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“La Laanta vs Layana”

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LaLaanta Hideaway Resort
Ranked #21 of 85 Hotels in Ko Lanta
Reviewed 17 April 2009

My family and I just returned from a vacation in Koh Lanta and had stayed 3 nights each in Layana and La Laanta which are currently ranked the 1st and 2nd resorts respectively by TripAdvisor. I think a comparison between the two resorts might provide some hints to holidays-seekers to choose one to suit their personal preferences.

The resort – Before arrival, I expected Layana to be a small to medium size 4-stars resort because it has only 50 rooms. However it did exceed my expectation and was a truly 5-stars resort. It was spacious, tastefully designed and provided the comfort of a luxury resort without compromising the privacy and quietness. La Laanta had 20 bungalows with totally different style. In contrast to the luxurious of a general 5-stars resort, it provided a peaceful ambience which made its guests feel free, ease and relaxing just like home.

Location – Layana was rather conveniently located and guests could walk to nearby shops though, in fact, there was not much to shop around. La Laanta was seclude and remotely located and it was quite unlikely for guests to access nearby shops or restaurants.

Facilities – There were only 1 pool and 1 restaurant available in Layana. Though their sizes are medium comparing to those of an average 5-stars resort, they are adequate for a boutique resort as in the case of Layana. It had spa facilities which we didn’t try. Its library was comfortable and well-organized. When comparing to those of La Laanta, the pool and library in Layana are obviously of a higher class despite Layana had only 2 PCs for internet access while La Laanta had 3. The restaurants were hard to compare. La Laanta had 2 small restaurants. The breakfast restaurant oversaw the pool and the beach and made people feel calm and relaxing – particularly with 2 dogs and 1 cat lying at your feet. The dinner restaurant had a sand floor but the sands were neither as white nor powdery as those of some top Asian beaches. We had mosquito bites in the 2 nights we dined there. Overall, I personally liked the breakfast restaurant in La Laanta above the others.

Room – We stayed in 2 Pavilion rooms which were standard rooms in Layana. The room was spacious, warm and cosy. It was definitely better than equivalent rooms in average 5-stars resorts. In La Laanta, we stayed in a Sand Castle room overseeing the small garden, the pool and the beach (We were lucky to be assigned probably the best room in the resort). It was clean and cosy. In brief, the room in Layana was much more luxurious though I personally prefer to stay in the Sand Castle room in La Laanta mainly because of its view.

Services – The services in Layana were excellent. They were subtle and attentive and were the best that I have experienced in a 5-stars resort. (We have stayed in 30-40 5-stars resorts in Asia in the last 10-12 years). In La Laanta, you won’t see any staff to serve you in uniform, and this fitted well to an ease environment as you won’t expect a uniformed staff to serve you at home. Nevertheless, its staff members were always available to attend to your requests and to offer assistances. And both Michael in Layana and Patrick in La Laanta were very friendly.

Beach – The beach in La Laanta was quiet and private and the water was comparatively calmer and clearer. It was in general better than that in Layana.

Food – The restaurant in Layana offered more varieties of food such as Thai, Mediterranean and western while that in La Laanta mainly offered Thai food with some choices of western food. Layana also had more food choices during breakfast while La Laanta’s breakfast was decent. The food prices in Layana were higher by around 10%-20% for the same Thai dishes and this was reasonable for a 5-stars resort. In general, the food prices in both restaurants were cheap. For example, Layana offered a barbecue buffet at 850 Baht which was excellent value for money when considering the food quality. The quality of Thai food in both restaurants was close, though we all agreed that the smoothies in La Laanta were much better.

Cleanliness – Absolutely no criticism for Layana. As for La Laanta, the cotton cushions on the beach chairs as well as on the seats in the dinner restaurant absorbed water during the rain and were either torn or shabby.

In brief, both resorts probably topped the rankings among the resorts of their particular styles in Koh Lanta. Holiday-seekers won’t disappoint to have chosen either one of them.

