After my year of teaching English in Hong Kong, all I wanted was a break. I was exhausted. Officially burnt-out. I needed something to help me come back to life, as well as renew my desire to live. Okay, okay, so I may be exaggerating a bit here, but it’s not too far from the truth. Working in Hong Kong is draining!
The day after leaving work, I jumped on a plane for Malaysia, ready to be restored and rejuvenated.
I found exactly what I needed at Langkawi’s Temple Tree Resort.
|Heaven on earth: Temple Tree’s main pool|
A perfect blend of guest house and luxury villa, Temple Tree is comprised of eight stunning heritage homes rescued from around Malaysia. Every villa was painstakingly numbered and disassembled piece by piece, then transported to their current site in Langkawi before being resurrected to their former glory. Each home’s history is recorded and shared with the guests of Temple Tree, adding heart and soul to their stay. The structures are architecturally unique, and all interiors are styled with Asian antiques to preserve the look and feel of the home, as well as tasteful modern touches to add to the charm. I found the results simply stunning!
|My own little piece of paradise: Temple Tree’s 1920s Colonial House|
The beautiful 1920s Colonial House I stayed in was originally from Georgetown, Penang, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built by wealthy Arab goldsmiths, Colonial House offers two individual rooms downstairs and two large suites upstairs for guests to enjoy. Alternatively, the entire house can be rented by large groups.
|The communal living room inside Temple Tree’s Colonial House|
Upon entering Colonial House, I was greeted with an enormous sitting room with large windows. I loved the amount of sunlight flooding in! The perfectly suited interior decor made the space feel like both a living museum and an inviting place to take a rest and relax.
|The foyer of Colonial 3 at Temple Tree|
I had no idea what my suite would look like, and I was already falling in love with Colonial House, but when the double doors of my Colonial 3 suite were opened into this foyer, my heart skipped a beat! Look at that antique wrought-iron umbrella rack! It was exquisite! I knew I was in store for something truly breath-taking as I continued upstairs…
|My breath was stolen away by Colonial 3 at Temple Tree|
True to expectations, Colonial 3 did not disappoint. In fact, I dare say that Colonial 3 far exceeded all expectations and from my impression from the umbrella rack (please scroll up and take another look at that beauty!), those expectations were high! My goodness, if this isn’t a piece of paradise, I don’t know what is!
|Detail of antique Chinese cabinet inside Colonial 3|
I absolutely adored every thing about Colonial 3! From the antique Chinese furniture, to the color scheme, to the open airiness of the multiple windows, to the distressed leather couch, everything was just perfect!
|The double showers inside Colonial 3|
Colonial 3 extended further to reveal a double shower bathroom with tiles that matched the downstairs landing. It’s hard to convey the emotion I felt at this point, particularly at a shower and toilet of all things, but the amount of care and quality of renovation that went into this restoration was quite moving. I almost needed a moment to regain my composure.
|Further paradise found in the form of double wooden baths in Colonial 3|
Oh, but it gets better! Adjacent to the double showers awaited the a pair of Japanese-style wooden baths. If I didn’t already feel like I was in a perfect paradise, I knew I would be once my bath was drawn. As the only suite in Temple Tree to boast adjoining baths, it’s easy to understand why Colonial 3 is popular favorite among honeymooners.
|Sarongs for personal use during your stay at Temple Tree|
After settling into the room and trying to get used to this incredible mix of luxury and charm, I marveled at some of the finer details of the room and noticed the little, thoughtful touches designed to make my stay at Temple Tree as perfect as can be. I found two batik sarongs hanging in the closet for use during my stay; ideal as a cover-up for the pool as well as post-bath.
|Temple Tree’s protection from pesky mosquitoes|
There’s a cabinet full of anti-mosquito protection available for guests in the rooms. Handy items for someone like me since mosquitoes seem to seek me out to their bellies’ content while my companions sit undisturbed throughout the evening. Best of all, just before sunset, members of Temple Tree’s staff prepare the rooms for their nightly battle with the tropical insects.
|Breakfast is served, cat not included|
To allow guests the option of enjoying a lazy morning (and who doesn’t love a good, lazy morning while on holiday?), Temple Tree discreetly leaves guests a breakfast of homemade cakes, fresh bread, yogurt, fresh fruit, juice, coffee and tea in their refrigerator at the end of each night. Simple, but the feeling of an unhurried morning was pure luxury.
|Temple Tree’s helpful pool caddy|
The thoughtfulness of Temple Tree included a wicker basket to help you organize and carry pool items. Such a seemingly little gesture, but this act speaks volumes in how much Temple Tree is concerned with your holiday being as comfortable and easy as possible.
