The idyllic Four Seasons Langkawi luxury resort is now even easier to reach. Langkawi has 13 direct flights from Singapore a week, and international airlift will be boosted by Air Asia‘s direct flights from Guangzhou, four times a week from January 24th, 2016 – add to this number nearly 200 flights a week domestically, from around Malaysia. The resort is ready. Designed in 2005 by Lech Bunnag, the 90 rooms, which include 20 idyllic beach-set villas, are being ‘coloured’ by Bill Bensley. Exterior walls will now match the blue of the midday sky, and the tempting waters of the Andaman Sea just a few yards, over white sand, from your villa. What, asks the gal, could be a better stress-busting place than this?
There are many Bill Bensley touches. I think of the silver cherubs he has put round outdoor swimming pools at St Regis Bangkok – funnily enough it is harder to remember his touches at The Siam Bangkok, partly because its owners are such eclectic collectors that first memories there include displays of old cameras, typewriters and a hotchpotch of memorabilia that Krissada Sukosol Clapp, better known as rock singer Noi of Bakery Music, has bought up at flea markets. Here, at Langkawi’s top luxury hotel, villas are not only blue outside but, within, there are hints of blue, say covers for your entire set of Collier’s Encyclopedia, a painting over the bedhead that can be completely obscured by pulling across a ceiling-high screen – and adorable chairs with sewn-on leather motifs of monkeys.
Mr B likes themes. There is also a monkey statue high on a shelf in the bedroom-living room of the 2,400 sq ft villa, as if he is looking down and watching as you make an espresso with your CBTL Caffitaly machine, to relax out on your WiFi-enabled terrace while reading about the Dreyfus Affair, thanks to Collier’s. But it is too tempting. You have your private pool right there, you have city-bikes to explore the resort, which is more than a mile from end to end. You have a gym, and a geo-centre, and marvellous naturalist Aidi Abdullah to fill you in on the UNESCO heritage around. Why not try rock-climbing, or kayaking through mangroves, or visit the Ernie Els golf academy only 20 minutes away? Alternatively, why not just stay here, and soak up the view. You have a ringside seat watching paragliders and – as in the big image above – X-jet bladers, soaring high over the water.
Like Bill Bensley, I also love themes, and here bento boxes are a reminder of bento boxesinYangon, a few days ago, and the first time I tried the then-new eight-seat Sushi Sora restaurant on the 38th floor of one of Mitsui Fudosan‘s luxury hotels, Mandarin Oriental Tokyo. Here, however, I am down at ground level, with Andrew and Francette Harrison. Our toes metaphorically dip in the white sand. The bubbles in our flutes are pink, the bento box holds an assortment of pink sashimi, cream tempura and brown wagyu strips, and we look at blue, the sea, the sky and villa 23 – with pale green, of an umbrella, to complete the palette.