Timing really is everything, particularly when you travel for a living. “You should have been here last week,” is a phrase we’ve encountered when weather conditions are less than ideal, major tourist landmarks are under renovation (tick London’s Nelson’s Column and St Paul’s Cathedral, Madurai’s main temple and a pre-historic dig in Xi’an – yes, really!) or we’ve just missed a once-in-a-lifetime special event.
So, when good friend and Pimalai Resort & Spa GM Franck de Lestapis reported that actor Michael Fassbender had been a recent guest, my reaction was damn! – now that really is bad timing.
Thailand is full of sexy resorts and spas ready to soothe the addled senses but arriving by cruiser at Pimalai Resort & Spa on Koh Lanta’s Ba Kan Tiang Bay, the resort pulls out all the stops. Unashamedly at the luxury end of the travel market, this discreet low-rise resort and uber-luxurious pool villas occupy 40 hectares. Deriving its name from Pimon and Alai meaning unspoilt place, it’s not by chance that Pimalai Resort’s logo is a derivation of the fans used to cool the kingly brow in the courts of old Siam.
With just 40 chairs set around the pool and widely spaced along a pristine 900m vanilla sandy beach, intimate privacy is guaranteed for M Fassbender and other A-listers craving respite from the glare of the spotlight.
Taking furtive glances at them along the beach is one thing but chances of spotting spa spangled celebrities at the Pimalai Spa are slim.
The sanctity of the sanctuary is well monitored but we can still enjoy the same star treatment. Set in a lush sloping valley and harnessing all the tropical elements at its disposal, dazzling midday sunlight illuminates butterflies at play through the herbal sauna’s misted glass door. A few steps away, our movie star moment awaits and slipping out of calico robes, we slide into a petal-strewn jacuzzi.
Built in a village style configuration, we’re shown into a pretty straw roofed sala fashioned with stone, native wood and bamboo. Whilst we don’t doubt that the Thai Royal Siam massage will give us the pummeling of our lives, we opt for their popular Asian Aromatherapy treatment.
Fingers step from temple to cheek, cheek to chin, tracing the forehead and contouring the face. Hands lift under shoulders and slide along the neck before delineating each contour of toes and fingers. With long firm strokes, knotted muscles and tension spots are gently kneaded into a Zen-like state of submission. The sound of silence gradually rises above the distant trickle of water and soft bird songs while bronze dragonflies levitate on passing zephyrs.
During a post-spa revival cup of tea taken in a palm leafed bower, there’s no sign of other guests. Celebrities or not, it seems that Pimalai protects us all like VIPs..
Let us know if you’ve had any close encounters of the celebrity kind
For information on Pimalai Resort & Spa: www.pimalai.com,
Pimalai is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World: www.slh.com
For general information Tourism Authority of Thailand: www.tourismthailand.org