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“Ssshh! Don't tell Everyone!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Rayaburi Resort (Racha Island)

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Rayaburi Resort (Racha Island)
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Ko Racha Yai
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Ssshh! Don't tell Everyone!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 16, 2011

Don't really want to tell the world about this place but..what a find! Low key rustic charm with first class staff and snorkelling from the sandy beach - paradise found in our books! We booked this on a whim and fell in love immediately.
For some of our time here we were the only guests; their loss was certainly our gain. Their website says there is no electricity 9am-5pm (which might be what keeps the hoards away) but it was only off for 2 hours each day 3pm – 5pm.
Understated in its facilities it is the kind of place you can slot into, unwind and embrace – good accommodation standard, good food, fantastic personal service from the friendly staff and a beach that is quiet at the busiest of times. Swim about 50ms off the beach at high tide and snorkel in the shelter of the bay without the intrusion of day trippers.
The restaurant is beachfront and has been updated since other reviewer photos in 2010 reviews. Crisp linen tablecloths and white rattan chairs really make it a great dining venue. Breakfast was included to order and although dinner menu prices are slightly more than Phuket its value for money for beachfront dining. The current managers (Arn & Bao) have been there less than a year. Bao gets a special thumbs up for allowing us to venture into the kitchen for a hands on cooking experience and for teaching our son how to fire juggle. The restaurant staff were all very attentive.
The 3 beachfront rooms are exquisite and the aircon lagoon rooms well appointed. There is a pool that we used though it was technically for villa guests only. Rayaburi’s charm is its perfect combination of hospitality in a rustic, island setting. They are however expanding . Construction of more rooms and a large communal pool is nearing completion but it's away from existing rooms so don’t not go because of this!

Room Tip: The Lagoon rooms have aircon & garden views, the lagoon is not a feature! Beachfront rooms are...
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank outandabout198
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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176 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
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English first
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
19 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 18, 2011

Is it Racha or Raya? The names seem to be interchangeable. Whatever it is, both names mean paradise!

After travelling to Thailand in 2009 and staying on Phi Phi Island, I was keen to find another tropical island within easy reach of Phuket to break up my stay. Via internet research including Google Earth and Trip Advisor, I considered Coral Island (where, i've been told, that the coral is largely dead) and Koh Yao Islands but settled for Racha Island, or, Raya Island as it's referred to by the locals. I was a bit nervous of my choice because there wasn't much information on the Net or on Trip Advisor. However, I was pleasantly surprised!

Our trip began with a speedboat transfer via Raya Princess Tours. We felt like herded cattle and were made to wait at their tour base in the baking sun for around an hour before being herded (walked) to the boats on Chalong Bay about 200 metres away (with two suitcases, backpacks and two very ratty kids!). The speedboat takes around 40 minutes and we were offloaded at Batok Bay. The guys from Rayaburi were there to meet our boat and whisked us away to the hotel - a 5 minute drive.

The moment I saw Siam Bay I fell in love with it. The only way I can describe this beach and bay is PARADISE! Very fine white sand with beautiful blue turquoise water - amazing. The photos speak for themselves. After a very efficient check-in at the beachfront, it was off to our Beachfront room. There are only three beachfront rooms which are contained within a white picket fence with a collection of wooden furniture, daybeds and a swing chair. Our room was 18 steps from the beach and 25 steps from the restaurant....but who's counting! Our room was huge and had four king single beds, good sized bathroom, two toilets and TV (over 100 Thai-speaking stations - no English - but who needs TV in a place like this!). The resort has basic facilities which include a beachfront restaurant, watersports centre and a massage centre - modest but adequate. Although the restaurant had a limited menu, the food was of a very high quality and the service was quick, efficient and friendly. The beauty of the beach at Siam Bay is that not many day-trippers visit the beach. The day-trippers go to Batok Bay. Alarmingly, with all the dive and snorkelling boats that sit off Siam Bay every day, a very large amount of dead coral is washing up on the beach. With regard to the other accommodation, I'm not sure about the non-beachfront rooms - some have pools (I think) and, although they are not beachfront, they are within close proximity of the beach.

Racha Island is a very small island with a number of bays. Batok and Siam have amazing beautiful beaches. Lah, Ter and Kon Kare Bays are good for snorkelling with little or no beach. You can walk around the island in less than an hour and check out the other resorts - The Racha (sprawling 5 star resort which always looked empty) and the Ban Raya (which looked warm and friendly).

Although there have been some mixed reviews on the Rayaburi, I would absolutely recommend the beachfront rooms. I would also recommend Racha Island as a real alternative to Phi Phi if you're looking for some R&R in an idyllic beachfront setting.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Trevor C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bangkok, Thailand
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 24, 2010

My experience from our stay at the Rayaburi resort on siam beach, is that the resort charges to much considering the level of service.

The rooms are to pricy considering that the majority is next to a destroyed muddy mosquitoriver. A few rooms is close to the beach, but they lack privacy (a public beach).

Some room rates are almost in level with The Racha resort, but not the quality.

The breakfast and food in the restaurant isn´t adequate considering the pricelevel. The staff is very nice people, but lack professionality and proper education (excluding the cleaning ladies, that were great).

The public beach is a pity. The trashcans are often full. The resort doesn´t clean the bech in front, they dig a hole in the sand and cover the litter! Be warned, there´s a lot of broken glas.

