Photo credit: Taj Hotels
We spent 4 nights in Langkawi that were split into two nights at different hotels to experience all that this stunning tropical gem has to offer. Our first two nights were spent at the breathtaking Vivanta By Taj on Rebak Island. As we booked our hotels in a rush just a few days before we left, we weren’t actually aware that we were staying on a different island. Not complaining though – it was the best surprise when we arrived at the airport and the driver whisked us off to the port!
We were welcomed at the marina of the resort by buggy carts that were waiting to transfer us and our luggage to the reception area. Check-in was smooth and after a complimentary shot of ice cold guava juice, we were whisked away in the buggy again for a mini tour of the island, before being dropped off to our room.
We booked a Superior Charm Garden View room and though it was a little shabby and fairly dated, it was comfortable enough for two nights considering we hardly spent any time there. The insect repellent (or lack of) in the bathroom wasn’t great so unfortunately it did result in us sharing a shower with a few ants and mosquitoes which wasn’t fun!
The surroundings however, more than made up for the tired room; the whole island is owned by Taj Hotels, so it is a private resort which is approximately 15 minutes away from mainland Langkawi. Though the resort feels huge, it only makes up 20% of the island as the rest is a really thick forest; most of which they strongly advise you not to venture into – not that you would want to anyway!
There was honestly no need for us to leave the island until we had to. Complete with a huge pool, sun loungers, private beach, seafood shack, lovely restaurant, private moon deck spot for a romantic meal, two bars and activities for guests; this was the perfect spot for two days of pure relaxation!
The activities included jungle walks through the forest, Malay cooking classes, kayaking, renting bikes and adventure sports. Sadly the tide was too low during our stay for us to rent a kayak – having never done this before, we thought this would have been the perfect place to try it out. Jass rented a bike for an hour to go and explore the island, and the following day we both booked in for the cookery class on the beach.
We take any opportunity to eat Asian food in London, and having missed the chance to take a Thai cookery class in Thailand, we were excited to do this one. The chef showed us how to make two dishes; Ikan Assam Pedas (spicy tamarind fish) and Char Koey Teow (stir fried noodles). Jass loved the fish and the noodles were good, but I admit the amount of spice in there did ruin the taste for for me. Spicy food and 37 degree heat is not a good combination!
We didn’t leave the island until it was time to check out. The boat transfers to Port Cenang are well scheduled and complimentary (up until 7.30pm) but as we only had a day and a half there, we didn’t feel the need to leave the island until we absolutely had to!
Breakfast was included at the restaurant; Senari – I have never seen a bigger breakfast buffet selection. There was a continental section with croissants, fresh fruit, cheese and cold cuts of meat, traditional full English with all the trimmings, a traditional Indian breakfast complete with Masala Dosa (my fav), Uttapam and masala tea, Chinese noodles and fish porridge, a selection of bread, mixed vegetable fried rice, vegetable noodles, porridge, bircher muesli, a fresh juice section where a man made juices & smoothies to taste.. the list goes on and on! There was so much more, but I honestly can’t remember. The waiters were extremely friendly and attentive; the service was to the highest standard I have ever experienced. In fact, if they saw us getting up for more food, somebody would come running over and insist they get it for us. More often than not, they would bring us a freshly made dish straight from the kitchen (which was so unnecessary, but still a nice touch).
Senari is an all-day restaurant by the pool side, serving Malaysian, Indian and continental cuisine, but as you can imagine, we were still in a food coma at around lunchtime so we used to fill up on fresh juices instead. We learnt that the chefs are Indian, so we opted to try the Indian cuisine for dinner. Generally this has always been a disappointment in other countries as we’re regularly told by restaurant staff that dishes in the UK are more authentic and those abroad are tailored for the people that live there. Regardless of whether this is true or not, the food here certainly did not disappoint! It was delicious and better still, there were plenty of vegetarian options available. Yay!
We spent most of our time there relaxing in the pool – my happy place! A large pool and few
children guests meant that you felt as though you has the pool to yourself most of the time. Sitting at the Celcius Pool Bar with an ice cream in one hand and Piña Colada in the other was just pure bliss.
Some may grumble about the resort being right in the middle of a flight path but honestly, the planes do not fly very low and there aren’t many flights in a day (none at night), so the occasional aviation noise only lasts for around 10 seconds. We barely noticed it, so it didn’t bother us at all.
While we didn’t use the boat transfers other than to arrive and leave, I can imagine that the last boat at 7.30pm may be inconvenient for those staying at the resort for longer. People may want to have dinner on the mainland instead of being forced to return earlier and eat at Senari. Like I said, this wasn’t a problem for us as the food at Senari, while pricey as expected, was delicious.
Overall we had a wonderful stay and it’s easy to see why they have a 5* rating based on the surroundings and service alone. As the rooms let the hotel down, I would give this a 4.5 out of 5.
Sadly, I didn’t take many photos around the resort as I too was caught up in the moment. If you’d like a closer look, you can watch my vlog below.