Set among the craggy limestone cliffs of the Phranang Peninsula at the edge of the Krabi Marine National Park in Thailand, Rayavadee could barely be discerned from its luxuriant environment of tropical gardens and coconut groves when I approached it from the water. And that’s precisely what its founders had in mind when they developed this luxury, family friendly property on what is considered one of the most spectacular coastlines of the Andaman Sea. Taking their inspiration from the traditional villages of southern Thailand, they created a contemporary resort of circular two-story guest pavilions scattered throughout a verdant haven bordered by gorgeous white sand beaches. A network of winding brick-paved footpaths crisscrossed the property. It was a pleasant 15-minute walk along gardens filled with flowering shrubs and the occasional lily pond to reach its farthest confines. It frequently took me longer, as I kept getting distracted by the antics of macaque monkeys high in the palm trees, or the play of light in the stunning cliffs that surrounded the resort. On the rare occasions when I was not in a walking mood or a random tropical squall threatened, one of the ubiquitous bakis (electric golf buggies) could be summoned at a moment’s notice. The weather was uncharacteristically erratic during my stay, with impressive dark clouds rolling in from the sea several times a day, which I viewed as an opportunity to take a break from the beach and sample the many other pleasures of Rayavadee. The spa, in addition to its extensive range of traditional Thai healing therapies offered a variety of excellent salon treatments. Near the main lounge, the Boutique was a treasure trove of Asian crafts, jewelry, antiques and fashion. I enjoyed browsing there before stepping over to the lounge where afternoon high tea was served daily. Along with the complimentary scrumptious tea service, guests were invited to participate in a different craft demonstration each day, from flower garland making to hand massage. Adjacent to the Boutique, the library offered not only a variety of reading material and complimentary WiFi connection but also an impressive lending library of classic and recent American, European and Bollywood movies to be viewed in my pavilion. And when I didn’t consider that an imminent warm tropical shower warranted a retreat, both Phranang and Railay offered a pleasant beach-side restaurant and bar where I could enjoy a meal or a drink and a close up view of the sea’s ever changing spectacle. Rain or shine, there was much to enjoy at Rayavadee. In addition to the beaches for sunning and swimming, complimentary wind surfing and snorkeling equipment, sea kayaks and even a Hobie Cat sailboat were available at the water sports center. Daily guided hikes explored the most spectacular viewpoints and caves around the resort. And for racket sports enthusiasts, there were tennis and squash courts. Considering the resort’s privileged location on renowned beaches, its luxurious secluded accommodations, and an ever attentive, pleasant and visibly child-friendly staff, it is small wonder that Rayavadee was a favorite of vacationing families as well as honeymooners. As property manager Veerasak Sribunreung remarked to me: “guests first come on their honeymoon, then return a few years later with their children.” I didn’t fall within either category, but I too would return, should the opportunity arise for me to explore further the natural wonders of the Krabi Marine National Park.

Overall Impression Set among the craggy limestone cliffs of the Phranang Peninsula at the edge of the Krabi Marine National Park in Thailand, Rayavadee could barely be discerned from its luxuriant environment of tropical gardens and coconut groves when I approached it from the water. And that’s precisely what its founders had in mind when they developed this luxury, family friendly property on what is considered one of the most spectacular coastlines of the Andaman Sea. Taking their inspiration from the traditional villages of southern Thailand, they created a contemporary resort of circular two-story guest pavilions scattered throughout a verdant haven bordered by gorgeous white sand beaches. A network of winding brick-paved footpaths crisscrossed the property. It was a pleasant 15-minute walk along gardens filled with flowering shrubs and the occasional lily pond to reach its farthest confines. It frequently took me longer, as I kept getting distracted by the antics of macaque monkeys high in the palm trees, or the play of light in the stunning cliffs that surrounded the resort. On the rare occasions when I was not in a walking mood or a random tropical squall threatened, one of the ubiquitous bakis (electric golf buggies) could be summoned at a moment’s notice.

