Desaru Coast's One&Only spa first in the region to collaborate with cult skincare brand Augustinus Bader

There are three face treatments to try, but the pièce de résistance is undoubtedly the 90-minute superior deluxe facial.

The sleek architecture of One&Only Spa in Desaru Coast is dominated by an ancient banyan tree (Photo: One&Only Desaru Coast)

The stratospheric rise of cult skincare brand Augustinus Bader has been well documented for years now. Featured in every high-end glossy magazine imaginable, it is a dressing counter staple of every A-List category of personality, from Hollywood to Fortune 500. Celebrities such as Margot Robbie, Jennifer Aniston, Kim Kardashian and Gigi Hadid count themselves avowed fans, dutifully including the products as part of their daily beauty regime.

Just 10 years ago, the Augustinus Bader brand had yet to be established. But the brains behind it had already been researching stem cell science and regenerative medicine for decades. It was only after Professor Augustinus Bader met Charles Rosier at a billionaire’s dinner party that the idea of introducing a revolutionary skin cream to the market began to take shape.

Credit must go to the American-Canadian mining tycoon Robert Friedland of Ivanhoe Capital Corp who introduced the German scientist to Rosier. The latter, a UBS and Goldman Sachs alumnus, believed in Bader’s research so much that he sold his apartment in London and was in the process of selling his other property in Paris just to continue funding the company.

Bader’s move from academics to skincare began after he encountered a young patient suffering from second-degree burns due to scalding. Through the regular use of his unique formula — dispensing with skin grafts and surgery — the body’s innate healing mechanisms kicked in, proving it could rejuvenate itself over time.


Augustinus Bader products enjoy cult status (Photo: Augustinus Bader)

Augustinus Bader officially previewed in the spring of 2018 in Paris, but even before that, whispers of the potent salve had spread like wildfire among the global elite, starting with former French first lady Carla Bruni to OG Supermodel Naomi Campbell. Although it began with just two products in its line-up — The Cream and The Rich Cream, a slightly thicker version of the rejuvenating moisturiser — it soon went from 0 to 60mph in under a second. With Rosier in place as investor, backer and CEO, the brand literally grew by leaps and bounds and now enjoys cult status among the international cognoscenti.

Today, being able to indulge in Augustinus Bader skincare is an undoubted luxury, but to enjoy it as part of a full face or body ritual, delivered amid the confines of a paradisiacal resort by the glorious South China Sea, is luxury on a higher plane altogether. Recognising this, the company is already a known collaborator with some of the world’s greatest hotel spas, including those at Il Pellicano in Tuscany, the highly regarded Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg, The Dorchester in London and The Royal Atlantis Dubai. In this part of Asia, however, an immersive entrée into the Augustinus Bader universe is currently limited to Malaysia’s very own One&Only Desaru Coast.

Just the shortest of drives from either Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, One&Only Desaru Coast is perched on a pristine patch of jungle-clad beach along the Johorean coastline. The spa, almost camouflaged by greenery, is a little oasis in itself, an architecturally conscious structure conceived by the celebrated Kerry Hill Architects and whose clean lines are broken up only by the towering presence of an ancient banyan tree (around which the team consciously and carefully constructed) and placid lily pools.


The pièce de résistance at One&Only spa is undoubtedly the 90-minute superior deluxe facial (Photo: One&Only Desaru Coast)

There are currently three Augustinus Bader face treatments to try — a 60-minute facial (RM680), a 90-minute superior deluxe facial (RM1,100), a 35-minute eye ritual (RM480) — as well as a 90-minute body ritual (RM820). The pièce de résistance is undoubtedly the 90-minute superior deluxe facial, which begins, as all One&Only Spa treatments do, with a lime-spiked, indigo-hued butterfly pea flower drink and a relaxing foot bath, swimming with thick-cut pandanus leaves, kaffir lime rings and fragrant jasmine buds.

Given its pricing, you might be tempted to try staying awake for every minute of the 1½-hour treatment so as not to miss a thing. But somehow, somewhere, the therapist’s soothing magic will take effect. With the session inevitable proving supremely relaxing and using almost every piece of artillery in the Augustiner Bader arsenal — from The Cleansing Balm, a meltingly soft cleanser that removes every scrap of dirt, oil or stubborn makeup, to The Essence, a three-in-one miracle water that exfoliates, purifies and tones — you cannot help but begin to deliciously drift in and out of consciousness while remaining comfortably horizontal on a gently heated state-of-the-art bed. Midway, you might be aware of a trifecta of cold metal globes, hot compress towels and a sheet mask being applied, along with the therapist’s deft fingerwork, skilfully massaging face and body to help the products’ potency soak in while aiding lymphatic drainage.

For financial wizards doing the math, the One&Only Spa’s Augustinus Bader superior deluxe facial works out to just over RM12 a minute. Yes, time is indeed money, but by the treatment’s end, all you need to do is pause for a moment to admire the post-treatment glow and, dare we say, a few years shaved off your visage, to be convinced enough to drive down to Desaru Coast every month in order to maintain the effects of Professor Bader’s miracle formulae; and with a bit of beachside play and One&Only pampering added to the equation, of course.

Everyone knows youth is wasted on the young. But now, with a little bit of Teutonic skin tech merged with Asian spa sensibilities, those approaching or already on the wrong side of 50 can reclaim a bit of the glow-of-decades-past with relative ease. All it takes is 90 minutes a pop, to be precise.


One&Only Spa, One&Only Desaru Coast. For enquiries, call (07) 878 3400.

This article first appeared on May 6, 2024 in The Edge Malaysia.

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