Feature: Dreamy Malaysian retreats on the isle of Langkawi

Tuesday, 14 June 2011 11:52 AM

The Jewel of Kedah – a sun kissed island in the gorgeous Andaman Sea. Long sandy beaches, jungle interior, and some of the best food on the planet. This is Malaysia’s Pulau Langkawi. Perched 20 miles off the peninsula’s west coast, this sun-kissed island is as close to Thailand as its home land, so expect some of that laid back Thai lifestyle with the energy and cuisine of the Malays! Only a few of the 100 or so islands are inhabited, so expect tropical island bliss of the highest order, where balmy days turn into romantic nights over seafood platters and coconut infused flavours. With Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines, and Air Asia all flying direct from London to Kuala Lumpur, it is only a short internal flight over to Langkawi where paradise awaits! So following with our guide of top all-inclusive and luxury resorts in the world, lay back and dream of those Andaman days where the sun always shines.

Four Seasons

Imagine waking up in your own spacious beachside bungalow where white sandy beaches roll gently down into the calm sea, and where dramatic limestone pinnacles shoot up into the air.This is the Four Seasons, based on one of the most idyllic beaches in the island - Tanjung Rhu. The temperature is currently 32 degrees Celsius; a constant heat wave that Britain rarely sees! Using Spanish marble with rich tropical woods, the 91 villas have timber floors, open aired verandas, and Malay artefacts lining the walls. Dining ranges from gourmet beach barbeques where giant prawns are served with chilli and lime, to four bars and restaurants which offer Malay, Chinese, and Mediterranean fare. Book three nights now and you’ll get a fourth free.

The Datai

Situated on the north west tip of the main island, The Datai is nestled inside an ancient tropical forest. But don’t worry, the resort also boasts a secluded white sandy beach overlooking the Andaman! Stare out over the rich foliage which blends seamlessly into the mountains and covers stone steps and the wide, raised swimming pool. Lounge on cushioned chairs overlooking the expanse as you sip a cocktail, or stroll along the secluded beach at sunset where nothing but jungle sounds can be heard.  Tee off on the 18-hole golf course set between the Mat Cincang Mountain Range and the Andaman, play some tennis, mountain bike through the jungle, or just kick back in the library and spa. The resort also offers a range of tours including wildlife spotting as you island hop the archipelago, or riding the cable car to the Skybridge which stands 410 feet tall on the top of Gunung Matchincang. The views are stunning!

Bon Ton

Head back to Malaysia’s heritage in the heady days of British colonialism as you rest in a century old traditional wooden house in a former coconut plantation. Surrounded by manicured greenery and housing one of the most famous restaurants on the island, at Bon Ton you come to live like a king in the local style. Only eight Malay villas grace this jungle enclave, each boasting their own unique rustic charm with thatched roofs, bamboo floors, teak walls, and modern amenities overlooking private pools and lagoons.  Malaysian cuisine is a unique fusion of Chinese, Indian, and Malay, with a touch of Thai and Middle Eastern flavour occasionally thrown in. This strange mixture stems from Malaysia’s unique cultural and trading history. And at the Nam Restaurant you can sample it! Try a spicy coconut soup with fish and coriander, or chow on prawns, beef with peanuts, pickled lamb curry, and okra served with five other local dishes on banana leaf with the traditional nyonya platter.

The Andaman

Named after the sea that graces its Datai Bay shoreline, this five star deluxe hotel has it all. Nearly 200 rooms are set overlooking the calm bay while behind, the sounds of a 10 million-year-old rainforest play out at all times. Take a tour with the in house naturalists as you explore the jungle looking for the great hornbill, dusky leaf monkey, rare colugo, lizards, birds, and over 300 species of butterflies! Then swim with the tropical fish that live in the 8,000 year old coral reef just out to sea. But The Andaman is not just an eco-retreat; this luxury resort boasts spacious deluxe rooms, gourmet western and Japanese cuisine, and a botanical spa where massage therapies from all over south-east Asia can be enjoyed at any time of the day! Take a mangrove cruise or sunset dinner boat trip, play some tennis or golf, take a dip in the pool, or cycle or jog to the beautiful Temurun Waterfalls along the secluded coast. Volleyball, wind surfing, and kayaking are all available too.

This archipelago off the west coast of Malaysia is stunningly beautiful, a truly perfect place for a few weeks lounging in the sun. And with these luxury hotels, you probably won’t have to lift a finger...

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