Most spa resorts are so cookie-cutter that once you check in, it’s hard to tell if you’re in Krabi or the Maldives. Not so at the new Four Seasons Langkawi, tel: (60-4) 950 8888. The design of this resort has a very Malaysian sense of place and incorporates elements from the country’s Muslim heritage. Arabic tiling turns the large bathrooms into approximations of Turkish hammams. The resort has gorgeous views of the Andaman Sea, and all its airy rooms open on to covered balconies.
The main restaurant, Ikan Ikan, is housed in a recreation of a limas, or traditional Malay home, and serves fresh seafood alongside Mediterranean pastas, bouillabaisse and linguine. Serai (meaning lemongrass) is the hotel’s other dining option and works rather better, with a repertoire of Indian, Chinese and Malay dishes. If you overindulge, the spa offers body wraps, steam rooms and herbal baths. The urut melayu�a traditional Malay massage�is a specialty, as is the Earthlight Ritual, which features a ginger scrub and a massage with heated jade, obsidian and other stones. Not quite as soothing�but not bad considering the luxury on offer�are the introductory room rates, which start from $410 a night until Sept. 15 and include a free night for every two consecutive nights purchased.