Situated in Laem Hin (Rocky Cape) and facing Phi Phi Leh, the Phi Phi Bay View and Arayaburi Resort straddles a leafy hillside overlooking Phi Phi Don’s stunning Tonsai Bay. Tonsai has long been known for its luscious turquoise water, its verdant backdrop and the jungle-capped cliffs on the far side of the bay.
Getting to the resorts involves a five-minute ride in a longtail boat. As you disembark and head up the beach to reception it is then that the real beauty of this place dawns on you. This is wonderland itself.
The large lobby is virtually on the beach. The airy building is totally open sided and spacious, with a slight Romanesque theme, in the distance you can hear the thrumming of the longtail boats and the view is sensational.
It’s a nice surprise that the attractive receptionist who checks me in is a Filipina and speaks excellent English; no communication difficulties here.
The lobby is shared by the two adjacent resorts and they also share the same owner. The look and feel of both is almost the same so in effect they could be considered one resort with two names.
However, the Arayaburi rooms are situated a little farther away but the walk through the landscaped grounds of Bay View Resort, is pleasant.
Phi Phi is an island without roads, cars or motorbikes, so the hillside location means you get some exercise getting around but it’s not at all strenuous and staff members are more than willing to lend a hand with your luggage. Having said this, there is a tuk tuk (a Thai three-wheeled taxi) on the premises used for hauling laundry and equipment around and this vehicle will drive you to reception on rainy days when you check out.
Location and Ambience
The main town in Phi Phi, Tonsai, is a 15-minute stroll away. To get there simply walk along the beach and then join the pavement. It’s all well-lit at night.
Along the way you’ll find some interesting beach bars that have fireshows every night, many shops, restaurants, ATM’s and plenty of budget bungalows.
There’s lots of greenery around the entire resort with the result that it feels very close to nature and it is the perfect antidote to the bustle of Tonsai town; here things are very relaxed and time seems to stand still.
There are five types of rooms: Arayaburi Grand Sea View (40 sqm), Arayaburi Grand Deluxe (40 sqm), Grand Deluxe Villa (40 sqm), Deluxe Villa (37 sqm) and Superior Villa (34 sqm) but in truth you can see the sea from pretty much all the rooms, even if it is just a glimpse through the trees.
Obviously the seaview rooms have clearer views and what a view it is… the bay with its flat azure water, the clearly visible coral beneath the water and yachts anchored at the far side is in short everyone’s dream of a tropical island. Rooms in all types may be detached or semi detached.
Rooms come with either queen-size or twin-bed arrangements. Décor is smart and modern with tiled floors, heavy wooden furniture and an attractive and spacious balcony with two sun loungers, a table and two chairs. The television has major satellite channels and there’s also a DVD player.
An intricately carved circular wooden design hangs over the bed and the same motif is worked into the wardrobe doors. Inside the wardrobe guests will find bathrobes, slippers, an umbrella, a safety box and ample storage space. Near the balcony door is a writing desk with an ornate mirror over it.
The bathroom has tiled walls and floors with slatted, mosquito-screened windows with a chipped marble sink consul and an unusual nautically themed shower divide. A skylight over the shower provides additional light, giving an outdoors impression.
Two different beaches lie adjacent to the resort, the one in front of reception being the larger of the two. Both beaches are stunning and neither is busy.
The smaller of the two is only 50m long and framed by rocks at both ends. Below the water rocks turn into coral and an amazing aquatic habitat for fish and other exotic creatures.
Snorkelling equipment can be rented from reception for a nominal charge and you can hire a kayak to explore this wonderful spot for a reasonable 150 baht an hour.
Located towards the top of the resort with dense jungle behind it, the swimming pool is a welcome surprise. Surrounded by exotic flora (banana trees lean over some of the 14 sun loungers) it features a Jacuzzi, swim-up bar and a separate children’s pool area.
Thai massage is also offered by the pool (as well as on the beach by reception) for a very reasonable 400 baht/hour (US$13, 2007) and the pool masseuses are some of the friendliest ladies you could hope to meet.
The beachside restaurant has live music and you can even dine on the beach itself under the stars. The menu caters to western tastes with a good selection of imported steaks and lamb from New Zealand, Mediterranean dishes and salads, pasta choices and some Thai dishes.
The locally caught calamari and chef salad is excellent, I chat to some beefy looking Australians who give the steak the thumbs up. Staff members are warm and friendly even though the restaurant is almost full. A full breakfast buffet is also served here with a view of the morning boats going about their business.
This resort is bound to keep you fit, with its winding and climbing walkways. It's big on great views and nature at her finest and is a very good complement to stunning Tonsai Bay.
The best of both worlds is on offer here: a vibrant nightlife only a few minutes away and two idyllic beaches and the privacy of your bungalow during the day.