Our last hurrah before our baby girl was born was our trip to Malaysia. Now when I am up at 3am in the morning with a crying little one I think about my “happy place” – the beach at Datai Bay. When you are an Australian travelling most beaches are a disappointment. What is touted as an amazing beach often pales in comparison next to local beaches like Lorne or Bondi, not to mention places like the Whitsundays. But any cynicism I had about Datai Bay, the beach the Andaman resort is curled up next to, was blown away as soon as I caught sight of it.
Datai Bay is the most perfect crescent of white sand, turquoise waters and lush jungle tumbling towards the water’s edge. If you snorkel out from the beach there is a coral reef to explore and the only thing missing really is surf. Two luxury hotels, The Andaman and The Datai, are mainly hidden in the jungle along the edge of the beach but I think without staying at these hotels it would be quite hard to access. So to get our beach time Mr Meat-and-Three-Veg and I checked in at the cheaper of the two, The Andaman, for four nights.
The Andaman is the type of huge, sprawling luxury resort that I don’t usually stay at. I prefer more personalised and boutique hotels but I have to admit it was pretty good. Our room was the cheapest you could get but still had a huge king size bed, gleaming modern bathroom and a tiny balcony looking out over the jungle.
A sign on the door warned about the local monkey population which have developed a habit of raiding the hotel mini bars. We did see them in action in some other people’s rooms and it is hard to believe monkeys which looked so cute could wreak so much destruction. There’s a great pool at The Andaman but we didn’t bother even swimming in it once as we wanted to spend all our time at the beach.
The only letdown with the hotel was the food. There are a few different restaurants, including a Malaysian restaurant called Tepian Laut, but they were all overpriced and mediocre. Our meal at Tepian Laut included some soft shell crab which had been overcooked so that it was dry and a dark brown colour instead of light and golden. The beef redang was not a redang at all but instead made up of chewy bits of beef. The better options were your standard hotel food like chicken wings and the club sandwich.
Another downside to the hotel was the wifi. While it’s great to see hotels like the Andaman providing free wifi access to guests the signal was really poor in our room and everywhere but the business centre and really contrasted with hotels like the Shangri-La which genuinely provided wifi access throughout the hotel grounds.
The Andaman is worth a stay purely for the beach alone. The hotel isn’t perfect but if you are prepared to be unconnected from the outside world (that may be a plus for some) and to go elsewhere to eat then you will survive. Lying on the white, sandy beach, looking out at the turquoise waters of Datai Bay it was hard to work up too much angst about some minor shortcomings.
Details: The Andaman, Jalan Teluk Datai, Langkawi, Malaysia (Ph 60(4) 959 1088)
Damage: Pricey. Rooms cost from MYR 665 ($225) a night including breakfast.
Gourmet Travel Tips
- We flew from Singapore to Langkawi with Air Asia. The flights were around $50 one way.
- It’s hard to get around on Langkawi so you need to hire a car. We just hired one once we got to the airport which is a cheaper way of doing it if you are travelling in off peak season.
- There are lots of great eats around the island but don’t miss the night market whatever you do.