Port Dickson is probably not even close to being on the top 10 list of beach destination in Malaysia. But, it would definitely qualify as the fastest gateway to a relaxing weekend for any KL city folks. Well, the good news is, there’s Avillion, Port Dickson, a relatively luxurious beach resort which my husband and I discovered lately. And the bad news? It does come with a price.
Since my husband and I are both very fond of the sea, we decided to splurge on the premium water chalet which has a full frontal view of the ocean. At the price of RM400++ per night, it does come with a magnificent view of the light creamy-coloured sea and breathtaking sunset. One of the best I’ve seen in my life, by the way.
The chalet was spacious and furnished with a king-sized four-poster bed, a TV and an open concept bathroom cum shower to die for. It was heavenly taking a shower while listening to the faint sound of sea water gently slapping against the chalet’s concrete pillars below. If it had rained, it would have been surreal to feel droplets of rain water falling from the sky above and massaging every single pressure point of our scalps and bare skin.
I could have sat all day on the balcony just looking at the ocean or simply lying on the additional twin bed by the window reading a book, but there were so many other things to do at Avillion that staying indoor would have been a waste.
Usually at 10am after breakfast, I hit the pet farm to help Saroja, the friendly pet keeper, feed the other more adorable residents of the resort; hens, roosters, rabbits, guinea pigs and tortoises. I was particularly besotted by the cuddly and cute rabbits, some with floppy ears. I would often stop by the sand pit and observe how they dug into the sand and lie there to keep their bodies cool. The pet farm was very popular not just amongst the children but also adults.
Most of our afternoons were spent at the Cochin Pool, a deep blue-tiled pool which made the water looked like the Mediterranean sea but since it was surrounded by tall coconut trees, you’ll definitely know you’re in the tropics. As only adults are allowed at this pool, it was quiet and calm. What was even more enticing was the peacocks and peahens roaming freely around the pool areas. We could see that they’re very comfortable with the surrounding as they would often call out what sounded very much like “Lee-on” to each other or simply take a nap around the deck chairs, as if they own the place.
One of Avillion’s strengths is how they manage to cater to both adults and children’s needs. While it is still possible for couples to rekindle lost romance, children will get to have fun doing water-sports, swim at the inviting village pool and play games at the kids’ cabin. Even if you’re not there as a couple, you can occupy your time by hitting the gym, using the sauna and steam and playing tennis. I think Avillion has every potential to make everyone happy and fulfilled.
We ended our trip with possibly one of the most indulging and decadent spa treatments I ever had. We had the 3 1/2 hour water treatment, body scrub and massage package which came with hi-tea on a rotund balcony overlooking the ocean. I almost felt as if I was on a boat.
AviSpa is by far one of most tastefully decorated spas. I could be bias though since the colour-theme is robin egg blue (think Tiffany) and white. By the end of the treatment, I wished I could be rich enough to afford my own spa by the sea!
There are certainly many strengths in this resort. If I can choose several things I like best about it, they would be these:
- I really had the feeling that I was surrounded by nature. They really paid a lot of careful attention and details to the garden landscaping;
- The inviting Cochin Pool. This would definitely be the place where I would spend hours and hours dipping in the cool water of the pool while feeling the sun on my head;
- Observing how the sky slowly changed from grey to vermillion red during sunset from the chalet’s balcony;
- AviSpa. Completely and utterly indulging. Plus, it’s such a beautifully-decorated spa.
- The clay urns that are filled with cold water at almost every corner of the resort to allow guests to refresh or clean their tired and sandy feet. This is where small attention and details made a great deal of difference.
Sadly, nothing is ever quite perfect. While my husband and I had enjoyed our short trip and would definitely go back, we thought there are some things which the resort should improve on, especially with the price that we paid. We thought the variety of food offered at the two restaurants was poor and over-prized.
We also thought customer service was rather poor. For a place such as Avillion, one should really expect the resort to provide the best customer service it could ever offer. For example, after we had our spa treatment, we were asked to present our spa vouchers so that they could process the payment. Unfortunately, we had left them in our chalet. Instead of sending a staff to pick up the vouchers from our chalet, we were asked to bring them back ourselves.
While lying on my front with my back being massaged and dozing into sweet slumber, I was rudely awakened by the sound of motor engine in the sea just by the window of the spa. Such disturbance did not match with the spa’s philosophy of providing guests with complete relaxation and tranquillity.
The resort also did not pay any attention to environmentally-friendly practices. There was no instructions posted on the bathroom or the pool to encourage customers to “recycle” towels or to preserve water. I was guilty of disposing more than two towels a day since I spend half of the time drying myself at the pool, bath and shower.
In the end, I think what we truly like and appreciate about Avillion is that we now know where we can have a place to get away from the noisy, crowded and stress-induced city. A word of caution, do make your bookings early if you intend to spend your time there during the weekend. Otherwise, weekdays are the best as you’ll avoid the huge influx of local and foreign tourists who seem as eager to explore this oasis of calm.