The Datai, Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia - The Yum List
Food and luxury travel – Malaysia and the world
The Datai, Luxury Resort, Langkawi, Malaysia
Snugly tucked into the hillside of one of the Top 10 Beaches in the World as rated by National Geographic, the Datai Langkawi makes an unforgettable luxury escape. Structures are intertwined with the natural surrounds, harmonizing with, rather than intruding upon, the 10-million year old lush rainforest of which it shares a home. The main building is elevated, granting guests with breath-taking views of the magic seascape below, and the facilities wind down the slope finally opening up to the white coral beach of the Datai Bay.
Under new management, The Datai Langkawi has seen extensive upgrades over the past year. From the kitchens, to the rooms, to the services, including their relationship with nature, this stunning property is being returned to its former glory days. Being both fervent foodies and holding a deep passion and respect for our natural world, the hiring of a new executive chef Richard Miller, and the gradual development of sustainability practices together with the engagement of local flora, fauna and geology experts, galvanizes our belief that The Datai Langkawi is on a steady pathway to restoring former magnificence.
Pathway to the Beach
Villas, suites and rooms, nestled amongst the majestic rainforest foliage or on the tranquil beachside, provide guests with a handful of accommodation options. With only 125 rooms sprawled across the property, charm and seclusion are ensured.
Entry-level rooms are found in the Canopy Experience beginning with a Deluxe Room covering a generous 62.5m2 of stylish combined bedroom and living room, bright bathroom and sizable balcony, and increment upwards to The Datai Suite, which is a massive 258m2 in size. The standard amenities of king or twin beds, large daybed, dining table, writing desk, twin vanities, bathtub, separate dressing area, mini-bar and LCD flat screen television are mirrored and expanded upon as the room categories increase.
Going from the treetops to the rainforest floor are the Rainforest Villas. Beginning with a Superior Villa, these 93m2 freestanding accommodations include the additional technology of a Bose CD sound system and pre-loaded iPod. Sliding up the categories, Pool Villas have a plunge pool with built-in Jacuzzi, and Pool Suites are bordered with a private swimming pool and sundeck.
The Beach Villas again take it up a notch with increased space, direct access to the beach and a private butler. The ultimate in luxury however is the grand Villa Hutan Datai. Four separate bedroom pavilions share a common dining area, al fresco bar, living pavilion and swimming pool. The seclusion and enormity of this villa, decorated with original art pieces and pristine antiques, makes it an exclusive retreat ideal for families or groups of friends.
Food and Beverage
Separation from our exquisite accommodations takes effort, but thankfully The Datai has some mouth-watering food and beverage options to inject us with enough motivation to discharge ourselves from the comfort of the daybed and head out to explore.
Deliciousness Tempting Us Out of our Villa
The Datai’s all day dining restaurant, The Dining Room, is where we enjoy breakfast each morning. Located poolside, guests can choose from an air-conditioned interior or al fresco seating by the water. As we’ve been up with the sun most mornings, either running along the beach or engaged in a nature walk, we arrive early enough to relish in the cooler air outdoors before the sun takes hold on the temperature. Local and international favourites are aplenty and besides the regular tea, coffee and juice to wash it down, a flute of sparkling wine contributes a note of decadence. This is no ordinary hotel buffet however. Everything here is made from scratch, from jams, to pastries, to breads and even the baked beans – it all results from the toil and passion of the committed kitchen team. While I don’t usually write a separate post for hotel buffet breakfasts, the one at The Dining Room is so worthy that I couldn’t resist highlighting some of their specialities in a dedicated post. Follow this link to find a photo journal of some of their fine breakfast items.
If you’ve been reading The Yum List for a while, you’ll know that when it’s time for sunset, you’re pretty much guaranteed of finding us on the beach with cocktail in hand. For me there seems no moment more magical than silently (hubby disagrees with the silent bit) soaking in the change of day to night, reflecting in awe on the majesty of our natural world, but too appreciating the craft of humans with a glass of bubbly or artful cocktail creation. Hence, The Beach Club sees us on more than one occasion during our visit.
