While Kuala Lumpur entices many with quality of life and value for money, it comes with the tiring disadvantages of any big city: constant noise and traffic; which leaves us folks craving for an occasional weekend staycation within nature, and somewhere in the vicinity of the city.
Recently, I’ve been obsessed with staying in traditional houses (that’s why every single trip of mine to Penang features a different heritage hotel – but I’ll leave that for another post).
After spending a few evenings reading blogs on the top weekend retreats next to Kuala Lumpur and browsing accommodation websites for heritage hotels in Malaysia, I stumbled across a beautiful property, described as a “perfect private paradise away from the bustling city”.
They just needed to mention ‘heritage’ & ‘traditional Malay place’ and it had my attention.
Summary of my stay in Villa Kuang private retreat in Sungai Buloh:
- Luxurious traditional house surrounded by nature, with a private mini pool
- Great for a 1-night stay, for both couples and big families
- Best accessible by own car, within a one-hour drive from KL
- Digital detox with no internet access
Villa Kuang: An introduction
A creation of the award-winning architect Almaz Salma Abdul, Villa Kuang’s three bedroom bungalow is “built by a Kelantanese craftsman using natural kempas, balau timber and stone, salvaged from an old Istana (palace) in Kuala Lipis, Pahang.”
I do have a weak spot for Malaysian heritage houses, and Villa Kuang didn’t disappoint. With the bungalow large open windows, high ceilings and unique Malay panelled walls blended to create an atmosphere that was both modern and traditional at the same time.
A column with jagged “teeth” in the centre holds it all together. Twist and push the pointy edges through the blinds to open them, and let some light and ventilation through. Turn it back to the starting position and the blinds will close, keeping the mosquitoes out in the evening. (Source)
These unique panels keep the house cool and so, you won’t find any air conditioning in Villa Kuang! To be honest, you won’t miss it either. Fresh and cooling country air is a great break from the city heat and a good way to boost your wellbeing.
Keeping with its promise of heritage, the 3,350 sq. ft. villa is furnished with both antique and modern furniture and art decorations brought here from all over the world. You will find keepers from unique ceramic lamps and hang textiles with bird motives to comfy-looking seaters, inviting you to relax with a book or just a good conversation.
If the heat gets a little too much, there is an ever-present highlight of the house: a small but private open-air pool in the middle of the villa, perfect for a cooling dip.
Villa Kuang rooms
If I ever missed I was surrounded by nature, the master bedroom comforted those anxieties with a view into the lush greens outside.
It seemed like all the elements in the room – including the poster bed, furniture, decor – were carefully picked to resemble a ‘home away from home’. A traditional dressing table propped up against the side took me back in time reminding me of the grooming grace of old black-and-white movies.
If you’re looking for a family vacation, Villa Kuang can accommodate a bigger party of up to 7 people with the other two rooms containing a double bed and 3 single beds.
Two out of 3 rooms had en-suite bathrooms featuring decorative tiles found in old Malaccan homes. Ms. Almaz decided to bring nature inside the house and into the bathrooms too with all 3 bathrooms being open air, in line with traditional Malay culture, and containing a tall tree each. I wasn’t kidding when I said my heritage appetite was satisfied.
Ready to really disconnect in all its sense?
We’re not kidding.
There is no wifi available in the house, and even your mobile connection will be shaky. Think of it as a good digital detox! And truthfully, it was one of the main things I loved about it.
The living area has a satellite TV, a DVD player and a couple of books on architecture, but otherwise, bring your own entertainment. The comfy armchairs in the master room and the living area are perfect for a sit-down read!
The soaps and other bathroom amenities provided at Villa Kuang come from Avi Spa, Avillion Group’s own spa in Port Dickson.
You can request for praying mats and the qibla direction. Being a majority Muslim Malay area, there’s a mosque just down the road. All the food within the villa’s surroundings is halal.
When it comes to other-than-breakfast meals, follow the BYOF (Bring Your Own Food) rule. If you decide to cook, the house has a huge kitchen equipped with a fridge, oven, dishes and other cooking utensils. For an additional fee you can use a gas stove or a BBQ pit for which all necessary items are provided.
Feel like going out and exploring the local food scene?
If you fancy organic rendang chicken, consider Uncle Rani Chicken Farm. Uncle Rani grows his own free range chickens and has great reviews on Facebook and Foursquare. Alternatively, there are many eateries in Sungai Buloh. Just keep in mind, that other eateries are not within walking distance so make sure you have transport in handy.
My happiest discovery was a fruit stall on my way to Villa Kuang; open all day till late night, it offers a great variety of local and imported fruits for a healthy snack.
Normally the stay comes with breakfast cooked by the carekeeper (although I didn’t get a chance to try it). You can choose between a traditional Malaysian fare or – if you are not a big fan of rice and spicy sambal sauce in the morning – a more familiar Western option of eggs and sausages is also available.
Villa & garden
You might not be able to guess it but this land was actually part of a rubber plantation. The plantation turned green sanctuary is now the property surrounded by the garden and a jungle forest on its outskirts.
Even though you may be able to hear billions of insects buzzing at night, don’t worry. The villa is safely protected from all those inhabitants. The sounds are almost calming in fact. I, for one, could easily fall asleep within minutes, and once I did, slept like a baby throughout the night.
NOTE: There are some bats in the area so don’t freak out if you spot or hear any.
Surprisingly, there were no mosquitos in the house (thanks to the carefully placed in-house plugin mosquito repellents). I didn’t get as lucky outside though, so make sure you have mosquito repellants packed with you.
On the outskirts of the garden and hidden from direct view is a small livestock area with chickens, goats and a goose. Dave, our guest experience manager, mentioned it was the favourite attraction for families with small kids coming to visit. My heart, however, was won by the resident cats who are not shy to come close and say hi.
Area around & Transportation
Just like I wanted, the villa is secluded and situated away from busy capital, leaving all the noise of civilization behind.
I’d recommend going there with your own car. While technically, it is possible to get a taxi from KLIA, the city centre or the nearest train station, getting out of there is tricky. The property’s remote location is also the main reason why most of their guests are locals.
FYI, the property area is gated and the caretaker Kak Liz lives on the villa grounds; Dave assured us that the area is calm, secure with no reported incidents.
I’d note that this beautiful place comes with a price tag. Since the value for money is a very personal measurement, I’ll leave it up to you to determine its worth.
Booking Villa Kuang
Address: Lorong Orkid, Kuang, Sungai Buloh, 47000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 2262 0288
After my short trip away from Kuala Lumpur I felt refreshed in nature’s own surrounding.
The change from routine with simple things like no air-con and open air bathrooms are enough to delight you. The isolation from the hustle and bustle of city life was rejuvenating and kept me pumped for the week ahead.
How about you? Try the retreat yourself and let me know what you felt.
Exploring unique places,
Disclaimer: Thanks to the Avillion Hotel Group for the stay. Nonetheless, Tripfez policy is to always provide honest opinions, and thus all reviews and opinions remain my own.