It can be hard to choose which are the best places to go in Malaysia, but the beautiful Cameron Highlands has to rank high on the list. Like an enchanting kingdom rising above the mountain mist, this former British colonial resort has a special aura and this magic shines proudly at the exquisite Lakehouse Hotel Cameron Highlands. Travel high up into the Malaysian mountains with me below!
The Breathtaking Cameron Highlands
Nestled on a verdant plateau in the Titiwangsa mountains, 125 miles northeast of Kuala Lumpur, the Cameron Highlands were first explored in the 1880s by their namesake, British surveyor Sir William Cameron. However, it wasn’t until the 1920s that a hill resort was first established, which became a popular with the British working and living down in the lowlands thanks to the area’s cooler temperatures. Along with a golf course and a few Tudor-style hotels, the area started to flourish as an agricultural basin, ideal for growing tea, strawberries and flowers. The Highlands have retained this lovely heritage and visitors come from far and wide to sample its divine tea, taste its tart strawberries and hike, or simply relax, in its spectacular nature.
A Unique History & A Stunning Setting
Opened in 1970, The Lakehouse Cameron Highlands was the dream of retired British Colonel Stanley J. Foster, who had been previously stationed in Malaysia. Colonel Foster chose a particularly picturesque location of a hill overlooking Sultan Abu Bakar Lake for his 19-room Tudor B&B, a short drive from the regional hub of Tanah Rata and flanked by the dense tropical forest. This provides a heavenly secluded setting all the while remaining easily accessible to the sites of interest of the area. The grounds of the hotel are immaculately maintained by Uncle Raj, who’s been working at the hotel for 29 years. As long as it hasn’t been raining, you can also take a tour of the neighboring forest with him, a great way to explore the area’s natural beautiful without even having to leave the hotel.
The Charm of a British Country Manor
Colonel Foster’s lovely B&B has been upgraded over the decades, however, the decor still exudes the charming rustic elegance that Colonel had strove for whilst creating his inn. As soon as you enter the picturesque Tudor building, The Lakehouse’s exceptional staff, managed by the welcoming Ms. Lai Fun and under the Front Desk supervision of exemplary Param, will make you feel at home. And That’s exactly what The Lakehouse provides its guest: a refined and cozy home away from home. Some of my fellow guests specifically chose to not leave the hotel for the whole weekend as they were so comfortable and content, like we were guests invited to the Colonel’s country estate. This homey ambiance is accentuated by comfy and stylish lounges decked out in oversized sofas, large open fireplaces, medieval chandeliers and quirky colonial era antiques.
Perfectly English High Tea
What better way to feel at home at an English country manor than with a high tea? The Lakehouse serves one of the finest in the area, so good it attracts many stylish locals. So if you’re not staying at the hotel, you can always pop by in the afternoon to enjoy freshly made scones, cucumber sandwiches, thick local strawberry jam, clotted cream and Cameron Highland’s tea. This can be savored in their lovely bar area or, weather permitting, their sublime flower-laden terrace.
Refined East Meets West Dining
The Lakehouse has an attractive dining room with several discreet romantic tables, beautifully candlelit in the evenings. Lunches and light meals can also be enjoyed in the bar, on the terrace or in your room. For over 30 years chef Edmung Ling has been preparing an excellent range of Western, Asian and local specialities including delicate locally grown asparagus soup, English steak and mushroom pie, classic char kway teow, Malaysian fried noodles and succulent strawberries and cream for dessert. If you’d like to try your hand at cooking, order a “Steamboat,” the area’s popular version of a hotpot. A selection of vegetables, meats and soup bases will be brought to your table for you to concoct your own soup – a fun dish to share as a couple!
Spacious, Elegant & Luxurious Rooms
The hotel’s accommodation is spread between the main building and Colonel Foster’s former residence, located on the hill above. There are five categories of rooms and suites all of which feature classy decor, recently reupholstered furniture, nespresso machines and local tea, plush beds (many are four-poster) and excellent bathrooms with both a bath tub and shower stall. There are several family rooms, divided into two rooms allowing enough space for families to feel at ease.
The hotel’s two grandest suites, the Foster Suite and the Cameron Suite, are found in the Colonel’s residence. They are both exceptional large at over 100 m2 where you’ll find unique decor, comfortable sitting areas, working wood fireplaces and massive luxurious bathrooms. These are ideal for a romantic getaway or honeymoon (the hotel organizes weddings too). Be sure to let the hotel know this in advance and you’ll be treated to some extra-special surprises!
In addition to the jungle walk mentioned above, the hotel’s excellent staff can arrange a strawberry jam-making class, a mojito-making class, or a picnic in the Garden. They can also assist you with booking private and group tours, taxi and bus services and anything else you might need to have a perfect stay in this gorgeous part of the country. A highly recommended experience for any trip to Malaysia!
Room rates start from MYR585. Full details and direct booking can be made on The Lakehouse Cameron Highlands’ website here.
I was a guest of The Lakehouse Cameron Highlands, however, all of the opinions above are entirely my own.