Vivid turquoise water, powder-white sand and towering coconut trees set the scene for this ultra-luxe island resort. Located 12 nautical miles south of Phuket, your journey to this hidden oasis starts at The Racha lounge facilities at Chalong Pier. Here you will choose between three invigorating scents (lemongrass, jasmine or lavender) and enjoy refreshments from the welcoming staff before embarking on your private speedboat transfer to The Racha Resort, located on Koh Racha Yai. A mere 35 minutes later you will arrive on the pristine waters of Batok Bay and be welcomed into the secluded island retreat that is The Racha.
You will be whisked away to one of 85 private eco-chic villas dotted around the lush grounds. A foot bath awaits at your villa entrance, and your scent of choice has been used to sweetly fragrance your villa and customise your bath products. The villas have a fresh minimalistic elegance about them, with whitewashed walls, a crisp pure white palette and bold teak furniture. The tropical setting is embraced with a stunning open-air rain shower set among your private garden. Villas also feature a private terrace and outdoor day bed, and many have ozonated infinity pools or plunge pools.
There are seven different villa-types to choose from, with Deluxe Villas having the option of interconnecting doors and plenty of space for an infant crib. For those wanting to splurge on a luxurious one-of-a-kind experience, The Lighthouse is a five-storey villa that houses six people and has 360 degree views of the island and Andaman Sea. Much thought has gone into the amenities of every villa, with practical touches such as a beach bag, insect repellent and Bose sound dock with iPod (loaded with chill out tunes) for use during your stay.
The only things I would improve in the room would be the firm mattress (which seems to be a preference in Asian hotels) and the indoor shower (no ‘wow’ factor). Neither of these issues negatively impacted our holiday – we asked for a pillow top for our bed and used the outdoor rain shower every day. The Racha Housekeeping staff maintained the villas to an immaculate standard and were extremely polite and friendly. Quaint little gifts were left on our bed each evening at turndown, with us receiving fresh orchids, a seashell-shaped candle and Tom Yum herbs.
If you can draw yourself away from relaxing in your luxury villa, you will find that The Racha has a myriad of things to do both in and around the resort for adults and children alike.
The Main Pool is a gorgeous infinity-edge pool overlooking Batok Bay and the surrounding lush landscape. Swim to the beat of underwater music for the ultimate luxury pool experience, and take a dip at sunset to see spectacular views. Discover the seclusion of the Garden Pool, set among the tropical gardens of The Racha. This pool will be a favourite with the kids, boasting cascading waterfalls and plenty of space to jump around and splash. Watch out for the resident monitor lizards that enjoy cooling off in the pool! There is also an infinity-edge pool at Club del Mar featuring uninterrupted beach views and a dive pool at the PADI 5-star dive centre. A variety of dive courses and dive trips are offered for diving enthusiasts.
There is no Kids Club available at The Racha. A range of activities are available, such as batik-painting, beach volleyball, mountain bikes, a pool table and tennis courts – ensuring your children still have plenty to do. The activities at the resort are more suited to an older child. The Racha is still a fun family travel destination with younger children if you enjoy spending your day at the pool or beach. Note that babysitting services are available by the resort staff if required.
In accordance with Thai law, all beaches in Thailand are accessible to the public. The pristine sandy beach of Batok Bay is no exception and day trippers visit the beach between 10am and 4pm. The Racha minimises the impact of this upon the environment by scheduling daily beach cleaning by the staff. Security also ensures that day trippers do not use resort facilities. We found the best way to enjoy the tranquillity of the beach was to go for early morning and late afternoon walks on the beach, and spend the main part of the day doing other activities or lounging by the pool.
Fitness and other activities
Balance Fitness studio allows you to work out while taking in the pristine beach views. A range of machines provide cardio and resistance training, in addition to free weights and exercise fitballs. Open daily from 7am to 10pm.
Discover the colourful world beneath the vivid blue Andaman Sea and snorkel around Batok Bay. The water is full of vibrant sea creatures just waiting to be discovered. Or jump in a canoe and paddle your way around the bay!
Nature-lovers can explore the verdant grounds by taking a hike or riding a mountain bike. We explored the island by foot and discovered a nearby secluded bay that provided the perfect spot for snorkelling. For those wanting an adrenaline-fix, jump on an ATV tour of Koh Racha Yai. The tour is led by a staff member from The Racha and is a lot of fun! I enjoyed seeing the island from a different perspective – passing buffalos in the field, climbing steep rocky inclines, discovering hidden sandy coves and reaching amazing vantage points up in the jungle-clad hills.
Enjoy a daily buffet breakfast at the contemporary Earth Café, where you can dine indoors or out on the terrace. The breakfast spread features a range of dishes from across the globe – from bowls of congee to delicate pastries to an assortment of tropical fruits. We found that it wasn’t the largest or most exciting buffet breakfast we have experienced, but overall was still a pleasant start to the day. The chefs were fantastic and went above and beyond to source ingredients that I wanted in my eggs. Earth Café also serves Western and Thai cuisine for lunch and dinner, and hosts a seafood barbecue each week. Overlooking the infinity pool terrace you will find Fire Grill. By day you can enjoy a pizza or pasta, and by night it is transformed into an elegant dining venue serving food from the Mediterranean.
Sunset Beach restaurant offers Thai specialities and fresh grilled seafood while dining next to the Andaman Sea. I enjoyed feasting on the local dishes and was lucky enough to be given the recipes from the Chef! For those wanting to mingle over a drink and some live music, Ice Bar is the place to go. We enjoyed the food during our three-night stay at The Racha, but I feel that you may tire of the menu choices if you stayed here for a longer period. The chefs were very accommodating and would do their best to cater for even the fussiest of eaters.
Anumba Spa provides a sanctuary for the mind, body and spirit. The design of the spa is simply breathtaking, featuring large stepping stones set across a tranquil pond. From here you will reach your private treatment room – complete with terrazzo plunge pool, steam and shower room and outdoor rain shower. For pure pampering bliss, spend a quiet afternoon away from your kids at Anumba Spa. Open from 9am to 10pm.
OM studio is attached to the day spa at The Racha and offers yoga classes overlooking Batok Bay. For those wanting to relax with a good book, The Library is the perfect spot for you.
LITTLE LUXE TRAVELLER TIPS
- We loved every moment of our stay at The Racha. I recommend maximising the time you spend here by taking the first speedboat to the resort on your day of check-in and taking the last speedboat out on your day of checking-out. Wear comfortable clothing and sensible shoes for the speedboat transfer – the walk on the floating pontoon is a bit shaky. Bear this in mind when travelling with children.
- Consider booking your stay just before high season commences. You can enjoy a better room rate (there is a big difference in price) while still benefiting from good weather.
- The resort design features individual villas dotted around the twenty acres of lush grounds. Be aware that there are quite a few steps, making it hard to navigate with a stroller. A baby-carrier may be a more suitable alternative.
- Try the banana roti at the local takeaway situated next to Casa del Mar beach club. It is absolutely delicious and is the perfect snack!
- The Racha can organise day trips out to Phi Phi Island (and other sightseeing near Phuket) – but is extremely costly to do it this way. Plan your holiday so that you enjoy the resort facilities at The Racha and then stay in Phuket as a base for doing your day trips.
If you have any comments or questions, I would love to hear from you.
You can find out more about The Racha Resort here.