Lanta Island locks you in

LANTA ISLAND, Thailand, 25 November 2019: Five-star hotels rates at Thailand’s beach resorts are under scrutiny following claims they are as high as top-end properties in Europe at around USD500 a night with breakfast.

So when  Pimalai Resort & Spa, a five-star resort on Lanta Island, announces what it calls “stunning packages for the remainder of 2019 and 2020” we take note.

The up-scale resort stands at the southern tip of Lanta in South Thailand, one of the Andaman Sea’s quieter tourist spots. As the resort readies for the annual peak season, it is selling packages for stays up to 20 December and again from 11 January to 30 April 2020.

Its lead-in offer of THB39,180 (USD1,297) for a three-night Secret Sanctuary package includes an à la carte dinner, an aromatic massage, and a half-day island excursion to  Koh Rok with a barbecue lunch, or a four-hour sunset cruise to Koh Haa with snorkelling, canapés and drinks.

The rate is based on double occupancy and also includes breakfast, airport transfers, tax and service charge.

Breaking it down into a daily rate the stay will set you back USD432 a night pretty close to the USD500 barrier but it does include additional perks that certainly add considerable value.

Does the package stand up to the competition when we shop around? We checked out for dates in early-December and surprise the direct deal with the resort is considerably better than what the global booking website quotes for a stay at Pimalai.

The best offer from for a stay in one-bedroom suite rolls out at USD1,442 for three nights including breakfast for two, service and taxes. The rate is non-refundable, so no chance to dither and go elsewhere at the last minute.

When you break it down to a daily rate, the beach vacation will cost you USD480 a night without any perks or even an airport transfer compared with USD432 a night if you book direct.

But before we rush to book Pimalai, a browse of Lanta’s 37 five-star resorts shows all the top-end properties are selling three-night packages and Pimalai is at the price pinnacle on the list. The nearest rate climber is Layang Resort and Spa selling three nights at USD1,368. Casa Bellavista quotes a package rate of USD685 and Rawi Warin Resort USD563.15 and Crown Lanta at USD521.

Are there any five-star bargains on Lanta?  Well, there’s the Twin Lotus Resort that sells three nights for USD440. All prices include tax and service. The message is clear. Lanta is definitely more pricy than the five-star resorts of Krabi or Phuket, and it’s definitely not an overnight stopover.