PIMALAI Resort and Spa Koh Lanta Island, Thailand

The Pimalai Resort & Spa is a jewel of a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. This Thai resort, hidden away amidst 100 acres of thriving jungle, supplies an elusive vibe: authenticity and modern luxury. The hotel staff prides itself on offering, “The luxury of experiencing an out of the beaten track destination” with all the added comforts of a leading hotel. The resort grounds are wicked stylish, with the excellent taste of French General Manager Franck de Lestapis at the helm.

Arrive at Krabi airport, at the other end of the more touristic Phuket. Direct flights to Krabi from Bangkok and Singapore are under 2 hours. Pimalai staff will greet you at this small airport and shepherd you to your final destination. This journey entails a scenic boat ride amongst a magical South East Asian backdrop and a few other surprises. Shared words with other guests confirm that Pimalai is a sumptuous Thai island escape tailor made for the likes of Honeymooners and romantics.

Cooling towels are infused with an aromatic blend of llang llang flower and something sweeter, and the bath products are a custom blend of this local flower, llang llang, with lemon grass and other local scents. The beauty of Pimalai is in the details.

Choose from 75 exquisite rooms; added accouterments include private sun decks and zen gardens, uninterrupted sea views, or a private villa. Built into the cliffs high above the bay, the 1,2 & 3 bedroom Hillside Pool Villas are something very special. Luscious goose down everything. Abundantly draping white curtains. A private courtyard with infinity pool falling into the lush rainforest, the Andaman Sea, and beyond.

The Pimalai resort offers three unique dining options. The elegant Spice N’ Rice Thai Restaurant in the landscaped gardens by the pool. The more casual Rak Talay Restaurant down on the beach with seafood buffet and live entertainment options. And fine dining at the Seven Seas Restaurant up on the bluff, 60 meters above sea level. Breath taking views best enjoyed with western wines.

Sign up for a myriad of exotic activities. Elephant trekking, diving, hiking with the local monkeys, or a sunset cruise. Stay a bit closer and book a morning yoga class (spots fill up VERY quickly, I would suggest booking in advance). Try on your Pimalai chef’s jacket and take a Thai cooking class with the resident master chef. Preparations are done in the open-air kitchen overlooking the sea. Learn how to make fresh coconut curries and local specialty papaya salad. Chef helps pinch ingredients like fresh chilis and whole cloves of peeled garlic for you to crush in the massive wooden mortar and pestle. And have a visit to the epic spa; which is an intricate labyrinth of tree houses and zen ponds and offers specialty Thai treatments. The spa prices are also surprisingly friendly.

The hillside resort leads down to the Ba Kan Tiang bay, a low key beach studded with cavernous cliffside hostels and beachy cocktail bars, homages to the heyday of backpackers and their psychedelic favorites; neon, trance music, and Bob Marley.

For more information, visit http://www.pimalai.com