Beach resort vacations were incredible experiences to have had as kids. As young, imaginative, and unimaginably energetic little people, spending the day playing in a larger-than-life swimming pool and staying up late on vacation are some of our favourite memories. As parents, or when on a family vacation with kids, you get to experience the excitement all over again — except now, bedtime is no problem.
Malaysia has been home to many of our childhood’s most memorable family beach holidays. In the 90s’, resorts like Golden Sands in Penang, and Grand Hyatt Kuantan were 3D2N’s in paradise (or more, if you were luckier). Sadly, the pandemic’s economic downfall has caused the closure of over a hundred hotels and resorts in Malaysia, including well-loved ones like Holiday Inn Resort Hotel Penang and Berjaya Tioman Resort.
With travel reopened, your vacations days are inviting you to clock out of work and enjoy the beautiful beaches right here in Malaysia. And if you’re already looking for the best family beach resorts in Malaysia, look no further.
The best beach resorts in Malaysia for families in 2021:
The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi, Kedah
The Ritz-Carlton in Langkawi has one of the most beautiful private white sandy beaches in Malaysia and a wealth of surrounding rainforest. If you’re looking for a truly luxurious family vacation on the west coast, you’ll find it here in any of the resort’s family-sized villas mixing modern-day comforts with traditional design. The world-famous Ritz-Carlton Spa in Langkawi with six overwater spa pavilions is a must-visit for an afternoon of relaxation.
For kids: The Ritz Kids program includes a fun registration area and check-in and welcome pack and a scavenger hunt. They’ll also get to learn the four pillars of Ritz Kids discovery: water, land, environmental responsibility and culture through activities such as kite-painting.
Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, Kedah
Yet another grand beachfront accommodation in Langkawi is the Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, nestled amidst a tropical rainforest, limestone cliffs and sandy shores by the Andaman Sea. Malay-style pavilions and villas are ideal for both couples and families, with enough privacy for a relaxing, quiet stay. Parents, make your way to Rhu Bar by sunset cocktails alongside an unforgettable Langkawi sunset.
For kids: The resort plans its kids’ activities to bring experiential learning into playtime, which includes guided explorations by the Four Seasons Langkawi naturalists, learning about traditional fishing at the eco-friendly Rumah Ikan Fish House, and art activities at the Lutong Kids Club. At the spa, kids can enjoy a kiddie manicure and learn how to make an all-natural scrub.
Club Med Cherating Beach, Kuantan, Pahang
Opened in 1979, Club Med Cherating Beach remains one of the best beach resorts in Malaysia for families because of its all-inclusive guest packages. The resort sits within a forest which makes it ideal for jungle adventures and all sorts of water sports. All-inclusive entitles guests to full-board gourmet cuisine, day and night entertainment, as well as activities organised at the resort. Just for adults, there’s the zen zone pool too, while babysitting is also offered.
For kids: The Club Med Baby Welcome Kit takes care of everything your baby needs on holiday, waiting in your room on arrival. Kids of all ages can have fun partaking in sports, creative workshops and team games at the Petit Club Med and Mini Club Med for kids up to 10 years old, while teens can get their adrenaline pumping while climbing or on the trapeze.
One&Only Desaru Coast, Johor
A newer resort that’s also one of the most exclusive and luxurious resorts in Malaysia One&Only Desaru Coast, a beachside destination in Johor named one of Time magazine’s ‘World’s Greatest Places in 2021‘. The resort is hugged by lush greenery and a long powder-like white sand beach. Notably, One&Only worked with the world-famous Australian architect Kerry Hill to design the resort’s dreamy suites five-bedroom One Villa.
For kids: One Tribe welcomes teens ages 12 to 17 to its laidback, no-frills chill-out space. Here they’ll get to join in on complementary activities and mingle with other younger guests, under the discreetly watchful eye of One Tribe counsellors.
The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort, Redang Island, Terrenganu
The Taaras Beach & Spa Resort in Redang Island is located on the northeast coast of Malaysia. The island is the largest of the Redang archipelago and hailed as home to many of the best dive sites locally. There are also designation conservation sites including a protected marine park and turtle sanctuary, making this resort is an escape into nature for the whole family to experience. Larger families will find the five-bedroom Taaras Villa exceeds all expectations of luxury.
For kids: The SEATRU Turtle Lab is an education and conservation centre run by The Taaras’ own marine biologist team, and guests may even get to watch hatchlings being released into the sea during hatching season. Kids can also enjoy supervised playtime at the Jojo Playroom open daily.
Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Over on East Malaysia,Shangri-La Tanjung Aru is one of the two Shangri-La’s in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Both accommodations are family-friendly, however, you might find the resort isTanjung Aru to be slightly more luxurious. Sunset Bar is renowned as one of the top places in the world to watch the sunset. Located just 10 minutes away from the city, the resort has six restaurants and bars and the private STAR Marina.
For kids: With its Borneo murals and comfortable atmosphere, The Cool Zone is like a fancy members club for kids. There’s a toddler section with padded walls and soft toys, a creativity section, as well a computer and TV room complete with PlayStations.
(Main image credit: Four Seasons Resort Langkawi)