The Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa in Langkawi brings traditional Malay architecture to the sumptuous shores of Cenang Beach. The resort’s 51 chalets are made from rich, dark wood and lit by warm, dim lights for that authentic “kampung” feel. At Pelangi Resort, there are no boring straight lanes fringed with identical-looking buildings. The chalets vary in size and are arranged around a winding footpath that snakes across the expansive property. Feeling more like a small village instead of a resort, Pelangi Beach Resort is kampung living, but in style.
This is a non-sponsored review. The Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa did not give me a free room or compensate me anything in exchange for this post. We had to pay for a room just like everyone else, and my opinions are based on my own unbiased experience.
Table of Contents
Types of Rooms
Food, Restaurants & Happy Hour
Room Review: Lakefront Room
Amenities at Pelangi Beach Resort
There are two swimming pools at Pelangi Beach Resort, which are both open from 8 am to 8 pm.
The Horizon Pool is the “main” pool and is located right behind the lobby building. The Horizon Pool is two pools in one – there’s a large all-ages pool and a smaller kiddie pool with a waterfall and slides in fun animal shapes. You can see this pool from where breakfast is served and this is the one you’ll probably be constantly walking past during your stay.
The Cascade Pool is next to the lakefront chalets and is the more private of the two pools. This pool is ideal for enjoying some nibbles on the deck. It has more tables and chairs that are shaded by umbrellas or the big cabana at one end. There is a very small kiddie pool section at one end, but it only has one slide and pales in comparison to the Horizon Pool’s kid section.
The Cascade Pool is definitely focused more toward adults as the highlight of this pool is the swim-up bar! Happy Hour is between noon and 3 pm when most beverages will be 30% off. You can also have simple finger food like pizza and fries delivered right to your lounger and enjoy it poolside at the Cascade Pool. I don’t recommend taking children to play at this pool and trying to have a family-friendly time, for obvious reasons. You might get drunk rowdy guests (like me) who immaturely use the kiddie slide despite the warning sign (also me) who then inspire other drunk adults to play with the slide.
Spa & Fitness centre
The Pelangi Spa is at the upper right corner of the map near the Cascade Pool. There is a small arch with a path through the jungle that leads to the secluded spa building. Those seeking the ultimate indulgence can have their massages right on the beach at Pelangi’s Beach Spa.
In a small cabana outfitted with flowy white curtains, guests can get rubbed down with the sound of crashing waves or the sight of a sunset in front of them. There are special massages that are only done at the Beach Spa which are listed on a big board on the lawn. The gym is on the opposite edge of the resort. It’s not particularly big but it seemed to have all of the equipment that one would want.
Don’t expect too much from Pelangi Resort’s shopping arcades. The Pasaraya Kedawang is just to the right of the drop-off point in front of the hotel. Most guests will only make use of the convenience store. Along with souvenirs, this shop is stocked with useful items that you might need during your stay, like chocolate bars, swimsuits, sunscreen and bug spray.
There is also an unnamed Shopping Arcade next to the car park, but I didn’t check it out as it’s quite a walk from the lobby. The map lists only boring stuff like a medical clinic and travel agent at this arcade, but this might be out of date now.
Types of Rooms at Pelangi Beach Resort
Garden Terrace Room
Garden Terrace rooms are located in the middle of the property. Being the cheapest rooms at Pelangi Resort, the view is of the plain lawn with some palm trees and maybe some topiaries. The other guests walking by on the path will be the only thing to see if you’re relaxing on your balcony. However, this also means that passers-by can easily see into your chalet if your blinds are not drawn. Overall, the view and ambience in Garden Terrace rooms are very inferior and I don’t recommend these rooms.
Lakefront rooms are arranged around the lake in the centre of Pelangi Resort. Most of these rooms will have hovering balconies that are right on top of the water. No other guests will be able to come anywhere close to you if you’re on the balcony since there’s no path over the water. This is the room we booked and I loved it.
