The height of luxury in Krabi used to be a flushing toilet: these days, with the likes of Ritz-Carlton Reserve and Centara Grand opening hotels here, private pool villas and custom made beds are the norm, which make the area a more viable option for those who are used to their creature comforts.
(If you are a celebrity or one-percenter however, you may find it all a bit basic, and will generally be better catered for with the superyachts, helicopters and personal support staff found in Phuket and Bangkok.)
The standard of any luxury holiday will very much depend on your accommodation. This will define your overall experience, from airport pick up vehicle to breakfast choice: would you be happy with an a/c minivan and good quality supermarket croissants or do you need a private limo and an in-house French pastry chef? Luckily, there is a fairly wide range of luxury hotels in Krabi – from small boutique style to grand 5 star palaces – so that you can find one to suit your style and budget.
All four and even five star accommodation in Krabi remains affordable for the average western traveller (prices around US$150 – 200 per room, per night in high season), with the exception of Krabi’s top luxury resorts: Rayavadee, Phulay Bay, Layana, and Pimalai (these last two being on Koh Lanta). These four will set you back at least twice this amount in high season – with a jump in service standards to match. They are popular choices for honeymooners and affluent retirees.
If you would like to experience these places without paying full price, travel in low season, particularly the months of June and September, where there are deals to be had. The Ritz-Carlton (and Sofitel in Klong Muang) can also be booked with points from rewards schemes or even air miles, depending on your program.
Another option for the discerning traveller is to stay in a private villa in Krabi. These are independent properties, fully serviced and usually furnished and equipped to 5 star quality, but benefiting from complete privacy – no one else in the swimming pool, or disturbing your breakfast. These can also be relatively affordable if you have a group.
Day 1 – Private island hopping tour
Day 2 – Discover scuba diving lesson (private)
Day 3 – Spa + sunset cruise
Similarly, private tours are generally not that much more expensive than organised ones, if your budget allows, and come with the inherent luxury of being able to define your time and itinerary. Any number of companies exist to provide these type of private trips; or you can easily charter your own boat or car with driver if you don’t require the services (food, English speaking guide) the companies provide.
The better boutique and five star resorts will also have their own luxury tour packages for guests. These will of course come with a premium price tag, but have the benefit of having vetted vehicles and staff to ensure the same level of service that you can expect in your accommodation; as well as meaning you can book your whole holiday as a package with accommodation and activities. The larger hotels will have their own in-house team to provide the tours; others will have agreements with local providers using upgraded vehicles and catering.