Stayed: April 2009, travelled with family
5  Thank HKSunFish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 14 April 2009

You really do feel as though you are dropping off the end of the world as you leave the concrete road and drive onto the 4km of dirt track that takes you to LaLaanta - (the dirt track is an advantage - please don't change this otherwise too many people will discover this beautiful and peaceful resort). We stayed here for 9 nights in mid-March and indulged ourselves in some relaxation and sun, which enabled us to recharge our batteries.

What a beautiful setting. White clean sand, blue warm sea and very few people on the beach - 10 was a crowd!! The National Park and Lighthouse are accessed from the end of the beach and if you can summon the energy the walk and views are worth it; the resort's dogs are always on the look out for someone to take for a walk and will go with you quite happily. At the other end of the beach there is a bar/restaurant and another resort both of which do good Thai food if you fancy a change from LaLaanta.

The Bungalows are clean, bright and tastefully decorated. The air con is a must and as we didn' seem to have problems with mosquitos we didn't use the net; although we always sprayed ourselves well before going out a night.

Breakfast is self-service but there is always a great choice and it is constantly replenished. Sitting at the bar on the beach watching the sun go down was an ideal way to finish off another day in paradise. The menu for dinner is good and again it is taken sitting on the beach. The night not to be missed is BBQ night on Saturdays; the prawns were just yummy!!

We found the staff to be helpful and willing to give advice on trips etc. if you needed it. They organised our snorkelling trip to Koh Rok, but we never felt that we were being pushed into taking trips. I know that had we wanted to go and explore the island more it would have been organised without any fuss.

You cannot write a review without mentioning Mackay and his team at the Bar. They do a brilliant job making sure that you have everything you need; the fruit juice in the afternoon was a lovely touch. We spent many hours sampling Mackay's lethal cocktails (I don't think they've heard of a measure!!) and setting the world to rights with the other guests. We met some wonderful people from all round the world and hopefully we will keep in contact. A word of warning a late night session drinking with Patrick is not for the feint hearted!!

If you are looking for bright lights, discos and the activity of a large resort then LaLaanta is not for you, If you are looking for peace, relaxation, good food and good company then this is the place for you.
Finally, I would like to thank Patrick, Tony, June and Klong for welcoming us to LaLaanta and letting us stay at their lovely resort. It was truly a holiday to be remembered and we will be back.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank salthound
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2009

If you are after manicured lawns and a sterile holiday complex environment please turn away now because the streams of fans of La Laanta Hideaway Resort would rather you holiday somewhere else as you simply wouldn’t appreciate the idyllic resort that Patrick, June, Tony and Kong have built on Koh Lanta. Looking at some of the reviews that complain about the noises of nature, the distance from civilisation and the bumpy approach road simply makes me laugh as these in many ways are exactly why the visitors to this wonderful resort will be back in their droves.

Quite simply if you are someone who appreciates the beauty of a resort that has been carefully carved out of the luscious National Park surrounding it, offering an un-paralleled aspect onto a near deserted beach with warm clear waters you should read this review some more.

La Laanta is like spending your vacation with long lost family and friends. They offer a perfect balance of service from local people who you feel really care about you having a fantastic holiday. Yes they may not all be fluent in English and sat behind a desk waiting for your questions but that doesn’t mean they don’t care. We stayed here for the main part of our honeymoon in Thailand, 11 nights in total so I think we are well placed to comment.

The bungalows are beautifully appointed and spotless offering a perfect balance of simple style with a few added extras like the stylish bathrobes - Patrick you should sell these in the shop!.

The restaurant and bar are run by Mackey and his team serving up some fantastic cocktails that certainly leave their mark and provided us with many a fun evening making new friends with some fantastic guests that were staying there at the same time. You may worry that being so remote you are compelled to dine there every night, well if you do there is no cause for concern. The food was amongst some of the best we had during our trip and is excellent value for money. If you do want to spread your wings and venture out Patrick and his team are on hand to arrange transport to some of the great restaurants available locally although I warn you the temptation is simply to stay put and lap up every minute.

Last but not least If you are after that extra bit of pampering during your stay make sure you ask about the local massage lady who will visit your bungalow offering an amazing Thai or oil massage for around £10 an hour!

