Unlike some of my other accommodation reviews, this really is going to stay short and sweet for the best of reasons; we cannot find fault with The Levels as an ideally located villa with a huge "wow" factor. I think many of the photos will speak for themselves too. I fear admitting that NewMan and I stayed here for two lovely weeks confirms that we are most definitely flashpackers (and I do ask the backpacking brethren to forgive me fo this) but at least it also shows we have excellent taste. What's it all about? This stunning property was envisaged, designed and built by Chris and Gak, a Thai-English couple who have been living in Koh Lanta for 8 years. The name, The Levels, comes from the building's design which is effectively two levels, the first ground floor being a predominantly outdoor area (complete with swimming pool, outdoor kitchen and dartboard) and the first floor which features an open plan living/dining area, a chef's kitchen and two big bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. The master bedroom also features another raised level where a huge king size bed lies looking out through floor to ceiling glass. A long sofa stretches out in the living area looking west, which means the views of the sun setting over the Andaman Sea rarely disappointed; it's beauty was regularly captured in my Instagram feed.
What's so good about it (or not)? Haven't I already answered this already? Do the photos not do it justice? Well, even so there are other good points. The Levels' location is about as central as central Koh Lanta can be. Within a half hour moped ride, we were able to reach either end of the island and we also had our pick of the beaches in between. Having said that The Levels is actually closest to one of our favourite beaches, Relax Bay, a small relatively unused beach at the north end of Phra Ae (Long Beach). A moped is a must if you plan on getting around with any ease as there is a 5-10 minute walk up a dirt path (or a mud path/bath if it's rained) from The Levels to the main road and nearest shops. It was around £5.00 a day (and less than a £1 for a litre of petrol) to hire a moped, which considering where we went and what we saw, this was a very worthy investment. (A gentle suggestion, ensure you ask for a helmet when hiring a moped as they won't automatically give you one with the bike.)
The other good thing about The Levels is Chris and Gak. It is clear that this is a building, house and home that they love and nurtured from the ground up. Their welcome was warm, they were always approachable should we need some help and their friendliness extended to us when we bumped into them unexpectedly in and around the island. (We honestly weren't stalking them!)
Who, me? It is fair to say that by Thailand standards staying at The Levels wasn't cheap (prices range from £73 - £125 a night depending on the time of year), however compared to UK or European self-catering prices when a wow factor is on offer, it was a bargain. If Thailand is where you go to shack it up and enjoy £7 a night beach bungalows then you will see The Levels as an unnecessary extravagance, however, if you want to relax in the privacy of a home from home that just happens to be a stunning property and located on a sunny Thai island with incredible views, then The Levels will tick all these boxes and more.
P.S. Having re-read this post it sounds like I'm doing a sales pitch for The Levels. I'm not, nor did I know Chris or Gak before we stumbled upon them on TripAdvisor. Seeing as we wanted to stay much longer but couldn't because they were fully booked for the season, it isn't necessarily in my interest to plug The Levels to the masses but I am a big believer in giving credit where credit is due. For more information go to http://thelevelslanta.com/.
You can read more of my accommodation reviews in this Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn series.
Frances M. Thompson
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