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“A full review : Pros vs Cons for a family with young children”

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Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi
Ranked #4 of 107 Hotels in Ao Nang
Certificate of Excellence
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
59 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“A full review : Pros vs Cons for a family with young children”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 24, 2012

We are a British family of four with 2 young children aged 3 and 5, had to several holidays so far but this hotel and location topped our list. Here are some reasons why

LOCATION:

First and main reason is the location. If you googlemap the hotel, you will see it is a secluded bay betwen Aonang Beach and Rayleigh beach. There are no roads connecting the hotel to Aonang, so it is only accessible by a boat or a very difficult and sweaty "Monkey Trek". The hotel is cut off from everything with beautiful cliffs in the back and emerald green sea in front with a beaufitful rock formation in the left hand side of the bay as you will see from the pictures. No public access to the beach, so it is a private beach. The hotel is almost built in a jungle, which makes it very spectecular. The noise of the birds and insects during the day and night makes you feel as if you are in the amazons.

However, this also means, you CAN NOT, irrespective of what else you read on the other comments, go out and try local food and dishes whenever you want. Hotel food is "relatively expensive" The speed boat is a 10 minute connection to Aonang Pier which you need to pay fora Tuc-Tuc about 40 bahts per person to take to you Aonang centre (you can not walk from pier to centre) The speed boat must be booked, so sometimes, and obviously usually the peak times, it is fully booked. You must return in the evening, so if you miss the boat, you are literally stuck on the mainland. (or you pay a very high fee for a sea taxi) The speedboat is everyhour, and considering it raind almost everyday in the evening, it could be very choppy in the sea, and if waivy, unconfortable or you may even be soaked in sea water from spray. Point I am making is, we planned to have dinner outside toe hotel every night, and ended up having dinner outside once in 10 nights of our stay.

ROOM:

Very elegant, modern, granite rooms with (if you are lucky) spectacular views. The views are worth visiting the hotel for, check out the pictures attached.Every evening after having a bath/shower, slipping in to the prvided robes and having a drink watching he sunset on the balcony chais-lounges is what I will remember most of my holiday. Worth paying extra and having a deluxe or jacuzzi room with a view. Check the comments on the Room Review

3rd floor room had the best view but I did build up muscle carrying the the pushchairs up and down the stairs every morning/night

CLUB ROOM

We had really diffuculty understanding what this is, as the travel agent broker the agreement of including this option for free as the hotel withdrew it. We choose the option of having some cashback from travel agent for breaking the deal, and so glad we did. The open buffet breakfast was free, the internet,wi-fi in hotel (weak signal with at best 400 kbps connection) was £10 for the whole week, bed turndown service was included for free. So what else we missed - the club lounge, afternoon tea+cake, free coctails between certain hours. We the lounge is an air conditioned big room with no views, usually old couples sit in it eating cakes and drinking tea and the cocktails are about £5 in the hotel anyway (how many can you have in 1 hour), so no brainer, avoid it and spend the money saved, possible 4-5 nights of dinner money for the family.

POOL

Beautiful, 3 storey pool jacuzzi(more a whirlpool) on top creating a waterfall effect. Service button on all umbrellas so you dont even need to "shout out" to a waiter, kids pool.

Pool was not super clean, I was told there was an engineering problem, maybe they did maybe they didnt, but I wore googles in the pool and visibility was not great.

FOOD:

A big highlight for me, you have to pay for you dinner!! Menu's are not on the website, so here are some examples.
Lotus Court: Air conditioned (don't underestimate the importance in 32 degrees, 91% humidity), live piano, continental food - i.e. New Zealand Rack of Lambs served with roast veg etc.... £15, Sea Bass, £12, IGT status Pinot Grigio £18, Table Mountain Chenin Blanc £20. This is not cheap for Thailand, possibly 5 times more expensive than local resturant, and possible same or slight cheaper than UK prices. Food is served in MIchelen presentation, and in how many all inclusives can you get a wine selection with the proper red/white wine glassess for £20 a bottle.

Hagi: Either teppanyaki or A la carte, sushi/tempura dishes. First class food, similar prices

Riis Kai (can remember the spelling) Thai food. Very good quality, first class food.

Only 3, classy restaurants, the type you will have to get dressed up for.

On the Rocks: the pools side bar, or in the evening, you eat right next to the sea/beach, ery romantic but don't forget your mosquito spray. Quality of food, average, they asked me how well I wanted my burger cooked, but served in an almost stale bun. Slight cheaper prices.

DRINKS:

Very good quality, proper glasses/presentation. A fruit shake (mango, coconut - iceshakes, what you will drink everyday) in Thailand is normally 40 -50 Bhats, in the hotel 120, and slightly smaller amounts. You are entitled 2 bottles of water in your room - take them with you!

