A colonial style building reminiscent of the Raj-era beautifully located near a marina and nestled amidst vedant green hills surprises us as we reach The Danna Langkawi. It was a four-day beach holiday that we had planned of which first two days were spent at another popular Langkawi resort- The Westin. The check-out process at Westin that wasn’t smooth or prompt had left us a bit worn-out even though our half holiday was done.
The service at The Danna Langkawi lifted our holiday spirit again. We were greeted by smiling, enthusiastic staff dressed in English-style. Instead of making us queue up at the counter, the way we had to at our previous resort; we were offered a luxurious coach, welcome drink and a relaxing back and neck massage right there. The check-in was done.
ROOMS: We had booked the Viceroy room, which was a few categories above the basic Merchant room. The four poster bed, a sliding door dividing the spacious bath and bedroom, balcony overlooking the pool and the beach-view made our stay delightful. It was a nice break from the assembly-line rooms that chain hotels offer.
FOOD: The Danna Langkawi had got it all right, including the design and interiors that were minimalistic, classy and inspired by the colonial era. It’s English-style cafe, Straits & Co is perfect to spend afternoons sipping champagne and chatting with your travel companions while you get ample light from the French windows. If you are ever there you must try their square shaped pizzas and Mango and Avacado salad. The food is sure to tantalize tastebuds of globetrotters who prefer world cuisine.
A hearty buffet breakfast at its multi-cuisine restaurant, The Planter’s, made our morning pleasant. The main restaurant, also open for lunch and dinner, offers an extensive menu. We spent evenings at The Verandah, its bar that had live band. The adjoining cigar room aptly called Drawing Room is nice and cosy. The Wine Cellar too is impressive. High ceilings, chandeliers and an antique piano in the middle of the room add to the royal charm and experience.
BEYOND ROOMS: The hotel also has a beautiful infinity pool, private beach (though you must go and enjoy the popular Chenang beach), spa, billiards room, games room, library and a play area for kids. Its al-fresco poolside restaurant was my favorite holiday spot. The Spa offers traditional and western treatments, its nicely designed and offers a spectacular view.
At The Danna, the personalized service touched us. We were a group of four and at all times we were addressed by our first names (correctly) and the staff walked that extra mile for every demand we made. It offers free wi-fi to all guests, which many luxury hotels still don’t! The Danna Langkawi is perfect for a couple getaway.
The only hitch, the hotel can be too Brit and strict at times, unlike a resort property. Breakfast is served till only 10:30 AM and last dinner order is taken at 11PM. Like a typical Indian holiday maker we reached the dinner table only at 10-40 PM and were made to rush with our order by the staff. In trying to be classy the hotel has forgotten that after all it is located in Langkawi, a leisure holiday destination where holiday makers come to relax, away from regular deadlines of the mundane life. So why impose one on them?
THE VERDICT: Overall this boutique hotel deserves five stars for its elegance and service, offering a memorable experience to its guests. It did rejuvenate us and made us forget about the lax service at The Westin. This brings me back to my oft-repeated point that chain hotels can be run-of-the-mill and impersonal lot of times. Boutique hotels on the other hand offer a refreshingly different experience making it a memorable vacation. About time international hotel biggies take a note.