February 27, 2005
This is the newest luxury boutique resort on Ko Lanta Yai. Located on the northern part of Phra Ae Beach, Layana offers different levels of accommodations, from garden pavilions to ocean-view deluxe villas. Nothing is overlooked — it is private, with extravagant views, superior service, and exquisite decor.
The philosophy at Layana is that "the world revolves around you." Few places of this caliber can boast a personalized approach and opportunity for the guests to make acquaintance with the owners, Bob and Margie Guthrie, the idealists behind this paradise. The name, Layana — its origins in ancient Sanskrit — infers a cessation of time, a place where time is suspended, an interlude or resting place. The name befits the experience itself. Whilst sitting on the deck at the restaurant looking out onto the ocean — even though the tide keeps rolling in and back out — for just a moment, it’s as though time stands still.
The pride and joy of Layana is the aesthetics of its landscaping. From the reception area, one has an unambiguous vista of the tranquil infinity pool, which closes the divide between land and sea, becoming one with the ocean in the horizon. From the beach side, two Chao Ley (sea gypsies) sculptures kneel on either side of the pool to watch over the breaking tide. These characters embody the spirit of real-life sea gypsies, as they are watchers of the sea and hold cautionary red flags when conditions are unsafe.
Each of the villas in this resort have open pavilions, some with second-story sala-style lounges that look out over striking scenery — clear blue skies during the day over a glistening ocean and majestic starry nights when the moon casts a mellow glow on the sea. Sundowners (try the Layana Special) at the aptly named Tides Bar and Restaurant (served in coconuts and pineapples) are sheer indulgence.
Even after the tsunami, the Layana Resort and Spa remains operational, with minor damage to the swimming pool and beachside restaurant. Repairs are to be completed by the end of February.
From journal Boutique Island