The Datai Langkawi

HOOD: Teluk Datai
VIBE: Zen
PROPERTY SIZE: 125 rooms
ROOM STYLE: Indigenous
WE LOVE: The beach. National Geographic has rated Datai Bay as one of the top 10 beaches in the world.

WORDS BY: Ana Wilkinson – visited Nov 2015

When the hotel transfer, with boys aged 8 to 6 is a pleasure, you know you’re set for a memorable stay; our driver could not have been any more helpful or professional. On arrival we were greeted by a warm welcome, a cool towel and a cold drink, then directed to check-in at the serene lobby lounge, overlooking the Andaman Sea. It was at this moment we realised we were about to get the keys to a truly unique holiday.

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The stunning architecture and deep rain forest location created an unforgettable backdrop to the jungle orchestra. We were overwhelmed by an immediate sense of peace and tranquility, a blessing on a relatively short stay (5 nights).

The unique Datai experience is one that lingers long after your stay and will no doubt ensure that you return again and again.

ACCOMMODATION

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Our first 3 nights were accommodated in one of the superb Rain Forest Villas, which share a connecting rear deck with the Villa next door – perfect for multi generational holidays. Generous in size and luxuriously appointed, the Villas have every conceivable modern convenience plus many added extras. The cavernous bathroom is amazingly executed, with the finest details well considered. The high ceilings and timber paneling in the main room are design highlights and provide a lovely refuge from the midday heat, the occasional tropical downpour, and the nocturnal cacophony.

CULINARY

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With the bar set so impossibly high it is a real credit to the Datai that their cuisine is the equal of the surroundings. Breakfast is an experience to savour. We loved having the knowledgeable waiting staff guide us through a treasure trove of international delicacies, each one as authentic as it was delicious. From the flakiest roti, croissant, or Danish pastry to the creamiest chawan mushi, foie gras or lobster omelette – there simply is no finer way to start the day. Except, maybe, the addition of a glass of complimentary champagne or a stiff Bloody Mary.

ACTIVITIES

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Days were invariably whiled away by the jaw-dropping beach club. The pool, bar and restaurant perfectly compliment what is surely one of the world’s premier beaches. Here you can try a spot of stand-up paddling to work off the breakfast excess, kayak the 1.3km sea-straight to your own deserted tropical island, or take out a catamaran and ride the ocean breeze. If golf is more to your taste, the course will leave you almost wanting to tee off into the water hazards. For those who prefer their adventure in a book, a few hours nestled poolside or under a tree on a sun lounge is just the tonic!

… as is an actual gin and tonic, which, naturally, they do to perfection.

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EVENING ENTERTAINMENT

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Nights at the Datai revolve around dining at any of their world-class restaurants. True regional taste can be found perched high in the tree-tops at the Pavilion, an impeccable rendition of Southern Thai cuisine. Similarly the Mamak fare on offer at the Gulai is sublime. For those who find their villa too much of a thriller, even the in-room dining at the Datai is a cut above, arriving steaming hot and fragrant, and invariably delightful.

HIGHLIGHT

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We were extremely fortunate to spend our final two nights at the exquisite two bedroom Beach Villa. Words alone seem inadequate to convey its magnificence. It really needs to be seen to be believed. The private entry, discreet butler service and four connecting absolute beachfront pavilions combine to create an opulent sanctuary that leaves you wanting to stay forever. With its state of the art audio visual installations, elegant contemporary design and seamlessly integrated indoor, outdoor living areas it’s no wonder the Beach Villas are teaming with birdsong and calling monkeys – even the local wildlife think this hotel is worth shouting about.

BOOK WITH US FOR

  • Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • One Balinese Massage for two, once during stay at The Spa

STAY 3 PAY 2 IN A LUXURIOUS BEACH VILLA

Stay 2 consecutive nights in one of our luxurious Beach Villas and enjoy your third night with Datai’s compliments!

