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Should You Splurge On A Luxury Langkawi Resort Now? Here's What You You Need To Know

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Atiqah Mokhtar  •  Jun 28, 2020

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 Langkawi is one of Malaysia's most beloved holiday destinations. Now that the country is re-opening following the transition to RMCO, many residents are contemplating a trip to Langkawi for their first real getaway since the MCO period began. Resorts and hotels are eager to start welcoming guests, and many are offering special deals to kickstart domestic travel again. Given the promotions happening, this may be that special opportunity to stay in one of Langkawi's top tier luxury resorts! You know the ones - places like The Datai, The Andaman and a few others that are known for being luxury vacation havens with prices that are beyond reach for many of us 😅 But while room rates are definitely lower, as we navigate through this post-MCO period, it can be a little confusing as terms and conditions change and new rulings are announced by the government regularly. If you're thinking of splurging on a luxury resort stay, you probably have questions like is it worth it? How much discount would you be getting? Is there a catch? To answer these, we did a check of all the famous top-tier resorts in Langkawi - here's what you need to know before booking that stay.  To note, the resorts we looked at are:
  • The Datai
  • The Danna
  • Four Seasons Langkawi
  • The Andaman
  • Westin Langkawi
  • The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi
  • St. Regis Langkawi
1. Are all these luxury resorts open at the moment?
Following the MCO period, many of Langkawi's resorts were affected and suspended operations temporarily. Currently, all the luxury resorts we looked at are already operating or will be resuming operations by 3 July 2020 at the latest (Four Seasons Langkawi).
2. Are all these resorts offering discounts? How much?
All of the resorts in our list are offering special promotion packages of some kind, however, there are many different variations being offered. We have a detailed summary of the promos being offered at the end of the article, but to sum it up:
  • You can find discounts between 30% all the way up to 75%, but it depends on a number of factors - including when you book and stay, the individual hotel as well the exact room you choose - see our recommendations at the end along with our detailed summary!
  •  St. Regis, The Ritz-Carlton, The Westin and The Andaman which all fall under Marriott Group of hotels are currently offering a standardised 30% off Standard room bookings and up to 40% off Suite bookings for stays between now until 31 May 2020. Based on the latest updates, bookings for this deal have to be made by 30 Jun 2020 (i.e. today!), but we'll update further if they extend the promo! 
  • The biggest deals, not surprisingly, are for stays within the next 3 months. But some of the resorts also have other promotion tiers, usually offering slightly higher room rates in exchange for flexibility (either for stays at later dates, or for the option to cancel or modify your stay).
  • The Datai is positioning its biggest promo for the next 3 months towards Malaysian residents - you'll need to provide your IC details or proof of residence to take advantage of the promos. However, they are concurrently running other promotions that target other visitors at a slightly higher rate (also with more flexibility).
It's also worth noting the government-sanctioned discounts for visitors to Langkawi in the next few months:
  • For stays between 15 March – 15 September 2020, Kedah State Government will waive the Langkawi Tourism Promotional Fee (which goes up to RM9 for the luxury hotels)
  • The tourism tax of RM10 per person is fully exempted by the government from 1st July 2020 – 30th June 2021.
2. Will the pool and other facilities be open to guests?
 One of the major factors of staying at a luxury resort is making use of all the facilities - and with the recent restrictions in place, many who are currently exploring hotel deals are often left wondering whether all hotel facilities will be accessible when they visit, especially the pool! Based on the latest updates, swimming pools including those at hotels and resorts are allowed to operate from 1 July, subject to guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs). However, it's worth noting that this will also be subject to the respective resorts' execution of the SOPs - how guests experience the pool and other facilities like the spa, gym and so on may differ according to each resort and the processes they set moving forward. Based on our checks online, all the resorts' facilities will be available to guests from 1 July 2020, though it's worth clarifying with the resort on what the exact guest experience will be for when you visit if you're curious!
3. Is there a catch on any of the deals being offered?
 So with all the price-slashing happening, it's natural to wonder if it's too good to be true. Well, we've found that there are certain things you always need to be aware of when booking these deals, as the fine print often differs from hotel to hotel: 
  • Booking and staying periods: Always double-check the purchasing period and the staying period for the deal you're eyeing. As mentioned earlier, all the Marriot hotels (The Andaman, Westin, St. Regis and The Ritz-Carlton) are currently offering 30% off room rates for purchases until 30 June 2020 for stays up until 31 May 2021. Alternatively, The Datai and The Danna are offering the biggest deals on room rates for purchases in the next couple of months for stays up until 30 Sep 2020.
  • Freebies: Do note that other freebies thrown in may also differ - some resorts include free room upgrades, free breakfast, F&B and spa vouchers on top of the discounted room rate.
  • Check for blackout dates: These are dates where the promos being offered won't apply. It usually applies to holiday weekends (such as the upcoming Raya Haji long weekend) and other peak dates, but you should always double-check with the resort you're looking at for any other blackout dates.
  • Cancellation and modification policies:  Most of the resorts we checked offered free cancellation up until 24 hours before your stay, but again, you want to double-check this in case of unforeseen circumstances and have to change or postpone your stay for whatever reason! 
