The Datai Langkawi’s Chapter 3 Anniversary Celebrations Paid Tribute To The Stunning Natural Beauties That Surrounds It

As testament to three decades of harmonious communion with the island’s awe-inspiring beauty, the third instalment of The Datai Langkawi’s anniversary festivities paid homage to its eternal muse, nature. Arnaud Girodon, CEO of Datai Hotels and Resorts, reflected on the resort’s longevity as “an incredible achievement”. Reaffirming its role as custodian of the biodiversity found at the property and beyond, the luxury resort staged a variety of immersive exhibits, workshops, talks and excursions centred on the theme of Celebrating Our Nature from 22 September to 1 October.

Guests were invited to spend time with scientists and the resort’s resident naturalists to gain rare insights into the collaborative efforts being undertaken as well as the wonderful discoveries being made by The Datai Pledge partners Gaia and MareCet in the field of hornbill and marine mammal conservation as part of the initiatives under the Pledge. Nature-loving guests and those with a curious disposition had a lot of unforgettable new memories to make during activities such as spending the day with MareCet’s dedicated team of dolphin researchers in search of the playful cetaceans, spotting exotic avian life with Dr Ravinder Kaur, hornbill expert and scientific director of Gaia, and sharpening their techniques at wildlife photographer Peter Ong’s photography workshops. 

The highlight of Chapter 3’s reveries was a sumptuous gala dinner and live auction at The Beach Club, which overlooks the glistening white sand of Datai Bay. Canapes were served, conversation flowed and cocktail glasses were raised as the sun set behind the Thai island of Tarutao. Serenaded by the sounds of local musical trio Mix N Match, guests were invited to peruse the curated collections of luxury experiences and art expected to go under the hammer in what promised to be a magical night of glamour and generosity.

With numbers dwindling to a low of 150 in the wild, the critically endangered Malayan tiger was to be the recipient of the evening’s fundraising efforts. Proceeds were channelled to global tiger conservation charity Save Wild Tigers and its local partners Rimau and The Habitat Foundation. The latter organisations are driving initiatives to promote the recovery of wild Malayan tigers in the states of Perak and Pahang respectively. Selected photographs from Eye On The Tiger, the world’s largest wild tiger photography exhibition, were also on display and available to purchase.

Under a tropical rainforest-themed marquee, the evening’s gastronomic extravaganza was presented by celebrity chef Lewis Barker of one-Michelin-starred restaurant Sommer in Singapore. His six-course menu leaned heavily on the fruits of the sea and married the finest local ingredients with contemporary European finesse. Former Miss Universe Elaine Daly was on hand to keep spirits high and the pledges generous, while the dazzling duo of Sean Ghazi and Ida Mariana kept guests entertained with their captivating jazz performances between bouts of feverish bidding.

As the live auction got underway, Girodon commended guests for mirroring nature’s generosity. Among the items being contested were a lavish three-night Rainforest Villa stay at The Datai Langkawi, a journey across the Peninsula on the legendary Eastern & Oriental Express, and a custom Krug champagne dinner for 10 curated by chef James Won. But the most fervent bidding revolved around the artworks, including a reimagining of a 1901 Federated Malay State postal stamp by British contemporary artist Piers Bourke, and a vivid photorealistic colour pencil rendition of a tiger by Penang-based Sharon SS Kow.

Simon Clinton, founder of Save Wild Tigers, highlighted in his speech the importance of acting in defence of wildlife and biodiversity. “When you lose tigers or they go extinct, the protection for tiger habitats quickly disappears,” he said. “When you take into consideration issues such as climate change, the problem is an immense one. In saving wild tigers, you’re saving a lot more.”

As the curtain fell on Chapter 3 of The Datai Langkawi’s anniversary celebrations, anticipation builds for Chapter 4, a grand finale that is certain to round off The Datai Langkawi’s 30 years of excellence with pomp and well-deserved acclaim.

The Datai Langkawi

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