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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Day 2 in Langkawi on 4 November 2010 - (Oriental Village, Langkawi Cable Car and The Datai Resort)

I'd raved about the Langkawi Cable Car and Sky Bridge attraction when I was there in Feb this year (click here) and needless to say, that was the first place my CEB and I visited the next day after breakfast. I've written enough about the Langkawi Cable Car which is located within the Oriental Village so I'll just review the latter. The Slog Reviews: 5/10 as a tourist attraction. Although there are many shops within the compound, a large majority of them sell nothing but overpriced touristy stuff (think fridge magnets, cheap clothing, mineral water). Despite its cheerful appearance (see pic below), I wouldn't advise anyone to waste more than a couple of hours of one's precious holiday time in Langkawi walking about the Oriental Village.

Unlike my previous visit, the sky was overcast (see pic below) because it was the monsoon season and I was disappointed that my CEB did not manage to catch the amazing blend of the bright blue sky and the sparkling blue sea. However, we had a really great time together climbing down to and up from the sky bridge (as I might have said before, one should put on a good pair of track shoes and be in decent physical shape as the climb up may be challenging).

We also climbed the steps to the two highest points of the Cable Car attraction, which unfortunately offered pretty much the same view as from the sky bridge.

As it was rather cloudy, we sat and waited for about half an hour to see if the wind would blow the clouds further out. And true enough, the sky cleared....somewhat...for us to take a photo.

One thing I should mention though is that although this attraction is a must-go at least once when one is in Langkawi, one needs to note that one is not allowed to carry one's bottled waters past the entrance turnstiles. The only reason I can think of for this strange rule (given how hot the weather is at Langkawi and a cable car isn't really an aircraft) is that the attraction's owners are seeking to hold tourists hostage to the ridiculously priced drinks sold at the various stations near the top. And talk about being held hostage brings me to the next part of my entry - a review of our stay at The Datai, Langkawi (click here for the hotel's homepage).

We had read some really good reviews of the hotel which is currently rated as the #2 hotel in Langkawi on Tripadvisor and since the price of a deluxe room at The Datai is about the same as that for a room at our local six star hotel Capella where I'd stayed last year, I had moderately high expectations for our stay at The Datai and it certainly measured up.

Right from the moment we parked our rented Nissan Latio and walked to the lobby (see pic above), we were ushered to seats overlooking the adults only pool, given two cool face towels and served cool juices in those tall glasses complete with a flower. No standing in line at the reception or even having to stand at a counter to register. The staff took our passports and credit card from us to process at a separate section while we enjoyed the view and the drinks.

After registration was complete, a friendly staff took us to our room in the West Wing.

The staff also showed us the facilities in the room and told us abt the various popular activities that The Datai offers - the culinary cooking class (at RM180 per pax) and the complimentary morning and evening guided walks through the rainforest that surrounds The Datai. A very useful print out of the Things to Do in Langkawi can be found in one of the table drawers. Here are a couple of pics of our room.

In the cupboard near the left of the windows is the mini-bar and in the cupboard near the right is the safe.
We had a rainforest view and were advised by the staff to keep the windows shut at all times so that the monkeys in the rainforest would not be able to get into the room and wreck havoc! The balcony outside the windows was clean but the thought of monkeys and mosquitoes quite detered me from sitting there to enjoy the sounds and sight of the rainforest.

The toilet was extremely spacious with a rain shower area, a WC area and a large bathtub. Separate sinks for him and her, as well as separate wardrobes behind each sink. Very nice!

What I liked more than anything else though about The Datai (including the complimentary juices and soft drinks available in the mini bar) was the quality of toiletries provided - Molton Brown shampoo, condition, bath gel and body lotion!

We went for a stroll at The Datai's private (stretch of) beach and I have to say that the hotel puts a great deal of effort keeping its beach clean! No litter at all, and lots of beach chairs strategically placed for one to enjoy a view of the ocean/hear the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach.
The children/family pool is located at the beach level and seems rather basic and unimpressive for a hotel like The Datai (see pic below) - I would have expected at least a waterslide. Maybe The Datai's target crowd isn't families with young kids.

One can either call for a buggy at the lobby to take one to the beach or walk the 10min way down several flight of stairs (not recommended for the elderly and weak) and through the rain-forest. The same options apply for getting back to the hotel.

For us, we took the buggy to the beach as it was still drizzling and walked back up the path to the hotel. The walk took us through the rainforest and past some of the villas, the Datai's spa and a little creek. Thankfully we didn't spot any monkeys (the Datai area seems to be teaming with them).

The Slog Reviews of The Datai: 9.5/10 for luxury and comfort but 5/10 for location esp if one is into visiting attractions and popular restaurants. Definitely rent a car from the airport or even town, if one is going to stay at the Datai given its location and exorbitant car rental prices (RM280 for a 24hr rental of a Myvi from the hotel). As for internet connection, there is free wifi throughout the hotel but the signal at our room was really weak and we kept geting disconnected.

The American buffet breakfast for one person at The Datai is RM96++ and so we decided to put our rental car to good use and have our daily breakfast at The Loaf instead. The Loaf which opens at 8am daily has a breakfast menu and a breakfast set is approximately RM30+ per pax. However, one also has the option of selecting the bread items that one wants from the wide spread available. And that is what we did. The friendly staff at The Loaf who recognised us from last night's dinner, cut the various pieces of bread nicely and served them on a plate to us. My CEB was aghast though that all that bread cost RM30 but well, as I said in my earlier entry, at The Loaf, one pays a price for the ambiance and service.

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