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makchic reviews: A Splashing Good Time at DoubleTree by Hilton Damai Laut

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DoubleTree by Hilton hotels remain popular with families – with its Penang resort’s Kids’ Club a hit with the littles, and in recent years, the Putrajaya Lakeside location well-loved for their sizeable splash pools.

DoubleTree by Hilton Damai Laut, Lumut, Perak.

As my husband and I made our way to the fairly new DoubleTree by Hilton Damai Laut in Perak (a manageable 3-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur),  I was expecting a little waterpark of sorts, with a side of Vitamin Sea, a decent Kids’ Club, and their signature welcome cookie that allegedly tastes exactly the same whether you’re in Lumut or Luxembourg!

Pro tip #1: Take the West Coast Expressway and drive past rolling paddy fields through Sabak Bernam and Sekinchan, where you’ll spot plenty of storks (bangau). Damai Laut is just past the Lumut port, across from Pangkor Island – no boat ride required.

A Warm Welcome

To get to this beachfront resort, you’ll have to drive into the grounds of the Damai Laut Golf & Country Club. Avid golfers will be glad to know that they can tee-off just minutes away from the hotel, with golf packages available when booking the rooms.

Pro tip #2: You’ll have long passed by the nearest eatery and convenient store at this point, so we don’t recommend driving out for meals. Remember to pack along essentials for the trip! Breakfast comes with your room reservation, but choose a room option that includes dinner too, for better value.

DoubleTree’s signature welcome cookie and a stunning view of Pangkor Island from the lobby.

As soon as we pulled into the lobby, we bounced out of the car before the friendly guest manager could open our doors and piled our luggage onto the trolley. Parking spots are aplenty, and located just next to the entrance. True enough, right after we checked in, we found ourselves chowing down on warm cookies (the cookies are kept in a warmer behind the front desk and baked fresh every day), as we took in the coastal breeze and idyllic views of Pangkor Island in the distance.

The Room Tour

Formerly known as Swiss-Garden Beach Resort Damai Laut (before DoubleTree took over in 2020, just before the pandemic), this renovated and upgraded property was reopened in September 2022. There are three wings, with the sea view rooms at the higher floors of the Damai wing being the best lookout points of the scenic horizon.

Pro tip #3: These rooms are also the closest to the Kids’ Club, yet furthest from the hustle and bustle of the restaurants and swimming pools, if you prefer some peace and quiet. 

The view from our room, Crabtree and Evelyn bath essentials, and refreshing coconut welcome drinks.

Our “King Guest Room Sea View with Balcony” was a modest, but luxe,  35sqm space that featured the comfiest bed, an excellent rain shower, Crabtree and Evelyn bath essentials, and the works. Due to the hotel’s natural surroundings, we were cautioned to keep our balcony door locked to keep monkey intruders out; however, we didn’t experience any marsupial encounters, safe for a few on the drive in.

And if you’re not a big fan of cookies (who are you?), you’ll be happy to find your welcome drinks in the mini fridge – sweet, succulent fresh coconuts that are perfect for the scorching beachside weather.

At the time of publication, these are the weekend room rates:

  • King Guest Room with Balcony: From RM359
  • King Guest Room Sea View with Balcony: From RM400
  • King Executive Family Room with Seaview Balcony: From RM650

Where Do We Start?

Now came the hard part of our holiday – deciding what to do first!

Pro tip #4: Plan to stay for at least 2 nights. And make one of those nights a Saturday – read on to find out why.

1. Now That’s a Mini Waterpark! 

The water playground for kids aged 5 years and below.
The long yellow and red slides for kids aged 5 to 10 years old.

The most appealing feature had to be the mini waterpark (which isn’t minuscule at all!), complete with 10 slides and multiple bucket splashes. When DoubleTree took over, they took extra care with the water play features to maintain high safety standards. There are three main sections catered to specific age groups and pool depths, and while there isn’t a lifeguard on duty, the abang towel was particularly attentive to any risky behaviours. Only hotel guests are allowed to use the fun-menities,  so each guest will be handed a wristband when they collect their towel.

