The Andaman Hotel, Lankawi Malaysia
Living in South East Asia, you get quite spoiled for choice on the paradise desert Island front. Sometimes however it can all go horribly wrong. Once the word gets out about lovely spot, the hoards descend, the banana boats follow and before you know it the place is full of backpackers, flashpackers and Thomas Cook devotees drinking pina coladas and getting massages on the beach. If you need convincing re same, I suggest you spend five minutes in Phuket, Koh Samui or any where else in Thailand for that matter.
Not so Langkawi, and in particular Datai Bay. Malaysia is often overlooked as a beach destination, which is why I like it so much. The Malaysian paradise Island of Langkawi is a mere 60 minute plane ride from Singapore. After a 30 minute drive from the airport along the sometimes bumpy winding roads of Langkawi, you reach the north side of the Island and the secluded underdeveloped Datai Bay. There are only two resorts on the whole bay and both are discreetly set well back from the shoreline, totally hidden by the encroaching jungle.
I had booked in for a Yoga detox weekend. for many years I have tried to get 'into' Yoga, striving for the alleged sense of wellbeing it can endow on practitioners. Every form I tried bored me to tears, also the bell ringing preachiness of it put me off. I hoped after a weekend of intensive private tuition by a genuine Indian Yogi, that I would finally see the light. 20 minutes into my first session I wanted to get up and leave. The Yogi was a patronising intense man who irritated me fro the get go. After a mind numbingly boring 90 minutes I hoped to escape to the beach but was subjected to a 10 minute lecture on the digestive system and how it is all totally related to your state of mind and nothing to do with your diet. I listened patiently, but drew the linen when he started to pooh pooh the medical profession and told me he could tell I was am impatient person. Well he's right I am, I have no patience for pseudo gurus who. I excused myself to use the ladies room and never went back.
Forfeiting hours of Yoga I had signed up for allowed me to spend a lot more time on the stunning beach at the Andaman. I pulled up a lounger, pulled out my book and began relaxing in earnest. Occasionally, using snorkelling gear lent to me by the hotel I waded into the water for some absolutely stellar fish spotting. No need to rent a speedboat to get to a good snorkelling spot here, you simply swim about ten meters off shore and an unspoilt ancient coral reef spreads out before you. The Andaman takes great pains to conserve the reef and even has an on site marine biologist who helps to cultivate it. They conduct tours of the reef at low tide, and hold classes on marine conservation too. A luxury hotel with a heart, nice to see.
The rooms are lovely, be sure to ask for a sea view though. You will be visited by menacing monkeys, reminiscent of that Outbreak movie, so keep your windows closed. I did not and returned to find my mini bar open and all the chocolate gone….This little fell to the right kept coming back to steal things.
The food at the hotel is limiting, a little bland, unless you opt for the healthy options which are delish…
The spa at the is one of the best I have ever been to. All the treatment rooms are perched on the side of a cliff overlooking the bay in the open air. As you are rubbed and sothed by very experienced and professional therapists, you can listen to the waves crashing against the shore below.
Ahhhhhhhh, now thats how to get peace of mind. You can shove your yoga.
The Verdict: Secluded Beach & Spa getaway second to none
For Who: Stressed single Ladies and couples
The Damage: Mid-range about $150 per night, unless you can bag a special