Veiled by coastal vegetation and surrounded by tropical gardens amidst a 10-million year old rainforest, the lavish Beach Villas offer complete privacy, and with a butler at your service, the ultimate luxury experience.

This offer is valid for stays after 29 February 2016.

Singapore meets Miami – first look at The South Beach Hotel

HOOD: Singapore Marina
VIBE: uptown funk
PROPERTY SIZE: 654 guest rooms and suites
ROOM STYLE:  edgy elegance
WE LOVE:  it’s Philippe Starck designed
INSIDER TIP: Japanese TOTO toilets are fun, provided you’re confident with what buttons you’re hitting on the remote!

PREVIEWED BY: Ian Pryer, Director, Goldman Travel

Funky is an often-used word but there is no property (other than those at South Beach, Miami FL) for which this description could be more apt.

The notion of Singapore meeting Miami seems almost contradictory, but on 3rd September Singapore’s newest hotel, The South Beach, opened for business. I was one of two guests who stayed on the night of 2 September, one night before South Beach officially opened.

The hotel is dramatic – in size and style, and the unfolding drama of arrival immediately becomes apparent when one is confronted by left-field furniture and an astonishing electronic art instillation, dominating the hotel entrance. In the lobby you get your first taste of, what the hotel terms, ‘social spaces’ – imaginative areas that (I’m told) cater to the need for being ‘Alone Together’.

In contrast to the design-dense entrance, the reception area – boasting seven desks each reflecting a different culture – is a model of minimalism and subdued lighting. All arrivals are processed wirelessly, using discreetly stored tablets.

The lifts, as one would imagine, are almost as dramatic as the entrance in that the designs on the walls whimsically change you’re whisked away from the ground floor to the sixteen levels of accommodation.

The rooms, described as a sanctuary of innovation and intuition, are large (starting at 30 sq.m), have floor-to-ceiling windowed alcoves that overlook Singapore’s iconic skyline, and true to their word, house every conceivable modern convenience – like Japanese TOTO toilets (with aforementioned remote control), and a phone system that allows you to automatically divert calls to your mobile phone.

The hotel offers two pool areas. The larger pool is on Level 18, and consequentially not actually in the sun, but it sports some of those ‘social spaces’ as well an extraordinarily well equipped gym, and recreational area. The other pool, on Level 6 of the adjacent building, is outdoors but inexplicably lacks the lounge furniture to properly lie out. A drawback for Vitamin D-evotees like myself.

For food, there is an as yet unfinished food court which will form part of the entire hotel/office/retail complex. The hotel has a more formal (than a food court) yet casual restaurant ‘ADHD’ which, pay attention now, in this case stands for All Day Hotel Dining. Again, individual, smaller tables are the exception rather than the rule… so those alone can share their sides.

For the business traveller who is seeking an urban oasis (or to make friends!) at the end of a tough day in Singapore, South Beach is an excellent check-in choice.

Honeymooning in Paradise – Cocoa Island by COMO

‘HOOD: Private island, Maldives
VIBE: Classy-chill
PROPERTY SIZE: 33 over water suites and villas
ROOM STYLE: Private
WE LOVE: Everything about it!

WORDS BY: Gloria Gammo, Luxury Travel Stylist, GG Inspired

When I was younger I came across an island in the Maldives that I vowed to honeymoon at when I found my love… 

This was a bucket list trip for me and exceeded all of my very high expectations. From the moment you land on Cocoa and feel the sand beneath your feet, you’re instantly relaxed. The setting, a private sandbar island surrounded by endless expanses of beautiful clear blue water, is mind-blowing.

 The northern part of the island is so amazing at low tide; it feels like you are walking on water. The food was so delicious with lots to choose from, we particularly loved the COMO Shambhala menu, as it was so fresh. The spa treatment was very relaxing and was well needed after a long plane ride. The COMO staff are super friendly and everything is very chilled out and calm. I loved not having to catch another plane to get to the island (like most parts of the Maldives). We would go back in a heartbeat and are so excited for more of GG Inspired’s newlywed clients who are heading there later this year.

