The Datai Langkawi
What We Love
- The resort’s renowned Gulai House, located on stilts in the rainforest
- Chic new beachfront villas with private plunge pools and direct beach access
- Spa located in the ancient rainforest, overlooking a flowing stream
What To Know
- Primary pool is adults-only
- It’s a hike to the beach from the lobby or pool-view rooms, although buggies can whisk guests there and back
- The Datai is remote and offers little in the way of retail therapy or nearby activities; partygoers should look elsewhere
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
The hideaway’s layers of gray slate and contemporary design contrast with its lush rainforest setting, a half-moon bay on the island’s ancient northwest tip. Cheeky monkeys regularly drop by for a visit in the resort’s open-air pavilions and villas, which are decorated in rich dark woods, soft torch lighting and warm neutrals and connect via a series of elevated pathways.
Bed and Bath
The Datai offers 124 elegant rooms, including 54 villas and 16 suites. Most rooms offer views of the verdant rainforest, while some offer vistas over the pool or Andaman Sea. All feature polished timber floors, calming neutral decor, Lavazza coffee machines and spacious bathrooms with Molton Brown amenities. Villas, meanwhile, present the ultimate in privacy with a rainfall shower, twin terrazzo vanities and his-and-her wardrobes. The Datai’s newest accommodation offering, the open-plan contemporary Beach Villas, are smack-bang on the beautiful Datai Bay, with private plunge pools, rainforest showers and direct beach access.
Find four fabulous restaurants, including the renowned Malaysian fare at the open-air Gulai House, the elevated treehouse-like Pavilion and the sea-view Lobby Lounge (be sure to catch live music after 8 pm). Take a catamaran for a spin around Datai Bay, work off the good food in the gym, or enjoy a round of golf on the resort’s 18-hole course. Or, simply submit to the talented therapists at the tranquil rainforest spa, with its long list of Ayurvedic, Javanese, Balinese and Himalayan treatments.
In the Area
Cook with Shuk, in a traditionally built Malay house in the forest, will have guests whipping up satay sticks and rich rendangs before they can say “di sini.” Dev’s Mangrove Adventure is an eco-friendly tour that takes participants either by canopied boat or by kayak to towering limestone outcrops, bat-filled caves, fossil locations and lush mangroves along Langkawi’s various islands. The Langkawi Cable Car, which whizzes to the top of the imposing Gunung Machinchang (708m) in 20 minutes, gives a fabulous aerial view of the island. During the ascent, guests can take in views of almost the entire island, surrounding highlands and Thai islands beyond.
How to Get There
This really isn't a hotel or a resort but a sanctuary for the soul. We stayed 4 days but wish it had been 4 weeks. The food, the staff, the villa, the walks through the rainforest, even the rain....everything here feels like a dream.
What can one write that has not been written before in all the 5 star reviews. This is an amazing luxury hotel that being built of timber in traditional style sits perfectly in its forest location. As well as rooms in the main building there are numerous chalets scattered throughout the forest that slopes down to the wide sandy beach, A fleet of golf buggies run up and down taking guests to the beach or back to the hotel or their chalets. There are four separate restaurants all giving the opportunity for al fresco dining. My only criticism as one would is less able I would welcome some more handrails on the numerous steps that the sloping site requires.
In summary possibly the most prefect hotel ever. Sad that it is so far away from England.
What a wonderful place for a luxurious holiday. Stunning location with the buildings tastefully set into the Jungle which reaches down to a magnificent beach. We stayed in a Canopy room in the main building overlooking the main adult pool which had been beautifully renovated. We didn't see in some of the private villas that were spaced around the property but they looked quite dark with overhanging jungle.. 5 restaurants for a choice of dining. All excellent but we loved the Gulai House best which was the Malaysian restaurant set in the jungle. Very friendly and efficient staff everywhere who couldn't do enough for you to make everything a wonderful experience. We were told that 80% of guests were returning visitors which is no surprise.The Spa experience was also a real treat.
The Datai really used the location to their advantage. It is in the most spectacular spot surrounded by wildlife and they really make that a focus with free nature walks, nature centre, free watersports, wildlife information delivered to your room. If you're into more than just lounging by the beach then this is the place to come. We wished we stayed longer and will be coming back again. The service was flawless, truly! We had plenty to fill our days with the activities available - spa, golf, kayaking, snorkelling, nature walks, swimming etc. I wish i was there right now. If you're coming to Langkawi there is no other choice in my opinion. Authentic Malaysian street food is lacking and we expected to leave the hotel to venture into the main town, but the resort was too good so we never left. Food at Datai was still good though.
We wondered how much our son would enjoy the Datai. From previous visits, we knew it was tranquil, beautiful and refreshingly inflatable-free. We did wonder, however, if there’d be enough to keep him entertained, we needn’t have worried!
Our son marvelled at the rainforest, nature and wildlife. He relished the unique location and exploring the 10 million year old forest; spotting butterflies, monitor lizards and the dusky leaf monkeys. In fact, after a particularly heavy storm, we had the forest and then the entire beach to ourselves. He spent ages jumping over the newly formed rivulets that were running down to the sea and observing the wading birds feeding in the pools. My video of him doing this is one of my most treasured possessions.
The kids’ activities he did were extraordinary - beautiful painting, local craftwork and a marine biology experience that he’s still talking about! The pool by the beach is warm, a great depth for perfecting handstands and the beach is sandy, ideal for building and the natural shade afforded by the canopy keeps young skin safe.
He was wowed by the unique location of staying in a rainforest villa and dining amongst the canopy and wildlife at the Thai. He ate from the adults’ menu in the Thai and Gulai House, as the kids’ menu was a little limited, however the buffet evening at the Beach House was outstanding - a veritable feast for everyone.
Our son (and my husband) class the Datai breakfast as the best in the world, and why not when you can eat myriad fresh fruits, yoghurts, fresh honeycomb, pastries that are out of this world and heavenly individual pots of macaroni cheese? I loved the option of freshly prepared Asian dishes, beautiful fresh juices, salad leaves and houmous - it really is phenomenal.
In essence, we were able to enjoy everything we had enjoyed during our 2 previous stays, bar eating dinner in the Dining Room, or evenings in the lobby bar, as kids are not permitted in either. However I relished a blissful hour to myself one afternoon in the adult-only pool, whilst I knew my son and husband were happily playing on the beach a few hundred metres below me, heaven! For us, the preservation of a couple of spaces for adults actually worked to our advantage.
We combined our stay with a few days at The Andaman, as we felt a bit mean denying our son a kid-focused environment for 2 weeks. It did provide a different ambience for a few days, however it’s the Datai that he still talks about and asks to return to. If anything typifies the service ethos of the Datai, it’s this: we wandered down to the Beach Bar one evening for sundowners and there was a private drinks reception taking place. Instead of turning us away, they invited us to join them, provided us with free champagne, canapés and a selection of mocktails for our son. Typical Datai service; genuine, heartfelt and gracious. Thank you Datai, you manage to be a wonderful family retreat, not just a haven for grown-ups :) We can’t wait to return.