Langkawi, Malaysia

The Datai Langkawi

Price per night from$510.19

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (inclusive of taxes and fees) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (MYR2,383.37), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Natural-born thriller

Setting

Alternate Eden

You’ve probably not kipped in a 10-million-year-old rainforest before. Change that at The Datai Langkawi on Datai Bay, one of the top 10 beaches in the world, according to Nat Geo. The hotel is totally plugged into its surroundings, from its team of resident naturalists and marine biologists to its nature-immersion experiences, educational Nature Centre and an indigenous-ingredients–championing spa. And all that exploring and discovering is thirsty (and hungry) work, so the hotel handily has four tempting eateries (and two bars) up its sleeve, whether you’re craving Malay flavours, Thai food, French fine dining, a perfect pizza or an ice-cold cocktail.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A half-bottle of champagne on arrival

Facilities

Photos The Datai Langkawi facilities

Need to know

Rooms

121, including 12 suites.

Check–Out

Noon; earliest check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.

Prices

Double rooms from £392.73 (MYR2,368), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of MYR10.00 per room per night on check-in and an additional local city tax of MYR5.00 per room per night on check-in.

More details

Rates usually include breakfast (a buffet spread with an egg station and Western and Asian options).

Also

At the hotel's cooking school, The Dapur (it's Malay for 'kitchen'), the resident chefs will guide you on a culinary adventure, from picking fresh herbs in the permaculture garden to enjoying the fruits of your labour with a wine pairing. Classes start from MYR300 a person.

At the hotel

Incredible wilderness; beach club; Nature Centre; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV; WiFi; air-conditioning; minibar; free bottled water; tea and coffee.

Our favourite rooms

Ask yourself this: are you a David Attenborough or a David Hasselhoff? If the former, opt for a wildlife-surveying Rainforest or Rainforest Pool Villa; if the latter, go for a Beach Villa – and dig out that lipstick-red swimwear.

Poolside

The Datai Langkawi has a trio of pools: one for adults, one for families (with a prime beachside setting) and one for toddlers.

Spa

Rainforests: pretty relaxing as settings go – but that’s no reason not to unwind even further with a spa treatment or two. The Datai’s luxurious spa harnesses ancient ramuan (Malay herbal) rituals; treatments star indigenous ingredients, many sourced from the rainforest. Add a splash of tropical colour to your hands and feet by swinging by the Bastien Gonzalez mani-pedi studio.

Packing tips

Bring something you can comfortably hike around a rainforest in – plus an itsy-bitsy bikini or beachwear for the pool and spa.

Also

There are wheelchair-ramps within the property, and you can be transported around by buggy if needed.

Children

Little Smiths are very welcome. There’s a family-friendly pool, a wading pool and immersive nature activities for the whole family; babysitting can be arranged with 48 hours’ notice.

Best for

All ages can come, but the hotel reckons it’s most suited to little Smiths aged six and above.

Recommended rooms

The two-bedroom Datai Suites are a safe choice; for maximum space, if your budget permits, opt for the Two-Bedroom Villa.

Activities

Budding naturalists will love the hotel’s wildlife walks and nature-immersion experiences.

Swimming pool

Water-babies are well catered to: there’s a family-friendly pool, plus a wading pool for toddlers. Parents who’ve booked babysitters can escape to the adults-only pool.

Meals

High-chairs can be provided.

Babysitting

Book babysitting at least 48 hours in advance.

Sustainability efforts

The Datai Pledge promises to make its business operations sustainable, regenerate the environment and community, conserve coral reefs and marine life, promote sustainable fishing, conserve Langkawi’s wildlife and regenerate the rainforests. Lofty eco goals indeed. A carbon offsetting program is in the works, with initiatives aimed at planting trees, rehabilitating corals and processing waste on site (so that zero goes to landfill). From 2019 to 2020, five artificial reefs were deployed in Datai Bay, 300 coral nubbins transplanted to Datai Bay reef, one hornbill nesting box was installed and over 100 seeds were collected and planted in the Native Tree Nursery. The hotel has a no-single-use-plastics policy, greywater is used in onsite irrigation (there’s a permaculture garden that grows herbs, spices, fruits and veg) and the hotel works with local producers where possible. A local company provides the organic bathroom amenities, food waste is composted and the onsite Upcycling Centre crushes glass and shreds plastic for reuse, including in guest crafting workshops. In a recent renovation, villas were built around mature trees rather than cutting trees down. The Datai Langkawi works with local NGO that provides single mothers with a route to economic empowerment via training programmes and buy-back deals; the hotel also sponsors two local schools through Green Growth Asia Foundation. Guests help fund all conservation projects through an optional daily contribution.

