The Racha Resort

Racha Island, Phuket, Thailand Book from Book from £239 per night

Romantic hotel on a small tropical island south of Phuket: perfect for weddings, honeymoons and upscale R&R
Just 40 minutes by speedboat from Phuket lies a coral-fringed island called Ko Racha Yai. It has a small local population, buffalo in the fields, soldier lines of coconut trees and a sprinkling of beachside bars and shops. And, in a small cove backed by a white sand beach, it also has The Racha, a sparkling resort.

This smart hotel is neatly laid out over a hillside, upon which 85 white cube-shaped villas (and a quirky 2-bedroom lighthouse) are interspersed between sky-high coconut trees, scented frangipani and tropical greenery. This is a dreamy honeymoon - or even wedding - destination, with sunset-lit arbours and cream satin chairs making an almost twice monthly appearance on the beach. It has a beautifully secluded feel, and its 3 gorgeous pools, 2 bar areas, roomy library, veritable temple of a spa and 4 very different restaurants keep guests nicely spread out. If you're not here because it's (officially) one of the most romantic hotels in the world, then you're probably here for the snorkelling and diving. It's said to be fabulous, and there's a PADI Dive Centre on site.

Highs

  • Stylish, white Zen-like rooms (some with private pools) overlooking a stunning bay
  • For honeymooners, the Pool Suites, with beds extravagantly decorated with roses and petals, offer an extra level of romance
  • Early morning swims in the crystal clear turquoise bay with not another soul between you and the horizon
  • Barefoot evenings enjoying seafood barbecues and moonlit walks on the beach
  • Sunset Happy Hour: exotic cocktails, complimentary nibbles and ultra-romantic daybeds

Lows

  • Hard to get to: we'd recommend a stay on Phuket or in Bangkok first to break up the journey
  • The beach gets busy from 10am-4pm with boats offloading daytrippers from Phuket
  • The speedboat ride to and from Phuket can be bumpy
  • Evenings are quiet without much nightlife, although The Ice Bar stays open for after dinner drinks

Best time to go

Those in the know prefer late October, November, February and March - you get the best of the weather and comparatively empty beaches. Day trippers from Phuket can sometimes descend on the beach in large numbers in high season (Christmas and January) as the island is an excursion favourite.

Our top tips

Explore Koh Racha: there’s a jungle track to an incredible viewpoint, 3 more stunning beaches on the other side of the island and a clutch of great seafood restaurants in the village, surrounded by farmland and water buffalo.

Great for...

Honeymoon
Beach
Wedding
Family
Great Outdoors
  • Beach Resort
  • 85 villas, 1 lighthouse
  • Restaurants and bars (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Tennis Court
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

The villas are smart and minimalist in decor, and have a crisp cubist style with spacious bedrooms, terraces with shaded daybeds and large bathrooms that have handmade lemongrass scented toiletries. Some Grand Deluxe Villas also have plunge pools.

Junior Pool Suites are more plush with indoor plunge pools (with underwater music!), Jacuzzi baths and private outdoor seating areas. The Spa Pool Suites are similar but have the added decadence of an indoor/outdoor Jacuzzi pool with fibre optic lighting, and an outdoor rain shower, although no sea view.

We loved the spacious Grand Pool Suites and 2-Bedroom Grand Pool Suites, which have sensational outdoor sea-view infinity pools and shady salas plus multimedia theatre systems and electric blinds that will make even technophobes feel like they’re staying at Bond’s beach house.

Perfect for families, the unique Lighthouse sleeps up to 7 with 2 double bedrooms, space for additional beds, 2 sitting rooms, sundecks, an observation lounge, and a private pool in its own walled grounds.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Barbecue (on request)
  • Bathrobes
  • CD player
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Cots Available
  • DVD player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast, served on the terrace of the Earth Café, is a very varied buffet, from bowls of congee and spicy noodles to coconut and papaya Bircher muesli; tiny, delicious French pastries, and even Champagne. You’ll also find eggs cooked to order, pancakes, French toast and cold cuts.

