Far and Away
Any island that requires a three-and-a-half-hour drive and a 45-minute boat ride after nearly an entire day of flying begs the question: Is it worth it? For Pangkor Laut—a 300-acre retreat favored by the like of Joan Collins and Luciano Pavarotti (if that makes it your kind of place)—the answer is a resounding . . . maybe. Pangkor Laut's 138 suites and villas are extremely luxe and take full advantage of the island's natural beauty: Beach Villas with outdoor tubs; forest-shrouded Hill Villas; verdant Garden Villas; and 43 Sea and Spa Villas surrounded by the balmy Malaccan Straits. But Pankgor's impeccably manicured paths, glitzy restaurants, and precisely planned activities—tennis, hikes, windsurfing—make it feel something like a tropical adult Disneyland. Even the elaborate new spa compound could use a dose of modesty (but we hope they don't get rid of the wonderful banana and duneberry bath products). What make this island worth the trip are the eight private estates for rent far from the heart of the resort. Among these isolated compounds—each with a staff and exclusive beach access—we especially loved Estate Seven, a four-bedroom house set amid rolling hills deep in the forest. It has endless lawns, an outdoor bathroom, a private pond, and an infinity pool. Staying here makes you appreciate the island's truly majestic landscape, which is still 80 percent untouched. Edging 140 million-year-old rainforests and silky-sanded coves are beaches so perfect they look as if they'd been created by engineers and bulldozers. The best are Emerald Bay beach, which is about a half-hour hike over monkey-filled hills from the main resort, and Marina Bay, which is just in front of the private estates. Rooms, $240-$635; estates, $2,630 for three nights, includes staff and meals. At 32200 Lumut Perak; 605-699-1100; www.pangkorlautresort.com.
From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.
The Indian Ocean: Pangkor Laut
Far and Away
Most Read In Travel
Where to Eat and Drink in the Hudson Valley
A Brooklyn transplant’s guide to the best restaurants, breweries, and wine and cider bars just outside of New York City.
Where to Eat, Stay, and Explore in Kyoto, Japan
A frequent visitor to Japan highlights all the best things to see, taste, and experience in Japan’s “Eternal City.”
Letter From the Editors
What We’re Eating, Where We’re Going, and What We’re Loving in August
From a special object to a delicious meal, a captivating place to an unforgettable experience — a few things delighting our Departures editors this month.
The Secrets of the Lake
On the dazzling shores of Italy’s Lake Como, a history flows rich with romance and drama.
The Hidden Gems of Paris
A Parisian’s guide to the best hotels, restaurants, and out-of-the-way shopping spots that the city has to offer.
Where to Eat, Stay, and Explore in Napa
A local wine expert brings you his go-tos for a romantic getaway in wine country.
Just Like Heaven
With panoramic views of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala’s Casa Palopó is a far-flung delight.
The Design Lover’s Guide to Mexico City
American design icon Kelly Wearstler shares her top spots for aesthetic awe.
Fifth Avenue: Through the Eyes of New Yorkers
A panoramic view of the city’s most famous street.
Most Read Stories
Everything I Now Want After Attending the Masters
From cars to clothes to bourbon, covetable things abound at the most prestigious golf event in the world.
Old-Fashioned Luxury, With Simple Ingredients
With Stissing House, Clare de Boer brings her fresh, unfussy food to Pine Plains, New York.