Food and Drink

Photos The Datai Langkawi food and drink

Top Table

Follow your appetite in the direction of Malay, Thai, French or international flavours.

Dress Code

Gym and swimwear are frowned upon throughout; shorts and collarless-shirts are banned in some of the restaurants. Check the specifics with staff before heading out to dinner, to avoid red faces.

Hotel restaurant

The Datai Langkawi has a clutch of tempting restaurants to choose from. Styled in the manner of a traditional Kampong (village) house, open-air Gulai House serves delicious Malaysian cuisine (crabmeat soup, fish curry, naans a-go-go), soundtracked by the chirruping of the local wildlife. You can try traditional seating on the floor; all meals begin with a hand-bathing ceremony. The Pavilion is a Thai treat set on stilts above the rainforest canopy; dine with breathtaking views of the Andaman Sea. You might not expect fine French cuisine in the heart of the forest, but the Dining Room delivers exactly that. The Beach Club serves relaxed international fare – Caprese salads, pizzas, bruschettas and so on – for lunch and dinner. Save room for the ‘coconut surprise’ dessert.

Hotel bar

Steps from the sand, The Beach Bar has a clutch of tree-shaded seating and sea-view sunloungers. Open throughout the day, it’s the go-to spot for refreshing post-surf cocktails and sunset-facing pre-dinner drinks. By night, the Lobby Lounge is a view-toting setting for cocktails, wine and champagne; up the ante with a single malt and a cigar.

Last orders

Breakfast is served until 11am; dinner until 11pm.

Room service

Pick from a selection of Malaysian and Western dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Location

Photos The Datai Langkawi location
Address
The Datai Langkawi
Jln Teluk Datai
Langkawi
07000
Malaysia

The Datai Langkawi is on dazzling Datai Bay, in a 28-hectare patch of beachfront rainforest.

Planes

Langkawi International Airport is a 40-minute drive from the hotel. Helpful Smith24 can help book your flights, should you wish.

Automobiles

The town of Kuah is closest, an hour away by car; the hotel’s car park is a minute’s walk from the lobby. It’s worth having a car if you want to go exploring; that said, taxis are fairly cheap.

Other

Nautical types could get here by ferry from Kuala Perlis to Langkawi in 45 minutes, from Kuala Kedah to Langkawi in 90 minutes, or from Penang to Langkawi in 180 minutes. Hop over from Thailand on a ferry from Satun or Koh Lipe.

Worth getting out of bed for

The hotel’s resident naturalists and marine biologists have devised an exciting line-up of nature experiences, including: butterfly garden walks, a mangrove trail, coral reef explorations, jungle hikes to natural pools and waterfalls, ‘rainforest after dark’ expeditions and more. And make sure to reserve at least a little of your stay to hear some stories from the hotel’s resident naturalist, Irshad Mobarak, a former banker with a passion for flora and fauna.

The resort’s private footpath winds its way to Datai Bay’s milk-white-sand beach, named one of the world’s top 10 beaches by National Geographic (all non-motorised watersports at the hotel are free of charge, so take to the waters). Achy? Make the most of the Datai’s wellness centre, whose facilities include a sauna and steam room. Venture deep into the rainforest, seeking out dusky leaf monkeys, geckos and colugos. Follow the trail that leads to the suspension bridge for eye-widening views.

Hop on the Langkawi Cable Car for more gasp-worthy views that rival the local birdlife’s. On the steepest cable-car ride on earth, you’ll be whooshed up to heights of 708 metres above sea level; wave at Langkawi's second-highest peak: Mt Machinchang.Keen golfers can tee off at the award-winning, 18-hole, par-72 championship Els Club Teluk Datai golf course, five minutes away by car.

Local restaurants

Swing by Fat Cupid on Jalan Pantai Tengah Lot for international cuisine served in a minimalist space. The Danna Langkawi hotel in Pantai Kok has a choice of tempting dining options: Straits & Co is styled with colonial elegance, offering Malay flavours, traditional snacks, local and Western desserts, pastries and more.

Staff at the Datai Langkawi can arrange tours to local villages so you can sample street food; don’t miss a trip to one of the fragrant night markets. Have a wallet-friendly seafood feast at Wonderland Food Store, a little, budget restaurant in Kuah Town; begin proceedings with a steaming bowl of seaweed soup.

