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Experimentee
Melbourne, Australia

Best resort ever!

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed Sep 30, 2012
I stayed two nights at Centara Grand in a Premium Deluxe room and wish I could have stayed longer! It is easily the best resort I have ever stayed at in my life, and I have stayed at a quite a few.

On arrival at the office in Ao Nang they took us to the pier, where White, the friendly transport manager, took us by boat to the resort. We landed on the floating pier, which was fun to walk on though it may be scary for some people.

An annoyance was that we arrived at the stated check in time of 2pm, but we were told the room was not ready, and had to wait about an hour for the room to be ready.

However when we finally got to our room we were not disappointed! The room was modern and beautiful, furnished with bright tasteful colours. The bathroom was very spacious and modern. The bathtub was large and I enjoyed a heavenly bath in that tub every night. There was a big balcony at the front and also a side balcony. The sea view from the room was absolutely stunning, one of the best views ever.

I was initially a bit hesitant to book this resort as I had concerns with ease of access to and from Ao Nang, but I did not regret it, as the beautiful setting more than made up for the inconvenience. It was inconvenient as is true that the boats are not very regular and fill up quickly. There are other ways to get to and from the resort, such as the monkey trail, but I would not have done that at night. On the first day after checking into the hotel, we went out to Ao Nang in the evening, and just missed the boat at 9.30pm back to the resort. We telephoned the hotel to book a place on the next boat, which was at 10.30pm, and they said that was fine. However after waiting one hour at the pier, when we tried to board the next boat we were denied as we did not have tickets. There was another couple who had lost their tickets and were also denied. We had to call the resort again and put them on the phone to the boat people to clear up the confusion, and only after that we were allowed on the boat. This was definitely very frustrating.

For this reason I would not recommend this resort to people who want to frequently travel to Ao Nang and do not have a set timetable about when they will leave and come back, as everything really needs to be planned early and you really need to be on time for the boats or it can be very frustrating.

However the resort is so beautiful compared to Ao Nang that you do not really want to leave the resort that often. The beauty of the resort really outweighs all the annoyances I had with the staff.

The monkeys were very cute and a joy to watch, and were one of the best things about the resort.

There is a beautiful beach out the front of the resort, and there are activities such as kayaking, which I did one day. The kayaking is free for an hour, which was more than enough for me. The swimming pools were great, and had a view to the sea. We went during low season, and we did not have any trouble at all getting sunbeds by the pool or on the beach.

The restaurants at the resort were very good. I ate at the Lotus Court, Hagi, and Rim Saai and was not disappointed with the quality of the food, but the prices were very expensive, bordering on exorbitant for some things. At Hagi I had the best duck sushi I have ever eaten in my life. At Rim Saai the green curry I had was very spicy and a very small serving, but the Tom Kha soup was delicious. At the Lotus Court the seafood meal I had was very good, and we also had the icecream made fresh at your table with liquid nitrogen. It was a great experience to see the icecream being made in front of your eyes. The final product was good, but I have had better icecream and I'm not sure it was worth the $17 for each icecream, a total of $35!

The breakfast buffet was fantastic, it had a wide range of food and something for everyone. The food in the buffet was of a good quality.

This truly is an excellent resort, the best I have ever stayed at, but still could be improved by having more regular boat services, so it isn't so hard to get to and from the resort, and by having the rooms ready more promptly upon check in. This would be perfect for anyone who just likes to stay in the resort and relax, as there could not be a more beautiful and relaxing setting. I would highly recommend it even to people who like to go to town (like myself), as all the positives outweigh the difficulty of access.
Date of stay: August 2012
Room Tip: Choose a room with a sea view
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
3.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
4.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
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GeneralManagerCKBR, General Manager at Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi, responded to this review
Responded Oct 9, 2012
Dear Experimentee Melbourne

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts following your recent stay at our resort.

It is always a pleasure to read comments about our staff and thank you for acknowledging Khun Whites efforts at the boat pier. We have passed these comments onto him, which are greatly appreciated.

Please accept my apologies for the delay in getting into your room on arrival, we will try harder for this not to happen again.

The chef was also pleased to read that you enjoyed the food in all the outlets..

Once again we are pleased you enjoyed your overall stay and thank your for your support and recognition and we look forward to welcoming you back when you are next in Krabi

Kind regards, David Martens
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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Reviews (6,258)
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Reviewed September 29, 2012

This has the potential to be the ultimate romantic getaway, set in breathtaking surroundings away from the main town. Our experience was mixed, some aspects of this resort were very good but others need serious attention, including being ignored by management when issues are raised - they try to fob you off.

The positives...
The resort is in a beautiful setting, surrounded by national park and has dramatic landscapes and scenery.
The staff in restaurants were good, cheerful and the level of service was good overall.
Rooms are spacious, well furnished (although TVs are dated and without DVD option).
Wildlife is interesting and varied: monitor lizards, squirrels, monkeys, frogs, gekkos etc as well as the resident monkeys.
The food in the Thai restaurant is excellent although overpriced (dinner for 2 with cheap wine £100).
Local town has excellent and very reasonably priced restaurants - as you would expect in a country where food is very cheap.

