Review from Ramble and Wander!
In May this year, I received an email inviting me and a friend to spend a weekend retreat in Raub, Pahang, at Eight Acres, a resort that claims, on its website, to be “A land of raw beauty. A sanctuary for adventure and reflection. A commune with the calm of Nature, and a nursery for a happy soul”. So yes, of course, I didn’t hesitate much before accepting the invitation and setting the date for my visit despite having to make my way there on my own
Below is my review of the resort following my weekend stay there.
1. The Resort
According to TripAdvisor, Eight Acres is a non-rated specialty lodging. Based on Agoda’s rating however, it’s a rated as 4-star. The resort is located in Raub district of Pahang, in a former durian orchard that is surrounded by oil palm and rubber plantations about 30 km away from the town centre. The name of the resort was derived from, surprise, surprise, the size of the resort compound.
1a. The Reception
My friend Jeff (of Jeff’s Travels) and I arrived at the resort just before 2 in the afternoon after taking a taxi from Raub Bus Terminal. The taxi ride took about 45-50 minutes after getting lost for a bit whilst on the way. We turned into a wrong exit and then were not sure about the off-road route that lasted for about 10-15 minutes before we arrived at our resort. There was no lobby or a proper reception area like you’d find in any other typical hotels or resorts but instead we were led to an eco-designed building called The Brick House for a more personalised “check-in” and have our lunch there.
The Brick House is a two-storey building that’s built with recycled items and utilises green renewable energy. On the ground floor, there is the communal area called Tatami Hall (the floor is covered with Japanese tatami mats), a dining hall cum a TV/entertainment area, kitchen, restrooms and a sundeck. There are also two guestrooms, called Kampung House, annexed to The Brick House.
On the 1st floor, there are 6 uniquely theme rooms and common bathrooms for resort guests, as well as another sundeck.
1b. The Rooms
Jeff and I were assigned the Culture Room, probably because we’re cultured folks. Okay, maybe not. Anyways, it’s one of the two en-suite rooms on the first floor of The Brick House and it is suitable for 4 adults. Its huge window, or rather, glass wall, allows plenty of natural light into the room, making it airy and spacious too. I quite loved it, especially as it comes with an en-suite bathroom.
We also checked out the other 5 rooms on the same floor. There’s the Contemplation Room, with everything in white, and an attic should you need more privacy whilst doing your thinking and contemplation.
There are also Renewal Room and Geography Room, the latter with walls and the floor covered in world maps. And then, there is Discovery Room, which has floor-to-ceiling bookcases filled with books on 3 of its walls; and the last one, Surreality Room, another en-suite room, which also has a unique feature albeit probably a bit girlish for guys, heh!
Jeff immediately declared that Discovery Room is his kind of room, whilst I myself was not sure which one to choose. I like the attic feature in Contemplation and also the world maps in Geography. And yes, I like Discovery too. I guess I wouldn’t mind staying in any of these 3 rooms the next time I come back here.
Apart from The Brick House, there are also rooms in other buildings and houses. The most exclusive (and thus most expensive one) is Java House, which greets you upon your arrival at the resort on your way to The Brick House; Cascada, that is located right below Java House and close to Cascada, the waterfalls; and Mulberry Place, just next to Cascada, and so named because of the mulberry trees growing right in front of the chalets.
If you’re more adventurous, you can also opt to stay in one of the tents (that can sleep 4 people) in The Nomad’s Way.
As you can see from the photos, most rooms are furnished rather simple but each however is based on certain unique themes. Overall, the rooms are nicely furnished and comfortable and should be good whether for a family stay or a trip with a group of friends. The mattress and bed are comfortable. Towels and toiletries however are not provided so you’d have to bring your own.
Eight Acres serves breakfast at The Brick House. It is included in the package, along with lunch and dinner. For breakfast on our second day, we had home cooked nasi lemak. We had plenty of vegetables and fresh fish that came from the ponds in the compound during two other meals. BBQ dinner was also a highlight of the stay.
In between those meals, we had some free-flow of cookies and snacks, and cold as well as hot drinks.
