The Most Idyllic Luxury Holiday Resorts In Malaysia
The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi
Surrounded by an ancient rainforest and facing a quiet bay, The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi boasts one of the best sea-fronted locations in tourist-magnet Langkawi. With a design dominated by natural wood and earthy tones, the resort evokes a rustic chic vibe but rest assured the amenities here are of five-star standard, including a sublime spa that boasts the only hammam on the island. There are also an adults-only lounge perched on a rock, a fine-dining Chinese restaurant and a private beach to work on your tan in peace. While Langkawi doesn't lack luxury hideaways (Datai and Four Seasons come to mind) like this, this resort however is still within easy reach of activity hubs—Pantai Cenang with its long line of beach bars and restaurants, for instance, is only a 20-minute drive away.
TATLER'S PICK: The Beach Villa is a self-contained sanctuary with its own private outdoor spaces, a 34sqm infinity pool, and direct access to the beach, perfect for couples in need of some alone time.
The Datai Langkawi
Surrounded by an ancient tropical forest with the Andaman Sea gently lapping onto its doorsteps, the 25-year-old Datai Langkawi recently underwent a refurbishment that saw a complete makeover of its guestrooms and public spaces. The facelift hasn’t diluted its charm as a utopia of relaxation and solitude. In fact, such is the pristine state of its nature that it’s perfectly normal to find a dusky monkey or a flying lemur sunbathing outside your window.
TATLER'S PICK: The Datai Estate Villa, a new addition to the resort, is designed by Didier Lefort and boasts five bedrooms, two connecting pools and a gym. Incidentally, Lefort was the original interior designer of Datai Langkawi in 1993. Hidden from the rest of the resort by lush nature, some of the privileges here include a personal chef, a 24-hour butler service and daily afternoon tea. The villa can be booked in its entirety or separately as the three-bedroom Meranti villa or the two-bedroom Seraya villa.
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Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas
This southern tip of Johor has become the latest It destination in Peninsular Malaysia, and this resort is one of the major contributors to its hip status. Anantara's first property in Malaysia occupies an idyllic slice of the beach and boasts lush greenery that recalls the laidback vibe of nearby villages. The vast property offers special nooks and corners to shield yourself from the hustle and bustle of the outside world, from the beachfront pool to the serene sanctum of its spa where Thai massages await.
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TATLER'S PICK: For added privacy, retreat to One-Bedroom Lagoon Pool Villa that comes with its own plunge pool, gazebo, and even a private deck to watch the sunset.
Pangkor Laut Resort
There’s nothing like the term “private island” to pique one’s interest of a hideaway. A short speedboat ride from the sleepy town of Lumut, Pangkor Laut Resort is indeed on a privately-owned island, sharing with no other properties. It's hard not to fall for the charm of this villa-only resort and feel the stress melt away. For the latter, the Spa Village, which features a unique pre-spa ritual based on bathing traditions from around Asia, does a fantastic job.
TATLER'S PICK: For absolute privacy, The Estates is separated from the rest of the resort in the northern part of the island. There are nine Estates, and each comes with separate dining and living pavilions, as well as a private pool. Estate One, Two and Four are beachfront properties, while the rest are located on the hills with a panoramic view of the island. There’s no need to step out as each Estate comes with its own butler and chef to cater to your every need and craving, but a private car awaits should you want to rejoin the rest of the world. Rest assured you are more likely to relax on your own private beach with a book while munching on whatever delightful snack the chef has prepared that day.
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Converted from a private home belonging to an Iban family, this sanctuary sits at the foot of the majestic Mount Santubong and faces the South China Sea. An idyllic gem located a 30-minute drive from Kuching, Cove 55 reopened in 2018 after an expansion that includes an over-the-water infinity salt water pool. Designed as a proper escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, the entire property doesn’t have a single television set; instead, it boasts a library stocked with well-loved classics. Another plus? The Kechala Restaurant & Bar prides itself on modern Sarawakian cuisine using ingredients sourced from the jungles around it.
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TATLER'S PICK: Its collection of villas nestled between a lush mangrove will only open at the end of 2020, so for now, the Corner Suite is its best option, complete with a 180-degree uninterrupted view of the sea and the mountain.
The award-winning One&Only in Desaru, Johor is its first resort in Southeast Asia. With an architecture inspired by the traditional Malay kampung, the resort is designed by Kerry Hill Architects that was also responsible for The Datai Langkawi. And like The Datai Langkawi, the recuperative powers of nature figure heavily in the scheme of things, the lush greenery opens out to its own private stretch of sandy beach. The suite-only resort will boast five dining venues including the Ambara that champions the farm-to-fork ethos and the global debut of One&Only Spa by Chenot.
TATLER'S PICK: The aptly named Villa One, the only villa-style abode here. The two-storey villa comes with four bedrooms, a spa treatment room, a courtyard garden with a 27m pool—and a private access away from the main part of the resort.
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