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Reviewed 10 November 2007

My wife and myself stayed at the Layana resort for 5 days in late September, and it was the highlight of the trip. It is one of the best hotels in which I have ever stayed. It is 5-star in all respects. While the hotel and room facilities are excellent, the catering is of a very high standard and the hotel is directly on a beautiful, unspoiled beach, the most memorable aspect of our experience here the quality of service and friendliness of the staff. I would recommend it to anyone seeking a relaxing break.

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Paddy G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 November 2007

My wife and I spent the second week of our honeymoon at Layana at the end of June this summer. Whilst the weather was distinctly changeable, the quality of the resort remained excellent. We arrived by seaplane from Phuket (25 mins and a really good way to save a day on a two resort holiday) to be greeted at the jetty by Bob & Margie, the wonderful owners. Having booked a garden room, we negotiated an upgrade to one of the suites by the pool and stayed in perhaps the best hotel room I've encountered- double outdoor shower, upstairs day-bed. The best thing about this resort is the attention to detail and the feeling that nothing is too much trouble. For example, on the last night, Michael (F&B manager), arranged a candle-lit table on the beach for sunset and dinner. Furthermore, the chef accommodated our request for a seafood dish not on the menu. Thank you for making our honeymoon as memorable as it could have been.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank grownathome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 October 2007

Perfect holiday for those of who simply want to forget the stress of everyday life and relax.

The resort is faultless from the people to the accomodation.

We met some lovely lovely people who also took advantage of the 'Happy Hour' bar prices - Sally and Clive & Stefan and Sabine in particular.

One word of caution - be aware of the KYJelly fish in the sea.

Currently the island is a real gem as there are precious other hotels and resorts around - however this is already changing as the large conglomerate hotel corporations are rearing their ugly heads.

We will return

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4  Thank EarpSex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2007

Absolutely fantasitc place, one of the best holidays ever. All the staff are wonderful and could not do enough for us. There was minimal disruption when we were there from some building work, and we were taken out for 3 day trips on the Layana speedboats which was great.
would highly recomend anyone staying there

  • Stayed: September 2007
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3  Thank Richard90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 October 2007

