You are here: Home > Places > Malaysia > Langkawi > The Datai - Langkawi, Malaysia | Resort Review

The Datai - Langkawi, Malaysia | Resort Review

Beautiful Location but Lacking In So Many Ways


The Datai - Langkawi, Malaysia - If you ask any group of locals what the most luxurious five-star resort in Malaysia is, more than half would probably name The Datai. Located at the northwestern part of the beautiful Langkawi Island, the resort boasts of a unique property—a majestic open-air pavilion that rivals the exclusive and world-famous Amanresorts in Thailand and Indonesia in terms of architecture, concept and design. Plenty of wonderful things have been said about The Datai, and doubtless it is a truly remarkable property. Based on my experience, however, it has yet to live up to its overblown reputation.

First Impression/Lobby: From Penang, we had to take a ferry to Langkawi since there were not any direct flights between the two islands that fit our schedule. When we arrived at the Marina, a hotel staff was waiting for us holding a sloppily handwritten sign and wearing a drab-looking uniform that was not at all representative of a luxury resort. He then escorted us to a Mercedes S Class van, and when we got inside, offered us a single bottle of water (did he really expect us to share one measly bottle?). He did offer us two wet clothes to refresh ourselves with but instead of a nice presentation (like you normally get from most five-star or luxury hotels and resorts) he simply handed us the cooler. It was definitely not a five-star first impression.

Share this review on Facebook.

The drive from the Langkawi Marina to The Datai took about 45 minutes—enough time for me to recuperate from a disastrous start. The instant we arrived at the Datai and beheld its natural (and man-made) beauty, my senses were fully revitalized.

The property is situated inside a tropical rain forest complete with chirping birds, exotic plants and flowers, hanging vines, swinging monkeys, and overgrown trees. The lobby, where we were greeted by the staff, was open-air and fully integrated with the natural surroundings. At the lower area was the lounge and bar enclosed by a tranquil lily pond. At the lounge, we were served cool tropical drinks and cold wet cloth to refresh our selves while we sat comfortably on antique planters’ chairs that overlooked the rain forest, the main pool, and out the sea. It was an amazing experience that made me feel like I was in a true luxury resort. I soon forgot about the annoying bit about the Marina transfer.

Reception: Registration was a breeze and was completed almost immediately after we were escorted to the lounge area. Our receptionist, a young lady, was very helpful and pleasant, at first. She completed our registration without trouble while cheerily providing us with some basic information about the resort. She also offered to make our dinner reservations and to take care of a few other details for us.

After a short wait we were shown to our villa with the promise that she would follow up with us soon regarding the remaining details. But after a number of hours, we still did not get any confirmations from her. Only after numerous frustrating calls on our part did we finally get our requests taken care of.

We were very disappointed that the young lady did not follow through as promised. And as we found out later on, her inadequacy was only a tip of the iceberg of the disappointing service that this supposed five-star luxury resort had to offer.

The Villa: The villa is a large spacious room, with just a bed, small table and two chairs and a small day bed. The décor was minimalist to an extreme! The ambiance was dark and gloomy—the complete opposite of what a villa or resort ought to be, which is bright, warm, and cheery. Oddly, even in the middle of a bright sunny day, the room felt cold and bleak. It was quite baffling how the lobby and lounge area were very well designed while the room was almost Spartan.

Some glaring negatives about the villa:

* Air conditioning blows directly on your face when you are in bed
* Air conditioning is hard to control, it seems like it’s either on or off
* No telephone by the bed
* Not enough electric outlets in the villa
* No outlets on the deck either

While I get the back-to-nature motif of the resort, any reasonable person would expect some level of luxury in exchange for the steep price of a Villa accommodation. However, the “suite” was more suitable for a monk’s dwelling than a prince’s.

The bathroom was huge and luxurious, separated by large wooden sliding doors; it was probably the best part of the otherwise austere suite. It was fitted with two basin sinks, one on each side, large closets, again one on each side, a large deep soaking tub (not much of a view but still a great way to relax), standalone glassed shower stall, and a private toilet.

The balcony was serene and quiet and overlooked a small stream. It was a perfect place to sit, relax, read a book and just take in nature. Since we were in the forest, there was not much of a view but it was very peaceful and meditative.

You are sure to see monkeys around your villa (as well as throughout the resort). When I first saw a small group of them, it was exciting, but when the large male boldly got on the balcony and acted aggressively, the fun was over. The staff told me not to worry about them but when the creature started hissing and showing his teeth, that was my cue to leave and go back in the villa. The monkeys’ aggressive behavior ruined more than one stay on the balcony.

Room Service: Room service had the typical resort fare. Service on the other hand was far from typical: Slow, inaccurate, no presentation. Not exactly what you would expect from a luxury resort.

Housekeeping: The housekeeping service was basic at best. Making the bed and replacing the towels was about all they did.

Restaurant: The resort had two main dining options: a Thai restaurant and a Malay and Continental fusion restaurant. We tried the Malay and Continental restaurant and were hugely disappointed. The quality and quantity of the food was not worth the high prices. Portions were small and service was average. Everything, from the food to the presentation to the service, was nothing that I would consider close to five star.

Pool/Spa/Activities: Since there was only the Datai and one other hotel on the stretch of beach, it was almost private and free of pollution and disturbance. The tranquility and natural beauty of the blue-green waters and white sands were well-preserved. Lounge chairs, however, were littered on the shore and back to the shade of the tree-line making the beach feel unnecessarily crowded.

The beach crew was slow and lackluster in their service; it felt like we were a nuisance to them. Trying to order anything was a chore—we would have to wait for a long time for anyone to be even visible so we could wave them over to us.

In addition to the beach, the hotel’s two pools—one in a slate deck on top of the health club and another on the beachside — were perfect areas for relaxation and for gaining some peace of mind. That is, if you don’t have to order or request anything from the staff; the service there was just as exasperating.

Overall Impression The Datai has a lot of potential. It is a spectacular property, no doubt about that, but their lack of service keeps it from being a resort that is worth recommending. From a missed wake up call to poor service at the beach, to inconsistent service in most areas of the resort, the Datai simply does not measure up to luxury, five-star resort standards. It is a pity, really, but I would have to rate the Datai Somewhere between Bombastic and Not.

Join us on Facebook!

5 Star and Luxury Hotel, Resort,
Restaurant, Airline and Travel Reviews,
Advice and Information - Independent and Unbiased

Share this article:

reddit Delicious Digg Mr. Wong Webnews Facebook StumbleUpon


Be the first to post a comment!