Ambong Pool Villas sits stylishly on one of the 99 (natural) islands that make up the Langkawi archipelago in the Andaman Sea, close to Thailand’s southern border. Open for just two years, this is a family run small rainforest resort set into the contours of a steep hillside where hornbills fly and monkeys clamber.
The name comes from the small Ambong Ambong flowers that are found along the shoreline, helping to bind together the sands. Offering privacy and seclusion, to the soundtrack of birdsong and chattering monkeys, this romantic resort is a favourite for honeymooning couples. Architects have prioritised the integrity of the rainforest, building around the trees and in one case, integrating a tree, as a feature, into the villa itself.
Guests are greeted with a cool flannel and chilled coconut juice served in a coconut. Ambong is a small intimate resort where smiling staff take an interest in every guest.
Then a narrow 4 wheel-drive vehicle delivers guests to their villas up steep roads. There’s a small fleet of vehicles ever ready to drive guests to breakfast, lunch, dinner, the spa and bar.
Guests have a choice amongst the nine secluded villas. Do they opt for apartments that view the sunrise or those with sunset views? Repurposed railway sleepers form the steps to every villa. The architects have positioned every entrance to provide breath-taking views down through the forest and over the Andaman Sea.
Appropriately, wood from rubber trees is utilised for flooring and much of the furniture around the king size beds. Above the headboards there are colourful paintings of local scenes. Cool cream bedding contrasts with the dark wood furniture.
Cooling ceiling fans integrate a colonial feel into the decor. Though the distinctly modern vast light-giving windows, inviting the natural world into the villas, create the villas’ character. Tropical chic decor brings vibrant flashes of colour through art-work, cushions and mats. Architectural design enables guests to feel a part of the forest. There’s a small kitchenette with a mini-bar and Nespresso machine and each villa has its own infinity pool, larger villas having a shallower pool for children.
As well as rainfall showers within each villa, Langkawi’s warm sub-tropical climate provides the opportunity for external baths and showers too.
Some villas have wooden bathtubs on their patio or sunken baths alongside the infinity pool.
Ambong offers private dining where your own chef will cook a BBQ on your villa’s patio. This is popular with honeymooning couples and those on a romantic break. Breakfast can also be delivered to your villa.
Alternatively, there is the Rimba Restaurant. Again, vast panoramic windows make diners feel part of the forest. As with so much Malaysian food, influences from China, Malay, India and Thailand bring out the best in fresh local ingredients. If you visit, the following are highly recommended; Ambong Signature Skewers, Squid Ink Sambal Spaghetti and Whole Fish Bakar with Air Assam.
Ambong Pool Villas offer a blend of yoga, meditation and traditional healing arts to help visitors relax and de-stress in a serene setting. At the Ishan Spa, therapists make good use of local herbs, spices, fruit and flowers such as coconut, black rice, cinnamon, ginger and frangipani for therapeutic massages.
It’s just a gentle walk to the beach although the hotel offers a regular free return shuttle bus there too. Beyond that, Langkawi has plenty to offer.
You can enjoy the thrills of a 35 kilometre jet-ski safari, through the islands of the Andaman sea. More sedately you can take a boat navigating the mangrove river. Alternatively, for high altitude adventure strap-up for the Umgawa zip line to fly through the rainforest.
For fantastic views across Langkawi and towards Thailand, ascend in the world’s steepest cable car, for a breath-taking walk across the SkyBridge.
Other nice touches
Sarongs are provided to help guests completely relax, ideal for that short walk to the bath on the patio.
If you are impressed by the food at the Rimba Restaurant you can take a cookery course, using herbs and spices from Rimba’s kitchen garden to create some classic Malay dishes.
Around £500 per night per villa depending on the season. Special offers available throughout the year.
The best bit
Location, location, location. Ambong Pool Villas provides serene living in the heart of a rainforest just yards from the tree canopy.
Yet you are not too far away from a beautiful white sand beach, gently lapped by warm azure seas and never more than a short drive from Langkawi’s many thrilling attractions.
The final verdict
A magical and luxurious rainforest resort. The temptation is to laze on the day-bed or patio sun lounger and immerse yourself in the rain forest but Langkawi has so much to offer that occasionally you should leave the tranquillity of Ambong Pool Villas.