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Pimalai Resort and SpaLike most places in Thailand, you can find accommodation at every price point, but here on Koh Lanta, tucked away inside the jungle, are some genuinely outstanding resorts. 

We looked for luxury, pampering and excellent reviews and chose Pimalai Resort & Spa over the other highly rated resort, Layana, heavily promoted by Qantas Hotels. Both properties alternate in the TripAdvisor #1 spot, garnering a swag of awards from every ranking system you can name. Pimalai’s ‘World’s Top 1% Best Hotels’ by Tripadvisor’s “Traveller’s Choice 2022 – Best of the Best Awards” is a compelling endorsement.

We were met at Krabi (KBV) airport by a dedicated shuttle and transported to the private pier, where a sleek speedboat whisked our small group around the bottom of Koh Lanta to arrive at Pimalai from the ocean (western) side. Now, that’s quite an arrival experience!

Private boat transfer (supplied)

The story of Pimalai Resort & Spa began more than 40 years ago when the father of the current owner, Ms Charintip Tiyaphorn, was looking for a serene and peaceful location to build a small seaside villa for his retirement. However, when Mr Anurat Tiyaphorn found Kantiang Beach, his dream of an isolated and beautiful location was realised, and things took off. The name “Pimalai” is derived from ancient Sanskrit, meaning “a little patch of heaven”.

Years ahead of its time, Pimalai immediately set a benchmark for ecologically sensitive development and used the 100 acres of lush native jungle to full advantage. Last year, 2022, the resort achieved the coveted “Green Globe Certificate” and signed on to the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge.

The initial 80 rooms have expanded to double that, with further expansion planned nearly. The flagship Hillside Ocean View Pool Villas perched imperiously on the mountainside, with stunning views to the distant horizon, ensure Pimalai remains at the top of the list of most desirable resorts not just in Thailand but all of Southeast Asia.

Pimalai Seven Seas Restaurant

Pimalai’s superb Seven Seas Restaurant offers fantastic views and food (supplied)

Truly a destination resort, Pimalai has everything from beachfront bars and restaurants to clifftop luxury dining at Seven Seas, the signature and award-winning restaurant sitting 60 metres above sea level. 

Hobie Cat on Kantiang Beach (supplied)

Anything that takes your fancy at Koh Lanta can be booked or arranged through the concierge at Pimalai. Take your pick from land or sea excursions, scuba diving, Thai cooking classes, self-guided cycling or sumptuous spa treatments.  The complimentary beach activities include kayaks, a Hobie Cat, paddle boards and windsurfers.

Sustainability is fundamental to the Pimalai concept, offering guests the chance to participate in various eco-sensitive activities, including beach cleaning, turtle release programmes, mangrove tours and more. This is also a meaningful way Pimalai can directly support Koh Lanta communities, whether it’s a visit to Lanta Old Town, purchasing authentic handicrafts, dining at local restaurants and more. As you would expect, Pimalai has abolished single-use plastic throughout the resort.

In keeping with Koh Lanta’s low-key, laid-back mindset, Pimalai Resort & Spa offers guests from all corners of the globe the opportunity to savour a truly authentic Thai island experience in their private sanctuary. Pimalai is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World’s (SLH) Considerate Collection, an exclusive community of socially responsible and eco-conscious five-star hotels.

For more information about Pimalai Resort & Spa, visit pimalai.com.

Written by Roderick Eime – traveloscopy.com