The La Laanta resort is currently one of the top choices on the island, and in southern Thailand.
It offers excellent value for money, friendly staff, good food, comfortable accommodation and a wonderful location.
The resort is located on a superb stretch of isolated and pristine beachfront. This is a very peaceful place, where even the most city-stressed of travellers will have a good chance to unwind.
The peaceful scene is complemented by the tranquility of the airwaves, which are protected from disruption by a policy of not allowing any children to stay at the resort.
It is located in the middle of Bamboo beach, which is the southernmost of Lanta's 10 beaches and so furthest from the access point to the island on it's northern tip.
As the last few kilometres of the road to Bamboo beach is only by motorbike or 4WD, not by car, this beach has so far escaped the over-development that has damaged some of the more northern beaches.
The setting is glorious. The southern half of Bamboo beach has no development at all on it, so if the visitor walks south from La Laanta resort, there is nothing but nature to be seen - monkeys playing in the trees or not so playfully baring their fangs, tropical trees swaying above a broad white swimmable beach, and a majestic backdrop of steep hills rising in a jungle amphitheatre behind the beach, and providing a dramatic and splendid frame for the soft sand on the beach.
A walk along this stretch of beach is a great way to unwind after arrival, and is a solitary solace for the soul unavailable elsewhere on Lanta, except to guests at the 5-star Pimalai.
At the very height of peak season, if you walk out onto the beach and count the number of other people, you won't get above 20, sharing a 400 metre long beach.
This isloted location has its drawbacks too, and La Laanta isn't for everybody. The night-life here is quiet and low-key - while the chatting round the bar often goes on untill the early hours, the atmosphere is always calm and quiet. For those after a more lively scene, the journey backl to the resort after a night out is a problem.
Most of the island's taxi drivers will be unwilling to risk damaging their vehicles on the dirt road, and riding a motorbike back with a bellyfull of beer is very dangerous.
Although the trail will pose no problems for experienced and sober motorcyclists, under no circumstances should novice motorcyclists learn to ride here. Families are strongly advised against riding three-to-a-bike - just because the locals do it all the time doesn't mean that Westerners will be capable of doing the same.
The La Laanta has many attributes to be commended. The most obvious is the seamless integration of the resort into the environment, using a sympathetic architectural style that is big on thatch, wood, and pastel colours, and which hardly uses any concrete or plastic.
The resort is very comfortable. Besides the rooms' large beds and terrace loungers, the visitor can choose between hammocks, pool-side loungers and seaside loungers, and Thai cushions.
The number of these relaxation spots far exceeds the number of guests the resort can hold, which makes a pleasant changed from the worst of the crowded resorts further north, where days start with that awfull "got-to-get-a-lounger" panic and rush.
Food-wise, La Laanta will delight all but the most jaded of palets. The menu concentrates on Asian rather than just Thai food, with some competent Western dishes added in for when visitors feel like somthing familiar. The Asian apetisers are a highlight here, with Vietnamese, Japanese and Chinese offereings competing for the eye's and tastebuds' attention.
Don't mis the deep-fried Cantonese shrimp dumplings with plum sauce. The Salmon Panang curry is a welcome and delicious novelty, and the grilled artichoke and shrimp pasta is a firm favourite for those days when you don't fancy a change. The daily homemade bread is a big hit here - rcently a French guest taught chef how to perfect his croissants. The brown bread and muffins are other favourites.
While all the above are good reasons to love La Laanta, maybe the uppermost reasons of the reasons accounting for the resort's rave reviews on tripadvisor.com is the friendliness and competence of the staff here, led by the exuberantly super-friendly Macky, for whom nothing is too much trouble. The reason the staff can do such a good job is that there are so many of them - like a 5-star resort, there are as many staff as guests.
The hideaway atmosphere of the resort encourages a sociable atmosphere in the cosy and quiet beach-bar, where jolly conversation often latss into the wee hours and beyond.
For activity enthusiasts there is a further major benefit to staying at La Laanta, which is a little hard to explain, but worth the effort of trying to understand, if you want to go snorkelling or diving during your stay here. For both the snorkelling trips and the diving trips, the boat pickups start at Lanta's northernmost beach. After guests from that beach have been picked up, the boat goes to the next beach south, and picks guests up there. The last beach to be visited before the boat leaves for the snorkelling or diving destination is always La Laanta's beach, so La Laanta guests are always last to be picked up, and first to be dropped off after their trip. This can cut the time spent on the speedboat by as much as 2 hours.
These superb bungalows are well equipped and beautifully decorated. You can click on the image on the left for a closer look.
On the exterior, the thatched roofs, liberal use of wood and pastel paint jobs blend in with the environment.
The design of the interiors further enhances the feeling of oneness with nature, by the use of gleeming wooden floors, a low-key decor, pastel tones and a wooden terrace containing two comfortable and classy wooden loungers.
The unit with the best sea-view is the one furthest from the sea, as its view is not partially obscured by trees. This bungalow also benefits from a quiter evening atmosphere away from the resort's bar and restaurant.
These bungalows are exactly the same as the Sandcastle bungalows inside, but are located further away from the beach. The best of these 4 units is, somewhat unsurprisingly, the one nereat the beach, as it gets the best view.
Inside, these are the same as the above two room types. There's only a horizon to gaze at from one of the bungalows, the one nearest the sea. This bungalow is the best value unit in the resort benefitting from a seaview. We can request this room for you, but we can not guarantee that you will get it, particularly in peak season.
These units are slightly smaller than the other bungalows in the resort, but still feature the same gleeming wooden floors and uderstatedly elegant decor. While the seaviews from the terraces are minimal, most of these units benefit from lots of light flooding in through the full-height glazed wooden doors. The tropical tree and jungle foliage views from some of them are great, and invite the visitor to get out of bed in the morning, and come outside for another dose of immersion in the lovely jungle and beach setting which graces this resort.
The unit with the best view is the one nearest the sea, not because it has a worthwhile seaview (it has only a small one) but because there are no other bungalows in front of this one to obstruct its view. This is the best of the bunch, but all these bungalows represent exceptionally good value for money, and are among the very best accommodation offreings on the island. Unless you want to party hard (in which case La Laanta is not the best place for you) then these bungalows are, in their price bracket, impossible to beat.
The above rates are net per room per night and inclusive of service charge and breakfast for 2 people.