Lounges on the Beach
During the day, light snacks and pizza from the wood-fired oven are popular orders. In the evenings, sunset hour cocktails keep the crowd well lubricated, and later in the night an a la carte menu of Mediterranean fare or a themed buffet is on the cards. Check out our favourite orders here.
Flute of Champagne at The Beach Club
The evenings can be wonderfully romantic experiences at both The Pavilion and The Gulai. Award winning Thai cuisine is found in the open-walled Pavilion. Seeming to float at the same level as the rainforest canopy, this wooden stilt structure gifts views not only of verdant treetops, but too of calm Andaman Sea and further out to the Thai Tarutao islands.
Table for Two at The Pavilion
Linking the not-too-distant archipelago to the current location are soft Thai tunes and gourmet Thai dishes that are just as much entertainment for the eyes as they are for the taste buds. The renowned freshness of this cuisine type and presentation in ceramic bowls and on hot plates is flaunted in every recipe. Read more about The Pavilion here, and find photos, prices and our ‘don’t-miss’ suggestions.
A magical Malay experience is found in The Gulai House. The architecture of a traditional Malay kampong house blends organically with the natural surrounds of the rainforest. Spliced into various areas, there’s a larger dining section, intimate nooks veiled by flowing curtains, and secluded low tables with cushion seats for a more private encounter. Here we dine on Malay and Indian cuisine served by warm-hearted wait-staff uniformed in indigenous dress. Follow this link for photos and recommendations of what we think are the best dishes.
The Gulai House
The Gulai House
Health and Leisure
All of that scrumptiousness must be counter-balanced, and fortune would have it that The Datai has more than a sufficient supply of active pursuits to keep our tummies from expanding.
Non-Motorized Water Sports
Beach Side Pool
Beach Garden Relaxation
The Datai Gym holds a decent range of strength and cardio training equipment, and is complimented by a sauna, cold plunge bath, and an adult-only pool long enough to get a workout swimming laps. Mountain bikes are available free of charge and there are some great butt-toning hills not far from the resort entrance.
Just down the road, is the stunning Els Club Teluk Datai golf course, with a backdrop of jagged mountain peaks and a foreground of the Andaman Sea. A driving range and two tennis courts bolster up the fitness choices here as well.
ELs Club Teluk Datai Golf Course
Taking a more gentle approach to health, and planted in the thick of the flourishing jungle, four open-air couple’s spa pavilions make up The Datai Spa. The gentle flow of a streamlet, tweeting of birds and mystifying soft chatter amongst the trees supply a calming background that no relaxation CD could equally mimic. Air is fresh and clean: just as much part of healing as the treatments themselves. We can’t help but indulge in a session here. Read on to discover prices, and what we most enjoyed from the spa menu.
The Spa Patio on Private Villa
Creek by The Spa
Our thoughts don’t leave gastronomy for too long, and so it seems other guests on the property share similar culinary desires. Consequently both Thai and Malay cooking classes are offered in ‘Culinary Journeys’ at The Pavilion and Gulai House respectively.
Continuing with the validation of the interconnectedness we have with our surrounds, resident naturalist, Irshad Mobarak, apprises guests of the wonders of the location with morning and evening excursions. We have much to learn from both the shore and jungle, and so partake in the evening Beach Walk: Life on the Edge with Irshad’s marine biologist colleague Jonathan Chandrasakaran, and the morning Nature Walk: Rainforest Awakening with Irshad himself.
The Beach Just Before Sunset
The crescent shaped bay is fringed by an ancient coral reef, and one of the oldest rainforests on earth is said to be where life first begun. An abundance of bio-diversity envelops us in plant life, and we cherish the chance to see rare colugos and the shy dusky leaf monkey up close. What an incredible history Malaysia has hidden right on its doorstep! I wonder how many locals and visitors are aware of just how special this place is?
Reasons to visit: stunning location on Datai Bay – one of National Geographic’s Top Ten Beaches in the World, set amongst some of the oldest biodiversity on our planet, luxury accommodations, excellent food and beverage options.
The Datai Jalan Teluk Datai 07000 Pulau Langkawi Kedah Darul Aman Malaysia +6 04 9500 500 www.thedatai.com