How do you know when you are having a unique experience? It can happen to anyone staying at the Rayavadee in Krabi, Thailand. From the moment you board the speedboat and land on the shores of the 26 acres of tropical forest, the heart beats faster in anticipation of the wonders to follow.
The Rayavadee an Exclusive Luxury Eco Resort with one of the World’s Best Beaches
The Rayavadee (Land of the Princess) on the peninsular of Krabi is flanked by three beaches: Nam Mao, Railay and the third Phra Nang, one of the best beaches in the world. The Rayavadee is the second hotel on our ‘Flashpacker’ trip to Thailand. It’s a perfect romantic getaway for these gap year parents whose kids have flown the coop. Ironically it was our 20 year old son who had backpacked to Thailand last year and had spotted the hotel when he was staying next door. “You have got to go there Mum and Dad, it’s unlike anywhere else you’ve ever been.” So here we are following in our son’s footsteps; Flashpackers – luxury travellers seeking adventure without the backpack.
Luxury Accommodation at the Rayavadee for a Honeymoon Getaway
The Rayavadee Hotel and Beach Resort is an eco-traveller’s magnet with over 300 flower and tree species. A sanctuary for animals and birds, the hotel gardeners on the estate never cut down a tree. Wildlife has a permanent grace and favour home where squirrels chase gekkos and monkeys ‘hang out’ in their natural tree houses.
However, we paying guests who are here but for a short while are happy to stay in the uber luxurious forest dwellings known as Garden Pavillions: circular two storey wooden structures resembling cottages. Not the kind in children’s fairytales; Hansel and Gretel or Goldilocks and the Three Bears.These are sexy little temples of meditation where honeymoon couples and lovers can contemplate romance.
Rich dark woods and bamboo slatted blinds, a comfy swinging settee, drinks bar, tv, loo and excellent wifi reception for workaholics (if they must). Upstairs a large bed dominates the room with a bathroom sporting a huge circular tub with plenty of unguent soaps and fragrant freebies for lovers playtime activities.
A Hotel for all the Family
The sophisticated Rayavadee is also extremely family friendly; offering parents with young children accommodation in the two bedroom bigger temples. It’s not a place for teenagers here. It’s early to bed and early to rise; the antithesis of the nocturnal must-have night games that burgeoning young adults cannot live without. But for families that are happy to be with their kids, it’s heaven.
Says Viennese architect Alexander Loubel who is staying here with his wife Annabel and daughters Lilli and Lola, ” We both work very hard all year and we come here to spend some time with the family together.”
” We don’t want a collective experience,” Annabel adds. “We’re not clubby people we want a unique experience and that is why we absolutely love the Rayavadee.”
Breakfast at the Rayavadee
An early morning workout at the Rayavadee is a brisk walk to breakfast at Raya dining, with repeat lunges back and forth to the buffet table – and it’s worth the effort. A world class delicious breakfast fayre that you would expect at a Leading Hotel of the World – however I have never encountered coconut jam till the Rayavadee.
Dining at the Rayavadee
At the hotel’s Railay beachside restaurant you get a great Red Snapper, but forget the Thai Chicken Green Curry if you’re looking forward to a traditional dish. Perhaps the kitchen is worried Westerners can’t take the heat, but what is served here would surely make the locals shudder.
On the positive side we indulged in a sumptious feast at Krua Phranang, the Rayavadee’s romantic Thai restaurant. Partner Philip is excited as this curry makes amends. He gives it an FFR (flashpacker food rating) 4 out of 5.
The Spa at the Rayavadee– A Thai Massage Without Oil
After disappointing massages in bamboo beach huts; cheap yes, effective no. Here at the Rayavadee Spa: massage, expensive yes, but marvellous –worth every darn bart. I slip on some cool linen pj’s and dunk my swollen feet and ankles ravished by mosquitos into a footbath for a refreshing herbal foot-scrub.
And then the battle begins – and I surrender to 105 minutes of intense pleasure. Using a technique particular to Thai Massage; without oil, the masseuse stretches my legs and arms – deep tissue massaging the neck and shoulders, cupping and kneading the spine and paying special attention to my swollen ankles. Just when you feel you’re floating on air, strong fingers bring you back to earth.
After the session I am feeling more comfortable in my body than I have done in many years and as for my ankles the swelling has disappeared.
The Rayavadee Sunset Cruise and Thailand Island Hopping Trip
Venturing out of our cocoon we take a Sunset Cruise on a Chinese junk with vibrant red sails. Later our guide taps his watch and says the sun will set at four twenty.
Another day we take the Rayavadee island hopping trip accompanied by a German and Italian couple. We skim past Phi Phi Lay and Phi Phi Don due to big tour operators creating traffic jams with their boats and moor at Chicken Island where my Flashpacker husband communes on the beach with Joey, a flame haired Australian backpacker from Melbourne. Bamboo Island is the next island hop and this is truly Paradise. A picnic is laid out on the beach and the six of us squat down on the white, soft powdery sand and tuck into a surprisingly tasty lunch. In the gentle breeze we are friends in harmony.