Six of the best: Malaysian hotels and resorts


Malaysia is one Asian destination that can offer exceptional value, with the 300-room Hotel Majestic an affordable retort to Singapore's fabled — and pricey — Raffles. Majestic by name and majestic by nature, the whitewashed hotel, which opened in 1931, was sensitively restored in 2012 with the addition of a separate 15-storey tower. But it's the original five-storey art deco wing with a restaurant, bar and tea lounge, that most entices. Although a little remote from the action (or what poses for it in sober KL), Hotel Majestic is located opposite Kuala Lumpur's tired though magnificent old Moorish-style railway station, which itself could do with some restorative love. Rooms from Malaysian Ringgit 395. See 


Malaysia's resorts offer none of the ostentation of their Thai and Indonesian counterparts, which is integral to the appeal of The Datai​. Located in the archipelago of Langkawi, off the north-west coast of Malaysia, and with southern Thailand visible from the lobby, The Datai​ is low-key luxury par excellence. Nature is paramount with the resort nestled in dense jungle festooned with all manner of wildlife including dusky leaf monkey and the rare colugo flying lemur. Be sure to book an excursion, such as a three-hour sunset cocktail and canapes cruise, aboard the Naga Pelangi, the resort's newly-chartered traditional Malaysian junk-schooner. Rooms from MYR 1900. See


Conveniently-located a mere short fast-boat road from Kota Kinabalu, the tranquil capital of the Malaysian Bornean​ state of Sabah, the 121-room Gaya Island Resort is a sister property of the two Majestic hotels in KL (above) and Malacca (below). While the hotels rely on their heritage to attract guests, this resort is all about tropical hedonism in a languid natural setting. On most days guests at the resort, set on an island within the Tunku​ Abdul Rahman​ Marine Park, can watch the sun rise and set over Mount Kinabalu, at 4095-metres southeast Asia's highest peak, from their plush hillside villas. Rooms from MYR800. See


One of southeast Asia's oldest and most celebrated colonial hotels, the E&O, as it's inevitably known, is located in George Town, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed capital of the island state of Penang. In 2013, the hotel added a 122-room high-rise annexe — a bit tastefully on to the side away from the heritage wing — just in time for the establishment's 130th anniversary.  The hotel, which opened three-years before Raffles Singapore, is close to George Town's vibrant World Heritage zone with its multitudinous preserved traditional shophouses, many of which now host fashionable restaurants, cafes, bars and galleries. Rooms from MYR 581. See


An authentic, and welcome, oasis in the midst of an increasingly busy southeast Asian city, Villa Samadhi is situated in the middle of Kuala Lumpur's subdued diplomatic district. Except for the occasional glimpses of surrounding high-rise buildings you could be ensconced in some Thai island boutique resort. The 21-rooms, across no less than seven categories, are set around a lagoon-style crescent-shaped swimming pool. If you're at the airy restaurant overlooking the pool, tucking into an excellent breakfast, you may see a houseboy exercising Hercules, the owner's angulated 20-plus kilogram pet tortoise From MYR 594. See 


Malaysia boasts not one but two captivating former ancient maritime trading town, namely George Town and Malacca, both of which were simultaneously World Heritage inscribed by UNESCO 2008. The former city boasts a superior range of the hotels than the latter, but, then again, Malacca does host this charming 54-room sister property of the Majestic KL. Fronted by the former 1920s mansion of a Chinese businessman, the main accommodation is located in a discreet tower at the rear with faux though attractive colonial rooms. The mansion, which also serves as the lobby, bar and restaurant, features original porcelain flooring, teak antique furnishings. Don't miss the delicious Nynonya​ cuisine lunch served in the bar. Rooms from 352 Malaysian Ringgit. See

Anthony Dennis was a guest of Tourism Malaysia and the hotels and resorts. See