I still remember the first time I saw a picture of The Houben, all bathed in the glow of a golden sunset, the red pool lights and the tree on the top of a cliff, overlooking the Andaman Sea. It was a vision that was imprinted in my mind. While I had no plans to visit the Houben right away, the chaotic weather coincidences in Phi Phi Island made us run to Koh Lanta. It was only a couple of days later that I realized that the Houben was located on this island! So I decided to go check it out. And, oh my gosh! This is by far the most stunning hotel view I’ve ever seen in my life. It was way, way better than that picture I had in my mind, and I don’t think that picture really was a patch on just how beautiful the view really was… The Houben definitely has a million dollar view! No picture could ever convey what I experienced. You just have to be there to believe it!
Since we were already in Koh Lanta we decided to check into The Houben. However, we were informed that it would be a 20 minute wait for a taxi to take us from where we were already staying. Now, being an impatient girl, I suggested to Jonah that we go by Tuk Tuk and scrap the wait. It would cost us the same and we could leave immediately! The ride to the Houben was actually refreshing and exciting for the first half, then the roads started to get really steep. It was way too steep for the Tuk Tuk to take the gradient, and the driver left us a few meters away to go up on our own, dragging our bags with us all the way up to the hotel. Ugh. Can you imagine going up a steep road in uncomfortably hot weather, pulling our suitcases along? Not the best of experiences, but we had no choice… Lesson learned! no more Tuk Tuks when we have suitcases with us. Not an experience I’d recommend! But we did see the funny side of it and had a good laugh!
Arriving at The Houben was most wonderful after that harrowing Tuk Tuk experience. We were greeted by the welcoming sight of this stunning hotel surrounded by trees, inviting, almost beckoning us in. I caught a glimpse of a little monkey peeping out from behind one of the trees just as we arrived, he looked tame and I really I wanted to get hold him, but I was afraid to do that. Seeing us, some of the hotel staff popped out to take our suitcases in and we walked into the small lobby.
We were done with our check-in in less than 5 minutes. That was pretty impressive. We were welcomed with refreshing cold towels and some delicious pomegranate juice. Just what we needed after that hot walk up to the hotel! After they took our deposit & passports we were completed with the check in formalities, then the receptionist showed us to the Deluxe Room. We spent the first two nights here. But after that we were upgraded to the Privilege Suite where we spent an 3 extra days, a one of a kind suite that I will tell you more about.
The Privilege Suite
This stylishly chic suite was all done up in white decor. It was spacious and comfortable, and had this 42″ flat TV on the wall (no, we never used it!) We were totally captivated by the view of the Andaman Sea, and of course, the outdoor jacuzzi. So I really can’t tell you that there were many channels to watch on TV, as I never turned it on! Who really needs TV when you have a view like that?!
A couple of steps from our front porch and we were right on the cliff. And, WOW, what an unbelievably beautiful view. No words could ever describe just how stunning the whole panoramic view is. Nowhere else in the world will you have a view like this. And really, you have no idea what you are missing if you stay elsewhere.
All we ever did was relax, drink in the view, watch the fishing and sail boats, worked on our computers, and all this from the comfort of our sun beds. And nope, we didn’t feel the need to step out of The Houben much at all. Although we were warned about the monkeys, they showed up only once, much to our amusement.
The bathroom was all cement walls and glass doors creating interesting divisions in the space. There were mirror doors on the closet, and the coolest thing was that the closet could be opened from the bathroom instead of the bedroom.
There is a shower is inside the suite, but the jacuzzi is perfectly located outside, overlooking the ocean. We used the jacuzzi a couple of times, and we had an amazing time there, just make sure to get a bottle of wine and you’ll probably spend some quality time with your significant other. It is no wonder this suite is a favorite with honeymooners, as we were told by Shana, one of the hotel staff.
The wash basin and double faucets are located behind the bed, kind of unusual, but very good use of the space. The wooden floors though, seemed to be a little old, however, we were told they are going to be replaced soon.
One of the nice touches of the turndown service was that they warm up some essentials oils, bringing a soothing fragrance into the room. They also bring you a bucket with ice in case you feel like having a drink.
The toiletries are softly fragrant and made my skin feel really good. I was told that they are made out of organic rice. I did find, though, that the conditioner didn’t work so well for my hair, but if you’ve tried natural products, you know that some of them do not offer the best results.
The Surroundings & Facilities
The Houben is a small boutique hotel that was opened five years ago. There are 15 rooms, all facing the ocean, and chances are that once you check in, you’ll probably will never want to leave this place. I don’t know if this is good or bad news, but the hotel only allows guests over 11 years old. Which makes it very attractive to honeymooners and couples.
The room rate includes breakfast and they give you a set of four menus to choose from.
The bar/restaurant offers a good choice of western food. And if it is burgers you are looking for, the best ones are made here in The Houben! The pool is interestingly shaped and colored red. The colors of some of the walls around the modern building reflect the owners’ origin and their support of their home team in Belgium.
The Neighborhood – How to get around
Koh Lanta is a big island about 30 km long, so getting around here is not an easy task, you’re going to need transportation regardless of where you stay if you’re curious to discover the island. The Houben is located in the southern side of the island in Kantiang Bay. As a nature lover, you’ll appreciate the incredible scenery of the mountains and cliffs, the national park and the elephant camp, and they are all easily reachable within 20 minutes of The Houben.
If you are looking for a beach to relax in, you can get to Kantiang within 10 minutes by foot, maybe less if you are in better physical shape than us. This is a great part of town to be in for those who like to browse around in small shops and eat out in restaurants with great atmosphere and a local feel. However, if your inclination is for a modern place with a great selection of Belgian beer and wine, The Houben is your best choice.
It was a delight seeing plenty of Muslim women driving Tuk Tuk’ taxis wearing their nice and beautiful clothes. A great experience if you’re coming to Thailand for the first time, one that I would recommend.
To be completely honest, we felt the hospitality could have been a little warmer. Don’t get me wrong, it is just that we noticed some of the staff seemed way too serious. Maybe I’m wrong, but that was the impression I got. However, Shana – one of the oldest staff members has charisma in her blood! She made us feel really special. She regaled us with the story of how The Houben came to be. According to her, the owner of The Houben was initially planning on building a Bed & Breakfast, but then he decided to put in a pool as well. And that led to more changes, taking into consideration the vast property and the astonishing view, the architect suggested they build a boutique hotel instead. The owner, of course, put his stamp on the property by using the Belgium football team colors to great effect all over the hotel. The unusual red pool and the occasional red wall are testimony to his love for his favorite team.
Would I Recommend The Houben?
Yes! I think it is next to impossible to find a hotel with such a stunning view in Koh Lanta or anywhere else in the world. Our wonderful stay here for 5 nights made me see why honeymooners love it. This is the perfect getaway for those who want to relax and rejuvenate far away from the bustle of routine and responsibilities. For more information about the hotel rates and types of suites, please visit their official website.
Rates : Start from USD 280/night.
Disclaimer: The Houben Hotel hosted our stay, but all opinions herein are my own and have not been influenced in any way by arrangements we made with the hotel.
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