It’s hard to add anything that hasn’t been said already about this superb little gem of a place – so i’ll start by saying ‘Sawat Dii Kaa!’ To Bob and Margie (the owners), Daniel and Michael (Resident Managers), Felix (wonderful Chef in charge of a very talented team) and Nita (Linger Longer Spa)- they all (and everyone else) made our stay absolutely perfect!! The personal touch and attention to the guests is what makes this such a wonderful place. I’m not sure what star rating it has, but in my book it exceeds some other 5 star resorts we have stayed at across the world because of the personal attentions of all the staff and the owners to your every comfort. This is Bob and Margie’s own investment, they have bought the land, built the resort from scratch themselves and live there and have put their heart and soul into its success, and 3 years in (Tsunami notwithstanding) it certainly shows.
We stayed for 2 weeks early Sept ’07, after having done much research on Tripadvisor on where to stay in southern Thailand. We therefore knew that Koh Lanta was a quiet little island already, so expected that there wouldn’t be much except peaceful relaxation, which is perfect for us. Added to this we did go in the low season, when the island largely closes (everyone shifts to Koh Samui etc. whilst the monsoon season is on). However apparently in high season (Nov onwards) it does apparently liven up a bit, many beach bars and restaurants open up again. However it is a largely unspoilt island, with a little bit of limited tourist shopping to be had in the main ‘town’ of Saladan (i say town, its just 1 street!) which can be reached from Layana by a rather enjoyable 10 minute motorcycle/sidecar taxi ride. There are also some recommended restaurants in Saladan – open in high season. Prices for taxi rides and souvenirs etc. were cheap in my estimation. I picked up some beautiful Thai silk throws in Saladan for under 5GBP (approx 10USD).
But there was enough for us to do there, we felt. As essential renovation work was taking place in the restaurant ( which we knew about already) Bob and Margie could not do enough to ensure that the guests were well taken care of, in light of the construction noise (which in all honesty we didn’t really notice – it really wasn’t that loud!). Consequently, a lot of the tours that the resort organise and offer anyway were run free of charge to take people away from the noise for the day, and these were greatly enjoyed by a good number of the residents. We went on one of the tours – on the resort’s own speedboats – Layana 1 & 2! We went out through the mangrove swamps into the bay between Koh Lanta Noi and Yai, and circled Ko Talabeng (great photographs!) and landed on Ko Bu Bu island for a delicious freshly prepared lunch by Felix and team brought onshore from the boats. There were also opportunities for swimming in the sea, and many people swam into a cave from the boats on Ko Talabeng to have a look at a ‘Hong’ (roofless collapsed cave). This was a highly enjoyable day – the weather on this day was incredibly rainy but warm, but being English, we are used to wet weather and choppy seas(!) and we rather enjoyed ourselves bouncing up and down at the front of the boat getting really wet – it was great fun and we got some good photos of the really ‘angry’ weather! But you soon dried out, it was so warm! Margie personally supervised and came on the tour – she was incredibly knowledeagble about the local area. Other tours laid on (both free of charge because of the renovation and the normal scheduled tours for which there is obviously a charge) included the Hot Springs and Emerald Pool near Krabi on the mainland, Sunset drinks and nibbles cruise amongst the Mangroves on Layana 1, Sea Kayaking, Elephant Trekking, mountain bike tours of the island, Jungle Trek of the island etc. etc..a lot of choice. These are all organised and run privately by the resort and were not over priced.
The weather over the 2 weeks was a pleasant surprise for Monsoon season – we only had 3 days of storm in the middle weekend (this sadly was the same storm that caused the plane crash at Phuket Airport), and even that was exciting as we still went swimming in the pool in the driving rain – everyone else had retreated indoors - having very fair skin (we burn VERY easily!) it meant that we didn’t get cremated in the midday sun!!! The rest of the holiday however was usually very sunny or slightly cloudy and pleasantly hot – just meant for us that we had to hide under a parasol by the pool, but this was hardly a chore – the infinity edge pool was beautiful and cool, and there was plenty of space around it to lounge and relax (Layana was about half full in low season). The pool guys were really helpful, laid your towels out for you, moved parasols into position (which they did a lot for us without complaining!) and brought you cold towels, drinking water and fresh fruit on a regular basis free of charge. Wonderful! There was also a lovely poolside cocktails menu available. Being right on the beautiful beach, there was also a few sun loungers placed on the beach, a wonderful spot. The sea in low season didn’t appear to have a strong undertow, so fairly safe as long as you can swim.. but it was quite rough and the waves were quite high, about right for body surfing (boogie boarding)..and were great fun as you were constantly having to ‘ride’ the waves to avoid getting washed inshore as they crashed over you! I don’t think there is a reef that protects this beach so may have currents all year round? Low season is not the time for snorkelling however – the sea is too rough and murky, and hardly any boat tours operate (such as the ferries from Saladan to Ko Phi Phi Don). Phra Ae beach was beautiful and deserted with good sand and great beachcombing opportunities for beautiful shells on the strand line. It seemed very undeveloped, which was lovely, but then that could have been low season again!
I spent a lot of time in the wonderful wonderful Linger Longer Spa. I’ve had Spa treatments the world over, and i can honestly say that the Linger Longer is up there with the best. The staff are wonderful, and the Spa itself is so beautiful and relaxing. The prices were about average- not overpriced, a 90 minute de-stress massage for instance, was 1890 baht (about 30 GBP, 60 USD). Myself and Alan had 7 treatments including a couples 5 hour pamper afternoon! The treatments were wonderful – Indian head massage, de-stress massage, Layana Signature massage, Hot Stone therapy, Swedish massage, foot and leg therapy, salt scrub, Dead Sea Mud Wrap, Milk and Honey Bath, Facials..! All absolutely wonderful and totally relaxing! Aaahhhhhhh.......
