The Four Seasons Langkawi is a charming, secluded, oasis-like yet sprawling resort. We pick up a house-bike to get around and instantly feel like we’re in a ‘kampung’, a traditional Malay village. This is no accident as it was built just so, with the property’s ninety-odd suites laid out across villas and pavilions, some on stilts with a view of the sea and others in two-storey blocks nestled in perfectly manicured tropical gardens. The hotel’s army of gardeners landscape it with meticulous detail and an amble through the resort is made all the more welcoming by a number of warm smiles from the rattan-hatted members of the maintenance team, popping up like ninjas from behind a bush or tree.
Our suite at the Four Seasons Langkawi was huge, seamlessly blending Arabian theming with more local wood and marble tones. We liked that it gave us a sense of the place; too many Malaysian hotels go either over-the-top opulent, or colourful and contemporary in their furnishings, mainly to please their core of Asian guests who generally have teak and timber fatigue. We’re impressed particularly by the expansive bathroom, like-for-like in size with the main living space, bedecked in local stone complete with his-and-his wash basins, walk-in wardrobe and a terrazzo, hammam-esque bathtub for two, with candles and handmade, natural bath salts for a romantic soak.
Our room is conveniently a hop, skip and jump from the Four Seasons Langkawi’s Geo-Spa, a gorgeous little village in its own right where therapists can knead away your jet-lag with a range of elemental-themed treatments.
The hotel’s crowning glory is its private beach and surely, all paths lead to it. The water isn’t crystal clear, fine for swimming, although lazing is much more the sport here, whether in a hammock slung between two unassuming coconut trees or on sun loungers, only ever rolled out when someone needs it. We perch ourselves on deck-chairs, looking out at the beautiful stretch of sand from one corner of our eyes to the other, the perfectly blue sea only interrupted by a superyacht on the horizon.
If unlike us, you’re the sort who doesn’t like sand in your slippers, then one of two amazing pool areas will solve your problem, particularly the adults-only infinity pool. The complex that houses it rises up like a Balinese temple, offering posing opportunities for those who enjoy it and private cabanas for those who don’t. Complimentary (that’s both in the free and charming senses of the word) masseurs will come round to rub in sun cream or ease away your aches and pains.
The buffet breakfast at the Four Seasons Langkawi is a feast that’s not to be missed, both in its international gastronomy and also its setting overlooking the beach. There were two other dining options at the resort, but the best for us was ‘Ikan Ikan’. While its name literally means ‘fish’, (and rhymes poetically with the Malay word for ‘eat’ –makan) it’s not just seafood that’s on offer, but an authentic à la carte Malaysian restaurant set in a traditional iron-wood, Malay house, serving up mouth-watering traditional treats.
This Basecamp review is an extract from a longer feature article, first published in print. To read the full article, click here.
Right on time
While you’re Out There
Check out the natural wonders that surround the hotel with the Four Season Langkawi’s own resident naturalist. His office on the resort is a wizard’s den of all things to do with the surrounding ecosystem, the meeting point before going out with him on a half-day boat journey to the Geoforest Park. Just a short boat ride along the shore from the hotel, Casuarina trees (which give the beach the name ‘Rhu’), slowly turn into ancient mangroves and the fun begins. Flanked by limestone cliffs covered in thick equatorial vegetation, the mangroves are home to over 200 species of wildlife – monkeys (who Aidi is on first-name terms with), hornbills, kites, monitor lizards, snakes, tree-crabs and strange mid-evolutionary fish-reptile hybrids. Moreover, it is the habitat of the beautiful golden eagles that are Langkawi’s namesake.
Photography by Aidi Abdullah and courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
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