The mist began rolling in, like soft cotton clouds, gently enveloping the undulating greens of Borneo Highlands, 1,000 metres above sea level and within an hour’s drive from Kuching City, Sarawak. Watching the rolling mists from the reception area, I felt like I was in another world, maybe floating on Cloud 9, at the Borneo Highlands Resort, which is nestled on a mountain plateau, surrounded by lush tropical rainforest and fresh highland air.
It is that time of the year where the company is on its annual retreat for its staff at Borneo Highlands Resort, staying at the clubhouse. Our journey up Borneo Highlands began at the bottom. Due to the steep and winding climb, it was not advisable for inexperienced drivers and their cars to drive up or down Borneo Highlands because of the heavy damage that could occur to the brakes and gears. We wisely took the Borneo Highland Resort transport service and it was another 20 minutes ride from the foothill to the top.
Checking in at the Borneo Highlands Resort was easy and everyone was friendly, staff and guests alike. The cool temperatures and back-to-nature ambience are great stress antidotes. The clubhouse room we were each given was not big but it was adequate for one person, with a clean and comfy bed and a ceiling fan, as air-conditioning was not necessary. I was, however, quite startled that the toilet was not enclosed but an open-concept design with low partitioning. It stood out like a sore thumb in the small room, but I got used to it after a while. Each floor of the clubhouse had a common shower facility.
The first day of our retreat was more of a company social gathering. After a healthy vegetarian lunch at the Annah Rais Café of Borneo Highlands Resort, we set out to try the various facilities offered by the resort. First thing on my list was the massage chairs… what a wonderful relaxing sensation and I wished I did not have to move, least of all having to get up off the chair. Next was the outdoor landscape pool… brrrr… the water was too cold for me. Imagine being wet and in the cool wind… it was unthinkable.
Now, the hot tub was another matter entirely. The heat of the bubbling water and rising steam combined with a natural enclosed setting created a phenomenal feeling of luxury and indulgence. I would return to Borneo Highlands Resort for this alone, and the massage chairs.
That evening, at the Annah Rais Café, we tucked in to dinner consisting of several deliciously prepared vegetarian dishes. In case you are wondering, Borneo Highlands Resort only served vegetarian and meatless cuisines, very healthy and wholesome choices. After dinner, some of us took a leisurely stroll around the resort, stopping by the Swan Lake to watch the black and white swans gracefully glide on the lake surface among a backdrop of rich green foliage.
Borneo Highlands is also a unique golf resort featuring the Hornbill Golf Course, popular with avid golfers who would like to pit their skills against the unique golf course design of Borneo Highlands Resort, set on a mountain plateau with slopping hills and surrounded by tropical rainforest. I was very keen to get a ride on the golf buggy though, but unfortunately no golfer was keen to let me have a joy ride.
The next day was not a fun-filled day because it was a day filled with discussions and workshops on our company’s future plans, directions and goals. The meeting rooms and facilities were conveniently located within the Borneo Highlands Resort, and the quiet and peaceful environment did assist to facilitate our dialogue sessions and enhance our contribution of ideas, but personally, it was still not much fun. By the end of the day, we were mentally exhausted, but a shower and a round of the massage chairs helped to invigorate my body and spirit.
On our third and last day, I visited the flower nursery. It was interesting to see the rows and rows of flowers, from seedlings to full grown plants, with blooms of every colours, nodding their heads, saying enjoy your stay at Borneo Highlands! There were different species of roses, chrysanthemum, daisy, amaryllis and azaleas, some of which were planted in pots for sale, but I did not get any. Usually flowers or plants that thrive in cooler climate would not appreciate being transplanted to a warmer climate, and their respond would be to probably whither and die. I decided to be kind to them and let them live longer.
We left Borneo Highlands in the late morning, heading back to Kuching City and taking with us wonderful memories of our retreat in the highlands. Next time, I am going to try the fabulous jungle spa at the Borneo Highlands Resort.