ACTIVITIES:

There arent any really, and the hotel really lack from advertising them. I read there was beach volley or thai boxing on a board some where , but never seen anyone doing it. More of a luxury/lazy type of resort. A top class fitness centre, and a spa that looks good (did not go in can not comment, a 1 hour Thai Massage outside the resort, 250 Bahts (£5) in the spa 2000 Bahts)

NATURE

Beautiful grounds, plantation, and botanical designs.
Wilde life: Yes there is, and kids love it, on our way to breakfast, we were cut off by a Water Monitor - 1.5 meters long, never seen on before. Several fish ponds, lizards climbing trees, tropical birds, and many many mosquitos, but the highlight - monkeys. There are signs everywhere warning not to feed them, so of course we stacked up on extra bananas every morning from breakfast and fed the monkeys. They may come to your room balcony, come to the trees around the resort, or you will definitely seem them on the "monkey trail". My first encounter with monkeys, look cute but they don't behave it. Very clever animals, as soon as they see the food, they come near you. we left our bags by the pool for lunch, when we came back, they have open the zips and went throught everything. If there is a male - he will not any other monkey near you and will eat all the food alone, and when you food finishes, will attack you!! I was attacked twice, so from then onwards, I carried a stick with me at all times. The signs are correct - don't feed them.

MONKEY TRAIL:

A path throught the hill/jungle connecting the resort to centre Aonang. It may sound great but not. A very heavy exercise 15 minute climbing up and down. A guy was seriously injured on the wooden steep steps when he slipped, and was in stiches. Its good fun once or twice but thats about it. You will be soaking wet at the end of it, due to heat and humidty, not very comfrotable, and I had to carry the kids most of the way.

TIPS:

The King has his Summer residence in a nearby bay, does that not it all about locations.
August is the jelly fish season, so you will not be able to swim. My wife got stung in April, imagine august.
Mosquito/insect sprays are a must, you will use them every night.
Rooms provided with quality, shampoo/conditioner/shower gel/lotion/dryer/umbrella etc..
Ask 3 people the same question about what time some thing is, you will get 3 answers, get used to it, language in Thaland in general is a problem
Phi Island and Hong Islands are worth seeing, but it is not hat you expect, very crowded and full of boats. Hong Islands - take food with you and they charge 200 Bahts to dock - per person
We took the hotel Kayaks (free for 1 hour, 485 baht half day) and went to next bay (Rayleigh Beach) which people take excursions to, you can do it in 15 - 20 minutes, a great mini adventure, and beautiful beaches.
The heat and humidty even in April for me was unbearable, don't bother with any trousers, socks, jumpers. You will have 3 showers a day
A good mix of middle/upper class mixture of customers staying, from all around the world (UK, Australia, Russia, Germany, Japan etc..) and many of them are families with children.
Very good food, and very expenside Thai prices, but comperable UK prices, break the tradition spend a little, its worth it.
Staff is very friendly/professional but almost all, including reception, broken English
Very romantic spot for couples

My first review of anything on Tripadvisor, I felt I had to write something, the Hotel deserves this effort. I have done extensive research before, and so glad it paid off.

Room Tip: Premium Deluxe room is where we stayed, on the left side of the Hotel - close walking distance. The...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Alp S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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Brighton
Level Contributor
19 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 24, 2012

Sitting in room 1295 writing this review on the last of 12 nights at Centara Krabi. Overall we have had a very nice relaxing time here, but there are issues which would mean I would probably not travel here again. We have had access to 'the club' duringnour stay, massive plus and definitely worth the money. We haggled a decent price on check in and got breakfast, lunch, afternoon and evening snacks and unlimited soft drinks and water all day for around 9GBP per day each. Great value. Another plus is he view from room 1295, sea views from the lower blocks are just as good as the top. We moved from high on the cliff on 3rd night due to baby screaming non stop for 2 days next door.

The main pool and the relaxing pool alomng by the thai restauran are both great, but sunbed race is very real and very annoying if your not down by 9:30ish. Theres room for rows of extra beds on beach, no idea why they dont have any down there. The kayaking is great fun and heading out past the stack you will come into Railay bay with some beautiful scenery.

The boats to ao nang are great fun and no problem to book. All part of the experience.

The scenery is breathtaking looking out to sea but the water near shore is dirty and my girlfriend was bitten by something in the sea on several occassions. Midge like bites all up her legs and body. There is also los of washed up rubbish like cars and plastic bags, making low tide a bit of an eyesore on some days.

All in all a nice holiday, but this hotel does not offer enough to keep you happy in an isolated environment.

Special mention to Kai, the young lady working in 'the club' lounge. What a lovely person, so helpful and always smiling.

