Charintip Tiyaphorn is the daughter of Anurat Tiyaphorn, the founder and owner of Pimalai Resort & Spa - the luxury property which brought the Andaman island of Koh Lanta to international prominence since its inception in 2001. With a unique vision in a unique setting, Pimalai gives guests the chance to enjoy nature in a beautiful and secluded environment. Sustainability is a big part of the hotel’s ethos, and while Covid is a big challenge, Pimalai’s commitment to its staff and the local community should help to see a rapid recovery when better times return.

The idea behind Pimalai Resort & Spa

My father was always passionate about sailing, but he never really had time to indulge his hobby because of his work. When he was still a partner at an international law firm 30 years ago, he came across a piece of land on Koh Lanta and immediately fell in love with it. He dreamed of retiring on that piece of land, with a small house and a sailing boat. At that time, there was nothing on the island - no roads, no electricity - and most local people wanted to move away to the city. So when they heard the news that a person from Bangkok was looking to buy land on the island, more locals tried to sell land to my father. They succeeded! But the land soon became too big for a private home, so he decided to try to build a small eco-friendly resort. With only 121 units spread over 100 acres, surrounded by jungle and cascading down to the bay, Pimalai feels like a part of the natural environment.

Ultimate goal for Pimalai

Our ultimate goal is to conserve the environment, spread our values of sustainability, and give something back to the community. We want to grow our business, but we also want our people to grow with us - not just our stakeholders, but also our staff, our suppliers, and the local community in Koh Lanta. We want to improve the quality of life for the whole island. To achieve this goal, it’s important to have people who share our vision. We have to communicate our aims and lead by example; we need to train our people to be compassionate while also ensuring that we deliver the highest quality hospitality and unforgettable guest experiences.

Retreat is the way forward

I think that in the modern world, people need a place to retreat to - somewhere they can get away from it all, forget about their busy lives, and be close to nature. At Pimalai, we offer everything guests could desire - a pristine beach, crystal clear sea, forested mountains, open space, and fresh air, along with delicious food, luxurious accommodation, plenty of activities, and warm, genuine hospitality. Above all, we give our guests the space and privacy they need to unwind.

Future Plan for Pimalai Resort & Spa

We are currently refurbishing our spectacular Hillside Oceanview Pool Villas. Sixteen units have already been completely renovated and we are now working on the remaining 37. Away from Pimalai, we were planning to create a new boutique resort in the Tub Kaak area in Krabi. Based on six rai (2.4 acres), this property would have featured 108 rooms. Unfortunately we have been forced to pause this project due to the impact of Covid-19.

Once again, it is hard to get away from the impact of Covid-19, but in the case of Pimalai, it is positive to note that the staff have been looked after during this time, and the hotel has taken the opportunity to use the break for upgrading the property as well as offering valuable training which will ultimately add to the service levels and the overall guest experience. There’s also more good news from the environmental perspective, with sightings of dolphin species close to the property which haven’t been seen in the locality for a very long time. It can be hoped that with this kind of natural recovery and recuperation, it won’t just be the resort that comes back better than ever in the future.