When we first traveled around Thailand, we were starstruck by hotels with rockbottom price tags. But now, we’re more often in the market for something more elegant and comfortable for a higher (yet still reasonable) price tag. On our recent trip Thailand’s southern region, the Koh Lanta resort called Crown Lanta didn’t disappoint!
Of course what’s cheap is in the eye of the beholder. Hostels that cost $5 per night have not and never will be a realistic option for us, so around $20 per night is the lowest we’ve ever paid in Thailand. But that still meant that we often dealt with creepy crawlies in the room, impossibly hard or sunken mattresses, or a bathroom so dank and dreary that we only went in when it was absolutely necessary.
The novelty of that type of hotel has since worn off and now we don’t feel the need to book those cheaper options available when we travel. Nowadays when we search for hotels, we look at the price, quality, and comfort and not just the absolute dollar amount.
So on our recent trip to Koh Lanta, we booked the earliest budget flight from Chiang Mai to Krabi and made it to our destination resort, Crown Lanta, by midday. After landing, we took a two-hour drive in the hotel’s shuttle van to the northern end of Koh Lanta Yai, which is closest to the ferry. That meant that as soon as we finished our ferry ride, it was just over five minutes later that we arrived at the resort and received refreshment drinks and cool cloths in the lobby.
Just look at this amazingness!
Ocean Sunset Villa
We walked into a high-ceilinged living room complete with a comfy day bed, a flat screen TV, and a mini bar with two bottles of wine (first time that’s happened)! We distinctly remembered the room’s freshness and brightness. The glass French doors on one side opened up to our own private lounge area on a deck overlooking the Andaman Sea.
On the other side was our bedroom. It was beautiful. And spotless. We’ll even go so far as say immaculate. We ended up getting great sleep there, too, as the bed and pillows were super comfortable and it was very quiet at night.
Even our spacious bathroom had a window that allowed small glimpses of coastline if we peeked past the foliage. There was a rain shower and plenty of fluffy towels, nice smelling soaps, and washcloths. Brownie points for that last bit!
A cool feature of the room was the two-sided closet. We’d hang up our clothes and everything was accessible from both the bedroom and the bathroom. It’s worth mentioning that we also had extra bottles of drinking water (two is standard), especially because we drank so much water on this trip because we were out in the sun all day.
The grounds of the Crown Lanta had nice, tropical landscaping but were hilly. This wasn’t a problem though because there was a dedicated team of drivers that carted guests around to where they needed to be. In the time it took us to grab our sunglasses and slip on our shoes, a cabby would arrive to pick us up from our room and drive us to wherever we wanted to go whether it be the lobby, pool area, spa, or restaurant.
Actually, before we chose to stay at this particular Koh Lanta resort, we read reviews about it and the biggest complaint seemed to be about the hilly walk around the property. But seriously, that’s what the drivers are there for! And the drivers were on top of their game. Not once during our stay did they take more than a minute to arrive after we called the front desk.
Aside from relaxing in our room and on our private oceanfront deck, our favorite hangout spot was the Crown Reggae. This was the resort’s outdoor bar situated on a rocky coast with the perfect view of the sunset. We spent two evenings there enjoying snacks and drinks with great company and watching the sun go down in brilliant colors.
There are a few different areas to sit: we could have chosen the front row view on Thai style cushions on the beach near tiki torches, lounged under a thatched roof, chilled at tables under a few string of lanterns, or our personal choice, enjoyed cocktails in the treehouses. The kid in us loved this feature!
Pool, Spa, and Gym
Check out this crystal clear outdoor pool with a swim-up bar. There was plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas, and some of the rooms even open up directly to the pool.
Crown Lanta’s Infinity Spa, while pricier than your standard roadside foot massage, had several private rooms and even a jacuzzi. We enjoyed two back, neck, and shoulder massages here, but if we had wanted to, we could have gotten massages outside on tables like these below.
And although we had every intention of using Crown Lanta’s gym, we ended up spending our time doing less work and more play while on the island.
Restaurants: The Peak and The Cliff
One feature we personally seek out in a hotel is the featured breakfast. Beginning with endless flow of fresh drip coffee (thank you for not serving that instant powdered stuff), Crown Lanta’s The Peak served up an amazing complimentary breakfast that included mini Belgian waffles, homemade yogurt, fresh breads, and made-to-order omelets. There were Thai foods as well, but our hearts were set on the Western fare during this trip.
And especially after our really late night out at the Crown Reggae the night before, we were happy to see some freshly blended fruit juices as part of the breakfast spread, perfect for flushing our system with much-needed antioxidants.
Lunch at the outdoor Cliff Restaurant was also yummy. The menu featured mostly standard Thai dishes, but the presentation was much nicer than anything we found at nearby street stalls and matches the quality we’d expect from a high-end resort. Although it might not sound like anything special, the fish cakes and the accompanying dipping sauce were out of this world.
Service and Amenities
One thing that stood out was Crown Lanta’s wonderful hospitality. From the time we were picked up at the airport to the time we checked out of our rooms, the staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. Everything was so hassle-free: our airport pickup, booking a motorbike rental, requesting a driver pickup from our villa, and ordering food and drinks. The staff really made us feel welcomed and we felt well taken care of. That’s not to say we normally receive bad service, but the Crown Lanta’s staff really seemed to go above and beyond.
Here’s a quick list of Crown Lanta’s amenities:
- Restaurants open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Seafood buffet on Friday evenings with fire and Thai dance show.
- Onsite gym and Infinity Spa
- Drivers to take you around the property
- Shuttle service to and from the airport
- Motorbike rental and excursion booking
- Outdoor swimming pool with swim-up bar
- Six different room types, ranging from a Gazebo Deluxe Room to Grand Villa Residence
- Amply stocked bathroom with towels, soaps, and toiletries; great shower pressure and temperature
- Stunning beach views from multiple areas of the property and rooms
We’ve got to hand it to Crown Lanta for its quality and comfort. Sure, it’s not a budget hotel and may not be suitable for some travelers, but we definitely recommend this resort to those who are looking for something a step above the rest while visiting Koh Lanta.
Contact Information for Our Favorite Koh Lanta Resort
The Crown Lanta is a popular place to be during the high tourist season (November through April), but that’s all the reason to visit during the low season. In fact, the low season is our favorite time to travel because you can almost guarantee that the price of any resort, guesthouse, or even bungalow on Thailand’s islands and beaches are nearly half the cost in low season as they are in the high season. Just a thought the next time you want to get the best bang for your buck and treat yourself to a tropical Koh Lanta resort!
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DISCLOSURE: Prior to agreeing to a comped stay, we give much consideration to whether or not a property can offer a unique and positive experience for our readers. We turn down most offers and if our stay does not meet our expectations, the review never makes it to our blog.