99 Moo 5 Ba Kan Tiang Beach Koh Lanta Krabi 81150Koh Lanta, Thailand -See the map
Amy AdejokunSection editor
The Pimalai is tucked away in the midst of luxuriant vegetation which provides a fantastic setting for a lazy holiday. However, the property is incredibly steep. The hotel offers a good level of service and boasts its membership of the 'Small Luxury Hotels of the World' group. Having originally opened in 2001, it expanded in 2005 and now offers a section comprised exclusively of villas.
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The Pimalai is not an easy place to get to, taking between two and two and a half hours to reach from Krabi. On arrival at the airport, you will have to make your way to the landing stage at Ban Hua Hin to catch a ferry to Koh Lanta Noi. You then have a second ferry journey to Koh Lanta Yai, and still the journey is not over: the Pimalai is a further half-hour drive away in the south of the island.
The Pimalai has 121 units, including 39 villas. The blocks are well distributed over the hillside, with those in the higher reaches demanding quite an effort to get to... You will soon start to think twice before heading down to the beach! Every room has a large balcony with a table and chairs and the choice of a garden or sea view. Inside, the decor is understated and tasteful, with local paintings adorning the walls. As for amenities, all the necessary equipment is provided, including a television, a safe, air-conditioning, a well-stocked minibar with tea and coffee-making facilities, a direct international telephone line and room service until midnight. There is even a free WiFi internet connection! As for the bathroom, it opens onto the bedroom and provides everything you need, including a hair-dryer, hospitality products, bathrobes, flip-flops and slippers.
Travelling by sea to the Pimalai is the best option as it allows the beautiful and luxuriant vegetation of the resort to unfold in front of your eyes. All of the facilities are outdoor, so there is no need for music, because the sounds from the jungle are so much more charming! The hotel is divided into an older section housing the rooms and a newer section consisting of villas. Visitors are free to mingle in both sections, except at breakfast when the restaurants in each section cater for their own guests. Each section has two restaurants and an overflow pool with deckchairs and parasols. The hotel's weak point is the rather steep terrain, even though this makes the setting look all the more attractive. It is not worth entertaining thoughts of using the golf carts to get around, as these are reserved for the staff. The hotel encourages guests to get around by foot to keep the noise levels to a minimum, meaning you are sure to get a good workout! As far as relaxation is concerned, the spa is a wonderful facility comprised of various small units hidden away in the vegetation. All in all, there are seven treatment rooms, including four that are suitable for couples.
The Pimalai has four different restaurants. In the villa section of the hotel, the Seven Seas is open for breakfast, which is served as a buffet, and dinner, which is served a la carte. It prepares international cuisine in a superb setting, with unobstructed views of the surrounding areas. The Banyan Tree, however, is open for lunch and serves light meals. In the section housing the rooms, breakfast is served as a buffet from 6:30 am to 10:30 am in the Baan Pimalai, which is also an option for lunch and dinner. Just next door, Thai cuisine can be enjoyed at Spice'N Rice. Finally, there is the Rak Talay Beach Bar and Restaurant which is also open for lunch and dinner. The barbecue evening is the perfect opportunity to enjoy your meal down on the beach.
As the Pimalai is located alongside Ba Kan Tiang Beach, you will not be disappointed by the 0.7-mile long bay and half-mile of beach, which is very wide as well as long! The setting is perfect for a stroll on the shore with the sea lapping at your feet. The sand is not the finest, but it is perfectly reasonable. The large beds that the hotel has set out on the edge of the public space are quickly filled by guests, but parasols and plastic deckchairs are also available. The water here is quite clear and the beach is peaceful and well-sheltered from the wind, with a gentle slope sloping down into the water. A water sports club isalso provided for more courageous guests!
In order to facilitate your journey to the hotel, the Pimalai offers a private transfer from the airport in the high season, when it provides a car to take you to the hotel's own landing stage at Ban Hua Hin. This is followed by an hour's boat journey along the Koh Lanta coastline, which brings you to the hotel itself. This service is not free, of course, but it is well worth the cost, especially for the chance to catch a glimpse of the dolphins that regularly join you on your journey!