The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi is run by an army of sharp, well-trained, competent, and highly attentive staff who are eager to serve and please, thus assuring impeccable hospitality. The resort evokes the feeling of finally discovering that one place in our lives where we are treated best and feel belonged, making us feel special. And for that reason, among others, the Gaya Travel team never stops loving The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi; so would you after spending there at least a night or two…
As the Gaya Travel team members disembark from our transport and set foot on the grounds of The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi, we are welcomed by the endless symphony of nature comprising buzzing cicadas, rustling leaves, breaking waves in the distance, chirping birds and gibbering monkeys.
A convivial resort staff then whisk us with finesse to the interiors of the immaculately constructed Arrival Lodge to process our check in. It is at this moment that we realise we are being ushered into an enclave where understated contemporary luxury is infused with elements of nature and local charm.
Covering 42 hectares, The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi has many nooks and crannies that make you go ‘wow’. As we explore the property, we notice that the owner spares no expense in developing this awe-inspiring and spectacular escapade, a slice of a heavenly tropical hideaway located in this side of the world. The resort masterfully cajoles guests to meaningfully appreciate every element that are either natural or man-made, enriching their experience at the same time.
The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi takes pains in ensuring that the impact on environment is kept minimal. For instance, when walking along the corridors leading to the Arrival Lodge and Langkawi Kitchen, we notice these corridors are built around existing trees with space for them to grow by allowing them to puncture through the floor all the way through the roof, signifying the property’s deep respect towards nature.
The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi features 75 guest rooms, 15 suites and 29 villas. Each accommodation unit sports modern-day Malaysian décor in soothing and delicious natural palette as they overlook either the lush rainforest or the Andaman Sea. Complimentary high-speed wireless Internet is accessible not just in the rooms but throughout the property. The rooms can also be childproofed at guests’ request. Housekeeping is deployed twice daily, which includes the evening turndown service.
The room furnishings are custom-made with incredible attention to detail using top-of-the-line materials; we are not only talking about the fixtures and furniture but also the selection of refined fabrics, upholstery, and crockery. The resort procures the ultra-comfortable Ritz-Carlton Beautyrest Hospitality bedding system by Simmons for its guests to have a totally restorative sleep. Electronic touch panels control the rooms’ lighting, air conditioning and curtains. Each accommodation unit comes with 48-inch flat screen television; fully stocked refreshment cabinet (also known as the minibar); efficient work area; and spacious marble bathrooms with separate shower and bathtub, together with high quality Asprey toiletries.
Though the Rainforest Deluxe Room and Rainforest Junior Suite are among the smallest units in the property, they are no less outstanding because the smallest size is already 75 to 85 metres squared, comparable to the size of many residential apartments found in major urban centres. All units are sumptuously appointed, with pluses like double height ceiling that expands the interiors to receive more natural light, rainforest views, and air.
Meanwhile, guests who opt for the one-bedroom villas are in for a superior treat. Each villa is downright exquisite and equipped with at least one private plunge pool. Villas with the numbers V19 until V28 (aptly categorised as Beach Villas) fringe the stretch of beach between the food and beverage outlets named Horizon and The Beach Grill respectively, while the one-bedroom Ocean Front & Grand Ocean Front Villas (numbering V1 until V12) perch on the rocky shores on the other side of the promontory. The larger villas such as Villa Kenari (which has two bedrooms and equipped with an expansive 92 metres squared pool) and Villa Mutiara (three bedrooms with a private beach) occupy the furthest end of that stretch of beach – which the resort identifies as Beach Hub – for added privacy and exclusivity. The remaining villas (V13 to V17) are classified as Rainforest since they are shaded by lush greenery.
Tip: When you book a stay in one of the Villas, the Resort’s Kundang will attend to you before your arrival. They connect with guests for preferences, amenities, and activities throughout their stay.
The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi has four food and beverage outlets (Langkawi Kitchen, The Breach Grill, Horizon and Hai Yan) that are sure to impress epicureans with their enchanting physical settings and equally tantalising menus.
