Named after the Malay words for ‘reddish brown eagle’ (‘helang’ – eagle; ‘kawi’ – reddish brown), Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea off Malaysia’s northwest coast. In 2007 it was declared Southeast Asia’s first UNESCO Geopark – a geological and ecological wonderland of 550-million-year-old rock formations, mountainous rainforest and deserted islands.
The island’s poshest property is the Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, offering well-heeled guests every luxury amongst 91 striking villas and pavilions that emerge from lush beachfront gardens. Every inch of the traditional Malaysian residence – or Rumah Melayu – is constructed with the beauty of the surrounding environment in mind. Imposing rooftops, breezy verandahs, spacious interiors and plentiful windows all take advantage of gentle tropical breezes and beautiful natural vistas. These influences pervade at Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, accented by details that hint at the Arabic and Asian cultures of Malaysia’s melting pot.
Meandering sleeper pathways link the Resort’s public areas and guestrooms, which range from sprawling beach villas and family beach houses to two-storey Pavilions of four units each. Neutral tones, simple lines and wide plank floors create a complementary backdrop for the geometric Arabic patterns, handmade batiks and bold local artworks that decorate each interior. Floor to ceiling windows fill each room with views of tropical foliage, reflecting ponds and the sparkling Andaman Sea, imparting a sense of complete immersion in nature.
The Resort’s Beach Villas are stand-alone, one-bedroom residences, each with its own private pool garden and reflecting pond, verandah, private spa treatment room, large bathroom suite with raised terrazzo tub and outdoor shower garden.
Most impressive are the exclusively blended bathroom amenities featuring an Enlivening Lemon Grass Bath Gel, Rejuvenating Tea Tree & Bergamot Shampoo + Conditioner, Nourishing Green Tea Body Lotion, Refreshing Lemon Grass Exfoliating Soap and Soothing Aloe Vera Gel.
Private, sandy and almost empty by day, the 1.5 kilometre beach at Four Seasons Resort Langkawi transforms by night into the ideal place to rediscover the joy of quality time together, from romantic beach dinners to moonlit barbecues and bonfires.
The Resort offers plenty of opportunity to keep fit on holiday. It’s best to enjoy these active adventures in the early morning before the temperature reach their peak. If you’re keen to stretch out before breakfast head to the lotus pond at sunrise and you’ll be a smiling downward dog as bright pink flowers unravel covered in droplets of fresh morning dew.
Another early morning favourite is the Resort’s signature Bicycle Tour. Guests can pick their own pace while enjoying a rural pedal with a friendly and fit local guide. Pedal your way through rural regions, taking in villages for a glimpse into local life, as you work your way to a cascading waterfall for a picturesque paddle or to the black sand beaches for a splash in the sea.
The UNESCO-protected coastline of Langkawi holds the key to 550-million-years-worth of natural heritage – the vast majority of which remains unseen by visitors. Four Seasons Resort Langkawi’s most popular excursion is the Mangroves & Eagle Safari which allows nature fans to explore mysterious forests between land and sea on a Naturalist-led boat safari into the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park – home to majestic eagles, mischievous macaques, fish that ‘walk’, colourful tree-climbing crabs, shy otters and snoozing bats.
The island is a haven for tan fans, especially in the late afternoon when temperatures rise through the roof. Thankfully the Four Seasons has plenty of options for those looking to cool off; enjoy a splash in the ocean, soak in your villa’s private pool or strap on your goggles and enjoy a refreshing swim in the 55-m Adult Quiet Pool. You’ll find yourself relaxing all day at one of eight private cabanas, each with steps into the turquoise water. Complimentary pool service includes cool towels, fresh fruit, suntan lotion and ice water.
The Geo Spa distils the ancient energies of Langkawi’s UNESCO Geopark into bespoke natural treatments. Amid six ‘floating’ spa pavilions flanked by towering limestone cliffs, the dramatic spa complex draws on an abundance of natural resources long revered by Langkawians for their healing benefits.
Bring body and mind into balance with the ancient energies of the Langkawi UNESCO Geopark: Earth (to clam and ground), Water (to cleanse and rejuvenate), Light (to energize and uplift) and Air (to purify and heal).
Local natural treasures used in the treatments include: kacip fatimah – a herb renowned for women’s health – sustainably harvested from the Kuala Kangsar Rainforest; tongkat ali, used throughout Malaysia for generations to increase male sexual desire and libido; therapeutic essential oils such as mawar (the oil of love), bunga limau (bliss) and bungar melur (for stimulating the flow of love); and homemade herb and spice poultices featuring bunga chengkih, kayu manis and buah pelage.
An intricate tapestry of rich colours and textures sets the ambience at Rhu Bar, the Resort’s Middle Eastern-inspired cocktail lounge. Begin the evening here with pre-dinner drinks. Take in the jewel-toned sunset from a Moghul swing overlooking the beach or a wicker sofa piled high with cushions. Or linger long into the night with tropical cocktails and mezze, speciality malts and a game of pool.
Casual and lively, the breezy Kelapa Grill’s daytime menu features imaginative light fare from Asian stir-fries to wood-fired pizzas. By night, the beachfront Kelapa Bar becomes a great spot to enjoy sunset drinks before a sumptuous dinner featuring grilled citrus prawns, Australian Ribeye with mushroom sauce and Tandoori Red Lion Fish.
Built in the style of a limas, a traditional Malaysian home, Ikan-Ikan – which means fish in Malay – highlights authentic Malay cuisine. Savour ocean-fresh catch in distinctly Malaysian flavours, including spiced and coconut-infused specialties that draw on traditional recipes from across the country. Feast on spicy Malaysian fare under the twinkle of stars at the restaurant’s open-air deck and you’ll enjoy a soft lullaby as gentle waves crash onto the shore below. Highlights include fragrant Paneer Tikka, Roti Jala, candied Red Snapper and classic tomato muddled Ayam Merah Madu.
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