Pool Terrace Room
Pool Terrace rooms are the chalets in front of either of the two pools at Pelangi. You might be able to request which pool at the time of booking, but there are more chalets at the Cascade Pool, so you’ll likely be placed there if you don’t specifically make a request. While it’s convenient to be steps away from the pool, there is no privacy at these chalets and you’ll hear the constant commotion at the pool if you’re in your room during the day.
Potential guests need to be careful if they’re considering booking a Beachfront room. This room sounds identical to the more expensive Seaview room and you might be tempted to book this one to save money. Beachfront rooms are located on the north end of Cenang Beach, furthest from all the bars, shops and restaurants on the beach. On the resort map, it will be the chalets in the top right corner. You are right next to the beach and you will get nice a sunset view, but what most don’t realise is that this end of Cenang Beach is much uglier. Unsightly, rust-coloured fences and the less glamorous side of Langkawi will be in your field of vision once you step outside. It’s far away from the Cenang Beach bustle though, so it’s quiet and private at this end.
Seaview rooms are located past where beach curves, near Pelangi’s Cba restaurant. The balconies look out over the ocean and at the many beachgoers on this busy part of the shore. The chalets here will be very close to most of the resort’s facilities and it’s just a short walk to the beach bars or the main strip (Jalan Pantai Cenang).
Family Rooms and Suites
Family rooms, junior and regular suites are larger rooms – 55sqm, 73.4sqm and 97sqm respectively. The family rooms are located in the same area as the Beachfront rooms described above, while the suites sound like they are more on the southern end of the beach like the Seaview rooms. The suites also seem to come with fancier “branded” toiletries that are not listed for the other room types.
Food & Restaurants at Pelangi Beach Resort
Breakfast Buffet @ Spice Market: 7am – 11am
Most guests at the Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa should have a complimentary breakfast buffet included in their room package. The breakfast in the Spice Market restaurant has much more food options and is the buffet that I recommend. There is a limited number of indoor seating but it’s crowded with all the queues for food. Most guests will have to sit in the sunroom or out on the patio. The sunroom was noisy and much too cold with the blasting AC, while the patio tends to get hot once the sun rises to a certain point.
Made-to-order Asian and western breakfast is served at the food station at the far end of the room. You can get curry mee, chicken noodle soup, and omelets with your choice of ingredients. Eggs can be prepared in five different ways, but be warned that the fried eggs are terrible. They are not cooked to order but mass prepared before breakfast even starts. Mark got one on our first day and it was barely warm.
The sweets and pastries station is in front of the made-to-order counters. There was little variation in this station from day to day with toast, croissants, danishes, fritters, and coconut pandan kuih. Don’t miss the dim sum and congee that is at the right edge of this station.
The other main food station is stocked with Indian cuisine like various curries, flatbreads and samosas. Fried rice, noodles and hot vegetable dishes were here too, and everything you need for nasi lemak is at the end. Whereas the other stations are mostly static, the food served at this station changes slightly every day. It’s variations on a theme – for example, turmeric eggplant curry one day then dhal curry the next, or naans one day and parathas the next.
The drinks are in the middle station, where there’s usually about six different varieties of juices and milk (including soy). Kopitam drinks like teh tarik are served at the station along the wall where you get fruit. If you just want a simple coffee or tea, the self-serve machine is in the enclosed patio on the left side.
American & Continental Breakfast Buffet @ Cba: 8am – 11am
For those who want to wake up in style, guests can have breakfast on the beach at Cba’s American & Continental breakfast buffet. This buffet is for late risers and seemed to have a more chill atmosphere. It’s a smaller buffet, so fewer people were buzzing around. Notably, there were much fewer children and babies than at the other buffet.
I found the spread at the Cba buffet to be limited. There are several trays of sweet and savoury hot dishes filling out half of the buffet. Savoury items like chicken sausage, mixed vegetables and made-to-order eggs have to share the space with sweet items like french toast and pancakes. Drinks and cold food fill the other half of the room with salads, pastries and fruit.