If after reading the many positive reviews you are still concerned by the few naysayers then I would suggest this idyllic resort is not going to be to your liking so do the rest of us a favour and book yourself somewhere else and leave this little gem to those of us who will appreciate it for what it is – special! Thank you – we will be back!

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Mediaboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 April 2009

There can hardly be a holiday destination left in Thailand that doesn’t claim to offer a little slice of paradise. Open any Thai travel guide or hotel web page and you’re likely to find hyperbole splashed liberally all over the page like cheap sun cream.

So as true British cynics, it was with some trepidation that we booked a seven night stay at La Laanta based solely on the reviews on this website. Surely the beach couldn’t be that perfect, the hospitality that welcoming, the cocktails that good?

On arriving at La Laanta, it soon becomes clear what all the fuss is about, even after 26 hours of sleepless plane, boat and road travel.

We could drone on all day about the beautiful, natural sandy beach, the azure sea, the cheap and tasty food, the simple but stylish rooms, the lush jungle backdrop but these have all already been well documented on these pages.

The thing that impressed us the most about our stay was the warmth of the welcome from the owners and the genuine, laid back vibe that pervades this small but perfectly formed corner of Koh Lanta. Sure, you can find cheaper places to stay. Yes, they don’t primp and polish the pebbles in the flowerbeds or jetwash every last shell off the beach. Hell, you may even get woken up by some exotic critter cat-calling in the middle of the night. But if our experience is anything to go by, you really would have to go some to find a more restful, welcoming and altogether satisfying holiday destination.

Perhaps one of the best measures of the place is the other guests. We’re normally not the most sociable of travelers but during our time at La Laanta we made friends with a genuinely lovely group of people, whiling away many an hour banging the world to rights over Mackey the barman’s sublime cocktails. Let’s just say the man doesn’t scrimp when it comes to measures.

It’s all too easy to start eulogising about a holiday the minute you arrive back on home soil, but in the case of Laanta, pining would be a more appropriate word for us. We loved everything about the place and will definitely be back.

So go on all ye miserabilists, send that reservation email now. Who knows? You may just find out paradise does exist after all…

Jim and Emily West

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank LaantaLover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 April 2009

This hotel has had some rave reviews and tripadvisor was the main factor in choosing this resort for me. Although the resort was overall a great experience and I would probably go back I wanted to provide a more fair and balanced review. First, we paid for a transfer from the airport through the hotel. The van was very nice. It takes about 2.5 hours to get to the hotel. We stopped at the end of the paved road and met another couple who's van we had been following all the way from the airport. They were heading to LaLanta as well. We all couldn't figure out why the resort wouldn't have offered to combine us in the large van to save money. Just a small thing from lack of planning. The bigger problem was we now had 5 people plus suitcases packed into a little pickup truck to complete the drive on the unpaved road to the resort. The truck was so small combined with the luggage that i had to sit in the bedof the truck. The dirt road to the resort was quite daunting and quite bumpy. . especially in the back of a truck. I wouldn't mind if i was doing this on the cheap but not what i was expecting for a transfer service provided by the resort. The arrival at the resort was uneventful. Glass of welcome juice and off to the room. Overall the design of the resort was ideal. Very well layed out with all the needed amenities. I was expecting over the top service at this resort from all the past guest reviews. I was a little disapointed. Not that the staff was bad, but they weren't great. A lot of the staff would just sit behind the counter or in the break room. If you needed something you would have to hunt somebody down. The English skills of the staff were lacking. They kept pushing tours for other companies that weren't what we wanted. For example, we wanted to book the recomended long boat tour from tripadvisor but the staff said they didn't recommend any guests using longboats and routed us to the big tour boat operators they obviously were getting a kickback from. To give a fair shake the owners were out of town during our visit which probably had the biggest impact on the level of service . When the cat is away the mice will play. But nonetheless I expect the level of service to be the same regardless of what staff is working. That is part of the challenge of running a good hotel. And on the last list of negatives was that the reception asked me to check out of my room early 10:00 because the next guest had arrived early. Sorry, but if i paid for a room plan on using it until check-out time.

