I am going to start this review by stating if you are used to the Ritz Carlton and expect that type of service at the Houben don't come. You will just annoy yourself, the staff and the other guests.
If however you are used to and enjoy staying in amazing boutique feel hotels where the staff blend in to the background yet are there when ever you need anything then come. The Houben has the look and feel of a large expensive private European villa. uber modern and uber cool. Forget suits, shirts and ties, this is strictly linen, baggy, and lots of it.
The location: perfect. Poised on the top of a cliff overlooking the bay the swimming pool (brilliant blood red) forms a seamless infinity edge with the sea beyond. Perfect for sitting and watching the sunset. Other people in Ko Lanta have to go to a bar or restaurant for a cliff top sunset - guests here just move from the lounger to the pool and back again.
The hotel is a 40 min (20 min in Shana drives you - Belgiums Alain Prost in a great way!) from the boat pier in the north. Located a 5 min walk from the beach and the dive shops this is a great place to be based for the National Park and the diving at Ko Hao. Free and fast Wifi through out although please remember you are in Thailand, 1 hour off shore so it is going to be intermittent. That is not the hotels fault so no use blaming them. Besides - it is FREE.
The rooms: The hotel does not do itself justice with the pro photos of their rooms. They are resplendent and pristine. Clean whites everywhere mixed with red. The owners, a Thai / Beligian couple are interior designers and bring everything that is cool, chic, minimalist and modern to the the establishment. The rooms have huge and superbly comfortable king beds. TV (should you want it....). Uninterrupted views of the ocean. A nespresso machine, mini bar, whirlpool baths etc etc etc. Everything is clean and tidy. This is not your beach shack type of establishment. All rooms have big balconies with either outdoor beanbags or Fritz Jacobson style chairs. Towels aplenty and all the amenities you would need.
The restaurant: Red Alert serves excellent Thai food. There is also a western menu though we elected to stay away from it. Again you are in thailand with a wonderful chef cooking up fresh dishes with local ingredients. We ate the Thai beef salad (pretty much every day) which was succulent marinaded beef, served with chopped garlic, shallots, coriander, sping onions and peppers. Excellent. The Vietnamese spring (not deep fried) rolls were similarly bursting with flavour. Each around 250 THB each. For main there is a range of delicious and not heavy curries and noodles including an excellent fragrant red and green curry each again around 250 THB. We also tried the steamed fish which was approximately 600g each time and served on a bed of coriander, chilli (lots of chilli), peppercorns, soy, ginger and lemongrass. It was by far the best fish we tasted in Ko Lanta. This was 520 THB. Prices here are approximately 20% more expensive than on the beach but the service is better, the hygiene is assured and the tastes superb.
The staff: This is what makes the place more than any of the above. Shana and her team work like energiser bunnies to keep the place ship shape and are always there if you need anything. Nothing is too much trouble. A word of warning - not all the staff speak fluent english and neither should they. This hotel is doing a fantastic job of employing the local community and all the team work tirelessly with big smiles and a great attitude. One tip - if you can get Shana to drive you - go for it. She is a fantastic driver and......well likes to use the noisy pedal a lot. You will not miss your flight!
All in all a fantastic hotel that goes close to or at my number one favourite places to stay in the world. It is certainly my favourite beach / chill hotel. Great food. Great service. Great rooms; Clean and fairly priced.
Like a lot of Ko Lanta, if you are wheelchair bound there is no lift, however there is access from the side of the hotel to the restaurant and the ground floor rooms open onto the pool. Not effortless but I suspect manageable, especially with the amazing staff.
Perhaps there is a need for more shade umbrellas? The sun here is fierce and the shade from the good umbrellas doesn't fully cover two loungers. I intended to go home the colour of Wesley Snipes but went back the colour of the pool
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled on the hilltop of Kantiang Bay, Ko Lanta. Isolated from the crowds and villages , only 5 minutes walk down to the local shops. Overlooking at the great sunset view of Andaman Sea.The spacious rooms with comfortable bed, well-equipped with free WI-FI internet connection by cable access .The Houben affords the modern contemporary decoration. Outdoor swimming pool with Jacuzzi where you can view the tranquil ocean and listening to the serene sound of waves crashing along the shore. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Travelocity, Expedia, Hotels.com, HostelWorld, Hotwire, Agoda, Booking.com, Prestigia, Ctrip TA, TripOnline SA, Cheap Tickets, Cancelon, HRS and HotelQuickly so you can book your The Houben Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- The Houben Hotel Ko Lanta