9 November, 2010

Guest Blogger – Langkawi Luxe: The Datai, Oh my, my.

9 November, 2010

Guest Blogger MJ, shares with us all the deets on her amazing Langkawi holiday.

My shiny new husband and I moved to Hong Kong just a few weeks ago [after what can only be deemed the most stressful three months in the history of human existence.] So when our HK cousins suggested we tag along on their fabulous Malaysian resort vaca, we leapt on the half-invite.

And I have never been so happy to weasel my way into someone else’s plans. Situated on a remote rainforest slope along a private cove beach on the island of Langkawi, The Datai resort is heaven. Heaven, I say.

The eco resort is part of General Hotel Management (GHM), and weaves modern luxury with unobtrusive design – sparing no detail, while maintaining the pristine quiet of the forest. [We actually found ourselves whispering while walking the property trails – until I almost stepped on a giant lizard. That’s when things got loud.]

When we arrived at our villa – nestled in the rainforest with a porch overlooking a stream from the waterfalls above – the first thing I noticed was that the bathroom, alone, was twice the size of our HK apartment. The second: The built-in sound system included an iPod with a Coldplay playlist, just in case we had forgotten our own sound track.

And it only got better from there. Desperately beautiful rainforest views and quiet white-sand beaches. Check. Scotch and Cuban cigar menu; sailboats and kayaks for exploring the outlying islands; endlessly attentive pool boys to refill my fresh pina coladas. Check, check, check.

Typically, I get a tad stir crazy if we laze around for too long. But somehow I managed, as we frolicked back and forth between the stunning pools and quiet azure waves.

We didn’t get a chance to explore the spa, but the menu seemed par for the course. We did test out several of the restaurants and, of course, the cocktail menus. Here’s the short version:

The Thai Pavilion restaurant, perched out over the forest, was fabulous. Order the live garoupa, you will not be disappointed. The brunch buffet: delightful – Nasi Lamak and fresh waffles for breakfast, twist my arm. The upper pool snack menu covered the basics, but the poolside menu at the lower Beach Club offered more local fare. Skip the neighboring Malaysian restaurant, the Guilai House. And when it comes to adult beverages, stick to the basics. My dirty vodka martini fell short of anything resembling a martini. The same went for the mojito. But the basic mixed drinks and beers were dependable friends.

It’s worth pointing out that the resort also boasts access to several golf courses – but who wants to ruin the extreme relaxation with a double bogey? Also, The Datai is not particularly kid-friendly. There are several lounge areas where children are not welcome, including the main lobby. And the upper pool is ages 16 and up.

This weekend getaway is not for those looking to immerse themselves in the local culture. Waterfall hikes, snorkeling trips and kayak river rides are easily accessible. But the Datai is about a 45-minute drive from most of the other happenings on the island. We found it impossible to pull ourselves away from the resort to venture out. [I actually walked too close to the driver station on my way to the lobby restroom – which has its own lily pond – and found myself saying, ‘No, don’t take me, I don’t want to leave.’]

In full disclosure, I am an Asia resort rookie. But The Datai seemed to me to be a special place. I’m already plotting my return.

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