This is a pinch me moment. I’m perched on a plush deck chair in my sunset over-water villa at The St. Regis Langkawi, sipping on a glass of TWG’s iced vanilla bourbon tea (the first of many to come over the next couple days), as the sun sets languidly over the horizon. We had just checked in a mere 30 minutes ago, but my kids have already found their happy place in the plunge pool—where the swirling waters are akin to a pleasantly warm bath—and apparently, I have too.
It surprises me how genuinely underrated Langkawi is. The 30-minute car ride from the airport to the hotel was quick and uneventful—“There are no traffic jams in Langkawi,” our driver informs us with a flourish. The roads are surrounded by lush greenery, and an occasional row of mom-and-pop shops. Our driver enthusiastically points out several new condominium developments along the way. The quaint island is home to just under 100,000 people, and is strikingly different from the other popular island destinations in our region, like Bali and Phuket.
Our car glides up to the main entrance at The St. Regis Langkawi, where a flock of staff have come to greet us with wide grins. Their signature Caroline 400 scent—concocted with American rose, lily and cherry blossom by Caroline Astor—lends a sense of place, especially if you are familiar with the brand. It is the same grounding scent that is in every St. Regis lobby worldwide. Check-in is a pleasant process, done swiftly over a welcome drink and snack on light beige sofas. Designed by GA Designs, with its architecture by Gensler, the expansive lobby infuses a blend of European and Middle Eastern influences with Southeast Asian touches like eagle and batik motifs. Vibrant, abstract artworks add pops of colour to the brightly-lit space.
Time comes to a standstill in Langkawi. I realise that quickly enough as we padded onto the golden sand where The St. Regis Langkawi’s beachside shack, Pantai Grill, is located. We had dinner booked in, and I knew we were way past our reservation time. Rubber time became a regular occurrence, whether it was waltzing to breakfast or participating in water sport activities. At dinner, however, service was warm and prompt and food choices were phenomenal. There is something exquisite about tucking into succulent river prawns—wonderfully charred on the outside and flesh so beautifully juicy on the inside—in a setting as spectacular as this. Close your eyes and let the soundtrack of magical island sounds envelop you. It is the sound of leaves gently swaying on palm trees above us, alongside hushed chatter from other tables and waves hitting the shore, that had me lulled into a blissful state, despite the fact that I was dining with two young children.
Dining options at The St. Regis Langkawi are thoughtfully curated—aside from Pantai Grill, there is all-day dining restaurant L’Orangerie, where breakfast is served, the much-lauded fine-dining experience at Kayuputi, and an expansive room service menu which covers both your Asian and Western food cravings. Various friends who had visited the resort prior had gushed about the buffet breakfast, in particular the hotel’s signature Bloody Mary, flutes of champagne at 9am, and the perennially-loved chunky crab omelette, served on a plate of warm lobster bisque. While I lapped that all up in abundance, it was their nasi lemak station, doled out with a smile by locals onto rattan plates, that had me salivating every morning. From beef rendang to finger-licking ayam goreng kunyit, it proved that Malaysian food, when done at this level, is truly unbeatable fare. If you’re travelling with little ones, there is an astounding selection of cereals, loaves of bread, yoghurts, pancakes and waffles that will keep any carb-loving kid sated.
More often than not, we opted for sun-sleepy lunches back in our villa, where we had delivered perfectly salted fries, plates of nasi goreng, tempeh fritters and souffle pancakes. The St. Regis Butler service also meant we could have iced teas or coffees made to order and sent to your room twice a day, in addition to their brilliant packing service before you leave the resort. For an unforgettable dining experience, opt for a private BBQ in your villa, where The St. Regis’ hospitable team set up a lavish spread right in the comforts of our pool deck. A minimum of three people are your hosts for the evening—a chef who sears the likes of Andaman seabass ikan bakar, cumin prawn skewers and sambal squid on the grill, and two servers who make sure everything is well set-up and any whim and fancy is taken care of. Pair it with your choice of wine or champagne, alongside a moreish selection of starters which include a refreshing Thai green mango salad and satay sticks.
The elegant Kayuputi is in its very own realm. Arrive via buggy and be swept away into a world of Bill Bensley design, with an antique collection that features a 139-year-old wooden door repurposed from the Dutch Embassy in Yangon and 60 teak columns inlaid with camel bone from India. Make sure you carve out some time on their oversized hammocks over the water with your drink of choice before dinner. Once you are ready for a mind-blowing meal, let Chef Shahfi Yusoff take you through his specialties on the restaurant’s Black Diamond Journey, his Globe Artichoke and Winter Truffle Soup to a 24K Gold Saffron Risotto worthy of any Michelin-starred restaurant worldwide. The Local Inspired Experience, which serves up the likes of an Oak Smoked Hokkaido Scallop and Frutti De Mare Asam Pedas Risotto, is equally divine and balanced in rich, Asian flavours.
A spa treatment at Iridium Spa is a feel-good experience, as are The St. Regis Langkawi’s rituals, which are mainstays of the brand and a fulfilling way to spend your time at the resort. Apart from their Afternoon Tea and Lang Mary (Langkawi’s version of the Bloody Mary), the Evening Ritual features an impressive showing of the art of sabrage. A bottle of champagne is ceremoniously opened with a saber every single day at 6.30pm, before guests get their own complimentary glass of bubbly against the backdrop of the resort and the twinkling sea beyond.
Find out more or book a stay at The St. Regis Langkawi here.