The Andaman is located in a secluded section of Datai Bay to the northeast Langkawi. Distance from the Langkawi International Airport is about 25 kilometres and driving journey takes close to 40 minutes due to the hilly off-the-beaten track road. The distance from Kuah, the biggest town in Langkawi, is even more. Taxi fares from either the airport or Kuah's passenger boat jetty can cost a fortune, hence it is recommended that you hire a car to be used for the travel journey as well as the most economical way of getting around on the island. Car rentals in Langkawi can be very affordable depending on the time of the year. For example, in this trip, I managed to secure a nice Nissan Sentra for RM80 per day, which was not bad at all.
The Andaman is a five-star resort owned by the Landmarks Group, which had seen better days prior to the 1997's Asian Financial Crisis. Nonetheless, the group still owns property assets at respectable locations within Malaysia and regionally, and together with its neighbouring sister resort of The Datai, The Andaman takes on the most exclusive address in Langkawi in the isolated beach of Datai Bay (or locally known as Teluk Datai).
The main asset of The Andaman is the 50 million-year-old rainforest within which the resort building was constructed. Careful attention was given during its construction with the aim to leave as much as the original forests unruffled by the sight and sound of concrete beams and petrol-guzzling vehicles. Sitting on the northern end of the spectacular Mat Chincang mountain range, The Andaman prides itself for being as close to nature as possible amidst modern facilities. In fact, one can almost be guaranteed to spot different types of wildlife in the resort, such as leaf monkeys, lizards, eagles, hornbills and even sea otters.
The Andaman hosts 186 rooms in total, including one Malaysian Suite, one Japanese Suite, two Executive Suites, two Executive Seaview Suites and one Presidential Suite. The majority of the room choices in The Andaman is of the Deluxe type, which consists of 126 Deluxe rooms, 25 Lanai Deluxe rooms and 28 Seaview Deluxe rooms, all of which are sized at 43 sq metre. The Andaman's various suites are definitely bigger in size; the Malaysian / Japanese / Executive / Executive Seaview Suites have 86 sq metre built-up while the only Presidential Suite unit measures 171 sq metre in space.
I was shown into a newly-renovated Seaview Deluxe room. Interestingly, The Andaman is undergoing a renovation program to revitalise its room design, which does look somewhat outdated for an increasingly competitive tourism market in the island of Langkawi. The new Seaview Deluxe room can be considered as impressive, but in all honesty, I have seen better ones for the rates that The Andaman is charging. The L-shaped day bed at the room corner is well placed to create a homely ambience while the king-sized bed is considerably plush and elegantly made. The polished timber strips for the flooring create a decent tropical ambience, and with the balcony opens out to a breathtaking view of the beach of Datai Bay, the overall combination exudes an acceptable warmth to the room. The new Seaview Deluxe room also comes with an LCD television which is certainly a testament of the touch of modernity that it tries to embrace with the renovation program. Oddly enough, and I have to point this out, is that the bathroom is still left intact in its original design, which is unappealing at best. According to the Front Office Manager whom I met later, the bathroom will be renovated separately and will feature a modern bath design. I guess I will have to wait how the plan works out.
A little bit about the main lobby at The Andaman. It features a unique altar-like structure which is locally known as singgahsana which is synonymous with the Malay royal palaces. Overall, I find the lobby and reception area to be of acceptable design though the intention of the original designer was envisaged to be of an extraordinary feature that greets the incoming guests. The Lobby Lounge has a seating arrangement that overlooks the towering altar as well as the outdoor forest canopies, and it serves a full range of beverages, cocktails and wines.
One floor down the main lobby is The Restaurant which serves mostly Western fares and The Japanese Restaurant which offers choices of a la cartè menu in regular seating arrangements, teppanyaki bars for freshly-made food items and tatami rooms for a more private ambience. It seems as though the resort management prefers to label its facilities with generic names like The Restaurant, The Pool Bar and The Spa (or as it is the case with The Datai; The Dining Room, The Beach Club, The Spa, etc). Between the main building and the beach is The Gulai House which serves Malay village-style cooking and Indian delicacies amidst lush jungle setting.
Actually, the best feature that I found in The Andaman is the swimming pool. It is probably the best free-formed pool that I have ever seen. It circles a fairly large section which effectively creates an expansive pool area. The best feature is definitely the man-made islands which are sparsely introduced in the pool design with towering tropical plants are generously filled to the brim. Around the pool area are plenty of sunning beds with umbrellas, as well as a nice eating joint named The Pool Bar which serves wood-fired pizzas, fresh sandwiches and cocktails. In the vicinity is The Beach Bar which is close to the Datai Bay and makes the best spot to view the stunning sunsets of the Andaman Sea.
I was offered to tour the facility at The Spa which is perched on a hill adjoining the main resort building. As the distance and the gradient can be somewhat daunting for those with tired legs, The Andaman provides complimentary buggy cart services that gets you to The Spa in no time. The spa reception centre is designed in an open-air theme that surely brings in the soothing breeze of the Andaman Sea. There are four exclusive villas offered for the spa treatments, each one is located higher than the one below. There are two massage beds inside the open-air terrace, supposedly for a couple seeking the ultimate body pampering treatments overlooking "the best view of Datai Bay" as proclaimed by a resort personnel whom I met afterwards. Actually, I do agree with him.
Located nearby is the 18-hole rainforest-themed Datai Bay Golf Course which is open to the hotel patrons. Some 30 minutes away is the latest tourist attraction in Langkawi, namely Gunung Mat Chincang which is accessible by Langkawi Cable Car, as well as the Oriental Village at the base station. I also do recommend a driving trip to Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls (Seven Wells) and Telaga Harbour which features fashionable outlets and breathtaking marina view.
Apart from the beach at Datai Bay, one can also drive a little bit to get to Pantai Pasir Tengkorak, Pantai Pasir Hitam (Black Sand Beach), Teluk Burau and Pantai Tanjung Rhu.
For diving and snorkeling, I strongly recommend a boat trip visit to Payar Marine Park, which package can be obtained easily at Kuah's main jetty terminal. Juvenile black-tip sharks and big barracudas can be found at Payar Island. I have also dived at this beautiful site called Coral Garden where colourful soft corals were the order of the day.
The lowest room rate at The Andaman is RM950nett for a Deluxe room. I believe this is the published rack rate since it is not uncommon for the resort to offer room rates as low as RM450nett per night. For more information on the published rate, please click here to view the prices from The Andaman's website.
Heaps of thanks to Angie Ng of GHM Sales Office in Kuala Lumpur and Mokhtar Musa of the Front Office for providing the tour of The Andaman.
For email inquiries or reservations, please see below:
The Andaman Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org
GHM Kuala Lumpur Sales Office: email@example.com