A Curious Twist on Christmas Tradition @ Cameron Highlands Resort
“Cameron Highlands Resort celebrated its annual Christmas Tree Lighting tradition for the sixth year running over the weekend of November 16, 2012. Staying true to the resort’s tagline of ‘Trails, Tales & Traditions’, the tree lighting heralds the festivities of Christmas and New Year’s Eve, revealing the resort in full celebratory splendour as well as previewing the year’s Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner menus”.
Christmas came a little early this year… on the weekend of the 16th November, along with some of the country’s top editors, local celebrities, entrepreneurs and theatre folk and we were part of 46 people invited up to YTL’s Cameron Highlands Resort for a weekend of fun, relaxing, indulgence and pure decadence. The resort holds a special place in my heart, as it was where we held our intimate Swedish Crayfish Wedding Reception. It would be our fifth time up the mountain in less than a year, after having been up once before as a child.
It was odd really, to arrive at the beautiful, nostalgic and almost romantic resort, and not really know anyone. Out of the group we probably knew three or four very well, while the rest were either acquaintances through work or perfect strangers. I guess that was the beauty of the weekend and the spirit of Christmas. By the end of it, we had made some new good friends and gotten to know the old ones even better.
Whatever happens in Cameron Highlands, stays in Cameron Highlands…
FRIDAY 16th NOVEMBER 2012
The Jim Thompson Tea Room Luncheon
After the long drive up, we were spoilt rotten with a hearty lunch reminiscent of olden day British cooking. A delicious Cream of Cameron Highlands Cauliflower Soup was served to start, and a homestyle Grilled Boneless Chicken Thigh with Sauteed Summer Vegetables was presented for our main. Dessert was a Decadent Kahlua Tiramisu Layered with caramel. I couldn’t see the caramel nor could I taste the Kahlua but the Tiramisu itself was layered beautifully with a light cream and fluffy sponge.
On to the Spa Village for a pampering session after that, where the spa treatments are based on the healing properties of tea. It was the perfect soothing remedy after the harrowing drive up. To complete the ‘zombified’ state of relaxation we were in after our Cameron’s Mint Treatment, we lay in the spa relaxation area and sipped on Honey Lime tea, with lip-smacking Oatmeal cookies and homemade Strawberry Jam.
Murder Mystery Dinner
This delicious set will be available on Christmas Eve at RM200+.
The legend behind Jim Thompson’s, The American businessman and Thai Silk King who went missing in the hill resort on March 26, 1967, was brought to life. We were all mailed character cards before the event, and received more information and ‘play’ money upon arrival. Everyone was urged to come in character and stay in character throughout the evening.
Some were rude, some were French, some were slutty and some were downright insane!
It was impossible to tell the real people from their characters as roles were assumed and identities lost amongst the sea of budding actors, some deserving of an Emmy or Oscar nomination.
Of course, the potent Saketini cocktails served at Gonbei bar might have had something to do with that…
As the evening went on and everyone got more and more into character, it became all a bit confusing, yet exciting, with no one really knowing what would happen, until…. a murder was committed.
And then another!
Of course, in between the running around and the mystery solving, we did manage to sit down to an delicious dinner in the Dining Room.
Tian of Jumbo Ocean Crab with Sakura Cress and Alphonso Mango Salsa
Double Boiled Chicken Consommé with Mushroom, Bamboo Pith, Infused with Chinese Herbs
Mustard Herb Crusted Lamb Loin with Basil Scented Ratatouille, Onion and Rosemary Sauce
Coconut Pandan Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit Sauce
Coffee or Tea
All too soon the mystery was solved, the killer apprehended and Best Performer, Super Sleuth, Best Costume and Wealthiest Player were announced.
After all the mayhem, we adjourned to the Highlands Bar and indulged in a civilized tasting of Bowmore single malt whisky tasting, with variations of 10, 12, 15 and 18 years flowing freely, a guarantee of a good night’s sleep in the resorts ridiculously comfortable beds.
SATURDAY, 17th NOVEMBER 2012
Breakfast, Lunch and High Tea
Rising early from a deep sleep, we stumbled out of our rooms for breakfast at Gonbei, where a choice full English, waffles, eggs, fruits, cereals and noodles fresh cooked to our liking were served.
Juice, coffee, a little wander around the resort and some idle chit-chat ensued before it was lunchtime and guests were returning from spa treatments or a trail walk through the jungle. Out came the food for lunch, a fresh seared prawn salad, delicious pan-fried fish with buerre blanc sauce, and dessert of strawberries and chocolate dips.
The afternoon was spent glued to the comfy chairs, recuperating to the gentle splish-splash of carps in the koi pond, nursing hangovers with extra spicy Bloody Mary’s. Lunch soon turned into high Tea, which lead to a few unnecessary bottles of bubbly being popped.
The best part of the day was the calming atmosphere of the resort, the serene sounds and soft chirps of birds and whispers of nature, which was the perfect backdrop for old and new friends alike to bond. Truly a (bloody-bubbly) afternoon I will never forget!
Christmas Tree Lighting Dinner
A frantic clean up and one hour later, it was Frizz champagne cocktails and Virgin Pimm’s in the Highlands Bar. This time there were no costumes, and everyone came as themselves, dressed to the nines.
More merriment followed as Lauurent Myter, YTL Hotels’ Executive Vice President of Resorts officiated, inviting the previous night’s Best Performer winners, actress and singer Ms. Chelsia Ng, music producer Mr. Yuri Wong and Microsoft Sales Lead Mr. Raphael Couzet to turn on the Christmas lights together.
Dinner was a sumptuous affair of Pumpkin Soup topped with Seared Scallops, Prawn & Porcini Ravioli with Charred Fennel and Shellfish Nage, and Demerara Glazed Ocean Trout with Asparagus and Shellfish Beurre Blanc.
For mains, a choice of Bronze Roast Duck Leg with Cranberry Citrus Sauce served with Roast Spuds on Green Beans Almondine, or Roast Fillet of Beef Wellington on Wilted Spinach with Seared Goose Liver, Madeira Jus and Black Truffle was served.
There was more singing, laughter and caroling as the night came to a sweet end…
What a beautiful weekend it was. Thank you YTL for having us!
Sitting on a verdant plateau amidst tea plantations and rolling hills, the tranquil boutique hideaway of Cameron Highland’s Resort offers an experience infused with the splendour, romance and nostalgia of Cameron Highland’s grand colonial heritage. The Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner menus are priced at MYR200++ per person, for bookings please ask for The Dining Room at +605 491 1100. For accommodation bookings, please contact YTL Travel Centre at +603 2783 1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.