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Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives
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Reviewed February 8, 2010

i went Centara for my honeymoon. i stayed in Luxury sunset water villa. it was just like dream and i can tell it was the best vacation i have ever had. Villa was very very good and sea was so clear. and food was pretty good. everynight they have different menu and also island has thai and italian restaurant. but these restaourants are not in all inclusive price! Staff specially waiters are really friendly and nice. thanks all. if you plan to go maldives i think you should think about Centara.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Taha_TR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2010

We were a little worried when we saw the earlier reviews but we need not have been concerned as this resort is one of the best we have stayed at - and we do travel a lot and stay in hotels all around the world.
The staff are wonderful and helpful and very likeable, they do become your friends by the end of the week.
The food in the Reef restaurant is excellent and we tried the Italian and the Thai too. The all inclusive package works very well and the wine is particularly good and it includes spanish cava which is also very good. There are also many cocktails to choose from (not just the four as indicated in their welcome pack). Still water is available at all times and big bottles are left in the rooms each day.
The beach villas are the best place to be in my opinion, you are near to the beach and the bars and they have two floors and two bathrooms. There are two televisions and a dvd player and tea and coffee making equipment. The bathroom and outside shower and bath are wonderful and the whole place is very well designed with air con as well.
If rthere are any negatives they are that there is very little evening entertainment and this could be improved and advertised to the guests. There was a DJ playing music two nights but the Coral bar was empty as no-one knew it was on. Crab night is fun but should not be billed as the highlight of the week, there should be more things organised. The trio of musicians are very good but could be utilised better and they could play in the Coral Bar as well as to the guests in the Reef Restaurant.
The fully inclusive plan needs to be understood as you can only go to the Italian or the Thai restaurant once, you cannot go to them both. You can however put your $40 per person credit towards another visit. in our opinion it is better to go to the Italian and have the excellent 5 course inclusive menu and then visit the Thai on another night and pay any extra over and above your $40 credit.
The sea plane transfer from Male was great fun but we had to wait nearly three hours for a transfer to Centara, we did not mind this too much as we were aware that this might happen (only because we had read it on Trip Advisor). This is not the fault of the hotel but it does not start your holiday well if you are waiting to get to the hotel. We were given a voucher for a drink and a sandwich which was nice. On the way back we had no problems and only had one hour before our flight back to the UK so we had the maximum time at the hotel.
The scenery is fantastic and the pace of life is slow, we do not have kids but there is a kids club, tennis court and area for teenagers to go. No need to take a torch but do take mosquito spray just in case and also definately take shoes to wear in the sea and when snorkling.
Have a great time, we wish we were back there!
We would definately recomment this place

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Tweedie1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2010

