Island and Jungle Living. An Artist’s Retreat
Tiger Rock offers a chic rustic retreat with the touch of an artist, the thoughtful care of a family and, the conveniences of modern life. This is jungle-island living at its best and, it’s only four hours from Kuala Lumpur.
A 90 minute drive north of KL, on an excellent highway, followed by two hours of travel on meandering roads through villages, palm oil plantations and small farms sets you down at Lumut Jetty. Ten ringgit buys you a return ride on the ferry across to Pangkor Island where your affable host, Mohan, from Tiger Rock awaits your arrival. A short, adventuresome, four-wheel drive jaunt later and, you’re in paradise.
|Shutters on a Room|
Formerly the private residence of the Duckett-Wilkinson family, Tiger Rock stretches over an elevated area of Pangkor Island and is interlaced with the verdant tropical environs.
Sustainable tourism is the catch phrase here. Artist and owner, Rebecca Duckett-Wilkinson places high value on “preserving the natural environment and cultural way of life…” This is seen both in design and management of the property.
Traditional architecture, recycled wood and pre-loved furniture are all key elements in the structures. Minimal terrain was disturbed in constructing the buildings and the retreat is intertwined with nature in all of its glory. From rocks protruding through the corners of rooms, to vines taking over the exterior walls, to trees poking their branches through gaps in the ceiling, nature is knocking on the doorstep.
|Kitchen Built Around the Boulder|
|Vines Overtaking the Walls|
|Stairway to the Main House|
Animals: monkeys; birds (even the Pied Hornbill!); snakes; squirrels; flying lemurs; wild boars; mice; mosquitoes; ants; butterflies and; lizards: Tiger Rock houses them in abundance. What might be some people’s fascination could also be a biophobe’s bad dream. In general, the wildlife keeps its distance though, the only exception being the persistent mossies. Air-conditioning, ceiling fans, mosquito coils and, repellent, however all form part of a rather successful self-defense system.
A local family manages the property and, with that, goes both an infusion of Malaysian culture, and the benefits of hanging out with an island community member. Mohan, his lovely wife Bavanni and team, welcome guests into this shared home as if long lost family members, entitling them to participate in ceremonies and events that a tourist might not otherwise be privy to. Too however, they are intuitive in reading lodger’s desires, knowing when to quietly recede from view when given the sense that seclusion is wished for.
In the Arms of Nature
Snug in the arms of nature is the hill house, consisting of four bedrooms girdled around a central living and dining gazebo. This spacious set up is ideal for families or groups of friends. The Main House, Pool Chalet and Studio provide further accommodation, sharing common areas for relaxation and eatertainment.
|Living Area - Hill House|
The Main House
Originally the Wilkinson family’s private home, the Main House holds a master bedroom and children’s room, both with attached bathrooms. All have fans and air conditioning and are lovingly decorated. Dotted with family photographs, old birthday cards and other such memorabilia, the ornamentation imbues feelings of a happy family refuge.
|Living Area of the Main House|
The Pool Chalet offers a compact jazzed up cabana. Roosted in the hillside, it’s enclosed with trees. The natural stream filled pool and lush valley vegetation are seen from the chalet’s private balcony.
When the Wilkinson family was residing on the island, this was Rebecca’s workplace, the artist’s studio (and our nest for a few days). The highest point on the hill cradles a large living and sleeping area with an en suite bathroom. A lawn sprawls from the building to a natural rock fence backed with dense tropical forest. Thoughts of an afternoon in the yard are nurtured with a picnic bench in the middle.
On the other side, viewed through open shutters behind the bed, is more vegetation. Tarzan vines and thick foliage produce sweet smelling, health inducing fresh air – if only it could be bottled before returning to the city. While the walls can be opened with plentiful panel doors, they can also be shut giving privacy and protection from the weather.
The bathroom too welcomes the great outdoors to reside within. Three silver-gray boulders bulge from the floor and louvered windows reveal yet more verdure.
|The Studio Bathroom|
Natural timber, beamed ceilings and thatched gable roofs carry a bricolage of knickknacks. Seashells hang from beach wood in a mobile reminding you of the retreat’s proximity to the sea. Brightly patterned tiffin tins form eye-catching rows atop wardrobes and shelves. Antique dolls and miniature porcelain tea sets are lined up in a glass display cabinet furnishing you with a peak into days gone by. Colourful artworks add cheer to the room and, no less than ten paper lanterns dangle from above, gently illuminating the space.
|The Studio - Bedroom|
The bed is king size and spread with an Indian inspired mosaic covering. Wicker chairs and table sit at the foot, topped with a potted plant and outlook over the lawn. An antique desk forms a workspace and a single bed allots more sleeping capacity.
|Wicker Table and Chairs|
A Library Pavilion and Pool House offer distraction with satellite T.V., walls of reading material and, board games. An infinity pool overlooks a lush valley of virescence. Sun chairs fringe its edge forming a popular place for hours of lazing and, a tennis court is a few minutes walk away for those wishing to be more active. Guests can grab a snack and drink, whenever hunger or thirst arises, from the public refrigerators.
|Pool House - a central living area where meals are taken|
An article can’t be written about Tiger Rock without mentioning Bavanni’s home cooking. Most packages sold are full board, including accommodation, transfer from jetty, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages and meals. From arrival to departure guests are showered with the chef’s delicious dishes. An expert in Indian and local cuisine, but also master of Western plates and, a wizard in preparing child desirable food too, Bavanni ensures that no-one goes hungry during their stay at Tiger Rock.
Tiger Rock presents culinary hospitality in an island getaway, an artist’s retreat in the beautiful natural surrounds of Pangkor Island.
Reason to visit: a chic rustic hideaway enveloped with nature, Bavanni's cooking, Mohan's warm hospitality
+6 04 264 3580
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