The Finale Event Of The Datai Langkawi’s 30th Anniversary Celebrations Was A Supernova Of Cuisine, Culture And Community

Stars of every form gathered, convened and shone upon The Datai Langkawi over the weekend of 15 to 17 December 2023. In the heart of Langkawi’s 10-million-year-old rainforest, stars came together—in name and in nature, true to the resort’s renown—for three days of revelry for a special occasion: the grand finale of The Datai Langkawi’s 30th anniversary celebrations. Spending 30 years at the top of one’s game is no easy feat. As such, being one of Asia’s top luxury resorts for three decades deserved an anniversary celebration that shone like no other.

The Datai Langkawi Finale Dinner Setup.

The first evening saw invited guests and influential personalities immerse themselves in a series of events involving dining, nature, craft and culture. At the lobby centred around the resort’s iconic lily pond, an artisanal bazaar offered authentic flavours of Langkawi. Setting the beat to the merrymaking were local dance troupes, who brought to life elaborate traditional performances of Malay zapin and kuda kepang as well as Bornean ngajat and the magunatip bamboo-beat prance. Dinner brought more flavours of Langkawi and Malaysia with a feast at The Gulai House, where spices lent kick and punch to an all-you-can-eat feast of the country’s signature curries, laksa and rendang—a grand introduction to what Malaysia is all about, palate-wise. 

The Datai Langkawi Finale Dinner Emcee Daphne Iking and Harith Iskander.

The revelry came to a deserving conclusion with a gala night on 16 December. Kicked off by emcees Daphne Iking and Harith Iskander, it was graced by the guests of honour, Sultan of Kedah Al-Aminul Karim Sultan Sallehuddin ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah and Sultanah Maliha binti Almarhum Tengku Ariff. 

The Datai Langkawi Finale Dinner Thank You note by Arnaud Girodon.

Arnaud Girodon, Chief Executive Officer of Datai Hotels and Resorts, addressed the guests during the gala and reiterated the resort team’s focus on its core values. “We are blessed with a workforce that loves their job, that delights in providing unforgettable moments for our guests, and who have—just like our guests—found a second home here with us. I would like to extend my personal heartfelt gratitude and recognition to all of our team members, but especially those who have stayed with us for more than 20 years,” he said, as he welcomed these long-serving team members to the stage to sustained applause. “Thank you to all of you for your dedication and passion—for the small and larger gestures you add to each guest’s stay to ensure they leave us with precious memories that will last forever. The Datai Langkawi would not be what it is today without each and every one of you!”  

The Datai Langkawi Finale Dinner Sébastien Bras.

The dinner featured the return of Sébastien Bras, holder of a combined five Michelin stars at Bras and Le Suquet in Laguiole, France, who was also at the grand reopening of The Datai Langkawi after its extensive refurbishment in 2017 and 2018. In a seven-course symphony of French signature classics, Bras told the story of his home with ingredients including chestnut, foie gras, turbot, Wagyu and Aubrac tea-flavoured ice cream. Paired with it were the finest wines from the resort’s Wine Cellar, ranging from French cuvees, South African Rieslings, German premier crus and more. 

The Datai Langkawi Finale Dinner Performance Mei Lin Hii.

Entertainment during the dinner was in the form of live performances by artists who are at the top of their game. Classical pianist Mei Lin Hii took to the stage with four pieces, warming the night with her virtuoso skills. Then, René Roseberg lent his impressive opera-trained vocals with a string of ballads. Taking things up a fun notch was StringFever, a family of musicians all playing various stringed instruments, who took guests on a nostalgic trip down memory lane with movie soundtracks and a game of ‘guess the title’ of original Disney classics. For the closing, local songstress, Asia’s Divette and the inaugural winner of the first Asian Idol, Jaclyn Victor stunned guests with her vocals, aptly wrapping up the night with her winning song Gemilang. This Malay word, which means splendid or magnificent, encapsulates The Datai Langkawi’s 30th anniversary story perfectly. As it celebrates three decades of unrivalled hospitality, it also paid respect to the age-old rainforest that has nurtured it. More than 10 million years old, this primaeval forest has been the source of the resort’s inspiration and one that it has endeavoured to respect and protect. When The Datai Langkawi first opened in 1993, it set out to create a luxurious sanctuary with experiences in nature, culture, dining and wellness, as peerless as the spectacular natural surroundings that inspired it. The Datai Langkawi has derived its hospitality and authenticity from the generosity of nature and the multicultural harmony of the people of Malaysia.

The Datai Langkawi Finale Dinner Performance Jaclyn Victor.

Thirty years on, it is safe to say that The Datai Langkawi has succeeded to do so splendidly and magnificently.

The Datai

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