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“Idyllic and Perfect - Just Amazing” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

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Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |     |  
Hotel amenities
San Francisco, CA
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Idyllic and Perfect - Just Amazing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2010

After reading numerous reviews, we settled on Centara based on the positive reviews about the food and the price level. After arriving from Thailand through Sri Lanka, we were impressed. We had a slight hiccup with the Maldivian Air Taxi. Apparently I requested a morning taxi, and they stuck us on a 7am departure! It would have been ok, but we had just arrived on the Emirates flight at 2am the night before and were resting comfortably in our plush bed at the Holiday Inn! Regardless, after waking up and getting to the resort, it was worth it.

We stayed two nights in the beach villa, number 43 and then two nights in the luxury sunset villa, I think number 68? Whatever one we had, was perfectly in the middle of all the villas, we we had a great view of the water and sunset. The beach villa room was a loft style, with a full bath downstairs and half bath upstairs, where the bed is. The downstairs bathroom is outdoors, so it was a bit hot washing up. The luxury sunset villa had a huge bathroom with a window that looked at the water. I loved the deck looking at the ocean.

Staff was wonderful. The food was delicious at the buffet and restaurants. Oh my goodness did we eat a lot, but I also ran on the treadmill at the gym. My husband took windsurfing lessons and diving lessons. We did the island club the last two nights and I enjoyed it. He liked the buffet, but I liked eating by the private pool and having the waiter service. They also served more western style food.

If I had more time and money, I would've wanted to stay longer. BTW, wifi is $5 a day...

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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france
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2010

We had an amazing holiday here in february and I agree with all previous reviews!
The staff were very attentive, friendly and accommodating.
The food was always excellent - reef restuarant, italian and thai.
The dive centre was well equiped and very well managed, dive sites we went to were wonderful and the staff attended to everything! snorkelling around the island reef was also amazing.
The spa treatments were very good with proffessional staff.
The accommodation which we had (6 nights beach villa,1 night family water villa and upgraded 6 nights to a deluxe water villa - For the price paid for the upgrade we were very happy. The rooms were clean and well appointed although I found the mattress too firm for me.


We did notice like others have mentioned that the beach areas closer to the family water villas were not as clean as you would expect and certainly had our rooms been at this end of the island we would have been dissapointed and yes some of the finishes on the decking around the island was poor and in need of attention.The concrete protection around the island was also unslightly.

In saying this we still found the island beautiful.

The kids club was well fitted, clean and the staff that ran it were excellent at keeping the children amused- playing games, arts and crafts and walking around the island, nothing was to much to ask for. The teen zone/ games area above the bar was superb our 6 year old was very happy with the wii /playstation/ xbox( although not many games.)

The wifi in the room was high speed and at $5 a day my husband was content that he could still work when he needed to.

We found the price of the whale shark spotting trip very excessive - although had we spotted some no doubt we would have been very happy - nature!!! and not all non motorised water sports were free of charge like our holiday agent advertised-( if this is a factor in booking here you might want to clarify this.)

The management team were also attentive, listened to and asked for your opinion of the island/staff/facilities and if you had any problems/ concerns they tried their best to resolve them.

We had a comfortable flight first choice/thomson premium seats and the seaplane transfer was a great experience.

Finally - this was our 4th trip to the maldives and when we compared this to another 4* star island we went to 2 years ago- although this was more expensive we felt it was value for money -
would we go there again ? YES !! have just booked for october this year !!

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bath
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2010

My husband and I spent our belated honeymoon at the Centara Grand. What a fantastic place! Initially I was a bit dubious whether I'd get bored, but no way.

The diving was top class, the accommodation (we had a luxury sunset water villa) was stunning and very comfortable, the food was out of this world (I'm still battling to get rid of all that weight I put on), the beaches were lovely, there is a nice choice of 3 different restaurants and 2 bars and the Spa was lovely - great massages!

But above all, the staff were great. The management obviously is very professional, and all the staff were so nice, professional, natural, sweet, friendly and couldn't do more for us - we felt totally relaxed and pampered.

