Cameron Highlands was named after William Cameron, a British Government surveyor who discovered it in 1885 on a mapping expedition but failed to mark his discovery. It was not until 1925 that Sir George Maxwell recorded Cameron's discovery and developed it as a hill station attracting British colonials and expatriates, including British planters who realised the potential of its fertile mountain slopes for growing tea.
Set 1,500 metres above sea level in a forested mountainscape, Cameron Highlands Resort is built as a long extension from an existing 1930s cottage with architecture dating from the 1970s. Promising splendour, romance and nostalgia, the interiors hark back to its grand colonial heritage with tall French doors, timber-beamed ceilings and plantation shutters combined with the colours and textures of Jim Thompson’s famed Asian silks. This is mirrored in the friendly service, where traditional English charm merges seamlessly with discreet Asian hospitality.
Endearingly known as the 'little piece of England in Asia', the cool climate on the picturesque plateau and its hilly greenery are tailor-made for rounds of golf, pink-cheeked rambles along jungle trails, tea plantations, farms or gardens, afternoon tea with scones and spa treatments that celebrate the restorative powers of tea. Elegant interiors, lush surroundings and five-star care set the tone for the perfect highland getaway filled with trails, tales and traditions.
Born 21 March 1906 in Greenville, Delaware, James Harrison Wilson 'Jim' Thompson was an American businessman and architect who mysteriously disappeared during a stroll in Cameron Highlands on 26 March 1967. A legend in Southeast Asia, he almost single-handedly revived interest in the Thai silk industry with the establishment of the Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company which survives and thrives to this day.
As legend has it, Jim Thompson had been staying at Moonlight Bungalow with close friends. He spent the morning of Easter Sunday attending a church service before moving on to a picnic lunch with his companions. By mid-afternoon, the party had returned to Moonlight Bungalow for a siesta but whatever happened during the next few hours remains an enduring mystery.
When Thompson failed to appear for tea later that day, a search was made. It was discovered that Thompson's bed had not been lain on. His jacket was found on a chair, a cup of tea on the table and a half-smoked cigar rested against an ashtray. While it would not have been unusual for him to have gone for a stroll, given his love of the outdoors, the fact remains that decades on, still no one knows for sure what happened to Thompson on that fateful day in the highlands.
Many conspiracy theories have been put forward following his disappearance. Some say that he was attacked and killed by a tiger; others say he simply got lost and was swallowed up by the dense jungle; or had fallen into a ravine or long-forgotten animal trap. Another theory with a more sinister insinuation was that Thompson, allegedly an OSS agent (the US intelligence agency that would eventually become the CIA), had been kidnapped for his involvement in espionage. There were even some unverified sightings of him after his disappearance, but what happened to him remains one of the greater unsolved mysteries of Southeast Asia.
Cameron Highlands is home to many tea plantations, as well as strawberry and vegetable farms, jungle trails, cascading waterfalls and flower gardens. Much of the highlands' character remains unchanged, exuding an old English charm.
Cameron Highlands Resort, surrounded by breathtaking scenery, lush rolling hills, Tudor-styled cottages and with a view of the 18-hole golf course, is perfectly situated for explorations and invigorating countryside hikes. Our Guest Services team will be happy to provide further local information during your stay.
NEARBY ATTRACTIONS THINGS TO DO