The negatives...
Access is difficult to say the least when the weather is wet. The monkey trail becomes slippery and dangerous whilst the pontoon to get to the boat is like a theme-park ride. It is not easy to negotiate in poor weather, even for fit healthy young adults, and some have been known to get tossed into the sea! This needs highlighting in brochures as some guests found it too scary to consider and remained int the hotel for the duration of their holiday.
There was a constant overwhelming smell of blocked drains/sewerage at the rear of the "On the rocks" beach bar.
Unfortunately we were there in the rainy season which the hotel is inadequately prepared for. If it rains there are only 6 dry seats at the beach bar area so socialising is constrained and people tend to go to their rooms.
The gym area was completely flooded and most common areas including restaurants suffered from leaking roofs.
The housekeeping leaves a lot to be desired as rooms were not always cleaned effectively - on several days we had to call at 5pm or thereabouts as rooms were not made up and clean towels, toilet rolls, bottled water had run out.
In-room service crockery is not collected so dirty dishes are left for days!
Watch out for service charges of 10% - plus VAT. This is applied to things like Spa treatments as well as food so not displayed in price lists.
Overall prices are extortionate for an area where food ingredients, wages, costs etc are very low.
If the weather is bad then many guests felt "trapped" at the hotel due to the access limitations and found their costs rising rapidly, along with boredom levels as there is little to do.
Workmen carried out noisy repairs to a room below ours with no warning, waking us up and continued for much of the day, no warning/excuse/apology was forthcoming from management.
Inconsistent levels of service - some guests had no water in rooms, waiter service at beach area favoured some guests while ignoring others. The shuttle service to the main pier/town kept guests waiting at times with inadequate excuses or reason - not dealt with by management following complaints. The boat can also get cancelled leaving guests stranded!

Ao Nang is an area worth recommending but check the weather forecasts and be prepared for sudden changes. Local facilities are good but Centara is not all it claims to be.

Room tip: Be aware of access to the resort - and also some rooms require physical fitness levels above average.
Date of stay: September 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
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6  Thank Kris B
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
GeneralManagerCKBR, General Manager at Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi, responded to this reviewResponded October 1, 2012

Dear KrisB

Thank you for taking the time to share your comments on this forum following your recent stay at our resort.

I am sorry to read that we did not meet your expectations and for not being able to deal with you directly as my team know I am always available to meet guests and follow up any concerns they may have.

I acknowledge that the resort is not ideally designed for heavy rain as most of the public areas are designed on traditional thai open air salas.

Unfortunately we did experience a problem in the gymnasium building with a broken down pipe which caused the gym to flood. It has since been repaired.

The information regarding our location and access, including the details of boat schedule changes and cancellation due to weather conditions is listed on our website. I am sorry if you were not aware of this or if you travel agent has not informed you of this.

I have also taken note of your comments regarding housekeeping, the odour from behind the beach restaurant and I will follow this up further to ensure they are rectified.

Once again please accept my apologies that you were unable to resolve your concerns during you stay, but we do appreciate your feedback.

Best regards, David Martens

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 27, 2012

Beautiful setting and rooms are nice. It really only deserves 3 stars from me but the surroundings are so amazing I had to up it. It's starting to get a little bit tired and I would say it's 4 star rather than 5 star but mainly because the service lets it down. Most of the staff at the various restaurants are very off-hand. You could lie round the pool all day and no-one would come and ask you if you wanted anything. Even when you go to them, you'd be lucky to get a smile. The food at the International, Japanese and Thai restaurants is very good.
Prices are high but the Baht Bonanza thing helps.
The monkeys scare the hell out of you at first - they came in our room, opened the mini bar doors and ran off with the nuts! And they check the doors all the time to see if you've locked them which is a pain if you just want to lie out on your deck - which we didn't because the squabs on our loungers were covered in mildew. We bought a slingshot from town and they got the message and left us alone after a couple of near misses. I think the best thing to tell people would be to stand up to them straight away - they seem to sense fear and can hiss at you with their horrible little teeth showing which is frightening.
Kids club is weird - it's downstairs in a dark windowless room. But it's fine if it's raining. The ladies will babysit at night for you but they charge 350 Baht (which is more than I pay at home).
The floating jetty is scary scary when it's rough.
The monkey trail only takes 20 minutes and is a bit steep but we enjoyed walking it (although did see a poisonous snake). No one told us that it's only a 5 minute walk around the rocks at low tide -we discovered this on the last day!
Basically, I wouldn't send very old or lazy people there. The entire resort has stairs everywhere, but you eat so much that it's good to get the heart rate up.
Ao Nang is much calmer and prettier than Kamala and Patong for sure - I would go back to that area in a heartbeat. Not sure if I would return to Centara but only because of staff. It's a shame because the setting they have is Golden, better than any other in the area and it could and should be a 5 star place.
For $60 NZD we got a guy to take 5 of us in a longtail boat to Phra Nang beach at Railay and he hung out there all day until we wanted to go home. That place is amazing, and we had lunch at the Rayavadee Resort on the beach which was STUNNING. That place is very very special.

