Recharge and Energise at the Four Seasons Resort Langkawi
This green world is arguably the last word in relaxation
There’s something seriously old school about Langkawi. Long before Bali, the Maldives and other popular Southeast Asian destinations were on anyone’s radar, Langkawi has been a well-known vacation spot for people who wanted a short weekend getaway without having to travel long distances and contend with hordes of tourists. Just an hour’s flight from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, this verdant area is begging to be rediscovered.
In my mind, the best way to take the measure of Langkawi is to explore its natural bounty. As such, we recommend booking a stay at the lush Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, a Malay-and-Moorish mélange of a retreat situated at the edge of the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park on the remote northern top of Langkawi Island.
Langkawi was once a hideaway for pirates, not surprising given the countless hidden coves, beaches and islets that dot the area. Now, these unspoilt beaches and jungle wilderness are home to some of the world’s best luxury retreats. One such retreat is the Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, fringed by a lush rainforest, its own exclusive white sand beach and the Andaman Sea. The resort is in a mountainous region, now a protected area recognised by the UNESCO for its “outstanding geological landscape” and assigned Global Geopark status in 2007.
With the resort as a base, it is easy to explore the island’s attractions, though I’d forgive you if you end up just lazing around the resort like we did. I’m a firm believer in taking things easy during one’s break. With a beautiful resort to explore, it just doesn’t make sense to cram many activities into a holiday.
A beautiful escape
Originally opened in 2006, Four Seasons Resort Langkawi was one of the earliest luxury developers in Langkawi. The resort recently went through a complete renovation of the property by renowned designer Bill Bensley, who has revived the place. Wood-beamed ceilings and teak floors provide the perfect contrast to vibrant colours on walls and accessories. Bold blue is used everywhere as background for Malay décor and local architecture. The result is a distinct look that incorporates Moorish and Malay elements, modern and traditional style. Given that description, it shouldn’t blend well together, but it just does.
Well-manicured pathways, greenery and tropical gardens dot the property and separate the different villas and pavilions. There are 91 villas and pavilions spread throughout the resort, including a Royal Villa, fit for well, royalty. Incredibly spacious with floor-to-ceiling windows, raised terrazzo baths, secluded outdoor showers, personal plunge pools, and lounging decks, personal plunge pools, and lounging decks, the accommodation is the perfect private sanctuary for those looking to be isolated from the rest of the world.
Don’t miss dining at the resort’s three superb restaurants: Beach spot Kelapa Grill serves the freshest grilled seafood while all-day dining spot Serai offers a delicious buffet breakfast in the morning and Mediterranean fare in the evening.The newly refurbished Ikan-Ikan features traditional Malaysian cuisine, prepared using villages recipes and techniques. The restaurant operates an “ocean-to- table” style concept wherein fresh seafood is delivered every afternoon by a local fisherman right on the beach. After a day of exploring, the best way to unwind is at Rhu Bar, taking in the sunset on the beach while sipping one of the bar’s experimental cocktails.
But to my mind, one of the best ways to enjoy the resort is to go on an adventure into the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park to see the extensive mangroves, limestone cliffs, and some 240 species of wildlife, ranging from seabirds, to mudskippers, crabs, sea eagles and kites, snakes and monkeys.
The resort’s mangrove and eagles safari is a must. The fascinating tour starts at the resort’s Geopark Discovery Centre, the only one of its kind in Langkawi, for a short introduction by resident naturalist Aidi Abdullah. Aidi, a 14-year veteran, is a passionate advocate of the geopark and has been a leading voice in developing sustainable practices at the resort and throughout Langkawi. To have him take you out on a tour is a treat.
The adventure starts right at the resort’s beach, where a boat will take you past soaring ancient cliffs where seabirds roost, into the park’s dramatic waterways and tributaries where you get to view the creatures who live in the mangrove forests. Particularly captivating are the birds of prey – sea eagles and kites – that will swoop and soar in a beautiful avian display. You’ll come back from the journey with a renewed appreciation of nature’s bounty and a zeal to preserve and protect our natural wonders. I know I did. If this is the only thing you take away from this retreat, then the resort, Langkawi and the mangroves would have done their job.