The Datai: A Luxury Hotel in the Jungle of Langkawi, Malaysia

Lush tropical jungles on one side & bright blue waters of the Andaman Sea on the other, The Datai Langkawi is a secluded getaway for an exotic trip to Malaysia’s jewel of the Kedah

 

It’s always an interesting experience when your neighbour decides to introduce themselves by opening your front door and popping in to say hi…especially when your neighbours are a group of sugar deprived monkeys.  With his little monkey fingers, the small brave one opened the door, stared directly at me as I was laying on the bed attempting to nap and walked right in. This is what happens when you stay in the middle of a jungle surrounded by the most beautiful dense and tropical landscape. You make friends with the animals, you take naps and eventually you learn that you’re in natures territory. 

At the Datai on the island of Langkawi in Malaysia, you’re immersed in a jungle fantasy, surrounded by the sounds and colors of nature. Exotic birds fly around, monkeys help themselves to your balcony and you get to see and understand how nature works in its natural habitat. It’s a scene out of The Jungle Book, only with WiFi, gourmet food and locks on the doors. 

 
 

What to Expect

As you first approach the hotel, you’re greeted by a long open hallway, dimly lit with candles that lead the way to the main lobby. Everything is open and has a very natural yet modern element to it…I suppose its because of the designer furniture and monkeys swaying in the trees :) The property itself seems as if it was built around the forest, taking great care not to disrupt the natural environment.  It’s a cascading design of thatch roofed dwellings, private villas and structures that seem to float in the trees. The entire area is open and ancient trees surround everything. 

After a quick check in and refreshing drinks we hopped on a buggy for a ride to our villa, that was nestled somewhere in the trees below. We pulled up to our stand alone villa on the edge of a creek, surrounded by more trees and monkeys relaxing on the roof. 

First impressions are important and at the Datai it’s love at first sight. If the grand entrance doesn’t get to you, then undoubtedly your accommodations will!
 

The Rooms

The first thing you notice upon entering your villa at the Datai, besides the stunning landscape and chic Asian decor, is the massive dome like wooden ceiling. Next your eyes move on to the multitude of windows surrounding the space and the relaxing balcony just off the bedroom. Eventually your eyes land at the massive bathroom complete with more windows, a soaking tub, his and her vanities and a walk in shower. This place was fabulous and we couldn’t wait to say goodbye to our concierge, and just sit and stare off our balcony. 

You are in the rainforest and yes there are a multitude of animals wandering around, especially monkeys. There are the somewhat annoying long-tailed or crab-eating macaque (who will come into your room, if you leave the door unlocked) and the extremely shy dusky leaf monkey who have the sweetest faces and yellow furry babies. As tempting as it might be to feed the animals, don’t. It makes them annoying, rambunctiousand can hurt their health. Plus if you give them food they will begin to see themselves as the alpha (since YOU’RE serving THEM) and well that just messes with whole animal kingdom hierarchy thing. 

 
 

Fine Dining in the Jungle

With four different types of restaurants to choose from, you'll be well fed at the Datai. Feel like dining 30 meters up in a restaurant hidden by the rainforest canopy, or maybe you want authentic Malay cuisine served in a traditional manner, or maybe you want something healthy served poolside? Whatever you’re looking for, chances are you’ll find it and in a setting that is an experience in itself. 

It was a tie for our favorite restaurants between the Pavilion and the Gulai House. How can you possibly decide between amazing Thai food and the distinct spices of Malaysian food with hints of Indian. At the Pavilion we feasted on typical Thai dishes like pineapple fried rice and delicious curries as we listened to the sounds of the rainforest. Our meal at the Gulai House started with a traditional hand washing as we sat at low tables in the privacy of our own alcove. We had one of the best Tandoori chicken dishes I’ve ever had and the vegetable fritters were heavenly (don’t forget the sauce). 

For lunch and breakfast we kept things a bit more simple. Breakfast was spent on the deck of the pool as we enjoyed a simple yet incredibly satisfying buffet…with prosecco of course. We found ourselves ordering the same dishes for lunch every day - a quinoa salad and pizza that was perfect for sharing. What can I say, I’m a sucker for pizza made in a wood fire oven.

 

The Pavilion Restaurant

The Gulai House 

Our daily lunch - quinoa salad and pizza

 

Exploring the Jungle at Night!

Don’t worry you’re with a professional the entire time and you’re really only walking around the property, but considering the property is in and surrounded by the jungle, I can still say I hikeda jungle at night. Lead by the passionate naturalist Irshad Mobarak we had such a great time looking for animals and learning about the different trees and flowers. I never though looking at prehistoric tress could be so fascinating. 

We’ve done nature walks before but never at night. It’s as if everything magically wakes up as the sun sets. The darkness gives comfort to a whole range of animals that won’t come out during the day. You have to keep your eyes open for flying squirrels and colugos (flying lemurs), monkeys and even really big tarantulas! It’s a complimentary experience the resort offers, so you should definitely take advantage! 

Another great way to learn about the area is to schedule a sunset walk around the bay. During the late afternoon right before sunset you'll meet with the in-house marine biologist and be taken for an informative walk around the bay highlighting all the beautiful marine life hiding in the Datai Bay. 

 

Spotting a shy dusky leaf monkey and her beautiful yellow baby

Learning about the Datai Bay

 

An Unforgettable Spa Experience

We’ve had our fair share of amazing spa experiences, whether it’s a specialised and unique treatment, a facility that has won many prestigious awards, to a glass bottom treatment room hanging over the ocean waters…but we have never had a jungle spa experience. Our series of treatments in an open air room, overlooking a small creek, surrounded by the thick trees and landscape of a rainforest, was one of our top 3 spa experiences.  Monkeys played over head, swung from tree to tree and exotic rare birds freely flew around. Yes we were here to get our bodies scrubbed and massaged but the scenery stole the show. 

The best part was when it started to rain. The slow drizzle of rain pattering the roof and the smell of fresh rain softly rocked us both to sleep. We were in sensory overload, as we both laid there in the care of our highly trained masseuses. 

Definitely book a full body scrub! They make the scrub in front of you, using all natural ingredients and the smell of fresh hibiscus on your skin is outstanding!

Walking to the spa at the Datai


For more information about the Datai make sure to visit their website: