We spent a very enjoyable six nights at the Racha over the Chinese New Year period in February, 2013.
We found the natural beauty of the location (the sea and sand is amazing), rooms, resort amenities, the transport links excellent. Drawbacks were the popularity of the beach and inconsistent standards of service.
From the lounge at Chalong Pier, to the speedboat ride to the resort, through check-in at the Racha the process was efficient and seamless. An impressive first impression. Yet our second impression upon arriving into the bay where the resort is located was one of surprise. We had failed to realise that the beach is full of day-trippers and the bay full of boats. At least before about 10am and after 5pm the place empties out again and becomes the lovely, secluded spot we'd hoped it would be. Some people might like the activity on the beach. It's just that the loud music off the boats, the tour guides blowing whistles and shouting, and the crowds wandering around aren't our scene.
You can easily escape the din of the beach when you're within the resort grounds. If you don't want the loungers at the edge of the property, by the sand, you could opt for spending time around one of the two pools. The infinity pool overlooking the bay is spectacular.
The design and layout of the Racha is gorgeous. I endorse its efforts to be environmentally sustainable. Our villa was well appointed, sizeable, and the outdoor shower was a great touch (we didn't use the inside one once). The room attendants did a very thorough job and turn-down service set nice mood lighting.
The breakfast room was a bit tired. You don't notice that if you manage to secure outdoor tables. The food was decent but not remarkable.
Numerous staff were as attentive and helpful and efficient as you would expect at a top-end resort. I refer specifically to the wait staff. Others were far less competent. We were surprised at the lack of spoken English, to the extent that basic menu ordering resulted in incorrect dishes being brought to us on multiple occasions. Beyond minimal English, a few staff paid little attention to diners and we sometimes had to ask to be given a menu so we could order. I wish to stress that there are very capable employees here. It's unfortunate that some of their colleagues can't keep up.
It is to be commended that young Chinese children playing in the pool know to exit the water when they want to use the toilet. Urinating on the side of the pool, however, is hardly to be encouraged and staff should not tolerate such behaviour.
All the ingredients are here for the Racha to be a really top-notch accommodation experience. More comprehensive staff-training to pull lagging wait staff up to scratch in terms of customer service should be a priority. More openness, e.g. in images of the beach on the resort website, about the fact it's a public beach attracting a lot of visitors wouldn't go amiss.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- One of the world’s most stunning destinations can be found 12 nautical miles south of Phuket, on the Andaman island of Racha Yai. An expansive white-sand crescent bay with azure crystal waters creates the postcard-perfect backdrop for The Racha. Recently voted The Best Island Resort in South East Asia*, The Racha offers a truly amazing experience in a magical setting. With eco-chic luxury living, guests choose to ‘get-way from-it-all’ without taking anything away from the environment. Spread over 20 acres of verdant tropical grounds and built in low-rise harmony with the environment, 85 villas of eight category types provide for every creature comfort. The resort offers some of the best snorkelling in Thailand and has its own 5-Star PADI Dive Centre offering a variety of dive trips and courses, and a purpose-built instructional pool for beginners. The three ozone-treated swimming pools with underwater music offer plenty of options to chill and relax. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Racha Hotel Ko Racha Yai
- Racha Hotel Yai Island
- Racha Yai Island
- Racha Phuket
- The Racha Ko Racha Yai, Phuket, Thailand