Nearly a decade separates my two trips to Thailand. The first was in the thick of my student years, where I tried to get to grips with the culture in Bangkok, walked in the forests of Khao Yai and marvelled at the affectionate locals of Chiang Mai. We stayed in a dirt-cheap hotel close to the backpacker-central region of Khao San Road and that hotel remains embedded in my mind. Dirty. Basic. Bloodstained. I kid you not.
This time round, my abode was a little different. With only three days in Thailand, I was seeking a hotel with a little splash of luxury that would remedy the bleeding wounds of the bad hotels of yesteryear.
And this was where I found it.
The Crown Lanta Resort and Spa
On this occasion, I was heading to Koh Lanta, a sleepy and chilled out island away from the chaotic tourism of the full moon parties. After reading rave reviews on Trip Advisor, I was excited to discover what the Crown Lanta held in store and from the plush accommodation to the friendly staff, I was pleased to say it lived up to the hype.With a peaceful location on the North Western coast of Koh Lanta, the hotel has been open just six years. Unlike many beach hotels I have visited in the past, the resort is actually built into a hill giving it several dimensions and vantage points.
And if you are wary of walking on inclines, have young children, or are just a little unfit (like me!), the prospect of a hilly property should cause no concern as they constantly have helpful golf buggies ferrying guests between the different levels of the hotel, though we were carrying a lot of holiday weight so probably could have done with walking!
Restaurants at Crown Lanta
Breakfast is served at The Peak restaurant on the upper tier of the hotel. With a good selection of continental, American and Thai breakfast options, the highlight dishes for me included their Pad Thai, the warming, wholesome porridge which had the perfect consistency and creaminess and the waffles with a batter so light it could float.
It was a far cry away from our breakfast table at home with a view of palm trees, turquoise waters and islands in the distance.Our foodie highlight at the hotel, however, came on our final night when we sampled this delicate battered sea bass with fruit compote, which was absolutely divine. The Cliff restaurant is an alternative if you’re seeking seafood or steak or for lighter snacks and bar food, nip down to the Reggae bar.
The hotel welcomes all guests but honeymooners, destination wedders and couples are particularly drawn to it (I guess we fell right into that niche then!) and there are plenty of luxurious packages on offer for all you canoodling honeymooners such as gourmet private dinners on the beach with couple’s massages.
Hotel Rooms at Crown Lanta
I was surprised to hear the pool access rooms are more popular than the ocean view ones – until I walked into our pool access room and saw why.
The back door opens directly onto one of two hotel pools and with sun loungers in a shaded area on your own balcony, the days of competing for a good poolside spot are long gone. And those added little extras that really enhance a stay – robes, gowns, turn-down service and welcome fruit platters were all there.
This is a “shower rather than bath’ kind of place but who needs a bath tub when the pool is right outside your door?! The other pool with its swim-up bar seemed a little more lively but perhaps that was because we turned up at Happy Hour!
The Infinity Spa looked wonderful but unfortunately, we were only on the island for a short few days and I ran out of time to book in a much-needed facial!Free wifi was available throughout most of the hotel premises but I found it worked best in the lobby and breakfast restaurant and was a little more intermittent in our rooms.
Reggae Bar Crown Lanta
My favourite moment at this hotel though had to be on our last night, when we went for an uncharacteristic night cap at the Reggae Bar (we tend to get a bit old before our time on holiday, usually ending up asleep shamefully early – let’s blame it on the heat). This cosy bar comprises of a series of semi-private and dimly lit enclaves, divided by bamboo frames with two long cushions on the floor where you can relax, unwind and snooze.
They’ve even thought ahead to include an insect-repellent spray inside each enclave. This would be an ideal location from which to watch the sunset but at 10.30ppm, we felt a certain magic sitting together, looking at the eerily dark skies, the crashing waves meeting the rocky shore with gusto, lending us a hypnotic soundtrack for the night.
- – free shuttle 2-3x daily into Saladan town
- The hotel can arrange most excursions and activities available in and around Koh Lanta so just speak to concierge if you have any particular plans in mind
- Don’t forget to use mosquito repellent in the evenings though the back doors of the hotel rooms are netted
Have you ever visited the Thai islands? I’d love to hear about your experiences!
Disclaimer We received a complimentary stay and meal at Crown Lanta for review purposes but I am ever an opinionated little lady and all views, good or bad, are entirely my own. My sincere thanks to the staff for such a pleasant and welcoming stay.