After spending a few days in Kuala Lumpur, we continued our Malaysian tour to the mystical island of Langkawi, reachable after an hour flight!
The choice of The Datai Hotel we stayed in was an obvious one, as it had been on my bucket list for years
As we arrive in this little haven set in the middle of the rainforest, we immediately feel cut off from the rest of the world. The Datai Langkawi blends perfectly in its natural environment. My photos clearly show the total unity between this place and the thriving nature surrounding it. The Datai Bay has actually been listed as one of the 10 best world beaches by National Geographic
Interior Design Highilights
Here is a little description of the place
As homage to the visionary architect Kerry Hill, who felt in love with the Datai Bay and its breath-taking views, Didier Lefort pushed to create this place in 1993. His work has given the resort an iconic style! It has been shown in many publications and was awarded the ‘Aga Khan’ for architecture in 2001.
In September 2007, in order to maintain this undeniably iconic style, Didier Lefort was asked to carry out some renovation work throughout the hotel. It was about refreshing each space but in keeping with the original style of The Datai Langkawi. The resort Director, M. Arnaud Girodon, explained that they “made sure to use local materials and local and cultural inspiration in order that regular clients could feel at ease in a familiar surrounding on their return.”
We can see immediately on arrival that the spectacular surrounding nature plays a very important role
Jungle Chic Villa
The Datai Langkawi has 121 bedrooms, suites and villas, all with breath-taking views over the luxuriant tropical forest and some over the sublime Andaman Sea.
We stayed in a one of the Rainforest villas
Real safe havens, nestled in the luxuriant tropical forest, these villas are architecturally designed to blend in with Mother Nature. Raised on stilts, they offer panoramic views on the dense jungle.
Our villa was decorated with a natural colour palette, mainly wood throughout, pure lines and a warm and contemporary feel.
The high ceiling and the clever layout impart elegance and comfort. The windows open on a beautiful teak terrace, which offers astonishing views on the jungle, making it a lovey relaxing area
I must mention the bathroom: well proportioned and well decorated with many local artsy objects, which add to the intimate and refined feel of the villa!
I also had the great pleasure of a private viewing of the ‘Villa Datai Estate’. This villa, spread over 3000 square metres, has a unique and secluded position in the tropical forest, while being only few minutes’ walk from the beach. Amazingly, it offers 5 bedrooms, 2 connected swimming pools - each 15m and 20m long-, a games room, a bar, a butler with 24h service and a private chef!!
The decoration is a palette of natural colours and mainly wood throughout, making it an elegant retreat at the heart of a natural environment of beauty…
I also loved the beautiful light suspensions made with local raffia
The lobby of The Datai Langkawi particularly caught my eye; the views from there are just stunning!
All open plan, it has a gigantic wooden roof with a light tunnel in the centre, and two superb sculptures representing Marwari horses – and found by Dider Lefort in an art market - which welcome us majestically as we arrive, giving this place its unique character
As I also love experiences of a culinary kind, I tested a few different restaurants at The Datai Langkawi. They offer a variety of dishes cooked with locally grown ingredients, in a unique style, inspired from Malaysian and Asian cuisine.
I often had lunch at the Beach House. This is a relaxed space to spend the day sipping on signature cocktails, eat fresh seafood and an ideal spot to watch the sunset. For dinner, the Beach Club turns into a seafood grill, with tables placed under the stars, rocked by the sound of the waves.
Dining in the Jungle
For those who would love to experience authentic Malaysian cuisine, I recommend the ‘Gulai House’. It is set in the tropical forest and recreates the traditional Malaysian house ‘Kampung’ where guests are sat on the ground, called ‘bersila’. The added sounds of the nocturnal animal life add to the exceptional culinary experience… Not to be missed
There is also the ‘Pavillon’ restaurant, built like a bird house, 30 metres above the ground on stilts, offering a stunning view over the tropical forest. Its Thai cuisine is exquisite, prepared with exotic and freshly picked herbs. We had an excellent evening there!
On the other hand, there is the ‘Dining Room’, which offers lavish breakfasts in the mornings, and turns into a romantic and gastronomic setting overseen by Chef Jerome Voltat in the evenings. I enjoyed a delicious black cod, revamped recipe, and I must mention that wine aficionados will love the restaurant’s exclusive collection of wines.
The Lobby Lounge, finally, overlooking the rainforest and the Andaman Sea, constitutes an ideal spot to relax and enjoy the panoramic views. All day, light refreshments are served, including a selection of high quality local and British treats. A large choice of cocktails, wines and champagnes is also available while enjoying live jazz music. This was our favourite spot after dinner retreat
I must mention that we also enjoyed our room service experience. We had some really lovely meals in the intimacy of our own villa!
