: coriander, basil leave, farm-available-seasonal-vegetables
End of meal sweet with Pandan Layer Cake. A simple dessert but tasty. Chef uses pandan leaves from their own farm for pandan juice, and also make their kaya in house. The homemade kaya is fav. We don’t mind if they could add an extra small serving by the side.
Tiring day, so we ended the day early. Back to our villa, showered, enjoyed drinks from the mini bar (* Yes, Mangala Resort & Spa provides one-time complimentary soft drinks and snacks (per stay) for their guests). Had good rest because the bed is really comfortable with extra large pillow!
Day 2 at Mangala Resort & Spa.
Morning! Woke up at 6AM and went for a leisure stroll through lush grounds, enjoying the morning breeze, listening to the chirping sound of birds and waited for the sunrise. Felt so calm to be able to have such precious time getting close to nature, as we would hardly do so back in KL.
We also observed and learnt some of the features and measures used here to preserve the environment. For example, natural boulders, rip rap, local creeper, geotextile, plants roots and more are all part of the riverbank-protection system, to strengthen the riverbanks and to prevent erosion, also to prevent diversion of Sungai Belat. Apart from that, water from nearby lakes are used for maintaining the garden plants; collected rainwater is channeled to the ponds; fallen palm trees leaves are collected to be turned into compost; silt traps and sumps are used to prevent unused materials to leaching into the rivers, just to name a few.
Many of the plants here are specifically planted, not only to beautifying the environment, but also to attract birds into the retreat, to enhance the naturel diversity. In fact, the presence of more than 100 species of bird in Mangala Resort & Spa is one of the resort’s greatest achievements. These abundance of birds and migrating birds that are said to be relatively rare and are seldom visible elsewhere. They fly across the East-Asian Flyway from their breeding sites in Northern Asia, and gently settles down at the resort, making it a perfect habitat for over-wintering birds. Whether they use this locality as a stopover or as a temporary home, the abundance of food resources, suitable dwelling features and stable weather conditions all contribute to the favors of many migratory species. It is a sign that the rehabilitation work is heading in the right direction. Efforts that deserved laud applause.
Squirrel on the run. Oh-so-cute!
Sunrise near Jala Villa. Breathtaking. Nothing beats a serene morning like this.
Head down to the restaurant for breakfast.
We managed to capture this spectacular view of the infinite swimming pool while waiting for our food. Glad that weather was really nice that time, as it then rain for hours in the afternoon.
Ala-carte breakfast set menu. Had Nasi Lemak served with Chicken Rendang, Sambal Tumis, Fried Anchovies, Hard Boiled Egg, Roasted Ground Peanut and Cucumber; and American Breakfast served with sausage, hash brown, beef bacon, bakeries basket, cereals with milk. Each Western/ Asian/ Continental Set is served with choice of eggs menu of either scrambled eggs, sunny side up, over easy, mixed omelette, soft boiled egg or hard boiled egg. Complete with juices, mixed Mangala Farm tropical cut fruits, coffee/tea.
We hopped on a buggy ride and there we go – to the recreational center, which is about 10 minutes away from the lobby. Here, you can join on-site activities such as archery, kayaking, paddle-boating, bird watching.
Paddle-boating is tiring but fun! A little regret for not trying out the kayak.
Couldn’t stop admiring the view here. It is captivating in all directions.
Rest for a while by the lake and had a short conversation with our friendly coach. He told us that it might rain soon despite the clear blue sky. He said that usually if the day is bound by sunny weather, there will be a lot of birds flying around, but there was none that morning, Dragonflies are flying low too. He was right. Heavy down pour lasted for hours after lunch.
Lunch: The Lakside Restaurant
Lunch was from The Lakeside Restaurant ala-carte all-day-dining menu. Had Fresh Mushroom Soup with Sliced Garlic Toast, Tiger Prawn Cocktails Salad with Garden Green, Classic Lamb Ragout A La Fettuccine with Parmagiana and Oriental Fried Seafood Hor Fun with mixed condiments.
More walking in the evening. As the resort spans a wide area, you can opt for buggy ride, or rent a bicycle to tour around. We tried to walk more so that we can stop and take picture whenever we wanted to, as every corner is so photography-worthy. We ended up spending over an hour for a short 5-minutes journey from Vana Villa to lobby. But it was well-spent time!
Dinner: Romantic Private Course Dinner by the Pool
For dinner, we unwind in the villa, enjoying 5-Course Romantic Dinner by the pool with candlelights, under the sunset sky. Best moments of the day with good food, great company. This dinner is part of Mangala Resort & Spa Couple Romantic Getaway 3D2N Package. If you are looking for anniversary celebration, proposal, birthday surprise, couple staycation, check this out on their website.
Day 3 at Mangala Resort & Spa.
Start the morning right with the famous floating breakfast in pool. A different in-room breakfast experience that you can opt for now at Mangala Resort & Spa, if dining in the restaurant is too mainstream for you. *additional charges may apply
Toasted bread with butter & jam, sausages, hash browns, beef bacon, croissant, muffin, danish, yougurt, cereal, omelette, juices – A tray of breakfast that is more than enough to fuel up.
A sneak peak to other villas:
During our stay, we had a sneak peak at other villa types too. Each of the villa is so impressive! Great for romantic getaway, honeymoon, high level corporate meeting, team buildings, wedding functions, family retreats and special events.
Jala Villas – The Villas are perched on stilts over the serene Mangala Lake with spacious open-air balcony. All the Villas of 50 square meter are fitted with a pantry, whirlpool tub and bathroom with rain shower under the natural skylight.
Sara Villa– Built on the edge of the Mangala Wetland, Sara Villa is ideal for those who wish to observe nature in motion. Set on the wetland is the home to many species of birds, seasonal migratory birds, wild ducks, fishes and other nature’s creation. These Villas of 55 square meter are fitted with King Bed, shower and whirlpool tub, pantry, a living area with a spacious open-air private balcony.
2 Bedroom Vana (Forest) Villa With Pool – Situated on gently sloping land with gorgeous lake views and palm forests as a backdrop. The Vana (Forest) Villa of 107 square meter has a king sized bedroom and twin bedroom, indoor living area, and open air bathtub.
Amani Pool Villas – latest addition to the list of Mangala’s luxury Villas. Situated on slightly terraced land built around a small orchard of mangoes and the popular Musang King durian trees. Each of these luxury contemporary interior-designed semi-detached Villas boasts its private saltwater plunge pool. Some units are with interconnecting doors. All the Amani Pool Villas are fitted with a King bed, spacious bathroom, rain shower and tub. Some units are fitted with a double tub.
Mangala Resort & Spa is more than just a resort for rest & relax, it is an inspiring tale of a revived ecosystem with unique wellness experience, living up to its name. Felt so grateful to have a splendid and seclusion stay with meaningful story behind. 3D2N is definitely not enough for us. We already looking forward to return and have another stay in their Jala Villa, overlooking the lake.
Mangala Resort & Spa
Lebuhraya Tun Razak,
Tel: +609 505 7788
Resv: +6013 242 6788
Sales Dept: +609 505 7777
Fax: +609 505 7799