Local bars

Toast the good decisions that brought you here at the Andaman hotel’s buzzing Beach Bar, at Jalan Teluk Datai.

Reviews

Photos The Datai Langkawi reviews
Gina Jackson

Anonymous review

By Gina Jackson, Roving reviewer

My last time here was as a sulky teenager: back then, the Datai, easily Langkawi's crowning hotel jewel, was firmly out of reach as an adults-only retreat. Nowadays, the Datai accepts guests of all ages, but is still equally as enchanting as the child-free playground it was originally created to be.

I’ve visited Malaysia, my mother’s homeland, every year since I was a child. In fact, I used to dread dragging out sticky summers in Kuala Lumpur, bemoaning the fact that I wasn’t spending the holidays with my friends back home in the UK. Brattish, I know.

Nowadays, I cherish any time that I can spend reconnecting with my roots. Trips back to Malaysia came to a grinding halt during the pandemic, but as soon as the borders reopened, I found myself on the first flight back to the motherland.

After a pit stop in Kuala Lumpur, Mr Smith and I decided to tag on a beach holiday to Langkawi. One of Malaysia’s prime islands, situated on the cusp of neighbouring Thailand, Langkawi has beckoned discerning travellers for years with its alluringly tropical tangle and sandy beaches.

As soon as we land, the sticky heat envelopes us like a clammy embrace. We hurtle off towards the Datai, our driver expertly dodging the monkeys that slink across the highway. The hotel sits perched on the cliffside, encased by thick rainforest, with various outbuildings scattered across the craggy coastline towards the ocean.

We disembark at the open-air lobby, and are plied with local treats and homemade tea before it’s time to check into our bedroom. The hotel went through an extensive renovation in 2019, so is surprisingly slick despite celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Expect a melange of glossy wooden surfaces, and creamy fabrics in each room: our soaring four poster is clouded in swathes of linen, and a tub large enough to swim laps in presides over the bathroom. Homemade chocolates, exotic fruit, and local kuih are waiting for us - and we’re encouraged to raid the free minibar during our stay. I certainly don’t need to be told twice.

Our rainforest villa is hidden deep in the thicket, meaning we’re lulled to sleep by the never-ending coo of wildlife around us. For guests that prefer to attack the breakfast buffet first thing in the morning, a room in the hotel’s central building might be better suited, and for families or large groups – or those that prefer waking up by the water – I’d recommend bedding down in one of the spacious beach villas.

Mr Smith and I head straight to the beach to work on our tanlines. An unsullied stretch of sand disappears into the distance, the bay entirely private to hotel guests. A peppy member of the team seemingly appears out of nowhere with ice water and fresh towels. Several hours later, when I’m still spread-eagled on my lounger, he makes the rounds again – this time, with freshly churned ice cream cones.

While it’s tempting to spend the entirety of our holiday horizontal, there are plenty of other avenues to explore when we’re not sun-worshipping. A fleet of buggies whiz around the estate, peddling guests through the rainforest, from the beach to the lobby, and back again – or simply sashay through the fauna along the hotel’s famous Butterfly Walk, where you can spy monkeys, centuries-old mangroves, and – of course – hundreds of butterflies. If you can tear yourself away from the manicured enclaves of the resort, zip-lining through the jungle, teeing off at the nearby golf club, or exploring the island’s bewitching coves can all be arranged – although it’s hard to leave the paradise that the Datai has created when there’s really everything at your fingertips. Separate kid-friendly and adults-only pools? Tick. Fully equipped gym? Tick. Soothing spa? Tick. Watersports, nature walks, and adventure excursions? Tick, tick, tick. I’m beginning to understand why some guests stay for weeks on end.

Oh, and of course, I need to mention the food. Gourmands will be pleased to hear that there are four excellent restaurants to line your belly. Mornings begin by hoovering up freshly baked pastries and local delights at the breakfast buffet (ask the chef to whip up a flakey roti canai for you) before segwaying into leisurely lunches at the beach club. Come evening, guests can sample Indian and Malay dishes at the Gulai House or feast on Thai cuisine while perched among the treetops at the Pavilion – and there’s even a French twist on a tasting menu at the hotel’s signature fine dining restaurant. There’s almost too many good things to eat and do in between all of the sand, sea, and swim – so much so, that I’ve already started plotting my return visit for next year.

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Price per night from $506.98