I’ve said it before, I’m saying it again and will probably have cause to repeat myself in the near future as well – the Unique Collection of Hotels & Resorts lives up to its name by having some remarkable, top-drawer properties in its portfolio. It is a pleasure to visit the hotels operated by this group as they are not of the cookie-cutter mould but rather, prove to be surprises – quite often delightful.
The Twin Lotus at Koh Lanta is one such. Managed by the Unique Collection, the owner too takes a keen personal interest in the property and therefore, the maintenance and refurbishments are completely up-to-date; incidentally, the hotel underwent a complete face-lift with extensive renovations in late 2012.
With 74-units spread over a mind-boggling 30 rai, the Twin Lotus is situated on Lanta Yai’s Klong Dao beach and has an admirable policy of not admitting guests below 18-years of age, thus ensuring a time of quietude and harmony is had by the other visitors.
The lobby is simple and open-air, flanked by lotus pools with fountains on either side. Ceiling fans that move lazily in the warm breeze are complemented by round cane settees in grey offset by cushions in lime green; all very restful. As the property is so spread out, guests are ferried around on golf carts, while a sight that never fails to bring a smile to the face, is to see the staff moving around on quaint bicycles that have baskets at the front as well as the back, in which housekeeping amenities including towels, are loaded. As one can imagine, with an area of approximately 12-acres, there are a lot of verdant expanses at the resort with varying fauna and flora indeed, some of the land has still not been developed and plans are in the pipeline for a herb garden.
Room categories are divided into Superior, Deluxe, Deluxe Garden, Deluxe Sea View, Deluxe Beach Front and Garden Villas. Natural, environment-friendly products play a big role at the Twin Lotus and hence, one finds a lot of bamboo, cane and coir used in the décor; the rooms are also designed thus to get in a lot of sunlight and air. All rooms are kitted out with floor lamps and bed rests made of bamboo, tea/coffee maker, minibar DVD player (selection of DVD’s available at the Reception) large screen TV, electronic safe, umbrella and torch.
The first three categories are found in five buildings of a two storey level, all facing the garden. The Deluxe have lovely sunny rooms where the bathroom is separated from the sleeping area by sliding doors. Only this category has a separate wardrobe area plus an outdoor bath tub and shower area, as also a very big terrace with a queen sized daybed plus a large settee.
The Garden Villa ground floor rooms have double hammocks outside and all the rooms in this category come with full-size daybeds, large enough to accommodate a third person. Bamboo hedges allow for privacy from other villas. The upper floor rooms have white rope railings on the balconies which make for a nice country touch.
The Deluxe Beach Front units are individual cabanas and, simply put, are a marvel. With a stone grey colour palette that somehow harmonises the room rather than make it look stern, the entire USP of the room is the bed in the centre and a breathtaking view on two sides, with French doors leading to the sea. And I do mean ‘leading’; these units are literally on the beach, so much so that one can walk out into the sea with one’s morning cup of tea. I did! (Please note that, as per government orders, hotels are not allowed to place sundeck chairs on the beach however, to all intents and purposes, the beach by the Twin Lotus is pretty much private and guests are not disturbed should they wish to sunbathe on the sand.)
As for the rest of the look, a high vaulted ceiling is supported by a bamboo framework tied together with white coir ropes. The bed has the old-fashioned canopied style, again on bamboo poles. Which is not to say it is not restful, as the bed is certainly among the most comfortable I’ve slept in. Wooden bedside tables shaped like hourglasses, cylindrical cane table lampshades, stone flooring and sliding bamboo frame doors leading to the bathroom and shower area, complete the minimalistic nature look. Every cabana has a wooden patio with either an outside settee or else, a couple of sun loungers.
The bathroom faucets are in steel, but in the shape of bamboo funnel spouts. The windows and skylights in the bathroom have the same slatted theme made of bamboo, sensibly covered with wire mesh to guard against mosquitoes and creepy-crawlies. There are no bathtubs on this resort, in a bid to conserve water.
The Deluxe Sea View units are done up in the same style, with canopied beds; the only difference is that while these rooms are sea-facing, they are not as close to the beach.
