As I reached for my breakfast coffee at The Restaurant, there was a sudden furore among the guests there and people started whipping out their cameras. They rushed to the front and aimed their cameras at some shrubs where this cute little thing was – the centre of attention – the dusky leaf monkey!
Well, it’s not every day that I get not one, but a few shy dusky leaf langurs to be my breakfast companions in the poolside bushes. I was told these are the “good monkeys” as compared to the “naughty” ones – the daring macaques that roam freely in the 10 million year old rainforest that surrounds The Andaman. They have been there long before humans stepped foot into the forest.
Yes, The Andaman, a Luxury Collection Resort, is tucked cosily in the foothills of the Mount Cincang Range, facing the tranquil Datai Bay, Langkawi, with a 8,000 year old fringing coral reef. When I stop to think about that – the vastness, richness and history of the majestic natural beauty that surrounds this resort, my mind boggles. I can’t help but feel so incredibly humbled by the benevolence of Mother Nature in this idyllic spot at the northern tip of Langkawi island.
The sky can’t get any bluer than this!
The impressive foyer
As my eyes feast on the lush greenery of the giant trees shading us from the unrelenting sun, the sweeping views of the calm Andaman Sea just beyond the pool area of the resort provide a soothing respite to any frayed nerves that may still be lingering in my being. Well, most of the stress and nerves had flitted away the moment I stepped into the cool comfort of the breath-taking foyer of The Andaman. Those tall wooden pillars supporting the intricate beamwork of the ceiling have that kind of effect, believe me. Water features flank the sides of the wide walkways and everywhere I turn, I never lose sight of the rainforest as the resort is cocooned within its comforting green cradle.
My beautiful abode for 2 nights in The Andaman is the recently refurbished Direct Pool Access Room. There are 14 of these in the resort, the first of their kind in Langkawi! The smooth dark wooden floorboards provide the perfect stand for the plush Luxury Collection bed swathed in 300-threadcount linens, a luxury that envelopes me each night when my head touches the feather-light yet supportive pillows.
Staying in this exquisite room, I have the indulgence of stepping into a swimming pool right from the verandah of my room. These 2 new exclusive Rainforest Swimming Pools measure 37m and 30m in length with a depth of 1.2m. What utter bliss to be able to just jump into your very own pool in the private enclave of your room area!
Oh, did I mention that the room comes with a 32-inch LCD flat screen television as well (but this is something I didn’t quite make use of as there was so much to see and do in the resort!). If you really must be a couch potato in this beautiful resort, well there’s a DVD player and cable channels as well, for your entertainment. Complimentary wi-fi is available too.
I love the strong showers in the marble bathroom – the jets from both the rain and hand showers were so powerful I even felt my back and shoulders got a good massage after I’ve stepped out of the shower. Use the tub or the glass-enclosed shower, the choice is yours. Being an eco-friendly resort, the use of plastic containers is minimised. The bath toiletries are presented in locally crafted porcelain pots, instead of plastic bottles.
There is no bottled water provided in the room. Instead, reverse osmosis drinking water is stored in Labu Sayong – a black gourd-shaped clay pitcher. I love the cool (almost-cold!) water from this pitcher and had it refilled before the day is done.
On the bed, 2 lovely green-themed sarongs are laid out for the guests’ use during the stay. This was a community project initiated by the resort where a design competition saw the winning entries depicting some exclusive rainforest and ocean motifs in indigenous batik art. These were then transferred onto soft cotton sarongs.
Another unique feature in the room is the odd-looking piece of rock where a table lamp is embedded. Frankly, I was a bit mystified with it until I was told this piece came from the rocks of the bay and believed to be about 600 million years old! Well, fancy that! Hard to imagine, this rock came from a larger formation in Datai Bay which is about all that’s left on Earth from the great supercontinent Pannotia, back 750 million years ago even before the ancient continents were formed. Heck, it was way earlier than the Triassic dinosaurs era and that was just about 245 million years ago. The Jurassic period (as many of us know it) came much later, after Triassic.
Small touches like the labu sayong, cotton sarongs and the 600 million-year-old rock lampstand are the resort’s way of preserving Mother Nature in any way possible. The Andaman’s continuous efforts in conserving nature’s gifts to ensure a sustainable future are commendable.
So, what is the Luxury Collection? It is an ensemble of hotels and resorts that offer unique, and authentic experiences evoking lasting and treasured memories. Each hotel and resort is a cherished expression of its location, a portal to the destination’s indigenous charms and treasures. What it actually means to say is that, there are certain high standards to be met, for example: magnificent decor, spectacular settings, impeccable service, the latest modern conveniences – all these are combined to provide the most unique and ultimate experience.
Look out for the lizards!
Today, the Luxury Collection brand is a glittering ensemble of more than 75 of the world’s finest hotels and resorts in more than 30 countries. The Andaman joined this list of award-winning properties – the Luxury Collection family, in December 2009 and stands tall among them, with its strong commitment towards the conservation of nature, wildlife and environment with green standards and practices.
In the ensuing posts, I will tell you more stories about their Coral Conservation project, the amazing Jala Restaurant where fine sands sift through your feet as you dine, the rejuvenating V Botanical Spa and other offerings that are available in this beautiful resort. There are lots of interesting activities to get busy with or you can just laze away the hours, doing nothing.
Right now, I just want to put up my feet, sit back and take in the magic of the place where time seems to stand still. This is one place where, when you close your eyes, you can listen to the natural orchestra of the forest inhabitants… and maybe, if you listen more intently, your senses may just reverberate with the pulse of ancient heartbeats, from millions of years ago. I can’t wait to tell you more
Jalan Teluk Datai
email: [email protected]