Thailand! Anantara Lawana Resort Koh Samui Review

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Anantara Lawana Resort Koh Samui Review

Looking for a luxury Koh Samui beach resort? Here’s an Anantara Lawana Resort review from someone who stayed for a week. (That would be me.)

Pool and beach at Anantara Lawana Koh Samui – Photo credit: Carol Perehudoff

A Quick Review Summary

It’s not easy knowing where to stay in Koh Samui, so first-hand reviews help. If you don’t want to read this entire (lengthy) resort review, here’s a quick run down:

Anantara Lawana Koh Samui is 5-star luxury all the way. It has a cheerful vibe that suits families, and romantic pool suites ideal for couples.

Located at the fringes of Chaweng Beach, it’s not a party resort (hurrah!) or pretentious. It does what it does best – provides a luxe comfortable holiday with terrific service and a staff that makes you feel at home.

Overall, my husband and I found the private beach, lush grounds, attentive staff, and 25-metre-long infinity pool made for an indulgent peaceful stay.

Stand Out: Our pool suite: The private plunge pool in its garden setting added an exotic boost to our Thai vacation.

Even higher up on the luxury scale would have been a pool villa with an ocean view, although it was beyond our budget, especially as we were there in high season, but no worries, there are many other room types available.

Here’s our experience.

Overlooking the Gulf of Thailand

Arrival at Anantara Lawana Resort in Chaweng

A booming gong announced our arrival.

It’s a bit startling when you’re not expecting it, but was a fun ceremonial way to start our vacation at this 5-star resort on the popular island of Koh Samui in Southern Thailand.

Chaweng Beach Location

Ranking high in TripAdvisor reviews, the Anantara Lawana Beach Resort is located in the quiet north end of Chaweng.

Note: Chaweng Noi is not the north part of Chaweng Beach even though it sounds similar. This I discovered after I insisted a taxi driver take us there. (Cue eye roll from both husband and taxi driver when it becomes clear hotel is in opposite direction.)

But about Chaweng Beach. It’s one of the liveliest beaches on Samui island, with most of the best Chaweng hotels at its quieter fringes.

The Anantara Lawana Resort is about a 5-minute drive by taxi or by tuk tuk (shared back-of-a-truck taxi) into the centre of Chaweng.

It’s far enough away you can escape the bustle of nightclubs and party-happy 20 somethings, but close enough if you’re in the mood for restaurants, shops or nightlife.

We usually asked the driver to drop us off at Festival Central Samui Mall, an upscale shopping centre that is near the beach, boutiques and anything else you might want.

We loved this path to the lobby – Photo credit: Carol Perehudoff

Anantara Lawana Lobby

After our gong-ringing arrival, we followed a path along a koi pond filled with shimmering gold and orange fish up to reception.

In the open-air lobby, a Thai-style decor is overlaid with Chinese design elements such as Oriental scroll paintings and imported antique desks, a nod to the original owner and the Chinese merchants that settled in Koh Samui.

It’s designed, the receptionist told me, so you feel as if you’re being welcomed into a home rather than an impersonal corporate environment.

No need to line up to check in. They come to you – Photo credit: Carol Perehudoff

Check In

The check-in process was pure Thai hospitality, something the country does so well. Mark and I were seated on taupe-coloured couches and offered a cold herbal drink and chilled towels before being taken to our pool suite.

Anantara Lawana Pool Suites

OMG, our pool suite. It was a haven of shade on a hot afternoon, with two lounge beds lying low on the wood deck, and a pool complete with an Instagram-worthy swing.

“I never understood the attraction of a pool suite before,” Mark said, as we immediately cooled off with a swim. “I always thought it was like a big bathtub.”

It’s so much more. The garden setting extended our living space, offered privacy and provided an indoor/outdoor lifestyle – idyllic in a tropical setting.

We could have stayed there all day, but the beach and infinity pool (not to mention the extensive buffet breakfast) always lured us away.

This king-sized bed only shows part of our room – Photo credit: Carol Perehudoff

Hotel Rooms

Anantara Lawana Chaweng is known for its generous room sizes. Out of the 122 rooms and villas, there are deluxe rooms, pool suites, pool villas and pool access villas.

