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Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket
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All reviewslazy riverluna barcove restaurantkids clubdeluxe pool suitewater slidesjumping rockcliff jumpadult poolthe club loungekaron townocean facingentertainment teampool facilitiescarpe diemseafood buffetmain pool
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Reviewed June 3, 2012

There are many "pluses" about the Centara Grand, but there is also a fair share of "minuses" that should not be there for a resort of this quality.

The Thai staff are truly beautiful, ever smiling, and thoughtful (Thanks Yui and Aud - you were great!!!) The main pool area is an amazing water wonderland while the adult's only infinity pool is a serene refuge from the family fun. The resort complex is like a seaside castle. The room was kept clean (though there were some aspects that were an issue). Breakfast was terrific, light poolside lunches were fine, but each evening meal we had there was erratic in standard.

We booked a Deluxe Pool Suite (and this came with Club membership).

I sent an email prior to arrival letting them know that my husband has mobility issues and uses a walking stick. The response told me that they had noted it in their system and we would be given a room with access by lift. Fine ... except when the lift wasn't working and we had to negotiate 3 outdoor flights of stairs via the adult pool in the rain. Fine ... except that it made usage of the Club a physical impossibility. The Club (inclusive of continental breakfast, afternoon tea, snacks, predinner cocktails) was up two flights of stairs ... NO lift (I did hear that they had offered to physically manhandle another disadvantaged guest up there by carrying him ... and leaving his dignity on the ground floor, I guess).

While management at the resort certainly knew of my husband's mobility restrictions and problem with stairs, we were never offered any alternative .... gee, one of those free Club cocktails to our room would have been nice ... just once even ... and I noticed that in Fetch69's review they say that they were delivered an afternoon tea snack every day .... nope, not us! We got nothing ... nix ... nought. So big thanks for nothing. The extra cost of our Deluxe Pool room got us the plunge pool and internet access and nothing more. Very disappointed in management's concern for customer satisfaction and welfare.

Around the resort itself lighting was a problem and at night, trying to negotiate from restaurants to room was difficult enough for the able bodied.

Was there a turndown service??? It only happened once during our 10 day stay when we were left flowers on the pillow and an invitation to drinks with the manager. (He spent a third of the time with his buddies, spoke to one group then disappeared. Shame, as I had a few issues I would have liked to have raised.) The shower in the room leaked and an extra bath mat was a necessity ... asked for but provided on only a few occasions.

Our room persistently had the odour of Essence of Sh#. Luckily our veranda wasn't plagued by mosquitoes (as was Building 9) so we spent a lot of time out there to avoid the pervasive smell in the room (112). I believe that this smell came from outside the room (most noticeable as you stepped from the lift) and was seeping down the back retaining wall. The creek bordering the resort was putting untreated sewage into the surf on a daily basis (check out the attached photo) and we watched this wash up a down the beach in front of the resort and being pounded into the sand.

The 5 stars I am giving "Service" is for the beautiful beautiful Thai staff in Cove.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank julnol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2012

We recently went on a tour of China and decide to spend 5 days in Thailand on the way home to relax before going back to work.

I can't say enough about the service at this hotel. The entire staff are very friendly and accommodating. When we arrived they told us that our Jacuzzi room was unavailable so they upgraded us at no cost to a deluxe infinity pool room. It was just amazing. I didn't want to leave the room, really... It was so peaceful and the view was great. Attached to our room we had a private double wide infinity pool with water jets; we also had lots of outdoor furniture (chairs, couch, etc) to lounge on in the heat with areas in the sun or shaded from the sun. Then indoors there was a great king size bed (a little hard) with nice tub and shower. There were also sliding partitions in the room to break it up if you want or leave it all open concept. Wifi is "available" in the room for an additional cost but it is very cheap (about $3 per day) and well worth it I think.