The property boasts a 25m infinity-edge swimming pool and a Hydrotherapy pool for those not content with swimming off their over water suite.

ROOMS:
Inspired by Dhoni boats, each room has its own private terrace, with direct access to the water and uninterrupted views to the horizon. Interiors are minimalist but on theme with white walls and wooden furniture. The largest room category; the COMO Villa incorporates two bedrooms.

SPA:
The COMO Shambhala Retreat has three single massage pavilions with outdoor shower garden and one double massage pavilion with outdoor shower/tub. This spa is incredible! Try an Ayurvedic massage treatment, where they pour oil all over you with massage. The oil that they use is concocted based on how you answer a series of questions.

DINING:
The island’s only restaurant, Ufaa, serves all meals. They have an indoor and outdoor part, both are lovely. Ufaa serves up themed dinner nights a few times a week such as seafood and Indian. They also offer COMO Shambhala cuisine, incorporating organic ingredients for those who like healthy options.

There is a great beach bar called Faru which serves happy hour cocktails daily from 5-6pm. It’s very chilled out and has a great menu of beers, wines, and cocktails.

LOCATION:
Cocoa Island is only a 40 min speedboat ride south of Male. The island is known locally as Makunufushi, and is located among South Malé’s coral atolls.

Follow Gloria’s travel experiences here: Website | Facebook | Instagram

Fun + Cool Factor = W Singapore – Sentosa Cove

HOOD: Sentosa Island
VIBE: Hip, Trendy, Fashion conscious crowd
PROPERTY SIZE: 240 rooms
ROOM STYLE: Contemporary + Fun!
WE LOVE: Location, ‘Insider’ service and the 1300 sqm ‘WET’ pool (with underwater speakers of course).

WORDS BY: Dave Goldman.
The luxurious W Sentosa at Sentosa Cove is all about fun (part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts). I stayed here with my family last year and it was great to be back to experience what this hotel has to offer. This hotel is within the lively coastal area of Sentosa (Singapore’s resort Island which is connected to Singapore via a causeway. A quick 10 min drive to the shops, tourist attractions and business district). Opened in 2012, this property is perfect for couples, families and corporate (great conference facilities!) travellers. I was welcomed with a big smile from Cara, the wonderful ‘ W Insider’ on site. All W Hotels across the planet have ‘Insiders’ (a super concierge service) who are able to suggest the ‘best of the best’ services of the city that the W is located within, make restaurant reservations, assist with any need during your stay and generally have the low-down on what and where you should be hanging out. I love it. It’s really is like your own personalised concierge service.

I was placed in a ‘Wonderful’ Room at W Singapore, a lovely 40sqm mix of art, fashion, purple colour and bespoke furnishings. For those W fans who want to try something a bit different, I would lock in one of the ‘Away’ suites located within the relaxing (and you may never want to leave)  ‘Away’ Spa. These rooms have their own private entrance from the Spa, windows that open (win) and even have their own terrace with private plunge pool. They are really heavenly and are perfect for honeymooners or couples wanting to escape into their own world (with all of W Sentosa’s services close at hand!). My highlight meals was of course breakfast at ‘The Kitchen Table’, a great concept involving a few cooking stations to cater for all tastes and needs and the delicious ‘Skirt’, a wonderful steakhouse restaurant with the works.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and look forward to returning soon! Thank you to the fantastic GM Stephane who really shines at W Singapore – Sentosa Cove. It’s great to see a hotel run by such a passionate and dynamic hotelier and you really feel Stephane’s influence amongst all the team at this property. They clearly enjoy working with such an awesome leader at the helm. Make sure to visit soon to have your own W experience.

AMENITIES: (book with us for)

  • Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests
  • A spa credit to the value of USD100
  • Free WIFI