Arcadian Havens Article cover photo
05 January 2016

Arcadian Havens

Silhouetted by coastlines of golden sands, sparkling seas, and shady rainforests, Malaysia nests a whole host of scenic hideaways perfect for an absolute submergence in reverie.

Penang


(Image credit to Shangri La Hotels And Resorts )

Shangri-La’s Rasa
Sayang Resort & Spa

Batu Ferringhi, 11100 Penang, Malaysia; tel: +60 4888 8888

Weld two hearts with the all-consuming warmth of amaranthine ardour at the resort’s fairytale-like garden swept with luxuriant century-old trees or at the breezy blue seafront of Batu Feringgi Beach for a wedding the fairies will approve of. Choose from an assortment of carefully-designed and inclusive nuptial packages and hold a dinner in one of its many fancy banquet rooms, the Pelangi Ballroom of which can host 300, for a celebration in dignified style. The posh resort houses 304 rooms and suites, with its Rasa Wing comprising some rooms with a private veranda and garden and some with a balcony fitted out with a private soaking tub. When not delighting in a rubdown together at the ocean-fronted CHI Spa, which consists of 11 private spa villas that employ traditional Asian healing philosophies, get vigorous with your true love at the health club, the tennis court, or the golf course.

Top draw: Gourmands will be pleased with the selection of world-class dining options – Feringgi Grill serves modern grill cuisine and vintage wines, Spice Market Café offers a buffet spread of authentic Chinese, Indian, Peranakan, Japanese, and Thai flavours, and Pinang Restaurant and Bar dishes up easy eats and a picturesque view of the sea and the mountains on its timber deck.

Nearby: The resort is a 20-minute drive to the heritage-rich and architecturally renowned Georgetown, which encompasses a slew of historical buildings and religious sites, and neighbours Penang Hill and Kek Lok Si. It is also near Snake Temple, home to a variety of pit vipers believed to be harmless because of the sacred incense smoke.

Price: From US$390 per night


(Image credit to Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide)

Four Points by Sheraton Penang,

505 Jalan Tanjung Bungah, 11200 Tanjung Bungah, Penang, Malaysia; tel: +60 4371 8888

City slickers who just cannot be too far from the frenzied hustle and bustle of a large town will relish their stay here. This beachfront resort in Tanjung Bungah is just a 25-minute drive away from the bridge that links to the popular mainland. When not making the most of your seaside escape idling by the shore, keep active at the fitness centre, the yoga studio, or the good-sized swimming pool before taking a lavish nap in the signature Four Points by Sheraton Four Comfort bed featured in all 220 rooms and suites. Those who suffer privation when not constantly connected to the digital realm will be relieved to know that free high-speed Wi-Fi Internet access is available.

Top draw: The resort’s close proximity to the metropolitan area of Penang guarantees something to get up to during your visit. Savour local interpretations of char kway teow, asam laksa, and rojak and pick up a tasty pastry from one of the many decades-old bakeries while exploring the narrow alleys and historical architecture of the famous town.

Nearby: Georgetown, which is just 15 minutes away, pulsates with energy and charms with an eclectic range of shops and cafes. Go up Penang Hill via a short cable car ride for striking views of the city and Penang Bridge or bask in serenity at Kek Lok Si, the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia.

Price: From US$89 per night


Langkawi


(Image credit to The Danna Langkawi )

The Danna Langkawi

Telaga Terminal, Lot 1 Telaga Harbour Park, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia; tel: +60 4959 3288

Go the whole hog at this award-winning Colonial-Mediterranean-inspired luxury property that tells a tale of an indulgent getaway ringed by a powdered beach, a marina, and verduous tropical hills. Splash out laps in the cool waters of the three-tiered infinity swimming pool, the largest in the island, work muscles into top-top shape with state-of-the-art equipment at the fitness centre, or refine your skills at a cue sport in the billiard room. Each of the 125 elegantly furnished rooms and suites is outfitted with far-reaching floor-to-ceiling windows, a spacious balcony, and a separate rainforest shower and bathtub. Oversized feather pillows and duvet are provided for a sleep to dream about, and certain rooms come with an extravagant walk-in wardrobe, a private pool, and a terrace. Ideal for those who have a taste for the finer things in life, the resort also spoils souls with champagne breakfasts and European dinners at the Planter’s and Tiffin lunches and perfectly-brewed cuppas at Straits & Co. Conclude a day of indulgence by quelling the senses with superior cigars and glasses of wine at The Drawing Room.

