HFP in Malaysia: the beach resort of Four Seasons Langkawi reviewed (Part 2)

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This is Part 2 of our review of the Four Seasons Langkawi beach resort in Malaysia.  

Part 1 of our Four Seasons Langkawi review, which primarily looks at my villa and gives an overview of the facilities, can be found here.

In part two I want to look at the spa, the restaurants and explain the best way to book.

The Spa at Four Seasons Langkawi

Four Seasons Langkawi review geo spa

Situated on the north side is the Geo Spa, which features a series of low ponds sheltered by high walls. Treatments are given in (again, frankly palatial) individual pavilions, which come with a steam room, two-person shower, changing room and treatment rooms and relaxation spaces:

Four Seasons Langkawi review geo spa villa

and:Four Seasons Langkawi review geo spa private outdoor space

Treatments vary from 60 to 90 minutes, which does not include use of the amenities such as steam room and relaxation spaces. The treatments are not exactly a bargain (this is, after all, a luxury property) but you do get a whole lot for your money. I had an excellent massage on the morning of my departure, and it must have been one of the most relaxing things I have ever experienced!

Four Seasons Langkawi review geo spa

Adjacent to the Geo Spa is a large fitness centre complete with an indoor gym and outdoor tennis court.

The resort also has its own water sports facilities. In addition to the complimentary unpowered offerings (kayak, paddle board etc) you can book a range of motor water sports, including jet ski.

WiFi is available throughout the resort and when in range you can get decent speeds (20mbps+), but I had some trouble connecting. Everytime I locked my phone it would disconnect and I would have to wait several seconds to reconnect. Frequently I would get connection errors. It’s good when it works, but it’s a struggle to get it working!

The service

Perhaps the most important thing about a Four Seasons property, which I have neglected to mention so far, is the service. This was my first time staying at a Four Seasons, and although Rob has told me about his experiences, I was still surprised at how exceptional the service is. This seems to be especially true for a resort the size of Langkawi, which has a relatively modest number of rooms and can therefore offer an exceptionally personalised service.

Four Seasons Langkawi review resort

From arrival to departure, everyone addresses you by name. Even when I turned up at a restaurant unannounced on the second night I was immediately recognised and greeted. The entire staff seemed attune to my itinerary and activities, with housekeeping and turn-down timed with when I was enjoying the amenities of the resort.

It is also worth mentioning the Four Seasons app, which allows you to communicate directly with the concierge via chat. Alternatively you could use the designated Whatsapp number to make reservations, book buggies and ask questions. Responsiveness is excellent and it meant that I could contact the hotel staff without having to make a call and disturb other guests whilst at the adult pool or whilst dining, for example.

Although the service is formal, it is also incredibly personal and I had some lovely conversations with staff of all levels, from buggy drivers, waiters and waitresses, spa therapists and even upper management who appear to make a real effort to chat.  This is, no doubt, one of the biggest pleasures of staying at Four Seasons Langkawi, and I am told that many guests return year on year.

The restaurants

There are three restaurants at the resort, all centrally located between the north and south portions. The Serai features Mediterranean-Italian inspired cuisine and is also the location of the breakfast buffet. Adjacent to the Serai is the Rhu bar, situated on the beach, with serves evening cocktails and small bites. Ikan Ikan specialises in local Malaysian dishes whilst the Kelapa Grill is a slightly more casual grill restaurant:

Four Seasons Langkawi review Kelapa Grill

All three have beachside views. Of course, you also have the option of in-villa dining.

It is not every day you find yourself in Malaysia and, having enjoyed the Malaysian cuisine I had already had, I spent both nights at the Ikan Ikan. I was told they have just updated their menu although some favourites remain. Here is the exterior:

Four Seasons Langkawi review ikan ikan

…and this was the view:

Four Seasons Langkawi review ikan ikan viewand

Four Seasons Langkawi review ikan ikan

On my first night they had a range of fresh fish you could pick from:

Four Seasons Langkawi review ikan ikan fresh fish

I had a range of dishes on both nights, but these were my favourites.  A beef and chicken satay, grilled prawn and vegetable spring roll starter:

A wok fried ‘Karipole’ Tiger Prawn curry:

and my grilled fish, including stingray!

