11 years ago the husband and I took a month-long holiday to Thailand over Christmas and New year. We’d only been out of Uni 6 months and just started “real” jobs so everything was done on a bit of a shoe string. The husband had spent almost a year travelling prior to university and had already spent quite a bit of time in Thailand so I’d left the itinerary to him. We did quite a bit of island hopping in the south, the usual hotspots like Phi Phi, but my absolute fave location by a million miles was Railay. Only accessible by boat from Krabi this stunning peninsula offers some of the most beautifully spectacular beaches I’ve ever come across.
Because the bay has no roads and is completely surrounded by giant limestone cliffs it’s managed to avoid becoming as built up as some of the other beaches in Thailand have sadly become. As a result there are only a handful of places to stay, ranging from quaint backpacker bungalows to the luxury Rayavadee Hotel. On our first trip we stayed in the mid-range Railay Beach Resort and Spa, which was lovely. However it was almost impossible to miss and not admire the luxury 5 star resort which spans both beaches, Rayavadee. We promised ourselves that one day we would return and stay there and 11 years later, that’s exactly what we did. I cannot recommend this hotel enough and here are my 5 reasons why:
- The Location: you absolutely cannot beat the beautiful beaches and views surrounding the hotel on both Railay and Phranang beach. I’m talking huge, dramatic limestone cliffs jutting out of crystal clear blue waters. The beaches aren’t huge and can get a busy with day trip boats coming in each morning but get up early to get those Instagram pictures and you are sorted. The hotel has restaurants set on both beaches so at any time of the day or night you can sit with a cocktail in hand and admire the scenery.2. The Pool Pavilions: the hotel is spread out over a whopping 26 acres with no main building as such. Every room is its own pavilion. They’re all well positioned so you don’t feel at any time like you are being overlooked or packed into some huge resort like lemmings. We opted for a hyrdo-pool villa and were super happy we did. Each pool pavilion has its own private garden, with sunbeds and a lovely pool to dunk into when you get a bit on the old sweaty side. My only complaint is that as all the rooms are set back in the “gardens” the canopy can be quite dense in places which means the sun isn’t as forthcoming as it is on the beaches. If you opt for a pool room you also get access to a la carte breakfast in one of the beach restaurants in addition to the main buffet which was really lovely.
- 3. The Grotto: This restaurant is an absolute must if you stay at Rayavadee. Actually even if you are just in Railay. It’s a bit on the pricey side, actually a lot on the pricey side, but worth it for one night. Tucked under a beautiful limestone cliff/cave looking out onto the beach it’s perfect for a lovely lunch or cheeky sundowner but I would recommend visiting for their evening barbecue. You can select from the “Sea” or “Land” menu and then sit back while a delectable 3 course meal gets delivered to your table as you sip on sumptuous wine by candlelight. Just make sure you book in advance.
4. The service: Thai’s are the most embracing of people. I’ve always found them so genuinely friendly and helpful, but at Rayavadee they really go the extra mile. The team cannot do enough for you and really seem to want ensure you enjoy your stay and that you are happy. They went over and above, which I guess you’d expect for the price, but it never felt forced. Caring and concerned enough of my plight with the local mozzies, they were always on hand with ointments and treatments. Just such a delight!
5. The Pool: I know that in some ways it’s a bit of a sin to sit at a pool when you have such beautiful beaches on your doorstep but this pool is probably one of the most spectacular pools I’ve encountered. Set atop the beach the views are insane and surrounded by the huge cliffs you’ll be hard pushed to find a better photo spot. Plus the bonus of the pool is you don’t get covered in sand or have to jostle with the day-trippers visiting the beaches.
Yes the Rayavadee is pricey, but honestly it was one of my favourite hotel experiences and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Even if you just stayed a night or two I guarantee you won’t regret it.
For more information please visit: http://www.rayavadee.com/en/index.php