Pro's - Amazing view, nice swimming pool, good restaurant.
Con's - Rude staff, not family friendly, run-down, unprofessional.
As a first time traveler to Thailand after seeing the photos of this resort I was excited to be staying at a romantic yet family friendly location. Unfortunately from the minute we stepped into the resort the illusion was shattered. We arrived to check-in around 2 pm and were told our rooms weren't ready and to go and have lunch as they would be ready on our return. When we returned to the resort at 4 pm we were informed our rooms STILL weren't ready and could not be given a definitive timeframe for when they WOULD be ready. In fact the front desk staff was incredibly rude - a huge shock to me as up to this point my impression of Thai people was how friendly they were. After much drama and raised voices we were reluctantly given rooms (not the ones we had been promised), a free dinner (which we didn't actually want) and nasty glares for the duration of our stay.
The view from the rooms was spectacular and the bathroom was nice, but the room smelt of damp and had evidence of water damage along the floor rails. Each room had a balcony however our room also had a nest of ants living on the chairs on the balcony which made using it all but useless.
Getting to and from the rooms was quite a chore and the resort was a bit of a maze. Every day we were there lifts didn't work - either completely broken or leaving you in darkness as the lights inside them weren't working forcing us to walk through whole other blocks of rooms just to get back to our room. The stairs up and down to the pools and restaurants was also slippery almost all the time and quite dangerous. Virtually every member of our group slipped over on them at some point.
The pool was amazing and our children loved it. The pool bar was also pretty good. The pools gave a lot of variety for the kids to try, however once again little things just showed the unprofessionalism of the resort such as not having enough towels. Guest upon guest was turned away told there were no pool towels and yet the pool area wasn't full on at least two of our visits to the pool, including ourselves.
The beach was nice, however we discovered it wasn't really safe for our children to swim in as despite having fish quite close to the beach the underwater seabed was littered with plastic rubbish, torn sandbag canvas and broken glass. Such a shame that that underwater view didn't equal that above the water.
The children's club was two rooms - one with video games and another with a baby/toddler area and some art and craft activity. Our children had been excited about the kids club based on previous resorts we had been to but hated this one. They repeatedly called it boring and we were reluctant to leave our children there (only doing so as we had a spa booked across the way) as the supervision of the children seemed very casual. They couldn't wait to leave when we picked them up ... I don't think the staff on the desk even noticed us take them away to be honest.
We chose to splurge on a his'n'hers massage at the resort hoping for a relaxing, romantic experience. The Spa staff immediately told us we would only have a 45 minute massage (we had booked an hour long massage) as we were allegedly "late" (we were not late - we had arrived 15 minutes early based on the clock in our room! Also had other friends be told the same excuse!!). Instead of being relaxed and romantic we were rushed into a room where we were given a normal massage I would barely pay HK$200 for in Hong Kong! There was nothing special or calming about it at all. At the end of the massage we were rushed out of the room, without the slippers I had worn in, and left to sit in a middle area that smelt very musty and mouldy while being eyed by the Spa staff who wanted us to leave. I felt totally ripped off by the experience.
The restaurant was nice, and I was impressed by the executive chef. He visibly had control of his staff and made them remove things he wasn't happy with. The range of food was good and for the most part well cooked - possibly the only part of the resort I would rate as worth it.
On our last day we had been told we would be allowed to check out a little later, which we were very happy about. I was in the room with my child who wasn't feeling very well, only to have the door opened (without any knocking) around 11 am in the morning. The housekeeper quickly ran out and closed it again upon realising we were still there only to come back 15 minutes later and knock on the door asking when we were leaving and implying I should 'hurry up and get out'. I was so angry with the desk staff for not conveying the message of a late check-out to the housekeeping staff and to all the staff in general for their rudeness. A restaurant meal on the first night did not compensate at all for a completely ruined holiday.
I would barely rate this resort a 3 star establishment, and would NEVER stay there again (or any Centara resort after such a horrible experience) and actively encourage my friends to look at other resorts when staying in the area.
- 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