Most spa resorts are so cookie-cutter that once you check in, it's hard to tell if you're in Krabi or the Maldives. Not so at the new Four Seasons Langkawi, tel: (60-4) 950 8888. The design of this resort has a very Malaysian sense of place and incorporates elements from the country's Muslim heritage. Arabic tiling turns the large bathrooms into approximations of Turkish hammams
. The resort has gorgeous views of the Andaman Sea, and all its airy rooms open on to covered balconies.
The main restaurant, Ikan Ikan, is housed in a recreation of a limas
, or traditional Malay home, and serves fresh seafood alongside Mediterranean pastas, bouillabaisse and linguine. Serai
(meaning lemongrass) is the hotel's other dining option and works rather better, with a repertoire of Indian, Chinese and Malay dishes. If you overindulge, the spa offers body wraps, steam rooms and herbal baths. The urut melayu
—a traditional Malay massage—is a specialty, as is the Earthlight Ritual, which features a ginger scrub and a massage with heated jade, obsidian and other stones. Not quite as soothing—but not bad considering the luxury on offer—are the introductory room rates, which start from $410 a night until Sept. 15 and include a free night for every two consecutive nights purchased.