My immediate impression upon stepping out of the reception at Casa Del Mar Langkawi is wow! In front of me is a sparkling blue pool, surrounded by sun loungers and umbrellas. After a short strip of grass and tall palm trees begins the beautiful white sand, with more sun loungers lined up, sloping down to the gentle sea lapping on the shoreline. Off to the left is the open air dining and bar area. While on both sides stretch the warm terracotta red walls of the buildings, housing a mixture of beach front and sea view suites and rooms. All 34 rooms are just a short stroll from the pool. Even the current haze in Malaysia cannot detract from its charms.
Note: This hotel doesn’t not allow pets
A boutique hotel on the island of Langkawi, situated in Malaysia’s north west, Casa Del Mar is located on the popular, west-facing Pantai Cenang beach. It’s also just a 10 minute drive from the island’s international airport. Meaning “home by the sea” in Spanish, it’s luxurious but feels like home, as evidenced by the many repeat visitors. It’s so hard not to immediately relax upon arriving. And very tempting to just drift between the pool, sea and dining and bar area.
Allow Plenty of Time for Breakfast…
Each day starts with an veritable abundance of food for breakfast (included with all internet bookings). I’ve previously come to recognise the superiority of a la carte breakfast options over the traditional breakfast buffet at fancier resorts, and at Casa Del Mar both are available. There are about 20 a la carte options, divided into Western, Asian and Vegetarian/Gluten-free menus. Inside is the main buffet, offering cereals, breads, pastry, yoghurt, nasi lemak and more. Plus outside is a covered stand where you can select your preferred fruits, and have it brought to your table.
Make sure you allow at least an hour to leisurely feast on breakfast and rest your stomach. I highly recommend my favourite, the blueberry pancakes. The thick, fluffy, blueberry-filled pancakes are served with maple syrup, cream and drizzles of chocolate on the side. Later in the day, return to the same area for an extensive lunch menu, including everything from burgers to noodles. Plus there’s an afternoon tea set menu, including sandwiches, cakes, tea or coffee and fruit.
…and Don’t Miss Out on Dinner on the Beach
Most evenings, on the edge of the sand, small tables and chairs are set up for romantic candle-lit dinners on the beach. After enjoying a few cocktails in the pool-side bar, make sure you splash out at least one night on a three course dinner. It’s MYR 150 (about $34 USD) per person for three courses, excluding drinks, but it’s far removed from the typical street food in Malaysia. Fine dining and Malaysia influences are married together, with the menu largely dominated by local seafood.
Entree options include spicy giant prawns or a tuna tartare. For mains, I order the seafood of the day. It’s a generous portion of pan fried cod fish with a grapefruit glaze, along with mash yam potato, fried prawn wonton and a spicy tomato capers salsa. Alternatively, select the Malaysian Pallet, a platter of many traditional Malaysian dishes. It includes a tender beef rendang, plus chicken, fish and prawn curries, along with biryani rice, salads and Malaysian-style pappadums. For dessert the banana fritters are enough for two. Or just savour a simple bowl of coconut ice cream. There’s a varied choice of wines available by the glass (about 12 in all), mainly for around $5 USD per glass. Plus there’s an extensive list of cocktails and beers.
Exploring the Resort’s Surroundings
Alternatively, one of the benefits of staying at Casa Del Mar is that you can easily sample the other restaurant and bar options along the Pantai Cenang stretch. It’s not a remote resort where you have to take a taxi everywhere. There are two main roads to choose from: the actual street running parallel to the beach plus the beach itself that stretches for 1km south to the next headland.
Along the street are mainly small roadside stalls and cafes, generally cheap and traditional. They’re intermixed with stalls selling a mixture of t-shirts, dresses, sunglasses and souvenirs. Along the beach are more western style options, such as Yellow Cafe, plenty of beach bars serving cocktails and beers on the beach, plus The Cliff Restaurant above the water on the headland. It’s also along this stretch during the day that you can hire a jet-ski or go on a parasailing or island trip.
The Final Luxurious Touches
From the moment you arrive at Casa Del Mar, it’s many of the little things that most add to the feeling of luxury on your stay. The cool towel and refreshing ginger and lemonade drink on arrival. Gigantic bath sheets in the bathroom (which actually includes a separate bath) and a loofah in the shower. Freshly ground tea leaves and a teapot in your own room, plus a tray of tropical fruit. A towel rail outside for drying your swimmers. A hollowed coconut shell with holes in the bottom to rinse the sand off your feet. Returning to your room after dinner to find soft music playing and an oil infuser lit to perfume the room.
But the stand out is probably the friendliness of everyone, so that you too will feel like this is your home. Heck, even the beach vendors hiring jet-skis wish you a nice day after you decline again!
Considering a stay? Check out the latest specials on the Casa Del Mar website.
Note: The author paid for her stay at media rates.
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