Royal Langkawi Yacht Club Hotel- Special Edition

Two Rainy Days in Langkawi…Again!

Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah, Malaysia's and Southeast Asia's first established geopark located in the far northwestern corner of Peninsular Malaysia, adjacent to the Thai border. Over the centuries the island has become a Mecca for warriors, pirates and seafaring travellers alike, so is it any wonder Langkawi has become synonymous with Sailing, the premier Yachting destination for the region and an established host of some of the world’s most recognised nautical challenges.

 Photographer:  Warren Biggs

Photographer: Warren Biggs

With 99 islands it is the perfect cruising ground for yachts of any size. It is then only fitting that the island is DUTY FREE. As a serious tourist destination, this was recognised by the then and now prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who sort further development and is closely associated with the Langkawi cable car project which was first mooted in 1999 by the then Prime Minister. More recently, the plan is to further promote Langkawi and turn this area into a new small ‘Monaco’ of the East to bring more high spending tourists to the island.

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Not only has Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad been instrumental in the development of the island but he and former prime ministers Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, both honour the Royal Langkawi International Regatta since it’s 2003 inaugural event. The Royal Langkawi Yacht Club that hosts the International Regatta, is the brainchild of Melewar Group's Y.A.M. Tunku Tan Sri Abdullah whose passion for sailing led him to build a structure that is today a home away from home for sailors and regular patrons alike. RLYC was designed and built to blend into the natural coast line and landscape of the island. It’s imposing yet elegant structure is shaped to resemble a ship’s hull pointing towards the open sea and houses the main clubhouse. I found the interior of my suite to be formed out of that same essence too but more on that later. The club has positioned itself at the forefront of the rebirth of boating in Malaysia and has built an award-winning marina which now offers 250 berths for yachts of which six are for super yachts up to 80m. With this much at stake a sea wall was built in 2002 to offset the problems of waves from increasing ferry traffic to the island.

The club’s first structure has since made way for the all new Fisherman’s Wharf, to meet the increasing tourist demand on the area and the hotel. The RLYC now houses many and varied local businesses that cater for the tourist and often with a focus on sailing. There was a definite sense of expansion and a feeling of building in process, when I was there. As well as a number of F&B outlets, you can find the Langkawi Sailing School, Sunset Cruise, Ivory Street - A Premium Yacht Cruise where you can enjoy luxury cruises in the Andaman sea at an affordable price, or upscale to Dream Yacht Charter - allowing customers to set sail across international borders with full control over the skipper and chefs on board. Whilst the Royer Club provide luxury yachts to charter, like the Cartivia;

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I photographed moored, the RLYC run the Mantablu Cruises with a 57-foot long catamaran. And then there’s Black Pearl; a parlour on hand for reflexology and spa treatment.The Hotel itself comprises of 44 rooms plus 2 new luxury suites. Whilst their Seaview rooms - with or without balcony - and Executive Suite are certainly very popular, General Manager Tayfun Koksal, is keen to tell me the 2 newly built rooms The Admiral Suite and the Presidential Suite (Admiral suite had just been finished), aim to rival Hotels on the Island that hold a 5-star rating - at least price-wise, the RLYC is incomparable to. However, this may all change if it’s likely to get popular.

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The staff of the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club Hotel, decked out in uniforms that wouldn’t look out of place on a Luxury yacht, were kind and affable and brought me to the big double doors entrance of the Admiral Suite where I was to stay. Opening up to a Dedicated Dining area for entertaining; where a party of guests could dine privately, catered by the choices of F&B tenants on offer at Fisherman’s Wharf -La’Paq Ayaq Cafe, Charlie's Bar & Grill, Scarborough's Fish and Chips, Jake's Charbroil Steaks, or Barbosa Pizza.

The suite has 3 rooms, each with large ensuite bathrooms and 55 inch TVs. As well as a shower, the bathroom in the master bedroom separates off to house a deep bath; which I find to be a welcome addition, especially if you’ve been out on a boat and experienced a downpour. A kitchenette with breakfast bar and a Nespresso machine - gotta have! A full compliment of visual entertainment across popular platforms such as Amazon Prime and Netflix; to name few, watched on a huge curved screen TV - serving as a focal point of a sumptuous lounge area. Whilst the master bedroom leads out to a balcony overlooking the marina, large enough to entertain a small party hopping in and out of a jacuzzi.

Sadly it rained the entire trip, from the moment I stepped off my Air Asia flight, at times, very bad. So I couldn’t get to try the Ferry services to neighbouring Koh Lipe. Or The Langkawi Cable Car, also known as Langkawi SkyCab, being one of the major attractions in Langkawi, it is purported to be the highest in Asia and links up to, SkyGlide, Langkawi Sky Bridge, SkyTrail and affords a view of the Seven Wells (Telaga Tujuh) waterfall - a pleasant experience with wonderful views in fareweather. The few hours of light left in the day, after the rains was spent with a Spanish guy lamenting the fact you couldn’t do the SkyDive or soar through the treetops with Umgawa. The lively tourist draw of Cenang Beach and Pantai Tengah was a mere 30 minute drive from the Yacht Club but I was left to experienced this in the evening.

So what is left to enjoy when the rains stop play? DUTY FREE Shopping! If you’re flying back to KL like me, then you’re going to find that disappointing if you’re buying booze. No, I know from experience that Langkawi is topically picturesque and I love the character of some of the kampung houses. So I went on a photographic tour but with the light fading, I realised I would have enjoyed another day, where wet weather and landslides can try to stop me. To rub salt in the wound; 1 hour before my flight, Langkawi bloomed into a sunny oasis. So there you have it, if life was the open sea, time could be the wind that carries you or the waves you battle.

 Credit: Warren Biggs  Photo Courtesy: Warren Biggs

Credit: Warren Biggs

Photo Courtesy: Warren Biggs