Thailand is always a good idea, so when travel to this beautiful country opened up after the pandemic, I was almost on the first flight in. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, to be honest, I waited a bit and watched the events play out and was there within the first two weeks of opening! This was also the time when I was looking for a destination that kept me away from the crowds and that’s when the beautiful island of Koh Lanta popped up on my search.
Located within the Krabi Province, Koh Lanta can be accessed via a ferry, meaning the number of travellers to this island is limited. The beaches are pristine, and you have the luxury of ultimate privacy. And talking of luxury brings us to the resort where we stayed. Pimalai Resort and Spa has been a well-kept secret for almost two decades – it is not new, but its unparalleled location, superlative service and memorable hospitality is what brings travellers who have known about it back here, again and again.
The hotel stretches from a private beach all the way up to a forested hillside. Located on the laid-back southern tip of the island, Pimalai cascades through 100 acres of tropical jungles easing its way towards one of Thailand’s best beaches: Kantiang Bay. It is thus ideal for nature lovers; especially if you find it hard to pick between a beach holiday and an escapade in the hills, it really combines the best of both. With no immediate neighbours, the 121-room resort is a serene sanctuary where guests can feel completely at peace in their private surroundings.
It is worth highlighting that the view from almost every corner of the property is breath-taking, but the most stunning view is from the infinity pool. The pool itself is great fun with a waterfall and a hot tub area and swimming towards the infinity edge is surreal – the view of the forested hills and the ocean with its ever-changing hues is absolutely gorgeous. I would strongly urge all water babies to spend at least one sunset in this pool.
For environmentally conscious travellers, it’s good to know that this five-star sanctuary is also an eco-friendly haven. From reducing single use items to help limit the amount of waste going into landfill, the resort is doing its best for our beautiful planet. Additionally, they collect water in reservoirs, use recycled water, are switching from gasoline to electric vehicles and support local tours that are environmentally friendly such as a mangrove forest tour by gondola boat, elephant sanctuary, nature walk and a guided visit to Old Town Lanta.
From hillside ocean pool villas that command vistas of the stunning scenery through to the beachside villas, situated only a few short steps away from the shoreline, rooms at Pimalai cater to all tastes with spacious layouts and designs that seamlessly integrate with the natural surroundings.
To further elevate the standard of its stays, the resort has recently completed a renovation of its 20 hillside ocean view pool villa. These spectacular pool villas are luxurious and include an outdoor terrace and sala overlooking the Andaman Sea, a large living area with sofa and kitchen, separate bedrooms, and a large private outdoor infinity pool.
We stayed in the two-bedroom ocean view villa and one of my favourite parts of our villa was the gorgeous poster bed with sheer curtains hanging dreamily over it. Waking up to the view of an azure sky meeting the cerulean ocean is undoubtedly one of my most memorable memories from Pimalai.
One of the selling points of Thailand is the fantastic service that one is treated to almost everywhere and at this resort, it is all that, and more. From check-in to the restaurant staff and the therapists at the spa, everyone is attentive, warm and friendly.
All these attributes, however, would be pointless without efficiency. As I mentioned earlier, the resort is spread out, so almost every time we went from our hilltop villa to the beachfront restaurant or to the spa, we needed to call for a buggy. And I am happy to report that our buggy was promptly at our service within a couple of minutes.
The service is made even more efficient with an app dedicated to the resort. Once you have downloaded it and fed in your room number, all standard services are literally a click away. This means that if you’re venturing back from the beach you don’t need to find a phone to call for a ride back, you can just request for it through the app. Room service, housekeeping and spa bookings are all conveniently accessible through the app.
Food and drink
In case you like to venture out of the resort, there are quite a few bars and restaurants at walking distance, but Pimalai’s in-house restaurants are stellar.
Rak Talay is a beachfront bar and restaurant that serves sumptuous, Thai-style food. From soft-shell crab to tiger prawns, pad Thai to pomelo salad, everything is downright delicious. They even have a choice of set menus that offer an array of dishes and are ideal for two to three people to share. Rak Talay is open through the day, so if you want some fried fish or burger or club sandwich in the evening, it’s all available along with the sounds of the ocean and a beautiful view.
The second restaurant, Seven Seas, is nestled in the resort’s jungle interior. It affords a beautiful view of the Andaman Sea and the green hills that dot the area. While evenings are ideal for Michelin-chef-conceived menus served at Seven Seas, this is also where we enjoyed breakfast every day, with the most gorgeous ocean breeze.
There’s plenty to do in and around Pimalai, from lounging on what often feels like a private beach or spending action-packed afternoons out in the cerulean sea scuba diving, snorkelling or simply relaxing on a sunset cruise.
One of the highlights of my stay at Pimalai was the scenic cruise to Talabeng Islands. The Pimalai speedboat takes you twenty minutes into the sea to a beautiful location with high limestone hills looming out of the sea. The sight of these green hills juxtaposed against the emerald green waters is spectacular. The best part? we had this entire area completely to ourselves. You can then kayak into the caves, get off at a beach and if the season permits you can even snorkel in these waters. After kayaking, enjoy delicious bites and chilled beverages on the boat.
If you’re inclined to cook or like Thai food and would like to make it for yourself, I highly recommend signing up for a cooking class. The experience starts in the organic garden. While we plucked the freshest herbs for our cooking demo, the chef made us smell the quintessential Thai ingredients like lemongrass, holy basil, galangal and so on.
For the sportier lot, you can sign up for traditional Muay Thai classes or enjoy early evening tennis matches. Yoga classes are also available to promote mindfulness, or you can simply plunge into the resort’s two shimmering, infinity-edged pools and take a soothing swim whilst gazing out over the ocean. Then there’s the Pimalai Spa set in the green, tranquil area amidst tall palms and a little gurgling stream. Well-trained therapists extend time-honoured Thai therapies that are completely relaxing and rejuvenating.
Pimalai is now inviting guests to book early and benefit from significant savings. You can save between 10%-40% under the early bird promotion. Alternatively, the long stay promotion includes up to seven free nights for guests staying for seven or more nights. Both offers are valid from now until 31st October 2022. In addition, the ‘stay 5 pay 4’ package offers a free night, complimentary transfers and daily breakfast for guests who book a five-night stay and is valid from now until 30th September 2022.
Address: 99 Moo 5 Ba Kan Tiang Beach, Ko Lanta District, Krabi 81150, Thailand
Phone: +66 75 607 999