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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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