Cove 55 is a new concept for Borneo. The hotel is a hybrid of service and private hire.
The 12 rooms (eight classic, and two larger suites) and two chalets can be hired exclusively, either in its entirety or individually. The main reception office hours are between 9am and 5pm, intentionally leaving you to yourself. After 5pm, the night manager and other staff are still on hand but seem to melt away, leaving you to complete privacy.
Your seclusion comes in the form of luxury accommodation and lush tropical surroundings. The property is Santubong Peninsular, Sarawak, with views across the South China Sea and Mount Santubong, the highest peak in the state.
There is a beach but it’s not recommended for swimming due to the nearby mangrove forests and muddy, sandy seabed. The hotel is upfront about this and I didn’t find this a problem. The 23 metre lap pool is an enchanting turquoise, beckoning you to take a dip.
The dazzling white exterior continues inside. The rooms have been designed to blend indigenous Iban culture with a chic artful look and every piece of furniture has been handpicked by the Iban owners. There are poems dedicated to the Iban goddess on the doors and walls.
Many guests choose to self-cater, making use of the full kitchen, large dining room and living area. Others prefer to engage the services of the on call chef. I thoroughly enjoyed the mixture of western and Malay cuisines at breakfast.
Spa services are also on call; you don’t even have to leave the privacy of your home away from home.
If you do want to explore the area, there are tandem and mountain bikes for hire. Damai beach, Santubong National Park and the Sarawak Culture Village are a short distance away. The famed Iban hospitality shines through in the staff. They are happy to give advice for activities across Sarawak and can organise trips for you.
The secluded Cove 55 is perfect, and is in demand, for weddings, private functions, retreats, or a getaway with close friends.
Cove 55 has been nominated as a finalist for the 2014 World Luxury Hotel Awards.