The Andaman Langkawi is a luxury resort that combines the best of both worlds. Set between the crescent-shaped Datai Bay (which National Geographic declared as the 9th best beach in the world) and a 10 million year old rainforest, this Category 5 SPG property offers much more than the usual plush hotel concept. While the rooms are well-appointed and the in-house cuisine delicious, staying at The Andaman Langkawi is also an educational experience. The property is blessed by an abundant variety of flora and fauna and this is an asset which guests can also immerse in during their stay without compromising on creature comforts.
The luxurious experience is palpable from the moment I stepped out of Langkawi International Airport. Booking airport transfers with the hotel gives you a couple of options including an over-the-top Bentley to whisk you through the 35 minute or so journey to the resort.
The Andaman Langkawi has been around for more than 20 years and more recently joined the Luxury Collection, a brand within SPG consisting of unique properties with distinctive propositions. I got a glimpse of The Andaman’s as my Bentley pulled up the driveway. The entrance is built in the Malay style with the usage of wood and intricate artwork. At the lobby’s centerpiece is a wooden replica of the Balai Nobat in Alor Setar – a tribute to the state of Kedah which Langkawi is a part of. I appreciated these as I sat and waited for the front office associate to complete my check-in formalities. Before proceeding to my room, the staff member was detailed enough to hand me over a map of the sprawling resort and to point out where the facilities are.
Room – Check Out the Private Pool!
As the resort was running full, I was assigned to an Executive Pool Suite, an 86 square meter space that includes a private plunge pool, a cabana daybed and a mini-garden with its own entrance to the beach. Glass doors separate the outdoor area of the suite from the indoor which consists of the stunning bedroom with the king-sized bed facing the pool! It’s just the type of room that would suit a couple on a romantic getaway or a family with kids (the suite accommodates up to 4 persons).
Tip: When staying in one of the pool suites, make sure to keep the glass doors closed. Due to the vegetation, sneaky monkeys are known to roam the property. You wouldn’t want them to make a mess out of the room!
The bedroom of the Executive Pool Suite has but a large vanity mirror and a his and hers sink to separate the sleeping quarters from the bathroom in a plush sort of way. Fret not – the place to do personal business is still situated in its own enclosure, as is the rain shower.
The centerpiece of the bathroom is undoubtedly the huge standalone tub. While guests would undoubtedly be distracted by the private plunge pool alone, the tub deserves equal attention in case one desires to have a soak in air conditioned comfort. Just plop in a bit of the Remede Spa amenities to create your own bubble bath.
The living area of the suite is perhaps its most understated part. It has a guest lavatory and is relatively light on furnishings with just the sofa, TV, minibar and dining table situated here. Wooden panels separate it from the bedroom. While I spent most of my time in the bedroom, the couch area is another great spot as it affords one with views of the balcony and pool. Look beyond and you’ll get a glimpse of Datai Bay as well.
Dining at The Andaman Langkawi
Honestly speaking, I have low expectations when it comes to the food offered in resorts generally. If you think about it, resort guests especially in a lightly populated island such as Langkawi can be considered a captive audience so there’s not really much incentive to up the ante in the culinary department. However, I must say that the food at The Andaman Langkawi pleasantly surprised me. And it’s not just me. Looking at the Tripadvisor rankings for Langkawi restaurants, one would find the inhouse f&b outlets highly ranked.
Tip: If it’s difficult to remember the names of the good restaurants in the resort – as a rule of thumb, the dining outlets facing the beach are the best not only for the view but also for the cuisine.
The Andaman Langkawi has quite a number of restaurants and watering holes but the ones that are worth your dining dollars are the Malay restaurat, Tepian Laut as well as Jala, the seafood restaurant.
It is also worth noting that these two restaurants are at their best in the evenings so you would need to stay minimally for two nights in order to appreciate both. Tepian Laut serves an international menu for lunch which is also good but not as special as the dinner menu while Jala is only open during the evenings.