We can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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london
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2010

We originally booked for 9 nights and extended our stay by another 2 nights, if only we could have stayed longer!
Truly paradise, we had the most amazing time. We had a beach villa, and yes some of them do have a collection of coral and broken shells, but ours just had white sand leading to the crystal clear water. The villa was extremely modern and spacious and we adored our outside bath and shower and never used the indoor shower, the villa was
kept immaculate by Zara our housekeeping lad. I loved,upon rising in the morning opening the door and dipping my toes, a few mornings small reef sharks (harmless) and rays were skimming along the waters edge, incredible!
We preferred our beach villa to the water villas, although the water villas have steps directly into the ocean, we loved the beach on our doorstep.
We ate in all three restaurants and found the food exceptional. The Azzure the Italian restaurant has a wonderful setting over the water, The Lotus is a Thai restaurant, and although positioned inland, we had a most romantic meal seated in a gazebo for two overlooking a large ornamental pond very softly lit with water fountains. Lastly The Reef is a buffet style restaurant by the pool, buffet style conjures up thoughts of congealed, dried food and left for hours, certainly not in this restaurant, there are cooking stations preparing a large variety of dishes, by charming, smiling chefs. The waiting staff are always polite, courteous and friendly and in particular John and Treby always appeared it was their pleasure to serve us, so to them, thankyou. Be prepared to put on a few pounds, and if you have a sweet tooth, the desserts are to die for.
Our favourite bar was the Aqua bar, overlooking the water, and our two perfect bartenders Shimnol and Akaash were brilliant and so were your cocktails!
In fact all the staff were extremely friendly and always had a warm smile and a cheery hello.
The two hour fishing trip was good fun with the watersports team and is certainly worth doing.
The snorkelling was amazing, the corals and the variety of marine life

John (GM) this for you, the only problem being on one occasion you couldn't provide a breeze! The management style is certainly is reflected through the staff.
Thankyou to you and all your team for making our stay a memorable one, and we will without a doubt return!

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2010

My husband, my baby (1.5 years old) and I just came back from a week of holidays at the Centara Maldives resort (Feb 28-March 7). Unfortunately I have to say we have been extremely disappointed. This is at best a 2.5 star resort. Definitely not a 4.5 one.

To start with, the hotel staff is lovely and they mean well but they are in URGENT need of TRAINING. The 'Thai" style and manners that the hotel proclaim in your website are not really expressed. The hotel installations were really disappointing. We were shocked to see the poor level of construction finishings in some of the public areas -- the pool handles are rusted, the common bathrooms finishings (doors, paint, etc.) is terrible, there is a mix of old and new chairs in the lounge with different colours and shapes. It is very hard to believe this is a NEW resort. One of the most shocking things was to find the state of the public beaches -- full of colorful plastic bags, full of rocks which made impossible for us to have a simple walk on the beach. Also, we were really concerned to see the giant tuberies that go from the island onto the sea with all the garbage and used water... please see the pictures. What a nasty view we had EVERYTIME we were leaving our rooms (we were staying at the family water villa) into the island! Horrible.

Another very bad surprise was the level of bare and unfinished CEMENT there is in the island. There is cement everywhere -- the piles, the ugly cement semi-circles surrounding all the island, they were there all the time, ruining every single picture. Horrible design. We were constantly reminded we were in a construction rather than in a tropical, natural island.

Another annoying factor was to find out that we could not use the private beach or the other pool as it was reserved for another rooms. I couldn't believe that given the amount of money we had paid for the holidays and the fact that were staying in a deluxe family water villa. We were feel not welcome in that beach area, which was a shame as it was the only tiny bit of beach without rocks and without the cement blocks where we could swim.

The food was very average. We never met the chef and the originality was inexistent. Despite having breakfast, lunch and dinner with a toddler everyday, we were never offered the children's menu until the last day... On another note, I couldn't believe the hotel charged an additional $8 if we order a natural juice... The fruit juices offered for breakfast were simply colored water full of sugar... not consistent with the proposition of being a 4.5 star resort. Unfortunately, there were other faults -- the shop didn't carry swimming nappies, the activity program was not always respected, the room cleaning service was not great, the AC room system sound was extremely loud, no umbrellas on the beach for water villa residents, etc.

All in all, we have came back extremely disappointed - I would simply not recommend it. I wish Kuoni/Trailfinders didn't include this hotel in their brochures. Very misleading.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
gmcirm, General Manager at Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives, responded to this review, April 2, 2010
Thank you for taking the time to write and make us aware of your opinion with regards your recent stay at Centara Maldives, all guest feedback is valued and seen as constructive.

After reviewing your feedback we investigated all the comments made and would like to offer the following response.

It was most surprising to read negatives about the standard of service in the resort, all staff have undergone extensive training and are undertaking ongoing training and development courses that we have developed here. The overwhelming majority of guests comment so favorably about both the warmth and professionalism of our staff and that they all seem prepared to ‘go the extra mile’ in order to please our guests.

With regards the comments on the finish of the property and the standard of maintenance, I don’t wish to appear argumentative but would like to offer that we are located in a very aggressive marine environment and while we strive for perfection we accept that this may not always be achievable. The mixture of furniture is the designation of a smoking permitted area and a non-smoking area thus making it easier for our guests to identify these areas, the relevant age of the furniture does not detract from the enjoyment of the area nor of the holiday experience and all furniture is of an excellent standard.

