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The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi is the brand's first resort in Malaysia. It's on the more expansive west side of the island and debuted last September to what turned out to be well-deserved fanfare. The architecture sits easily within its environment, and its ambience is naturally relaxed and unpretentious. It has to be, being a conduit of sorts between the Andaman Sea and a 10-million year-old rainforest.
The motif is a mix of local bumbu fishing traps and the globally familiar steel and clean lines, given room to breathe by the spacious setting. We occupied the oceanfront Rainforest Villa. If you’re used to the butler service and bright suites of RCL's counterpart in Kuala Lumpur, you’ll feel pleasantly at home. Floor-to-ceiling windows bring the great outdoors in but not the heat, and the large living room hides half a case of perfectly chilled wine. A front garden buffers the villa for extra privacy, and two exits lead to a tiered wooden deck with a private infinity pool, lounge beds and dining area.
A covered day bed to the side of the villa invites the reader with a good book. RCL has the island’s only fine-dining Chinese restaurant, Hai Yan, while the adults-only Horizon lounge is for dining at sunset. Head to The Beach Grill for a lazy, boozy lunch; call ahead for a table with an unobstructed sea view.
Breakfast can be had with a side of wildlife observation: Langkawi Kitchen sits among treetops and mornings there are like watching Animal Planet. Or have breakfast in bed, complete with a glass of Baron De Rothschild Reserve Ritz. Don't go without experiencing the couple’s rooms at Langkawi’s only over-water hammam and spa, where treatments include private time for champagne therapy on your outdoor terrace.
The views are naturally beautiful, and the service polished to the nth degree of discretion and pleasantness. It all makes for a perfect weekend escape.
Esquire tip: Take one of the Villas on the sea. Some even have a small private beach that can only be accessed from the villa’s sun deck.
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