On the northern shore of the small (but action-packed) island of Langkawi is the Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, fronting a long stretch of white sand beach, backed by beautiful limestone karsts behind it. The resort’s prime location, just adjacent to one of the oldest mangrove systems on the island and flanked by one of the finest beaches on the island, sets the scene for a magical stay.
Date of stay: May/June 2019
Room: Partial Sea-View Upper Floor Pavilion #202
Reviewed by: Chinmoy Lad
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PHOTOS AND VIDEOS by CHINMOYLAD
WHAT WE LOVED
- Location. Aside from the unfortunately unsightly factory visible to the southwest of the resort, Four Seasons Resort Langkawi sits in a secluded area, between one of Langkawi’s oldest and largest mangrove forests, in front of stunning limestone karsts, and a beautiful kilometre long beach. Southwest of the resort are some homestays, restaurants and a village, and although the beach is public, the Four Seasons occupies a generous 500-metre (or so) long stretch that feels totally private.
- Service. On the whole, service was good, warm and friendly, and we were particularly impressed with:
- Staff remembering us the second day we went by to the Adult Quiet Pool, we were welcomed back by name, and greeted accordingly each time, even being offered the same cabana (if available) at the Adult Quiet Pool that we enjoyed the first day.
- I am a big Liverpool fan, and the Champions League Final, featuring Liverpool and Tottenham, was played (late night/early morning) during our stay, which Liverpool won. The following morning, upon our return from lunch, we came back to our room to find a beautifully decorated cake saying ‘Congratulations’ in Liverpool red colour.
- Adult Quiet Pool and cabanas. Probably my favourite part of the resort along with the beach, and where where we spent the most amount of time was the Adult Quiet Pool – a long 55-metre infinity-edge pool overlooking the beach and the bay, with private cabanas tucked along its edge (and from where you can access the pool directly). The cabanas have stoned walls on each side for added privacy, and are perfect for lounging around with a late/lazy lunch.
- Pavilions. There are 91 pavilions and villas at the resort, including:
- Pavilions. Set inside multiple two-storeyed structures spread out around the resort featuring garden-view and partial sea-view, both 68 sqm/730 sq ft, with either ground floor (a verandah) or upper floor (wraparound terrace) options.
- Villas. There are multiple villa types, including Beach Villas that offer near-direct beach access, but families will want to know there are great family options that can accommodate larger groups/families with younger children such as the Deluxe Family Beach Villa with Plunge Pool which accommodates 5 adults or 3 adults and 2 children in a king and two twin-beds, all the way upto a Three-Bedroom Family Garden Villa with Pool. However, the showstopper is the presidential villa, the two-bedroom Royal Beach Villa which is a private, standalone 1,400 sqm/15,075 sqft secluded villa that sits a bit further north of the main resort, almost on its own private stretch of sand, and a gorgeous infinity pool.
- Bathroom. The bathrooms are huge, even by resort standards (and considering the size of the pavilions). In line with the resort’s Moorish themes and feature, feature an enormous Turkish bath-style soaking tub with a skylight.
- Activities. Probably our favourite part of the resort was the guided Mangrove Tour with naturalist Aidi, who has worked with the resort since opening some 14 years ago and is a gem of a guide and person himself! Aidi’s knowledge of and passion for nature shines through in even a chat with him, his bubbly personality lighting up even more when talking about the monkeys, eagles and many fauna and flora found within the island’s sensitive ecosystem. Aidi also managed to guide us to spots and areas in the mangrove that were less disturbed by other tourists, although overcrowding is possibly something Langkawi will have to deal with (if not now, then in the future). Aidi was also proactive enough to ensure the boat tour was amply stocked with cold drinks, towels and snacks, and as an avid photographer himself, assisted me in improving my wildlife photography skills.
At its heart, Langkawi is a nature destination, from scores of types of different apes and monkeys to eagles, kites, snakes and more that are easily visible on tours, and many of the activities revolve around this.
For a beach resort, surprisingly the beach itself is sparsely used at the resort by many guests.
- Family. This is truly a great resort for families, as Four Seasons resorts tend to be – in addition to the family-friendly villas on offer and a separate Family Pool that welcomes young ones, there is also a Kids’ Club and activities geared for kids and younger adults/teenagers alike. Most activities focus around Langkawi’s incredible nature reserves.
POINTS TO NOTE
- Refurbishment. We do think the resort is in need of a refurbishment and heavy maintenance work, and does look dated and worn in many parts – particularly in-room. In addition to that, the water pressure both in-room and also at the Adult Quiet Pool was very low.
- Beach Villas. We only had the chance to see one of the Beach Villas – while the villa itself is impressive in its interior space, the plunge pool is very, very small and not ideally placed for a nice swim. Additionally, we thought the outdoor space could really have used some work to spruce it up, but there is plenty of outdoor space available!
- Design. The Moorish architecture is a bit jarring initially as it doesn’t really provide a sense of place, but the subtlety of the architecture in the rooms eventually grew on us. However, the resort’s walls covered in various hues of blue were a bit off-putting. We were surprised to learn this is actually a Bill Bensley-designed property, as it doesn’t really have many of his signature marks. Overall, not the biggest fan of the design of the resort. Other than the Moorish architecture, the style is actually quite enjoyable with earthen tones and stone-walling throughout. The pavilions in style are loosely themed on kampungs, traditional Malay dwellings.
- Layout. The resort is quite spread out (about 400-500 metres as an estimate from end to end not including the Royal Beach Villa with Pool), and you will typically need the buggy to access most points. If you are only staying for a few nights, the layout of the resort is actually a bit confusing (particulary with regards to trying to walk to places as it doesn’t really follow a set pattern for the footpaths), but you might familiarise yourself more the longer you stay.
- Attention to detail. There were some areas, both design and service-wise, where we think a little more attention to detail would have added that extra oomph factor that we would have expected from a Four Seasons:
- Returns from long tours in the heat and humidity, even when organised with the Four Seasons, where not greeted back at the resort with cold towels and drinks
- Because of its position, the table at the sunloungers by the Adult Quiet Pool (near the foot of the lounger) is always outside of the line of the shade the umbrella can provide meaning cold drinks get warm very quickly in the sun.
- Beach necessities. For a beach resort, there are a lot of items that are beach/sand/water-related that aren’t readily provided in-room or around the resort (so be sure to bring your own), including:
- Beach hat
- Beach slippers
- Water pails or foot rinsing/washing facilities at key entry points at the edge of resort/beach to wash feet with (only a full on shower near the Adult Quiet Pool).
GENERAL INFORMATION AND GETTING THERE
- Four Seasons Resort Langkawi is about a 30-minute drive from Langkawi International Airport (LGK)
HOTEL FACT SHEET
- LOCATION: Langkawi, Malaysia
- OPENED: 2005
- HOTEL ROOMS: 91
- RESIDENCE VILLAS: 0
- RATES FROM: USD 500/night
Rates are only an approximation and subject to change and availability
OFFICIAL HOTEL PHOTOS AND VIDEOS[embedyt]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBlk5gvV_So&[/embedyt]
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Special thanks to Four Seasons Resort Langkawi for hosting us