“Family friendly houses in a sociable jungle hideaway on Pangkor Island”
There are 4 houses for rental; book a room in one or the whole thing.
The Main House (sleeps 4-5)
The Main House is set on a grassy slope, accessed via stone steps that wind up from the pool. This 2-storey wooden building was originally David and Rebecca’s house, and many of their knick knacks are still in place. Downstairs there's a kitchen and living space, filled with cookbooks, decorative crockery and wooden ornaments. There's also a dining table with chairs and a padded ‘chill out’ area with cable television and a DVD player. Upstairs are the sleeping quarters, including a twin room suitable for children with a gorgeous wall mural, a dressing room which can accommodate a rollaway bed, and the master bedroom, which opens out onto a small covered terrace facing the dense undergrowth. We stayed in this room and loved hearing the jungle noises at night and watching the monkeys from the terrace. There are 2 upstairs bathrooms with tiled tubs and showers, plus an extra toilet downstairs. This house is best suited to a family with 2+ kids.
The Studio (sleeps 2-3)
Further up the slope, the adorable Studio is hidden behind a huge grey stone. A large bed sits in the centre of the room; all around are vivid jungle scenes swathed on large canvases, plus a stack of brightly painted tiffin boxes. It's no surprise that this room used to be the artists' studio. The French doors fold back, engulfing the room with light, to reveal a stunning jungle panoramic. The bathroom is fairly small and contains a unique tub, with boulders jutting out between the tiles. This would be our top choice for couples, and makes a good family/friends grouping when booked in conjunction with the Main House.
Hill House (sleeps 8-10)
Formally the Wilkinsons’ guest house, Hill House actually consists of 2 separate houses, each with 2 double bedrooms. Smartly furnished throughout, the rooms are less cluttered than the main house, but there are still lots of fun, colourful paintings. The bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms with tubs and all have private terraces. The upper house has a connecting door between the rooms, so it's good for families. In between the two houses is a communal outdoor pavilion scattered with comfy chairs, plus an outdoor dining area with a view to the sea. Hill House is located away from the other houses, up a steep slope and across a bridge, so it feels more secluded and is ideal for a large group of friends.
Pool House Chalet (sleeps 2-3)
This small house is located near the pool and dining area, so is a good option for those who find stairs difficult, but it still feels very private and is a good option for a couple. Inside, it has a large bed and a bathroom with shower only. At the front there's a small veranda with a beautiful view onto the jungle and pool.
All meals are included in your stay at Tiger Rock, and Bavanni reigns Queen of the Kitchen with good reason. Her food is fantastic and thanks to the lack of a menu there's no agonising over what to have (although she can cater to special requirements). Mealtimes become a relaxed activity; plate after plate of delicious food comes to the table and you simply help yourselves and focus instead on the conversation.
Meals are served in the Pool House, which is beautifully lit by lanterns in the evenings. The food is mainly Malay, inspired by Indian and Chinese food, and can be vegetarian if you prefer. Throughout our stay we were extremely impressed by the huge range of dishes, all perfectly seasoned and utterly delicious. Seafood and fish feature often, sometimes a whole mackerel in dry, aromatic Indian style paste or prawns nestling in an omelette. Vegetables come either stir-fried with tiny shrimps or battered lightly in tempura with a spicy chilli dipping sauce. Asian staples such as rice and vermicelli noodles come fried with chicken and egg.
Puddings at lunch time usually consist of fresh fruit, but in the evenings Bavanni often presents a more stylish option, such as sautéed mango with coconut and Tia Maria ice cream: a luscious mixture, which blended perfectly on the palate. You can order wine (a limited selection), beer and soft drinks from the informal bar, or BYO (no corkage charge).
When you've eaten your fill, we'd recommend post-dinner coffees in the library. Mohan will bring the drinks up, often with a surprise liqueur, and always with little bowls of chocolates and dates. This is a wonderful spot to relax and listen to the nocturnal noises of the jungle, just beyond. There are CDs to listen to, board games to play, or you can laze with books from the overflowing shelves.
Breakfast is served between 7.30-8.30am and is the most informal meal of the day. Tables are laden with muesli, cornflakes and yoghurt plus bowls of papaya, oranges and bananas. Baskets are brimming with varieties of breads and croissants. Eggs can be cooked to order and we can recommend the buttery scrambled eggs. Strong cafetiere coffee is brewed to order, or you can have Earl Grey, Darjeeling and scented rose petal tea.
If you'd prefer to have meals served in your house, just ask. The in-house kitchens aren't for self-catering, but parents will find them useful for preparing bottles etc.
Tiger Rock has an ethos that makes this particular parent very happy: "Our main aim," they told me, "is to keep kids well catered for so their parents can relax." You can't argue with a hotel that is parent-friendly as well as child-friendly, can you? The small team will discuss activities with you on arrival and offer free beach transfers too. It's a good place for all ages - as long as your children are outdoorsy and intrepid travellers (the airport is 4 hours away).
If a child is sharing room with 1 adult there is a reduction in rates; enquire when booking
Most rooms sleep parents plus a baby; the Main House is good for a large family (up to 4-5 kids) and in Hill House, you can book the purple and yellow rooms, which connect.
English-speaking babysitter available, see rates.
You can borrow their plug-in monitor (note that it doesn't work throughout the whole of the property however)
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Food is available all day. They don't have a specific kids menu, but they do serve an early dinner if necessary; you can also use their blender. You can discuss any specific meal requirements with the chef who is happy to accommodate anything.
There are steep slopes and steps here as well as a potentially dangerous jungle. You will get a safety talk on arrival which among other things cautions against running around barefoot. Sunburn and insects are 2 of the biggest hazards overall.