However, the resort is in a pristine location. The hotel food was reasonably priced and quite good. The bar was great. The pool was perfect and the beach was copied off a postcard.

All in all for the price i paid i was expecting great service and accommodation. This trip fell short. However, i think if the owners were there and the staff were performing as usual i would have raved about La Laanta as well. The resort has potential to be truly excellent and i could see how other reviews thought so. But at the same time I want to provide discerning travelers more realistic expectations for the stay.

Upon the day of our departure loads of children and families were checking in. I have nothing against kids, but if this resort is built on the principle of peace, quality, serenity. Young children do not fit into that equation. If you have children respect the other travelers and pick a more family friendly resort. I really wish LaLaanta would either discourage young children or forewarn travelers that this is a family friendly resort; so travelers can manager their expectations. There is nothing worst then being stuck in a small resort with 5 children running, screaming, and crying. A quick way to ruin a trip.

Also if you like shopping, night life, and the like La Laanta is prohibitively geographically removed from the town. Nearly 45 minutes. I was surprised other reviewers hadn't mentioned this. Although i was concerned upon arrival. It wasn't an issue as the resort had everything we needed. This is definitely a place to relax, recharge, and inspire.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank China_Cowboy1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 April 2009

There are no surprises in this review, this place really is fantastic. i always worry about whether somewhere can live up to the hype and LaLaanta really does. I just hope that Bamboo bay can resist more resorts - hopefully the national park will help with that.
The food and drinks are the best I have had in Thailand, the beach was the most beautiful and the free kayaks are fantastic for exploring the beaches nearby.
There are a couple of negatives - I personally found the matresses on the floor to be very uncomfortable and the air-con too noisy (this can be solved with ear plugs). People should also be aware how remote the location is, it's quite an expensive taxi ride to go anywhere else on the island (not that you need to leave!) and mopeds are only suitable for people with quite a bit of experience. However the staff are extremely helpful and can organise taxis and excursions at reception.
If I were to go back to Ko Lanta (one day i will!) I would stay here again, no question.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Annie456
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2009

My new husband Ed & I stayed there early March 09 for the last leg of our honeymoon, and this was our favourite place out of the 3 islands and places we stayed at.

The resort is the last one on the long road on the south/ west side of the island, it is right next to the national park. The rooms were really clean and had all you needed, this is not 5 star, but it is the settings that is the beauty here. Most nights we got to see amazing sun sets, followed by romantic candle lit meals right on the beach!

The owners really make this place, Tony, Patrick and Klong...are the friendliest guys you'll meet. We had two great nights sitting up at the bar ... sharing way to many cocktails and stories.

We also were so lucky to be upgraded (thanks Tony if your reading this) to right on the beach front which was so nice for our last 3 nights.

The food is yummy .. i'm just sad i missed out on jun's cooking as she was away.

The beach is beautiful, out of Koh Samui and Koh Phagnan i found the beach at this resort the nicest...be prepared for warm water though, not like aussie beaches. It is very secluded though, and you can be the only people on the beach at times, which is what we were looking for.

The cocktails were amazing, thanks Mackey...

Really i can't say enough and will recommend it to everyone visiting thailand .

I wish i was there right now eating the fried chicken vietnamese rolls, and having a singa beer with my feet up by the pool. :)

Thank you Patrick & Tony for making our holiday amazing, you really are such generous kind people.

Kate and Ed

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Eddie F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about LaLaanta Hideaway Resort

Address: 188 Moo 5, Bamboo Bay Beach | (Ao Mai Phai), Ko Lanta 81150, Thailand
Region: Thailand > Krabi Province > Ko Lanta
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Ko Lanta
#5 Family Hotel in Ko Lanta
#10 Spa Hotel in Ko Lanta
#18 On the Beach Hotel in Ko Lanta
Price Range: £58 - £141 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — LaLaanta Hideaway Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Artistically inspired living on the most private beach for that castaway experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lalaanta Hideaway Hotel Ko Lanta
Lalaanta Hideaway Ko Lanta

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