Tossing up between a jungle hideaway and a chilled beach break? Enjoy the best of both worlds in Malaysia with a stay at the Datai, a luxury hotel in Langkawi that is set seductively between the rainforest and the Andaman Sea.
So dense is the jungle that surrounds the Datai, that you can’t see the sea for the trees. In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking that all of the fun takes place at the adults’ pool (pictured below), a sapphire-blue stunner laid out in front of the hotel’s stellar restaurants. Weave your way through the rainforest, however, and you’ll be rewarded with one of the best beaches we’ve ever come across.
Lined with sunloungers and rattan couches, this near-deserted stretch is all powder-soft sands and pure, warm waters, with views to some of Langkawi’s 99 islands. Take a kayak or catamaran out for a spin, order cocktails and snacks from the Beach Club, then flag down a golf buggy for the trip back up the hill.
Delve into the hotel’s green scene by signing up for a guided tour with resident naturalist Irshad Mobarak, a master storyteller and card-carrying conservationist. Spot mischievous macaque monkeys, langurs, hornbills and hawks as you stroll through the lush landscape. Go deeper still with the Nature Hide, spying civet cats, mouse deer and wild boars from a secluded vantage point.
Bellini-fuelled breakfasts in the Dining Room provide the perfect entrée to an indulgent day, as waitstaff gently cajole you into yet another top-up. Lazy lunches by the pool or down at the Beach Club (pictured right) cover all the crowd-pleasers, with wood-fired pizzas and fabulous po’ boy sandwiches the standouts.
Come dinner, it’s a tough choice between refined Thai tastes at the Pavilion, an elegant restaurant cantilevered dramatically off the hillside, and Indian-Malaysian meals in the lantern-lit Gulai House. Martinis in the Lobby Lounge wrap things up nicely – and ensure tomorrow’s off to an equally languid start.
For a host of things to do beyond the hotel, tap into our Langkawi destination guide. We’ve just returned from a hotel-hunting trip to Malaysia, so check back soon for boutique finds in capital Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Tioman Island.