  • Minimum night stay: Certain deals offered may only apply to guests that book a minimum 2-night stay
  • Booking sites may still offer cheaper room rates: We found that for certain resorts (Four Seasons, The Andaman, The Westin and St. Regis) - it was much cheaper to book off of sites like Agoda - but do check the fine print again carefully (taking into account the above factors) for any differences.
4. Should I go for these deals? Which deal should I go for?
After going through each of the promotions currently being offered, it became clear that which promo you should go for depends on a few things, such as whether there was a specific hotel you wanted to stay at, whether you're looking for the cheapest deal by absolute value or the biggest savings/value-for-money deals. We've summarised the biggest and most significant deal each of the resorts offering below for you to peruse, but some key observations to help you out are as follows:
  • For those looking for the cheapest rooms in absolute value: The Danna has the best deal with rates starting from RM488 net. We also felt it offered the most freebies out of all the resorts (with free room upgrades, breakfast, and discounts for F&B and spa services), with good flexibility on cancellations. 
  • For those looking for that villa experience with a private pool: Based on our search, St. Regis had the attractive offer, with pool suites going for as low as RM1,250 (on Agoda), followed by The Westin (from RM1,955 on Agoda).
  • For those looking for the biggest bang for their buck: We felt that The Danna, The Datai and The Westin had the biggest discounts particularly for their middle-tier rooms (ranging between 50 - 70% off regular prices), within the next three months.
 Overall, if you've ever wanted to stay in an ultra-luxury resort in Langkawi, this will be an opportunity unlike any other to save on the amount you'd otherwise have to pay. While we particularly like The Danna's clarity on its promotion and the things included, we do note that there are great deals to be had at all the resorts, especially if you've always wanted to stay at any one of them in particular! At the end of the day, it really depends on what you're looking for in your luxury resort experience, and what you're comfortable with paying. The key is to be thorough on reading the terms and conditions as well as doing some research beforehand, so you can be fully informed when you book your awesome stay! 
Summary of the current key promos for the resorts
Do note that some of them are offering various promotion packages - we're highlighting the biggest ones below, though do feel free to browse their websites to see the other packages! The Danna: Hot Summer Sale
  • Rates from RM488 nett (staying period until 30 Sep 2020), RM688 nett (staying period 1 Oct 2020 - 20 Dec 2020)
  • Booking period: From now until 31 Aug 2020
  • Staying period: Until 30 Sep 2020 for RM488; Between 1 Oct 2020 - 20 Dec 2020 for RM688
  • Inclusive of:
    • Free breakfast
    • 30% F&B voucher
    • 20% manicure, pedicure and facial treatments
    • Complimentary upgrade to the next room category (applicable for bookings up to Marina room category only, and subject to availability)
  • Can also buy now, determine stay dates later.
  • Cancellation policy: Cancellation at no charge up to 24 hours before arrival
The Datai: Villa Staycation (for Malaysian residents only -  Valid Malaysian ID or proof of residence required for booking and check-in)
  • Rates from RM990+
  • Booking period: Not specified on the website
  •  Staying period: Until 30 Sep 2020 
  • Inclusive of:
    • Breakfast for 2 persons
    • Complimentary upgrade to next category (guaranteed for an upgrade from Canopy Deluxe Room, while for other rooms it will be subject to availability at the time of arrival
    • 15% discount on F&B
    • Complimentary minibar (snacks and beverages)
    • Complimentary guided nature walks
    • Complimentary stay for children (below 12 years old, maximum of two per room)
    • Complimentary meals for children when dining with adults (below 12 years old)
  • Cancellation policy: Cancellation with no charge up to 24 hours before arrival
Four Seasons Langkawi: Restart 2020 With Four Seasons
  • Rates from RM2,450 on their website (however, we note that we found cheaper rates from RM1,920 on Agoda)
  • Booking period: Not specified
  • Staying period: 3 Jul 2020 - 30 Sep 2020
  • Minimum stay of 2 nights required (though again, we note that we could book at the lower rate on Agoda for only one-night stay)
Marriott hotels (The Andaman, St. Regis, The Westin and The Ritz-Carlton): Reserve Now, Indulge Later
  •  30% off Standard room bookings and up to 40% off Suite bookings across all participating hotels (this is based on Marriott's standard current offer for all its Malaysian resorts). Based on checks on their respective websites, room rates started from: 
    • The Andaman: From RM540
    • St. Regis: From RM1,250
    • The Westin: RM550
    • The Ritz-Carlton: RM1,120
  • Booking period: Until 30 June 2020 (based on latest updates - will update if extended!)
  • Staying period: From July 2020 till 31 May 2021.
  • Cancellation period: We noted that cancellations differed amongst the resorts - for example, Ritz-Carlton's cheapest rates on their site (RM1,120) was for a stay where cancellations aren't allowed after 1 day from booking. For the rest of the resorts, cancellations were allowed up to 1 day before arrival.
  • Similar to Four Seasons, we found cheaper rates on Agoda for The Andaman, St. Regis and The Westin (for less flexible cancellation policies):
    • The Andaman: From RM491 on Agoda (no cancellations allowed)
    • St. Regis: From RM980 on Agoda (cancellation only allowed within 1 day after booking)
    • The Westin: From RM500 on Agoda (cancellation only allowed within 1 day after booking)