Date of stay: August 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank KiwiNessB
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
GeneralManagerCKBR, General Manager at Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi, responded to this reviewResponded October 1, 2012

Dear KiwiNessB

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts following your recent stay at our resort.

Please accept our sincere apologies that the poolside staff did not meet with your expectations.

Yes the monkeys are a challenge to manage and that is why we instruct all guests as well as place signs in all our rooms not to feed the monkeys. However as you can imagine guests thinks it is novel and cute to feed them until they will not disappear and then wonder why the monkeys return and start to show their teeth when you wont feed them.

Yes you can walk to Ao Nang via the sea but this is on very few occasions, depending on the time of year and tides times. It is not mentioned as it is very irregular.

The chef was pleased to read that you mentioned the food in all the restaurants was very good.

Once again many thanks for your comments and I trust you would consider staying with us again when you are next in Krabi, so we may demonstrate that we have taken your feedback on board and improved the service by the pool.

Best regards, David Martens

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Reviewed September 24, 2012

We stayed in this hotel in April and had a fantastic time spoiled only slightly by tsunami warning.
It was very scary but staff dealt with a “problem” calmly and reassuringly.
The setting is stunning and a view from our balcony was an absolutely “postcard perfect”.Rooms are spacious ,beds really comfy,shower pressure brilliant. Being woken up by monkeys is an added bonus (remember to keep your balcony door securely closed-the furry friends are very clever and learned to open the door in space of a few seconds).
Breakfast is plentifull and some items change daily, restaurants are hit and miss and quite expensive. However just a short and really not to strenous walk on a famous monkey trail will lead you to Ao Nang and fantastic seafood restaurants and plenty of massage parlours.The other way is by long tail boat(charges) or by resort’s speed boat which you have to book early.
Staff is very nice(apart from some in club lounge).Overall the only major problem is Club Lounge which is definitely not the standard as other Centara Hotels-we’ve been to three others where Club Lounge was a pleasure to be .Service and food was superior to the Krabi offer and I think that a major improvment is needed as the cost of Club facilities is high (bigger room and much better choice of food).Otherwise the place is amazing , peacefull , tranquil ,secluded and
highly recomended.

Date of stay: April 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
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5  Thank jtex7
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
GeneralManagerCKBR, General Manager at Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi, responded to this reviewResponded September 30, 2012

Dear jtex7

Thank you for taking the time to share your comments following your stay at our resort in April of this year.

I was pleased to read you were satisfied how we handled the tsunami warning although it was a big learning curve for me as I had only joined the resort a few weeks prior to this alert.

I cannot explain what happened with your Club experience back then, but what I can say is that the Club lounge is now getting the highest guest satisfaction results in all the resort from our guest surveys.

Once again many thanks for your feedback and recognition and I trust we will get to see you again when you are next in Krabi

Yours sincerely, David Martens

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Reviewed September 24, 2012

Totally love the place, We had a great room, nice view, clean and tidy. Staff were more than friendly and always willing to help. House keeping were always on top of things. Was amusing watching the monkeys do their morning raids trying to get into the rooms. It annoys some people but they seem to forget that the resort is actually located in a national park.
Maybe a suggestion to have a fixed jetty out the front, i did see a few people struggle to walk on it.
Restaurants were great, food was a little bit pricey but food quality was great.
Monkey trail was a little awkward to walk on, you need to really watch where you step.
Resort is close to town but is good as you have your own privacy from other tourists and people. A good place to relax ....

Date of stay: September 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Karen H
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
GeneralManagerCKBR, General Manager at Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi, responded to this reviewResponded September 26, 2012

Dear Karen H

Thank you for sharing your comments on this forum following your recent stay at our resort.
I am glad to read you enjoyed your overall stay.

In regards to your comments about the floating jetty, unfortunately due to the national marine park, the local authorities will not allow any fixed structures in the water, which is one of the draw backs of having such a amazing and unique location.

The monkeys are always a common topic in the resort and can be amusing most of the time.

Once again thank your for your support and recognition and we look forward to welcoming you back when you are next in Krabi

Kind regards David Martens

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Reviewed September 23, 2012

The hotel is excellant,location is ideal ,the staff fantastic,We would like to thank Yok,Toy,Jack,Caroline,the Buzz band and all the people who worked really hard at the Centara and made it the most special holiday!
The restuarants and service is brilliant,breakfast buffet ace,we had fun on the pontoon and on the monkey trail !!!
I would readily recommend this place and would go back!

Easy access to some of the most stunning islands and sights I have ever seen !

Room tip: Go for a spa room tub room!
Date of stay: August 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank rob f
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
GeneralManagerCKBR, General Manager at Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi, responded to this reviewResponded September 26, 2012

Dear rob f

Thank you for sharing your comments on this forum following your recent stay at our resort.
It was a pleasure to read you enjoyed your stay and thank you for acknowledging the efforts of Khun Yok, Toy, Jack, Caroline and the band, these comments have been passed onto them and they are greatly appreciated.

We truly appreciate your support and recognition and look forward to welcoming you back when you are next in Krabi

Kind regards David Martens

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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