We only dined at the Cba buffet once during our stay. The Spice Market buffet has much more variety and includes all the food served at this buffet. There is nothing at the Cba buffet that you won’t be able to find at the Spice Market Buffet.
The Spice Market (7am to 11pm)
Average Price for 2 Pax: RM110.00
Once breakfast is over, The Spice Market resumes its regular menu. There’s a wide variety of western and pan-Asian cuisines on the menu. Every guest will find the menu in their rooms, as it is the same one that is used for room service. Any Maybank or CIMB customers can save 20% off regular food and beverage items. The alcohol selection is rather limited with just a few beers, wines and spirits listed. This is the only restaurant at Pelangi Resort that is not included in the Happy Hour promotion.
Click on any menu picture to enlarge
The Spice Market is more on the casual dining end compared to the Cba restaurant. Don’t be fooled though, the food is still overpriced for what it is and is quite mediocre. One night we ordered the Prawn Briyani which was bland, and the Chocolate Truffle cake tasted stale.
Cascade Pool Bar (12pm to 7pm)
It’s not a restaurant, but a very small selection of simple food can be ordered from the swim-up bar at the Cascade Pool. You are really paying for the convenience though, as a basic burger costs more than the mains at The Spice Market, and are similarly priced to the much higher-quality burgers from Cba.
If you are Happy Hour hopping at the Pelangi Beach Resort, start here. Happy Hour at the Cascade Pool Bar goes from noon to 3 pm when beers and cocktails get a special 30% discount.
Pelangi Lounge (7am – 11pm)
The Pelangi Lounge restaurant is much more affordable at the cost of ambience. The Pelangi Lounge is the small cafe that is off to the side of the lobby. Although The Spice Market next door prepares all the food, The Pelangi Lounge is more outfitted for takeaway. There are three small tables in front of the cafe for dine-in, or you can also sit on the couches in the lobby and someone will bring your food to you (just tell them where you’re sitting). The Pelangi Lounge menu is largely asian and western dishes that sound surprisingly gourmet for their price.
The smaller snacks in the cabinet are worth checking out. There are doughnuts, cakes, prepackaged sandwiches and baskets of curry puffs. The doughnuts look great but they’re dry and disappointing. The chicken curry puff, however, I ordered multiple times. It was huge and of excellent value even at resort prices. The pastry was nicely flaky and the inside was chock full of chicken.
The Pelangi Lounge is the last venue in the Happy Hour carousel. For those looking for a nightcap, Pelangi Lounge’s Happy Hour goes from 7 pm to 9 pm and includes beer, wine and cocktails at 30% off. The cafe counter will be closed, so order your drinks from the bar counter next to it.
Cba (3pm – 11pm)
Average Price for 2 Pax (a la carte): RM220.00
The fine dining option at Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa, Cba is located steps from the beach and the rest of the action along the Cenang shoreline. The best seats right next to the sand will almost always be taken, especially during sunset. Cba thankfully has a washroom so guests don’t have to run halfway across the resort just to wash their hands.
Cba opens late at 3 pm, so it’s more of a cocktails and dinner place. Meat and seafood are the focus of the Cba menu and to keep it fresh and interesting, sometimes there will be a seasonal dinner promotion. During our stay, there was a churrascaria dinner buffet. The 20% off CIMB and Maybank promo can be used at Cba, but it does not apply to any dinner specials.
The food quality is the best at Cba, as it should be for the price. One night, we ordered a lamb rack and a surf & turf. My steak was nicely rare and the lobster was delicious. Both plates were a decent amount of food for an upscale restaurant.
Booze is the other big draw at Cba. Happy Hour at Cba is between 3 pm to 7 pm when cocktails, wines and even tapas are 30% off. This does not stack with the CIMB or Maybank credit card promotion. If you order a drink during happy hour, you should automatically get 30% off. You can even get your drink delivered to the loungers close by to the restaurant for the quintessential vision of relaxation – a fruity cocktail handed to you as you lounge and admire the sunset.
