Over the last couple of years we have visited Malaysia more than once a year. It’s our stop over generally on the way to somewhere else. We often have a couple of days in Kuala Lumpur before flying on or on our way home. We often talk about exploring Malaysia a little more but it seems to always get overlooked, well not this time! We decided to explore Langkawi and we chose to stay at the Meritus Pelangi Resort and Spa.
We were off for a week in Thailand and had the opportunity to extend that to two weeks so decided it was time to see more of Malaysia. We had originally thought we would visit Penang but at the last minute we changed our minds and headed for Langkawi. What a wonderful decision that was! We found the best place to stay in Langkawi with kids!
The Meritus Pelangi Resort and Spa is one of those places where you arrive and know you are going to have a nice stay. The reception area is airy and open with lots of timber and a typical Asian resort feel about it. On arrival we were ushered to a lounge in the lobby and offered a welcome drink with a cold towel to cool down while they sorted out our reservation and check in details. This is always a welcome touch especially when you are arriving with kids that are often tired and cranky from long travel.
Langkawi is often considered the perfect honeymoon destination and isn’t really considered popular as a family friendly destination. Well I can assure you it doesn’t deserve that title as there is plenty enough to keep the kids entertained. To make is easier for you we have compiled a list of our top things to do in Langkawi with kids.
Langkawi is a one hour flight north of Kuala Lumpur, it’s one of the larger inhabited islands and geographically is very close to the border with Thailand. We stayed at the Meritus Pelangi Resort and Spa which is 15 mins from the airport on Pantai Cenang, which means Cenang Beach.
Pantai Cenang is a great place to be located, if you decide not to eat at the resort there are plenty of places nearby that are any easy walk from the resort. You can walk along the beach or out on the main road, either way will get you there. It’s also a great spot for shopping with designer stores as well as souvenir type things in a market style setting that you usually see in Asia.
Once checkout was sorted we were taken to our room, the kids were very excited to travel to our room by golf cart with all of our luggage. On this occasion we attempted to travel with carry on bags only and did a pretty good job of it. The buggy took us along the path through the gardens to our room. The accommodation consists of villas with 4 individual rooms, 2 upstairs and 2 downstairs, each with a balcony facing either the ocean, the lake or the gardens, we had an upstairs, garden view family suite.
We took our luggage up the stairs and opened the door to a lovely family room with high ceilings which made the room feel enormous. Beautifully furnished with one super king bed, king single and a day bed, enough room for all 5 of us. We did our sleeping arrangements a bit differently this trip, we had me and the girls in the super king and Craig and Caelan in the king single. I thought is was going to be a bit tight but it actually worked out OK and we all slept well.
The bathroom was also huge, we had an awesome shower with rain head, full sized bath and double vanity with plenty of accessories. There was ample bench space for my toiletries as I like to have them on the vanity so that everything is in reach when needed. At the end of the bathroom was the dressing room with robes, case table to place your luggage at the perfect height so you are not always bending and the safe for placing your valuable items. It was very clean and had a window overlooking the balcony and out to the lake view.
Our villa was facing a beautiful lake, it was a picturesque setting and the villas are designed for maximum privacy. We were unable to see any guests in our immediate vicinity, however we could see people on their balconies across the lake from us which was fine.
A large number of the rooms had beach views, these were amazing but were obviously priced higher than the other rooms. Separating the beach from the rooms was a wide stretch of grass that had a row of beautiful palm trees and was the perfect spot for watching the sunset from the balcony.
The resort has two pools, the horizon and cascade pools, and both have water slides and a kids area next to the adult pool. The horizon pool is located outside the main reception area and has a splash zone for the kids. The cascade pool was located further inside the resort surrounded by villas and had a swim up bar and waterfall feature. I, of course liked the cascade due to the swim up bar and the awesome margarita’s made by Azri the barman.
The hotel is located along a beautiful stretch of white sand which was almost like a bay as the water was calm and just slowly lapping at the shore. The row of palm trees provided a bit of shade from the intense heat and the resort has placed a number of lounge chairs there for people to use. Our kids will always choose a pool over the beach so other than walking along the beach we didn’t get to have a swim there. NAAM is an adventure travel specialists that focus on providing adventure experiences geared towards patrons of Langkawi’s 5 star hotels and resorts. NAAM have jet skiing, parasailing and kayaking experiences available from Meritus Pelangi Resort. We had the opportunity to experience NAAM, click the link to read about our day on Paradise 101, who doesn’t love having a private island all to themselves!
