The Datai Langkawi
What it is
A 121-room resort where rainforest meets the sea, with an open air spa that takes its cues from the indigenous Ramuan people.
What it isn't
Just about R&R (& more R). The resort has curated an unbeatable list of activities, whether you feel like taking Thai and Malay cooking classes, sailing Langkawi aboard a wooden Malaysian junk schooner, or golfing at an 18-hole course designed by Ernie Els.
What we think
The rainforest this resort sits in is some 10 million years old, and as blessedly untouched as it was—well—10 million years ago. Building in such a pristine place has its drawbacks (think of the pressure!) but The Datai Langkawi did the locale justice, with thatched roof yet modernist bungalows and timeless white-and-lacquered-wood rooms. Request a villa on bleach-white sand Datai Bay for easy access to the water; each one is tricked out with rain showers, private 10-meter pools, and exposed timber ceilings that are unmistakably “Malaysia.”
You're here because
The resort is so nature-focused they have a resident naturalist, Irshad Mobarak, who has been featured on National Geographic’s Mysteries of the Malaysian Rainforest and would be pleased as punch to lead you on a rainforest walk.
You knew you’d eat well here, but you never imagined you’d go to sleep dreaming of what you had for dinner. Every plate at the Gulai House was riveting: the Indian Crab Meat Soup with tamarind and coriander; the just-caught mullet in coconut turmeric gravy; the slow-cooked yellow dhal curry. The only thing more delicious? Knowing everything that touched your lips was unequivocally healthy. Here, ommm meets yummmm.
Restaurants & Bars
The Gulai House - A gastronomic experience of Malay and Indian cuisine, award-winning
The Pavilion - Authentic Thai cuisine
The Dining Room - Malaysian and continental cuisine, fine dining, daily champagne buffet breakfast
The Beach Club - Barbecue on the beach
The Lobby Lounge
Just a 40 minute drive from Langkawi International Airport (about a 90 minute flight from Singapore).