Room Review: Lakefront Room
The rooms are housed in two-storied longhouses. The soundproofing between the floors was very good, as I never heard our upstairs neighbour. However, we weren’t so lucky with our direct neighbour. Through the adjoining door, I was able to hear their television or their alarm clock in the morning.
Overall, the room is very large by hotel standards at 46.5 square metres. There is a clear separation between the bedroom, bathroom and foyer. The colour scheme in the room is very modern and classy. There’s a lot of dark wood and the colour black, contrasting with the neutral eggshell paint on the walls. The bedroom doesn’t have any overhead lights and relies solely on lamplight. It’s cosy at night but in the morning it’s barely enough light to read or do intricate tasks. I was literally doing my makeup on the balcony because it was too dark in the room even with all the lamps on.
The foyer had a very convenient spot where we could sit to take our shoes on and off and stash bags. There’s no wardrobe in the bedroom, instead, it’s located here with about six hangers. The room safe, iron, and ironing board are found here. The hairdryer is tucked away in one of the drawers, and disposable slippers are in the bottom cubby.
The best part about Pelangi Resort (that blatantly shows that they don’t give a fuck about energy consumption) is the Power Supply Card. Instead of having to insert your room card to get power, you use a separate card that is chained to the wall. You could take it out when you leave the room, but let’s be honest, most people will just leave it in and have the AC on 24/7. Gone are the days of coming home from the beach to a sweltering hotel room. The rooms at Pelangi Beach Resort can be permanently frosty.
In the bedroom, there was a firm king-sized bed, desk, extra sitting space and a mini-fridge. The usual kettle and glasses were provided. The coffee was Nescafe sachets and the tea was basic Lipton brand. Two 500ml bottles of Pelangi branded drinking water was replenished every single day. Various room service menus were scattered on the surfaces.
Our Lakefront room had a balcony that hovered over the resort’s man-made lake. We had a smaller corner balcony, but the rooms next to ours had wider balconies. There were two comfortable wicker chairs, a small table and an ashtray. The deck out there felt clean enough to walk barefoot on.
The bathroom was beautiful with lots of counter space, a shower and a separate tub. There was a tray on the counter stocked with toiletries, including:
- 1 Body wash
- 1 Shampoo
- 1 Body lotion
- 1 Hair conditioner
- 2 Dental kits
- 1 Shower cap
- 1 Bar of body soap
- 1 Bar of hand soap
- 3 Cotton buds
The bathtub was very long and even had a shower hose. Two people could conceivably shower at once – one in the tub and one in the shower. I don’t recommend trying to take baths. I tried to get a hot bath ready, but the tub took forever to fill and the hot water ran out quickly. The tub got to a quarter full before only cold water began coming out of the tap.
The toilet is interesting with a setup that looks right out onto the lake. People across the lake are too far to see anything, but there is a clear view from the toilet to the balcony… and vice versa. The window isn’t tinted, so if you’ve got the blinds wide open, your partner is going to see everything if they wander onto the balcony. Even when the blinds are closed, you can still kind of see the colour of their clothes and skin through the slats, and the vague shape of someone on the toilet. If your partner is pooping, maybe just lay in bed and watch TV.
The shower is in a nook across from the toilet. There’s a showerhead and a big overhead rain shower. The water pressure was nice, but I still needed to be mindful of my shower lengths. If I took too long, the hot water would gradually die off as it did with the bathtub. There is a short lip that is supposed to prevent shower water from flowing into the rest of the bathroom. However, it didn’t seem to be high enough as every night there would be water reaching as far as the sink as a result of our showers.
Our room at the Pelangi Beach Resort was a joy to hang out in. Sometimes our room was our top choice. One of the most enjoyable moments during our stay was enjoying a cup of tea on our balcony, chatting and gazing across the lake, while eating snacks from The Pelangi Lounge.
