A cool refuge from the heat of the lowlands, Genting Highlands is prospering as developers and investors seize on its climatic advantages and existing range of attractions
A short drive from Kuala Lumpur, Genting Highlands has flourished since being identified by late Chinese businessman Lim Goh Tong as a prime location for a hill resort. In the late 1960s, Genting Highlands Resort was born and the destination hasn’t looked back since. A boom in the 1990s saw a second cable-car skyway constructed to reach Ulu Kali’s peak, along with three mega-attractions: two theme parks and a music venue. The brightly daubed First World at Resorts World, the primary destination for many visitors, boasts the distinction of being one of the world’s largest hotel with 7,351 rooms. In common with the rest of Malaysia’s tourism hubs, the pandemic hasn’t been kind to Genting Highlands. But high-end developers are banking on long-term recovery, a fact illustrated by a range of enticing-looking new projects in the area.
Tropicana Grandhill from Tropicana Corporation Berhad is an integrated resort covering 112 acres. Promoting what it calls a “community lifestyle”, the project encompasses an adventure park, swimming pool, children’s playground, putting green and mountain-view cafés with cantilevered decks. With colleges and wellness businesses rounding out the package, it’s easy to see why its developers are calling Grandhill an all-in-one “holistic living concept”. The first township development in Genting Highlands, Grandhill’s 1,443 units include the serviced suites TwinPines, whose units range from 379sq ft to 1,330sq ft.
Grand Ion Majestic
Grand Ion Majestic by developer NCT Group is set to be a namecheck-worthy address upon its scheduled completion in 2022. Located more than 6,000 feet above sea level, the spectacular two-acre condominium development consists of three towers — two of which are already 75% reserved for occupancy—and affords sublime views of the surrounding Titiwangsa mountains. Despite its feeling of splendid isolation, the condo is still only a six-minute drive away from the First World Hotel. Luxurious facilities include a sky lounge allowing panoramic vistas, a top-floor swimming pool and a gymnasium. The 1,668 smartly designed units vary in size from 380sq ft to 1,500sq ft. The project is slightly set apart from Genting’s commercial centre, but eateries, mosques, petrol stations, churches and hospitals are within proximity.
Famed for its French-tinged Japanese cuisine by chef Kenji Yamanaka, Béni is regarded as one of Singapore’s top tables. Its acclaimed cuisine is now available to savour in Malaysia at the SkyAvenue mall in Genting Highlands, where chef Shiro Onishi runs the kitchen, and where the five-course lunch or six-course dinner degustation menus give diners a chance to sample its greatest hits. The Ozaki A5 Wagyu steak, imported from Miyazaki prefecture, is a must-try. Another Béni speciality is its mushroom quartet, a medley of maitake, shimeji, enoki and white-button fungi with black truffles on egg custard. In the restaurant’s elegant dining room, diners can choose from two areas: one with turquoise velvet chairs, white marble-topped gold tables and pink cushions, the other with gilt-accented dark wallpaper and walnut leather chairs.
Genting Premium Outlets
Genting Premium Outlets are drawing a fresh influx of designer brand-seeking shopaholics, with up to 70 percent off on renowned brands including Michael Kors, Coach, Hugo Boss, Nike, Ralph Lauren and Kate Spade. The spacious outdoor mall centres on a central courtyard, and is handily located next to the Awana station at SkyCentral, a new transport hub for buses and cable cars. Only Southeast Asia’s second premium outlet centre, this is also the world’s first hilltop venue offering such a consumer experience. An extensive list of stores, with goods from fashion to sportswear, is sure to keep punters occupied. In Southeast Asia, eating is often as important as shopping. And an array of dining options—a spacious food court, numerous restaurants and cafés—cater to every culinary requirement.
Genting Highlands cafés don’t get any classier than Cafés Richard, which arrived at SkyAvenue mall in 2017. That opening marked the storied French brand’s first overseas outing. Aesthetically, the cafe neatly replicates a Parisian ethos with black-and-white mosaic floor tiles, cloth awnings, wicker chairs, pendant lamps and quintessentially French murals. Well trained baristas dish out the café’s famed coffee sourced from plantations in Africa, Asia and South America. In addition to signature coffee, high tea and dessert offerings, the café serves a full complement of savoury French classics, making this one of the most refined gourmet stops in Genting Highlands.
Chin Swee Caves Temple
Undeniably spectacular, the mist-shrouded Chin Swee complex—the brainchild of Genting’s founder, Lim Goh Tong—stands 4,600 feet above sea level, and overlooks lush virgin-forest slopes. Chin Swee is named for a Buddhist monk (Qingshui) considered a deity in China’s Fujian province, a statue of whom sits in the Taoist temple. It’s arguably outdone by an enormous Buddha and a nine-storey pagoda with 2,000 blessing lamps, and inscriptions depicting Qingshui’s life. Meanwhile, a man-made stream gurgles gently: its clear “Dragon Mineral Water” reportedly possesses healing properties, as grottos contain graphic descriptions of the “10 Chambers of Hell”. The sublime panorama, though, is Chin Swee’s USP.
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