By Cacinda Maloney
When I stepped on the grounds of the Shangra La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa on the island of Penang, Malaysia, I felt like I had walked into the nostalgic good times of the 1920. Old-style romantic and unassuming, this resort is like stepping back in the time of the 1920’s world of bourgeoisie and old money.
I think of literary idols like Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and T.S. Elliot who would have flocked here to write in seclusion, to get inspired by the beauty and peacefulness that surrounded them. The views of the shimmering sands by the private beach make me wish I could stay here for weeks of my life, where I could have time to write, time to think, and time to bask in the sun without the distractions of the modern world. Oh, what it would have been like to sit across from these literary giants and be inspired to write while there.
I realize I must have flaws in my romantic imagination, because for some reason I think that living in a different time frame is the most romantic time of all, that somehow life would be better if I lived in a different era. My mind loves to live in the “Golden Age” of travel in different places around the world. I think it must be in denial of today’s idea of romance as I have a difficult time dealing with the current time frame when it comes to romantic travel. I guess that is what nostalgia is, that or I am a hopeless romantic.
This generation seems dull, as sometimes I try to escape my present by living in the past. This must explain the anxiety of my present, in that if I stay in this state of mind, then it becomes my present. The present is a bit unsatisfying, because life, in general is unsatisfying, so that all the happier days of ones life tend to be in the past. Except when I am here and reliving the “Golden Age”.
In my nostalgia, as I make my way through the symmetrically planted palm trees with the old oak wooden-carved hammock holders,
it all becomes almost too much for me to bear, as it is hard to believe that a place like this even exists.
Emerald green bushes and perfectly manicured lawns right up to the beach bar with the cabana men waiting to bring me a drink and a smile. As I look around almost no one is here at the private beach this morning and I cannot believe my good fortune. The air is crisp and clean, as I rose before all the others this morning, hoping to take a peak around the property before anyone else gets out of bed other than the pool guy and the cabana men. I walk the property from one end to the other. It has that old world feeling of tropics with monkeys that have hats swinging from the branches of trees and the old style wicker/bamboo fans gliding in the air in the beach huts. I have been transformed back in time.
My one bedroom suite was wonderful with an amazing view of shades of green that turn into shades of blue ocean and then glittering sand.
There is a jacuzzi out on the balcony where you can call the concierge and they will send someone up to run you a hot bath with candles and floating rose petals if you wish, service included. It would provide a romantic setting for a couple to relax, but this trip I am alone, so I pass and yearn for the day I can bring my lover with me.
Sometimes I feel like I haunt two worlds, one from now and one from this different era. The sounds of an old 45 record are ringing in my ears. This place is alluring, and I enjoyed my time spent at Chi, The Spa, as well. Shangri La The Rasa Sayang makes life easy for you.
If you ever get a chance to stop by and relax for a while, I can recommend it. It is not new world, so remember that. But it will take your breath away nonetheless.
Hotel Name: Shangri-La – The Rasa Sayang
Where: George Town on the island of Penang, Malaysia
Price ranging from: $208 – $462
Rooms: 304 rooms consisting of 288 Guest rooms and 16 suites
By using miles to fly to KL, Malaysia, you can turn this destination into a “value luxury” experience.
Disclosure: My trip to the island of Penang, Malaysia was provided by Thai Airways, in conjunction with the Tourism Malaysia. My stay at the Shangri La Rasa Sayang was in no way influenced by Tourism Malayia and were truly my own experiences.