Singaporebrides | Editors' Notes

November 2015

Pimalai Resort & Spa is the Perfect Koh Lanta Wedding Destination

Last week, we discovered Koh Lanta’s best kept secret. Nestled in the leafy mountains of Koh Lanta, Krabi, and offering beautiful views of the serene Andaman Sea, Pimalai Resort & Spa is a 5-star luxury resort with magnificent natural surroundings that are perfect for a tropical destination wedding.

The name “Pimalai” means “a little patch of heaven” in ancient Sanskrit, and the luxury resort truly lives up to its name. The first resort on the largely unspoiled island of Koh Lanta, Pimalai Resort & Spa is located a short distance from some of the world’s best diving spots in Krabi and Phuket. Set on 100 acres of lush foliage that spans the 900-metre private beach all the way up to the hills, with incredible views of the very same sandy bay, Pimalai offers a uniquely relaxing experience in the serenity of Koh Lanta’s mountains. The exclusive, peaceful environment is coupled with the luxury of friendly, attentive service and magnificent hillside villas and beachfront suites, creating a beautiful refuge off the beaten track. The award-winning resort is the perfect natural setting for a destination wedding in Krabi, where a couple can make their promises to each other with nature’s bountiful blessings.

Our luxurious experience began right at the Krabi airport, where we were immediately met at the gate by Pimalai’s friendly airport service manager, Wee. He had been waiting for us to arrive, to take us by resort shuttle to Pimalai’s private jetty for a boat transfer to Koh Lanta. Wee escorted us to the resort’s shuttle and offered us chilled bottled water as he drew out the 50-minute trip ahead on a map. It was our first time in Krabi, so we were peering out at the picturesque streets with their colourful walls and assorted wares that soon gave way to winding country roads lined with tropical palms and weatherboard houses on stilts. We pulled into Pimalai’s quiet jetty to find the resort’s speedboat already waiting for us at the end of the wooden pier to take us to Koh Lanta. I’ve always loved the scent of the sea, so I happily sat up front with the wind whipping my hair around my face as our boat sped past some of Krabi’s rocky little isles and colourful beach houses set into the cliffside. A resort shuttle then brought us into Pimalai Resort & Spa’s tranquil estate.

Pimalai’s private jetty Our first glimpse of the Ba Kan Tiang bay from the lobby The hilltop infinity pool overlooking Ba Kan Tiang bay

We were ushered into paradise with welcome leis, delicious lime drinks, and an intoxicating first glimpse of the Ba Kan Tiang bay, a blue cove that curved invitingly below tall, rocky cliffs. Huge, majestic bells and classic Thai architecture drew the eye to the infinity pool situated steps below the lobby, overlooking the beautiful view of the sea. All around, the sounds of birdcalls and buzzing cicadas echoed in the still air of the surrounding forestry. After checking in, we took a buggy up winding stone paths to our Two-Bedroom Hillside Pool Villa, where Boom, one of the friendly service officers, gave us a tour of our rather big patch of heaven for the next couple of days.

Our villa’s courtyard featured an infinity pool overlooking stunning, panoramic views of the bay curving out into the Andaman Sea. It was pretty incredible being some 60 metres above sea level and being open to such amazing views. And because Pimalai Resort & Spa’s villas have been built with an eco-conscious desire to blend into the natural surroundings instead of competing with them, we felt completely secluded and alone in our paradise. To the left of the sundeck and pool, we had a spacious living suite with an entertainment system, glass doors that opened onto a balcony, and a sofa bed that would be perfect for family or a wedding entourage. Wedding helpers would enjoy privacy as well, as the suite is equipped with its own elegant shower suite, and even a kitchenette.

Welcomed with a lei More than 60 metres above sea level The sundeck and private pool Plunged right into paradise Honestly, that view!

The bedroom suite is gorgeous, with high timber ceilings, polished teak wood floors, and rich furnishings in a classic Thai style. A romantic four-poster canopy king bed faces full-length glass doors that let in the view of the sea, and that open out onto a balcony where you can work on your tan on the sun lounges. If you want to be visually entertained by something other than panoramic views, there’s also a flat-screen TV and sofa lounge. Wooden shutters open up to reveal a luxurious bathroom suite adjacent to the bedroom, with a bathtub next to a window overlooking the bay, a his and hers set of vanities, a separate rain shower, and a spacious wardrobe and dressing area.

Boom brought us downstairs for a tour of the other bedroom suite. It too features an elegant four-poster and marble bath, and a deck where you can sip a morning cup of coffee to the sounds of birdsong. I couldn’t help thinking that such a spacious villa could accommodate a whole party of people in complete comfort, and the separate living spaces would give everyone their privacy while the pool and sundeck would be an amazing place to have a few drinks together. Wouldn’t wedding discussions be so much more enjoyable in a place this nice?