Top draw: Butter up the inner sensualist too with massages of age-old origins at The Danna Spa or harmonise the mind, body, and spirit with private and personalised yoga sessions.

Nearby: Explore the Gunung Raya Rainforest Reserve with the rainforest afterdark tour to observe the multitude of wildlife that emerge when dusk descends and listen to the morning chorus of birds and monkeys during a jungle trek, or take a five-minute drive to a cable car station that will take you up Gunung Machinchang for awe-inspiring views of the island and Southern Thailand. Visitors may also fish, bird watch, and engage in a variety of sea activities.

Price: From US$324 per night


(Image credit to The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa)

The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa

Jalan Dato Syed Omar, Kuah, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia; tel: +60 4960 8888

Be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with the resort’s SuperFoodsRX menu, a discerning selection of meals and beverages concocted with nutritional powerhouse ingredients, and get familiar with the foods you need to maintain optimal well-being and to prevent common ailments. When out for a starry-eyed dinner, partake in Malaysian culinary creations by the deep blue at Anjung Damai, dine atop a private jetty framed by the Andaman Sea at Float, tuck into platters of Mediterranean cuisine at Tide, or feast upon the freshest catches at Spa by Night. In addition, sample disparate flavours from a buffet spread at Seasonal Tastes, pair wagyu steak with superior wines at Breeze, or contemplate the magnificence of a sunset with a mojito or smoothie in hand at Splash. The sumptuous resort houses 202 tasteful rooms and suites that come with a Heavenly Shower, a signature Westin Heavenly Bed®, and quality amenities.

Top draw: Eating well is half the battle won; conquer your quest by living well with a slew of water sports and land activities such as bicycle tours and nature treks. Refresh the spirit with an invigorating swim at one of its four pools or work the body with the finest fitness equipment at the WestinWORKOUT® Gym.

Nearby: Pick up various products at the shopping belt downtown or visit Mahsuri Mausoleum, Padang Matsirat, also known as the Field of Burnt Rice and once the island’s granary, and the Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls for a cultural and scenic experience. Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah, and Pantai Tanjung Rhu host beaches idyllic and unique that teem with marine life.

Price: From US$229 per night


(Image credit to Berjaya Hotels & Resorts)

Berjaya Langkawi Resort

Karung Berkunci 200, Burau Bay, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia; tel: +60 4959 1888

Bone-weary megalopolitans can revive the tingle down their spines with kisses of nature at this rainforest-cocooned resort closely guarded by mountains and by the emerald waters of Burau Bay. The welcoming resort comprises 424 rooms and suites that feature views of the lush jungle and the unbounded sea, and those who wish to snooze to the somnific sounds of soft waves can check into one of its chalets or suites located over water. Discharge tension in the muscles racked up from being endlessly sedentary by parasailing, scuba diving, windsurfing, and snorkelling before island hopping in search of a sweet sandy spot for a private lunch. Keep toned by gymming, playing tennis, or pounding the bullseye during archery, exhale all weariness during a treatment at Taaras Spa, and sate the stomach at one of the nine choice restaurants and bars.

Top draw: Reacquaint yourself with earth’s astounding gifts with various resort-organised round-island tours, mangrove tours, jungle treks, and sunset yacht cruises. Dive trips include a tour to the beloved Pulau Payar Marine Park, which in 1985 was established as the first marine park in Malaysia and today still teems with healthy reefs and aquatic life.

Nearby: A short walk to the cable car station at the Oriental Village near Pantai Kok enables visitors to ascend Gunung Machinchang, Langkawi’s second highest peak. Mahsuri Mausoleum, the resting place of an innocent woman who protested her death by cursing the island with seven generations of misfortune, is an important historical site a 30-minute drive away.

Price: From US$177 per night.


Cover image: Shangri La Hotels and Resorts