We stayed at Centara in late January / early February 2010 for two weeks and had a fabulous holiday.
We had been to the Maldives twice before over the past 10 years, so we were already aware of the Maldives-style of holiday in which one should expect a great deal of rest and relaxation! Maldives holidays are generally NOT activity style – unless you are a dedicated diver. We had done our research and knew that the resort had been re-opened under new management after refurbishment and that reviews had indicated that it had been a struggle for them to get the project finished.
We flew Emirates with a change at Dubai – our choice. At Male airport, we were met and guided to the Maldivian Air Taxi check-in. Research beforehand had forewarned us that the luggage allowance on MAT is 20Kg per passenger (while Emirates Economy is 30Kg) However, unless you are bringing dive gear, you should not need more than lightweight casual clothes and swimwear.
Contrary to statements in some other reviews, Centara does not ‘organise’ the seaplane travel. It has a contract with MAT, one of the two main air taxi firms operating out of Male. Our wait for MAT transfer was 60 minutes. The arrangement is that MAT dynamically schedule flights according to the passenger lists for the day rather than operate fully scheduled flights. With 15 seats on the Sea Otters, they may drop passengers at a couple of islands on a round trip. If you have not travelled by seaplane, it is an experience – noisy at the rear, quieter at the front, you get to view the atolls and islands from 3500 feet. Take a photo or two!
Arrival at Centara is at an offshore floating platform. The resort’s Dhoni boat comes out to take you to Reception. A welcome drink is provided as you are checked in and then we were conducted to our beach suite.
There is a comprehensive guide to the accommodation, facilities and most importantly, the ‘what’s included’ list for all-inclusive stays at this resort. It’s not obvious on the web, but can be found here.
http://www.centarahotelsresorts.com/cirm/MaldivesVisitorsGuide.pdf
In our opinion, it’s required reading before you go!
Accommodation. Beach suites are 87 sq m with a lounge and bathroom downstairs and the bedroom and extra toilet/basin upstairs. Some are twin bed – others King sized. There is a huge outside bath tub/ shower in addition to the one inside.
Food and Drink. The Reef Restaurant served excellent buffet style food, the theme changing on an 8 day rotation (Japanese, French, Turkish, Maldavian etc). Even the faddiest eater should be able to find something wonderful to eat every meal. There was lots of it too!
The Italian Restaurant is wonderful. Good authentic menu in a perfect setting. Recommended. The Thai Restaurant is great too. Try to get an outside table and be aware that this is also authentic. If you have ‘European taste’ in Thai food, ask for the chilli content to be kept down. (Even ‘medium’ is hot hot!)
Island facilities. We didn’t dive; having done so before in the Maldives, we contented ourselves to snorkelling the house reef. The coral has recovered well after ‘El Nino’ 10 years ago and spectacular fish and coral are there to be seen. Try experimenting each day to find the clearest spots as the sea does pick up some sand and makes the water cloudy in some places.
The Spa is well worth trying. It has been beautifully developed and the treatments were excellent – but not cheap. Take some anti mosquito precautions if you are particularly sensitive to be being bitten as there is standing water in the lotus pools.
Staff. Undoubtedly the resort’s greatest asset. Hamish, an Aussie, heads the Guest Relations Team; He is very approachable and friendly. We talked with him about the problems that the Resort had experienced in the refurbishment and he responded in a frank and factual manner about their problems. Our opinion on this resort was also sought by the Finance Director, Durga Prasad Pattanaik and the Head of Housekeeping, Senna. We were also engaged in conversation by Luis Rodrigo Zamora, the Exec. Sous Chef (an Argentinean Aussie). In every case, these directors and managers actively sought out and took on board our observations. Our assessment is that they have worked extremely hard and successfully to get this resort up and running.
The Maldivian staff were universally wonderful. The restaurant staff all come from one island (as a gang) and the bar staff from another. Look out for John, who can entertain children (and us!) with napkin folding ‘origami’, Shira, Ali, Christine, Rita, Shorty, Ruth – all of whom became our friends.
The housekeeping staff were great too. They work long hours preparing and trying to keep sand out of the rooms. Zara was our favourite. He went ‘the extra mile’ several times by making ‘swans’ of our bath towels and decorating our bed with flowers. This is something we have experienced before, but it was done excellently – and no, we are no longer honeymooners!
The coral sand on the beach is ‘groomed’ every day by a ‘flock’ of Maldivian ladies. The coral that gets washed up has to be collected and relocated. Suggest you bring some beach ‘jelly shoes’. As most of the floors and paths are sand, ladies forget your heels – sandals and flip-flops are the order of the day. Dress code is very casual.
Activities. The weekly crab race is a ‘hoot’. The fitness centre is excellent is well equipped and useful to burn off some of that lovely food. There ‘entertainment’ is a trio of local guitar players/singers who have an extensive repertoire – they roam the restaurant at dinner and will invite you to make requests. If you are looking for an active night-life, this resort is not for you, but there are 2 bars where you can enjoy a drink with friends pretty much all day.
In summary: This is an excellent resort in our experience. Whilst Centara have had teething problems, they are well aware of them and are speedily and proactively addressing them as fast as possible. In our two weeks stay there remained very little that we could fault them on. Well worth the 4+ star rating.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Tony_and_Chris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2010

My wife and I went here on our honeymoon on the 18th of January for a week on our honeymoon, and I have to say it was the perfect choice. We'd read some somewhat negative reviews in December, but these appear to have been due to an unfortunate atypical period of bad wheather that blighted the place's opening in November.

