the datai story


More than two decades have passed since The Datai Langkawi was born. A homage to the visionary work of the architect Kerry Hill, it all started with the discovery of the Datai Bay: a view so breathtaking, Kerry Hill fell instantly in love when he was on a site visit with fellow architect Didier Lefort. 

The magic of the Datai Bay was both – inspiring and intimidating. Entering a 10-million year old wilderness, secretly wondering whether moving one single stone may be a blasphemy, realizing that the only way to build a resort in this mesmerizing setting is by honoring the nature! 

Kerry Hill’s proposal to set the main building on a forest ridge 40 meters above the sea level and 300 meters back from the ocean was initially met with bewilderment. Surely, a seafront resort with a direct ocean view would attract many more visitors?! But Kerry Hill stood his ground, determined to preserve the pristine beauty of the coastline and to unveil the hidden treasures of the rainforest.

Rather than employing heavy machinery, trees were felled by trained elephants and the wood re-used in the construction. And where a clearing had to be made, new trees were planted immediately. A truly visionary approach at a time when green initiatives and sustainability were not even part of our vocabulary!

The choice of construction materials was aligned with the architecture’s vision to give the resort a primary sense of belonging to the jungle. 
While defined by her physical environment, The Datai Langkawi is also deeply rooted in history, celebrating the Malay , Chinese and Indian cultural heritage.

Featured in a myriad of lifestyle publications and coffee table books, the iconic property received in 2001 the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, inspiring the work of fellow architects worldwide. But those who truly appreciate The Datai Langkawi’s breathtaking beauty are the guests who keep returning year after year, unable to resist her eternal charm.


getting there

The Datai is a 40-minute drive from the Langkawi International Airport, which is 20 kilometres west of Langkawi’s main town, Kuah. Directions can be reached via Waze and Google Maps
Major carriers that fly to Langkawi include Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Firefly, Malindo Air, SilkAir and Tigerair. Daily flights connect Langkawi with Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Singapore. The flight time between Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi is one hour, Singapore and Langkawi is 1 hour 35 mins.
Departure points for visitors who opt to travel by boat or ferry to Langkawi are Kuala Perlis, Kuala Kedah and Georgetown. Visitors from Thailand may also depart via ferry from Satun or Koh Lipe.

While in Langkawi, the Resort offers both vehicle rental and chauffeur services. Maps are available at the concierge desk, and our concierge team will be pleased to assist you in planning a trip around the island.