Tucked away at the far end of beautiful Koh Lanta, gazing west across the calm Andaman Sea, lies the gorgeous Pimalai Resort. One of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, this stunning hideaway offers a level of style, serenity and solitude that is hard to beat. Beautiful hotels are scattered all over Thailand though, and often for killer prices too, so why bother stumping up the cash for a night or two of Pimalai opulence?
First, it is worth noting the price – and yes, for Thailand this will be classed as “expensive” – but a quick search online yields room rates for as little as £125 in the green season. Bear in mind that this will just about get you a bed and a roof over your head in central London, so try to put this in some sort of context! Budget backpackers, this might not be for you, but if you’re after a bit of a treat and don’t mind a little splurge, I can guarantee that your stay will be well worth the money.
Rooms themselves are massive – even the smallest ‘Deluxe’ room was huge – and are beautifully decorated. Decked out in traditional Lanna style dark woods and with warm red furnishings, they are at once comfortable and cosy – yet large windows and a wide balcony keep you connected to the jungle on your doorstep. Breakfast is yet another delight – and the humongous buffet stretching through several rooms is almost worth the price of the accommodation alone.
The villas are nestled in the canopy of the lush, wooded hills that the estate sits on. (The site is so large that a convoy of electric golf carts are constantly on hand to ferry guests up and down the steep slopes of the grounds. Walking is so passé). Looking back from the pool area up the hill shows the spread of the estate, and in the opposite direction the rest of the hotel’s amenities stretch all the way down to a sweep of pristine beach.
Other communal spaces in the hotel are similarly opulent and stylish. Wandering around the hotel’s grounds reveals numerous studies, reading areas, lounges and spaces to relax. Huge light fittings reflect off polished teak wood floors, and if the weather happens to turn against you, sinking into one of these plush sofas with a book is a more than pleasant way to pass an afternoon.
What you really want is for that warm Koh Lanta sun to shine however, to make use of Pimalai’s best feature: its jaw-droppingly beautiful infinity pool. Even when I visited in peak season the pool area was quiet, with plenty of sun loungers available. Decorous staff are on hand to serve drinks, cocktails and snacks, and replenish jugs of iced water. The surroundings are the star of the show here however: perched on the hillside, the pool nestles into the surrounding jungle foliage, and even features a towering Banyan tree which stretches upwards behind the terrace.
From late morning the sun is on the pool, and throughout the afternoon and evening it slowly makes its way down towards the horizon before dipping into the Andaman sea. If there is a better place in the world from which to view a sunset, I’m yet to find it.
Walking around the Pimalai estate, it’s hard not to notice the exquisite design touches, and the way in which traditional Thai elements are blended with the surrounding environment. From Koi ponds to hanging Buddhist bells, every corner of Pimalai thoughtfully and stylishly combines Asian touches with a modern aesthetic.
Parting with Pimalai is hard, but the good news is that you get to do it in style. With speedboat trips back to the mainland included in the hotel’s complimentary transfer service, you will no doubt leave with a smile on your face – whilst, of course, plotting your return.
Pimalai Resort & Spa, Koh Lanta Yai
Disclaimer: I was a paying guest at Pimalai and all opinions are my own