The Danna Langkawi is the top-rated hotel in Langkawi according to TripAdvisor. It doesn’t get that much attention in the points and miles world because it’s not bookable with points, but it has been reviewed by a number of non-points and miles travel bloggers.
When I was choosing where to stay in Langkawi, I thought I might as well try the Danna, but I was slightly skeptical in that all of the travel blogger reviews seemed to be comped stays (i.e. the hotel paid for everything, so the travel blogger review was essentially a paid advertisement). But in general, I think I set my expectations too high, as so many of the online reviews said that this was the best hotel that they had stayed at and that this hotel had the best service.
To book the hotel, I paid with my Citi Prestige card to get the fourth night free. The cash rate at the time was around $250 per night (which is way more than I would normally pay for a hotel and is quite expensive for this area). To get to the hotel, I booked a rental car from the airport. In general, this is a less touristy area of Langkawi, so having your own car to get around might be a good idea.
I had emailed the hotel prior to my stay inquiring about the possibility of upgrading my room. I was able to arrange for an upgrade for part of my stay to a Viceroy room, which had an amazing view of the pool and the sea. In general, all of the rooms at the hotel are sizable and nicely appointed. The variation in pricing comes from views and amenities like private balconies.
The main attraction for the hotel is probably the pool. It’s a huge infinity pool, and there are lots of loungers and seating options. There’s towel and beverage service by the pool, and people will periodically come by offering free snacks like fruit and sunglass cleaning. The pool was quite warm and lovely to wade around in, but probably too warm to do any actual swimming (but it’s definitely large enough!).
There’s also a small private beach. Most people spent their time at the pool, as the beach was nothing special.
The gym was decently well equipped for a hotel gym. They had a bench press, which I liked (even though I had to move it away from the column in order to actually use it).
Breakfast at the hotel is copious. The buffet is quite large, but I think it suffers from the issue of trying to do too many things and not enough things well. There’s also the issue that the hotel doesn’t have enough guests to have enough turnover in the buffet, so some of the items may have been sitting there for a long time depending on when you eat breakfast. But there’s a made-to-order menu as well as the buffet, so I’m sure you can find something to satisfy you.
Given the lack of food options nearby, I also ate at the main hotel restaurant for dinner a couple of times. The food isn’t cheap for Malaysia, but the vegetarian entrees are pretty affordable for a fancy hotel (35-40 MYR for a vegetarian entree; a bottle of sparkling water was 24 MYR by comparison). In general, I found the service to be very eager and earnest, particularly at dinner. And the food was tastier at dinner when it was made to order compared to breakfast. That being said, I did have a couple of issues with food not being cooked correctly, but once I brought up the issue to the waiter/manager, things were taken care of.
In terms of non-hotel things to do in Langkawi, many people go on a mangrove tour, so I went on one booked through the hotel that was operated by Dev’s Adventure Tours. It was okay. I loved the guide, but the tour itself wasn’t that impressive, especially compared to something like a Halong Bay cruise. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the cable car and skybridge, so I would recommend those.
Overall, the hotel is pretty nice, although at the time there was major (loud) construction going on (which I did not know of at the time of booking). But this hotel has nothing on a hotel like the Conrad Koh Samui in terms of privacy/rooms/views/facilities (granted, the cash rate for the Conrad Koh Samui is considerably higher, but it’s also bookable with points or free night certificates). And while there was good service recovery (attempts to compensate for service issues), the service itself generally was not at that high of a standard compared to other high-end hotels (e.g., the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome). I would not go out of my way to recommend this hotel, but if you want to head to Langkawi for another reason, it’s a decent option, but I would not set my expectations that high.