Japamala Resort – Day #1, 16th June 2009
Finally back from an amazing 4 days / 3 nights stay at Japamala Resort!
The day started with us checking in at the Seletar Airport. Not exactly a nice experience at the airport, but that was soon forgotten. Shan was nice enough to hide a surprise in my hand-carry luggage when I went to the loo, too bad I found it a little too early. It was a nice black metallic necklace (my previous one broke). You’re the best!
A short flight 30-minutes flight on Berjaya Air’s Dash-7 44-seater took us to Tioman’s airport. Uneventful, except that midway into the flight mist/clouds started entering the cabin. What the heck was that?
Upon arriving at Tioman’s airport, we were greeted by Japamala’s staff. Bel & Rabi I think, if I remember their names correctly. Paid the RM$5 marine conservation fee and we were led to our very own boat which ferried us to Japamala resort. Bel insisted on carrying my hand-carry, but I couldn’t let a girl carry my luggage for me, could I? Well, we were to realize that Japamala’s service is impeccable.
And surprise, surprise. It wasn’t a tiny boat that was waiting for us, but a cabin-ed, twin-motored beauty that was pretty luxurious by my standard. (I later learnt that Japamala owned – at least – 2 boats, this one for ferrying guests and another speedboat for its excursion trips) Midway into the trip, Bel came up to us with a tray in her hands. They had prepared 2 iced welcome drinks (Japamala’s signature lemongrass drink) and 2 cool towels to freshen us up before we got to the resort. How cool is that!
About 15 minutes later, we reached Japamala’s very own jetty that is used by Japamala only. Is it beautiful, or is it beautiful? (the picture perfect jetty in my previous post is real!) The water actually has this blue/green colour and is so clear you could see the fishes swimming in it. Simply amazing.
The jetty also serves as one of the 2 restaurants that are available at Japamala. Mandi Mandi, where you wine and dine under the sky, and perhaps the stars if you are lucky. It serves Italian and international cuisine by the way. A short walk along the jetty (look out! no side railings!) led us to a pavilion which doubles as its reception/lobby.
All it takes is a signature at the reception and we’re good to go! Meanwhile, the staff at Japamala have already brought our luggage into our room. Oops, realized my confirmation voucher was in my hand-carry luggage. No problem, I could just bring it down to the reception area any time. Bel led us to our room, giving us a short introduction to the different areas of the resort as we passed by the steps leading to the spa, the mini-library, the 3 set of sun loungers and the Tamarind restaurant that serves Asian cuisine.
Good exercise, we were told as we walked along the wooden walkway and a series of steps that led to our room. Along the way, from the reception to the Tamarind, we were greeted with smiles and ‘Good Afternoon’s etc by each and everyone who works at Japamala. Soon enough, we realized this is in fact the norm around here as every staff makes the effort to treat every guest like the king or queen of the jungle. Our room number? 15.
We took the time to settle in our room, unpack a little, marvel at the wonderful view and be pampered by our very own outdoor rain shower. If you’re thinking chalet as in East Coast Park or Pasir Ris, then you’ll be in for a surprise. Our chalet is in fact a room that is perched on the sea-cliff, directly overlooking the sea.
This was when I gave to Shan the first surprise I’ve prepared for her – a box of 6 chocolates from Chocolate Art. I had intended to give this to Shan on the flight, but things didn’t quite work out the way I planned. So, why 6 chocolates and not 2? Or 4? This is because the number 6 has an important role to play in this vacation that is unknown to Shan at this point in time.
Just when we opened the door to our room, we discovered a little surprise waiting for us. A plate of afternoon snack had been placed outside our room. A nice touch!
Went out for a little walk at 5+ in the evening. Firstly, to give our confirmation voucher to Phyo, the girl who’s usually manning the lobby. Then, we each made a phone call back to Singapore to assure that we are safe and in good hands! Because there is no mobile network coverage in Japamala, and each room is not equipped with a phone, phone calls could only be made at the lobby.
It’s weird calling it the lobby since there are only 2 tables in the pavilion. The reception area is a low table with a laptop, and 2 seats for us. The other table serves as the spa reservation point where the spa treatments available are listed (the same list is provided in each room) and also the DVD counter.
Gave Bel the number we wish to call, and she connected the call for us. A 30-seconds phone call cost us about RM$4. Then, we browsed through their DVD collection and borrowed 3 DVDs, of which we only managed to watch The Bucket List. The 2 ladies manning the second table (for spa/DVDs) are, in fact, the very people who provides the spa treatments! Interesting to note that the staff at Japamala usually hold dual or multiple roles.
Back to our room to relax for a while. Enjoyed the sunset from our room! Pity it was a little cloudy which didn’t make for a very beautiful sunset. Regardless, we were still blown away by the view that awaited us. The sky turns dark as we headed for dinner at Mandi Mandi – our very own tropical romance under the stars.
Counted the number of people as we took a few minutes walk to the Mandi Mandi. Think there were around 16 people excluding us, meaning 9 of the 12 rooms/villas were occupied. Once again, greeted with smiles and ‘Hi’s as we made our way to the Mandi Mandi.
It was already dark where we got there, and we were attended to by Michael, the resident waiter at Mandi Mandi. Apart from his accent (I guess he may be Thai?) that we both find it hard to understand sometimes, he was excellent with his service and attentiveness. In fact, I already got used to it by the second night we spent at the Mandi Mandi.
Our first dinner at Japamala – Calzone and Italian rice, which we shared. The choice of drinks (mostly alcoholic, yippie!) were mind-boggling. I’m not picky when it comes to food and generally, I found the food at Mandi Mandi to be yummy-licious!
It was certainly an unique experience eating under the sky and the stars, above the sea, with the lullaby of waves accompanying us as we had our dinner. Even with the clouds, we were able to spot a number of stars. After our drinks came, we were surprised to receive complimentary appetizers – a mussel each. Yet another delightful detail in the long list of surprises we had at Japamala Resort. While we waited for our food, Michael came over and asked us if we were interested in a boat trip tomorrow morning @ 10am. After considering over dinner, we agreed to it, not exactly knowing what to expect.
Enjoyed our food and chatted over dinner. Time seems to fly when we’re enjoying ourselves. We noticed the chef leaving the Mandi Mandi and realised it must have been after 9:30pm. No food after 9:30pm! Lucky for us, we brought tidbits and cup noodles for times when we craved for food.
Got back to our room and realized it had been cleaned up. Ice water was replenished, used glasses were washed, bed was made, blinds were let down and the water feature has been switched off so that we could sleep better at night. Sandalwood scent that Shan chose when we checked in filled the room. And there was a little surprise waiting for us, courtesy of Japamala Resort. If you want to know what it is, visit Japamala Resort!
Nothing much for the night, except that I prepared a 2nd surprise gift for Shan. Sadly, due to unforseen circumstances, it wasn’t as surprising as I had hoped. She ‘found’ it earlier in the day, but I forbade her to open it until 12 midnight! Muahahaha. A groggy Shan finally got to open it – a Mango jacket she had coveted for! Sneaky me had managed to get it for her =)
Miscellaneous Info :
1. Flight duration, Seletar to Tioman – 30 minutes
2. Boat transfer, Tioman airport to Japamala Resort – 15 minutes
3. Mandi Mandi’s bill – RM$112
4. Dinner timing (food) – 6:30pm to 9:30pm
5. Sea View Chalet room numbers – 15, 16, 17 (only 3, we stayed in 15, and agreed 16 has the best view)