This year, as we commemorate 30 years of The Datai Langkawi, we also celebrate the age-old rainforest that has nurtured us. Over millions of years old, this primeval forest has been the source of our inspiration, and one which we have endeavoured to respect and protect. When we first opened our doors to guests in 1993, we set out to create a luxurious sanctuary, with experiences in nature, culture, dining and wellness, as peerless as the spectacular natural surroundings that inspired it. We derived our hospitality style of warmth and authenticity from the generosity of nature and the multi-cultural harmony of the people of Malaysia.
Forging a thriving symbiotic relationship with the rainforest, mangrove and ocean as well as the wildlife of Langkawi Island, was the centrepiece of the resort’s vision and its creators, the late visionary architect Kerry Hill and interior designer Didier Lefort. Utmost consideration was given to ensure minimal impact to nature: trees were felled sparingly and those removed were used in construction or replanted. The biophilic design concept aimed to foster a closer connectivity with nature.
When the resort was refurbished in 2017/2018, this vision was further advanced under the design leadership of Didier Lefort. We improved the sustainability of our operations and introduced zero-waste facilities. We created The Lab, a hive for sustainable craft workshops, and The Nature Centre, hosting nature-immersion experiences. We also launched The Datai Pledge in 2019, a ground-breaking conservation and sustainability programme, working hand in hand with like-minded NGOs and the local community.
To augment our signature dining experiences, we introduced The Chef Series, gastronomic events hosted by the world’s most talented chefs. This year also marks the launch of Serenity – The Datai Well-being Series, with a curated line-up of residencies by celebrated wellness practitioners.
Arnaud Girodon, General Manager of The Datai Langkawi summarizes the resort’s ethos: “Heraclitus, the ancient Greek philosopher, wrote that the only constant in nature is change; ‘you can never step in the same stream twice’. Yet there are values that have endured since the advent of mankind: nature’s power to heal and regenerate, the strength and shared wisdom of community, creativity’s potential to innovate and connect, and the desire to leave a positive long-lasting impact for future generations. In a world of constant change, we have sought to uphold these values, and our commemorative activities around nature, culture, dining, and wellness embrace them.”
Read more about the celebrations planned around our anniversary below.
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Kicking off celebrations from 10-19 March, Chapter 1 of the anniversary celebrations will be feted under the theme of ‘Celebrating our Community’. Green Growth Asia Foundation (GGAF), NGO partner of The Datai Pledge, will host presentations and games facilitated by volunteers working with the foundation, highlighting the risks of climate change and microplastics. Guests will also be invited to join artists the resort has partnered with over the years including community project partner KanshaLife to learn about their craft during interactive workshops. Malaysian fashion brand Kapten Batik, who have partnered with The Datai Langkawi previously on an exclusive Capsule Collection, will host a pop-up at The Boutique to showcase their new 2023 Lebaran Collection.
Another highlight is the launch of the interactive gallery along the resort’s main corridors, showcasing photographs by the award-winning photojournalist SC Shekar who is a pro bono contributor to The Datai Pledge. The exhibition ‘The Grandeur of Monochrome Malaysia’ poetically captures the natural beauty of Malaysia and its indigenous people. Along with this gallery, The Datai Langkawi will host an exhibition about the resort’s origins and development throughout the years at The Lobby, detailing the construction process and inspiration behind the resort, as well as the full refurbishment that carefully preserved The Datai’s DNA in 2017/2018.
The chapter will conclude on 18 March with an artisan food festival at The Gulai House that will showcase cuisine from Langkawi prepared by the resort’s culinary team as well as representatives of the local community, accompanied by traditional Malaysian live entertainment.
Please click here for the programme of our Chapter 1 Celebrations
photo courtesy of SC Shekar
Commemorating the best in fashion, craft and dining, The Datai Langkawi has invited renowned fashion designers from Malaysia for a series of events, including Alia Bastamam who launched a capsule collection inspired by her stays at The Datai Langkawi as part of her Resort 2023 collection named Oasis, and Malaysian fashion brand Kapten Batik who collaborated with The Datai Langkawi on an exclusive collection inspired by the resort’s leafy brand pattern in 2022. Items from both of these collections will be available at The Boutique during Chapter 2, and Kapten Batik will showcase their art in dedicated batik painting workshops.
Guests will be able to meet representatives of the wider artisan network of the resort, brought to Langkawi by Dia Guild, and try their own hand at new creative skills. A variety of pop-up events and artisan-led workshops throughout the week will include open mic nights for local musicians, poets and entertainers, and artisan’s workshops will be offered at The Atelier, The Beach Club and The Lab.
For the closing event on 1 July at The Beach Club, dedicated pieces by local brands will be showcased in an elegant fashion show, all available for purchase throughout Chapter 2 at the resort. To accompany this parade of local fashion and creativity, the resort’s Senior Chef de Cuisine, Chai Chun Boon, whose technical mastery combined with his experimental flair has thoroughly impressed guests with his distinctive degustation menu since his appointment in 2022, will be paired with two outstanding culinary talents from Malaysia in a six-hand showcase to serve an innovative menu to guests.
Commemorating our unique natural setting and raising awareness of the work of our partner NGOs, Chapter 3 of our celebrations will host a range of workshops, talks and nature excursions.
Sessions will be led by 'Wildlife For The Future' pillar partner Gaia, a social enterprise dedicated to the conservation of wildlife, and especially the increasingly endangered hornbills; and by 'Fish For The Future' partner MareCet, the only NGO in Malaysia focused on marine mammal conservation that conducts ongoing research in the waters around Langkawi on its populations of Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins and other cetacean species; their decade-long efforts have since led Langkawi to become internationally recognised as an IUCN Important Marine Mammal Area. Save Wild Tigers, the global tiger conservation charity, will end their Malaysian Odyssey 2023 at the resort, while celebrated wildlife photographer Peter Ong will showcase some of his stunning captures in an exhibition and guide guests in bird watching excursions, and famed, passionate naturalist Irshad Mobarak will impart his wisdom on the challenges Langkawi faces as an island historically rich in biodiversity.
The chapter will conclude on 29 September with a sophisticated fundraising gala event featuring live performances, dining hosted by a star guest chef from the region, and a live auction with proceeds going to Save Wild Tigers and The Datai Pledge.
photo courtesy of Eric Martin
We will commemorate the finale of our anniversary celebrations with a compendium of events around dining, nature, craft, and culture. In addition to a variety of artisanal bazaars, showcases and workshops, guests can also join the inaugural ‘The Datai Classic’ golf tournament at the resort’s award-winning 18-hole course, The Els Club Teluk Datai.
The year-long celebrations will conclude with a gala event on 16 December, featuring the return of Michel and Sébastien Bras, holders of a combined five Michelin stars at Bras and Le Suquet in Laguiole, France, who also honoured the grand re-opening of The Datai Langkawi after the refurbishment of 2017/2018 with an exclusive dinner for guests. The evening will see surprise guests who will entertain with live performances and a fundraising auction with all proceeds going to programmes under The Datai Pledge.
photo courtesy of William Watt