Malaysia is an unexpectedly family-friendly travel destination, and not just because of Legoland and the Skybridge connecting the world’s tallest twin buildings. The country’s Langkawi region — with its stunning waterfalls, hundreds of exotic bird species, and UNESCO-endorsed geopark — is a dream for travelers of all ages. We recommend taking a ride up Mt. Mat Cincang on the Langkawi SkyCab — the steepest cable car ride in the world — for panoramic views of the rain forests and the crystal-clear sea. We also recommend these 10 hotels, the best in the area for families with children.
The Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, Malaysia is a five-pearl property where the vibe is harmoniously balanced between romantic and family-friendly -- there are intimate beach dinners and an adult-only pool, but also kids' pools, a kids' club and playground, pony rides, rock climbing, and an educational discovery center. The resort is not near Langkawi attractions, but it is self-contained, with restaurants, bars, tennis, ping-pong, and a private beach with volleyball and water-sport rentals. Four Seasons offers bike tours through a village and rice paddies, and is a 10-minute drive to the Durian Perangin Waterfall, which is a nice spot for a picnic, and a 10-minute boat ride to the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park mangroves. The rooms are luxurious Malayan-style pavilions with flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and terrazzo bathtubs.
The family-friendly Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa, Langkawi is set on a 35-acre beachfront property near the airport. Its 355 rooms are housed in traditional wooden Malay chalets with lovely porches, flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, free bottled water, and free Wi-Fi. Beachfront Family Rooms have additional day beds and are located the lagoon pools, one of which has a kids' section. There is also a themed kids' pool with slides and water fountains, as well as a children’s playground, an indoor playroom in the Kiki Klub, and mini-golf.
The Andaman, A Luxury Collection Resort is a 178-room resort on a private beach in an ancient rain forest. The powdery stretch of sand in front of the resort -- which National Geographic named the ninth best beach in the world in 2011 -- has lounge chairs shaded by trees and a water-sports rental shack. Tropical landscaping surrounds the lagoon pool, which features a yellow slide and a kids' pool, and there is a coral nursery with snorkeling. Educational excursions for children are available at the Young Explorers Club, and the hotel also offers day and night nature walks for all guests. The simple, elegant rooms come with 32-inch flat-screen TVs, DVD players (there is a DVD library on-site), iPod docks, and free bottled water.
The 412-room Berjaya Langkawi Resort - Malaysia is an upscale family-friendly resort with a rain forest setting and direct beach access. Spread out over the property are several international restaurants and bars, two tennis courts, water-sports shack, playground, kids’ club, and PlayStation 3 game room. The outdoor pool and kiddy pool are incorporated into the rain forest with palm trees, waterfalls, rock formations in the hot tub, and a swim-up bar. Guests of all ages are drawn to the recreation room, which has pool tables, ping-pong, foosball, and darts. The secluded forest location is near the Langkawi Cable Car, with access to mangrove paths, sports facilities, and various outdoor activities. Bike rentals are available. Modern suites and chalets have flat-screen TVs, minibars, patios, bottled water, and free Wi-Fi. The property is significantly less expensive than others in its class, though many rooms and facilities could use a refresh.
Couples are the main clientele at The Danna Langkawi, Malaysia, but with plenty of kid-friendly amenities, like a kids' club and pool, families come here, too. The resort's private beach features cabanas, loungers, and sand volleyball, while the breathtaking three-tiered infinity pool is complemented by the children’s pool, outdoor hot tub, and poolside dining. The Danna's kids' club features scheduled activities and games, plus babysitters are available for a fee. Amenities in the colonial-style rooms include flat-screen TVs, kettles or Nespresso machines, minibars, and free Wi-Fi.
Offering a true resort experience, Tanjung Rhu Resort offers a stunning beach, three grand swimming pools -- all with shallow areas for kids -- tennis courts, water sports, a kids' club, and babysitting. Multiple dining venues and happy-hour specials at the pool bar receive rave reviews, plus all rates include a varied buffet breakfast. Tanjung's 136 sleek rooms have furnished balconies -- some with lovely sea views -- and bathrooms with separate tubs and showers, though their lack of Wi-Fi is a notable drawback.
Langkawi Lagoon Resort is a mid-range conglomeration of hotels right on the Andaman Sea. The 217 rooms come with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, and many offer sea views. Guests have expressed major confusion over what facilities they are allowed to use depending on where they are booked in the hotel, and issues with housekeeping and maintenance are rampant despite the hotel's initially grand appearance. The property is a 10-minute drive from Cenang Beach, and has its own private beach, along with a beachfront pool and adjacent children's pool with slide, numerous outdoor activities, and several restaurants. Children's amenities include a kids' club, an outdoor playground, and organized activities such as kite-flying and sandcastle-building.
Adya Hotel Langkawi is a contemporary, Islamic hotel located in the heart of Kuah town and overlooking the Strait of Malacca. Opened in 2015, the property is friendly to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and has a prayer room and prayer mats in every room. The 207 rooms are comfortable and outfitted with flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and kettles. There are swimming pools (including a women-only pool and children’s pool), a fitness center, a spa, and a 24-hour restaurant. The peaceful, affordable hotel is a good value, though note that no alcohol is served on-site and Cenang Beach is a 25-minute drive away.
The 258-room, mid-range Holiday Villa Beach Resort & Spa Langkawi is an expansive property along peaceful Pantai Tengah beach. There are loads to do on-site, but furnishings are dated throughout and some are worn. Multiple swimming pools consist of an indoor women-only pool, an outdoor pool with a whirlpool, and an infinity pool, though the latter requires a fee. A kids' club and playground are available for children, while adults may enjoy the spa and sports facilities. There are several restaurants and bars on-site, including one 24-hour eatery and a poolside bar. Note that some guests have complained of unpleasant smells in rooms and common areas.
The three-pearl Aseania Resort & Spa is located in the entertainment district of Langkawi, and offers plenty of family-friendly activities both on and around the property. The property is dated and showing wear throughout, however there are an array of features that keep guests happy, including a mini water park, an outdoor pool with a swim-up bar, and a spa. The 238 rooms have traditional styling, flat-screen TVs, and mini-fridges, but some are dark and lack balconies. The hotel is surrounded by beautiful greenery and scenic man-made waterfalls, plus the beach is less than a five-minute walk away.