Pool Access Villas

Pool access villas are groups of 4 to 7 swim-out villas that share a larger pool. If you’re travelling with family or friends, they’d be an optimal choice, though they’re in a higher category and price point than our pool suite was.

Private pool deck, anyone? Photo credit: Mark Simpson

Pool Suites

Our pool suite was the lower level of a two unit building. We had a king bed backed by a delicately painted botanical-themed screen – another Oriental touch – and the bathroom was enormous.

In addition to a large change area with the sink, the washroom had semi-separated areas for toilet and shower.

The bathroom was indoor, but had an outdoor feel because of the slim bamboo garden that surrounded its glass walls.

“Guess where I am?” I shouted out to Mark after a quick shower to wash the airport taint off me.

After a pause, he popped his head outside, where I was splashing around in the pool. “How??? Wait. You just went into the bathroom.”

Our pool suite: a private oasis – Photo credit: Mark Simpson

“Surprise!” I’d discovered a fun perk of the pool suite: French doors open from the bathroom change area directly onto the pool.

A 5-Star Outdoor Swimming Pool

To get to the main outdoor pool and beach it’s a downhill walk past ancient trees, lily ponds and bursts of pink bougainvillea.

The infinity pool overlooks the beach. Long and sleek, with a view over the Gulf of Thailand, it was the focal point of our stay.

Iced water infused with cucumber or lemon is always on tap and occasionally fruit sticks or chilled towels come your way. These were always welcome since we were there in record heat. (Eeek.)

Infinity pool – Photo credit: Carol Perehudoff

Service at Anantara

The staff was an absolute bonus.

They made us feel connected to the resort in a welcome way, cracking open just a little that inevitable barrier between local and visitor.

The Beach

The beach isn’t the most sugar spun I’ve ever seen, but it has a lot going for it. It’s a private beach so blissfully quiet – something worth noting as the main section of Chaweng Beach gets busy.

We found Anantara’s beach a lovely place to linger. It’s well groomed, with plentiful deck chairs and umbrellas.

We got to know two beach staffers Torn and Kai, discussing family, beaches, lizards (my husband loathes them while I think they’re cute), amulets (to protect oneself from loathsome lizards), and the value of visiting Koh Samui’s mummified monk – an unusual but spiritual Koh Samui attraction, which we immediately did.

Can You Walk on the Beach?

If you’re a fan of sunset walks on the beach like I am (so cliche, right?) you can walk quite far, but you may want to bring flip flops for parts of it get rocky past the resort.

Note: The beach is a sunrise view not a sunset, so if you really want the colours get up early. Additional note: We never got up early.

Trying to look romantic over cocktails but looking lame instead

The Gulf of Thailand

The water is clear, shallow and calm. The beach is on an inlet, very protected, though it does open up to the ocean on one side.

Personally, I found it too shallow for swimming, and there are places where the bottom has vegetation.

Mainly I amused myself by paddling around in one of the kayaks or paddleboards that are complimentary at the resort. Most of my beach time was spent doing this.

Oh, who am I kidding? Most of my time was spent lying in the shade with a fresh coconut juice and a book, while Mark made good use of the infinity pool.

Restaurants At Anantara

Seafood Bucket at the Crab Shack Restaurant – Photo credit: Carol Perehudoff

The Crab Shack

The most fun meal we had on our six-week vacation in Thailand was the signature Seafood Bucket at the resort’s Crab Shack. It was also the messiest.

The Seafood Bucket is a hands-on experience that involves a mouth-watering bucket of rock lobster, crab, tiger prawns, scallops, mussels and clams. It’s paired with garlic toast and corn on the cob.

Wear your bib and be prepared to fight your partner for the best bits.

Stage one of my many-course breakfast – Photo credit: Carol Perehudoff

Ocean Kiss

Also beachfront is Ocean Kiss, a more casual restaurant where we dove into a massive buffet breakfast every morning.

(Mark would like me to clarify and admit that it was I who had the massive breakfasts, not him. It’s true. I have bottomless breakfast buffet stamina.)

There are standard Western options like bacon, eggs Benedict, omelettes, and pastries plus a selection of Thai dishes including a noodle-soup-to-order stand.

