Do I need to introduce this world-famous resort? That's right! The Datai is a frequent winner of various travel accolades from around the world, including Condè Nast Readers' Award and Travelers' Award, Andrew Harper's Island Hideaways of the Year, the Leading Hotel of the World's Quality Assurance Award, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine Awards for the World's Best Spa, top placing in Tourism Malaysia's Award for Excellence in Hotel Services and 2nd placing in Asia's Best Hotels & Resorts Guide.
While the honours continue to pour in from every direction, The Datai is not resting on its laurels. This resort continues to dazzle every incoming guests, mostly of foreign origins, including yours truly. The lobby is immaculately beautified with a fresh lotus pond that emits a strong natural fragrance when the flower petals open up every evening. The meandering jungle pathways transverse through ancient rainforests, creating a memorable tropical-themed vacation. The swimming pool is surrounded by towering forest canopies which are the vintage attraction of this resort. It might sound like a cliché but everything in The Datai is flawless!
The Datai goes by the tagline "Nature Inspired..." which is probably not as much being put in writing as it is being proven in reality. Very few original trees were sacrificed for its construction that tropical trees are omnipresent throughout the resort. In fact, The Datai is not harping on any "breathtaking sea view rooms" as most other resorts are. Rather, all of its jungle villas are located deep under the thick forest canopies, well hidden from most wandering eyes.
There are fifty-four Deluxe Rooms, thirty-five Superior Villas, five Pool Villas and eighteen Suites at The Datai. All the Deluxe Rooms are located within the main building complex. These Deluxe Rooms are separated by the main lobby into the East Wing and West Wing. At 63 sq metre size, the Deluxe Room is impressively done. In all honesty, it is the best room design I have seen for an island resort. The king-sized bed is nicely hidden from the entrance door, giving the guest a sense of privacy. The bed opens out to a balcony view of thickly forested jungle. I really like the placement of the two corner sofa (or day beds) which creates an excellent lounging area with a fantastic outdoor view. Unlike most other hotels and resorts, the bathroom is treated equally in term of finishing and size. Yes, the bathroom of a Deluxe Room is almost as spacious as the bedroom itself. The bathroom is meticulously appointed with twin vanities (pardon the hotel jargon, they are actually dressing mirrors) and separate stalls for shower, water closet, bath tub and luggage space.
The Deluxe Room is enough to captivate you, but wait until you set foot into the Superior Villas. At a whopping 93 sq metre room size, the Superior Villa features a jaw-dropping bathroom that takes close to half of the built-up space. A rather brave yet eccentric design selection by the resort, I must say. Nonetheless, as I mentioned previously, The Datai is not like many other resorts. It sees the bathrooms as being of equal importance apart from the bedroom. The enormous bathroom features an eight-inch rain shower (which is more of a ubiquitous feature for five-star boutique hotels rather than island resorts), two large dressing mirrors and two wardrobes for you and your partner. I seemed to forget to mention about the bedroom area, and make no mistake, it is just as impressive as the bathroom itself. Apart from an extra-plush king-sized bed and an oversized corner day bed which apparently can be used for your children to sleep in, the Superior Villa bedroom area provides state-of-the-art paraphernalia such as a 37-inch LCD TV, a DVD player, Bose CD sound system and Lavazza coffee machine. The room opens out to a private deck on an elevated verandah where you can be really close to the virgin tropical forest.
The Datai moves a step further by introducing the Pool Villas to the increasingly discerning guests in search for a total romantic vacation with the significant others. In general, the Pool Villa is identical to the Superior Villa, except that the equivalent bathroom partition is stripped out to make way for an outdoor plunge pool that measures at 3 metres by 4 metres with built-in jacuzzi. The plunge pool opens out to the rainforest right next to it, hence you will get to be as close to nature as possible while being in comfort of the modern ambience that the room has to offer. Amazingly extraordinary, to say the least.
The Suites at The Datai come in four varieties, namely Corner Suites and End Suites (109 sq metre and 125 sq metre respectively, interspersed within the main building complex), Datai Suite at 258 sq metre with expansive living and dining areas, two bedrooms and a well-equipped kitchenette, and Pool Suites at 165 sq metre which are somewhat similar to the Superior Villas with each two villas sharing a dining-cum-living area and all four villas having a common swimming pool and sunning deck.
The Datai features two swimming pools, both are equally fantastic although I tend to find the one located on the main complex offers a more breathtaking setting amidst the thick forest canopies. Actually, you can have a partial view of the Andaman Sea from here, but one should not be bother much with the so-called ocean view. The swimming pool by the beach is just as nice and is often patronised by children as there are more fun-filled activities organised here by the resort. As for water-based activities, The Datai provides only non-motorised sports which is another testament on how much it values the delicate environment. For head-to-toe treatments, the resort features The Spa, exclusively positioned inside the rainforest where Balinese-style pampering is the order of the day.
The Datai offers four fabulous F&B outlets. The main dining restaurant is aptly named The Dining Room which is located one floor down from the main lobby. The Dining Room is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and serves sumptuous Malaysian and Western fares. For authentic Thai cuisines under the forest canopy view, The Pavilion, which is located by the main swimming pool, should be able to satisfy your craving. Some hundreds of steps down from the main building complex, or you can get around just by hiring the complimentary buggy carts, is The Beach Club which serves mostly Western gastronomic delights with terrific view of Datai Bay (I had a savoury plate of pasta bolognaise here). Last but not least, the exquisite Lobby Lounge with an open-air ambience overlooking the lovely lotus pond as well as the swimming pool.
With the commendable effort to preserve the environment while being totally committed to impart a memorable resort experience to its patrons, I accord my 5-star rating to The Datai. I left The Datai with a fulfilling sensation that such a modern resort can seamlessly blend into the delicate natural ambience. Kudos to The Datai!
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.
In general, the room rates start at RM1,390nett for Deluxe Room, RM1,880nett for Superior Villa and RM2,085nett for Pool Villa. Since the rates will definitely fluctuate depending on the travel seasons, I strongly suggest to contact the resort directly.
Heaps of thanks to Angie Ng of GHM Sales Office in Kuala Lumpur and Mashita Mat Amin of the Front Office for providing the tour of this stunning resort.