The journey was a little onerous from Krabi Airport – but again we had already researched this so were prepared. It was only because it was low season though, and because Koh Lanta Yai is still so beautifully unspoilt (there are possible plans to build a bridge though and then i guess it will turn into a ‘Phuket-a-like’..but this is a long way away apparently!). You are picked up from Krabi airport in an airconditioned private car, and driven to Ban Hua Hin dock on the mainland. In high season the resort speedboat then whisks you round the coast directly to Layana on Phra-Ae beach! But being low season we waited for the car ferry across to Koh Lanta Noi, a small drive across Lanta Noi (10 mins at most) and then another smaller car ferry over to Lanta Yai and then about a 15 min drive through Saladan and down to Phra-Ae. We were lucky that we didn’t have to wait very long for the ferries, and it was a pleasant journey - but it can take a while to catch one sometimes apparently, depending on the tides and the amount of traffic on the ferry. One Tuesday evening – which is Bob and Margie’s Wine Tasting Evening – (highly recommended!), we found ourselves the only couple at the wine tasting, with Bob, Felix the Chef and Michael the Manager, because unfortunately that day’s tour had got stuck at Ban Hua Hin on an unexpectedly low tide and they didn’t make it back until 7pm which meant we were forced to sample all of Bob and Margie’s wine cellar and try all of Felix’s utterly delicious finger food – what a shame!!
The resort had a wonderful central garden surrounded by the garden rooms in blocks of four. I got to look inside one and they were lovely and spacious with decent sized balconies. There were then 3 beach villas right on the beach, and 3 ocean villas set back a little behind the beach villas , because they had 2 storeys so had a lovely upper deck view of the ocean, with day bed etc. These were the most spacious suites. We were however in Beach Villa 2 because we fancied being near to the sea - Beach Villa 1 was next to the pool and 3 was next to the resort boundary. 2 was the nicest in the middle! The verandahs of the beach villas have a wonderful view of the Andaman Sea with sunsets over Ko Phi Phi Lei in the distance (where they filmed The Beach), and the villa was very spacious with a daybed and lounger at the front facing a good sized with TV and DVD/CD player (they have a DVD library and we took our own multi region DVD’s). The bed was incredibly comfy with a goosedown quilt and fluffy pillows and around the villa was loads of storage space – very handy! Sliding doors at the back with full length mirrors revealed the indoor bathroom with a spacious sunken tub and his ‘n’ hers washbasins and a sliding door in the side of the shower cubicle took you out to the outdoor shower area – totally concealed by high walls for privacy – lovely and refreshing after a day’s swimming and lounging by the pool!
The food was also divine. Felix and his team had created a wonderful a la carte menu of Thai food and European/World choices at reasonable prices. and in the 2 weeks we were there we were nowhere near getting through the menu, since some night were ‘themed’ food nights which you could partake of should you wish to. These included Thai Curry Night where you picked your own ingredients and they cooked it right in front of you, Noodle and Pasta night (things like Pad Thai or european pasta dishes – weirdly they made the best Carbonara I have tasted this side of Italy!!) Sizzlling Meat or Seafood Platter night and Seafood BBQ night. Alan had some amazing seafood and one night had a divine Phuket Lobster, and i enjoyed a variety of Thai favourites, including a delicious Gaeng Masaman (Peanuts, potatoes and Chicken curry) and Chicken and Cashew Nuts served with Yellow Noodles, presented in an edible Chinese pastry basket. Mouthwatering!
I guess by the time this review is posted the restaurant area will be open again, but whilst we were there the tables were laid out temporarily next to the pool which was actually really pleasant and romantic, despite only being a temporary measure. The restaurant area however did look lovely – new decking and huge shelter umbrellas had been installed along with window/doors to keep out the worst ravages of the monsoon (which apparently refers to the wind that precedes or accompanies the rains – fact fans!)
The drinks were reasonably priced too – cocktail menu was inventive and extensive – i worked my way through a fair percentage of them!! They made a damn good Mojito! And a good range of beers too. Wine was a bit expensive but this was not the fault of Layana - Bob and Margie were explaining at the Wine Tasting night that Thailand charge ridiculous import taxes on wine, especially European wines, so they tend to focus their cellar on the ‘New World wines’ (South Africa, Australian, Chilean etc.) as these are more reasonable and just as palatable (although i think they did offer European choices).
Layana also offered a 2 hour cookery course which was real good fun, and you get to eat what you have made – Papaya salad, Spicy Prawn Soup and Chicken Thai Green curry for us! We were also presented with the recipes, a Layana Apron and certificates, and i also purchased some of the curry pastes from Felix..managed to get them back through UK customs at Heathrow and have been messing about in the kitchen at home trying to recreate the taste...i’m struggling for lack of fresh ingredients though!
Overall we had a wonderfully relaxing and peaceful holiday and would highly recommend Layana to couples of all ages wanting a romatic and special getaway. Bear in mind that Koh Lanta is a fairly remote island (but not that remote!) so you are largely based there, and certainly in low season it is very quiet. But even so, there was a fair range of trips and tours offered by the resort around the island, we just chose to rest and relax is all. I daresay that its a bit livelier in high season though, with the ferries running to neighbouring islands like Ko Phi Phi etc. so opportunities to leave the island. We would certainly return to Layana for a dose of pampered luxury – keep up the good work Bob, Margie and the Layana team!! Khawp Khun Kha!

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled as a couple
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11  Thank Ruth A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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