The lure of Langkawi

Opened in July 2005, the Four Seasons Langkawi in Malaysia is still relatively unknown in the industry.
The lure of Langkawi
By Administrator
Thu 24 Jul 2008 04:00 AM

Four Seasons Langkawi GM Greg Pirkle explains why once travellers have visited the resort they come back for more.

Opened in July 2005, the Four Seasons Langkawi in Malaysia is still relatively new and unknown in the industry.

"In some ways it's the best kept secret in Malaysia, or even the whole Asia Pacific region," says general manager Greg Pirkle. "It's just a question of getting the information out there [to consumers and the trade]."

For guests today, it's not about how much they are paying, it's about the value of the experience.

Pirkle is confident about the attractions his resort has to offer.

"There are not many places in the world where you can find deserted islands," he says.

"But we have two near us. Our guests can go on trips there; we drop them off and say ‘see you in six hours' and they get to explore the islands' natural beauty in complete peace and isolation."

There is little doubt that the prospect of strolling around your own private island for a few hours will appeal to many and that is the USP Pirkle is anxious to convey.

"Maybe people will come here initially because of the reputation of the Four Seasons experience and that's fine," he muses.

"But once guests come here to Langkawi they will be blown away by the by the beauty of this place, the quality of the service and the experience we provide - it's impossible to oversell it. Once clients have visited here once they will want to return."

The sales pitch

Location:Four Seasons Langkawi is situated on Langkawi Island's North Cape just off Malaysia in the Andaman Sea.

Property features:90 rooms and suites, a spa, beach, two swimming pools, tennis courts, business centre and library.

Leisure activities:diving, snorkeling, beach walks, island trips, golf tennis, swimming and yachting, to name but a few.

Cultural activities:bird watching and garden and nursery tours.

Relaxation:spa treatments, excursions to nearby uninhabited islands, private beach.

The Four Seasons Langkawi is directed towards the high-end of the luxury market.

The resort has more than 450 staff to attend to 90 rooms on grounds generously spread out over 148 acres.

"The most important thing is you get what you pay for," says Pirkle. "For guests today, it's not about how much they are paying, it's about the value of the experience and that's what is most important for us to provide."

The property is marketed as a spa resort and the growing demand for more advanced spa experience has not gone unnoticed by Pirkle.

"People like to pamper themselves," he says. "It used to be just a 60-minute massage and that was it."

"Now we don't even call it a massage, we call it a treatment. There are an array of treatments on offer and guests can make a whole day of it."

Four Seasons has recruited massage experts from across Malaysia and Asia to ensure it provides clients with a premium service of high-quality pampering.

"Our spa rep travels through Bali, Thailand, Vietnam to uncover the latest and greatest techniques to ensure we're at the cutting edge of possibilities for spa treatments," explains Pirkle.

This degree of research is not something Four Seasons has limited to its spas.

"We send experts to explore what our competitors are doing and to see what food is being served these days," says Pirkle.

"Langkawi has an Italian restaurant - so we brought in an Italian chef to make sure we did it properly."

The contingent of Middle East guests visiting Four Seasons Langkawi is still relatively small says Pirkle, but he expects that to change.

"Roughly 12% of our guests are from the Middle East," he says.

"Mostly they arrive in the summer months, but once we get the message out there regarding what this place is all about, that number will increase and the travellers that do come here will want to come back."

HOW TO SELL TO:

Couples: can enjoy a peaceful retreat that caters to joint spa experiences as well as private trips to nearby deserted islands.

Culture seekers:should be made aware of the 99 islands that inhabit the Archipelago where Langkawi is one of only two that are inhabited, with stunning wildlife and a history that dates back to it's time as a hub for Chinese, Arab and Indian traders.

Sports enthusiasts:have a local golf course, tennis courts swimming pools and a range of water-sports activities from which to choose.

Top-end clients:more than 450 staffs attend to 90 rooms so the service is top-notch.

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