Service at Pelangi Beach Resort
As expected from a five-star resort, the service bent over backwards to accommodate us. We got a fruity welcome drink when we arrived. We arrived early so our room wasn’t prepared yet, but they allowed us to freely wander the grounds and called us when our room was ready.
Every day, housekeeping turned down our room from top to bottom. They cleaned so well that I don’t think I ever found an errant grain of sand that they missed sweeping. We got new bottles of water, tea sachets and freshly folded towels daily. They also replaced every toiletry in the bathroom. As an avid toiletries thief, I’ve noticed that most hotels nowadays won’t replace something if they cannot find evidence that you’ve used it (an empty shampoo bottle in the shower or a small sliver of bar soap lying by the side of the sink, for example). Pelangi housekeeping replenished the items that were completely missing that I had obviously hidden in my luggage so that they’d give me more.
The grounds of the resort are very large. Sometimes just walking from your room to the breakfast hall can feel like walking across the country. Luckily, Pelangi is all too pleased to haul buffet-stuffed guests to and from their rooms. By calling the reception from the room’s phone, guests can request a buggy to take them where ever they need to go on the grounds. This is most useful when you check in or out so that you don’t need to drag your luggage for a ten-minute walk.
The only negative memory we have of Pelangi’s service was on our final day. We went for one last trip to the beach before returning to our room for a quick shower. We found that our keycard was deactivated, even though it was an hour before check-out time. Mark had to do a frantic run to the lobby to get it sorted, and the concierge had no explanation for the mishap other than it was a mistake. This made our packing up and check-out process a bit rushed. It also makes no sense why the resort would deactivate our card when we clearly hadn’t checked out yet. It felt sus, like an intentional move to hurry us to GTFO.
Price of Lakefront Room at Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa
RM1,708.21 for 4 days & 3 nights, Thursday to Sunday, in December 2021.
Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa is now my standard for a “proper” resort and I’ll push to stay here again if we ever return to Langkawi and Cenang Beach. The property is sprawling and pleasant to wander around in. Our room at Pelangi Resort was spacious and well-kept. All of the conveniences, from the toiletries to the bottled water, are provided and housekeeping does not skimp when replenishing them.
Pelangi Beach Resort has all of the five-star luxuries, but the prices are oddly low. The Casa Del Mar Langkawi next door costs more per night and it’s only a four-star hotel with old-fashioned, uninviting rooms, in my opinion. Not just the rooms, but the food and beverage prices at Pelangi Resort are also very reasonable. The Pelangi Lounge is especially affordable, but even the prices at the posh Cba aren’t outrageous. Compare that to a place like The Danna Langkawi, where all of the mains at the restaurants are double the price.
The “Longest Happy Hour” at Pelangi Resort is something I’ve never seen before and seems too good to be true, but it’s true. The happy hour promotions are straightforward with no fine print or special stipulations involved. The discount applies to everything in the category, and not just the crappiest beer that no one wants. The cocktails at Pelangi are already a decent price, but during Happy Hour, they are very good value… not to mention strong! I was sort of expecting weak drinks during Happy Hour so the resort could recoup costs, but that was not the case. The Pelangi Resort smartly knows that a drunk guest spends more than a sober one.
One advantage that most do not consider is that Pelangi Resort is in the middle of the action on Cenang Beach. Not only did we have lots to do during the day, but we had all of the Cenang Beach restaurants to eat at. Resort restaurants are always pricey, and it was a relief to not be stuck eating at the resort all the time. With just a short walk along the beach, we could get cheap beers at Kalut Bar, for example, or even at any of the duty-free shops nearby.
The Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa is simply unpretentious luxury. Maybe it’s because of the stiff competition around, but this resort has modest prices compared to other five-star resorts. Our stay was so enjoyable that it makes me want to travel back to Langkawi just so I can stay at The Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa again.