A separate air-conditioned room holds a generous spread of exotic fruits including my favourites dragonfruit and papaya, as well as cheeses and veggies.

Also, look out for unexpected healthy additions like probiotic-rich sauerkraut and pineapple tepache (which I’d never heard of but immediately insisted we needed to drink every day to maintain optimal gut health).

It wasn’t until I saw my husband with a bowl of lentil dahl I realized there was also an Indian food section. From then on, made-to-order dosas with mint and coconut chutneys were a key part of my day.

Note: If you’re staying at a 5-star resort in Thailand, I highly recommend you book a rate that has breakfast included. Fresh buffet bliss.

Romantic and exclusive – Treetops Restaurant – Photo credit: Carol Perehudoff

Treetops Restaurant

Serious foodie alert!

The Treetops Restaurant is Anantara Lawana Koh Samui Resort’s signature fine-dining restaurant. The setting is one-of-a-kind with private open-air tables set amongst a 120-year-old tree canopy.

Billed as the most romantic restaurant on Koh Samui, Tree Tops has a multi-course set menu that can be paired with wine or cocktails.

There are two set meal options: From the Sea to the Land or the vegetarian Chef’s Garden. It’s popular so book early.

Khao Kate Restaurant Near Anantara Lawana

It’s not gourmet, but if you want an affordable restaurant near the resort, we quite liked Khao Kate, which is to the left of the resort if you go out the front entrance.


The best resorts in Thailand have excellent wellness facilities and of course the Anantara Lawana has a full service spa.

You can go all in with a 3-day wellness program or opt for a single treatment such as a Thai Massage or a signature Coconut Paradise, a multi-coursed treatment that includes a scrub, wrap and massage.

Other Facilities

The resort has a Fitness Centre, the Chang Noi Kid’s Club, a library and a tour desk where you can sign up for excursions and activities. Some to consider are a Half Day Cruise to Ko Phangan, a Spice Spoons Cooking Class or a Temple Tour.

We didn’t do the cooking class, but talked to a father son duo who did it and had a great time.


The resort is set on a palm-laden slope that leads down to the water, so there is a fair bit of walking up and down.

The staff can take you places in the resort by golf cart but I think it would be difficult to get around if you have mobility issues.

Entrance to our pool suite – Photo credit: Mark Simpson

Overall Impression of Anantara Lawana Samui

To wrap up this Anantara Lawana review, let me add that Anantara is a luxury brand with a number of hotels in Thailand.

In fact, it has two 5-star hotels on Koh Samui, so don’t mix up the Anantara Lawana Koh Samui Resort with the Anantara Bophut Koh Samui Resort, which is located near the oh-so-trendy Fisherman Village.

We had a great time during our week-long stay. Koh Samui is one of the most popular islands in Thailand so we appreciated having a tranquil haven to come back to.

The leafy hotel grounds are beautifully maintained, the staff is friendly and the food is excellent. As I may have already mentioned (loudly and clearly), I adored having a shady private plunge pool.

While Koh Samui is definitely a ‘discovered’ island, it’s one I return to time and time again – and during our stay here, we met so many other repeat visitors who felt the same way.

Whether you want temples, nightlife, beach bliss or wellness, there’s always something new to explore and luxe places like Anantara to stay.

Check out more about the 5-star Anantara Lawana Samui on the hotel website.


Can You Walk From Anantara Lawana Resort to Chaweng Centre?

It’s about a 20-minute walk from the hotel to the busier part of Chaweng, but the route is on a street with a lot of traffic. It’s easier to wave down one of the plentiful tuk tuks on the street or ask the doormen to flag down a taxi.

Is Chaweng a good place to stay in Koh Samui?

Chaweng is the most developed beach resort on the island of Samui. It has beautiful beaches, great shopping, lots of restaurants and hotels that range from luxury 5-stars to budget.

Is Anantara Lawana Koh Samui near the airport?

It’s about a 20-minute walk from the hotel to the busier part of Chaweng, but the route is on a street with a lot of traffic. It’s easier to wave down one of the plentiful tuk tuks on the street or ask the doormen to flag down a taxi.

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