Places & Spaces: The Banjaran Hot Springs Retreat

The Banjaran Hotsprings Resort in Malaysia is a haven of calm and tranquility.

Much of the energy we consume is for producing heat, so a hotel that makes use of naturally piping hot water gets our vote.

At the Banjaram Hotsprings Retreat in Malaysia, geothermally-heated mineral-rich water is used for Jacuzzis, pools, a steam room and a natural sauna. Located in an ancient, lush green valley near the colonial city of Ipoh, the hotel feels so removed from the modern world, you expect dinosaurs to pop out from behind the tree-carpeted mountains that surround it.

The five-star super-luxe spa hotel is built around a lake, with just 26 villas either within their own garden (bigger and more private), or on stilts in the lake, with a balcony overlooking the water (nicer view). Each villa has its geothermal pool, outdoor shower, Bose sound system and large flat-screen TV. We love the locally-made plant-based skincare, stored in refillable ceramic jars.

You’ve probably tried ayurvedic and naturopathic treatments, but have you ever meditated in a limestone cave (no bats, promise)? Here, you can find your inner zen surrounded by other-worldly rock formations; further caves feature crystals, a thermal pool, and even a restaurant offering organic wines.

If you’re being virtuous, the spa restaurant has healthy dishes using home-grown organic fruit and veg from the hotel’s own garden. Look out for local superfruit, the pomelo, which looks like a large green grapefruit. Packed with vitamins and nutrients, as well as cancer-preventing limonoids, its sweet-sour flesh is used in juices and salads.


Outside the grounds you can take a jungle trek; if you can bear to tear yourself away from this idyllic retreat, you can visit a nearby herbal garden. Tama Herba grows medicinal plants used for nutrition and aromatherapy – a fragrant and fascinating walk.

Villas from $482 a night plus tax, including all the eco-friendly, naturally heated water you could possibly need.

Places & Spaces is a travel guide that will inspire you to carve out a vacation on your calendar. All of the gorgeous locations and accommodations in our guide share our concern for the environment. From tent glamping to lavish built environments, fair warning, you’ll feel compelled to pack your suitcase.

Fiona Flores Watson

Fiona Flores Watson covers Places & Spaces for EcoSalon and currently resides in Seville, Spain.