What does a mom want? After taking care of the kids and the hubby, doing the school run twice a day, juggling your own work, then home to cook dinner, sometimes just a bit of peace and quiet is perfect bliss… on my own, please, thank you. Not that I don’t love my family to bits. But after the “Mom, can you do this?”, “Can you help me with that?” ringing in one’s ear constantly, the sound of silence—occasionally punctuated with the sweetness of birdsong, the quiet rustle of tropical leaves and the tinkling of a distant fountain—is the simple key to inner peace.
Indeed, that’s what I found at Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, Malaysia on a recent trip with my daughter. The husband had to leave a day earlier to go back to his patients, and I was left with time to spend with my tween: beachcombing, talking… all the mother-daughter things one indulges in. But, as with even the most loving family, we needed “a little alone time, please”—to borrow the words from my child.
That she was way too old for the kids’ club* was not a problem at Four Seasons Langkawi. As it turns out, they have a thoughtful service where the recreation team takes on the role of “Tween Angels.” They identify bored tweens on check in, keep an eye on them during their stay, and keep them suitably entertained and with personalised attention if necessary. (This is a big deal to me, as it’s a unique, but essential service that most hotels don’t recognise. All too often, resorts stop catering to children 13 and older, and we parents are stuck with disinterested tweens!) So the plan was: Mom headed to the spa, while Mei Ann pottered off to do “cool stuff” with the Angels.
She was picked up at the spa just as I headed in for my treatment. I appreciated that the Angel, Recreation Manager Helmi Sakirun, took time to talk to me, explaining what they had planned for her: kayaking. As for me, I was happily ensconced in one of the most indulgent spas I have ever experienced!
Walled away from the rest of the already-exclusive resort, the spa was truly a quiet haven. You enter through a small gateway, which opens up to a huge pool decked with over-water pavilions. Beyond is a yoga pavilion, where free sessions are held every morning. Further on, a wooden walkway brings you to the six “treatment rooms.” The description is inaccurate, because these are more like individual bungalows—with their own private gardens, pool, bathroom complex and a treatment area so large, you could hold waltz lessons for a crowd! And high ceilings, too, with lots of soft daylight pouring in from the veranda doors.
My journey of bliss started with a half-hour session in the steam room. One side was a glass wall that gave a full view of the garden outside (such a treat as you sweltered in the steam). Then, it was on to a splash down in the neighbouring bathroom—in Arabian style with vibrant mosaics and the luxury of a rain shower. And finally, to lie on the spa bed and surrender myself to the professional kneading of the therapist. I had the signature 90-minute traditional Malay Urut Melayu massage: medium to firm pressure, and soothing, long strokes to tip me over to slumber. It included a scalp massage and as I had requested, more focused attention on my shoulders and upper back. The only problem was that being quite ticklish, it was hard to take the massage when the therapist worked on the small of my back… By the end of the session, I was really rather oily all over and welcomed a second shower.
Mei Ann was waiting at one of the resting pavilions by the spa’s pool, and she was pleased with her little escapade, too. She had kayaked from the beach over to two little islands just beyond. It was her first attempt at kayaking, and it took her and her escort about 20 minutes to reach there, each of in their own little craft. They explored around the islands, the Angel pointing out the flora and fauna. Mei Ann felt safe, she told me, and was chuffed she got to try out something new.
These days, when we start thinking about where to go for a long weekend, or a quick getaway, Mei Ann is the first to suggest Four Seasons Langkawi. Three days was just too short, she says. And I must admit, the palatial spa is calling me, too!
Read more about Langkawi in Four Seasons Magazine.
*Kids For All Seasons (KFAS) is a Four Seasons complimentary recreational and educational program for children of resort guests. Most KFAS clubs are designed for youth four to 12 years old, and open daily from 9 to 5. (Younger children can often join KFAS with a nanny or parent, or resorts can arrange for babysitting.) But details vary from property to property, so check the website for more information.
Kids can go all day or just for an hour or two. Activities inside and out include games, sports, music, treasure hunts, swimming, arts and crafts, cultural education, environmental preservation work and yoga. Not your average camp, the VIP offerings are pretty extraordinary—for example, at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, kids can help the resort’s marine biologist graft coral in the lagoon sanctuary.
Sim Ee Waun runs e-zine Simply Fabulicious out of Singapore and Hong Kong with Elaine Yeoh. All about about luxe living in Asia, Simply Fabulicious is aimed at women in their 30s and up, covering food, travel, shopping and events. Ee Waun has worked as a food and travel writer for the last 23 years for Epicure, Appetite and BBC Good Food. She is also editor for parenting magazine Young Families, as well as Singapore Correspondent for Malaysia-based Flavours. Ee Waun lives in Singapore with her 12-year-old daughter.
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