How many boutique hotels & resorts on Koh Lanta’s beaches?

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Boutique, beautiful and modern by the beach on Koh Chang

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Koh Lanta is not known not for trendy boutique hotels or modern, stylish design. This is a remote, undeveloped island where people escape to for a quiet beach holiday. Koh Samui is undoubtedly the boutique hotel centre of Thailand, with trendy design found on most of its many beaches. Not on Lanta.
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This island, however, does have a thin scattering of beautifully designed beachfront hotels that fit the boutique mould, if loosely. Here I offer a brief look the half dozen establishments that qualify for this now-popular category, with the observation that as new hotels open in Lanta over the coming years a significant portion of them are likely to follow the ever-growing boutique trend.
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These are not the only modern, beautifully designed hotels on the island, it must be noted. Most of the larger resorts on our list of Koh Lanta’s Top 7 Luxury Beachfront Resorts are also modern and beautiful. But big and luxurious is not boutique.
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See some of the other Top 10, or similar lists for Koh Lanta:

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Costa Lanta Resort; a minimalist dream in the forest

Costa Lanta Resort, Klong Dao Beach North

Costa Lanta , it might be said, is a hardcore minimalist lost in the forest. Of all minimalist designs on Thailand’s beachfronts, here is the discipline’s purest adherent, taking modern simplicity to its furthest reaches. Having documented virtually all beachfront accommodations on Thai beaches, I can declare such without exaggeration.
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Lost, however, is the incorrect part. These unworldly-looking hotel rooms were very carefully planned to integrate with the forest, not replace it. From above nothing is seen but trees (my aerial photo here confirms that).
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The boxy, external form of the rooms is surpassed in minimalist intent the moment the doors – or walls, that is – are swung back to expose a simple bed on raised wooden platform. There’s a big shelf beside the bed, a spacious bathroom behind, but little else within. With the walls swung open this provides forest living – almost. There’s hardly another example of living closer to natural than this on the island, with a minimal of everything.
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The resort provides an imaginatively-designed, super-high ceiling restaurant by the beach, with upstairs lounge and pool table. The swimming pool is quite large, and almost the only part of Costa Lanta that birds flying over might see. From the beach the resort is again virtually invisible, deserving congratulations for their commitment to exist with and preserve nature in a manner that few resorts on Thai beaches have done.
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Phra Nang Lanta Resort, tendy architecture, fine design on Kan Tiang Beach

Phra Nang Lanta Resort, Kan Tiang Bay

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For charm and appealing tropical design, Phra Nang Lanta takes some of the top honours on Koh Lanta. Built in Mediterranean style with ochre colours over would-be adobe walls (they’re really moulded concrete) this small and stylish beach hotel has tropical foliage draping down, or creeping up, all the places it should to create a natural, relaxing ambiance.
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The room interiors are indeed elegant, with a different colour palette for each. Bathrooms are also individually coloured, and attractively so. Big glass doors open to more appealing space on the balconies which enjoy views of beach, ocean and garden. Instead of the barren verandas that we never use in most hotels, these relaxing outdoor spaces are so positively seductive I’m sure all guests will spend time here.
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Predictably, Phra Nang Lanta has only a small swimming pool in its narrow gardens between rooms and sand. But with so attractive a beach right in front, it doesn’t matter so much. While there’s a rocky bottom in front at low tide, guests can walk 100 metres down the beach for perfect swimming conditions at all times.
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The small village of Kan Tiang lies behind the hotel, with a 7-Eleven convenience store, a few shops and small restaurants. There’s a small hotel on each side, but the number of people on the beach is never anything like a crowd. While this attractive boutique hotel is hardly remote, it’s still far remove from Koh Lanta’s mainstream – in both location and style.
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Andalay Boutique Resort, a spark of style on Klong Nin Beach