The weather was uncharacteristically erratic during my stay, with impressive dark clouds rolling in from the sea several times a day, which I viewed as an opportunity to take a break from the beach and sample the many other pleasures of Rayavadee. The spa, in addition to its extensive range of traditional Thai healing therapies offered a variety of excellent salon treatments. Near the main lounge, the Boutique was a treasure trove of Asian crafts, jewelry, antiques and fashion. I enjoyed browsing there before stepping over to the lounge where afternoon high tea was served daily. Along with the complimentary scrumptious tea service, guests were invited to participate in a different craft demonstration each day, from flower garland making to hand massage. Adjacent to the Boutique, the library offered not only a variety of reading material and complimentary WiFi connection but also an impressive lending library of classic and recent American, European and Bollywood movies to be viewed in my pavilion. And when I didn’t consider that an imminent warm tropical shower warranted a retreat, both Phranang and Railay offered a pleasant beach-side restaurant and bar where I could enjoy a meal or a drink and a close up view of the sea’s ever changing spectacle.

Rain or shine, there was much to enjoy at Rayavadee. In addition to the beaches for sunning and swimming, complimentary wind surfing and snorkeling equipment, sea kayaks and even a Hobie Cat sailboat were available at the water sports center. Daily guided hikes explored the most spectacular viewpoints and caves around the resort. And for racket sports enthusiasts, there were tennis and squash courts. Considering the resort’s privileged location on renowned beaches, its luxurious secluded accommodations, and an ever attentive, pleasant and visibly child-friendly staff, it is small wonder that Rayavadee was a favorite of vacationing families as well as honeymooners. As property manager Veerasak Sribunreung remarked to me: “guests first come on their honeymoon, then return a few years later with their children.” I didn’t fall within either category, but I too would return, should the opportunity arise for me to explore further the natural wonders of the Krabi Marine National Park.

Children The resort welcomed children of all ages

Class Of Accommodation Five star luxury resort

Concierge A team of customer relations staff could arrange a broad spectrum of off-resort activities.

Connectivity At the time of my visit, Internet access was only available in the library. WiFi service was reliable, with moderate speed. There were also two wired-access computers for guest use. Both services were complimentary. I was assured that WiFI was currently being implemented in all the guest pavilions and scheduled to become operational effective December 2010.

General Manager Veerasak Sribunreung

Handicapped Access No

Length Of Stay Three nights

Location On the Phranang Peninsula, 500 miles (800 kilometer) south of Bangkok. Krabi International Airport was one hour away from the property (a 30 minute drive to the pier followed by a 30 minute speedboat ride).

Owned /managed Rayavadee was owned and managed by the Premier Group of Companies.

Pets Allowed No

Size The 24 acre (9.6 hectare) property included 98 two-story pavilions and four beachfront villas. It employed a maximum staff of 400 at the height of the season.

Year Opened-Renovated The property opened in 1996. The latest renovation was ongoing. A full update of all the guest bathrooms was nearing completion at the time of my visit.

Lobby And Common Areas The entire property had a contemporary Southeast Asian flair, with airy structures that favored wood and ceramic tile architectural elements, and external walls lined with floor to ceiling glass doors. Furniture was made of dark polished wood and cane with colorful upholstery ranging from saffron to fuchsia. The common areas were located on the Nam Mao Beach side of the property, near the boat landing area. They included the main lounge and Raya restaurant facing a paved courtyard, and to their right, the boutique, library and guest services office.

The main lounge was a vast circular hall. The outer ring was tiled in shades of green from celadon to aquamarine. Pairs of wooden armchairs separated by matching coffee tables were lined against the sliding glass exterior walls. They faced a central wooden platform raised two steps from the ground. Towering sculpted teak pillars held the soaring roof of the center platform. Cane sofas and barrel chairs with melon cotton cushions surrounded rectangular coffee tables. These groupings alternated with straight back wooden armchairs clustered around occasional tables to provide seating. Silk toss pillows in brilliant shades from lime to fuchsia added touches of color. At the rear of the room a wall-size display case held a collection of china bowls and jars.

