Green Island Dreaming
Green Island Dreaming
WRITER: Angela Chew PHOTOS BY: Ernest Goh
Green Island Dreaming 27. March 2024, by Angela Chew, Photos by Ernest Goh
Opening its doors in Q2 2024, The Boathouse Pulau Tioman is a 31-room beachfront sanctuary that immerses guests in the tranquillity of kampung life. Resort Manager Felix Yeo shares his plans for the boutique resort and his hopes for its future.

On location at Kampung Nipah, workers are busy erecting a collection of bungalows as I wait to interview Felix Yeo. Moments later, the General Manager of Concorde Hotel Shah Alam, who is also overseeing The Boathouse Pulau Tioman, steps into the site office after checking on the resort’s progress. Wiping the sweat from his brow, he places a metal flask on the table and smiles when he sees I’ve brought a refillable bottle too. It is obvious sustainability is a big deal to him.

“It has to be,” the master diver insists, when I mention it. “Tioman is a wildlife reserve and marine park. As the island’s newest resident, we must join them in preserving its natural heritage and ensure that the people after us have a future.”

When I press him for details, Felix is clearly walking the talk. The Boathouse Pulau Tioman’s wooden structures and furniture are all made from locally sourced rubber wood and crafted at a Malaysian furniture workshop. He even has plans for an organic farm and herb garden, which will be fertilised with composted food waste and woodchips from fallen tree branches.

At his insistence, no single-use plastic bottles will be used. Instead, glass bottles containing filtered water from boreholes and a nearby stream will be placed in the guests’ rooms.

But what if they’re not in their rooms?

He’s pleased I asked. Taking a sip from his flask, he explains, “We will have water fountains for guests to fill up their own bottles. What’s more, these fountains will be placed against murals made from recycled post-consumer plastic tiles that draw attention to the plastic pollution crisis. These are thanks to our collaboration with Ayer Ayer.”

Such community partnerships are a pillar in advancing The Boathouse Pulau Tioman’s ecological goals and raising awareness of issues, Felix says. Another partner is Reef Check Malaysia with whom the resort will remove ghost nets and carry out reef cleaning. “Simply put, we can do more together.”

At this point, a worker approaches the office. He looks uncertain about interrupting us but Felix waves him in with an easy smile. The man quickly retrieves an item from a nearby shelf before leaving. Watching his retreat, Felix switches track. “You know, Tioman is graciously hosting us, so it is only right that we support the community. We will be hiring local people, including Orang Asli from Rompin. The plan is for me to be the only non-Malaysian staff at The Boathouse Pulau Tioman.”

As Felix elaborates, I realise that this support extends to introducing guests to Malaysian culture and heritage —from local cuisine in the daily menu, to cooking lessons with time-honoured recipes, to traditional games played in villages.

“At the end of the day, we want to create memories for our guests. We have amazing sunsets and crystal-clear waters, but it is the personalised touch that will give them the experience they want. As a boutique resort, we have the luxury of extending thoughtful gestures while allowing our guests to enjoy island life in a casual, relaxed environment.”

Felix Yeo checking on the progress of The Boathouse Pulau Tioman

As for now, Felix is hard at work with his team to prepare for the resort’s opening. “We can’t wait to welcome our guests in person.”

Main image: Looking out to sea from one of the beachfront bungalows