If you want a quiet spa experience, this is not it. Good spot for family holidays, not a patch on Centara villas Samui.

Room Tip: Sea view is an absolute must. 1295 is superb for great views and short flat walk to all facilities
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
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    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank JasonGargan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 24, 2012

My boyfriend and I just returned from a 6 night stay at Centara Grand following a week stay in Phuket. We arrived at the hotel on Friday 13th April which was Thai New Year so we got to experience the water fight and celebrations by the pool which was fun.

Our pick up and boat ride to the hotel was very pleasant and quick. The floating pier which has been mentioned a lot in previous reviews is really not bad at all and very wide so no need to be scared of falling in. Check in was very quick and the staff were very friendly and informative.

We booked an ocean view deluxe room (1053) and were very happy with the location as we were about half way back which was close enough to the lobby, restaurants, pool etc. but far enough that it was very peaceful. The rooms are very well appointed and had everything you could need other than perhaps an iron and ironing board which housekeeping will bring very quickly if you need one. The wrap around balconies with ceiling fans and sun loungers is a really nice touch as you feel like you have an outdoor area to relax or sunbathe whilst being right by your room. The bathrooms are really something with a large bath and huge rainfall shower as well as a separate dressing area.

We did experience the monkeys on several occasions, usually in the mornings when they come down from the jungle in search of food. The babies are very cute but the adults can be quite intimidating when they are looking for food. Definitely keep your door locked at all times as they managed to get into the room across from ours and left with all kinds of goodies from the minibar. They look cute but don't be fooled, if you feed them they will only keep coming back to your room.

We only ate at the hotel at lunch time (On The Rocks and Lotus Court) as there were so many restaurants in Ao Nang that we wanted to experience which were also a fraction of the cost. We found Thailandia and Tandoori Nights to be pretty good (near McDonalds.) As the hotel is only reachable by boat or the infamous monkey trail, you do have to plan your days in advance but it’s not too much of a hassle. We found it safest to book the shuttle boat the evening before in order to ensure that we got the times we wanted as you have to book the journey there and back in one. Your only other option is to hire a longtail boat which costs around 150 baht pp. Once arriving at the pier in Ao Nang, you have to take a tuk tuk into town (about 5-7 minutes.) This costs 40 baht pp but we normally gave the driver a 100 baht note.

We did various snorkeling and island hopping trips booked through the hotel which were all great, Hong Island was particularly beautiful. Although beware of the jellyfish! We were also interested in booking a Thai cooking lesson so we looked into the one at the hotel but it was very expensive (almost 3,000 baht pp.) We therefore asked guest services to help us to find a cookery school in Ao Nang which might be cheaper and they kindly helped us find Ao Nang Cookery School. We booked an evening cooking lesson (6:30 – 9pm) which cost us 1,300 baht pp and was outstanding. It is run by a husband and wife team who collected us at the pier and took us to the cookery school they have set up at their home in Ao Nang town. I have never been to a school with a more beautiful view. We watched the sunset over the jungle and could hear gibbons hooting as we cooked! It’s a great way to spend an evening as you get to keep the cooking book and obviously eat the dinner you cook so no need to go elsewhere afterwards.

The only negative we found for the hotel was the spa. We were really looking forward to having some treatments (a massage and a facial both of which were 2,000+ baht each) however were sorely disappointed with our treatments. Neither of us felt that the treatment was done properly and left feeling we had been totally ripped off. We had had better treatments in the cheap spas that you will find in Ao Nang (Let’s Sea, Let’s Relax is good value.) Don’t forget when you’re signing for things at the hotel that you are paying 17% tax on top of the price or you will have a shock when you get your bill at the end!

Overall I would definitely recommend this hotel, it’s a true 5*s and we had a very relaxing stay. We would definitely stay at Centara again if we return to Krabi.

Room Tip: Try not to get a room too far back as it will mean more steps to climb and the creep crawlies can be...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Selina88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bedford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 23, 2012

Agree with many comments on other reviews, wonderful location, fantastic food and lovely room. Monkey trail not for the faint hearted for the young and agile only. Customer Service very good and do their best to help though need to follow through. Especially Pui, gives understanding and total respect will go far in the future.

We enjoyed the jetty but if at all nervous of boats and water not for you.

Management need to look at the pool area, some sunbeds and umbrellas broken (this is classed as a 5 star resort should be immaculater) area needs general house keeping.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank holidytramps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
england
Level Contributor
59 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 23, 2012

I won't post a long review : we had a wonderful time at this hotel, the views were stunning, the staff were so helpful and the service excellent, our room was stylish and comfortable. The monkeys were great fun and we enjoyed meeting them in both our room and on the infamous monkey trail! Yes, sometimes we did have to think how to get into Ao Nang but it was all part of the fun.
Full marks to the Centara group for looking after us when we were stranded out of the hotel during the Tsunami scare.
We enjoyed the kayaks, the Hobie and just chilling by the 'relax pool' which rarely had any children in it.
Overall : a great hotel and would recommend it !

