Now the summer holidays are in full swing, you and the brood can swap Singapore’s smoggy shores for the wild open spaces, exotic jungles and white-sand beaches of Malaysia. Boutique travel experts Mr & Mrs Smith present three fab Malay stays you’ll be begging to book for the big school break. The only problem you’ll face is persuading the kids – and yourself – to leave these beguiling boltholes and board the plane back home…
Style Tropical Bornean luxe
Setting Jungle-strewn Gaya Island
The paradisiacal surrounds of Bunga Raya in Sabah flaunt a white powder beach and five-star views of the South China Sea framed by a verdant rainforest backdrop. An exhaustive range of watersports will keep the kids engaged.
Sleeping Book into a Two-Bedroom Deluxe Suite, which has an outdoor deck and either an outdoor Jacuzzi and shower or private plunge pool. Alternatively, the Three-bedroom Deluxe Suite, a two-storey villa with a master bedroom upstairs and two matching bedrooms below, has a dreamy hilltop location that’s somewhat secluded from the rest of the resort. Baby cots are free and extra beds for older children cost RM350 a night.
Activities All non-motorised watersports are free so kids can snorkel, kayak and paddleboard to their heart’s content (jet skiing and banana boating are also available for teenagers). Daily activities for children can be arranged, including art sessions, cookery classes, treasure hunts and simple sandcastle building. Older kids will get a kick out of zip lining, jungle treks and the resort’s forest canopy walk. The hotel also offers free entrance and guided tours to sister property Gayana Eco Resort’s Marine Ecology Research Centre (it’s 2km away), where little Smiths can head to the touch pool and feel the hard shell of the horseshoe crab, gape at giant clams and participate in coral planting activities.
Feasting Children are welcome in both the resort’s restaurants: the beachside Pantai Grill for barbecued meats and seafood, and all-day dining spot the Koi, where highchairs are provided and staff can prepare baby food or milk. If a picnic is more your thing, packed lunches are available for sunny beach eats or shady jungle dining.
Sassy savings Book with Smith to enjoy best available rates inclusive of full breakfast, scheduled deluxe speedboat transfers from/to Jesselton Point Wharf, all non-motorised watersports and entrance to Gayana Eco Resort’s Marine Ecology Research Centre.
Style Multi-culti Malay villas
Setting Minutes from the beach
Set in a former coconut plantation, Langkawi ’s Temple Tree is an eclectic mix of Chinese, Malay, Indian & Eurasian architecture and artefacts, with mangroves and beaches on the doorstep.
Sleeping Several of the villas can be hired as a whole including the Colonial House, which is made up of four separate spaces with five bedrooms sleeping up to 10 – great if you’re travelling with extended family. Some rooms include their own private outdoor garden and all are elegantly appointed, with antique tables and cabinets sitting alongside contemporary soft furnishings. Cots, baby baths and rollaway beds for under-12s can all be provided for free.
Activities Animal lovers can head to the Langkawi Animal Shelter and Sanctuary Foundation (LASSie) – located up the road at the property’s sister resort Bon Ton – which welcomes young helpers to pet its cats and walk its dogs. Dotted with coconut trees and casuarina, Pantai Cenang is one of Langkawi’s most renowned stretches of sand and just a few minutes’ drive away from Temple Tree. The beach is home to Underwater World Langkawi, Malaysia’s largest aquarium, where harbour seals, rockhopper penguins and the Amazonian arapaima – the largest freshwater fish in the world – will leave little ones open-mouthed. Pantai Cenang is also a good spot for Malaysian mementoes such as batik prints and handicrafts.
Feasting Serving up steaks and sea bass plus walnut brownies from its poolside location, the Straits Club Restaurant & Bar offers a children’s menu; highchairs and heated milk can be provided on request.
Sassy savings Book with Smith and you’ll get a welcome cocktail (lime margarita) each. Cheers!
Style Jungle for the jet-set
Setting Ritzy rainforest retreat
Monkey around at this alluring rainforest getaway in Langkawi, where roaming macaques act as entertainment and the Andaman Sea provides a stunning backdrop.
Sleeping Stay at the two-bedroom Datai Suite, which boasts panoramic vistas over the rainforest, a kitchen and dining room with space for eight if you fancy a night in, plus a spacious sandstone balcony for sea and stargazing. Encircled by rainforest and exotic blooms, the two-bedroom Beach Villas offer direct access to Datai beach plus an enclosed outdoor garden with dining area and 12-metre pool. Under-12s stay free.
Activities Book in for batik painting or a refreshing nature walk around virgin rainforest, or simply borrow a bucket and spade for sandcastles on Datai. If the kids are feeling restless, head out to nearby Langkawi Crocodile Farm (it’s a 20-minute ride away), which houses crocs and alligators plus a feeding pond for some snappy action. Mums and dads can take it in turns to tee off at The Golf Club Datai Bay, a 19-holer 3km from the hotel that’s ranked among the top 10 courses in Malaysia.
Feasting The Dining Room serves Malaysian and Western favourites from roti chennai to short ribs; the Beach Club offers kid-friendly fare such as pizzas. Situated in the heart of the rainforest, Gulai House serves up Malay and Indian dishes including beef rendang and chicken tandoori. Children’s menus are available.
Sassy Savings Book with Smith and help us celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Datai with 20 per cent off spa treatments and dining (for stays of two nights or more)
Locate cool kid-friendly stopovers globally by visiting www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 800 905 326.