1d. Internet Access
There is no Wi-Fi at Eight Acres as it would defeat the purpose of disconnecting with your everyday world and reconnecting with your own self and nature. Mobile phone coverage is also a bit limited.
1e. Other Facilities
Eight Acres does not have any business centre, swimming pool, a gym nor any in-house restaurant. What it does have however is everything else that would allow you to enjoy the very best of nature that surrounds the resort.
You can walk around the compound to enjoy the greeneries it offers. Mr. Kam (or Uncle Kam as he would like us to call him), who is the father of the resort owner and also works as the resort manager, enjoys nothing more than walking around the resort compound with his guests during The Amazing Trail, showing and explaining simple but new things to us city dwellers. Things like name of trees and their uses, and maybe some history about them as well, like the legend of Tualang tree. Just ask Uncle Kam, and he’d be more than happy to tell you stories.
Along the way, you’d watch fellow earthlings like ducks, geese, and chicken roaming the area freely. You can feed them, of course, like you can feed the fish in 4 fish ponds that are located next to The Brick House. You can even learn how to paddle board in one of the ponds, if you fancy getting wet.
Other free things that you could do here include cycling and pony riding. You can also stay indoors and play various board games in Tatami Hall but if you want to try something different and perhaps more traditional, ask for traditional games of main guli (marbles), gasing(spinning top), or even baling selipar(throwing a slipper to a stack of slippers). We spent an afternoon playing the traditional games before doing other activities.
And then of course, there’s the small waterfall called Cascada in the compound too in case the weather gets too hot for you. In the evening and after dinner, you can enjoy a quiet time reading, or you can continue the bonding activities by chatting or playing board games while watching the stars in the sky. Indeed, you might just be tempted to spend your night lying down on the sundeck stargazing as there is practically no light pollution at all at the resort.
1f. Other Activities
Apart from the above, there are also other activities that can be had at additional cost. Being a popular destination for corporate clients to send their staff for some team building courses, Eight Acres also have facilities for activities like wall climbing, abseiling, flying fox, ATV rides and even archery! We managed to try the ATV ride, the flying fox (fun – in hindsight only, haha!) and archery while we were there.
Also not to forget – although this is definitely not in the same group of activities like others above – as the resort is built on a former durian orchard, there are still plenty of durian trees around. You can pick up fallen durian and eat lots of them if you’re there during the season. And they do have Musang King, D24 and kampung durian, the best types of durian around, over there at the resort. Jeff and I just listened to this information with a bit of frustration, mainly because it wasn’t durian season when we were there.
[Eight Acres do offer a Durian Festival package with an all you can eat durian on top of lodging and full board during the durian season. So do check out their website for this offer. This, honestly, is soo tempting!]
2. Where to Eat
As mentioned above, while there is no in-house restaurant at Eight Acres, all the 3 main meals and snacks are included in the package. As the resort is located way inside a plantation area, there is no restaurant nearby either. Outside food are not recommended/ encouraged to be brought inside the resort.
Worry not however, unless if you’re the type who has to munch something all the time, in which case, there’s the snack and cookies counter near the TV/ entertainment area in The Brick House.
How to get there:
The best way to get to the resort is probably by driving or using a taxi from Raub town centre. We took an express bus from Kuala Lumpur (from Pekeliling Bus Station – across the road from Titiwangsa LRT Station) to Raub Bus Terminal, which took about 2 hours. From there, we took a taxi to Eight Acres, and that took another 45 minutes or so. The taxi fare is fixed and displayed at the taxi counter near to the bus terminal.
Interesting places nearby, if any:
The idea is to enjoy the place and nature whilst you’re there. The town of Raub however is about 30 km away and might offer something different and unique too (e.g. famous tofu and peanut factories which you can visit), you might want to consider dropping by the town either whilst on your way to or from Eight Acres. Personally however, I’d try to maximise my time at the resort itself. Remember what I wrote earlier about what they claim on their website?
A land of raw beauty. A sanctuary for adventure and reflection. A commune with the calm of Nature, and a nursery for a happy soul.
Frankly, they’re everything they claim to be.