We booked this hotel online after extensive reading of reviews here and elsewhere, and the fact that there are lots of low-budget accomodations AND ulra-expensive hotels on this island... but very few in the middle range (i.e. clean, close to beach, breakfast included, wifi, and pool).
We arrived from Si Kao and luckily our shared minivan took us direct to the hotel, so I can't comment on pickup arrangements/services. I did get the feeling that they might have arranged a pickup but as we didn't inform them of it soon enough they advised us to make our own arrangements.
When we arrived (approx 2:30pm) our room was ready and after the usual passport photo copying etc. we got our key and shown our room. We had one of the "deluxe" rooms which are like the "garden" rooms + extra fan on ceiling, tiled flooring, and wood trim/walls.
There was an immediate issue with a wet bathroom floor and we couldn't tell if the leak was coming from the toilet or the small hand sprayer attached to the wall near it. We told the front desk and they immediately took action, to arrange someone to repair the issue. We then went for a walk to have a bite at one of the nearby restaurants on the beach (Roi Thai - same owner as hotel so ask for 10% discount on food there).
When we returned the leak had apparently been fixed although floor was still wet. It then appeared that the small sprayer was dripping so we complained again, although now at this point in the day we didn't expect it to be repaired as quickly. We also noticed that the wall was very thin and we could hear the neighbours regular conversation volume (although words were somewhat muffled) and coughing etc.
At this point my wife was starting to get upset and so I made a formal complaint to them about wanting a room change.
The next day, we had the breakfast which was a choice of American style or Muesli - I had the eggs/bacon option which was quite good and filling, and came also with a mini baguette that was fresh plus butter/jam, coffee, juice, and fried tomatoes with some herbs on them. All in all a good breakfast. My wife's muesli was full of fresh fruit and with the yoghurt + brea/juice/coffee it was also substantial.
My only issue with the breakfast would be that the coffee seemed a bit weak the first day, although on the remaining days it was strong enough for us or else we ordered a cappuccino which they made for us at no extra charge.
After breakfast the repair guy showed up with a new hand sprayer (I still am not sure why there is such a thing) and completely replaced the old one ANd someone had dried the floor for us. After this we had no more issues with the bathroom floor and my wife was starting to calm down.
The neighbours moved out and were replaced by quieter neighbours. I think part of the trick here is to simply initially talk at a normal volume (and cough a bit) when the neighbours are in their room, so *they* realize how thin the walls are and then will keep quiet themselves.
I asked Dao about renting a motorbike and she gave us a good one that was quite new and had good horsepower (if riding 2 on a bike made sure you get a 125cc bike + good rear brakes for the steep hills re going up... and then down). Helmets were included so we used those too. We rented this bike several times over the next few days and highly recommend this as a way to get around Koh Lanta - just don't drink, drive slow, watch for monkeys/oil slicks/potholes/cats/dogs/and other idiot drunk tourists.
After a couple more days we started to relax and enjoy the chill atmosphere. We didn't use the bar other than for breakfasts. Sometimes they have big sport/Euro football events shown on the big screen HD tv's in the bar but the crowd is not loud and even the Superbowl starting at 7am didn't bother us.
The pool is nothing fancy but it's often quiet so you have it all to yourself, is not too hot, and a nice place to have a morning or late afternoon swim. Don't expect tons of shade at the pool - it's more of a nice swim and get in/get out amenity.
The staff was very helpful and English was quite good re helping arrange local trips (I highly recommend the 4 island snorkeling but take the speedboats and NOT the slow longtails for this one - you also get picked up right on the beach and dropped off there too).
Although we had only booked for 3 nights, we ended up extending our stay longer once we realized that we were getting good value at this hotel and saw no big reason to change. There were several good little places to eat nearby (e.g. Nok Style same side just up the road) but once again with the scooter you have the whole island at your disposal.
Some other tips: take a flashlight as it can get dark at night and you want to see and be seen if you are walking along the road (no sidewalks). One couple told me they saw a couple black scorpions near the path along the road, so this is also another reason you want light at night.
There is a mosque somewhere in the area and a speaker is mounted about 50m away from the resort. What this means is that you will hear the regular "call to prayer" every so often and even early in the AM like 5am. However after a couple nights we didn't even hear this anymore - we just go used to it - even my wife who is a light sleeper. Btw I don't think you can avoid this as the whole island is majority muslim and this is their way of life so just live with it and try appreciate/understand it.
Re the toilet paper hassle of putting it in a wastebasket next to toilet this is simply a fact of life on the whole island, so get over it people.
We did move to a "garden" bungalow after a few days, and actually found this to be cleaner and quieter (with concrete floor and walls), and although it didn't have the ceiling fan it still had air conditioning.
When it was time to go, the front desk had arranged a pickup for us to get to Krabi, and although it was supposed to arrive at 12 there was some miscommunication and it was actually there 45min earlier.. but luckily we were packed and ready to go. This is typical logistical fuzziness of living in Thailand, so you just need to relax and roll with it.
Oh forgot to mention that every morning you will get 2 bottles of water... and a fresh roll of toilet paper. If they forget then just go to the front desk and they'll hand you some water bottles chilled from the fridge.
All in all we enjoyed our stay at the White Rock and would recommend it to others. It's not 4 star but gets the award for trying hard and over time I expect this to be a top choice in the mid-range hotel category for Koh Lanta.
The staff does try to help if you make it clear what you want or what your issues are.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Location: White Rock Resort is located on Klong Nin Beach just one minute walk from Koh Lanta's best beach. All our 9 twin bungalows with 18 rooms have European bathrooms and hot shower, A/C, cable TV, safe, refrigerator, fridge. Free WIFI. Four rooms with twin beds, the others have king size beds' extra bed can be provided on request. The restaurant has European food and On The Rocks bar serves you beers, drinks and cocktails. ... more less
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