Escaping the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle every now and then is the ultimate fantasy for every urbanite trapped in an endless cycle of commitments and deadlines. It has even been proven that taking a break to relax and re-energise both the mind and body is essential in avoiding burnouts and breakdowns. Making a decision to go for a holiday, however, is just half the battle won for, firstly, it is important to choose the perfect vacation spot that will be worth the time and money to be spent. Top 10 of Malaysia takes a look at its list of the top 10 luxurious destinations in the country (presented in no particular order) that are just perfect for anyone in need of an unforgettable getaway.
The Datai Langkawi
Located in the Datai Bay of Pulau Langkawi off the northwestern tip of Malaysia, the Datai Langkawi perfectly embraces its spectacular setting in one of the only four inhabited islands in an archipelago of the Andaman Sea. The resort makes the most of its location on a remote island with lush rainforests and unspoilt beaches by transforming itself into an oasis of relaxation and tranquillity. Among the services provided to guests include a nature walk through the rainforests with a resident guide indicating interesting aspects of the surrounding nature and local wildlife. Perfect for a group getaway, the resort boasts of 775 square feet of space consisting of a conference centre, meeting rooms and other communal spaces. Datai Langkawi is the proud recipient of both the ‘Seven Star Global Luxury Award’ and‘World Luxury Spa Award’ in 2014.
Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa
A stunning tropical retreat like no other, the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa is set in 25 acres of landscaped gardens, overlooking a stretch of white sandy beach and yet is only 10 minutes away from the centre of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. It is also home to the world-renowned CHI, a luxurious private spa offering a variety of effective treatments based on traditional Asian healing philosophies. Guests are also treated to a sunset cruise which departs from the purpose-built STAR Marina, to catch Borneo’s exceptional sunset. Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa has received countless awards for its unprecedented service and amenities aimed to provide the utmost comfort to guests. Some of the accolades include ‘TripAdvisor Travellers Choice Award 2013 – Top 25 Hotels in Malaysia’ and Runner Up for ‘Conde Nast World Savers Award 2013’.
Pangkor Laut Resort
Carved in a privately-owned island located three miles off the West Coast of Malaysia, Pangkor Laut Resort is the only accommodation on the island, leaving the rest of the land for guests to explore. Only a fraction of the island’s 300 acres have been developed to house the resort and its eight estates while secluded bays curled around idyllic beaches, evening skies splashed with colour and a deep sense of serenity await the guests. The Spa Village of Pangkor Laut is a world-renowned unique retreat that exalts the healing cultures of the region, where the programmes combine both physical and spiritual well-being. For its service excellence, the resort has been awarded numerous recognitions such as the ‘Top 25 Luxury Hotels in Malaysia – TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2013’ and ‘Best Luxury Medical/Wellness Spa – Global Winner’at the 2012 World Luxury Spa Awards.
Tanjong Jara Resort
Located on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Tanjong Jara Resort is designed to reflect the elegance and splendour of 17th century Malay palaces. With the tagline ‘Unmistakeably Malay’, the resort boasts suites and rooms crafted in the early local architectural style that aptly complement its gentle Malay art of service and hospitality. The hotel’s philosophy, however, is just as unique as its theme. Based on the Malay concept of ‘Sucimurni’, which emphasises purity of spirit, health and well-being, Tanjong Jara encourages the rejuvenation of both body and spirit. For the resort’s continued brilliance in providing world-class services, it was awarded the ‘Top 25 Luxury Hotels in Malaysia – TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice’ in 2013 and the ‘Best Spa Resort (Excellence Award) – The Best of Malaysia Awards: Travel Awards’ in 2011.
