You know what makes New Year’s resolutions so tough? Reality. It interferes with best intentions and then everything falls apart. For years, I’ve vowed that the family would spend more time together. That we’d eat meals together more often; that we’d eat better meals. But when karate practice, homework and overtime collide, the best intentions fall by the wayside.
Vacations offer a new reality. Someone else is cooking the meal. Gathering for dinner is a must. And soon, the obligations of home slip away. Still, after a while it can feel rote. Wake, eat, swim, eat, nap, eat, bed. And really—apart from the gorgeous views and stunning sunshine—that’s no better than what you left back at home.
When we visited Four Seasons Langkawi, Malaysia, we expected a vacation. But we got a break.
Somehow, this secluded getaway manages to, simply by taking you through its gates, make you feel as if you are worlds away from everything—including routines. There are no demands on your time, and days last longer when you don’t wake up already certain of your schedule. It helps that our villa faces the beach. It means our time is set according to the rise and setting of the sun. The result? The feeling that this must’ve been created just for you.
For the three days we were at Four Seasons Langkawi, we mellowed. Days were filled, or not, as we liked. There was no set time for any meals. No must-dos. Just the four of us… in a paradise cocoon.
The Andaman Sea loomed in front of our windows each morning and called to the kids all day. There was room for each of us to get our space, and space for all of us to be together. We laughed together. We cuddled up on swinging chairs and veranda porches. We forgot about the world adventures waiting on the other side. Outside our villa were miles of white sandy beach waiting to be explored. The boys took to it with shovels and pails. They ran its course to get to the boat for a mangrove tour and over to the kids’ club* when the mood struck.
And then, on our last evening, as the sun set in the distance, the beach transformed. At about 7 pm, we made our way down towards a lone white tent. Inside was a beautiful handmade carpet, and on it, a table set with the finest silverware and glasses for four. Even the kids couldn’t contain their excitement. “This is for us??!?”
To the left of the tent, our personal chef had set up at a barbecue with meal offerings worthy of royalty: lobster, Kobe beef, Caesar salad made tableside, white wine, bubbly water and so on. And to the right of the tent, there was a beckoning fire pit surrounded by four chairs and all the fixings for a s’mores dessert under the stars.
We took our seats at the table. The boys chatted happily about their day, ate their dinner and ran off to try the s’mores. Ish and I sat, had a glass of wine and realized the strange sensation we were feeling was family contentedness. Three days. One magical evening. We found our happy place on a darkened beach, under Moroccan lamps and a star-filled sky in Langkawi.
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 resort’s 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.
Based near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Heather Greenwood Davis is a freelance writer whose articles appear in publications such as The Toronto Star, Canadian Family, UrbanMoms.ca and more. She recently returned from a one-year, round-the-world adventure with her husband and two sons, eight and 10. You can read about their journey and the adventures before and since at globetrottingmama.com.
View all posts from Heather
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