After cruising along a coastal road with the wind billowing in through the wound-down windows, and witnessing a flurry of grocery shops, restaurants and wooden houses from a bygone era still hanging on, we were met by the Swiss Garden Resort and Spa.
Its deep incongruence of location was alleviated somewhat by the tropical trees and vegetation lining its grounds, which made it blend more smoothly with the similar natural settings we had experienced en route.
Despite its mingling with old-age Kuantan outskirts residences, the Swiss Garden Resort and Spa is a world away. From the time where money was the muted means of living, now money talks.
As Kuantan continues to develop and grow, money will become increasingly important, and I wondered for a moment, just how much longer Kuantan's easy-living, wooden-housed past would hang on, in the face of widespread revolution. Kuantan, and indeed, Malaysia, is a land of contrasts as modernity and civilisation gradually settle and replace the old, creaking hallmarks of former Malaya.
Bearing in mind this historical backdrop, it is with gratitude I speak that we have the ability and means to keep up with the wheel of time which is rolling on, and to sample some of the finer things in life, as I report on our delightful stay, albeit a short one, at the Swiss Garden Resort and Spa.
The lobby is the first most striking feature with tall bronze pillars supporting a network of gently moving waters around simple seating areas.
The colours of the lobby are revitalised at night along with the accompaniment of the piano being played at various intervals. As the cool draft filters in from the sea, the lighting provides a warm glow which reflects throughout the lobby.
The hotel grounds are nicely laid out, with convenient, direct access to a rather disappointingly boring beach.
My gorgeous wife poses amongst a row of hibiscus flowers
Lauren is a picture of happiness. Later at night it was me who had the biggest grin on my face when Lauren fell asleep on the bed in the air-con without uttering a word. I was watching, of all things - believe it or not, basketball (!) when I turned to see that she had dozed right off! (I'm not sure which was the most surprising - the fact that I watched a basketball match, or the fact that I actually quite enjoyed it, too!)
A banister leads the way to the Swiss Garden Resort and Spa
Water gushes down from the lobby floor above, onto the breakfast cafe in front of the pool
As I said, the beach was disappointing, and we spent the best part of 5 minutes there before heading back to the resort. We saw a lot of tiny crabs which quickly scurried into small holes they had bored in the sand, a motorbike trail, and a sprinkling of fine shells.
Oh yeah, my radiant wife was there too!
In the resort, jets of water stream out in tandem into the pool
We had some fun at the swimming pool, particularly in the afternoon of the day we arrived when the sun warmed up the water and made the experience all the more comfortable. The following morning we waded in the water but without the warmth of the sun as it hid behind the overcast sky. Lauren loved every minute of the children's pool whilst Fie and I took turns relaxing in the jacuzzi.
The beach babe kicks up a wave poolside
We had the jacuzzi all to ourselves on this morning
A rope conveniently cordones off the jacuzzi from the children's pool - my wife takes a break in the warm bubbles
And finally, we come to the room. It was a fairly basic room but was comfortable and more than adequate for our one night stay there. We did experience a problem with our door key card, but a very friendly and helpful worker came to change the batteries, and all was well again.
A hot bubble bath was particularly pleasing
A telephone beside the toilet. Cravings for food apparently come whilst doing your business on the pot. Or is that the call for help when there's no 'crap paper' around. (Crap paper is toilet paper and I use it in reference to an amusing experience in Petaling Jaya a while back with my family - one of those funny situations that is just never forgotten!)
And this was Lauren's favourite thing about the room!
And of course, the reason why we were at the Swiss Garden Resort and Spa - my wife was attending her staff dinner with the theme 'Princes and Princesses'. I'm quite certain she would have won the prize for best princess had she been a permanent member of staff!
She did however, win 3rd place for an ad hoc dancing contest, bringing home RM50 and a hamper.
Lauren and I enjoyed some time in our room before she amazingly fell asleep completely unaided!
Our free buffet breakfast was a delight and we made sure to make the most of free food, along with orange, mango and guava juices.
So, we enjoyed this lovely time at the Swiss Garden Resort and Spa and left feeling satisfied and wishing we could stay longer. It is extremely refreshing to relax and treat oneself once in a while.
As we left this symbol of modernity, we drove back through the old huts and shacks, dirty-walled restaurants and traditional Malay houses, to our home and rapidly modernising town-cum-city. And it struck me that it wasn't so long ago that people here would have left their old house to taste a faraway luxury, only to return to the same third world situation.
How things are changing.