There are a number of bars and restaurants around the resort. The Spice Market was where the buffet breakfast was served and the buffet was extensive to say the least… ! I can’t think of anything that wasn’t there. Eggs however you liked, my favourite is always an omelette with ham, cheese and onion and the kids like there’s sunny side up! There was also Asian fair with dumplings and noodles, cereal and pastries and don’t forget the pancakes, waffles and the roti. The kids ate so much roti I don’t think there was any left for anyone else. This also serves as the location for the buffet dinner, which consisted of seafood bar, curries, rice dishes and salad and fruit and desserts.
The C Ba (pronounced sea bar) was the best vantage point for watching the sunset with a cocktail and then having an a la carte dinner. The meals are on the expensive side here as you would expect from a resort and there isn’t a huge menu. The snack menu finishes at 5 pm and it’s only the more expensive menu from then. There is a good selection of cocktails available during happy hour. We ate here twice which cost us around $150 per night for 5 people. I suggest that you enjoy a cocktail here and watch the sunset then head down the beach to Cenang for a much more affordable meal.
Both pools have a pool side cafe menu that you can order a quick snack from. We like to do the tapas type thing and order a couple of meals and then share them, especially if you’ve had your fill at the buffet breakfast, then a more substantial meal for dinner. Half the time the kids are so busy in the water they aren’t interested in eating anyway.
If you’re looking for a coffee and cake type afternoon snack, there is a cafe/bar in the lobby which is quite comfortable. Of an evening we often noticed there was a band playing music here as well which was really nice.
The resort had a small air conditioned gym with the usual machines inside for those inclined…! Craig went down a couple of mornings and said that the equipment was clean and in full working order. Not a bad view from the gym either and there was a little yoga room to the side. The kids club was more for very young kids. We went and checked it out, there was a program for the younger kids including arts and crafts unfortunately for me, my kids just wanted to be in the pool all the time. If you had kids under 10 this would be a great option for dropping them off and having some time to yourself. The resort also had a couple of squash courts and a couple of tennis courts.
The Pelangi Spa has a number of different treatment options including massage, facials and foot reflexology, it was located down the end of the resort. There was also a beachside cabana where you could get a spa treatment or massage in a more casual setting.
As always I do a cost comparison between booking directly with the resort and using one of the online search engines, my go to booking site for Asia is always Agoda.
I loved the Meritus Pelangi Resort it had a nice calm, relaxed feel when you arrived and the vibe of the resort stayed like that the rest of the time we were there. Our room was lovely and comfortable and there was plenty of space. The wifi worked well everywhere we needed to utilise it and it was quick. I think this is a great family option when visiting Langkawi and well priced for a resort of this calibre.
I would love to be welcomed back another time, this is the kind of place you just never want to leave. The kids were welcomed and quickly found other friends to play with, we come across a number of families at Meritus Pelangi Resort and often found they would go to the cascade pool of an afternoon as it had a little bit more shade than the horizon pool, nothing to do with the swim up bar of course! The kids played together while the adults swapped notes on what touristy things they got up to that day. It’s always nice to hear what others are doing as it’s often were you find the epic ‘off the grid’ not regularly known tourist spot.
What did the kids think of Meritus Pelangi Resort, 10 out of 10! They loved the buffet breakfast and 2 pools both with waterslides, need I say more….! That’s why I say its the best place to stay in Langkawi with kids.
There were so many fun things to keep the kids entertained, I have listed a couple for you below:
Langkawi’s top tourist attraction- SkyCab is an awe inspiring man made feat rising above the island, where you can take in the most beautiful views. You must take the gondola to get there though!
A Malaysian Cultural Show at the Aseania Resort, kids can learn the history of Malaysia through dance in a fun environment. Enjoy a fantastic buffet dinner while you’re there.
Kilim Geoforest Park, a coastal mangrove oasis where you can be one with nature exploring caves, experiencing native wildlife and discovering centuries old fossils. So much for kids to learn.
On your last night take a Langkawi Sunset Dinner Cruise with Naam and sit back and enjoy a few cold beers and enjoy a buffet dinner and reflect on the wonderful time you’ve had in Langkawi and fingers crossed you get a cracking sunset to boot.
The Malaysian Cup of the Beach Volleyball World Tour was being held here while we were there. This made the end of our stay very busy. It didn’t really affect us but there was a notable increase in people around the resort. Especially very tall people! The presence of the teams was noticeable everywhere on the island which was great. The sand here is fine, soft and white, it really was the perfect place to hold the tournament. Don’t start me on the optics, beach volley ball with the back drop of an amazing resort with palm trees and crystal clear blue water. Maybe I’m in the wrong profession, I should be a champion beach volleyballer!
Sal & Co!
Disclaimer: We had a mutually beneficial agreement with the Meritus Pelangi Resort but as always or opinion of our experience is our own.