I don’t generally write hotel reviews, but the wonderfully relaxing time I had on the Malaysian island of Langkawi was almost entirely down to the place I called home for five days, the sumptuous but very friendly Casa del Mar.

IMG_1478As the name suggests, the hotel has a Spanish flavour and is right on the gorgeous white sand beach at Pantai Cenang. Langkawi has plenty of stunning beaches and is one of Malaysia’s more popular destinations, not least because it’s duty free. But it’s quite a big island, so there’s plenty of space for both locals and visitors and it’s not nearly as developed as nearby Thailand.

IMG_1468At the Casa del Mar the rooms certainly have plenty of space and outside each there’s a private patio or balcony. The staff are plentiful and can’t do enough for you, whether its bringing refreshing fruit and frozen lollies to your beach or pool side sunbed, or discreetly doing the turn down service. And the food must be some of the best in Langkawi. Breakfast is ordered off menu and cooked to order, while the La Luna restaurant offers top notch dining, either served in your room or at a table on the beach – a bit dark but perfect for a romantic dinner for two. And there are cocktails too at La Sal, the hotel’s bar with both beach and pool views.

IMG_1481There are plenty of other places to eat nearby too. The Orkid Ria is practically next door and has a huge tank of fish to choose from, though we decided to opt for a fillet that had already met its maker. Or if you fancy a change from Asian cuisine, Red Tomato which is 10 minutes further along the Pantai Cenang strip serves up some cracking pizzas.

IMG_2316As Langkawi was the last stop after a busy 10 days seeing different parts of Malaysia I didn’t venture too far from my sunbed, but for those who’d not been elsewhere it seemed you could get a flavour for the country with trips into the jungle, mangrove forests and to a waterfall. Plus in Pantai Cenang itself there was an underwater world filled with marine creatures and Laman Padi, an eco tourism complex with rice paddies and water buffalo.

There’s also plenty to see under the sea with diving and snorkelling trips to the Pulau Payer Marine Park.  And there are island hopping tours to check out some of the smaller islands in the Langkawi archipelago.

LangkawiOr, if like me, a bit of rest and relaxation is more what you’re looking for, then there are some beautiful spas to choose from and a fair bit of duty free retail therapy on offer. Of course, that’s only if you can drag yourself away from the Casa del Mar, which definitely lived up to its name and felt like my very own luxury home by the sea.

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