First time posting a review on Tripadvisor, but it's hard not to do so after a holiday as wonderful as the one we've just had at the Layana. Put simply, this may be the most beautiful and relaxing place I've ever stayed. We were there for 12 nights, but found ourselves slipping into a blissful unwinding very quickly. This is in no small part due to the particularly charming staff (even by Thai standards, the welcome and friendliness here did not cease to surprise and delight) and the consistently exquisite attention to detail. Something that really marks the Layana out is the sense of a personal touch. The general manager Stefan and his staff are frequently (though unobtrusively) ensuring that everything's in order and to your taste. We came to be very fond of numerous of the bar and restaurant staff, such as Mo and Su.
We stayed in a Garden Pavilion, which was spacious and scrupulously clean, with a view over the lush gardens. The pool and beach are similarly spotless, and whichever you choose to sunbathe on, you'll be regularly brought iced water, cool fruit skewers, and cold towels scented with lemongrass and ylang ylang. I realise I'm starting to sound like a travel brochure but it's hard not to shower this place with praise.
It's easy to do nothing but lounge in the sun, though there are some great excursions and activities if you're that way inclined. We did the Thai cookery lesson (highly recommended: it's fun and you end up making so much food you'll find you've cooked both lunch and dinner for that day); the vegetable carving lesson; and a snorkelling trip. We also availed ourselves fully of the spa, which is fantastic. There's also a somewhat cheaper Layana-run massage tent right on the beach if you fancy being pummelled looking out to sea.
Or of course there are plenty of shacks up and down the beach, along with bars and restaurants. We ate a good number of meals in the Layana itself - because the food is terrific, and though it's relatively expensive by general Thai standards it's still pretty reasonable considering the quality. For a change of scenery, and to save a few baht, we'd recommend Lym's Rice Bowl which is right next door if you head onto the beach and turn left. Great Thai standards and lovely staff. If you continue down the beach that way there are also some sweet little bars. Other local restaurants worth attention are Mr Green's (exit hotel onto the main road and turn left, then head straight and it's on the left hand side) and Three Mums (exit hotel onto road and turn right).
In the interests of balance I'll mention the one niggle to our trip. We booked through Destinology (whom I would also recommend unhesitatingly for their helpfulness and efficiency) and all the airport transfers etc were apparently arranged for us. When we landed at Krabi airport, however, after flying from London for about 15 hours, there was no sign of the Layana transfer. Exhausted and confused, we called the hotel - who claimed they had not been informed of our arrival time. I took this up with Destinology, who emphatically claim they DID make our arrival time very clear... so we'll just have to put this down to some wires getting crossed. In any case, the situation was made good very quickly; the Layana got a driver to us within about 15 minutes and off we went. The transfer back, by contrast, ran with almost absurd polish and precision: transfer by speedboat and car, and then a member of the Layana staff waited in the airport queue with us until we were checked in. I started thinking he was going to come home with us and help us unpack too.
Anyway. The upshot is that this is a glorious place, and everyone involved in its running should be proud of what they've achieved. It is a genuine oasis, and I hope we'll be back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Layana Resort & Spa is nestled on Koh Lanta Yai Island in Mu Koh Lanta National Park. The park is a marine archipelago, home to verdant tropical rainforests and undersea kingdoms of colourful coral rich in natural marine diversity. The resort enjoys a spectacular beachfront location on a 3-kilometer long white sand beach, situated about 2 hours south of Krabi International Airport. Environmentally-conscious design throughout the property results in a simple and elegant Thai atmosphere; alfresco architecture combining with contemporary design to provide an open, cool and natural feel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Layana Hotel Ko Lanta
- Layana Ko Lanta