IF you know where to look, Malaysia’s northern island of Langkawi is one of Southeast Asia’s most pristine islands. Beyond the tourist-laden hotspots are vast, seemingly unending shorelines that glisten in the sun as the waves bob, and pillow-soft sand that glide through your fingers.
Four Seasons Resort Langkawi – Southeast Asia’s first UNESCO Geopark and undoubtedly one of the best resorts on the island – is where you want to experience the action, or rather, the lack of it. It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one around for miles when you’re lounging in a newly refurbished Malay-inspired pavilion or villa nestled in lush foliage.
The Partial Sea View Room set around a private beach alcove comes with bonus views of the Andaman Sea, a visual feast to wake up to. The immaculate marble bathroom deserves a special mention, and comes with a double vanity area, a walk-in wardrobe, an outdoor bathing area with rain shower, and a Hammam-style terazzo bathtub for two.
If you’re traveling in a larger group, the Beach Villas with private plunge pools are literally steps from the sea shore, and also feature a personal daybed, a sunken garden shower, and a rather tantalizing private beach hammock. Each villa is accented with Malay and Moorish aesthetic influences using dark tropical wood and heavily grained marble.
For an intimate gathering with family or friends, the Royal Beach Villa is secluded at the end of the resort’s 1.5-kilometer stretch. Fringed by limestone cliffs and an ocean-view swimming pool, the three-villa residence also features unique Malay artefacts, an expansive patio for barbecues, a private spa treatment room, and a huge open-plan lounge.
When tucked so far into the wilds of unspoiled nature, you’ll find little need to leave the parameters of the resort, even for food. Serai – set on a breezy terrace overlooking the ocean – celebrates the sun-drenched flavors of the Mediterranean and deftly makes use of herbs and spices in dishes like snapper meunière and prawn saganaki.
For flavors closer to Asia, Ikan-Ikan is a showcase of local produce and centuries-old village-style recipes in the form of delicate dishes like slow-cooked crab curry with young papaya, and grilled Langkawi green lobster with chili soy sauce. Each dining terrace overlooks the sea, which means you can enjoy the gentle sea breeze while you pinch sweet crab with your fingers.
It’s not a visit to Langkawi without a rejuvenating spa session, and at Four Seasons, Geo Spa is the place you’re looking for. Drawing on natural resources long revered by locals for their healing benefits, the spa uses only plant and mineral ingredients in harmony with nature and indigenous communities.
On top of that, the six “floating” spa pavilions in the spa complex are flanked by towering limestone cliffs, making for a dramatic setting. It’s a far cry from the confines of four walls and pre-recorded “nature sounds” you might be used to at a city spa session.
For longer stays, staff will be more than happy to organize activities within and outside of the property, including archery in the professional range, water skiing and paddle-boarding at the Water Sports Centre, and rock climbing at a nearby limestone outcrop. Cooking classes, tennis lessons, bicycles, and kid-friendly activities can also be easily arranged.
A little more unique to the area are the nature experiences that make use of Langkawi’s 550-million-years-worth of natural heritage. Whether it’s a boat ride through dense mangrove forests, birdwatching on the island’s tallest peak, rainforest hikes, squid scooping, island cruises and picnics, or coastal kayaking, you’re sure to be blown away by the island’s every curvature and twist.
Tempted? Book a stay at Four Seasons Resort Langkawi now.