Relaxation. That’s it. Just one word to sum up a fantastic experience. The kind of place where you forget what day it is. Where you stop thinking about what day it is. How good this place was, didn’t really hit me until we were in the taxi back to Langkawi Airport. I suddenly felt a shock of adrenaline in anticipation of the rigours of having to get places, meet deadlines, do stuff. The most taxing decision I had taken for four days was whether to have the super-succulent lamb shank or the equally mouth-watering king prawns as I watched yet another sunset burning over the bay. Beware. If you spent more than a week here, your normal world might seem like a strange and hostile place.
I think the key to Four Seasons Langkawi is partly in the numbers. 48 acres and 91 rooms. A heck of a lot of beach and very few people. Malaysian people are the secret ingredient. They love life (and especially food) and take the responsibility of hospitality very seriously. They smile, a lot. The staff at Four Seasons Langkawi are simply amazing when it comes to remembering how you like your coffee, your favourite wine, where you like to sit. I could go on all day. I just wish I could go back there, right now.
Langkawi is a tropical island paradise in Northern Malaysia, with white sandy beaches, dense jungle, fascinating wildlife and delicious food. As Southeast Asia’s first UNESCO Geopark, the geology and ecology is guaranteed to astound. Langkawi is actually an archipelago of 100 islands, 30 km offshore in the Andaman Sea, the majority of travellers will stay on the large Langkawi Island, where the majority of the area’s 750 hotels are located.
The Four Seasons is located on the quieter Northern side of the island, along a mile-long sandy beach in beautifully landscaped gardens. The resort feels secluded yet the airport is only 25 minutes away and the hotel is a short boat ride from Klim Karst conservation area, where you can spot macaque monkeys, sea otters and the unique walking mudskipper fish.
Style and Character
The hotel offers a private hideaway for couples seeking a relaxing break at the same time as accommodating families. With just 91 rooms, arranged in dispersed villas, there is plenty of space for all kinds of travellers and I would have few concerns about being disturbed by children if you are a couple on a romantic break. The public spaces have calming high blue walls, tranquil reflection pools and huge green space, with the architecture brilliantly reflecting the Arabic and Asian history to the island. Bill Bensley has done a splendid job redesigning this luxury getaway.
Services and Facilities
Four Seasons Langkawi offers all the services expected from a 5* resort hotel. Three restaurants, bars, a spa, gym, tennis courts, water sports and swimming pools including an adults-only quiet pool with private cabanas. We loved the pool-side service with mini treats such as frozen watermelon and strawberry smoothie offered every 30 minutes or so. There are a few nice surprises like the complimentary bike-hire (48 acres remember) and the ping-pong tables.
We stayed in the entry-level room, a Pavilion on the ground floor. However, the size and amenities were impressive – whilst officially, the room is 68 square meters, it feels larger with a spacious bedroom, huge bathroom complete with walk-in wardrobe and outdoor spaces at the front (sun-loungers, table and chairs overlooking the gardens) and rear (outdoor jacuzzi and shower in a walled garden). The super-comfy Four Seasons bed ensured we slept soundly, waking to enjoy the plentiful hot water, unique toiletries and a fresh coffee from the Nespresso machine. Soaking in the outdoor jacuzzi under the stars with an after-dinner glass of champagne (helpfully a half bottle is included in the mini bar) was the perfect end to the day!
For those who want more space, we would recommend choosing one of the stunning beach villas. For couples, the one-bedroom villa is perfect, with a private plunge pool, beautiful garden, verandah, outdoor bathroom and private spa treatment room. The only problem may be finding your other half as the villas are a huge 220 square meters!
Food and Drink
There are three restaurants with distinctly different menus. Ikan Ikan was our favourite as we love Malaysian cuisine. This is the place for those wonderfully spiced curries (the lamb shank is to die for) and traditional satay. Serai offers a fusion menu. I had the most tender and flavourful Australian lamb chops ever, while my partner feasted on fresh grilled lobster, tiger prawns sea bass and scallops. Then there is The Grill, which does as you would expect, lots of charcoal-seared steaks.
The hotel offers many activities, for individuals, couples and families – their website helpfully provides details of these and sample itineraries for different traveler types, so it is well worth researching online before your stay. Within the grounds of the hotel, there is plenty of space for action and relaxation. The 24-hour gym is well-equipped with a range of cardio equipment (treadmills, cross-trainers, recumbent bikes, Concept2 rower) and weight machines. Also included is the all-important cold water and fragrant chilled scented towels. Bikes in a multitude of sizes are available to borrow free of charge and the hotel also has a free-to-use tennis court and table tennis tables. If you are in the mood for pampering, the spa is a haven of peace and beauty. Many a happy hour was spent whiling away the afternoon, lounging on one of the floating relaxation beds over the reflection pool! A wide range of massages, facials, scrubs, wraps and salon treatments are available, carried out in one of the spacious treatment pavilions.
Off-site, Langkawi has much to offer visitors interested in the natural world. One of the highlights of our trip was the hotel-organized Eagles and Mangrove safari. Accompanied by the hotel’s passionate resident naturalist Aidi, we boarded a small boat from the beach and enjoyed a 2.5 hour cruise along the coast and through the nearby mangroves. Here, we learnt about the development of mangrove trees and spotted fauna including fiddler crabs (the males have one enormous claw for fighting other males and beckoning the ladies), inquisitive macaque monkeys, monitor lizards and the famous walking fish. Although we have been on mangrove tours in other destinations, this was unmissable, largely thanks to the interesting and amusing commentary from Aidi.
If you are looking for that escape, that paradise experience, to leave behind all the pressures of modern life, this is the perfect place. There is a magic here. It seeps in gently and then, after a few days, you just forget the world.
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Disclosure: Our property, service and product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own and are in no way influenced by the sponsor.