Considering the luxury resort proposition, the food prices at The Andaman Langkawi are reasonable with generous servings. During my dinner at Tepian Laut, I tried some of the house specialties such as the Rusuk Kambing Bakar (Wood-oven Baked Lamb Rack with Homemade Spice Trader Paste, MYR 115) and the Beef Rendang (MYR 72). Both were delicious and are absolutely must-tries. The Beef Rendang came with such an addicting gravy that I could not help but slather it all over the accompanying rice while the lamb rack was creatively presented and exquisitely tender.
The seafood restaurant, Jala, is more upscale but is excellent nonetheless. Guests can order from the ala carte menu or from the seafood display featuring the fresh catch of the day. If you love seafood (you wouldn’t be dining here if you don’t), I recommend the latter. Staff members are highly knowledgeable in suggesting the type of fish that goes well for a particular style of cooking. You also get various types of dips with the seafood and I recommend choosing the green chili drip!
Wellness – Spa, Fitness Centre, Yoga
The Andaman Langkawi has a distinct focus on wellness and this is manifested through its “V Integrated Wellness” concept. Comprising various pillars, from the spa to fitness and even retreats (at the time of my stay, there was a huge group of yoga practitioners having a retreat in the property), the tranquil setting is definitely conducive for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life.
The V Botanical Spa in particular is notable for having its treatment rooms in open-air villas by the cliff with nothing but the sea breeze acting as a natural ventilation. Admittedly, it was my first time to have a massage in Southeast Asia without air conditioning but it surprisingly felt really refreshing (and even a little cold at times) to be fanned alongside ocean waves.
Many spas also promise botanic ingredients but the V Botanical Spa at The Andaman Langkawi takes this concept to a whole new level. The spa is serious about using ingredients that are pure and unblemished by chemicals. Imagine being scrubbed with minced lemongrass, kaffir lime and other herbs grown from the resort’s own garden and then undergoing a wrap alongside bits of sea cucumber and galangal for extra warmth. That was precisely what I experienced when I underwent a sped up version of the award-winning “Song of the Malay Rainforest” Ritual” (MYR 750). The full procedure takes 3 hours and involves a long Malay massage, body scrub, wrap followed by a facial. By the end of the treatment, I emerged feeling refreshed with the sublime views of the Andaman Sea outside my villa. By any measure, it’s probably the most amazing spa experience I’ve had so far.
One of the unique aspects of The Andaman Langkawi is its active involvement in coral conservation. Langkawi was affected by the 2004 tsunami which damaged the coral bed surrounding Datai Bay. Owing to how the natural flora and fauna helped shelter the resort from the effects of the tsunami, The Andaman Langkawi built a coral nursery in order to plant and “grow” coral and bring them back to the sea one they’re of age.
The coral nursery is a simulation of life in the sea and the resort actually offers free guided snorkeling tours of the nursery to guests from 10:30AM to 1PM daily. The coral nursery itself is not large. It’s about the size of a koi pond. You can very well see the corals from the ground level but I totally recommend doing one of the guided snorkeling tours for a close up view of the marine life. The pond felt much bigger when viewed underwater as I got to see the nuances with different types of giant clams, sea anemone, clownfish and the playful pomfrets that gently nibble at your skin.
It’s quite evident that the resort takes marine conservation quite seriously. Beside the lobby there is a Marine Life Laboratory which houses the more unusual creatures around the Andaman Sea such as the feather duster worm and various types of crabs. These creatures can be viewed in the lab from 2 to 5pm daily.
It goes without saying that The Andaman Langkawi is more than just a luxury resort. It ticks off the right boxes when it comes to comfort, aesthetics and even in one unusual aspect – the food. Beyond this, its efforts in marine conservation is impressive and somehow, the property is able to integrate it well into the overall guest experience in order to deliver something unique. Of course, the relatively secluded location also helps as does its proximity to what is probably the best beach in Langkawi.
The Andaman Langkawi
Jalan Teluk Datai, Datai, Langkawi 07000, Malaysia
+60 4-959 1088