October 19th 2013
I arrived at the over 18’s only Layana Resort at night after a private transfer from Phuket by road that included two short ferry transfers from the mainland via Ko Lanta Noi island, to the final destination Koh Lanta Yai An alternative transfer option in high season would be to fly by helicopter from Krabi Airport into a local school playground or arrive by speedboat. On arrival to the hotel we went straight to the restaurant on the beach and enjoyed a Thai Buffet with the sound of crashing waves and the soft underlighting cleverly designed to give the resort a really romantic feel. After a delicious dinner we retired to the beach bar for cocktails with our toes in the sand and the sound of the waves in our ears.
Ko Lanta is away from the madness of some parts of Thailand and definitely offers a more romantic, more authentic Thai experience. It’s has an opposite weather system from Koh Samui so when it’s raining there, the sun should be shining in Ko Lanta. It’s within view of the famous Phi Phi islands featured in The Beach and you can take a half day tour from Layana or perhaps stay for a couple of nights as part of your trip and is also a great twin destination with Krabi.
There are only 50 rooms and the resort is very compact including 3 Beach Suites with balconies and 3 Ocean Suites which have a day, or night bed upstairs where if your brave enough you can sleep with only a mosquito net between you and the elements and of course the sound of the waves. They have also converted one of the original homes in the resort to a beautiful 2 bedroom villa with private pool and which includes butler and chef service. The La Maison package will include helicopter transfer from krabi airport. Not only that but they have outdoor toilets, baths and showers!
The beach is white and sandy and pretty exclusive as the island is not developed like a lot of Thailand however you will only find beds on the beach in high season. In low season, the tide is in for much of the day. The alternative however is the fabulous pool which almost overlaps the beach. In addition, there is a 2nd smaller pool which has massager jets. What really impressed me was the Formula 1 type team who prepare your sun bed as you approach…great if you are staying in the off season where it might rain for half an hour then clear up as quickly.
If the rain lasts a little longer, you can retire to the lounge in the midst of the resort to play games or watch the large screen TV. The other things to do in resort are visit the gym (new one coming in November, 2013) or Leisure & Dive Centre or my favourite… the fantastic spa lovingly called the “Linger Longer’ which sounds best on the lips of the friendly Thai staff there.
I had a full body massage which really got into the knots of tension created from all the hard work looking after Limelight Members ;) All rooms in the spa have 2 beds for couples and the Sauna and jacuzzi is free for guests to use but only accommodates 2 at a time so it’s a good idea to book in advance.
Another great thing to do is to have drinks in the Sundowner bar looking out to the islands of Phi Phi and one of the best sunsets in Thailand (I’m told). Sands Bar next door opens from afternoon to late night and is the place you can have a beach massage. From November 2013 you can also have yoga and T’ai Chi lessons while looking out to sea in their brand new open air Pavilion.
The food is also delicious with a great breakfast buffet and lots of Thai dishes making use of lots of fresh seafood or you can order a pizza and a coke! The staff have real attention to detail and we found out if we ordered a decaf coffee one day, it would be remembered for the rest of the stay without you having to ask.
The rooms are also very comfortable and well laid out. Loads of free water, complimentary WiFi in all areas, a good powerful hairdryer, complimentary mosquito spray and little treats left on your bed every evening. They are clean, cool and have a great choice of channels on the television as well as a balcony which looks out to sea. The suites also have a coffee machine.
What’s really interesting is the rest of the island. Jimmy is a Scottish guy who is the Leisure Manager at the resort. He’s a really affable and friendly person who started out touring Asia to study martial arts and has ended up working at Layana looking after not only the guests but also helps teach English to the Layana team. He is very passionate and knowledgeable about the area. Not only did he give us a T’ai Chi lesson on the beach but he also hosted us on the Layana Resort Boat where we sailed out at sunset to see local monkeys living in the Mangroves. This was a real unforgettable experience with lots of good wine and Thai goodies and a bonding experience for all aboard.
We also went out with him to tour the island by minibus. He took us to visit areas of the island that were devastated by the Tsunami and have been rebuilt with money from the King and Queen of Thailand who seem to be really well loved and held in high esteem by the Thai People.
We were also able to walk into the Mangroves via a concrete walkway built by the locals and met with a family who have built their own floating restaurant on the river where they cook the fish, lobsters and oysters they catch themselves. You will also find the best diving on south east Asia on Ko Lanta by going out by boat or you can Kayak round the island.
This is a winner for anyone who wants some relaxing romantic adult time together and enjoys finding more about the local culture. To find out more speak to Nadine.
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