Glass stays at the Datai Langkawi for luxurious rainforest villas with a view

I’M awoken by a muffled thump on the roof of my rainforest villa. While footsteps across the roof may not sound like the most relaxing way to start a Malaysian adventure, these are no ordinary footsteps, but the calling card of the resident primates – the Dusky Langur. Nestled between a 10- million-year-old rainforest and the stunning sandy shores of the Datai Bay, I am staying in the legendary Datai Langkawi.

My first impressions were no less magical. After a short-chauffeured journey from Langkawi airport to the estate, I was ushered into the open-air Lobby Lounge, with magnificent views overlooking the tranquil Andaman Sea and a verdant fringe of rainforest.

A hushed reverence came over all onlookers as they gazed upon the panorama with a cocktail in hand, and the gentle chorus of green paddy field frogs splashing in the lounge’s lily pond in the background. Navigating the immense estate proves simple with a fleet of concierge golf buggies, ready at a moment’s notice to whisk you off to your rainforest villa or one of the Datai’s five restaurants and bars.

My friendly drivers were incredible nature guides too, regaling me with stories of cheeky monkey antics, who are fond of pinching the odd welcome fruit basket. It’s a reminder of the Datai philosophy of care and preservation of the natural environment – that we are living in their home, not ours.

Datai Langkawi

Datai Langkawi

After passing rare butterflies, hornbills and the odd squirrel, we arrive at my rainforest villa. The villa is minimalist and elegant with stunning warm wood panelling that perfectly frames the lush jungle views. It is generously spacious with a his-and-hers marble bathroom, candlelit bath, king-size Egyptian cotton bed and a private veranda overlooking a trickling stream.

Each room comes with a thoughtful pair of binoculars and a nature guidebook – perfect for an amateur nature sleuth like myself. For those who prefer a little more expertise, there are fantastic nature walks led by an incredible team of resident naturalists and marine biologists.

We trekked through the jungle, spotting troops of monkeys, mountain hawk-eagles and traversing a stunning mangrove swamp. Having overstepped my daily step count, the only way to recuperate was by lying prone on the sandy white beach of the Datai Bay. Named as one of the world’s top ten beaches by the National Geographic, it did not disappoint with panoramic unspoilt views of the ocean and Turatao Island.

Continuing my quest to be as spoilt as possible, I had a meticulous pedicure at the renowned Bastien Gonzalez studio and a Phyto5 holistic skincare treatment. For those seeking culinary delights of Malaysia, the Datai offers five unique restaurants and bars, each serving a wide array of Malay, Thai, Chinese or Indian dishes. My particular favourite was The Pavilion, a Thai restaurant on 30-metre stilts floating above the rainforest – lucky diners might even spot the elusive flying lemur.

by Lucy Wai

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Malaysia Airlines flies twice daily direct from London to Kuala Lumpur onboard the Airbus A350 and onwards to Langkawi. Return fares London – Langkawi start from GBP 759 in Economy; from GBP 3,481 in Business; and from GBP 5,381 in a Business Suite. For more information, please visit the Malaysia Airlines site

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