We weren't quite sure what to expect from this hotel, since we got an excellent deal (USD $100) through Travelocity. We were rewarded with a fantastic relaxing stay at a beautiful resort!
We stayed at the hotel at the end of January - slightly past the peak season. We did not experience any of the crowding issues that some of the other reviewers mentioned - in fact the resort was very quiet. We always got pool chairs no matter what time of day, and it did not take long at all to check out. The internet terminals were often (but not always) busy, so it's true the hotel should provide more than three.
The grounds are truly beautiful. The landscaping is impeccable, and the pool is perfect. We stayed at one of the ground-level bungalows, which was great because we had easy access to everything. The downside is that we didn't get the same ocean views that the bungalows on the hill offer, but we still enjoyed our peaceful view of the pond, the pool, and the landscaping.
The staff were extremely kind and eager to help. Dinner at the Watermark was absolutely delicious - we ate there twice (out of our three-night stay) despite its resort prices. We strongly recommend the Thai entrees (after all, the resort is in Thailand!). The breakfast buffet will blow your mind.
It was great having a tour organizer right on the hotel grounds. We wanted to do a day trip to Phi-Phi, which was an option, but the agent strongly recommended we go to Koh Rok instead - both because it would be much less crowded than Phi-Phi, and because it was closer to Koh Lanta and cheaper. We reluctantly agreed (after all, Phi-Phi is so famous), but were very happy with our decision to go to Koh Rok instead. The snorkelling there was as good if not better than the Similan islands (the water was crystal clear), and the beach was a pristine white-sand oasis. The lunch that came with the tour package was also generous and delicious.
Other reviewers have mentioned that the beds were too firm - they are firm but all the beds in Thailand were firm. Honestly that was not an issue at all for us. The bathrooms were gorgeous and the shower was excellent!
We are not usually 5-star resort stayers, so I can't compare this to too many other 5-star resorts. There are things about this place that are not perfect. For example, the hotel is not located on a nice beach, so the pool is really the focus (or a day trip to one of the nearby islands). The pool is great, but we did miss not being right on a great beach. Also, housekeeping was not as prompt and thorough as one might expect from a 5-star place. There were dishes sitting outside the room next to ours for almost a whole day once, and a couple of small details were missed when our room was made up (e.g. a used napkin was not removed). I do agree that a 5-star resort should have soft mattresses as well, even though we personally did not mind the beds. There should also be more internet terminals for general use.
One critical thing the hotel should offer is better transportation from the airports. Koh Lanta is not the easiest place to get to anyway, and a 5-star resort should make getting to it as easy as possible. At the very least it could offer free transportation from the ferry pier to the resort.
The hotel as it is now is probably more technically a four-star resort; if it fixed the above things then it would definitely live up to it's 5-star status. Nonetheless, we loved it and had a fantastic time there. Highly recommended!
FYI, the resort is still known on Koh Lanta by it's old name - Rawi Warin. If you tell a tuk-tuk driver "Langham Place" they won't know what you're talking about.
One random note about the beach resorts of southern Thailand that we as Americans were not aware of - there are lots and lots of Swedes there! This was neither good nor bad, just a fact that was quite fascinating! There were also plenty of Germans, Australians, and Brits. Very few Americans - we actually really liked that about it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Rawi Warin Resort & Spa offers a luxurious escape from the stresses of the modern world. Situated on 34 rai of land, into the foothills of the Koh Lanta Yai and overlooking the crystal waters of Klong Tob Bay, this beautiful, award-winning resort offers a choice of rooms, each with its own distinct style and ambience, numerous sports activities, superb dining options and private swimming pools. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Rawi Warin Hotel Ko Lanta
- Rawi Warin Resort And Spa