Across the country, regular folk and celebrities alike, are getting into the Christmas spirit, and we were invited by YTL to the YTL’s Cameron Highlands Resort to ladle up seasonal activities like a piping-hot mug of spiked nog. For starters, the world renown shoemaker Dato’ Jimmy Choo hit the button and the night was ablaze with sparkling Christmas trees as carol singers burst into triumphant Yuletide songs. Amongst the other luminaries present at the event were the dashing Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, Executive Director of the Star, and his gorgeous wife, Datin Seri Florence Wong. As luck and perfect timing would have it, it was Dato’ Jimmy Choo’s birthday, and a surprise birthday bash was thrown in his honour, designer-shoe -cake and all, thanks to the clever arrangements of one Ms. Tracy Khee, the director of public relations for YTL hotels.
Christmas carol singers
Dato’ Jimmy Choo lights up the Christmas trees and YTL Hotels and Resorts executive vice-president Laurent Myter looks on
Surprise birthday cake for Dato’ Jimmy Choo
Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, Executive Director and Group Chief Director of the Star, and his gorgeous wife, Datin Seri Florence Wong
YTL Hotels and Resorts executive vice-president Laurent Myter was present to host the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, and the grand dinner that followed was nothing short of spectacular either. Apparently this is the sixth year that they have lit up the Christmas trees early for the Yuletide season. Set amidst tea plantations and rolling hills, this boutique hideaway worked its colonial magic on me, and by the end of my stay I was reluctant to say goodbye to the mighty timber-beamed ceilings, the handsome and tall French doors and the old world charm of plantation shutters that made this resort so romantically unique. Oh yes.. Cameron Highlands resort, you have captured my heart with your quiet elegance you have.
Jim Thompson Tea Room at Cameron Highlands Resort
Located in the state of Pahang, approximately 200 kilometres north of Kuala Lumpur, Cameron Highlands is a gorgeous holiday destination and the only place where you can find tea plantations and strawberries in Malaysia. Situated 1,500 metres above sea level, it is the highest area on the mainland and enjoys a cool climate and fresh air. The name “Cameron” does not sound terribly Malaysian and that is because, these highlands get its name from William Cameron, the surveyor who mapped the area in 1885. It didn’t take long for the locals to notice the place and soon, Chinese vegetable farmers, tea planters and wealthy colonialists seeking a cool escape from the heat of the lowlands all came to make home in these highlands. The temperature in Cameron’s is delightfully mild, ranging between 10 celsius to 21 celsius and in this fertile area vegetables grow in profusion, flowers are cultivated for sale nationwide and wild flowers bloom everywhere. It’s also the centre of Malaysian tea production.
What’s most enthralling about Cameron Highlands are the sprawling jungle trails, waterfalls and mountains, even less-taxing points of interest, including colourful temples, rose gardens and tea plantations, that present some form of ‘adventure’ for any visitor to discover. The alternative road running from Ipoh to Brinchang and Tanah Rata offers a much easier and speedier route to the Highlands. Much of the character of the highlands remains unchanged since colonial times. The cool climate on the picturesque plateau and its surrounding hills and forest make this a popular retreat for golfing, jungle trekking and exploration of the many plantations and gardens. Cameron Highlands Resort is a fabulous retreat for families, honeymooners and holidaymakers who just want to get out of smoggy KL.
For the next two-days, our group of media personnel and celebrities could choose to get pampered or get busy with the facilities in and around the resort such as golf, a slow ramble along jungle trails, or a leisurely walk through tea plantations and strawberry farms. Or if strenuous activities are not your ‘cup of tea’ then you could literally have a cup of tea instead in the drawing room and read a book. One of the interesting, must not miss trails is the Jim Thompson Trail. Jim Thompson was an American businessman who helped revitalize the Thai silk industry in the 1950s and 1960s. He mysteriously disappeared from Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands while going for a walk on Easter Sunday, March 26, 1967. On that fine day, Jim Thompson set out from the Moonlight Cottage for a mid-afternoon stroll in the jungle after which, he was never seen again. Walking the trail is great as you get to experience first hand via your guide, the stories and hypothesis surrounding the mysterious circumstances of Thompson’s disappearance. Cumi went on this trail and his riveting story will follow soon!
Otherwise, if trail walking is not for you then, there is always the rather tempting option of an avocado massage, or a tea bath at the Spa Village, which I happily opted for;) All in all, a terrific pre-Christmas party and get together. A big thanks to YTL for their terrific arrangements and Oliver Ellerton of the Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur for the invite.
The gorgeous Spa Village
Tea is served whilst waiting for the spa session to begin
the walk to the private bath and massage rooms
Cumi and Ciki opted for the Crysanthemum & Avocado Escape for two
Tea by the gazebo after the Spa session
Ciki could get used to this to easily!
English Tea and Scones at the Jim Thompson Tea Room
Alilfatmonkey poses with his favourite food group – desserts!
The amazing rooms
Your own personalized pillows that are embroided with your initials.. what do they do with all those pillows after we leave?!
Dinner at Gonbei – Japanese styled steamboat
Siobhan O’dea Executive PR for YTL
Joseph Kelly – Executive PR for YTL
Ciki and Alilfatmonkey with Dato’ Jimmy Choo
Tracy Khee joins in the group hug
End of first night at Cameron Highlands Resort… what a great dinner at Gonbei!
Breakfast at the dining room – waffles, cream and strawberries for breakfast.. eat now, diet later!
Big breakfast, English style.. yum yum.
Off to the BOH tea plantation visit for 2 hours..
Can you say, BOH .. ?
Later that night, the Christmas Dinner party commences. L – R, Dato’ Jimmy Choo, Ciki, Laurent Myter, and Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai
Oliver Ellerton’s famous pose..
fine herb pacific scallops gratin, chestnut mash and buttered green beans
medium rare roasted wagyu medallion
Christmas carol singers entertain over dinner
strawberry mousse, vanilla souffle, orange scented valhorna mille-feuille
More singing in the Jim Thompson Tea Room.. live grand piano, pianist and carolers to serenade the guests
Tracy Khee is not just a great PR director, she is also an accomplished singer.. so we found out!
Georgina Chang and Nora Shereen from MediaCorp (Radio 99.5FM) Singapore
It’s past midnight, but my glass slipper turned to chocolate instead..
Wishing Dato’ Jimmy Choo, “Many Happy Returns of the Day.. Stay Cool – and don’t forget my Jimmy Choo’s in size 8! “
Cumi and Ciki wishing you all a Merry Christmas from Cameron Highlands!
[Olympus logo]Add: Cameron Highlands Resort, By The Golf Course, Cameron Highlands, Tanah Rata, 39000 Malaysia
1-800-814652 (Malaysia Toll Free) +65-6226-3310 (From overseas)