We use Tripadvisor a lot for booking various hotels, and even with all the details provided on TA and other sites, we were not sure what the room types and locations would be so I wanted to share our experiences.
We met up with some friends from Australia, and wanted to book two rooms together and in the past have done so with a shared balcony at the Centara at Krabi for example.
Even with a lot of research and a few emails directly to the hotel, we were not sure what we had booked but ended up lucky, thankfully!
After much discussion between us, we decided on what the hotel calls a 'Deluxe Ocean Facing' room type which is their standard room.
The rooms were fantastic and plenty big enough but the balconies are small and in our situation, were not connected.
The hotel is arranged in a horseshoe shape with each block facing the ocean. Each accommodation block is numbered 1 - 9 starting at one end of the horseshoe and ending at the other. Each block has 5 floors so depending on which floor you are on will dictate your view of the sea. Each block/floor is arranged with either four rooms in a line or five, and each room is set up as a king / double double/ king / double double bed configuration, so for us, we needed a king and a room with two double beds so this worked perfectly.
Between each of these four or five rooms, only some balconies connect so in our block (block 4 on the 4th floor), there were five rooms along our 'line' and the rooms were corner room (which is a either a premium deluxe ocean facing room type or a premium spa deluxe room type), followed by a double double which don't have connecting balconies, then a king room next to a double double room which DOES have connecting balconies, then the other corner room which doesn't connect.
So if you want connecting balconies, you are basically in the middle of the line of accommodation. That may not be true for all blocks, but was the case for us.
The same applies to what the hotel calls Pool Suites. So the corner Pool Suites have basically twice the size of the pool of the middle of the line pool rooms, and the hotel calls these either Deluxe Pool Suite (normal size pool) or Luxury Pool Suite (the corner rooms with twice the size pool).
These are not the same as the Pool Villas which are stand alone villas at the side of the hotel.
I'm not sure this explains things but hopefully it will give you an idea as we really struggled with finding anything out and had to leave it to chance when we arrived.
As to the hotel itself, I agree with many other reviewers. Although we were lucky, the hotel admitted to us (when we tried to change rooms), that not only were they full to capacity, but that they had overbooked rooms, so some guests found that the rooms they had booked and paid for were not available when they arrived. Ours was, so we were OK but be advised that this seems to be hotel policy.
Our rooms were lovely although the balcony was small (but OK when combined with next-door), and the pool suites are probably not worth the extra money in our opinion - they are all situated on the first floor of each block so depending on which block you are in will dictate how much of a view of the sea you get.
The general pool is great, especially for kids (and for us adults, who became 'big kids' at the jumping cliff!), with a swim up pool bar which serves food.
The adults pool was also lovely and although smaller, was not busy when we were there.
The spa was absolutely fantastic and is well worth a visit, and if you avail yourself of the Baht Bonanza, it is affordable.
There were a few things we would improve: our experience at the Mare Italian restaurant was awful! The food was so bad it was embarrassing (of dinner for five people, we sent two meals back and only one person finished theirs), and extremely expensive, even by London prices, but then others we met had a lovely meal so perhaps we were unlucky?
The service at the pool bar was extremely disorganised at times: 4 meals all ordered at the same time arrived over the course of 1 1/2 hours for example, but overall the staff at the pool bar and generally everywhere in the hotel were wonderful and made up for the lack of organisation at times.
Would we go back? Probably not as it is a very big resort (although even at full capacity when were there, it never felt crowded and there were always sun beds available for example), and for what it is, we thought it was expensive, but we enjoyed our time there very much.
I would say this is great for families and it has a really nice atmosphere (the staff seem really happy and talking to them, it seems as if the Centara treats them very well), but if you don't have kids, it might be better to choose somewhere else.
- 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