Tanjung Rhu Resort Langkawi
An eco-based resort, the Tanjung Rhu Resort of Langkawi only promotes environmentally-friendly activities in its recreational programmes, utilising non-motorised vehicles such as the hydrobike, sea kayaks, windsurfers and the sleek Catamaran G-Cat for any of the patrons’ watersports needs. Set in a 1,000-acre lush rainforest, the resort is close to many other natural attractions the island of Langkawi is renowned for, such as the Gunung Raya Golf Resort, Gua Cerita and limestone formations of the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park. However, the resort is not one to skimp on comfort – surrounded by the Andaman Sea, it offers free access to pristine white beaches for relaxation anytime. Tanjung Rhu Resort Langkawi has been awarded the ‘Malaysia’s Leading Resort’ title two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, besides receiving the HotelClub 2011 Award for the ‘Best Hotel For A Beach Getaway in Singapore & Malaysia’.
The Andaman Langkawi
Comfortably tucked away between a 10-million-year-old rainforest, the serene Datai Bay and an 8,000-year-old fringing coral reef, The Andaman Langkawi by the Luxury Collection Resort is the ideal sanctuary for anyone looking for a tranquil getaway. As part of its continuous dedication to the surrounding nature it inhabits, the resort has created a Coral Nursery, believed to be the first of its kind in South East Asia, with accolades in recognition of its commitment to environmental practices. Meanwhile, as a family-friendly resort, The Andaman Langkawi also offers an extensive programme for its little guests via the Young Explorers Club. Its achievement in just 2014 is the ‘ASEAN Green Hotel Award’ by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia.
The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa
Located on the gem of the Andaman Sea, The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa is truly one of the few holiday destinations in the country focused on giving guests the best hospitality research and development can offer. Situated on private beachfront property, the resort provides the perfect balance of the delights of nature and the indulgences of luxury. Besides being the first hotel to provide ‘SuperfoodsRX’, a nutrient-rich selection of meals and beverages that focuses on healthy food based on Food-Synergy to give you a holistic menu, it also boasts the critically-acclaimed ‘Westin Heavenly Bed’, a technology designed to give you the very best slumber. In 2011, The Westin Langkawi emerged as the winner of the Hotel Development category at the FIABCI Prix d’Excellence Awards and ‘Best Resort Spa’ by World Luxury Spa Awards.
The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort
Situated off the coast of Terengganu on the ecologically-rich island of Redang, The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort is a bespoke 5-star private beach residence that promises an experience like no other. Perfect for couples on honeymoon or just in need of a romantic sojourn, the recipient of the ‘Star Diamond Award’ from The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences has tailored various couple retreat options for guests to pick from, including various types of cruises on the resort’s very own cruising yachts, sessions at the Taaras Spa for a little twosome pampering and of course a romantic lunch or dinner at the Taara’s custom-built ‘sand table’. The luxurious abode is also a registered PADI Five Star Instructor Development Centre and Five Star Dive Resort – the only one in the Redang Archipelago – and coupled with its proximity to a protected marine park makes it the ideal venue for a quick diving lesson while still enjoying the comforts of a proper holiday.
Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa
The perfect place for a quick getaway while still being in close distance to the city, Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa offers all the amenities expected from a leading hospitality brand. The luxury hotel in Bandar Sunway places vacationers close to various recreation points including Sunway Lagoon, Sunway Wildlife Interactive Zoo, Sunway Extreme Park and the Sunway Pyramid shopping mall. Tourists can also explore the Thean Hou Temple for a little bit of culture, located a mere 10 kilometres away. In 2011, the BrandLaureate Top 10 Master Awards recognised Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa as ‘The Most Preferred Brand in Hospitality’ for the ‘Resort’ category.
The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat
Nestled in a 16.59-acre valley and set against picturesque limestone hills of Ipoh, Perak, The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat provides a peaceful wellness retreat like no other thanks to its wide array of specialties ranging from geothermal hot springs and a naturally heated swimming pool to steam cave and ice baths. On the other hand, Ayurvedic therapies and traditional Malay remedial rituals with a fish foot spa treatment are also available at the eco-friendly spa. It is only a 15-minute drive away from the culturally rich city of Ipoh, where something new awaits the traveller every day. The sanctuary of bespoke holistic wellness was chosen as the ‘Best Spa Resort’ at the Expatriate Lifestyle’s The Best of Malaysia Travel Awards 2013 and nominated for World Luxury Hotel Awards in 2014.