The service in all the different restaurants of the Datai Langkawi resort is impeccable. I must particularly thank Maulana, Shaiful and Sivagaran for their professionalism and kindness towards my daughter Ayla.
There are many and diverse activities offered at the Datai Langkawi. Set in the middle of extraordinary biodiversity, one must realise that the rainforest - 10 million years old - is home to an incredible wealth of flora and fauna. It is simply a dream come true for any nature lover
The bay of the resort has a beautiful, immaculate, white sandy beach as well as an ancient tropical forest. The Beach Club, attractively laid out, is an ideal place to enjoy sea, sun, and pool. A special mention goes to the dedicated and caring staff, namely Daba and William!
Keeping busy at The Datai
For those who look for holistic, nautical or sports activities, the Datai Langkawi proposes yoga, pilates, traditional martial arts called ‘silat’, wind-surfing, kayaking, scuba-diving, snorkelling and golf. The sports club is also equipped with outdoor tennis courts and cycling facilities.
Cooking classes - Malaysian, Indian and Thai - are also on offer by expert chefs. These include a walk to the local gardens to select the fresh ingredients.
The nature centre, inspired by traditional bamboo tribal homes, offers daily activities. It has a library with publications on the island of Langkawi flora and fauna and Malaysia’s natural world, and a room where guests can relax and listen to stories on nature told by local experts. Delicious teas are served in the tea corner, using local herbs and spices from the tropical forest, which are definitely worth a mention!
The Datai Langkawi proposes multiple nature activities such as morning and evening walks, kayaking through the mangroves, and bird, animal and butterfly watching walks…
We had a lot of fun with my daughter in the middle of the jungle with our passionate guide Nicole, one of the resort’s local naturalists. The jungle has no secrets for her and she took us for a two-hour walk to reach the new observatory bridge: 15 meters high and 20 meters long, it has breath-taking views over the surrounding nature. We had such a unique experience at the heart of this tropical forest
Most Sustainable Resort in Langkawi
It seems important to me to mention that, in order to protect this exceptional natural habitat, sustainability is paramount and the strategies adopted by the Resort are strict on reducing consumption of energy, water and single use plastics.
Recycling and wastewater plants, a bottling facility, as well as a garden nursery have been created within the Datai Langkawi resort. Initiatives have been taken to protect the local coral reef as well as the surrounding areas. These have all contributed to the resort being accredited the highly respected ‘EarthCheck Silver Certification’ in 2019. Well done to them
This makes the Datai Langkawi, the first organisation in the world to receive this certification for land-based tourist projects. ‘EarthCheck’ is the world’s leading environmental and benchmarking certification for the industry of travel and tourism, and it also certifies the efficiency of the operations, guests experience and environmental footprint.
In fact, nature constitutes the basis of all the spa and well-being programmes at the Datai Langkawi, with especially made treatments.
The spa is situated alongside a small stream, surrounded by the sounds and subtle scents of the tropical rainforest. Focused on harmonising well-being and nature, it offers several treatment villas, including a spa suite, complete with a steam room, a sauna and a Jacuzzi, all opening out onto the lush tropical jungle. We received our treatments in this superb spa suite. It was a pure moment of relaxation and an out of this world experience
The philosophy that beauty comes with health is complete with the international expertise of Bastien Gonzalez, a hand and foot care specialist - whose studio in the Datai Langkawi is the only one in Malaysia -, and Phyto 5, a range of organic facial treatments, which rely on the natural energy of plant-based products.
A lovely initiative launched by the Datai Langkawi was with the artist-in-residence. The aim is to showcase the national talents in a dedicated space called ‘L’Atelier’ (the workshop), where my daughter and I found some very pretty and colourful bracelets.
Choose The Datai Langkawi
Every single moment spent at the Datai Langkawi was special! I must highlight the excellent service of the whole team, with a special thanks to Annis, Bryan and to Jaya the Resort’s Manager.
The Datai App, that can be downloaded as we arrive, is excellent and allows us to view straight away the range of different activities offered by the Resort, as well as the detailed daily programme.
This place, in my view, is for those who are looking to completely switch off in the heart of a natural environment that is both relaxing and of exceptional beauty. The chic and relaxed atmosphere, the experiences linked to local nature and culture of the Datai Langkawi, undeniably make it a unique and luxurious world-class destination.