Langkawi Kitchen promises indulgent breakfast and all-day dining experience amidst the undisturbed 10-million-year-old rainforest on the edge of the Andaman Sea. This is where guests can indulge in dishes from the region’s biggest culinary influencers such as the Malay Archipelago, India, China, and the West via open kitchens and live cooking stations. Among the recommended signature dishes for breakfast is the comforting curry laksa. For an excellent pick-me-up, guests should give the resort’s freshly brewed coffee a try since it is specially made from The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi Blend.
Guests can sit either indoors or outdoors on one of the sheltered decks that jut out on one side of Langkawi Kitchen. Gaya Travel team members prefer to sit outdoors in the morning, of course, so that we can feel closer to the surrounding vegetation and spot wildlife foraging in between the trees. On the flip side, sitting indoors is not a bad option, especially when the weather turns unbearably humid, since the restaurant is graced by glass walls that let in ample natural light and expansive views of the outside.
The Beach Grill sizzles with mouth-watering fusion fare. It epitomises Malaysia’s exceptional position as an international destination with a strong cultural identity. Distinctly Malaysian yet enchantingly cosmopolitan, The Beach Grill honours local heritage in the design of its roofs that resemble the intricately woven fish traps called bubu, used for centuries by local fishermen, including menu consisting of freshly caught seafood. The dishes incorporate international influences, alluding to the world beyond Langkawi.
Horizon offers the ideal destination, whether you are in the mood for a relaxing drink by the pool or a romantic bite beneath the stunning Langkawi sunset. Designed for adults only, this restaurant and bar rest atop a rocky outcrop, ideal for admiring the magical sunset over the Andaman Sea. Gaya Travel team rates Horizon as one of the definite best spots to view sunset in Langkawi.
Horizon is intentionally designed as the place to revel in pre-prandial drinks, especially the invigorating choices of mocktails like Rosemary, Under the Sea, and Mahsuri, all under the theme ‘Nature In Glass’, including innovative cocktails like the intriguing Hornbill in Cage. Guests can learn how to develop stimulating concoctions involving local ingredients like dragon fruit, ripe mango, kaffir lime, fresh buffalo yogurt, and palm sugar when they join the complimentary one-hour-and-a-half Mixology Class led by a master mixologist.
Once the sun is down, guests should make way into the restaurant to savour Horizon’s intimate ambiance and innovatively crafted beverages, including its Asian-inspired dishes like massaman (aromatic, tangy and sweet yet relatively mild Thai curry), green curry, nasi goreng hitam (rice fried in squid ink) and ikan sambal matah (fish cooked in raw chilli relish), all served in tapas style and fun to share with dining companions.
After two years of closure, the resort’s newly upgraded modern Chinese restaurant Hai Yan, which possesses spacious decks above giant rocks, has just begun operations with refreshed menu that includes Two-way Main Lobster-Fried Lobster Head; Ginger Scallion and Pan-fried Lobster Tail with XO Sauce; Braised Homemade Yee Foo Noodles and Hot & Sour Soup; and Lobsters with Fish Maw. Diners can even expect fantastic dim sum choices like Prawn Dumplings with Water Chestnut; Scallop Dumplings; Pan-fried Mushroom buns; Wok-fried Black Angus Beef with Basil Leaf; and Barbecued Chicken Buns being rolled out fresh from the restaurant’s newly minted Dim Sum Room.
There is no shortage of locally inspired activities to engage in when staying at The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi. Guests are welcome to hike through the dense jungle, kayak through mangroves, listen to the whispers of the forest from the balcony, or simply gaze over the ocean during dinner. Parents can enrol their children in the complimentary Ritz Kids programme so that they can access the Ritz Kids’ indoor and outdoor playground, pool, and activities.
But to the Gaya Travel team, the ultimate thing to do is for guests to immerse in pursuits that boost their wellness, fitness, and health. They can start by booking a session at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Langkawi, the only overwater spa on the island. Its six bubu-shaped overwater pavilion function as treatment rooms (three of them are for couples, and the rest are single). Connected by overwater walkways, each pavilion is bordered by a circular platform with jaw-dropping ocean views. The spa’s menu is comprehensive, drawing inspiration from the healing and beauty rituals of Malaysia’s shamans and midwives. The Mandi Bunga Inspired Ritual, for example, takes its cue from the bathing rituals of the Malay royal houses. But instead of dispelling bad energy, this treatment eradicates stress and tension with a combination of massage and fragrant oils, herbs and flowers.