The Two-Bedroom Hillside Pool Villa. Photo courtesy of Pimalai Resort & Spa. I loved this beautiful four poster! It was incredibly comfortable too. The master bathroom suite. I could look out into the bay while in the bathtub. Pimalai’s pretty beach bag for holiday essentials Working on my tan on the balcony outside the bedroom The living area in a separate villa across from the bedroom suite

Your wedding guests can choose from the One-, Two-, or Three-Bedroom Hillside Pool Villas, or opt for something closer to the sandy beach with the Beachfront Pavilion Suites, which come in combinations of one or two bedroom suites, each villa opening up directly onto the bay as well as a small private garden. Pimalai Resort & Spa has a variety of garden- or sea-facing Deluxe Rooms as well, furnished with the luxurious amenities of a tropical retreat such as a bathtub, beautiful Siamese artefacts, and a spacious balcony.

Once we had settled in, we brought our welcome fruit platter out to the pool, and enjoyed some sweet local mango and a refreshing dip before heading down for a stroll on the beach. It was dusk when we arrived by buggy, and the bay was twinkling with the lights of the boats out at sea. I thought it was pretty sweet walking arm in arm with the sand beneath our feet, but then the beach’s capacity for romance completely dazzled us when we came across a private candlelight dinner on the beach, specially set up for a couple by Pimalai. How amazing to have dinner under a private gazebo, feeling the sea breeze on your cheek as you are circled by the romantic glow of candlelight.

Buggy drop-off point at Pimalai’s 900-metre private beach Lounges in front of each bayfront villa Watching the sunset Must be nice to sail off into that sunset Spotted twinkling lights in the distance Turned out to be this incredibly romantic private dinner on the beach Walked across the beach to the bars and eateries outside for a simple Thai dinner

The private Pimalai beach has seen its share of romantic moments, with many Krabi destination weddings held at sunset. Apple, the executive secretary to Pimalai’s general manager and our friendly host, met us on the beach and pointed out where couples usually held their ceremonies on the private beach. Decorated with tropical flowers, a beach wedding lets couples exchange their vows against sweeping views of the Ba Kan Tiang bay and the Ha island on the horizon. If you want a memorable wedding entrance, you can choose to arrive atop a trained elephant, otherwise, a flower-line aisle will lead you from the resort’s stairway to your beach wedding venue, which can host 60 guests. At the altar, either a non-religious officiant, a Christian celebrant, or a local Thai monk will perform the ceremony. Pimalai’s beach wedding package also includes a bridal bouquet and groom’s boutonniere, sparkling wine for the toast, a wedding cake, and a la carte dinner for the newlywed couple at the beautiful Seven Seas restaurant overlooking incredible views. As a gift from Pimalai, you will also receive a two-hour pampering couple’s massage at Pimalai Spa and a Thai silk-framed picture.

Following the ceremony, your wedding celebrations can continue with dinner on the beach, or your wedding guests can walk directly to your reception at the beachfront Spice N Rice restaurant. If you’re hosting a smaller wedding of 30 guests, you can choose to have dinner at the Seven Seas restaurant, or the Banyan Café next to the infinity pool. Larger parties can hold a wedding banquet in one of Pimalai’s elegantly appointed function rooms, which are great for dancing late into the night without disturbing the island’s serene environment. If you’re coming to Krabi for a destination wedding, you’re probably after a ceremony on the beach, but if you’re looking for something more intimate, Pimalai’s Hillside Pool Villas are perfect for a close-knit circle to bless your union. You won’t need to worry about a thing as well, with Pimalai’s incredible service team who are some of the most attentive and genuinely friendly people I have ever met.

The Seven Seas restaurant serving western cuisine Breakfast with a view Eggs benedict cooked to order

The next morning, we ate our fill at the Seven Seas to fuel up before our day of snorkelling at the Koh Rok islands. As with all the excellent service staff we had met at Pimalai Resort & Spa, the waitress who welcomed us was all smiles when she brought us to our table and offered us fresh coffee. The breakfast buffet was amazing, with eggs cooked to order, cold cuts like salami and smoked salmon, noodles and soup, an array of baked goods and fresh fruit, and even smoothies made to order. Obviously, I went straight for the bacon and waffles. Snorkelling would burn that off too, I thought to myself as I popped a mini macaron into my mouth.

