Courtesy of Rayavadee Krabi

Can a castaway fantasy be luxurious and come with cocktails? Here, it can.

By Mary Tomlinson

If someone offered you a meal in a cave, you might pause. But not if your destination is The Grotto, a restaurant that is literally inside a cave at Thailand’s luxurious Rayavadee Resort. 

Lots of beach restaurants might have gorgeous views, and this one on Thailand’s southwest coast is no different—rocky islands named Ko Kai and Ko Poda sit offshore, magisterially, in the azure Andaman Sea. But here, you actually dine inside a high-roofed limestone cave.

A handful of slatted wooden tables, surrounded by chairs of the same design, sit directly on the sand inside the cathedral-shaped space, and servers pad in and out through that picturesque opening. You can lounge between courses on teal- and grey-cushioned benches nearer the water, ordering up a cocktail from the thatched roof bar situated just outside the cave entrance.

But the cave may be the best place to chill out, literally: cool and shady, it’s an ideal retreat in a place where daytime temperatures can get up to 100oF.

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The Grotto’s fare leans Thai, and prawns star in dishes flanked by fresh pomelo orange over wok-fried noodles or organic jasmine rice. Desserts pair European influences with tropical elements: a dark chocolate-passion-mango-tart, for example, or a Madagascar vanilla crème brûlée with rum-raisin ice cream and pineapple. Or a simple platter of local exotic fruits, which may suit the wild, limestone location best.

Push your toes into the cool sand, assess the horizon from your hideaway, and prepare for “Elevated Castaway” to be a thing.