What Amazonian, London, UK - TripAdvisor Member says about "Accommodation" ?
(May 15, 2009)
In my opinion, you would have to be pernickety in the extreme to find serious fault with the Pimalai and all the other guests we spoke to were as enchanted with the place as we were.
I spent a long time looking for the perfect Thai resort, and dismissed most for being too big, too small, too close to a noisy, over-developed town, too expensive or any number of other reasons. Pimalai seemed to be, like Baby Bear’s porridge, just right. And it really was.
If you arrive between November and April, you will be met at the airport (Krabi) by mini-van for a 45-minute drive to the hotel’s private jetty, from where you will continue your journey by speedboat through the gorgeous islands and seascape that make up Koh Lanta.
Step off the boat onto the hotel’s floating pontoon (a bit of a challenge on choppier days) and you’re straight into the holiday mood. A sweeping bay of white sand and turquoise waters await you, as does a resort that blends magically into the rainforest that envelops it.
Unless you’ve got more money than sense, do opt for the deluxe (basic) rooms. They are tasteful, a good size, immaculately clean and well-maintained, and by far the best positioned for the pool, beach and reception/main restaurant. Admittedly the tiles in the bathroom are not great, but the room is a good size, well-appointed and has a large, glass-doored shower. For the little time you spend awake in the room, why shell out any more? The facilities of the entire complex (both at resort level and higher up at pool villa level) are open to everyone.
We arrived as the Easter school holidays came to an end, so the resort was quite quiet, with very few children, and we never had a problem getting a sun bed, be it at the pool, or one of the gorgeous double-loungers under the trees on the beach. (I gather it can be a different story at the height of the season.) The spa was absolutely beautiful and the treatment I had was wonderful. We found the staff throughout the resort to be professional, friendly and immaculately turned out. OK, their English was not great, but this is Thailand: I prefer not to live in a monochrome world where everyone speaks the same language. It was clear that the staff had been well-trained, and would always eventually manage to understand our requests – and frequently anticipate them.
The setting of the premium restaurant, Seven Seas, is nothing short of breath-taking and was a perfect place to celebrate a very special birthday, although I do agree that the food is somewhat disappointing.
We found breakfast to be very good, with the best choice of freshly prepared juices I have experienced anywhere. The restaurant food is passable, but the beauty of Pimalai is that you can walk five minutes along the beach in either direction and find something cheap and authentically Thai to eat (which in no way encroaches on the remoteness of the location).
There is plenty of complimentary bottled water provided in the room, and you will always be offered iced drinking water from jugs at the restaurants and bars. I was a bit wary about drinking this at first as I have a very sensitive stomach, but I never had a moment’s trouble. This saves you a serious amount of money.
If I have any complaints at all they are:
1) the annoying fact that the air conditioning will not work without the key in the master switch;
2) the sun loungers around the pool face due west and it is virtually impossible to move them or the umbrellas over them. This means that in the afternoon there is very little shade to be had (although the beach enjoys much more protection from the trees and the beds can readily be moved).
We were unlucky with the sea conditions, for which nobody can be blamed, but the situation was not well handled by Pimalai Divers, the onsite but independent operator. A particular attraction of Pimalai was that diving is normally straight from the resort, and when conditions were so bad that we had to be bussed to the other side of the island and even then failed to reach our intended destination, instead re-routing for a far inferior site with poor visibility and little of interest to see, we felt that this possibility should have been better explained to us before we spent a precious day of our holiday on choppy seas. What should have been an enjoyable half-day trip turned into a day-long endurance test and although a number of clients were furious, the proprietor made no attempt to placate them. When you do outdoor activities you rely on local experts to guide you and give you as much information as possible. This did not happen with Pimalai Divers. Although it was still only April, the conditions persisted all week and no further diving was attempted. It is also worth noting that even had the conditions been good, Pimalai Divers would have only operated on alternate days from around mid-April.
Do note this is a rainforest location and you need to protect yourself against things that bite. On my first afternoon, fresh off the plane, I got badly bitten. (Mosquitoes always receive advance warning of my impending arrival with headlines in their local rag. Yummee, they go!) After that I always used a spray or lotion and had few further problems.