Temple Tree

Pantai Cenang, Langkawi, Malaysia Book from Book from £146 per night

Stylish living history at this delightfully different heritage project on Malaysia's beautiful Langkawi island
Temple Tree is a dream for architectural students; for the rest of us, a beautiful, unique haven. The concept? A collection of classic Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian houses from all over Malaysia, painstakingly reassembled, and divided into 20 rooms and suites. Owner Narelle is the brains behind neighbouring Bon Ton Resort, and the execution of this living museum is spot-on.

Each house maintains its own character and Narelle’s eye for interiors is evident in bold colour schemes, which effortlessly blend antique pieces with modern flourishes. It's a fascinating insight to traditional Malaysian living, with the bonus of excellent service. Communal life centres around the beautifully laid-out 90-year-old Straits Clubhouse with its restaurant, games room, library and bar. The houses are arranged down a ‘main street’ where saplings sway in the breeze, leading to one of the resort's 2 swimming pools. Hit the beach for sunbathing or watersports; hire a car to set your own island agenda. Or stay put - the houses are so delightful, you might not want to leave.

Highs

  • Lovely peaceful location, away from Langkawi's 'main strip'
  • Spectacular antique houses - spacious, colourful and wonderfully comfortable - ideal for families or groups of friends
  • Plenty of special touches: bright sarongs in your wardrobe, enticing Chinese wooden bathtubs, snacks and sundowners served poolside
  • Double showers, with the water running through the wooden slats below, feel simultaneously luxurious and simple
  • The excellent Bon Ton restaurant is just next door for Malay specialities

Lows

  • The beach is a 20-minute walk
  • Continental breakfasts are fairly basic but more exciting cooked options are available from the clubhouse at extra cost
  • It's relatively expensive for the area but truly one of a kind
  • There are lots of cats at the resort. If you have an allergy, let staff know and they will ensure animals are kept out of your house
  • Due to the wooden floors, noise can carry between rooms within the same house

Best time to go

Peak season is December to March, when the weather is typically dry and sunny, though it is consistently warm (around 30C) all year. Rain is possible in any month but the official wet season is September to November. Even during the monsoon, the rains tend to come in sharp bursts, usually during the afternoon or at night, with sunshine for the rest of the day.

Our top tips

Stay 3-4 days here to just absorb the resort’s atmosphere, or use it as a base for a 2-week exploration of Langkawi. Consider hiring a moped (the hotel reception can arrange) to explore the island's best beaches or visit the Temurun Waterfall where you can swim in the clear water. Roads are quiet and easy to navigate.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Foodie
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • Boutique Resort
  • 20
  • Restaurant + bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Snooker Table
Room:

Rooms

Each of the houses has its own identity and together they tell quite a tale of Malaysian architectural history over the past century.

We loved the red and black luxe of the Chinese House (2 units), and the meditative greens and blues of the Penang House (2 units). The stately 1920s Colonial House (4 units) would be great for large gatherings, as would the Plantation House (6 units) with its generous living space. A former longhouse, Estate House (5 units) has high ceilings with thick wooden beams. Our favourite though was the Black and White House (1 unit), set on stilts, with stained-glass shutters that let in the breeze during the day and filter light in the evening.

The suites share common characteristics: lots of authentic antique objets - vases, lacquered boxes, intricately carved furniture and woven tapestries, sofas littered with bright throw cushions, wide firm beds in pristine white cotton, a large DVD-only television (satellite TV is available in the Clubhouse), double rainfall showers and a quirky wooden bathtub, some in atmospheric outdoor bathrooms.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Cots Available
  • DVD player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mosquito net
  • Safe box
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast, left in your fridge overnight, can be enjoyed at your leisure. Different homemade breads and cakes are offered daily, with butter and jam, yoghurt, bottled juices and fresh fruit. Each suite is equipped with a toaster and tea- and coffee-making facilities.

The Straits Club, located in the Clubhouse, serves lunch and dinner, as well as cooked breakfast options. Expect Western and fusion dishes. For example, our big breakfast was an impressive spread of eggs, a lamb roll, a beef patty, fried potatoes, caramelised onions and chilli jam. For dinner, tuck into tasty 5-spice roasted chicken with cashew nut rice, or try the hot and sour mango salad. There’s also a bar; frozen daiquiris and margaritas come highly recommended.

Guests are also welcome at the widely acclaimed Nam restaurant at neigbouring Bon Ton Resort for lunch and dinner. The dining area is extremely atmospheric in the evenings, with soft lighting, colourful textiles and a warm summer breeze drifting through.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Hire a car or moped and explore the north of the island - the beautiful mangrove swamps are an unmissable ecological highlight
  • Drive up to Gunung Raya, the highest peak on the island, to hang out with the hornbills and enjoy great views over the rice fields and Kuah Town
  • Ride the Langkawi Cable Car and take in the Telaga Tujuh waterfall - particularly spectacular during the wet season
  • Go island hopping across the 99-island archipelago - take an organised tour or charter your own bumboat
  • Walk to the beach at Pantai Cenang, for sunbathing, jet-skiing, waterskiing, windsurfing, parasailing, snorkelling or kayaking; fishing trips and diving can also be arranged
  • While away a few hours by one of the 2 pools or book a yoga class through the hotel
  • Animal-lovers can visit or help out at the on-site animal sanctuary
  • Try incredible street food one of the island's many markets - be sure to come hungry!

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga

Kids

Children are more than welcome and will love the gardens, pool and animal sanctuary. We think teens may not be as enchanted by the set-up as their younger cohorts and parents.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Plantation 1 has a double and a single room, while Black and White House, Penang 1, Colonial 4 and Plantation 3 & 6 have a double and a twin bedroom, Plantation 5 has two double beds. Chinese 1 has two single beds, and Chinese 2 can also take an additional child on an extra bed. Penang 1 and 2 can interconnect to make a 3-bedroom, 3 bathroom house

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement

Baby listening:

Baby monitors are available on request

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chair
  • Baby bath

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

A kids menu is available

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming
  • Dog walking
  • Games and second-hand book library in the Straits Club

Kids Activities nearby:

  • The beach is a 20-minute walk
  • Nature walks
  • Cable car ride to the island's peak
  • Watersports

Distances:

  • Airport: 10 minutes
  • Hospital: 20 minutes
  • Shops: 25 minutes
Kid Friendly:

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