Where to stay in Langkawi, Malaysia

Traditional Malay villas versus a pampered stay at the luxurious Datai hotel on the secluded Malaysian island of Langkawi.

Bon Ton Resort

What's so special?

This resort on the secluded Malaysian island of Langkawi is wonderfully intimate there are only eight villas. It manages to maintain a traditional Malaysian feel, thanks to the antique buildings, while also offering a high level of luxury. The eight Malay houses have been updated to include four-poster beds and secluded outdoor bathtubs.

How theyrate it

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Bon Ton Resort is "fabulously atmospheric", says celebrity chef Rick Stein in The Daily Telegraph. He also rates the restaurant, saying the mix of Malay and Western food is "excellent". The Independent rates Bon Ton as one of the best coastal hotels in Malaysia, thanks to its facilities. "Even the most basic" hut, Blue Ginger, comes with a sundeck and outdoor bathtub.

The menu

The restaurant is "one of the most celebrated in Langkawi", says The Times. Dishes include prawn and pineapple curry or a seafood platter of rock lobster, snapper fillet, pepper prawns and calamari.

The cost

Villas costs from RM490 (£99), including breakfast. For more information, visit www.bontonresort.com.my, or call 00 60 4 955 1688.

The Datai


What's so special?

This fantastically luxurious resort has just been named the runner-up best beach resort in The Daily Telegraph's UltraTravel awards. The hotel is situated in a private cove on the island and offers the most pampered stay in the region, with two pools, three restaurants, a spa and golf course.

How they rate it

"From film stars to financiers, the Datai is where the well-heeled head when they get itchy feet," says The Daily Telegraph. The warm woods and natural stones of the building "compose a striking architectural harmony with the lush, green surroundings". The level of luxury at the resort is "preposterous", says comedian Alexander Armstrong in the same paper. "If you held a flag up from your sun lounger, someone would appear to spray your sweltering brow with an ice-cool burst of Evian, which was marvellous." Despite having 100 rooms, "peace and serenity pervade", says Helen Atkinson Wood in the Daily Mail: "you feel as if you've got the place to yourself".

The menu

There is a wide selection of food on offer in the restaurants, from Malaysian grouper fish curry to "divine, authentic" Thai food or chilli and salt battered calamari.

The cost

Rooms start from RM863 (£175), room only. Find out more at www.langkawi-resorts.com, or call Kuoni on 01306 747008.

What the travel writers are saying

Escape to the country with a trip to one of the boltholes in Britain's National Parks, says James Ellis in The Times.


Gilpin Lodge in Windermere (above) won Visit England's Small Hotel of the Year prize last year. It responded by expanding and converting the hotel's Lake House into six new suites. The hotel also boasts 100 acres of private land, a Victorian rowing boat, and a restaurant that produces top-quality food. Doubles start from £490 a night (Gilpinlodge.co.uk).

Campbell's Cottage is the only self-catering accommodation in Snowdonia that has a "private steam train service" it has its own platform on the Ffestiniog Railway. The cottage has two bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen-diner. Prices from £360 a week (Oneoffplaces.co.uk).

Undercastle Cottage is a beautiful thatched cottage on the banks of the Hampshire Avon, at the bottom of a "secluded track" in the New Forest. It has timbered ceilings, an inglenook fireplace and "huge wrought-iron beds". It sleeps four, with room for four more in the converted fishing lodge and hay loft next door. Fisherman will love the half mile of private river access. From £1,288 for eight people per week (Hideaways.co.uk).

Cameron House, on the shores of Loch Lomond, has its own yacht, a spa that offers treatments "inspired by the loch", a Michelin-starred restaurant and a whisky bar perfect if the weather turns sour. Doubles cost from £289 (Cameronhouse.co.uk).