Our recent trip to Kuala Lumpur was the epitome of tropical jungle meets business-class luxury. Think palm trees and room service, balmy breezes and heated bathroom floors, meat on a stick and lunch served poolside on a silver platter. As the boyfriend spent the days bustling from one meeting to the next, I kept myself entertained in the wonderful playground-for-adults that is the Mandarin Oriental. But when the pool, gym and spa got “boring” (which didn’t happen, but what if…), there was always the lush tropical utopia of the City Centre Park which sprawls before the palatial hotel. With its fountains, lakes and full outdoor track (which I jogged around everyday), the park provided the perfect outdoor escape… (as if one needs to “escape” the plush palace of the Mandarin Oriental, but again, what if…).
But amongst all this verdant lavishness, we were still able to catch a taste of the city’s true authenticity when friends of ours, who have been KL residents for the past 5 years, took us out for some traditional Malaysian eats at a local outdoor spot. Here the satays were spicy and delicious, the Tiger beers cold and the grilled steaks exquisite (and cheap!).
And then it was time for us to say goodbye to this 4-star jungle and return home to chilly Shanghai…or was it? In an unexpected turn of events, we suddenly found ourselves on a small plane flying first class to the Island of Langkawi off the Malaysian coast. Our new diggs? A little ole’ place called “The Datai.”
Langkawi Island is basically a slice of paradise floating in the Andaman sea. And the Datai…well, this place puts a whole new spin on “4-star jungle.” Located inside an ancient tropical rainforest, this resort intertwines nature and luxury so seamlessly that one can peer at the monkeys swinging from the treetops via the comfort of one’s king sized mahogany bed with 1,200 Egyptian thread count. I know this because it’s exactly what we did.
And for the tree-huggers out there (and at this point in the environmental crisis, we should all strive to be one), the Datai isn’t just an upscale cash-cow carved right out of the rainforest to the detriment of its natural inhabitants. Taking the utmost care and precaution (like using herds of elephants for construction rather than noisy trucks and polluting machinery) the Datai has created the delicate balance where nature and man can meet in an eco-friendly environment. It’s just that man might be sipping on a cocktail in his bathing suit while doing so.
After sunset meals on the beach, monkey spotting from our hotel room, and dips in 3 different pools and the Andaman sea, it was time for us to say goodbye to our jungle with room-service and return home to chilly Shanghai…or was it?
Well, this time it really was. But we’ll always have the memories of this wonderful, luxurious vacation in which I popped into the jungle for a few days and didn’t chip a nail. 🙂 Photos coming soon.