About a year ago, after returning from the Four Seasons Marunouchi in Tokyo, I told you how we’d decided to take fewer family holidays but try and stay with Four Seasons hotels when we did travel. I can’t wait to share with you our recent visit to the Four Seasons Langkawi in Malaysia. It is truly a magical place.
When deciding between Thailand, Bali, Fiji and Malaysia for a relaxing beach holiday with the kids, Malaysia – and Langkawi in particular – seemed less touristy and quieter. The flight is an easy eight hours from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur and then only one hour to the island – all very manageable with a four and five-year-old.
The Four Seasons Resort Langkawi has ninety-one rooms (including villas) spread over its forty-eight acres of lush tropical gardens, so you rarely see more than a few other guests wandering around and there is always a quiet and secluded place to relax.
I was not expecting the resort’s gorgeous mix of Asian and Arabic design, used right through the hotel public spaces as well as in the beach villas and guest rooms. Geometric patterns associated with Arabic design are repeated at every turn on everything from mirrors, to skylights, to closet doors – even air return vents are adorned with geometric shapes and patterns. The neutral shades, wide plank floors and simple lines of the large and airy rooms create an ideal backdrop for the more intricate accents, such as mottled cast iron light fixtures, throw pillows covered in handmade batiks of muted earth tones and bold, local works of art. I have since come back and ordered some of these design influences for my home.
The family beach villa that we stayed in was absolutely exquisite. One of those rooms where you look around and think to yourself ‘does it really ever get any better than this’. The villa comes complete with a private pool right on the beach, but bordered with a tropical garden for privacy. My kids spent a lot of time in this private pool while we sat on the oversized daybed overlooking the beach. There is also a very large deck where you can order the entire menu from any restaurant and a huge variety on the kids’ menu, delivered right to your room. Often the kids would swim while we waited for room service to arrive and set a table on the deck for our meal, so there was no waiting in a restaurant with restless kids for food to arrive.
The villa had a large living area and a spacious walk-in closet. The kids’ bedroom had an LCD screen television with a PS3 game console. There was also a giant Arabic designed bath with to day beds to lounge around, a separate shower and then an outdoor bath and shower as well. The living room had a giant daybed, oversized chairs, a 42-inch plasma screen, CD/DVD player, refrigerated private bar, espresso machine, writing desk, high-speed Internet access and music player connection port. The entire villa is 220 square meters,and trust me, six nights here was not enough!
Additional amenities for kids include child-sized robes and slippers, beach toys and a sandcastle-making kit. Bicycles are available free of charge on request to ride around the resort. Welcome cookies and milk with the kids’ names, juice at bedtime and gorgeous batik monkeys on their beds which they are allowed to bring home with them are all part of the special attention the Four Seasons pays to children.
One of the resort highlights for us and the kids was the mangrove safari we did with the Four Seasons’ naturalist Aidi Abdullah. This was an unforgettable few hours on a boat exploring one of the largest mangrove forests in Southeast Asia and seeing lots of wildlife. We spotted everything from walking fish to fiddler crabs, marine birds, eagles in flight, bats and monkeys galore.
The resort is designed so the family pool and family rooms are located in the northern part, with the family pool overlooking the beach and the Andaman Sea. It is uniquely designed with many small coves that allow for privacy. The family pool comprises many pools all joined together, including a wading area for babies and younger children, and one of the pools is entirely shaded for the hot parts of the day. I’d be lying if I did not say that my children were beside themselves each day with the ice cold popsicles that the pool staff came around to offer in every flavour from lychee to watermelon and very refreshing. If not quite ready, the staff would offer my kids smoothies to keep them going until the ice blocks were set. Other amenities offered at the pool include sunglass polishing, suntan lotion and iced water. Cool towels, freshly sliced tropical fruit and water spray are offered every hour.
The ocean-front quiet pool for adults is located in the southern part of the resort and we would dash there after dropping our girls at the kids club for a few hours. Private cabanas are available with giant stone walls and steps going in to the pool, so it’s the ultimate in privacy.
Now I could not write about this resort without mentioning the spa, which is exquisite and open from 10am to 10pm. We arranged babysitting one night and spent quite a few hours having massages and relaxing on the day beds looking over the reflecting pools. I was lucky enough to visit the spa quite a few times myself for yoga, a massage, a facial and also took my girls to have our nails done together, which was so special.
The Kids for All Seasons program has amazing opportunities for the kids to do fun activities and learn about local Malaysian culture and the surrounding environment. The center was open from 9am until 5pm each day, with batik painting, beach and pool games, yoga, jewellery making and lots more. Our kids went for a few hours each morning and afternoon and, if they needed us, the staff always found us anywhere in the resort.
One final note to mention was when my four-year-old was badly bitten by mosquitoes on our first day. The resident doctor came quickly with ointment and antihistamines, then checked on her each morning at breakfast to make sure she was okay. As a parent, this is all very reassuring that there is medical help if needed.
We’ll be heading back to the Four Seasons Resort Langkawi for another family holiday very soon, it really is the ultimate paradise.
A huge thank you to the Fours Seasons Langkawi for hosting us for a few nights, although we decided to stay for the week and two nights was not enough to really experience the property!
Goldman Holidays are one of a select few preferred partners with Four Seasons Hotels so it’s worth speaking with their agents to book your next holiday. Value-added amenities just for Goldman Holidays clients include an upgrade based on availability, a full American breakfast for two, either lunch for two or a spa treatment/golf fees, priority waitlist, rooms pre-blocked and pre-registered, personal welcome by Manager at hotel or resort and a welcome amenity sent on behalf of Goldman Travel.