The Earth Café also serves a Thai and Western menu for both lunch and dinner, and there’s a delicious weekly seafood barbecue. The Fire Grill offers Mediterranean cuisine including pizzas, pasta and steaks and the Sunset Beach Restaurant specialises in Thai food and fresh fish - we loved the blue crab yellow curry followed by sticky rice and mango served in a coconut. You could also opt for Club del Mar for Mediterranean cuisine and cocktails all day, although it is often crowded with day trippers from Phuket.

Happy Hour at The Lobby Bar overlooking the bay is very special - try their Mai Tai at sunset. Or, for a treat, book an in-villa barbecue, which either you or a chef can cook.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating: Sunset Beach Restaurant
Activity:

Activities

  • Diving is why so many guests come to The Racha - dive at Phi Phi (of The Beach fame), Shark Point or Hin Deang. You can also do various PADI certifications while you’re here
  • Start your day with complimentary yoga at the Anumba Spa; later, wind down with an indulgent oil massage
  • Get married - both Western and Thai weddings are on offer
  • Simply sunbathe: either at the rooftop beach pool or at the garden pool, ringed by frangipani flowers
  • Sign up for a class in Thai cookery, and learn the secrets of Thai Green curry
  • Experience the glassy waters: borrow kayaks, body boards and snorkelling equipment (no charge). Or join one of the island snorkelling excursions
  • Explore the quiet beaches on the other side of the island and stop for a seafood lunch or dinner in the village
  • Take a cross-country ATV or hiking tour with one of the hotel’s guides who'll teach you about the wildlife. Borrow a mountain bike if you’re happy to do your own exploring

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Art classes
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Tennis coaching
  • Well being
  • Yoga

Kids

Although generally considered to be a honeymoon destination, children are welcome here. They will enjoy the sea and sand and older kids can be happily entertained by the various creative classes and excursions run by the hotel. Children under 4 years old stay for free in a cot (must be requested) or a daybed in parents' room. Children between 4-12 years of age are entitled to 50% discount on all accommodation, meal and boat transfer rates.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The 2-Bedroom Grand Pool Suite, Spa Pool Suites and Junior Pool Suites are spacious enough for a family of 4. The Deluxe Villas can accommodate a cot, and are located in the attractive gardens around the Garden Pool. Some Deluxe Villas also have inter-connecting rooms. The Lighthouse would be a fantastic option for a larger family, but needs to be booked well ahead.

Babysitting:

Babysitting needs to be booked 1 day in advance and costs 300 Baht per hour, per child.

Baby equipment:

Cots, highchairs and babysitting can be arranged, but it's not a place for baby buggies as there are too many steps to negotiate between the larger villas, the beach and the restaurants.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Kids menus are available, and include both western and Thai dishes. Gerado’s ice cream parlour is popular with younger guests!

Kids Activities on site:

Activities such as Batik painting and candle making would suit children older than 5, plus free of charge snorkelling equipment and kayak hire. The sea shelves gradually and is ideal for paddling. There is no kids club or playground.

Families Should Know:

There is a small shop on site and a larger mini mart behind the resort that sells nappies, sunscreen and beach toys. There is an in-house nurse at the hotel.

Distances:

  • Distance from Airport: 1.5 hours, deepening on traffic around Phuket.
  • Distance from Hospital: 1.5 hours (to Phuket Hospital)
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
10/10
Overall

We stayed here for the last few days of our honeymoon and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. From being collected from the Racha office at Chalong Pier, then being whisked off on a speedboat to the island and smoothly checked into our suite, the staff were excellent and the services in the hotel were second to none. The island itself is quite small so I wouldn't recommend staying here for more than a few days. Snorkelling is an absolute must, just bob your head under water for a second and you will feel like you are swimming in a tropical aquarium. The food was all fabulous, and decently priced. We really liked the visible presence of the hotel's manager too who made an effort to put guests at ease.

10/10,

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Rates for The Racha Resort