Parked in a shady, lime-green paddy field, I stepped into a lobby that was really a homey, oriental lounge room furnished with rustic décor. A softly-spoken host welcomed me with a much needed complimentary arrival drink of my choice. Removing my sweaty motorbike helmet, “Is it too early to have a pinot noir?”
“Of course not!” he smiled, presenting me a premium wine as I sat out on wraparound veranda.
I looked out at the guest house meets mid-luxury villa complex of 70 to 110-year-old Peranakan (Chinese Malay) heritage homes. Just a 10-minute motorbike ride from bustling Pantai Chenang, Langkawi, Temple Tree is swimming in dark woods and candy coloured charm seen through intricate detailing of 100% recycled doors, walls, floors of a Chinese-style farmhouse overlooking an infinity edge pool, a Straits-style bungalow, and a stately 1920s colonial house built by wealthy Arab goldsmith traders. The owners themselves journeyed through Malaysia to handpick these homes, have them knocked down, transported to Langkawi, then lovingly restored on site.
In the colonial house sourced from Georgetown, Penang, I walked over beautifully hand-painted floor tiles to reach my room Colonial #2, a dive into a mix of antiques and modern embellishments over blood red rugs. While the back outdoor area could do with a quick sweep of crackling leaves, I had the pleasure of running a hot bath in a wooden tub with natural salts looking up at soft rays between rustling greenery. Magic.
When there, do have a drink at the cosy, cocktail bar at The Straits Club and try their homemade ginger ice-cream. Wander about and you’ll find cats everywhere as Temple Tree also supports the Langkawi Animal Shelter & Sanctuary, an initiative to sterilise the island’s stray cats then to release them.
An old home could also mean poor insulation so the air-con escapes the room and you’re likely to hear your neighbours through thin walls. The WiFi also never worked but some reap the benefits of this in the form of a digital detox. Temple Tree isn’t polished buts its unique, authentic sense of place is worth every cent.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
Uniqueness: Oriental heritage homes, 5/5
Sense of place: Malaysian countryside in halcyon days, 5/5
General vibe: Quiet and relaxed, 4/5
Room comfort: Rustic spaces albeit beautiful has its cons, 3/5
Service: Softly spoken and polite, 4/5
This experience was independently paid for.
Images kindly provided with thanks to Temple Tree.
Did you like this blog post? Share it with your friends and subscribe for more.
Temple Tree, Pantai Chenang, Langkawi. Colonial 2, from MYR 1020 per night, inclusive of continental breakfast. Other rooms from MYR 820-1550.