Four Seasons Resort Langkawi
The vibe Classic Four Seasons’ polished luxury combined with charmingly low-key touches. Borrow a bike from the resort to get around: loads of fun and the exercise will offset any overindulgence in the food department.
Celebrity guests Charlize Theron, Elijah Wood, Robert de Niro.
The USP Since we’re all Pinteresting, Instagramming, Tumblr-ing and sharing photos like mad these days, it makes sense to ensure our pictures look as good as they can. So make a beeline to the Four Seasons Resort Langkawi in Malaysia for a cool double whammy: learn how to improve your photography on its photographic ‘safari’ and have a glamorous holiday at the same time. You spend a session with the resort’s chatty and charming resident naturalist and photography buff, Aidi Abdullah, to explore your camera’s settings plus technicalities such as exposure, focal length, and so on. The next day Aidi takes you by boat to explore the island’s rocky coastline and mangrove wetlands. A haven for eagles, macaques and kites, this landscape is a tranquil spot to put theory into practice.
The bedrooms Guests stay in two-storey pavilions set in luxuriant, jungly grounds tended all day by a fleet of gardeners, or in villas right on the beach. The 23 villas are glorious: as long as a catwalk and surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows to maximise the sea views. At night, an unseen hand leaves an ever-changing selection of fruit and canapés in your villa; so much food that you could get away with not eating dinner.
The spa A design marvel tucked into a dramatic cliffside setting in the heart of the resort. Each treatment room is vast too and reached by a calm-inducing pad along raised boardwalks. Just walking to your treatment feels Zen. The spa treatments themselves, based on rocks, crystals, minerals and plants, reflect the earthy setting.
Eating and drinking Traditional and reworked Malaysian dishes using fish straight from the ocean – at night you can see fishermen’s boats bobbing up and down out to sea - and locally sourced ingredients. Knocking back a cocktail while grazing on tapas as the sun goes down over the Andaman Sea in the resort’s Arabian-inspired Rhu Bar is bliss.
What else to do Join a cooking class and cook your own lunch: we rustled up chicken satay with spicy peanut sauce, gulai prawns with pineapple and creamy mango pudding: all easy, all delicious, highly satisfying. Don’t miss the forest hike on nearby uninhabited Pulau Langgun: a fitness-testing uphill and downhill trek to find a freshwater lake hidden in jungle. Very The Beach.
Out and about When you’ve eaten your fill of street food at one of Langkawi’s daily night markets, snap up a cotton batik sarong or pareo (they can cost as little as £3). Perfect as beach and evening cover-ups.
The details Select Collection (tel 020 7491 7171 or visit selectcollection.co.uk) offers seven nights in a Lower Melaleuca Pavilion from £2,490 per person b&b, including transfers and return international flights from London. ‘Stay eight nights pay for six’ offer valid from 11 January to 10 May May 2013 (excluding 6 - 14 February).
By Kate O’Donnell