We went in May of 2012 and it was the rainy season. We were not sure what to expect and now we know. On the positive side the hotel was probably half empty so you could sit wherever you water anytime and there were some kids but they all seemed to be well behaved and no issue at all. The lazy river is a great way to keep cool and pass the time. Its got a nice current to it with several waterfalls to go under to keep cool. One the negative side (out of the hotels control) was the weather. The first two days we were there it was sunny and hot most of the day and 2-3 times a day it would rain heavy for 10 minutes and then be gone. But the other three days it was mostly overcast and rained for hours every day. Also there was a riptide and jellyfish warning on the beach saying not to swim. That didn't change the whole time we were there as the surf was VERY rough with a wicked riptide.

The buffet breakfasts were pretty good but the a la cart dinner there was just excellent. The hotel also offered tours from the front desk but we found they were about double what you could pay if you went into town. There are travel people along all the streets offering the same day trip (e.g.. Phi Phi Island) for much less, but you have to go out and find them. The beach is not owned by the hotel so if you want to use a chair on the beach you will have to pay a rental of about $3 which I found was a little petty. We chose instead to laze around poolside.

It is about a 10min cab ride to the little town of Patong which is worth seeing (clubs shows etc) and about 10min walk to the village of Karon but there is much less there to see.

On the last day we were supposed to check out at noon but then had to wait around the hotel till 2PM to get a taxi to the airport. I asked if they could extend our checkout till 2PM and they were able to make that happen for us as well so we could be comfortable in our rooms until we had to leave. I wouldn't expect that in high season but they were able to do it when the hotel was slow which we really appreciated.

Overall the hotel was fantastic in every way and the service was the best I've seen anywhere in the world. I would highly recommend it here although it is the most expensive hotel in Karon. But you get what you pay for.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank mark0319
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2012

We have visited Thailand many times previously, but never stayed in the resort of Karon. We selected the Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket because we assumed Patong would now be really overcrowded, and wanted to take our 3 year old son to Thailand for the first time. The hotel is relatively new, and is actually right on the outside edge of Karon beach, but in a wonderful location with direct access to the beach. We arrived late in the evening, and received the expected wonderful “Thai Hospitality” and welcome. Because the hotel was extremely busy, the desk manager advised us that we had been allocated a room in one of the mail areas near one of the pols, however he felt it might be too noisy for our young child, so he offered us the choice of taking a room in the block nearest reception if we preferred. I didn’t sound convinced at first, but then he explained they would upgrade us free of charge to a Spa Deluxe room, which included a Jacuzzi on the balcony. We were sold ! The room was so peaceful, and having the ability to lie in the Jacuzzi watching the sunset really was a treat.
As for facilities, the Lazy River, Water Slides and other pool areas really can’t be beaten, and once the pool boys realised that my 3 year old son is a strong swimmer, they had no problems allowing him to use the water slides alone, and even helped him at the top whilst myself or my wife waited for him at the bottom. 2 Pool attendants in particular, “Yu” & “Charm” really made the holiday special for my son, they were so friendly with him.

The only real negative comments I have about our stay are related to certain groups of guests who were staying there, and really, the hotel can’t be blamed for their behaviour. Large groups of guests were present from the former Soviet Union, and I must say I was appalled at the way they treated the Thai staff. Anyone who has visited Thailand will know that Thai people in general are the most gracious and passive people, but these guests, and large numbers of them really have no respect for their hosts. It was absolutely impossible to take a sunbed near to the children’s pool area unless you were prepared to wake very early in the morning and guard those beds. The hotel put signs on them advising that towels will be removed after 2 hours, but with groups of at least 20 people working together to reserve the entire poolside, the staff really had no chance of clearing those towels so other guests can use them. The most frustrating part, is that these people had no children, which ultimately meant small family groups had no chance of relaxing near the infant pool whilst their children play. I am a tolerant person, and pay no tolerance to discrimination or racism whatsoever, but in my life I have never experienced such rudeness and ignorance to other guests and staff. I guess it is a cultural thing that westerners must start to get used to, but it really did put a negative slant on the holiday. As mentioned, I do accept that hotel would; face a difficult task of controlling this type of behaviour.
In summary, the hotel is lovely, the location is great, and as with other Centara hotels, the staff and food are excellent.

