When you step into Mangala Resort & Spa in Kuantan, Pahang, you might find it hard to believe that this was once a barren 60-acre land.
It used to be a spot for tin mining and then sand mining, activities which lasted a cumulative 70 or so years. By the time the activities were halted, the ground was spotted with unsightly gullies, ponds, and small lakes.
There was hardly any vegetation too, since the land was largely covered in clay and no topsoil, with much of the sand mined away.
But thanks to over 15 years of restoration efforts by Dato Franky Chua Goon Eng, it’s been transformed into an eco-leisure haven, a far cry from its previous state.
Lining serene lakes and swaying trees are 67 villas in five different styles, plus a bungalow for larger groups.
Its name “Mangala”, which is Sanskrit for “auspicious wellbeing”, succinctly sums up the resort’s objective: enhance guests’ own rejuvenation journeys through nature.
And their service has not gone unnoticed; Mangala Resort & Spa has won several awards such as Malaysia Property Award 2017, FIABCI World Prix D’Excellence Award 2018 (World Gold Winner in the Environmental Category), and the FIABCI Malaysia Property Award 2020 (Winner of the Resort Category).
It’s also one of two Malaysian affiliates of Small Luxury Hotels of The World (SLH), a professional community of discerning travellers who personally review hotels all around the world, picking unique stays to highlight.
While the lush nature of the resort lulls guests into relaxing moments where time feels like it’s at a standstill, its management team knew that they had to adapt to the fast-changing times of our COVID-19 endemic phase.
Making it work
This meant smartly catering to the small but growing crowd of digital nomads and hybrid professionals looking for a remote working experience with more privacy, space, and a change of scenery from cafes or coworking spaces.
While the leisure market still makes up the core of the resort’s guests, the hospitable team is now anticipating an upward trend of hybrid professionals seeking a calm space to get their brain juices flowing, be they creatives or even researchers.
After all, you’ve heard the saying before, “healthy body, healthy mind”. Thus, Mangala Resort & Spa will be launching its “Work from Villa” package from April 1, 2022, onwards.
It includes a minimum two nights’ stay in Sara Villa or Jala Villa. Apart from the regular furnishings, the 55-square metre Sara Villa is fitted with a King bed, whirlpool tub, and a spacious open-air private balcony that overlooks the Mangala Wetland.
The 50-square metre Jala Villa has the same basics, but its balcony overlooks the tranquil Mangala Lake instead, which is a central feature of the resort.
Both come with working spaces for a solo hybrid professional or a duo. To offer a distinction from a regular stay at either villa, Mangala Resort & Spa will provide additional services in this new “Work from Villa” package.
These include a complimentary stationery kit that comes with a ring light (upon request) for any late virtual meetings that might take place, and complimentary use of the resort’s discussion rooms for up to two hours with advanced booking.
If you wish to utilise the discussion rooms for longer, it’s RM650/subsequent hour. They can fit teams of up to 10 comfortably, and are equipped with charging ports, a widescreen TV, and a projector.
Their recently upgraded WiFi is strong, fast, reliable, and can be accessed from the villa, restaurant, meeting rooms, and other commonly used spaces. Complimentary printing services (in limited quantities) can be found by the reception.
And as the stereotype that professionals cannot function without some caffeine in their system persists, the resort offers free-flow coffee and tea (in-room and at the Lakeside Restaurant).
In the villas, the “Work from Villa” package adds a few more appropriate snacks in the fridge that are free for the first round which include kombucha, energy drinks, and energy bars.
Breakfast buffets come with the package, so lunch and dinner are free and easy. If you decide to dine a la carte at the resort, sweetening the deal is a 20% F&B discount (excluding alcoholic beverages).
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy though, so rest and recreation is part of hybrid working here too, and one could say that’s what Mangala Resort & Spa still does best.
Lounge by the infinity pool overlooking Mangala Lake or take a dip for a break, hit the gym, go cycling around the sprawling openness of the resort, or take to the lake for some kayaking or paddle-boating. If you want to start the day with intentions of hitting your targets, then book an archery session.
These outdoor activities are upon request and are at no charge so you can consider them to be part of your workcation experience.
We’ve had the pleasure of previewing what “Work from Villa” offers, and we can say with confidence that this is something that you’d be hard-pressed to find in city hotels, which tend to be the default luxury workcation spots.
If you’re keen on enjoying this nature-filled experience yourself or with your colleagues, then you can book the “Work from Villa” package with Mangala Resort & Spa from April 1, 2022, onwards. Prices start from RM998 onwards per night.
If you’d like to learn more about it beforehand, then stay tuned for our full workcation review of the resort.