The beach area identified as being unsatisfactory is an area affected by the seasonal ocean currents where the sand has been stripped off, we are currently putting sand on this beach manually and were doing so during this period. The plastic bags mentioned are the remnants of old ‘sand bags’ buried in this beach area and are impossible to dig out as it would further de-stabilize the beach area and subject it to further erosion. We do however trim as much of this visible sacking on a daily basis to minimize the visual impact. I would point out that this is a section of beach is approximately 300m long and that there are beautiful beaches surrounding the remainder of the island. I do understand that the view when walking to and from this room is directed at this area, the view from this room itself is forwards out to the magnificent Indian Ocean so the impact of seeing this beach erosion walking to and from the room should not have affected the enjoyment of a holiday in the Maldives. This type of beach erosion is seasonal and common to most if not all islands in the Maldives and every resort deals with this.

The ‘giant tube’ alluded to is simply a water overflow outlet which releases excess pure water back into the ocean. At no time do we release rubbish into the ocean. The property must produce all of its own water and it is impossible to be 100% accurate in the quantity of water we need to treat and desalinate for guests use, so we err on the side of caution to ensure we don’t ever run out. This means quite often we produce more water than we can store and release the excess pure water back into the ocean.
The comments regarding ‘cement everywhere’ and the ‘ugly cement semi circles’ surrounding the entire island are directed at the wave/current breaks that are in place to protect the island. A wave/current break of some kind is a feature of every island resort in the Maldives and is essential to protect the island and prevent as much beach erosion as possible. These barriers are in place to only half of the island as one side is predominantly subject to aggressive ocean current conditions. The other half of the island provides uninterrupted views to the ocean. Our intention is to replace the current style of wave break with a newer option in the near future.

There are no private beaches on Centara Grand, Maldives. All beaches surrounding the island are available to all guests throughout their stay regardless of what room they are staying in.

In reviewing comments concerning the variety of food and the assessment that it was very average, I can only suggest that taste is a very subjective topic. All other feedback contradicts this opinion to the extent many of our guests leave the island commenting that they have gained weight due to the wonderful variety and taste of the food provided. In the Reef Restaurant there is a different lunch buffet every day with a minimum of two live cooking stations manned by chefs at all times. Dinner buffets consist of a different themed buffet every night such as Japanese, French, Mediterranean, Chinese, Maldivian & Mauritian, Indian, Arabian and Malaysian. Should guests not find a themed buffet appealing there are the two specialty restaurants available, Italian and Thai. Chef’s are present at all buffets and interact with our guests continuously. If none of the above food options are attractive the Chef’s are always available and willing to provide additional options.

The comments concerning the color scheme and general aesthetics of the resort are very surprising; all of this is visible on all of our advertising material including the web site. Centara deliberately built this resort to be different to the traditional timber resorts represented by many other properties. Many new developments being undertaken today in the Maldives are adopting similar design and colors in an effort to be ‘lighter’ and different to the norm. This is the very first negative comment we have experienced about the appearance and color of the resort so I can only suggest that while one opinion is negative, the majority opinion is positive.

Managers and Supervisors are always present and available on a daily basis for guests to express opinions or issues to. We also host two Managers cocktail evenings per week which all recent arrivals receive a written invitation to attend where we strive to elicit guest feedback, opinion and any problems with a view of trying to assist while the guests are here. We have attempted to provide our guests with as many contact options as possible in the resort to provide avenues for our guests to express opinions or raise issues that we can deal with while the guests are here. Unfortunately if we are not provided the opportunity during a stay to rectify or explain misconceptions then it is impossible to action anything retroactively.

In closing, please accept my apologies for not meeting your expectations.

General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milton Keynes
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2010

Just returned from a wonderful two week break at Centara. This is our 4th trip to the Maldives, having visited 5 other islands, and this resort is the best one we have visited for the money.

We flew Emirates via Dubai, which was the usual chaos at Dubai airport with fog, late landing, late take off and parking miles from the terminal building. Emirates seemingly have no concern for passengers with connecting flights to catch. Consequently we were over 2hrs late arriving in Male and was unable to catch the seaplane as it was dark. Centara had booked us into the Holiday Inn at Male overnight, which was very nice. However, we had to telephone the island to negotiate with them to honour our all-inclusive deal as they had only booked us in B&B at the Holiday Inn. They said they would, but still hadn't paid our bill when we checked out, so had to pay and claim back when we settled our bill at Centara.