Andalay Boutique Resort, Klong Nin Beach

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Andalay Boutique Resort is a pretty spark in the otherwise rather dull strip of small hotels squeezed into a narrow belt between the road and Klong Nin Beach. This hotel has done a nice job of locking out the noise. After just minutes inside your focus becomes firmly attached to the nice beach in front, stylish rooms behind – and awareness of the road is lost. All rooms are just a few paces from the sand.
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There are three obvious advantages to Andalay; the beach in front is sandy, without rocks and ideal for swimming; this beach offers a wide choice of restaurants and sunset bars; the resort rooms are attractive and quite luxurious by standards on Koh Lanta.
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The water features fronting each room display lotuses in the right season, and set a tropical mood. Front balconies are small, but offer pleasant views over the beach. Room interiors are quite spacious and attractively designed in modern tropical style. The swimming pool is not large, but little more could be expected in such a small and cosy, boutique resort. The beach is the single major advantage here, being just steps from all rooms.
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Baan Laanta Resort, inner beauty at the top of Kan Tiang Beach

Baan Laanta Resort, Kan Tiang Bay

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Baan Laanta Resort is a surprising, even unexpected little find tucked away into the top corner of Kan Tiang Beach so well that it’s easy to overlook. Innocuous maybe, but here you find some of the most charming and romantic, ‘old-world’ rooms on the island. The resort’s 15 bungalows are built up the side of the hill overlooking the beach, with some stretching back along two sides of a small but attractive swimming pool with unusual, rusty-coloured tiling. Thus, only some rooms (like the one photographed here) enjoy that great view of beach and bay with mountain backdrop. The seaview rooms are especially spacious; more than just bedrooms, they have a lounge or work area to the side that makes it easy to enjoy in-room time.
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At the foot of the resort, touching the sand, the resort’s restaurant is covered by vines so thick they provide as much shade as a roof. It’s a cool, relaxing spot in which to escape the heat of midday. The resort is small and cannot offer many facilities, however, with a delightful room, swimming pool and beautiful beach at your feet, not much else is needed. This small resort is run by a local Muslim family, but don’t worry, you’ll always be able to get that cold beer or wine.
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Anda Lanta Resort; hiding on beautiful, little-seen beach

Anda Lanta Resort, Klong Jark Beach

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Anda Lanta Resort is so far from Lanta’s main beaches, off the beaten track and little seen, that it might have easily fitted with our list of Koh Lanta’s Top 7 Hideaway Beach Resorts. But it is also, by Lanta’s standards, quite modern and trendy and thus well suited to this list. The beach on which Anda Lanta is virtually hidden, Klong Jark, is the second last down the island’s west coast, in the rugged bottom sector. It shares the beach with a small cheapie bungalow hotel and a restaurant withjust three rooms. The rest is natural beach with coconut plantations to the back. It is one of Koh Lanta’s most beautiful and least developed beaches.
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Anda Lanta Resort has four rows of modern bungalows running back from the beach with enough coconut palms and trees between to keep if looking lush and green. Design is modern tropical, with both the large hotel lobby and beachside restaurant having no walls. The beachfront area is quite spacious, though lacking in shade trees for the most. Sun shelters are provided, but they are never as atmospheric as big shady trees.
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The resort’s swimming pool is quite large, with a section for small children. The beach is excellent for both adults and children, though at very low tides the rocky bottom becomes a bit of a problem. The small stream that empties over the beach close to the hotel – Klong Jark after which the beach is named – is unfortunately polluted even though there is only a tiny community nearby discharging wastewater into it.
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Royal Lanta Resort; Thai-style in the middle of Klong Dao

Royal Lanta Resort, Klong Dao Beach

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Royal Lanta Resort is one of the few small hotels on Klong Dao Beach that has embraced fine design and architecture. Both exteriors and interiors follow traditional Thai styles, with the distinctive Thai roof peaks standing out from afar. These are over two-storey, concrete buildings with two rooms each above and below.
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Room interiors have high wooden ceilings and wood furniture with old Thai-style lines. Floors are polished wood, providing a luxurious mood. Balconies are large enough to be really useful, and give pleasant views over the swimming pool, lawns and gardens.
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To the owners’ credit, the resort has been designed with the rooms and pool set back somewhat, overlooking green lawns while leaving the beachfront area open. This gives Royal Lanta a feel of spaciousness that is lacking in many other overly-crammed hotels. Perhaps the one obvious lack is that of big shady trees by the beach. In the heat of the day guests won’t find a cool refuge here, and will have to retreat to the beach-side restaurant or their rooms.
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by John Everingham
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Ask John E, the author here. He has photographed 1,100+ hotels on virtually every beach in Thailand with beachfront accommodation (and more in regional countries) over the past 30 years. “I try to answer all queries, and help as best I can.” E-mail: john@beachf.com