We travelled by shuttle to the Koh Lanta jetty, where Rek, our host for the island hopping trip, welcomed us aboard Pimalai’s private boat, which seated 13 of us guests comfortably, and had a restroom, beach towels, and a charcoal BBQ pit on which we would have freshly grilled lunch. Flying fish leapt out of the water alongside our boat as we sped towards Koh Rok, twin islands separated by a famously beautiful coral reef that you can invite your wedding guests to go enjoy, especially if too many family members around are cramping your honeymoon style.

These full or half day island excursions are organised around the group’s needs, so everyone can have their fill of secluded little islands with pristine white beaches as well as of the colourful and varied marine life and coral formations seen through crystal clear waters. For guests who want more action, this part of southern Thailand offers some of the best dive sites in the world. Your wedding guests can also discover Koh Lanta’s unique tropical flora and fauna at Lanta Orchid Nursery, or canoe through the mysterious world of a mangrove forest. Trekking excursions can take you to rainforest waterfalls or local attractions such as the Mai Kaeo caves.

The Koh Lanta jetty Our chariot for the island excursion Sped past some fishing vessels Ready for some snorkelling action!

For us, we anchored for a spot of glorious snorkelling in Koh Rok, which belongs to the Koh Lanta National Park. I floated around discovering electric blue crowned starfish, daring little needle-like fish that nipped at my ankles, striped angelfish, and clownfish darting in and out of waving coral fronds. Fun in the sun was hard work, and one by one we drifted back to the boat where grilled kebabs were beckoning. Lunch was a feast of grilled meats and vegetables, alongside cold salads and fragrant rice. As we ate, the boat cruised to one of Koh Rok’s uninhabited twin islands with a pure white beach and glittering aqua waters. We hopped off onto what was essentially our private island, and spent a tranquil half hour skipping stones and accidentally scaring hermit crabs in that quiet paradise. On our journey back, we climbed up onto the boat’s front deck and simply stood with the wind in our faces, breathing in the calm, salty scent of the sea. It had been a beautiful day.

Spotted lots of brightly coloured fish which weren’t scared by this thrashing human at all Sailboat following us around like a lost puppy. We spotted it a couple of times that day. Freshly grilled kebabs for lunch Discussed the marine creatures we spotted Docked at this beautiful little island

And it hadn’t ended yet. That night, we were treated to a gastronomic feast during the Seven Seas’ French Night. Dressed up in red, silver, and blue, the hilltop restaurant glowed with romantic candlelight that echoed the distant twinkles on the shoreline below. It was the perfect setting for a date, and from the many couples seated at the tables around us, it was clear I wasn’t the only one who thought so. We were welcomed with a cocktail before the buffet of French signatures like foie gras, beef bourguignon, and ratatouille stuffed tomatoes, along with a delicious rack of lamb, sea bass with sundried tomatoes and capers, and pork tenderloin in red wine jus. The dessert table was laden with delicate patisserie, and there was even a crepe suzette live station where you can watch your dessert flare up to the scent of oranges.

After the blissful time we had, it was almost sad to wake up knowing that it was our last day in our resort paradise. We had an unhurried breakfast, lingering over the view of the infinity pool tower and the mountains beyond. It had been a lovely stay not only because of the beauty of the estate, but also because of the efforts Pimalai’s management and staff make to ensure that each guest has the most luxuriously relaxing experience in Koh Lanta. At the helm of all this is Franck, Pimalai’s general manager, who came and wished us a good morning as he made his way through the restaurant, greeting each table and answering questions about swimming conditions, or what to do in this part of Krabi. That personal touch was evident in the whole service team, and it really made our stay memorable. If I were ever to have a destination wedding in Pimalai Resort & Spa, I know it would go off without a hitch with such dedicated service.

We had one last treat before we left. At the Pimalai Spa, we were massaged into a near comatose state of relaxation. The spa is prettily landscaped with waterfalls, tropical plants, and private treatment villas for singles or couples. For my Tension Relief massage, I chose the Clarity oil blend of peppermint and black pepper, which smelled as good as the firm pressure kneading all the knots out of my back and shoulders felt. Under my therapist’s skilled fingers, any muscle aches simply melted away. Afterward, we were brought ginger tea to sip while we sat back in the peaceful lounge, awash in the musical tinkling of the waterfall under which koi were swimming in slow circles. There couldn’t have been a better way to bring our luxuriously blissful trip to a close.

The Pimalai Spa Ginger infused tea Thank you and goodbye, Pimalai! Hope it’s not for the last time.

Pimalai Resort & Spa is located at 99 Moo 5, Ba Kan Tiang Beach, Koh Lanta, Krabi 81150, Thailand.
Contact them at +66 (0) 75 607 999.


Images by SingaporeBrides unless otherwise stated.