Shangri-La Rasa Sayang, Penang nestles on the northernmost peninsular of Penang Island on Batu Feringgi beach and boasts enviable views across the turquoise waters of the Straits of Malacca. Fondly known as the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is famed for its temperate weather, glorious UNESCO-registered historical sites, friendly people and nature-inspired adventures.
Almost half a century ago, the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang was built amidst Penang’s diverse rainforests, beaches, tropical jungle and coastal mangroves. The beautifully-fragrant gardens include heliconia, creeping daisies, frangipani, giant Malayan fern palms, colourful bursts of bougainvillaea and fragrant hibiscus. Ancient giant rain trees take pride of place within the expansive gardens; this impressive indigenous tree has for centuries provided shade for crops and been used for medicinal purposes. Arboculturalists consider the trees within the resort to be some of the oldest along this coastline.
The fresh sea air and the giant canopies of ancient trees keep you cool in the exotic resort. The resort is an internationally recognised architectural masterpiece that seamlessly blends traditional and characterful Malayan design with modernity. Minangkabau palaces inspire the impressive resort’s buildings, the tiered roofs rise dramatically as the upswept gables mimic the horn of the buffalo. Dotted throughout the grounds are giant wooden pillars decorated with intricate carvings inspired by the island’s lush nature. Inside, colourful paintings of birds and native betel nut palms adorn the walls as batik fabrics playfully dance in the sea breeze.
Aptly, Rasa Sayang means ‘feeling of love’ in Malay. The resort has two wings that house various rooms and suites. The rooms are large, fresh and airy. The garden wing interiors are decorated with earthy tones with pops of citrus and assorted hues of pretty blues to give a feeling of biophilic living. The Rasa Wing is for the sophisticated traveller who enjoys a sense of solitude and peace.
Chi, The Spa lies within 30-acres of private grounds and comprises 11 exclusive villas, personal treatment rooms, yoga pavilions, and bathing and relaxation areas. Exclusive to Shangri-La, Chi, the holistic spa introduces age-old healing practices and philosophies from the Asian region with relaxing, restorative and harmonious treatments. The swimming pools at both Rasa Wing and Garden Wing discreetly nestle in lush greenery and give a sense of nurture and peace.
Food is another important part of daily life at the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang. Penang’s cuisine is an amalgamation of delicious Chinese, Tamil, and Malay influences, resulting in an array of devilishly fiery curries, flavour-intense noodles and a plethora of bizarre street cuisine. The chefs carefully tend their organic herb gardens so that the tastes are fresh and pure. They use home-grown torch ginger in their delicious laksa, a spicy noodle soup popular in Southeast Asia prepared with rich coconut soup seasoned with sour asam. Other garden favourites include turmeric, cardamom, and greater and lesser galangal, key ingredients for their curry bases. Other herbs and spices that grow in the garden include the rare sawtooth coriander, Indonesian bay leaf, stevia, Indian borage, cat’s whiskers and wild pepper. There is some beautiful tropical native wildlife in and around the gardens, such as the magpie robin, crimson sunbird, common iora, yellow-vented bulbul, the grey-bellied, and giant ratufa squirrel.
Weddings at Shangri-La Rasa Sayang are held throughout the breathtaking resort, under the shade of the magnificent rain trees or on the white sandy beaches and into the spectacular star-filled night.
For more information about fairytale wedding celebrations and honeymoons, contact https://www.shangri-la.com/penang/rasasayangresort/.
Katie Hollamby is a well-travelled public relations specialist turned writer for various international publications, tourism boards and ethical brands. Originally from the UK, she’s worked around the world, lived in and explored North America, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Maldives and now Thailand. She’s passionate about the welfare of animals and sustainability. For more adventures, you can follow her on Instagram @thekatybooks.