Krabi's Piece of Paradise
Pimalai Resort & Spa is both accommodation and destination in itself
Pimalai Resort & Spa lives up to its name, which is derived from Sankrit, meaning a piece of paradise. Your journey to get there is an experience in itself. Guests are whisked away comfortably (and for free) in a minivan from Krabi Airport to an exclusive jetty to board a Pimalai boat. While onboard, you can nurse a cold drink while taking snapshots against the deep blue sea and various islands along the way.
There's a real sense of arrival about 45 minutes later when you arrive at the long and secluded beach in front of Pimalai where villas nest on the hillside in the lush embrace of Koh Lanta.
Different types of accommodation from Deluxe, Bayfront Deluxe, Pavilion Suite, Beach Villa to Hillside Pool Villa are dotted within 40.5 hectares of the tropical surroundings. The poshest choice you can go for is Three-bedroom Beach Villa but I checked into the Three-bedroom Hillside Pool Villa which I shared with my travelling companions.
The villa more than makes up for its long distance from the beach with a generous living space of 422m² across two floors and a breathtaking bay view 60 meters above the ground that you can enjoy while swimming in a private 40m² pool. In terms of aesthetic, it exudes Thainess without being overwhelming. There's a wall relief with Thai motif above your four-poster bed draped in the white canopy. You can sunbathe poolside at the outdoor sala. The two bedrooms on the upper floor come with its own balcony and the other bedroom on the lower floor has easy access to the pool. There's even an air-conditioned living room with a kitchen to make you feel at (hi-so) home.
Three-bedroom Hillside Pool Villa.
For a stay that feels more intimate and is closer to the beach, you have several choices to choose from but a Pavilion Suite gives off a more contemporary setting, an elegant bathroom and direct access to the beach which beautifully stretches almost 1 km. It looks secluded and untouched as if it belongs exclusively to Pimalai's guests. This is where you can enjoy various non-motorised activities from kayaking, paddleboarding to volleyball gratis.
While I would happily be a shut-in at the villa during my stay, Pimalai gives me plenty of reasons to go out and explore.
The breakfast service at Seven Seas Restaurant should give you a reason to wake up early even on vacation. This is where you can enjoy an extensive selection of international cuisines with a side of the overlooking view of the big shared swimming pool and the bay down below. Tuck into poached eggs covered in Hollandaise sauce which is made per order and served on cured salmon and crunchy toast. Or damn your kidney and enjoy a selection of charcuterie that you pick yourself.
More food awaits at other F&B outlets. On the lower ground from Seven Seas, Banyan Tree Cafe offers Thai dishes, pizzas, pasta, salads for lunch next to the 50-meter swimming pool and well, a huge banyan tree. Spice and Rice Restaurant, as the name suggests, does the southern Thai cuisine justice with its fiery and flavourful dishes. A light Thai meal on the beach can be had at Rak Talay, which also hosts surf and turf buffet with live music every Saturday night. Needless to say, foodies will be spoilt for choices here. Guests can always refer to The Tide Post, Pimalai's very own daily, to learn about all ongoing promotions and activities.
To counterbalance many epicurean offers, Pimalai helps guests stay fit with various activities from a paid fitness class inside an exercise studio, beach activities, and even island excursions. I joined four-hour Koh Haa Sunset Cruise (B2,900 per person, half price for children) which takes you to the five islands in about one hour and lets you snorkel around in the crystal clear water and explore the mini beach that is located in the center of the islands. On your way back, you can replenish your energy with canapes, enjoy the sunset with a drink in hand and return to the resort around 6.30pm. Of course, there are many IG moments to be had during the cruise.
Spice and Rice. (Photos courtesy of Pimalai Resort & Spa)
Pimalai also can arrange for a mangrove tour at Tung Yee Peng (B1,400 per person). If you like a long walk in nature, spotting tiny crabs, feeding pesky macaque monkeys, this tour is for you. Some of the monkeys don't mind chilling on your boat uninvited, but no worries because your guide can handle them. Both experiences require one-day advance booking. For something less adventurous, you can join complimentary spa class so you can bring a part of Pimalai home. If you can't be bothered, just book a blissful session at Pimalai's spa which opens until 9pm and offers a long list of treatments you can choose from.
A stay at Pimalai is amazing, albeit with a price tag to match. The villa leaves you to want for nothing, the surrounding is lush and beautiful, the attentive service makes you feel special and there are also opportunities for you to experience something new. Rates during its high season (Nov 1-Dec 20, Jan 11-Apr 30) start from B12,200 per night while during peak season (Dec 21-Jan 10) start from 22,240 a night.
Pimalai Resort & Spa, 99, Moo 5, Ba Kan Tiang Beach, Koh Lanta, Krabi / 075-607-999, 02-320-5500, check out www.pimalai.com for more info on various packages.