Room Tip: All rooms have good sea views, however if you stay near the pools there is a lot of activity and noise during most of the day.
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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6  Thank Adrian S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2012

Having stayed in resorts like Le Meridian, Katatani, Courtyard Marriott and JW Marriot in Phuket we decided to try the new Grand Centara:

The Good: Spectacular sea views, right on the beach; palatial looking resort; best room we have ever stayed in, fantastic wrap around balcony with beach and sea views in the famous Block 9; great kids pool (even though we left our kids at home!) lazy river, jumping cliff and water slides; blissful and tranquil ADULTS ONLY infinity pool, heaven!; beautiful and gracious Thai staff; breakfast had good choices for the 16 days we were there, the banana roti my absolute fave; couples massage at the Spa, delicious;

The Bad: For a practically brand new "5" star resort there are a few things lacking - Lighting at night around the outside steps (these are access steps to the rooms in building 9 and 8 and the Italian restaurant) on both sides of the main pool area are non existent, an accident waiting to happen; holes with exposed wires on our balcony where lights haven't been installed; Nespresso machine did not work in the room; bar fridge did not work took 2 days to convince front office to replace it; the bubble jet in the adult pool did not work, the pump was broken, already?; the Cove and Mare restaurants for lunch and dinner were hit and miss affairs in regard to food, the Italian was ordinary to awful only the ceasar salad saved it from total disgrace, the Cove fared a little better - the beef in the beef massaman was inedible, however the pad thai was good; Dennis you need a lot more choices of dining if you wish to proclaim "5" star and the Italian chefs though extremely friendly either have a lack of training or a lack of good quality produce to serve up quality food.

The Ugly: Not user friendly for handicapped/disabled, ie the Luna Bar and the Club (which was always full kids, so glad we didn't purchase this); effluent flowing from the channel in front of the hotel into the ocean when the rain came, looked and smelled as you would imagine; mosquitios, absolutely horrendous, everyone we encountered was being eaten alive, in our time at the resort we could not enjoy the balcony due to mossies, during our stay we purchased 4 cans of room repellant plus 2 personal sprays of mossie repellant and I became the Aussie advisor of how to treat bites with good old ti tree oil to all the other guests who were covered in red welts, management were not spraying every other day as they stated, in the 16 days we were there we saw a spray team go around once. Dennis its a shame we didn't get an invite to the management drinks as I would have advised you that the stagnant stream you have winding around the resort is the perfect incubator for your mossie plague, you need to have a few fountains and/or a water wheel to keep the water moving so they don't lay.....and no don't tell me its mossie season, we have been to Phuket twice before at the same time and have never had this problem, one or two but not plagues day in day out. When we left a rather ugly fence has been built outside the Mare restaurant, we were told by staff its a windbreak, it now also blocks the sea view, sit down at an outside table at Mare and tell me what you see....yep a black plastic fence with some trees in pots.

Would I recommend this hotel? yes I would, but point out the pitfalls. Especially when the hotel dictates which tuk tuk you can or can't get! Would I stay there again? possibly. Would I return to Phuket? in a heartbeat. This was our 6th trip and we return to our favourite places and always discover new places. We met some great people and had a the best time. So thank you Thailand.

Room Tip: Block 9 right on the beach; my sister stayed in Block 1 and loved it with her own pool
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank mez_21Robina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2012

This hotel is fabulous, it is a tropical paradise where the staff are so kind and friendly. The hotel and the rooms are so clear they sparkly and the staff really go over and beyond for you. The hotel is nestled on beautiful Karon Beach, which has a lifeguard on the beach and clear flags displayed when the tides are strong, however with the choice of numerous pools, water slides and a lazy river you are spoilt for choice. The pool bars all operate on payment on checkout, acting like an all inclusive, so not to worry about money for food and drink.
Karon beach is a short walk, however in 40 degrees heat a tuc tuc is advisable and very cheap.
Patang is the opposite direction for a wild night out and equally affordable.
The food and restaurants on site are nice however a little on the pricey side, but the lunar bar has fabulous cocktails.
We had a large family holiday of ten of us, four sets of couples one with two young children, and all found that the hotel and the location caters for all ages, tastes, and whether you want a relaxing or crazy time Phuket is the place for you. I strongly recommend this hotel!

Room Tip: all rooms have a beach view lovely to wake up to and to watch the sunset.
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank claire m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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