Maldivian Air Taxis were their usual chaotic selves, but you have to kind of expect that. They told us to be at the terminal for 05.15hrs, checked us in with a boarding card for the 06.00hrs flight. At 05.45hrs they asked the other 2 Centara-bound guests to board, informing us that they had now put us on a later flight as they had other Male-bound passengers to pick up en-route! After much complaining they let us on the flight and flew to Centara first (which was actually closer anyhow)! A tip for first time Maldives travellers - pack some shorts, sunscreen and swimwear in your hand luggage as firstly the seaplanes are boiling and secondly, sometimes they send your luggage on a later flight if the plane is full. Anyhow the seaplane is all part of the fun and my husband and I never seem to be able arrive at a holiday destination without some kind of cock up first!

Our first impressions of Centara were excellent, gorgeous public areas. The island isn't the prettiest one we have visited because firstly, the amount and layout of the Water Villa's mean that they interupt the view from most parts of the Island. Also the concrete wave break is an eyesore, we've never seen one quite like it! However, one of the managers told us that it had been installed by the previous owners and that Centara has commissioned a company to look into replacing it with a more sympathetic one. Anyhow, it's hardly a deal-breaker.

We booked a Beach Suite as we love the beach. It was really well appointed, but unfortunately where we were situated there was no shade on the beach. Other islands usually provide some kind of sun shade on the beach for your sunbeds, but when we asked the reception said they couldn't as they did not have enough umbrellas. Consequently we spent a fair amount of time sat around the pool which was mostly empty, with lots of sun shades. Lovely room though. I agree with the other reviews that I would have asked to move if I was in numbers 19-26ish as there was no beach outside them, just large pieces of broken coral.

We upgraded to a Deluxe Water Villa for the second week and it was worth every penny. A gorgeous room with lovely large terrace and shade! We looked around a Sunset Water Villa, but it didn't seem worth the extra money. The only difference seemed to be that they were detached, had an upstairs terrace and a loo that overlooked the sea! Not all of them even face the sunset! The Pool Beach Villas seem a real rip off as they have a view of the back of the Family Water Villas and the wave break. Consequently they were all empty the whole time we were there.

We didn't upgrade to the Island Club as it seemed rather a lot of money for what you get?? For most of the time we were there it seemed mainly empty. It's not as though the main pool was crowded or noisy and the Reef restaraunt is excellent.

Anyhow, I agree with most of the sentiment of the other recent reviews, great food, best AI package we have had in the Maldives (others don't always include cockails, non-motorised watersports and al a carte restaurants), fab staff and terribly hard beds! Don't be concerned by the initial poor reviews as it would seem that the teething problems have been ironed out. My only concern is that the prices will massively go up once the resort has established a customer base. Also the loud R&B music that fired up in the late evening in the Coral bar seemed a bit out of place?!

The Maldives is such a brilliant place, and this resort certainly matches up - you'll love it, everybody we spoke to there did!

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madrid, Spain
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2010

We stayed for 9 days in February in a De Lux water bungalow on the Island club basis. We can only speak highly of this Hotel. The service and food were quite exeptional and the room perfect. The Spa however was overpriced and we met someone who told us he went for the intro dive experience with the dive centre and after what he said seemed like five minutes he found himself in the water! Having paid $130 he felt agrieved. Also having used a Padi approved centre it was surprising there was not a greater level of care and safety.
All the restaurants are good but we were glad we had the Island club option as it gave us freedom to eat anywhere and the use of the club area which is a little small but also special.
Although we have been to the Maldive three times before including some five star resorts this is one we may visit again. You will have a great time!

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

Address:
Location: Maldives > Alifu Atoll > Southern Ari Atoll > Centara Grand Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Centara Grand Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives: Set amongst the perfect islands and blue ocean of South Ari Atoll (Alifu Atoll) in the republic of Maldives, Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives delivers a unique 5 star resort experience and offers the ultimate in barefoot luxury along with a range of exciting activities that will appeal both to couples and families.Featuring 112 suites & villas, the resort offers diving enthusiasts outstanding diving opportunities including an excellent house reef complete with a dedicated sunken ship wreck and is within easy reach of the top dive spots in the Maldives. The resort offers all guests a premium all-inclusive vacation experience, along with a perfect white sand beach and the crystal clear water of the Indian Ocean.Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives offers more than simply daytime sun, sea, and sand. The resort features a variety of dining options, pools, recreation activities, Sports and Fitness facilities, bars and lounges with nightly entertainment, SPA Cenvaree, and a Kids Club. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Centara Grand Island Resort And Spa
Centara Grand Island Hotel Centara Grand Island
Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

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