I just read the review by pjmouse and am compelled to echo the views.
I have been to Thailand numerous times over the last 20 years and have stayed in many different resorts in Phuket and other areas of Thailand. My experience at the Grand Centara hotel was at best mixed.
First, the good points:
1. The pool and its associated faciliites (the water slides etc.) and the kid's club are great fun. I travelled with 2 young boys, 6 and 2, and I didn't really have to plan anything else but to go between these 2 facilities. They had a ball!
2. Some of the staffs were friendly and helpful, but not all of them.
3. The Italian restaurant was a gem.
4. The spa was good, but they did make me wait for 20 minutes past my booked time (I did arrive 15 minutes before the treatment). The person on duty was constantly running around, acting very busy, while I sat there in the waiting area. I think they have forgotten to notify the therapist I were there waiting already. They did make up for the time, and the treatment was good. And it was a very nice spa.
5. I bumped into their onsite English teacher from the UK. What a great initiative to improve the staff's language ability!
6. The location was great! The beach, the view, the sunset... unbeatable.
Now, the not so good:
1. When we checked in on 13th Feb, it was raining. We were led to our room by 2 staff and had to walk past a short uncovered area to get to the lift. Any other resorts I have been to would offer at least an umbrella, or the better ones would hold up one for us. What I got from Centara's 2 male staff was "Its raining. You need to walk quickly." Seriously?!
2. After we settled in our room, we headed for the pool. I then went to the pool towel counter to towels, only to be told I need to present the "towel cards". I said I weren't given any, and the guy sent me back to reception to get the cards. So I went back to reception, and reception said they had run out of cards. So reception gave me 4 beach towels, and asked that I return them to reception after I finished. So I obliged. But when I returned the towels, the person at the reception (a different one by then) was all puzzled with what I were doing returning towels there. So I explained the whole situation again. He smiled, and turned away. At breakfast the next morning, a service manager of some sort was going around the tables asking everyone whether everything was ok, so I told him about the towel cards. He seemed really concerned, wrote down our room number, and promised to follow up. Nothing happened. So I went to the reception again after breakfast, and explained the whole situation again, and wahlah, got my towel cards, finally!
3. Still on towel cards: The pool closes at 7:30pm, but the towel counter closes at 6pm. So I asked the guy there what should I do with the towels if I left the pool after 6pm. He said keep the towels and return them the next day, so I could get my towel cards back. I thought he was joking. He wasn't.
4. You basically have to ask everything 3 times to get it: Upon check in, we noticed there were only 2 sets of towels in the room. So we asked the 2 gentlemen who escorted us to our rooms to organise another 2 sets for the kids. 30 minutes later, nothing. So we called house keeping and asked for the same. 30 minutes later, nothing. So my wife went out on the corridor, found a house keeping lady, and got the towels herself. This happens with everything: napkins at the restaurant, baby high chair, tea refill...
5. pjmouse mentioned washrooms in the common area being shockingly dirty. I agree. Please read pjmouse's review.
6. pjmouse mentioned the overall resort upkeep being poor. I agree. Please read pjmouse's review.
7. On the last day, 16th Feb., my wife went to the hotel shop to buy something. The floor was wet and she had a fall. The hotel staff nearby stood there and watched, didn't even offer a "are you ok?". A bit rude, don't you think?
8. They seem to be under staff when we were there which was a peak season (Chinese New Year time). At breakfast, used plates were not always collected. One morning, I had to stack them together and bring them to another table which has just been vacated. They regularly run out of plates and cereal bowls, and one morning even brought out a chocolate cake that was still frozen.
9. Although complimentary water was offered in the rooms, they do charge you dearly for water in the restaurants. Beware.
10. There was also some pricing irregularities: For example at pool side, if you asked for an ice-cream, they give you the Haagendazs small individual cup variety, at 170Batt each! At the Italian restaurant, a scope of proper, very well made Italian gelato cost you something like 60-70Batt per scope (I think there is a difference in adult and kid's menu for ice cream). Why would a proper sit down meal cost so much less than a pool side bar?
Lastly, not sure if this one is under Centara's control, but this resort has more mosquitos than any other I have been to. We had alfresco dinning on 14th Feb., at Mare the Italian restaurant, and my 6 year old son got bitten more than 40 times on his 2 feet.
I must say, I still gave it a 3 out of 5 because my 2 sons were really happy there, thoroughly enjoyed the facilities, which is the main objective of the trip. Its just that the service quality did leave a lot to be desired.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket is a modern five-star luxury resort built directly on the foreshores of Karon Beach. Designed with distinct Phuket colonial Sino-Portuguese architecture, the luxury accommodation comprises of 262 guestrooms and villas. All guestrooms have a balcony and are ocean facing. Room types consist of spa suites, pool suites, deluxe suites and one and two bedroom villas. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket Hotel Karon
- Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket Karon