In addition to all the minor details that Temple Tree put into their suites and rooms to promote ease and comfort for their guests, they also provide a multitude of other readily available items to help make your stay extra special. Yoga mats, tripods to capture those special moments, binoculars and a bird guide to help you recognize the surrounding wildlife, and even prepared picnic baskets should you decide to explore outside the grounds are among some of the extras that Temple Tree has on hand for their guests.
|Temple Tree’s second pool|
But, let’s be honest. There is little reason to ever leave the grounds of Temple Tree. There are two stunning pools available within a short walking distance of the magnificent suites for you to while away the hours! Trust me, it will be hard to tear yourself away from the tranquility of the pool areas! An additional plus? The pool towels smell divine, like tropical coconuts and lime!
|Indo-Dutch fried rice at Temple Tree’s Strait Club House|
Leaving Temple Tree in search for good food is also an unnecessary endeavor as delicious meals, served both in the local style, as well as Western, can be found at the Strait Club House (itself a magnificent 1920s colonial mansion originally built for a Eurasian family). A daily happy hour encourages guests to get to know one another, while a weekly dinner with wine pairing offers a tasty meal at a reasonable price. The chef is also available to create dishes upon request to celebrate special occasions.
|Temple Tree’s inviting reception room inside Strait Club House|
Perhaps the most enchanting aspect of Temple Tree is the quality of service. As soon as you enter the reception area of the Strait Club House, you are immediately treated like an old friend by Temple Tree’s cheerful and personable staff, all of whom incredibly, already know you by name!
|One of many adorable cats from LASSie, taken with Instagram|
Pushing Temple Tree’s charm factor up several notches are the loveable dogs and free-roaming cats from LASSie (Langkawi Animal Shelter and Sanctuary Foundation), a passion project of Temple Tree’s owner. An astounding 50% of Temple Tree’s proceeds goes directly to this worthy cause for neglected and abused animals in Langkawi. As someone who’s not usually a fan of cats (they creep me out with their stealthiness), I was won over by the adorable cats that sought my company during my stay.
|The pool at Bon Ton, taken with Instagram|
Guests of Temple Tree can also enjoy the amenities at neighboring Bon Ton Resort, which is operated by the same owners, including yet another beautiful swimming pool, a bar and lounge, as well as a private dining room overlooking a picturesque lagoon.
|Nyonya Platter at Nam Restaurant, taken with Instagram|
Bon Ton Resort also houses the Nam Restaurant, one of Langkawi’s premier eateries. The extensive menu of local favorites and innovative fusion cuisine was enough to keep this food-lover more than happy. I enjoyed two meals at Nam and absolutely loved the food, including the well-portioned dessert plates!
|Happy and content at Temple Tree, with my new friend|
In this hurried and hectic world we live in, it’s easy to get lost and forget to enjoy life. Temple Tree was the perfect solution in reminding myself why it’s important to slow down and relax; pet an affectionate cat, sleep in, enjoy a lazy breakfast, and lounge by the pool for hours on end, getting up only to take a quick dip in order to cool off.
Life at Temple Tree is life as it should be, and I truly didn’t want to leave. Unfortunately, I had to, but when I did, I was rejuvenated and ready for what else life had to offer me.
|Pineapple mint tea from the Strait Club House|
My last bit of advice? Try the pineapple mint tea! I promise it will cool and refresh you like nothing else on a hot day!
Visit Temple Tree’s website, for more information and to make your reservations on-line.
*Disclaimer: My stay at Temple Tree was sponsored by the hotel, but all opinions are an accurate and honest view on my experience there.
© Connie Hum 2012