Amran Ahmed of Ambong Pool Villas and Ambong-Ambong Rainforest Retreat on how bijou and boutique are new buzzwords in post-pandemic hospitality

The youthful hotelier shares how his hospitality proposition in Langkawi was clearly made for this new normal.

Amran Ahmed, the youthful co-founder of Ambong Pool Villas (Photography by David Wu).

Travelling in the new normal evokes three main emotions: loathing, resignation or excitement. After all, for many among us who used to travel frequently — for work and pleasure, to the point where there was always packed luggage on standby — 2020 is the year of almost forgetting what the drive to the airport feels like.

For most Malaysians, however, the Ministry of Health’s able handling, led by a most capable director-general, has resulted in a relative flattening of Covid-19’s epidemiological curve and several victories, both big and small. This includes not having to undergo all the hardship — physical, mental and economic — that a second nationwide lockdown would entail and keeping the number of new cases relatively low; low enough for many citizens to, once again, begin to feel secure enough to enjoy the pleasures of living a normal-as-can-be life as well as the relative freedom of being able to explore the country once more.


Brave new world

For travellers, gingerly finding their way about a scary new world, assurance, it must be said, is most appreciated. And for visitors to Ambong Pool Villas, rest assured there is much of it to be had. Comprising nine standalone pool villas built to reflect tropical heritage and style, this bijou hideaway nestled among the forested hills of Langkawi’s Pantai Tengah offers guests the chance to leave their pandemic-riddled fears and worries aside upon checking in.

Cocooned in the spaciousness of a private villa, there is almost no need to venture out. Endless days could be spent swimming while looking out onto the surrounding islands, gazing into the sunset or simply watching the adorable dusky leaf monkeys going about their business. Every morning begins with breakfast delivered to your private dining room or on the al fresco terrace. Your other meals may also be ordered and taken in-villa. There is no need to fear crowds at a communal swimming pool or restaurant, or having to wander, cheek by jowl with strangers, in search of recreation, entertainment or even a simple pre-dinner drink.

“In many ways, we are well-suited to a post-pandemic world but this is more [due] to luck than by design,” says Amran Ahmed, 39, the youthful co-founder of Ambong Pool Villas. “I expect the pandemic to fundamentally change the way we travel. There will be increased demand for smaller properties, with low density and away from crowds and city centres. Demand for nature-based properties and activities will also increase.”



For the full story, pick up a copy of The Edge Malaysia (Sept 21, 2020) at your nearest news stand. Save by subscribing to us for your print and/or digital copy.


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