This place could be so good in proper hands.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Rikard_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Sussex
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 1, 2010

We stayed in the resort for our honeymoon. After the boat trip, we arrived the hotel. The room is spacious and clean. We spent most of our time exploring the island. The staff were very keen to help. We had a wonderful time.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank lovetoreview
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bromsgrove
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 30, 2010

We stayed in the garden view room as they looked more appealing on the web site. The rooms themselves were large and clean. Unfortunately on arrival we were told that the generator would be turned off during the day (usually from 9.30am -5pm!) this impacted significantly on us as there was no electricity during these times. Green season is very humid and the rooms were stiffling hot, so you couldnt stay in them if it rained. Even if you had stayed in the most expensive beach front rooms the electricity was still turned off. The resort do not state that the electricity will be turned off in the green season nor did the resort email us to tell us this was the case. I think this is indicative of the level of customer service you can expect at this resort. The beach was amazing, definately the best on the island however as we were told it was 'green season' it was also the staff holiday and therefore we could not expect the same level of service if we had booked 'peak season'. This meant the beach was left unclean, and service was hard to get whilst the staff were busy watching the tv out the back! Ash trays remained un cleaned and bins unemptied. We felt that the staff didnt care as there were so few guests. This is unlike other places we stayed in Thailand where the staff worked hard and gave an excellent level of service regardless of the time of year.
There was also building work going on outside our rooms, which included the burning of large bonfires.
I think in peak season the service would be of a higher standard - but please bear in mind if you book in green season it will be lacking.
We visited ban raya and this looked much cleaner and better maintained so worth considering (however the beach was small and not as nice).
The racha was beautiful and worth considering if you can get a deal. It has 2 beautiful pools and is of a high standard generally.
In hindsight would not have booked this hotel off season as there was no electricity during the day and we felt we were infringing on their staff holiday!!

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank lindeman65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thailand
Level Contributor
34 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 10, 2010

Oh boy1 This place really bowled me over. I have been to most of the island resorts around Phuket and this is my favourit e by far. We stayed in two of the three beachfont rooms. With their big verandahs on the sand, just sitting there was like being in heaven. The same goes for the restaurant where you sit with your feet in the sand. There were only four rooms occupied while we were there so it really felt like we had the place to myself.
PROS
Fabulous location on Racha Island's Siam Bay
Friendly staff who could not do enough
Lovely restaurant with reasonably priced food
Nice decor and thoughtful extras
CONS
Beach not swimmable in low tide
The new rooms curiously built 150 away from the beach are luxurious but bland and boring. Once all the :development is complete, the resort will have lost all its charm.
Finally,a great big cheer to the fact that the VAT and SERVICE CHARGE is already included in the price. What a difference that makes - you know exactly how much you are paying.
Now if only the owners could see the benefit of keeping the resort more natural - luxury tents (such as those at the Four Seasons Tented Camp in Chiang Rai) are what this resort needs, not city-style boirng hotel rooms!!!!!

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank peterxhosa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Swede in Brussels
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 22, 2010

This place could have been perfect - and arguably it is if in terms of its location: a stunning beach with white sand and green water, absolute tranquility and peacefulness, a very deserted place with a park of palm trees from the rooms to the beach, and a short walking distance to the beach where the luxurious "the Racha" is located (and which is much more crowded due to all the day-trips from Phuket).

It is also a middle-class hotel, not a B&B as suggested here. And the rooms of the hotel - we stayed in Lagoon View Room for 3500 Baht per night (incl breakfast) - are clean, very spacious and nicely designed (plus has good air condition, fridge, hot and "semi-cold" water, tv, etc.). In addition, the hotel has a few even more luxurious rooms, so-called Pool Room, which has exlusive access to a pool (other hotel guests cannot access the pool). Finally, the breakfast included in the price of the room is decent.

With all of this in mind, it is regrettable - even a waste - that the hotel does not seem to get raving reviews by its guests. The reason, at least in our case, was the disappointing level of service and the constant lack of basic (professional) attention to detail. This started already before our arrival when the hotel failed to confirm our transportation (taxi to Chalong Pier and thereafter speedboat to Racha Island). And, unfortunately, it continued during our four days at the hotel... When finally we had enough and pointed to the problems/mistakes by the staff, such as the fact that we were being served cold chicken in the hotel restaurant (which had the expected effect on our digestive systems...), the manager resorted to suggesting that we could not expect five star service.

In short, this place should have everything going for it. But what appears to be poor management, or lack of interest in running a hotel (and resturant), negatively affects the overall impression.

Racha Island is definitely worth a visit for a few days, not only as a day trip. But perhaps it is worth checking out the other middle-range options for accommodation. This is not to say that Rayaburi should be avoided - after all the rooms are good (although, with some more attention to detail, they could be improved) and the location is wonderful. Just beware that the service does not match the standard of Thailand more generally. And, when staying at Rayaburi, our recommendation is to explore some of the other restaurants on the beach and/or in other parts of the island.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank joreSwedeinBrussels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rayaburi Resort (Racha Island)

Property: Rayaburi Resort (Racha Island)
Address: 42/3-9 Moo 3, Siam Bay, Phuket 83000, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Phuket > Ko Racha Yai
Amenities:
Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Ko Racha Yai
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Rayaburi Resort (Racha Island) 3.5*
Number of rooms: 69
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Rayaburi Resort (Racha Island) is a brand new resort, set on a pristine beach on Racha / Raya Yai Island (Phuket). The resort located on a private property set right beside Siam Bay - the longest and widest powdery white sand beach on Racha Yai Island. Its unique mixture of authentic Thai style beach resort facilities with calm and peaceful atmosphere, and heartfelt hospitality and service - suitable for all type of travellers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Rayaburi Resort (Racha Island) Hotel Rawai
Rayaburi Resort (Racha Island) Ko Racha Yai, Phuket, Thailand

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