When seen on a map, the creamy hued colonial-styled Danna Langkawi seems to be located in the middle of nowhere on the southwest side of Langkawi island. And yes it is a little way from the bustle of Cenang Beach.
Yet for many the slightly out-of-the-way location of this whitewashed building with its beachside location, sheltered harbour, tropical landscape and mountainside backdrop exudes that elusive sense of footloose escapism that many seek.
A large yet tranquil central courtyard has lush greenery and fish ponds and feels luxuriously expansive and spacious as does the high ceilings and wide areas of the lobby and walkways that lead to the restaurants, bar and shops.
Wide doors open to a huge beach facing infinity pool that has a large jacuzzi, a quiet area and a children’s area.
They say that “Danna” means gift in Sanskrit and when on arrival (after 14 hours of flight travel) I was offered a hot towel, a shot of clove apple juice to down while enjoying a five-minute shoulder massage, then on check-out we were given a small box of chocolates as a goodbye present, that description feels about right.
The two red Ferrari’s and a couple of dazzling sports cars that were parked outside was testament to the type of deep-pocketed clientele that stay here. There were a few hand-holding couples as well as young families. There were no kids running around – perhaps they were in the colourful well-kitted kids room.
There are 125 spacious rooms arranged over four floors around a central courtyard. There’s a welcome bowl of fruit and bottled water waiting in the room. Decor is a colonial theme with wood-floored rooms huge double dark wood four poster comfy beds, beige walls and a plush ensuite marble bathrooms.
There’s also a shutter that can be opened between the bathroom and bedroom – handy for watching the 42 inch TV from your bubble-bath moment in the deep roll top bath. There’s also two sinks and a separate rainfall shower with a wood panelled floor and fabulous water pressure. Of course there are high-end bespoke toiletries which includes a toothbrush and toothpaste.
All rooms have an espresso maker, a balcony, a ceiling fan and air con. The difference between them is the view which could be the courtyard, the mountains or over the pool and sea.
There are also 10 villas – nine are one-bedroom and one two-bedroom – that offer yet more luxury. These are single-floored villas reached by passing under canopy of tropical leaves and flowers to reach the front door. This opens up to a living room with floor to ceiling windows and a massive 42 inch smart TV and a mini bar whose contents are included in the price and restocked daily.
Floors are marble and glass doors open to a lushly hemmed infinity pool – big enough to swim in. From here it’s a few steps directly onto the beach.
The bathroom is top notch and a free standing bath sits aside a glass wall behind which is a luxurious garden.
The villas also have a private massage or spa treatment area for two. Combined with 24-hour room service, Smart TVs with Netflix, doors to an infinity pool and the beach, you could be tempted to just enjoy day long in-villa chilling.
The Danna has a superb spa and I headed there almost immediately for a 90-minute deep pressure Malay Urut massage to eke out the jet lag stresses. This started in soothing surroundings with a foot soak in a copper bowl and a choice of three oils to be used for the full body massage. I chose lavender. It was such a good decision. There are plenty of other treatments on the menu from reflexology to hot stone too.
The infinity pool – they say it is the largest on the island – has shallow sections, jacuzzis, kids’ area and poolside service. It is surrounded by cabanas, beanbags, sofas and sunbeds and thanks to its shape and size there are some nooks and crannies that offer seating suitable for whispered conversations.
Just beyond that is an immaculate private beach that offers a wide hem of soft sand underfoot. There are loungers, cabanas and sadly, just one hammock, that I never got to try.
There’s also a snooker room and a games room.
Food and Drink
It is always a bottomless Champagne breakfast in Planters restaurant. And yes, some do start the day slightly sozzled – no bad thing if there’s a lazy day on the beach ahead. This heady experience is accompanied by a fabulous breakfast spread including pastries and noodle dishes.
Dinner is also served at Planters. The menu is eclectic with Indian Thalis, Asian dishes, chateaubriand and even pizza.
The Danna wants to give off a colonial feel and at the pretty Strait’s & Co restaurant they serve an afternoon tea, with traditional scones jam and cream and Malay themed wraps.
The Terrace is a stylish pool side restaurant whose piece de resistance must be the Sunday roasts complete with Yorkshire pudding.
There are two bars, one is by the pool and you can sip your tipple on a lounger. This is especially nice at sunset.
The Verandah bar is a classy lounge style bar with a piano and in the evening we enjoyed cocktails and gin and tonics and complimentary snacks. There’s Happy Hour between 5 and 7 each night and most evenings there is live music. After a couple of Long Island Teas, we even got up to dance.
Room service is available around the clock.
Yes, and it’s free and super fast wherever you are in the hotel.
Grand Merchant seaview rooms start from £275 per room per night which includes the champagne breakfast.
1 bed villa start from around £575 per night for the entire villa and includes the mini bar which is refilled daily.
Just a ten minutes away is the SkyCab – the island’s cable car. It’s a sheer mountainside climb to the top and the views are superb.
A 20 minutes’ ride is all it takes to get to Cenang where there are plenty of duty-free shops offering everything you can think of.
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A 30 minute drive takes you to the famous SkyBridge that is accessible from the Oriental Village, and Seven Wells Waterfall best seen from a frighteningly high zip wire tour the the rainforest.