Turning 30 is quite a big deal, it marks a milestone in one's life. That is why for our head of marketing, Tim Danker's 30th birthday, we decided to do it at Aman Rimba, about just under an hour's drive out from Kuala Lumpur. It happened to be my birthday the week after, too. So we made it a joint birthday staycation (that was not too far from KL so all our friends could join too!).
When I first heard about Aman Rimba, having been to Janda Baik before, I expected it to be styled in a traditional Malay kampung way. But when we got there, we were pleasantly surprised to see that while it retained some classic decor, much of the place has been modernised, making it the perfect place to spend a weekend away from the city!
The experience here at Aman Rimba is very much a 5-star luxury experience without the exorbitant price tag. Upon arrival, the resident manager, Encik Ashari, comes out to greet us, ushers us into a cooling common area - the dining hall - where we are served freshly blended juice and a cold towel.
Aman Rimba is a private estate, which means you won't be bumping into other guests on the grounds during your stay here. That's as exclusive as it gets. I expected the experience to be very much like an Airbnb stay where the host comes out, hands you a few sets of keys and then leaves you to the rest of your stay.
But Encik Ashari and his team were hands on the whole way without being intrusive and we requested a tour around the whole three acres of land.
The beautiful estate was acquired at the end of 1999 by its first owners, a family, who started building on the land. The first building they constructed is now the living area or multipurpose hall.
The multipurpose hall, as Encik Ashari explained, can house many guests for a corporate function, weddings, or big parties. However, with only about 20 of us, we felt this space was a little too big and stuck to the dining hall most of the time. The whole estate gets really cooling in the evenings, with temperatures dropping to as low as 22 degrees Celcius.
This arch pictured below was brought in from Bali, giving rise to an overall Balinese theme of the whole facade of the place.
However, the interior of most of the six villas here still mimic olden Malay decor with its vintage charm. Sireh, the first villa to be built, is the only one with a living room (pictured below). It comes with one bedroom and an attached bathroom too. It houses two guests comfortably on its queen-sized bed in the room, but you could probably have up to three guests sleep outside in the living area too.
The next two-person villa, and my favourite out of the six, is Villa Serai. It is located right next to the dining hall, making it the most central of all villas and also comes with a private arch entrance.
Serai also comfortably houses two, although it has a day bed that could possibly accommodate one to two people.
The bathrooms here at Aman Rimba are done up beautifully, allowing plenty of sunlight in and incorporating a lot of natural elements.
Beyond Serai, is a pathway that leads to Villa Kunyit and Villa Halia. On the way there, you will pass by the kitchen where all the food is prepared fresh, if you opt to have lunch and dinner catered to you (and I would certainly recommend it).
Villa Kunyit and Halia are identical. They both house four guests comfortable with two single beds and one double bed.
And they are located right in front of the swimming pool. So if you plan on spending a lot of time by the pool, those two villas are perfect for you! Pool towels are available and all toiletries are provided. Once you step foot into Aman Rimba, you can rest easy and not have to worry about anything! During the whole stay, we never had to leave the compound for anything!
Finally, there are two villas that each house four people. They are identical and are joined together as one huge unit. Villa Kantan 1 & 2 are located at the top of a very short hill (so you don't have to worry about a tiresome trek!) and overlook the pond.
There is a little bridge you have to cross over to get to Villa Kantan 1 & 2. You can be sure that you will get utmost privacy here.
This is the pond you will be facing if you're staying in Villa Kantan 1 & 2. If you're lucky, the ducks will come out to say hi. We even saw a HORNBILL here. I kid you not! According to Encik Ashari, they come out to say hi in the mornings and evenings.
These are the stairs that lead up to Villa Kantan 2. Walk through Kantan 2 to get to Kantan 1 as they're joined together, only separated by a wooden door.
Both Villa Kantan 1 & 2 have a gorgeous balcony you can sit at to enjoy the view and the soothing sounds of nature.
Each Villa Kantan is equipped with a four-poster bed and a day bed by the window, facing the balcony. Each villa also has its own walk-in wardrobe area, a huge bathroom and a massive living room. With its high ceilings and wooden furniture, you will really feel as though you're staying in a luxury resort in Bali.
Though the whole Aman Rimba experience takes you back to nature, it doesn't discount entertainment. In its multipurpose hall, there is a karaoke machine and board games available.
There are also a number of pondoks around that will make for a nice backdrop to take photos at. And there is also a brand new games room where you can play mahjong, pool, carom and more. It is a glass shed that overlooks the gardens and is away from all the villas, so if you want to party it up a little in here, that won't be a problem.
So if you're looking for a place to stay with a large group of friends, or even a venue for your wedding or corporate function, I would definitely recommend Aman Rimba as one of those places. For only RM4,000 per night on weeknights and a two night minimum weekend for RM10,500 on weekends, this place is almost a steal! See their full price list here. At these prices, you can bring up to 20 guests. For additional guests, up to 15 extra rollaway beds are available upon request for RM100 per guest per night.