NOT a food blog
I had just landed at the Langkawi International Airport, and standing before me was a lanky man holding a placard with my name on it. He had a pleasant smile, this mild-mannered man, and meeting him provided the perfect transition – my passage from hectic city living to paradise. He allowed me the luxury of dwelling on my own thoughts for the 30 minutes ahead of me, but I was keen to talk. ”What’s the music that you’re playing right now?” I asked appreciatively. “I don’t know,” he replied sheepishly, and handed me the CD sleeve. ”Mmmm….it’s nice,” I said. He smiled. ”It’s peaceful, isn’t it?” he replied. I nodded. The rest of the time was filled with endless chatter about work and family and religion. As we drove up to the entrance of The Datai, he took out the music CD from the player and handed it to me. ”Here, you have it,” he said.
The private beach at The Datai
The Datai is located at the north western tip of Langkawi and is surrounded by virgin rainforest with a private footpath leading to the white sand beach. The Datai’s 54 villas, 16 suites and 54 rooms are all set within the rainforest with their own private verandas. The first thing I did when I checked into my room was to throw open the balcony doors and inhale the fresh air. Little did I know that monkeys are common visitors at The Datai, and a dusky leaf monkey was observing me just a few metres from where I stood on my balcony!
The typical visitor to The Datai must be someone who loves nature. At night, I was serenaded to sleep by an orchestra of sounds emanating from the jungle – the deep croak of frogs to the quiet song of crickets. Nature’s symphony. In the day, birds would perch on my balcony, chirping briskly like a bunch of housewives sharing the morning news. It’s a euphoric and comforting experience. It’s a place where one can be alone, and yet not feel lonely.
The villas offer guests privacy as they are set apart, separated by trees and connected by an intricate series of pathways. The pool villas, as the name indicates, have private plunge pools and jacuzzis. They are all luxurious, and are all equipped with a dining table for two, LCD flat screen TV, Bose CD sound system and iPod dock, and their sizes range from 93 square metres to 120 square metres.
The rooms, on the other hand, are no less impressive. At 62.5 square metres in size, they’re relatively large, and offer views of either the Andaman sea, the pool or the rainforest. Binoculars are provided in the premium rooms for those who want to do a spot of bird watching. Of course, what blew me away were the beach villas. At 218 square metres (for the one bedroom beach villa), the beach villas fringe the ocean on one side and the forest on the other, with a gorgeous outdoor shower, a glass walled bathroom, a 10 metre private swimming pool, a lush garden and a separate dining and living area. The price is not for the faint-hearted. Rates start from RM9,550 per night.
There are pros and cons. Cons – You’re isolated, so unless you have a car, be prepared to dine in everyday. Pros – Dining in isn’t all that bad. You have a choice of 4 restaurants (more about the restaurants later), so you won’t go hungry.
The best thing about the resort is the service. Service is attentive, be it at the resort or the restaurants. Often, service seemed to be personable as well, as there appeared to be a genuine interest in getting to know the guests better. I think it works both ways; one has to be interested in getting to know others if one expects others to show an interest in getting to know you. A smile goes a long way, I’ve learnt, and the eyes speak the heart’s intent.
Food, for me, is a means to an end and not an end in itself.
Food, for me, represents the love of family, the fellowship of friends, and the community and communality it brings.