La Laanta was the third destination from my wife and I during our three week Thai holiday. When we booked in early November, there were approximately 35 reviews on Trip Advisor. It’s the end of March now and that number has risen to 82 (with more to come I’m sure), the majority of which are 5 stars. That kind of popularity makes La Laanta the envy of all resorts, and with good reason. But the numbers don’t lie, and there’s a reason why so many guests are rushing to exhort the experiences had far away down the southern end of Koh Lanta.
We were on the very quiet island of Koh Jum before heading to Lanta. I was chatting to a very well travelled Swedish lady in her 60’s just before we departed. “Where are you going next?”, she asked. “Lanta” was my reply. Her face turned quite sullen. Her response was brief and to the point, punctuated as if to make a point – “busy”. Had I not known about the geographical whereabouts of La Laanta, I’d have been worried at that point.
There appear to be 2 Koh Lanta’s (in actuality, you could say the same about any well-known Thai island – Phi Phi, Phang-Ngan, Samui etc). There is the hustle and bustle of the main resort beach areas that seem to define the whole island, or there are the secluded beaches far away from the madness sought out by those looking for something else. La Laanta definitely falls into the latter category, the knowledge of which protected me from the misguided barb of my Scandinavian travel guide.
As so many guests seemed to admit whilst we were there, the rave reviews on Trip Advisor were the reason they had booked their La Laanta holiday. We were the same. If the photos didn’t hook you, the glowing reports surely did. We had hoped to secure ourselves a Sunset Splendour Villa when booking in early November. But four months away, they were already booked out. We were happy to settle for a Horizon Gaze, whilst secretly holding out for a cancellation in that time. No such luck.
So what’s the secret? There’s nothing we could tell you about this resort that you haven’t read already. A beautiful beach with only three resorts. There were some mornings we’d be the only two people in the water. The bungalows are very nice and comfortable. The food was great. The cocktails were potent. The pool was a nice alternative to the beach at times. And so on… But any of these things can be found at other resorts.
The real difference is simply those who run La Laanta. None of them had operated in resorts before they opened La Laanta, but their collective goodwill drives it forward. Patrick, June, Tony and Kung (correct spelling I hope) are omnipresent. They don’t tend to guest’s needs, they look after friends. It might sound like a cliché, but it’s just the way it is. They make an effort to engage you personally, and hope to wave good-bye to you as a new friend.
It’s fair to say that a lot of couples were staying at La Laanta when we were there. And couples tend to like their privacy. But at night, Patrick manages to weave a spell on the beach bar aided by Mackey’s infectious personality and cocktails. And under that spell, people of all ages from around the world would introduce themselves and talk into the small hours. I honestly cannot remember a feeling like that generated at any resort I’ve ever stayed in anywhere around the world.
Previous to La Laanta, we stayed at Koh Jum Lodge on Koh Jum. It too was paradise. I have raved about it in my review. A great deal of that success was due to the manager’s personal touches. And whilst those touches made a difference, they were nevertheless polite and kept at arms reach - almost a professional politeness. The managers at La Laanta genuinely reached out to you and engaged you personally. They welcomed you into their world, and tried to get to know you – however briefly. When we left, we left with new friends and we look forward to the day when we can laugh again with them.
If my memory serves me well, we were told that the record stay for a guest was 45 nights. You’ve got to be doing something right for someone to want to stay that long with you.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Artistically inspired living on the most private beach for that castaway experience. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Agoda, Booking.com, Odigeo and Priceline so you can book your LaLaanta Hideaway Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Lalaanta Hideaway Hotel Ko Lanta
- Lalaanta Hideaway Ko Lanta