Perhaps partly because of the reviews, the resort was only about a quarter full, so despite the atol being so small as to be circumnavigated in 10 minutes at a stroll, we felt we almost had the place to ourselves.

We were in one of the Luxury Water Villas, facing west for the afternoon sun, and the villa was beautiful - a spacious designer appartment over the sea. The bathroom was large with a central freestanding bath and a wetroom shower and the bedroom/lounge, with it's super king four poster bed opened out onto a varanda with a step down to a sundeck that projected out over the sea.

From here steps took you down to the warm, clear sea, where the coral reef started litterally two metres away. From here you could snorkel 50m or so straight out to the reef drop off where the coral and sea life was stunning (The best I've seen anywhere). It was pure bliss to have this right at the end of your villa. A word of warning though, the swim out over the coral to the edge of the reef is hazardous without a mask and snorkel as in places it's very shallow and it's easy to scrape yourself on the coral if you can't see clearly to thread through it. Good quality masks, snorkel and fins are available for 13 usd per week from the watersports hut and for non swimmers, each villa has lifejackets, so you can float gently over the coral enjoying everything swimmers can enjoy.

We were on an all inclusive ceal and the food and drinks were all of a high standard. The Reef restaurant buffet food was great - a different theme every evening - Arabic, Maldivian, Japanese, Indian. We ate one evening in the Thai garden restaurant over the lilly pond and the food was excellent. House wines were fine, especially the sparkling white and the red and beers quality brands.

The staff were all extremely attentive, polite and helpful without being intrusive.

Negatives? Hardly any. The beach villas near the Reef restaurant have their area of sea directly in front protected by a breakwater made up of what appear to be concrete pipes which are a little unsightly, but the beauty of the rest of the place is stunning.

The fabulous free standing bath in the bathroom didn't get used, as it's very big and the hot water seemed to run out before you could fill it deep enough.

The water villas could do with their number being painted on the support posts at sea level, as it's all too easy to lose track of which is your villa when swimming back from snorkling.

For those that like laid on entertainment in the evening, there's not much. At dinner we had a trio of musicians on guitar circulating and the bar had an area obviously set up for bands to use, though we never saw it utilised (we were back in our villa by about 9.30 every night though).

Overall, a stunningly beautiful, friendly, relaxing high quality place, absolutely perfect for a honeymoon. We've been looking at the photos wishing we were back there.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ArnoldTheBulldog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2010

As an airline pilot I am frequently travelling abroad and staying at many different hotels. This is my first time at Maldives and second time at Centara Group Hotel. I can say that I am 100% satisfied. In terms of hospitality, I can say that this hotel's staff are extremelly helpfull and polite. I want to send my special thanks to the reception staff who really helped us to sort out our lost baggage problem. Me and my wife stayed at luxury sunset water villas for 1 week. The villas are located at west of island where we almost didn't experience any strong winds and very close to reef region. I counted 12 types of tropical fishes and the biggest one was approximately 60 cm in lenght. The villas are comfortable, and satified our daily needs. At the Reef Restaurant food was delicious. In addition to local cousine, every night they are offering one more cousine from a different country. The food did not vary so much but we enjoyed what we ate. There is an inclusive cocktail menu and most of the drinks that I like are on the list. My only suggestion to the hotel management can be improvement of nightlife at the hotel. We won't hesitate to stay at this hotel again and we suggest Centara Grand Resort and Spa Maldives to all our friends.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank High-Altitude78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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