In Bandar Penawar at the district of Kota Tinggi in Johor. The only access is to head to Kota Tinggi from Kulai. If you are driving from north (Kuala Lumpur, Penang) or south (Johor Bharu, Singapore), the highway's exit to Kulai is well marked. From Kulai to Kota Tinggi and subsequently to Desaru can take between 1-1/2 to 2 hours. A new access road from Pasir Gudang across the Johor River will only be completed some years from now.
Overall, I feel that Desaru is quite a somber place. Not because it does not have the natural attraction needed. Its miles and miles of long sandy beach is a real treasure. Nonetheless, the access to Desaru has long been a major beef to most tourists, mainly from Singapore, Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur. I even saw a resort that seemed to closed shop, the reason which I could not determine but could easily guess.
The resort does have a nice concept. A number of 5-storey blocks with 180+ rooms give a nice resort feel to it. Each room also has a balcony facing either the beach or the outdoor foliage. I also enjoyed the TV selection - it has a number of Singaporean TV channels, which was a much-needed change from the usual Malaysian ones.
Outside, there is an average-size swimming pool equipped with a kid's section. A little short walk away is the nice and secluded Desaru beach, with plenty of beach huts to choose from, should you fancy some quality time basking in the sun and admiring the vast open South China Sea. Pulai Desaru Resort has 3 main restaurants - Sea Breeze Café is where I have my daily morning breakfast buffet, Dragon Castle Restaurant serves Chinese fine dining and Fuji Restaurant, as the name implies, offers Japanese selections.
Fairly decent and secluded. Room amenities and overall facilities are quite average.