Room Tip: Must have an ocean view!
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ka_bee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 22, 2012

We stayed at the Centara Grand Resort over Easter 2012 and had a fantastic holiday. You reach the hotel via boat and it's a fantastic experience arriving at the pontoon on the beach and realising the hotel is set beneath a magnificent backdrop of cliffs and a forest with monkeys (we also briefly spotted a gibbon). We had a lovely premium deluxe room which was set quite high up and had views over the sea and of the fantastic limestone rock. The staff at the hotel are brilliant, so helpful. There was the occasional thing that got lost in translation (we asked for a rollaway bed for our 10 year old and they arrived 15 minutes later with rolls of bread...the staff member also thought this was hilarious!). There are two pools and the main was is great and a welcome break from the hot weather. We stayed on a bed and breakfast basis and the breakfast was good with a range of western and eastern foods on offer. We also ate at the hotel twice during our 10 night stay and the food was good (desserts are a little on the average side). There's a nice bar beneath the hotel with good cocktails too. We regularly ate out in Ao Nang (book the hotel boat in advance - as other reviewers say, it gets booked up quickly). We'd highly recommend Chabba Thai Kitchen in Ao Nang which did great Thai food and was very reasonably priced. We hired a speedboat with another family and took a trip to Hong Island which was spectacular and much quieter than Phi Phi. We rarely stay at the same place twice but would definitely visit the Centara again. A couple of people have mentioned the sunbed situation - there aren't enough beds around the pool but if there were more, it would be very crowded. We raised this when we were there and the staff did deal with it, removing towels left on beds by guests from the night before in an effort to reserve a space.

Room Tip: Higher rooms have fab views and ours had two balconies (room 1156)
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank squarad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Basingstoke
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 22, 2012

Fantastic hotel, we could not fault it. If you want a bit of luxury, we got upgraded for 2 nights to the royal villa ! , I have never stayed in a suite like it ! Truly amazing.

Really great hotel/resort, staff fantastic.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Simonwoodman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GeneralManagerCKBR, General Manager at Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi, responded to this review, April 23, 2012
Dear Simonwoodman
Thank you for sharing your thoughts following your recent stay at our resort.
I was so pleased to read that you enjoyed the upgrade to the Royal Villa.
I trust we can welcome you back to the Centara Grand when you are next in Krabi.
best regards
David Martens
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi

Property: Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi
Address: 396-396/1 Moo 2, Ao Nang, | Amphur Muang, Ao Nang, Krabi Town 81180, Thailand
Location: Thailand > Krabi Province > Krabi Town > Ao Nang
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Ao Nang
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Ao Nang
#3 Luxury Hotel in Ao Nang
#3 Family Hotel in Ao Nang
#5 Romantic Hotel in Ao Nang
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi 5*
Number of rooms: 192
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hidden away in secluded Pai Plong Bay and surrounded by emerald waters and a luxuriant national park, this five-star beachfront resort is a tropical paradise for those seeking a romantic hideaway or a relaxing stay with their family. The resort instils an air of understated luxury with generously-sized rooms and private villas ranging in size from 72 to 399 square metres and offering the option of garden or ocean views, an outdoor Jacuzzi, or a plunge pool. Designed in modern Thai style, with high ceilings, spacious living areas dominated by wooden accents, stone features and soothing colours, the rooms and villas are calm oases. Accessible by boat only, the resort offers an abundance of opportunities to relax and explore. To name a few: unwind with blissful spa treatments at Spa Cenvaree, savour Thai, Japanese, and International cuisines at one of the four restaurants, enjoy complimentary water sports (kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding – the first hour is free), lounge with one of the swimming pools while the kids are kept busy at the kids clubs, enjoy carefree days on the white sands of Pai Plong Bay. With warm waters with extraordinary underwater visibility, beautiful coral formations and an exotic marine life, the Andaman Sea is a tropical paradise for diving enthusiasts and those with with a longing for more holiday thrills. The experts at the resort’s PADI dive centre provide everything that is needed for beginners, those with medium skills, and expert divers. Krabi International Airport is 40 minutes away from Nopparatthara pier which is approximately 15 minutes from the resort by boat. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Centara Grand Beach Resort And Villas
Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hotel Ao Nang
Centara Grand Beach Hotel
Centara Grand Beach Krabi
Central Krabi Hotel
Central Krabi Bay Resort
Central Bay Resort Krabi
Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi Ao Nang

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