Situated just about 1 hour away from the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur in the town of Bukit Tinggi is this French-themed resort by the name of Colmar Tropicale, that is 2,700 feet above sea level. Inspired by the Colmar Village in France, this resort was built to look like a village when in fact, all the shop houses were really guest rooms, restaurants and amenities for the resort guests. It was our first time there and having reached just after noon, the place was warm even though it was on the hills.
Entrance to Colmar Tropicale, Berjaya Hills
The massive tower
Since our room was not ready, we took the opportunity to take pictures of the colourful buildings, and felt like we were in a foreign country. Well, that is, if you don’t look at the people around.
Towards the resort
A fountain that greets you just after the entrance
Many times we were told by friends that Bukit Tinggi was boring and that it wasn’t worth the time and effort driving up there. (The last 10km of the journey was actually rather winding.) But it really just depends on what your expectations are. Colmar Tropicale is a quiet and charming little resort, providing you the perfect place to relax, unwind, capture photographs and take in the fresh cool air. The village is actually quite small, just a few hundred metres long, so you would have walked the whole village to and fro within minutes.
Love the pink shutters of the rooms
What I would say though, is that this is a place with plenty of photography opportunities. The colourful village itself is an open studio with countless of possibilities, not to mention the surrounding landscape such as the koi pond and the mini waterfall nearby. If that is not good enough, take the complimentary shuttle from the resort to the Japanese Village.
Photos in Colmar Tropicale
The shuttle comes and leaves every 10 minutes or so, so we didn’t have to wait long. Since it was a weekend, it was naturally quite popular with tourists and locals alike. During our visit, there’s a part of the road leading to the Japanese Village that was under construction, so we had to walk up the final stretch on our own. It took about 10 minutes, but the path was pretty steep. It’s advisable if you brought water along, something we wished we had. 😛
From the shuttle
Starting point of the walk up
The steep walk up
If you know Saucer well, you would have expected him to be grumbling all the way up, since he hated walking steep paths or steps. Thankfully, the walk didn’t last long and we saw the signboard that we’re really near the Japanese Garden. The second part of the walk was a hike through the tropical forest, where we were surrounded by gigantic trees that were probably more than a hundred years old. There was also the peaceful sound of water flowing from the stream and waterfall within the forest, making the walk that much more therapeutic.
The first Japanese Tea House in the tropical forest
Saucer didn’t look too happy 😛
Finally, we saw the sign of the tea house! There was an option to learn the Japanese tea ceremony here, but we were told that it’s not worth the RM28 price tag by the person in charge there. She suggested that we drink the tea from the Japanese restaurant nearby instead. 😛
The Japanese Tea House
On the other hand, she recommended that I rent the
kimono yukata for photo-shooting around the forest. This was charged at RM20 for about half an hour. It was the first time I wore a yukata, what do you think?
Japanese for a day
Quite a challenge walking with small steps really
Trying to attract the koi’s attention
On the small bridge
One of Saucer and his pebbles
By the time we’re done with Japanese Village, it was past 3pm and our room was ready. Even though I booked for a Superior Room, I was upgraded to a One-Bedroom Suite since they were our of King sized beds for the former type. The room was huge! It had a living area, a dining area, a bedroom, a dressing area and a large bathroom too. In fact, it was too big that it gave us a hollow and empty feeling when we entered.
Kitchen and dining area
Another view of the living area
Four-poster bed in the bedroom
View from our room
Bathtub and basin
To get a view of the size of Colmar Tropicale, we went to the end of the street and took the elevator to the highest level. It was quite a sight, really.
The whole of Colmar Tropicale
For dinner, where else did we have if not for the one and only French restaurant there? La Cigogne is the most popular and expensive restaurant around, but if you compare the prices with the fine-dining restaurants in KL, it is still pretty reasonable. Furthermore, the other dining options in Colmar are not exactly cheap, with most restaurants averaging around RM20+ per main course.
The dining environment was romantic with dim, orange lighting and French music playing in the background. Service was impeccable too, intuitive and attentive. Our glasses of water were never empty, and our plates were only cleared when we’d completely finished our meals or when we asked them to. Dinner started with complimentary roll and butter, served warm with a crispy crust.
Bread and butter
Red wine (RM22)
My order of Escalope came with salmon, shrimps and a plump scallop. The most commendable part was the salmon, which was pan fried to perfection. The skin was aromatic and crispy, while the flesh was oh-so-smooth and flaky it melted in my mouth!
Escalope of Salmon, Prawn and Scallop (RM48)
As for Saucer’s Grilled Prime Rib Eye, it was a little overcooked even though we asked for medium doneness. I thought the cut was too thin, so the edges especially, were all well done. Thankfully the middle portion was still pinkish, the little saving grace for this dish. That, and the fact that this went well with red wine.
Grilled Prime Rib Eye Steak (RM48)
We enjoyed the dessert the most, even though the price could be a little steep for such a small portion. The Chocolate Fondant was served hot to the palate with that unmistakable cocoa aroma that’s just begging to be devoured. Couple the melting hot chocolate with the freezing vanilla ice-cream and you’d never go wrong. Never.
Chocolate Fondant (RM22)
At night, the street was all lit up, making it ever so romantic. Not to forget was the cool temperature once night came, hovering around 24C, it was natural air-conditioning.
Streets at night
If you’re lucky and get clear skies, you might even be able to spot the bright and shining city far away in the clouds, the one we call Genting Highlands.
Is that UFO in the sky?
Night view of Colmar Tropicale, Berjaya Hills
At night, there’s really not much to do in Colmar Tropicale. One could either take a walk up and down the street (something you must have done dozens of times before by then :P) or watch the TV in the room. If all else fails, sit down, enjoy the cool weather, watch the stars and take a deep satisfying breath. There’s nothing like cool fresh air up in the mountains.
The next morning before we left, we drove past The Chateau, one of the latest Spa & Organic Wellness Resort in Bukit Tinggi. It was not open to public so we could only take a picture from outside. Look at how grand it is!
Doesn’t The Chateau remind you of a fairy tale castle?
So if you ask me, is Bukit Tinggi a boring place to go? If you’re someone adventurous who expects a vacation to be filled with activities and fun things to do, then yes it’s boring. But if you’re looking for a weekend retreat to relax and immerse yourself with cool weather and fresh air, then this is the place for you. Never forget to admire the nature’s beauty even if it’s just clear blue skies.
Goodbye Bukit Tinggi, I’ll miss your blue skies
Getting there: If you don’t fancy driving up, there’s a shuttle operating from Berjaya Times Square that departs to Colmar Tropicale daily. For more information on the schedule and price, check out their website.
Colmar Tropicale, Berjaya Hills
KM48, Persimpangan Bertingkat Lebuhraya Karak,
28750 Bukit Tinggi, Bentong,
Tel No: +609-288 8888
Fax: +609-288 3333