After watching America's Best Resort Hotels on the Travel & Living channel, our A list resorts are just as enticing at a fraction of the cost. Our seaside-themed get-aways this year took us from Tanjong Jara Resort in Dungun to Pangkor Laut Resort and The Andaman in Langkawi.
Tanjong Jara and Pangkor Laut offer a 3-day 2-night package with the YTL Platinum card ranging from RM 600 to RM 800 full board per head. A really good deal for the quality of accomodation and great food served.
In both, the mood and ambiance are earthy and romantic whilst the architecture is ethnic Asian with a colonial feel. Peace and quiet abound and is the best medicine for the recently retired, honeymooners or just to get away from the madding crowd.
The strong points of Tanjong Jara are the elegant beach front pool area; the maitre d' of the main restaurant, Ann, who whips up a tasty local menu of fresh seafood for dinner; and the airy foyer to catch up on emails and blogs.
Pangkor Laut Resort is a cut above with more of the same luxury. An hour's boat ride across the open sea can turn out to be quite a bumpy ride. A long jetty leads to paradise which stretches from the bay and up the rainforest hill slopes. Villas are artfully nestled between trees and each have a view of the sea. If you are partial to bathing under the stars, sun or in full view of the monkeys, the outdoor bathing pool would please you to no end.
The ultimate in decadence is to have peacocks, peahens, friendly horn bills strolling by as you sip your afternoon tea.
The wild life doesn't end there. You are bound to come across a monitor lizard or two as well as a tree full of fruit bats just next to the jacuzzi.
As you float in and out of a nap in the huge comfy lounge sofas, the infinity pool appears to merge with the stilted chalets in the bay.
Even the beach is swept of leaves and debris daily.
My favourite spot is the library, set in a veranda with two large four-poster beds complete with plush cushions surrounded by teak bookcases filled with books.
The Andaman in Langkawi is next to the famous Datai, and run by the same management group. It is the poorer cousin of Datai but has its own charm, especially when 50% off room rates are offered during low season.
Because of location, it is less crowded than the popular resorts in Pantai Cenang or Kuah. It gets an A for the steep roads leading to the resort and Datai which are just the thing for a challenging morning walk to work off those inches around the belly.
And nothing can beat the great sunsets.