On the second night I had some slow roasted short ribs of beef:

Four Seasons Langkawi ribs

and crispy fried whole red snapper fillet with a tamarind honey sauce, which I am told is a guest favourite and was unbelievably delicious. The fish is filleted from the bone which makes for easy eating, and the carcass is decoratively presented:

Four Seasons Langkawi tamarind fish

Whilst I did have beef a couple of times, Ikan Ikan does some exceptional sea food so I would definitely recommend ordering fish dishes. Not pictured is the durian ice cream dessert, my first taste (and smell!) of the infamous durian fruit …. which wasn’t too bad!

Breakfast

Four Seasons Langkawi serai

The breakfast buffet is served in the Serai, one of the beachside restaurants. It features a buffet as well as an a la carte menu, which is included. It is set in a lovely open space:

Four Seasons Langkawi breakfast serai

The buffet itself is in an air conditioned adjoining room. It is fairly extensive and features a range of Malaysian, Asian and Western options. This included a range of breads and pastries, cheeses, cold meats and fish, including smoked salmon:

Four Seasons Langkawi pastries

Fresh fruit, yoghurts and refrigerated items:

Four Seasons Langkawi breakfast fruit

Hot items …

Four Seasons Langkawi breakfast buffet hot

And a range of juices as well as JP Chenet sparkling wine:

Four Seasons Langkawi breakfast champagne

Fresh eggs could be ordered any way directly from the chefs.

Conclusion

Four Seasons Langkawi is regarded as one of best beach resorts in Asia and it is not difficult to see why.

Despite the impressively grand entrance, service here is exceptionally personal. This was my first stay in a Four Seasons and, frankly, it blew my socks off. Even compared to the new Kuala Lumpur hotel (review to follow), Langkawi seems to be exceptional.

Of course, the amenities are great here too, with brilliant pools depending on whether you have kids or want to relax, a huge beach and watersports activities as well as the local flora and fauna in the mangrove forests.

I strongly recommend you give it serious consideration if you are thinking about a beach resort in Asia.  Thank you to Four Seasons for helping to arrange my stay.

How to book Four Seasons Langkawi

Four Seasons does not run a loyalty scheme so there is no option to redeem free nights.

Since 2017 we have partnered with Emyr Thomas who runs Bon Vivant, a London-based luxury travel agent. He works with Four Seasons (amongst others) as a Preferred Partner and is able to guarantee a range of additional benefits when you book with him, including:

  • Daily full American breakfast for two people per bedroom, served through in-room dining or in the hotel restaurant (including buffets)
  • Spa credit of US$100 once during stay (not applicable to products)
  • Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of check-in
  • Complimentary basic internet in all guest rooms; complimentary premium internet in all suites

Emyr can usually match any rate offered via the Four Seasons website and get you the above benefits added on.  You can contact Emyr via our online form here.

Our partnership with Emyr has been going for over two years now and you will regularly see readers praising his service in the comments, so it is well worth booking with him!  He will also be at the HFP Summer party on Monday if you are coming along.

HFP in Malaysia: the beach resort of Four Seasons Langkawi reviewed (Part 1)
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Comments

  1. Sam G says:

    Looks fantastic! I’ve never had a bad stay at a Four Seasons, even Sydney where the “hardware” is somewhat lacking (though reflected in the rate IMO) the service makes up for it

    If you are staying here though it’s worth going over to The Datai (I haven’t been, newly reopened from renovation) or The Andaman (either Jala or the surprisingly good Japanese restaurant for dinner – the beach there is possibly the best I’ve been to in Asia )

    I was very surprised at how many Brits were staying at The Andaman considering how long a journey it is – most had flown MAN-LHR-KUL-LGK or similar and many were repeat visitors. I believe at one point in the early 00’s MH were running 747s direct from Heathrow though.

    • Brits make up the majority at the Four Seasons too. Remember that Malaysia is an ex British colony!

      • Sam G says:

        Indeed – I was just surprised as before I moved to Asia I had never heard of a single Brit going to Malaysia (over vs say Thailand), let alone Langkawi. Penang is also very Brit heavy, particularly the Shangri-La on the coast there

      • and this is a good thing ?

        • Shoestring says:

          the ex- or the colony bits? both good, I feel, yes

          many ‘colonies’ greatly enjoyed their period under the British Empire, making huge advances in healthcare, education, wealth creation etc

          sure: most wanted independence in due course – completely understandable – but generally don’t see the ‘colony’ years as wasted/ oppressed years & are proud of the long association with the UK

          • the_real_a says:

            I work with lots of people from the old “colonies” and almost universally they look confused when making self depreciating comments about the British days. They absolutely see the period as a time of rapid progress in their history and definitely not negative.

