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The 5 Best Hotels in Railay, Thailand
Contemporary, spacious and probably the best along the unappealing east coast. The modern and pleasing design makes this arguably the finest resort in the mangrove-choked Railay East area. Paths from the breezy lobby lead through the shady and deceivingly substantial grounds, under the glare of the striking mountains, to the villas and the rooms in three-level blocks. Deluxe Rooms are spacious, stylish and serene, with a tiled floor, sliding door between the bedroom and Thai-inspired bathroom, sunken spa, and balcony, but only the top floor in the front block boasts sea views. Next to the pool, with its swim-up bar, attractive ‘waterfalls’, and extensive wooden decking, is an alluring patch of imported white sand dotted with shady palms – reminiscent of Railay West, the sublime beach barely 10 minutes’ walk away. But some decent shops and cafés are along the boardwalk near the resort.
Perfect location, exquisite décor and faultless beach. One of only four at the idyllic Railay West beach, this resort faces the turquoise ocean and golden sands flanked by limestone cliffs, and is where boats from Ao Nang arrive and the main path across Railay starts. The lovely design blends in so nicely with the lush and surprisingly extensive gardens. Each villa features a traditional thatched roof, and is separate, spacious and accessible along stepping stones across a fish-filled pond. All are instantly likeable, from the entrance with a desk to the Thai decorations, daybed/sofa, and veranda with table, chairs and umbrella. Some have Jacuzzis or are close enough to the beach for glimpses of the sea. The more modern and colourful rooms at the back in attractive Spanish-style blocks face an elongated pool with bubbling jets and are surrounded by shady bougainvillea.
Indescribable opulence in pristine forest and facing three beaches. Imagine unparalleled luxury in secluded villas (mostly called pavilions) among immaculate lawns, coconut groves and a jungle of squirrels and monkeys, all under the looming limestone mountains. The magnificently landscaped grounds – vast enough for guests to need buggies and staff to ride bicycles – also face all three beaches. The lobby is at Railay East, a less appealing cove of mud and mangroves, while the main Infinity pool, with edges seamlessly merging into the azure sea, is at the sublime Railay West beach. All pavilions are two-storey, hidden behind walls and dense foliage, and separated by at least 20m; some also have a private pool or Jacuzzi. Downstairs, there’s a huge sofa, and upstairs a bedroom with sliding doors (to trap the air-conditioning), gorgeous bathroom, and colonial-style desk. Families are actively encouraged, and all guests can enjoy activities such as yoga and cooking, and amenities including tennis, squash and a library.
Affordability and location rather than elegance and luxury. This 3-star resort boasts a 5-star setting at the heavenly Railay West beach, right where boats from Ao Nang arrive and the path to the rest of Railay starts. Among the shady and deceptively large gardens, choked with bamboo and banyan trees, the numerous wooden bungalows appear a bit dated and the interior is average. But they are separate (ensuring some privacy), airy and comfortable, and include a spa and tiled balcony with cosy wooden chairs. The rooms in the unappealing block at the back are obviously a recent addition, but still serviceable and close to the second pool, while the one at the beach boasts a perfect setting facing the turquoise waters and dramatic cliffs. Families are welcome, and the setting is ideal, but the Kids’ Club is uninspiring and unattended.
Unpretentious, spacious and good value. From the pleasant open-air lobby, packed with classy wooden furniture, the footpath meanders alongside ponds with bridges and shady trees under omnipresent limestone mountains. Considerably smaller than other resorts, there is plenty of space and staff are attentive. The stylish ‘Tropical Chalay’ rooms face the coast, offering some sea views, while the villas are separated, allowing genuine privacy. Villas feature a huge four-poster bed, adorable window-side sofa, two desks, and a bright bathroom with a free-standing tiled tub. The balcony facing the garden path is undersized however, and the pool is small but adequate for the limited number of guests. The resort is midway along the unattractive Railay East beach, with far more mangroves than sand, but some decent shops and cafés are nearby along the boardwalk. And it’s only 10 minutes from the glorious beach at Railay West. Package deals, including meals, tours and transfers, are excellent value.