By Emily Lowe
Ipoh came into the limelight at the annual World Luxury Hotel Awards 2015 when The Haven Luxury Resort (Best Western Premier) Ipoh was awarded the Global Winner in the Family category at a gala ceremony held at Harbour Grand, Hong Kong recently.
Best Scenic Environment Award
Besides the top global award, The Haven was also declared the Continent winner for Asia in the Luxury Hotel – Best Scenic Environment category, putting small city Ipoh onto the world hospitality map.
Best High Rise
Its developer, The Haven Sdn Bhd, followed that achievement up shortly after by snaring another award: FIABCI’s Malaysia Property Award 2015 winner for Best High Rise Development. Think Malaysian Oscars for property development in the country – and that is FIABCI!
That announcement brought much attention to the comparatively small developer, where many guests at the gala dinner were seen asking amongst themselves, "How did this developer manage to triumph over its larger and more established peers?"
It was in 2009 that the development project known simply as The Haven, sitting on the fringe of Ipoh's well-known limestone outcrops in Tambun, began taking shape. Between then and 2013, the year of completion, its developer was inundated with challenges after challenges.
Said The Haven Ipoh Chief Executive Officer Peter Chan, "Those who have been following our progress from the beginning would know the many problems we faced. Even though the past is best left in the past, we are aware that our struggles are far from over, despite having won more than thirty property and hospitality awards, including internationally."
Sheer Determination and Commitment
For a new developer from a modest city such as Ipoh, The Haven Ipoh has certainly come a long way. Through sheer determination and sticking to the policy of not being purely profit-driven, the developer has, against all odds, emerged victorious, in part due to its winning location, scenic environment, commitment and superb management.
Resort Immensely Popular and Reasonably Priced
It is really not difficult to understand why The Haven is so popular among guests. The newly certified 5-star hotel by Tourism Ministry of Malaysia, the first in Perak, has received numerous positive feedback from guests along the lines of "We’re truly impressed with the surrounding landscape and the development of the condo with its modern architectural design within the limestone hills and natural lake." and "It’s really an unforgettable experience; I think the name should be ‘The Heaven Ipoh’ as the scene of the lake and the surrounding mountains is out of this world. The hotel staff were really very kind and provided the best service. The pool is also one of the best that I have tried, with its view to the lake and glass walls," just to quote a couple of them posted on TripAdvisor.
Those who are well-travelled would know that for a 5-star luxury resort located in a similar setting and offering magnificent views, it would set them back by at least USD700 to USD1,500 for a night's stay per room.
Yet, The Haven, offering modern facilities amidst a natural green environment is only MYR700 to MYR1,500 per night's stay at a three-bedroom suite. This monetary savings for almost the same luxuries prove that The Haven truly offers value for money to guests.
For readers who are not familiar with The Haven, they are probably imagining the property to be in some far off woods. They can't be more wrong. Despite being in nature, The Haven is just ten minutes’ drive from Ipoh City, a stone's throw away from popular shopping malls and other city attractions. Staying true to its 5-star rating, guests to The Haven can arrange for complimentary transfer to the resort from the Ipoh Railway Station or Sultan Azlan Shah Airport upon their arrival.
For those who are driving from Kuala Lumpur, The Haven is also conveniently located just a short distance from the North–South Expressway exit into Tambun after Ampang toll.
Still, even with its proximity to all city amenities those who have checked-in to the resort would probably want to just unwind within the property, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. How often does one get to fully enjoy a peaceful sanctuary enveloped by the pristine air of Tambun, overlooking the tranquil lake with jagged limestone hills as backdrop?
Tremendous Vacation Destination – Facilities, Food and Security
And is there any better way to spend a vacation than to swim in its 60-metre long trademark seahorse-shaped pool? The 5-level infinity pool includes a Jacuzzi, lap pool, leisure pool, children’s pool and wading pool.
This is where the six multi-racial chefs at The Haven's Cuisines Restaurant play that crucial role of keeping guests well-fed with a mouth-watering array of local, Asian, Western and even Mediterranean fares.
This world award-winning development, which boasts seven levels of security 24 hours a day, has hosted top dignitaries in the country, as well as several Sultans and heads of State.
Nevertheless, The Haven is most suitable as a romantic getaway or that much needed family breakaway. Moreover, the resort is well-equipped with function rooms and a ballroom, plus features facilities for team building events. Also, it is a prime venue for garden weddings.
Now, any Ipohite would be extremely proud of the achievements and successes attained by The Haven thus far. Having bagged over 30 hospitality and property awards not only in Malaysia but globally, surely the spotlight has been turned on Ipoh, making its name ring louder worldwide?
State Authorities to Leverage?
The question that begs to be answered is, "How does the state authorities leverage on this achievement to propel Ipoh further in the eyes of the world?"
The Haven has already fought, and won, half the battle. The rest is up to those in power and ordinary Ipoh folk to make good use of this foothold to achieve bigger successes.
Deserving of Support from All
Even with three towers standing tall, The Haven still needs the support of all to continue to bring glory to Ipoh. That's the least we can do for the development that has provided job opportunities to many local youth and shared the tourism pie with other product owners within the state.