The Datai Resort, LangkawiCategory: 5-Star Luxury, Location: Datai Bay
Seclusion and exclusivity are probably the two terms that I'll use to define The Datai Resort. The location is as remote as it can be in a small island like Langkawi. It's located at the north western end of the island and spread across more than 46 acres of mountain slope covered with dense rainforest. There is a beautiful private beach at the bottom of the hill facing the Andaman Sea.
The Datai has been consistently regarded as one of the top 10 resorts in the world since its inception in 1993. From the airport you will be escorted by a friendly driver who offers you cool towels and cold drinking water as you relax at the backseat of a high-end sedan car like Mercedes.
As you enter the lobby lounge with a large lotus pool at its center, you will be seated near the lounge bar for the check-in process which usually takes place very smoothly. And while you do so, a refreshing welcome drink would be served.
Rooms & Units
There are several types of rooms you can choose from depending on the ambience you like. Common in-room amenities include king-size or twin beds, writing desk, vanity table, day-beds, complimentary minibar (no spirits though), tea/coffee maker, safe, Wi-Fi, TV etc. The bathrooms are spacious and have a separate shower and WC area, twin-basin vanity, bathtub etc.
The Canopy Rooms are located at the main building and close to the lounge and swimming pool. Here you can select from 40 Deluxe Rooms (63 sq. m), 14 Premium Rooms (63 sq. m) and 11 Suites (109-125 sq. m). The rooms (mostly a combination of living area and bedroom) have large outdoor balconies overlooking the rainforest and/or the pool.
There are 32 Rainforest Villas on stilts (123 sq.m each) that are nestled deep in the rainforest and connected to the public areas through a series of pathways (don't worry, there are battery operated carts too which you can avail). The 8 Rainforest Pool Villas too are located deep inside the rainforest and additionally have their own private pools.
Rainforest Pool Villa
From your own private terrace you will able to see some great wildlife like monkeys, monitor lizards and even wild boars. Keep your doors closed... the monkeys know how to open the doors and their first target is to take away the fresh platter of fruits served every day in the rooms.
Room of Rainforest Pool Villa
There are 13 lovely one-bedroom Beach Villas (there is one with 2 bedrooms) all encapsulated in their own private garden and opening out to the white sandy private beach. These villas have butler service.
A word about the villas and the private beach... it can be quite a bit of downhill walk from the lobby area to your villa depending on the type you have chosen. The beach is right at the foothill. While getting back to the main lobby, it's an uphill walk through the forest along a paved pathway. But you can always ask for a cart (buggy). There are plenty of them shuttling guests from one point to the other. However if you use a buggy, there may be some wait time. If you like to stay close to the lobby area, then go for a canopy room in the main building.
Restaurants, Bars & Lounges
There are several dining options in The Datai. Our most favorite is The Gulai House
nestled deep into the rain forest. This is probably the best restaurant of the resort serving authentic Malay and Indian cuisine. The wood finished architecture with slanted thatched roof creates a fabulous ambience in the forest. It serves only dinner (6:30pm to 11:30pm).
The Dining Room, another restaurant serving Malaysian cuisine is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Pavilion is a Thai restaurant with straw roof in a hut like structure and with alfresco seating. It is accessible from the main lobby area and located in an elevated area and stands on tall stilts with a great surrounding of the rainforest.
The Pavilion Restaurant
The Beach Club and The Beach Bar is located next to the private beach and offers alfresco dining. And the Lobby Lounge offers great cocktails and snacks. From one side of the Lobby Lounge, you get excellent view of the Andaman Sea. So there are several dining and wining options in the resort.
Beach Club & Beach Bar
Note that food and most amenities in The Datai are quite expensive (which is quite expected in a resort like this) and there is hardly any alternative outside the resort as it's located in an isolated area. Most room plans come with complimentary breakfast.
Hotel Amenities & Service
While most luxury resorts in the island offer quality spa treatments, The Datai differs from the rest with its open room spa plans offered in one of the four pavilions that are nestled right in the rainforest. Where else can you just view and soak in the lush greenery and bird life while taking a signature massage like the Tangku Batu with warm river stones with natural rainforest herbs. The resort offers a range of massage, wraps, scrubs, facial, body & foot polish and even ayurvedic treatments. The spa is open from 9am until 9pm. Read The Datai Spa
The resort has tied up with the nearby award winning golf course - The Els Club
which is one of the finest in the world. The concierge will make all arrangements including booking T-time and transfers. In case the golf course is closed for some reason, they will organize a game in Gunung Raya Golf Course in central Langkawi.
The health club with all its modern cardiovascular, weights and other equipment overlook the private beach and the ocean beyond. It has been relocated from the rainforest to the beachside and next to the Beach Club. It has hot and clod plunge pools, sauna and also offers free yoga training.
The private Datai Bay beach
has been rated as one of the 10 best beaches in the world by National Geographic. I have seen many guests spending the whole day at the beach just lounging in the sun, sipping a beverage or a mocktail and reading books under the umbrella, or simply gazing at the border-less ocean with tiny islands located little offshore.
The resort has two swimming pools, one adult only (the main pool) and the other one (the beachside pool) is for all including children. It also has two tennis courts. The resort organizes non-motorized water sports from its beach. They also organize guided nature walks (excellent & knowledgeable guide), mountain biking, private yatch charter etc. Other amenities include library, gift shop, several small meeting rooms with all facilities (with up to 60 persons) etc.
Although the resort offers some activities for the children like the beach shovels, batik painting etc, in my opinion this is not an ideal resort for families with Children. The mountainous landscape with rainforest, the secluded areas where silence and nature are the main two components of stay, children and kids may not always feel at home.
The Datai offers a complete wedding package with beachside venue and all other arrangements including Western style wedding solemnization ceremony, reception dinner, floral arrangement, videography, live band etc. They also offer great Honeymoon packages.
Rates provided by booking.com
Update January 2015: The Datai resort has won the coveted international award The Best Luxury Hideaway Resort of Asia at the World Luxury Hotel Awards held in Cape Town, South Africa recently.
Update January 2019: Having remained closed since September 2017 and been through extensive $60 million renovation and makeup, The Datai has re-opened with a new look. This is the first major renovation of the resort 25 years after its inception. Almost everything including guest rooms, public places have been renovated and several facilities have been added including beachside fitness center, spa pavilions, nature center etc. I have updated the sections above to reflect the new changes.
Map Location of The Datai
The Datai is located at the North Western end of the island and in the rainforest that slopes down to the shoreline. A drive from the airport would take about 35 minutes.
Jalan Teluk Datai 07000 Pulau Langkawi, Kedah Darul Aman, Malaysia
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