Take note that teens and tweens aged 11 years or older are allowed to play in the area – just not on the slides. They could choose to hop over to the large 1.5m adult infinity pool with unobstructed views of Pangkor, or relax in the small 0.9m ‘waterfall’ pool. For good reason, the swimming attire rules are strict. If you do forget some bathing and beach necessities, there’s a store within the resort that sells even floaties and sunblock.

2. Take the Sea-nic Route

The staircase by the pool area will lead straight down to a humble stretch of sand and sea, with overgrown shoreline shrubs. But here’s where pro tip #5 comes in handy!

Get back up those stairs and follow the sign to the Water Sports Centre instead, where another flight of stairs will take you down to the resort’s actual private beach. There are ample amounts of shaded lounge chairs and a recreational/water sports hut here, though no direct access for strollers or wheelchairs, unfortunately.

Two private beaches.

The beach is pristine, but you do need to manage your expectations. Unless you’re visiting the islands, the waters off the Straits of Malacca aren’t crystal clear (though still very clean), and the sand is more pebbly, than white and sandy. That being said, most kids will still be happy just being on a beach! Guest Service Manager Jeffrey did warn us of jellyfish sightings, so stay on top of your first aid game. We didn’t chance upon any, but stick to the shoreline if you don’t want to take any chances.

3. Thrill-seeking Optional (But Recommended!)

We highly suggest hiring a four-wheel ATV or UTV buggy from the recreational sports hut, and hitting the impressive tracks along the wooded parts of the beach. If your little one has a need for speed, the twist and turns could easily be their favourite part of the holiday! We easily went 20 rounds around the tracks and greatly appreciated the “reduce your speed” banners mindfully placed around some tricky bends. While there aren’t kid-size versions of the quad bikes, safety gear is provided for children, so you can take them along for the ride.

The Sea Mosses recreational operator and ATV rides.

Other water sports selections included jet-skiing, towable tubing, snorkelling, kayaking/canoeing, and a sunset/river cruise.

4. More Outdoor Play

Large outdoor playground and bicycle rental.

Apart from the water playground, there was also an outdoor playground right by the private beach, along with volleyball and basketball courts. If the adventurer in you would like to explore beyond the resort, there are bicycles available for rent as well.

5. An Exceptional Kids’ Club

The Kids’ Club and its gorgeous washroom for kids.

After all that fun in the sun (or when it’s too hot to be outside, especially in this heatwave!), pay a visit to the resort’s Kids’ Club – a hit not just with the kids, but their joyous parents too!  For a resort in this affordable price range, this is possibly the best Kids’ Club we’ve seen.

There’s plenty of role-playing to be done in this little “city” – involving a café, library and even a police station, complete with a jail! Your older kids will go bonkers over the PlayStation 4 room, where there are four consoles featuring age-appropriate games – or your whole family could opt to rest in the ‘cinema’ and catch a movie. Little did we expect as well that the best-looking washroom in the resort resides within the Kids’ Club itself for your little ones to use!

The PlayStation 4 room and more of the Kids’ Club.

Do take note that the Kids’ Club only caters to kids aged four to 10 years old – so children who are 11 or older won’t be able to experience these amenities. 

While there are no babysitting services available, you could drop your kids off, fill up your details, and ensure you’re contactable at all times. Your kids won’t even look back as you head to the spa that overlooks the sea (soon to be opened in June 2023), work out at the gym right across from the Kids’ Club, go for 18 holes of golf, or enjoy a romantic sunset meal. For hygiene purposes, socks are required (even for parents who choose to stay), so be sure to bring them along or purchase a pair for RM5 there.

Kids’ Club Opening hours:

Weekdays: 9.00am – 6.00pm

Fridays, Saturdays and public holidays: 9.00am – 9.00pm

6. Shrimply the Best

If you love seafood, then you’re in for a treat! A lot of the buffet and ala carte offerings include fantastically fresh seafood that is sourced from the nearby Pantai Remis. The tiger prawns and fresh oysters, in particular, stood out for us.

The beachside terrace of Makan Kitchen.

Makan Kitchen is the main restaurant on the premises, with daily buffet breakfast, an ala carte lunch menu, and buffet dinner. The buffet breakfast (complimentary with your room reservation, and free for kids under six) is simple, with some lovely touches, such as a small kids’ corner, a teh tarik station, and a roti bakar station, where you can toast your slice of Hainan bread over charcoal (like the olden times), to match with your slathered-on butter, kaya, and perfectly done soft-boiled eggs! 

The Kids’ Corner at the buffet breakfast and toasting Hainan bread over charcoal.

For lunch, we had a Chinese-style Dulang Set for two from the ala carte menu (RM100) – though its generous portions were large enough for a small family of four.  Pro tip #6:  do not skip the Sago Gula Melaka dessert (RM28) – it was, by far, the best we’ve had.

Flavours of Asia Dulang Set for two, and the delectable Sago Gula Melaka from Makan Kitchen.

The Sundown Alfresco buffet dinner boasts more options, including a satay corner, an ice cream and ais kacang bar, and fresh seafood on ice. Take this pro tip #7 seriously: go early and make a beeline for the seafood section for some fresh oysters, which were the first to disappear. 

The seafood on ice spread and Ketam Masak Butter at the Sundown Alfresco buffet dinner at Makan Kitchen.

One downside about the Makan Kitchen, however, is the evident amount of flies in the area, which the resort tries to remedy by having a battery-operated fly repeller at every table (as well as each buffet section). It also gets hectic after 9.00am for breakfast, so be early birds and enjoy a leisurely breakfast.

Other dining options included the steamboat dinner at the smaller Hot Pot restaurant (RM88 per adult and RM44 per child) for an 80g serving of tiger prawns, chicken fillets and seabass fish fillet, on top of an all-you-can-eat selection of fresh vegetables and mushrooms, noodles, the usual steamboat additions (fish cakes, meatballs etc), and 18 types of dipping sauces (yes, 18!). You can also add on fresh oysters, crab, and tiger prawns, but this is chargeable by weight. 

Sunset hotpot dinner at Hot Pot.

If you’re peckish in the middle of the day, don’t miss one of the most affordable afternoon tea sets in the country at Axis Lounge. For only RM80 nett per set, you get tea for two, and plenty of light bites to tide you over till dinner. While the macarons left much to be desired, the savoury sandwiches, mini sliders, little cakes and tarts, and even local kuih received a round of thumbs up. It’s also packaged in a way that you can easily take leftovers back to your room. 

Afternoon tea at Axis Lounge and packed leftovers in our room.

7. Saturday Fireworks Frenzy

Make no plans between 8.00pm to 8.30pm on Saturday night. If you’re having dinner early at Makan Kitchen, be sure to chupp a table outside and wait till 8.15pm, where a dazzling show of beachside fireworks will begin amid the oohs and aahs of the children (pro tip #8). This is a tradition DoubleTree has chosen to continue from the previous management, which we thought was a lovely gesture.

Beachside fireworks on Saturday night and hotel guests gathered outside Makan Kitchen.

One-stop Getaway for Parents and Kids

Photo by DoubleTree by Hilton Damai Laut.

With everything that we’ve experienced over our three days at the resort (coupled with the gracious and friendly service – special thanks to Guest Service Manager Raj!), we foresee that DoubleTree by Hilton Damai Laut will be the beachside destination of choice for families this year, come every long weekend or school break. So parents, book ahead (pro tip #9) – we know we’ll be doing the same with our planned return in the future! 

By Nora Ismail 


makchic’s stay was sponsored by DoubleTree by Hilton Damai Laut. The writer’s opinions, however, are solely her own.

For more information, please visit the resort’s website or check out their Instagram or Facebook page.

 

From our team of purposeful, multi-faceted mummies. For editorial or general enquiries, email to us at hello@makchic.com.