A substantial part of the luxury resort’s sprawling main building, along with a block of guestrooms, was largely destroyed.
Langkawi had already just taken another punishing blow as the effects of MCO 2.0 cratered the just-recovering domestic tourism market. Reports were that some 60% of bookings had been cancelled in the immediate wake of the announcement of the country’s latest lockdown effort, along with 100% of all Chinese New Year holiday bookings cancelled, as well. Now, the tourism-reliant island has been dealt another crushing loss.
The Andaman, a Luxury Collection Resort under the Marriott International umbrella, suffered major damage in two fires within hours, with one entire block of the rainforest resort effectively destroyed.
The first fire broke out, believed in one of the resort’s kitchens, around 4:04pm on Tuesday, January 12. The fire quickly spread and was only brought under control by firefighters dispatched from two stations by 10pm. At the time, it was thought the fire had been put out.
However, about three hours later, the fire had re-erupted and an emergency call was placed at 1:13am. Whipped by strong winds, the blaze spread to engulf nearly the entire building, much of which is clad in wood, reflecting the five-star resort’s idyllic Langkawi rainforest setting.
Owing to the relative isolation of the property, battling the massive fire proved particularly difficult. Getting water to the fire was one problem, according to reports, and accessing the parts of the building that were burning was another.
Firefighting efforts continued until well into daylight hours, with images and videos emerging and being quickly shared across Malaysia, to the shock and sadness of many. Netizens quickly took to social media to express their disbelief, with some recalling their own holidays spent at the resort.
“Unreal, we were just there some time ago.” one social media user posted. “Praying for the safety and livelihood of all the extremely nice and friendly staff there.”
“We were able to enjoy a great holiday there in September,” said another. “The staff were so helpful, and took very good care of us. The videos and pictures of the fire are extremely upsetting to see. I’m glad that no one was hurt, but it’s terrible that such a beautiful resort was destroyed.”
According to Mohamadul Ehsan Mohd Zain, Assistant Director of the Fire and Rescue Operations Division, Kedah Fire and Rescue Department, much of the entire structure of the main building is effectively destroyed.
The property is operated under the Marriott Group, and is owned locally by Andaman Resort Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Landmarks Bhd.
In a statement confirming a “major fire” event, the company said, “The Andaman’s operation for safety reasons and ascertainment for reinstatement of the fire damage will be ceased for the time being. The financial impact of the fire has yet to be fully ascertained. Any property and financial losses arising from this incident are covered by insurance policies taken up by the company.”
Landmarks Bhd also noted that its board of directors had immediately formed a committee expressly to evaluate a “rebuilding and repositioning plan” for The Andaman.
The resort, for its part, also released a statement, saying, “We can confirm that a fire broke out at The Andaman, a Luxury Collection Resort, Langkawi on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. As soon as we were aware of the incident, we informed the authorities and moved swiftly to evacuate the hotel.
“As an additional safety precaution, all guests have been relocated to our sister property while investigations are ongoing. Our utmost priority is to ensure the safety of our guests and associates.
“We are working closely and in cooperation with the fire department to determine the cause of the fire. As this matter is under investigation, we are unable to provide further information.”
Reservations on the resort’s website have been closed out for the balance of 2021 (any date selected brings back a “rooms unavailable” message), and judging from the photos showing extensive damage and destruction, it is abundantly clear that The Andaman will not be reopening anytime soon.
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