The Datai — Langkawi, Malaysia
For 25 years, The Datai has been a favoured hideout for discerning travellers as much for its incomparable location on Langkawi’s north western coastline enveloped by a 10-million-year old rainforest, bristling with ancient trees, waterfalls and mangroves, as its conception by architect Kerry Hill and interior designer Didier Lefort.
Now, after a tip-to-toe refresh – led by Lefort – the legendary 121-room property has reopened to include a re-shape of the lobby, entrance and landscaping, three new Rainforest Pool Villas, a new five-room villa with 24-hour butler service, and a dedicated Nature Centre with its own lab and a resident team of naturalists and marine biologists on hand for activities from guided nature walks to kayaking in the mangroves.
Meanwhile, updated technology, a sleek understated colour palette and low-key lighting enhance the guestrooms and five restaurants where, thankfully, the food concepts have remained the same, with The Gulai House still serving its delicious beef rendang.
And of course, views continue to please, not least in the open-air Lobby Lounge which is the best spot to sip on cocktails while admiring panoramic vistas of both the rainforest and the Andaman Sea with the Thai Tarutao island on the horizon.§