This is currently by far the most affordable quality resort on Railay. If the visitor can not afford the prices here, he or she is advised not to look for a cheaper resort on Railay, as the cheaper places there are not at all good places to stay. He or she should go and stay in Ao Nang instead, unless he or she can put up with the bed-bugs, mosquitoes and sqaut toilets of the cheaper places.
Enough of negativity, the Phutawan is an excellent choice for the not-quite-budget traveller, offering as is does spotlessly clean rooms in a pristine and peaceful environment at a relatively affordable price. As the resort lies 10 minutes from the nearest beach, the land on which it sits is not at a premium, and therefore does not therefore attract the same ruinously usurious rental rates as does most of the land on the Railay peninsula.
This resort, which sits on a sizeable and uncrowded plot of land, has a small selection of accommodation choices interspersed not too densely amongst hillside jungle foliage, which has been left largely intact. The arriving visitor's second feeling, after the initial relief at escaping the Railay East side throngs subsides, is of peace and comfort.
The entire resort enjoys the cooling effect of the light breeze which blows almost continually throughout the high season.
In addition to the space and fresh air that set it apart from the big and over-priced Railay East side resorts, it is also a relaxing and uncrowded place to eat. The restaurant sits on stilts within the jungle, and offers the diner a far-reaching sea-view in the back-ground, whilst in the foreground he can puzzle at the antics of the climbers battling their way up the Diamond Cave Wall, which rises directly in front of the resort. The diverting view the diner has of the climbers often continues after night-fall, as the resort regularly lights up the proceedings with spotlights.
The Phutawan is a great place to stay for most people, but its charms won't woo everyone. To reach the resort entails a brisk 10 minute uphill walk from the Railay East side beach, and the resort is therefore not reccommended for those with mobility problems or small children. It is, of course, precisely these issues that make the place such a great deal for those who have the ability and inclination to climb the hill to the fab and affordable Phutawan Resort.
Immediately next door to the resort lies the Rock Bar, which is a more laid-back place to hang out than are the hopping East side bars at the bottom of the hill. Here at the Rock Bar, the visitor can recline almost horizontally on comfy Thai 'vegetation' cushions. Watching the rock climbers stretching every muscle and sinew will, for many, make their own almost inert state, where the most enegetic motion is the lifting of a glass to the lips, seem even more relaxing.
There are 10 air-con rooms on 3 floors in a single hotel-style building, which was built in August '08. These rooms are all immaculate and innocuously decorated, and currently represent the best economy rooms (as opposed to bungalows) on Railay. A hot shower and fan come as standard, with air-con in all rooms. Each room has a small and breezy balcony.
An extra bed is possible. The colour scheme in the bathrooms will not be to everyone's taste but, unlike in the Diamond Cave Private resort's bathrooms, it is not quite necessary to wear your sunglasses in order to relax sufficiently while sitting on the toilet.
The rooms' bedside lights benefit from dimmer switches which, whilst they don't work very well, are better than nothing at all for those who like to read untill sleep overcomes them.
The resort's single familysuite is not recommended except for families with smaller childeren. It consists of two rooms which have no door separating them, thus affording parents no night-time privacy.
Families with older children are better advised to take two of the standard Tawan rooms, which are together cheaper than the Family Suite. While 2 standard Tawan rooms have no connecting door, this isn't much of an issue except for families with smaller children, as older children will be easily capable of walking out of their room and then next door into their parents'.
For families with smaller children, this resort isn't recommended anyway, as the uphill climb will be too much of a struggle with small tots in tow.
Standard Fan Bungalows
The resort's bungalows are basic, but are clean and can still be recommended for visitors who are not fussy.
The resort themselves have now told us that "these rooms are not nice and you should not sell them to your customers, we just keep them for walk-in customers". So, if you want to stay in one of these bungalows, the only way to do so is to walk in, you can't book them in advance.
Whilst the visitor notices a faint smell of damp on entering the bungalows, it is not so strong a smell as to continue to be noticable, except to acute noses.
The bungalows have large and peaceful terraces surrounded by tropical foliage and immersed in the resort's jungle setting. The breeze that continually refreshes every corner of this resort rustles the cocooning leaves and branches in a way that is pleasing to both the ear and eye, making these private and intimate balconies great places to relax, and great refuges from the throngs of people which crowd the beaches in high season.
As the resort is not far from the Eat side's nightlife scene, it is conveniently placed for guests to enjoy, and then escape from, the wholesome and noisy fun that is a night-time certainty in high season at the bottom of the hill.
The bungalows come in two flavours. The bungalows with normal double beds are situated towards the front of the resort, and are recommended above those towards the back of the resort. These have a rather odd bed arrangement, where 2 single mattresses are laid side-by-side on a large wooden base.
These are rather expensive for the standard provided - go for an air-con room instead.
The above rates are net per room per night without breakfast.