There’s something uplifting about waking up in the tropics, pulling back the curtains of a luxury bedroom and opening the door, stepping down from the veranda then wandering barefoot on a white sand beach in the early morning sunlight.
Other guests at the Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort and Spa on Langkawi were still, presumably, in bed when I sorteed out onto the still cool sand, meaning I had the kilometre long private beach to myself and, if I so desired, my choice of sun-lounger and hammocks. My aim, though, was to wander along the palm-fringed beach and stroll ankle deep in the sea. Even before breakfast the water of the Andaman Sea proved pleasantly, acceptably warm.
5-Star Resort near Cenang Beach
This 5-star resort is set on a 35 acre complex about a ten minute walk from Cenang Beach, a popular destination for evening shopping as well as dining and drinking in beachside cafes. The Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort’s chalets are built in the architectural style of Malaysian village and the reception area, housed within a high-ceilinged central hall made of dark wood, is strongly influenced by traditional Minangkabau design principles.
The breakfast buffet, served in the resort’s Spice Market restaurant, was extensive, reflecting the fact that Malaysians, Western tourists and visitors from eastern Asia all stay at this resort. Dishes including miso soup, okinomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake), salads and fried items caught my eye but I plumped for the anytime-of-day local favourite, beef rendang, along with a dollop of chicken curry served with steamed rice and condiments. The same venue, incidentally, serves a la carte dishes and a buffet barbecue on evenings.
After allowing a suitable interval I took a dip in one of the resort’s two swimming pools. One, with a kids’ play area, struck me as being more obviously aimed at families while the other had an in-pool bar that was drawing custom well before lunchtime.
Tennis and Squash Courts
Travelling without a partner meant I couldn’t take advantage of the on-site tennis courts. If you’re feeling sporty – or guilty after a multi-course breakfast – you can make use of one of the two indoor squash courts or the gym, which has weights plus cardiovascular equipment. To pass the time there’s also archery, mini golf plus a games room with a darts oche and board games.
I strolled over to the beachside Cba restaurant for lunch, sitting in the shaded area of the stone-walled dining area, directly under one of the ceiling fans. As the waiter served my lobster soup she informed me that live music is performed in the restaurant on evenings, with the exception of Mondays. Asian and international dishes are served at Cba and I ordered a medium-rare steak for my main course, along with a refreshing lime soda.
Looking around I drew the conclusion this is a resort popular with families as well as couples enjoying breaks together.
Returning to the resort shortly after midnight, following a walk to shops at Cenang Beach, a lone couple danced arm-in-arm to live music performed at Pelangi Lounge in the main lobby. Romantics, no doubt, will find this place a treat.
The Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort and Spa (tel. +60 (4) 952 8888) is at Pantai Cenang on Pulau Langkawi. The 5-star resort has 355 rooms in six categories (Garden Terrace Chalet, Lake Front Chalet, Pool terrace Chalet, Beachfront Chalet, Pelangi Junior Suite and Pelangi Suite). A children’s club (KiKi Klub) is available to entertain 4 to 12 year olds from 9.00am to 9.00pm. Meeting and conference facilities are available on-site and the grand ballroom can accommodate up to 700 guests. Weddings are also held at the resort. The Pelangi Spa offers a range of therapeutic massages and treatments. See the Meritus website for more details about the Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort and Spa’s facilities and room availability.
Langkawi International Airport is 10km from the resort, about a 15 minute ride by taxi. Malaysia Airlines flies to Langkawi and has twice daily services, in each direction, between London Heathrow and its hub at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Cenang Beach is a popular evening destination, with market stalls, shops selling souvenirs and clothing and places offering foot and body massages. Little Lylia’s beach bar, run by a Malaysian man and his English wife, is a popular, laid-back meeting place, serving snacks, drinks and shishas.
Underwater World, at Pantai Cenang, is one of Malaysia’s largest aquariums, hosting over 500 species of marine life in more than 100 display tanks.
See the Tourism Malaysia website for more on the attractions of Langkawi.