Across the courtyard the Raya restaurant continued the decorating scheme with square wooden tables and cane directors’ chairs with bright yellow seat cushions. The library was a spacious circular room with long sofas built along curved picture windows for a window-seat feel. With their thick natural canvas cushions and mountains of toss pillows, they formed a cozy spot to catch up on e-mail. Cane barrel and fireside chairs with round coffee tables completed the sitting area. Two personal computers for guest use sat on a long desk by the front window. Built-in bookcases filled with books and DVD’s occupied the rear wall. In the center of the room a round rustic table held a large basked overflowing with tropical flowering plants.

Bathroom The bathroom had been recently renovated with the latest top-of-the range gleaming white ceramic fixtures. An extra-long counter held two matching washbowls. A rectangular mirror framed in natural cane and two opaque glass light fixtures hung above it. At the far end, near the glass enclosed corner shower, wall shelving held a supply of bath towels and a generous assortment of body care products. A deep freestanding oval bathtub sat in front of the picture window. Next to it, a wooden ladder served as towel rack. The glass-enclosed water closet was located near the door to the bedroom. The floor and shower enclosure were tiled in natural stone. The two picture windows were covered with louvered shutters.

Room My 750 square foot (70 square meter) two-story Deluxe Pavilion, Number 323, carried through the décor of the public areas, with furniture of dark polished wood and richly colored fabrics. The bottom level sitting room featured a central couch cum daybed hanging from the ceiling by wrought iron chains down to just above the terracotta floor. Brightly colored cotton toss pillows enhanced its thick saffron cushions. In front of it, set on a tan woven cotton rug, a large rectangular footstool doubled as a coffee table. The couch faced an entertainment center that held a flat panel television and DVD player. To its right against a curved picture widow covered in light-filtering bamboo shades and draped in tan cotton, a round glass-topped dining table with two caned chairs provided additional seating. On the rear wall a credenza held a tea, coffee and cold beverages service. A rectangular mirror in a bamboo frame hung above it. To the left a louvered door led to the washroom with a commode, a black ceramic washbowl set on a wooden vanity and a wall mirror. To the right of the credenza, a double doorway opened onto the staircase leading to the second floor bedroom and bath.

The focal point of the bedroom was a striking king-size platform bed covered in a bright patchwork of fuchsia and saffron cotton with an abundance of color-coordinated pillows. When I arrived, a wooden sculpture of a longtail boat holding a cluster of bright yellow marigolds was arranged across the bed (the sculpture was moved to the top of the downstairs entertainment center during turndown service, where it remained for the remainder of my stay). The headboard was a built-in ledge that doubled as bedside tables. The wall behind it was covered with a contemporary mural of stylized fan palms in matching tones of yellows and pinks. Swing-arm wall-hung lamps with natural rattan drum shades served as reading lights. At the front of the room, a floor-to-ceiling picture window formed an alcove that held a cane lounge chair and footrest with hot pink cushions and a small side table. Louvered shutters could be closed for privacy. The entire wall facing the bed was covered with a built-in floor-to-ceiling wardrobe with a flat panel television and DVD player in its center cabinet. The landing at the top of the stairs had a writing desk and chair, and a wood-framed rectangular mirror. Between the desk and the wardrobe, a pair of saloon doors led to the bathroom.

Food And Restaurants The main restaurant, Raya, was located next to the lounge. It offered a copious breakfast buffet that combined western offerings with Thai touches, as well as a dinner menu of international cuisine. It was closed in the middle of the day, when lunch and snacks were served at the beachside restaurants only.

A few steps away from the swimming pool, Raitalay Terrace featured international dishes for lunch and dinner as well as full bar service, and a lovely view of Railay Beach. Meanwhile, right at the edge of Phranang Beach, the Grotto Bar was nestled under a cool limestone cliff. It served a variety of juices, smoothies and bar drinks along with light lunches and snacks. A few steps away Krua Phranang offered elegant dining by the sea. Its menu of excellent classic Thai dishes emphasized seafood and freshly caught fish.

Beach Ravayadee boasted direct access to two of the most vaunted white sand beaches on the Phranang Peninsula, Railay and Phranang. Their shallow waters made them excellent for swimming. And the limestone geology of the area had created a number of imposing rock formations that offered a spectacular backdrop. The most stunning of the two was Phranang beach, which ended with the legendary Tham Phra Nang Nok (Cave of the Princess) at the bottom of a sheer cliff. But both, like the vast majority of beaches in Thailand are public property.