Other treatments worth considering are the Mystical Ocean and Earth Ritual that use rich natural treasures of the rainforest like hot stone massage to soothe aching muscles and the ocean to regenerate tired, dull lifeless skin using marine mud wrap. Conversely, the Lulur Hamam Experience is an age-old treatment originated from the palaces of Central Java, to deeply cleanse and regenerate the skin using natural ingredients. Additional services include therapeutic rituals for the face and body, including treatments developed especially for the gentlemen. The spa also boasts the island’s only hammam. Each treatment or service aims to restore balance within guests’ body, mind and soul so that all of them simultaneously function in complete harmony.
Regarding fitness, guests are entitled to the cardiovascular and strength-training equipment at the resort’s state-of-the-art 24-hour fitness centre. Personal trainers are available upon request. The indoor and outdoor yoga deck beckons guests to participate in complimentary yoga classes. There are three large pools within the property as well: the Family Pool (adjacent to the Beach Grill); the adults-only pool located at Horizon; and a small pool suitable for children aged 4 to 11 years old at the Kids Club.
Another activity that guests should join is the Cooking Class at Nibong Garden, perfect for those eager to learn how to prepare healthy dishes using locally grown fresh produce. This is an educational opportunity for guests to gain insight into Malaysia’s food culture by trying their hand at preparing fine plant-based creations using techniques taught by passionate and professional chefs.
Before the cooking class begins, guests are led around Nibong Garden, tucked away on the edge of an ancient rainforest replete with Nibong tree species that is native to the island and of tremendous importance since it is a profound food source and harvested for traditional medicinal purposes. The garden grows curry leaves, okra / ladies’ fingers, mint leaves, ulam raja (Cosmos caudatus), Brazilian spinach, wilted spinach, butterfly pea / blue pea, turmeric leaves, Vietnamese coriander, and Asiatic pennywort (Centella asiatica). The garden was built from scratch by the resort’s culinary team led by Executive Chef Mattia Salussoglia using recycled materials during the downtimes brought about by the movement restrictions imposed by the Malaysian government in the good parts of the years 2020 and 2021 to contain the spread of COVID-19, which forced all tourism and hospitality players to stop receiving guests. It is a successful initiative that the team shows to the guests with pride.
Once the walk around the garden is done, guests are taken to the newly built gazebo where the cooking class is held. Among the local dishes that guests can learn are kerabu daun kaduk (salad from the local creeper Piper sarmentosum) as appetiser, light prawn curry as entree and pisang bunjut (pouched banana) as dessert. At the end of the cooking class, guests receive certificates for their participation.
As guests head to the Beach Hub to rest, they should briefly drop by at the sea cucumber reproduction project site to learn about this benthic creature, which has a lifespan of up to ten years and reproduce through binary fission (asexual reproduction by a separation of the body into two bodies). The resort’s marine biologist, Mr. Fadzli Luqman, is more than happy to explain to the guests about the resort’s desire to propagate the sea cucumbers found within the shallow waters amongst the rocks along the Beach Hub as the means to save them from extinction. Locals believe that sea cucumbers have healing properties, therefore these creatures have been excessively fished and processed into medicine for treating wound. Findings from this project is valuable because there are still not enough studies being done on them. This project demonstrates The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi’s commitment in preserving the island’s biodiversity.
Finally, guests can continue to learn about the local natural environment at the Eco-Discovery Centre, an educational and interpretive centre that nurtures appreciation among guests towards the verdant and majestic tropical vegetation and wildlife found on the land where The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi is situated. The centre encourages guests to take part in preserving the destination’s natural environment so that future generations can enjoy it too.
Log on to The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi’s official website for more information and reservations.
This article is featured in Gaya Travel Magazine 17.1. Read the magazine online here or buy the magazine here.