F&B options include Buah Fah, the 48-cover (with the provision to add more covers) all-day dining and Barracuda, the 38-cover beach-side dining where all cocktails are at only THB 120 all day long. Every evening there is a different dinner theme such as Caribbean, Barbeque, Thai and so on, with fresh, good quality seafood at great value for money. The mood is romantic, with the tables set on the beach…one can go for a walk by the edge of the sea while waiting for dinner to be cooked. The Thai chef is exceedingly good and the F&B staff well trained.
The resort runs and manages its own bakery and is quite proud of its croissants. That’s not all – the Twin Lotus also runs to a commendable variety of home-made jams and therefore, the breakfast spread is well thought out, with a lot of the items made in-house. A considerate touch that I particularly liked and must therefore make mention of, is that the hot, strong coffee was accompanied by warm milk – such a pleasant change from hotels that serve cold milk and thus the beverage is lukewarm before you even begin to drink it.
Recreational facilities include two pools, one known as the Garden Pool as it is in the midst of lush greenery and the other overlooking the sea. Fruit and vegetable carving and Thai cooking classes can also be conducted on request. A cosy library lounge adjoins Buah Fe, with a lot of Swedish titles as most of the guests are from Sweden. There is a compact but surprisingly well-equipped fitness centre with all weights, adjoining the spa; the undoubted highlight is that it is open 24-hours. Bicycles are available for hire at THB 100 per day while motorbikes are at THB 250 per day. Kayaking can also be arranged at THB 100 per day.
Apart from this, the resort offers the Bua Luang Spa. Sauna facilities available. There are seven treatment rooms, two of them doubles, with one having an outdoor Jacuzzi and shower area. Outdoor massages are also available for Thai and foot treatments only. The prices are extremely reasonable for a resort spa; for instance, an aroma oil massage for 90-mns is only THB 1300 per person.
The treatment rooms are done up in shades of violet and grey; an odd combination, nonetheless, quite soothing. Apart from various body wraps and scrubs such as coffee or tamarind, the signature treatment here is a Thai massage coupled with the herbal ball but with a distinct difference – the hot poultice of crushed natural Thai herbs such as kaffir lime, lemon grass, tamarind leaves etc is rubbed firmly into the muscles with long deep strokes, rather than the brisk thump-thump treatment most spas opt for. The traditional Thai massage comprises a sustained deep pressure and stretching techniques designed to re-balance the system; accompanied by the steaming hot poultice that releases a fragrant herb aroma that unclogs any blocked sinuses as well, the result is one feels blissfully worked over, at the same time marvellously relaxed. The therapist certainly knows her job and I emerge from the spa ready to soak in some sun on the beach and uncoil those muscles some more.
Convention facilities include Bua Yai overlooking the sea that can seat about 150-pax theatre style; if the pre-function is added on then it can handle 200-pax. The pre-function area is very large and is an air-conditioned space with French doors on all sides that give out on to a fantastic sea view. There are two break-out rooms: Linjong and Patoom.
The staff is very helpful and friendly. Perhaps the only drawback is that the housekeeping and engineering departments do not speak much English, which is understandable, given that they are locally recruited. It is not an insurmountable problem as one can always address the concern to the Front Office staff and have them handle the translation. Certainly, I had no problem and found the housekeeping and Front Office staff quite co-operative. The resort may like to consider more heightened pest control measures.
There are various travel options of getting to Koh Lanta. If you have the time and an adventurous spirit, I would recommend taking the comfortable overnight train from Bangkok to Surat Thani (THB 750, 2nd class AC sleeper.) An additional THB 250 gets you the combo bus/van ticket that takes you to Krabi town. From there, you need to make the approximately two hour ferry crossing to Koh Lanta. If you would like to be spared the hassle, fly into Krabi’s small but efficient airport (approximately 90-minutes from Bangkok) and then do the ferry crossing to Lanta (THB 450 per head.) The Twin Lotus can pick you up from Saladan pier else, it is just 50 baht per head on a songtaew to Klong Dao beach. Koh Lanta is 45-minutes away from Koh Phi Phi and on the Phuket radar as well.
TWIN LOTUS RESORT KOH LANTA
TEL: +66 75607000