A doorman wearing a khaki uniform, a pith helmet and a smile and welcomes me to the Danna hotel on Langkawi, Malaysia.
The tall, arched windows of the airy, marble-floored lobby remind me of those in Colonial era buildings over on peninsula Malaysia and Singapore. A member of staff greets me with a tray bearing cool, floral scented towels and offers a glass of refreshing juice. I hand my passport to the receptionist and she bids me to sit down. A masseuse swiftly goes to work on my neck and shoulders. Five minutes later, when the welcome massage is complete, I’m handed my room key. The check-in process has proven unexpectedly pleasant.
A Spacious 4-Poster Bedroom
I’m allocated one of the Grant Merchant Class rooms, up on the fourth floor. The spacious room has a king-sized four-poster bed; a romantic touch that’s also a reminder of the days when mosquito nets were a nightly requirement in this region. Standing on my balcony I look to the forested hillside then down at the shops within Telaga Harbour Park, adjacent to the hotel.
A retractable screen by the bathtub divides the bathroom from the bedroom. Pulling it back means I’ll be able to have a steep while watching live Premier League football on the 42-inch flat-screen television. Inside the bathroom I find his and hers toiletries by twin wash basins. There’s also a walk-in rainfall shower.
Tiffin Lunch with Malaysian Cuisine
Down on the ground floor I head to Straits and Co for a tiffin lunch that includes traditional Malaysian dishes such as beef rending and steamed vegetables. The round, marble-topped tables and wicker-backed chairs are reminiscent of a Continental café. I learn this is also the spot to head for afternoon tea.
After lunch I decide to explore my surroundings and pop into the library, above Straits and Co. The neighbouring room hosts a games room with a selection of board games. I learn that in Sahibba, the Malaysian version of Scrabble, the letter A scores 11 points before entering the pool room. When I first heard about the Danna the idea of swimming lengths in the hotel’s 51.20 metre infinity pool was one of its chief attractions but picking up a cue to play a couple of frames is also a means of unwinding.
Massage, Fitness Room and Dinner
I continue my tour up on the fifth floor, peeking into the fitness room before spending a relaxing hour on a massage bench, allowing a diminutive masseuse to knead knots out from between my shoulder blades.
Dinner is served in the Planter’s, the restaurant overlooking the pool. I select a Malaysian-style chicken perchik curry, served in a halved coconut with steamed rice. I see the chefs at work in the open kitchen but feel it would be inappropriate to ask them how they prepared the dish.
After eating I walk past the poolside – where barbecue buffets are held each Friday evening, accompanied by live music and dancing – in order to take a stroll along the Danna’s private beach.
Before retiring I head the Veranda bar for a nightcap. The uniformed barman suggests a house special, based on the Mojito, and I agree. Sipping it, I watch a singer and a guitarist perform their set then head up to my bedroom.
The Danna (tel. +60 (4) 959 3288) stands within Telaga Harbour Park at Pantai Kok on Langkawi.
To discover more about Langkawi, visit the Tourism Malaysia website.
Photos illustrating this post are by Stuart Forster.
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The Danna is 11km north-west of Langkawi International Airport, a 15-minute drive by taxi. Malaysia Airlines flies twice daily between London Heathrow and Kuala Lumpur International Airport and offers connections to Langkawi.
Langkawi Cable Car, also known as the Skycab, runs 2.2km, over dense rainforest, to a viewing platform at the summit of Gunung Machicang, 700 metres above sea level. The Skycab’s base station stands within Oriental Village, which also hosts the Skydome, into which 3D films are projected.