Although the peninsula is actually connected to the mainland, it is effectively cut off from the rest of Krabi by limestone headland and steep jungle valleys. A number of commercial diesel-powered longtail boats carried day-visitors to the beaches, which could get rather busy during the day. Rayavadee’s private facilities, with charming beach-front restaurants and rows of comfortable lounge chairs shaded with canvas umbrellas were located at the edge of the public beach. Attentive beach staff was always ready to offer fresh towels, bottled of chilled water and a friendly smile, or to order a drink or snack from the bar. On the opposite side of the Peninsula, a third beach, Nam Mao, was used solely as a landing area for the resort’s motorboats.

Facilities There were four restaurants, three bars, tennis and squash courts, a library, a fitness center, a boutique, a swimming pool and a spa.

Fitness Center And Spa The glassed-in, air-conditioned fitness center featured a variety of modern exercise equipment.

The luxurious 12,300 square foot (1,140 square meter) Rayavadee Spa offered an extensive range of massages and salon treatments that combined Thai and international practices to meet individual needs. In addition to its spacious reception area and lounge, the spa featured seven treatment rooms, some with private sauna and soaking tub. The contemporary urban décor of the low, see-through building surrounded by lush jungle gardens enhanced the relaxation experience of my visit. In addition to the mandatory certification from the Ministry of Public Health, its therapists were graduates from the Lanna Thai Spa Academy.

Gift Shop The Rayavadee Boutique was a paradise for discriminating shoppers. In addition to high-quality beachwear, custom jewelry and accessories it carried original gold and silver jewelry pieces and clothing from Thai and Southeast Asian designers. The boutique also featured a good variety of textiles, ceramics and lacquer ware home accessories and a selection of antiques, all beautifully displayed in a gallery setting.

Pool The swimming pool was exceptional in design as well as size. Located at the edge of Railay Beach, the infinity pool truly seemed to go on forever into the Andaman Sea. Its huge basin was a free-form series of interwoven circles flowing into each other, with depths increasing from very shallow to satisfying for serious swimmers. The surrounding stone terrace was lined with cushioned lounge chairs under canvas umbrellas.

Amenities Ground floor sitting-room amenities included a basket of tropical fruit, a jar of home-made cookies, bottled water and a generous tea and coffee service with an assortment of local loose teas and ground coffees, all replenished daily. In addition to the electric water kettle and teapot, there was a French coffee press. There were two large umbrellas, two pairs of rubber sandals and a covered wicker basket. An English language national Thai newspaper was delivered daily. On the evening of my arrival, room service surprised me with a welcome Hiang Kana (a tray of do-it-yourself roll-up appetizers). Bedroom amenities included an extra-large electronic safe and a universal converter plug, two terrycloth bathrobes and slippers, bottled water and a small jar of cookies, both replenished at evening turndown service.

In the bathroom, the assortment of full-size toiletries was outstanding. All products were spa quality, made of natural ingredients and exclusive to Rayavadee. They included bath salts and shower scrub, hand-milled soaps, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, and a very effective jasmine and lavender after sun lotion. I so enjoyed these products that I carried some of them home. There was also a hair dryer, a loofah sponge, a pumice stone, shaving and dental hygiene kits and a pocket-size pump bottle of an unusual orange scented mosquito repellent. In addition to these complimentary amenities, there was a well-stocked pay-for-use mini-bar.

Cleanliness Excellent

Date Of Review October 2010

Reviewers Article and photos by Josette King

Service My pavilion was serviced twice daily. Staff were friendly, helpful and service oriented.

Would You Stay There Again? Yes


Contact Information

  • Address:

    • 214 Moo 2
    • Tambon Ao-Nang,
    • Amphoe Muang
    • Krabi 81000
    • Thailand
  • Phone:
    • +66 75 620 740
  • Fax:
    • +66 75 620 630
  • Website:
  • Email: