As I write, a sense of nostalgia is felt within my heart. The 3 days 2 nights away from everyday life at The Lakehouse were enchantingly wonderful.
I used to have family trips to Cameron Highland when I was younger. Therefore this highland of Malaysia is not total strange to me. I remember our family used to drive past The Lakehouse and went straight up to Brinchang to our usual hotel, but I have always wondered what it would be like to stay in an authentic English cottage in the highland. So when there comes a chance for a break, The Lakehouse just came into my mind.
My 3D2N Ultimate Rejuvenate Package consists of daily breakfast, one English afternoon tea, one 4-course dinner, one complimentary tour and one Spa retreat. Prior to the trip, pictures circulating online had left my senses tingle with anticipation and I had been looking forward to the trip ever since.
We took a flight from Changi Airport to LCCT in Kuala Lumpur, followed by an approximate 3 hours 15 mins private taxi ride. The taxi drove up from the North-South Expressway, turning in near the town of Tapah. I thought the long hours’ of mountain path would be dreadful but to my surprise, a scenic journey beckons. After about 90 mins of twists and turns in the valley, in the distance, an inviting Tudor-style country cottage appeared.
Located at 1500 metres above sea level in the state of Pahang, Cameron Highland is the highest area on the Malaysian Peninsula. The Lakehouse, however, is located at Ringlet, the 1st and the lowest sea-level township along the Cameron Highland stretch. This peaceful and serene resort was built by the late Scotsman, Colonel Stanley Jack Foster, a retired British Army Officer in 1966. The construction took about 4 years and it started its operations as a boutique hotel in 1970. The Colonel continues to manage The Lakehouse till his demise in December 1984. As his grown-up children were not interested in running a hotel, The Lakehouse was put up for sale in 1989, HPL Hotels & Resorts took over the property and has been managing it since then.
The Lakehouse stood on massive, lush hills overlooking Sultan Abu Bakar Lake. Framed against the breathtaking landscape, I was mesmerised by the quaint charm emitting from the wooden silhouette. In fact, I just felt like stepping into another world!
Warm towels and mocktails were served upon arrival. We were led to the Cameron Bar for this thirst quencher made of ginger, lime and soda. Ginger is known for alleviating feelings of nausea and reducing travel sickness. A well-considered welcome drink certainly freshens up our tired body.
The Lakehouse comprises two buildings – the main wing and the annexe wing. Deluxe rooms, Junior Suites and Family Suites are located in the main wing, which is situated slightly lower than the annexe wing. The annexe wing, which consists only of the Cameron Suite, Foster Suite, a deluxe room, a junior suite and a Spa, ensures total privacy and comfort.
Refurbished in 2005, The Lakehouse transformed into a 19 room country resort, providing modern comforts, yet at the same time, the original building structure, historical artifacts, complete with the richly carpeted, wooden stairs and fireplace are painstakingly preserved.
One highlight of the stay, I would say it’s the room. Adorned with Bric-à-bracs of yesteryears, the room ensures all guests to travel back in time — and even in their dreams. The four-poster bed with sheer, flowing drapes in the room just oozes romance. The old English style antique armchairs, the bronze table fan and a black and white tiled bathroom, of which maximise the romantic ambience, which makes The Lakehouse an irrepressible romantic getaway for couples. Imagine a long bath in the spacious bathtub in the windy evening, and then snuggling up in the dreamy bed, which are all a couple can ask for.
Time travelled in an unrushed manner here at The Lakehouse. Other than the half-day tour and the Spa retreat, we spent pretty much the rest of our time listening to the chirping of the birds while sipping tea in the mornings, or just resting on deck chairs at the grassy front lawn. Stumbling through another day aimlessly was the lifestyle there.
Well, since the house masseuse already diagnosed my tight shoulder and stiff neck muscle are due to “Too much stress and excessive work”, doing nothing seems to be the best way to pamper myself here at the resort.
The windows in the corridor towards our room have a nice overlooking view of the courtyard and the valley in the background. Walking through the hallways reminds me of the English classics movie scenes like Pride and Prejudice or Emma. The old typewriter, the gramophone, the antique collections that are preserved around the resort, each of the furniture and the architecture seems to be from the last century (to me) were so exquisitely arranged.
The Cameron Bar situated right beside the reception has the homely old-English pub setting. The first sight that greets you when you walk into the pub is their grand golden floral prints armchairs and the aged wooden bar. This cosy, old fashioned pub serves quite a fine selection of red and white wines, whiskeys and cocktails. We spent every night here after dinner enjoying our house red Shiraz. A good WiFi connection enables you to connect to the world here at the bar.
Our package comes with a 4-course dinner, which consists of a salad, a soup, a main and a dessert. Although not entirely impressive, I find the spread fair and satisfactory. Being the only dining outlet in the entire resort, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. From the morning continental breakfast, the lunch, the English scones in the afternoon, to the sumptuous dinner, they provide a decent selection of all kinds of cuisine. Even Chinese Steamboat is available too. Perfect for a cool night in the highland! As there are no nearby eateries around and cabbing to the nearest town would cost you some bucks, if you don’t drive, I recommend you to settle your dinner here at the resort.
I am not a morning person, yet I love having early morning breakfast here at the resort. What a lovely morning enjoying the chilly breeze while the sun rays lit up the dining table!
Here at The Lakehouse, you get your breakfast eggs done in different styles. From the tangy egg benedict to fluffy scrambled eggs, or to the runny-yolk sunny side up, you do it your way. Besides, varieties of cheese, cereals and even strawberry muesli are available on the buffet table. The restaurant goes quite international even on the breakfast menu. We see Chinese style congee with at least 9 condiments to pair with, and Nasi Lemak on their menu too!
The Lakehouse has each a beautiful fireplace at their Reading Lounge and Highlander Lounge. The resort follows a tradition of lighting a fire at the fireplace every day at 7 pm when the weather turns much cooler. I must say it is the perfect spot for that after-dinner drink, right in front of this gorgeous, stone-walled fireplace.
Guests may play board games and read at the two lounges. It was 10 pm on a Friday night and we were quite surprised that there wasn’t anyone there at the fireplace.
One classic activity at Cameron Highland is enjoying an afternoon tea at your resort. We had our English afternoon tea here at the resort at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Guests can choose anywhere in the resort they like to have their tea. It was quite sunny out there at the Lakeview Terrace (2nd picture of the post) so we decided to switch to this cosy little reading nook in the outdoor corridor outside the Highlander Lounge. This particular spot has a very nice view of the dovehouse. Sit back in the rocking chair reading your favourite classics from the library, while listening to the birds chirping in melodious harmony… all these sum up to a perfect afternoon.
A 3-tier English tea platter was served. It was a very typical English-style afternoon tea spread complete with freshly baked scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam. Perfect combination with premium whole-leaf tea. Finger sandwiches, walnut and pandan cakes, cheese tarts and fruits filled up the rest of the tier, making the afternoon tea so sumptuous that we had to delay the dinner time for that evening.
Service & Hospitality
Service here is personal yet unobtrusive. It is a very small resort, with only 19 rooms. We were there from a Thursday and checked out on a Saturday. Check-ins soar from Friday afternoon but we still get to enjoy plenty of cosy pockets of space throughout our stay.
From the personal welcome letter with hand-pressed details to their daily room service, the staffs are friendly and attentive, and our requests and needs were responded to with efficiency and often with a smile.
We often came back to our room after our activities, finding the room was nicely arranged again. Fresh fruits and English shortbread were arranged every evening during the turndown service, and I am pleasantly surprised that there was even warm water ready in the kettle for a cup of tea whenever we are back in the room! Such outstanding service they provide that you will agree with me the resort really take utmost care to make sure your stay is relaxing and comfortable.
One very interesting thing though, I noticed their housemaids were all dressed in cute french maid uniforms. Some may think of a maid’s uniform as a symbol of oppressive servitude or find it is hopelessly old-fashioned and stuffy, or even humiliating to the domestic helpers. As a guest, I do find the resort professional.
The quaint and whimsical settings, the quiet environment for total relaxation, as well as the thoughtful gestures and their wonderful service are what I miss the most at The Lakehouse. The peaceful and serene environment of the resort really rejuvenates my entire being. Paying 859 MYR per night, I am satisfied with my stay at The Lakehouse and I foresee myself coming back on my next summer vacation. Up there in the highland with temperatures no higher than 25 Celsius degree and rarely falling below 12 Celsius degree, I’d say it is one of the perfect summer vacation destinations if you are not a beach person.
For couples who are looking for a romantic retreat, The Lakehouse is the ideal place. You can enjoy total privacy in the lavishly furnished resort, and celebrate the romantic ambience with a toast. The resort has a package altered especially for anniversaries, honeymoons, or any special occasion between the two of you. Surprise her with 68 stalks of freshly cut roses in the uber-romantic room : )
The resort has various packages catering different needs of its guests. Remember to check them out before booking!
(One last check at their website confirmed that the particular package I had, the ‘Ultimate Rejuvenate’ is no longer avail. I do hope they will bring it back soon, as we really had an enjoyable trip with that package.)
The Lakehouse, Cameron Highlands
30th Mile Ringlet,
39200 Cameron Highlands,
Tel: +605 495 6152
Fax: +605 495 6213