          • I think the same cannot be said about India. The general consensus is that India went many years backwards during the ‘British Raj’ and lots a lot of its fortune and the economy went downhill. But oh well…. we march on… 🙂

        • It certainly explains why Malaysia is still a popular destination for British tourists.

      • “Malaysia” was not a British colony. Today’s Malaysia comprises the former Straits Settlements minus Singapore (colonies), Federated states (nominally independent but in practice controlled by a British Resident), Unfederated states (independent but eventually ruled under the “advice” of the British), Sarawak (ruled by the White Rajahs until after WW2) and North Borneo (a protectorate – then a colony for a short period).

  2. Mr Bridge says:

    funny enough , i just booked this hotel on Monday, it has half and full board options too.
    RHYS: what was the average cost of starters and main courses?

    • Starters around 80-90 RM, mains 110RM at the cheap end to 200+, although they had stir fries for around 80RM

    • the_real_a says:

      Can i recommend Scarborough Fish and chips… about 5 minutes from the hotel. The baked barracuda and chips is fantastic as is the view and very cheap! Apparently the owners husband worked in the UK for a number of years before returning home. There is very little around the hotel as the biggest tourist center is around Pantai Cenang at the other side of the island. I rented a very cheap car at the langkawi yacht club and enjoyed driving around the island especially the local areas and markets.

  3. +1 for The Andaman – had a lovely stay there a year or so ago, fantastic beach and decent enough rooms. Restaurants excellent. The Four Seasons does look several notches above, but I imagine the price would be similarly higher 😉

    Ikan is the Malay word for fish, by the way.

    Oh and some of us *do* find ourselves in Malaysia every day 😉 The food here is truly amazing, and a good enough reason to visit aside from anything else! It need not be expensive – you can pay anything from high-end Western prices in some restaurants down to £1-2 in a “mamak”; you may not notice much difference in quality, depending on where you go (presentation yes, but taste can be just as good at the cheaper end – expensive is not necessarily better…).

  4. David says:

    I went to university in KL 14 years ago when this Four Seasons first opened (interestingly it is owned by Malaysia Airlines too) and whilst not having the money to stay I visited it briefly when in Langkawi and always committed to returning one day.

    My partner and I visited in 2017 for our summer break and it is without doubt the best Asian resort I have had the pleasure of visiting. The hard product is exceptional with the views, particularly at sunset from Rhu Bar just breathtaking. I could laze at that adult pool for the rest of my days and I would be a VERY happy man.

    I completely agree with you on the service point, it’s both discreet and personal but most importantly authentic. The staff are not just following a standard operating procedure, they genuinely care and want to get to know you. It’s possibly the best service we have had on all of our travels.

    You’re right there are other options on the island, however the St Regis whilst opulent is a pretty soulless property and the beach is not the best. Have not headed to the Ritz Carlton yet so cannot comment, but have heard good things.

    Glad you enjoyed yourself! Looking forward to your FSKL review and comparing notes – as whilst I love the bar, the rest of the hotel is pretty meh. Mandarin Oriental post refurb is still the best in town in my opinion.

  5. Out of interest, how many HfPers do we have here in Malaysia? (Or failing that, surrounding area – Sam G, wasn’t sure if you meant you’re here or somewhere else in Asia?).

  6. ankomonkey says:

    The food on both yesterday’s flight review and today’s hotel review has looked and sounded great, but the quote below may be my favourite ever from HfP:

    “…and the carcass is decoratively presented…”

    • I wasn’t sure how else to make it clear, since it isn’t obvious from the photo!

  7. The Savage Squirrel says:

    Just a comment that I’m very much enoying Rhys’s return to HfP. I do like the enthusiasm and sense of joy that flows through the writing style on trip reports – it gives a little contrast to Rob’s (dare I say it) more accustomed-to-luxury style. I realise it’s tough work but do you think you can persuade him to go on some more trips ;).

    • Crafty says:

      +1. One can feel a genuine sense of wonder in this review which is really quite nice.

      Hope you enjoyed your trip Rhys.

    • Mr Jones has a very cushy few months coming up, I promise you 🙂

  8. barnaby100 says:

    From arrival to departure, everyone addresses you by name.

    We call this Four Seasons Tracking. At this hotel they get your picture up when you enter the pool or a restaurant. personally I found it rather intrusive

    • @mkcol says:

      My husband & I are convinced the Conrad Maldives does the same/very similar, but also had some sort of monitor of the villas we stayed in as we were never disturbed by housekeeping no matter how tardy we were, yet always returned to everything having been done.
      We appreciated that.

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