Langkawi, Malaysia, may not have the cachet of its island counterparts in Southeast Asia but that’s an advantage. An island where people live and work, it offers culture, gorgeous beaches and a slate of active pursuits. And, to sweeten the pot, the best boutique hotels in Langkawi – all bookable on Culture Trip – include Malay-style villas, grand colonial escapes and ultra-secluded retreats.
Taking over an imposing, landlocked structure near Langkawi airport is The Smith House. The 75 rooms at this hotel in Langkawi feel modern and stylish, with flourishes of brick and individually-styled furniture. A rooftop pool with views of verdant Langkawi provides an impetus to go outside and the convenient location makes it easy to access just about every part of the island.
The stylish Bon Ton Resort takes the form of eight uniquely-styled Malay villas, relocated here from different parts of the country. They’re spacious, comfortable and fitted with quirky antique furniture are utterly charming. The villas are linked by an inviting swimming pool, and you can savour exotic pan-Asian and nyonya cuisines with delectable desserts at the in-house Nam Restaurant.
An artsy retreat across from Tengah Beach, Lot 33 Boutique Hotel in Langkawi offers a unique stay on this Malaysian island. Rooms have heaps of space, including private balconies, and attractive, almost minimalist, contemporary furniture. There’s an inviting pool but the main draw might be the buzzy in-house restaurant and location, a short walk to the beach.
Scale a steep, jungly hill to this clutch of diverse lodgings that almost feel like luxury treehouses. From this top hotel in Langkawi, it’s a five-minute walk to Pantai Tengah, one of the lesser-known beaches in Langkawi, or you can stay in-house passing the time at the spa or joining a northern Malay cooking lesson using ingredients from the retreat’s organic gardens. A pool and a charming cafe overlooking the greenery round out the offerings at Ambong Ambong.
La Pari-Pari has a suburban vibe – in a good way. Located just off Tengah Beach, it has 12 whitewashed bungalow-based rooms, each with a private courtyard. It’s only a brief walk to the beach, and a generous selection of eating, drinking and nightlife. Best of all, La Pari-Pari ticks a number of eco-friendly boxes: rooms at this Langkawi boutique hotel are lit by low-energy bulbs, grey water is naturally filtered and reused, and edible herbs and plants are grown in the grounds.
Located on a peninsula at the edge of the island’s Unesco-recognised geopark, Tanjung Rhu Resort is one of the more well-positioned places to stay in Langkawi. Make good use of the spot and book one of the many natural excursions, perhaps a romp into the mangroves or a day of eagle spotting? This Langkawi beach hotel’s 136 rooms – modern, comfortable and, not surprisingly, granting terrific views – are also steps from a 2.5km (1.5mi) long white-sand beach.
Located a 10-minute walk from the crowds of Pantai Cenang, the buzziest beach on the island, is the Telaga Terrace Boutique Resort. This romantic hotel in Langkawi unites 26 cosy, warm-feeling rooms and suites strategically positioned around an inviting pool. The overall vibe here is homely and low-key, a pleasant contrast to the busy atmosphere beachside. A dinky courtyard swimming pool is a good place for a cooling (and peaceful) dip.
Follow a windy, hilly drive through almost impossibly thick jungle to arrive at what might be the most secluded hotel in Langkawi. The main structure here seemingly melts into the hillside, spilling down to a private, cove-based, white-sand beach. Accommodation here ranges from spacious rooms in the main structure to beachside, pool-equipped villas, with nature and isolation a common thread.
This is an updated version of an article written by Lu Yin Wai.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.