Style: Multi-culti Malay villas
Setting: Minutes from the beach
Rooms: Eight Malaysian heritage houses, including 14 rooms, of which six are suites.
Facilities: Pool table, library of books, magazines and DVDs, free WiFi throughout, computer/printer for guest use. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD/CD player, iPod dock, toaster, fridge, Thann toiletries.
In the know
Several of the villas can be hired as a whole house – great if you’re travelling with the family. The Colonial House, for example, has five bedrooms, sleeping up to 10. For smaller groups, book Colonial 4 Suite, the upstairs part of the Colonial House, which offers two bedrooms, with a king-size bed in one room and two single beds in the other, sleeping four. It also features a living space and two bathrooms, with a wooden tub and shower.
The hotel has a stash of board games for sedate entertainment, but nature walks and mangrove trips can be arranged for outdoorsy fun. The animal sanctuary next door is always happy to receive helpers and will allow youngsters to take care of its cats and dogs. Pantai Cenang beach is just a few minutes’ drive away if the kids tire of the hotel’s pools.
There are two pools: the smaller one (57-feet long), shaded by palms, is best for a cooling dip. Sandwiched between a magnificent century-old Chinese mansion and a stout banyan tree with a small temple at its base, that gives the resort its name, the larger pool (110- feet long) is ideal for laps. Both pools have shallow ends, and there is a stash of armbands, inflatables and pool toys.
The Straits Club Restaurant & Bar seats 22, including outdoor tables by the pool, and builds on neighbouring Bon Ton’s gourmet reputation. The emphasis here is on straight-up western and fusion dishes. Both Straits Club and Bon Ton’s nearby Nam restaurants offer a children’s menu and highchairs, and kids are welcome any time. Packed lunches and heated milk can also be provided on request. All bedrooms have a fridge, so baby milk can always be kept chilled.
Fancy a romantic dinner at Bon Ton restaurant – minus the kids? Arrange babysitting for RM10 a child an hour (book a day in advance). Smith members can also enjoy a free welcome lime margarita each at Temple Tree.
To book a child-friendly Smith stay visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 800 905 326. What’s more, if you sign up as a Smith member, you can enjoy exclusive offers at more than 850 hand-picked hotels around the world.