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“Superb location but paradise it is not, but the shame is it could be!”

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Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi
Ranked #4 of 107 Hotels in Ao Nang
Certificate of Excellence
Yeovil, Somerset
Level Contributor
38 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Superb location but paradise it is not, but the shame is it could be!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 20, 2008

We had travelled down from Bangkok after spending 4 days there recovering from the flight from London Heathrow with Thai Airlines (but that is a different story so won't go there!).
The flight from Bangkok to Krabi was boring but uneventful.
The meet and greet at Krabi airport was just about perfect although there was a slight delay awaiting the minibus collecting us.
A fairly long drive to AONang during which time we spent a comfortable half an hour or so checking in prior to being transferred by boat to the hotel itself. I cannot see the need for this part of the process why can the check in not be at the Centara resort as would be the case with most hotels? Waste of time and must add to the cost.
The boat trip on a plush fast cruiser designed for the job and leaving from a dry walk along the hard beach at the very far end of AONang and up a ladder into the boat was fine.
On arrival at the resort the weather was perfect and calm and we disembarked via the pontoon and our cases were offloaded and taken to our beautiful apartment as were we by electric golf cart very impressive. The apartment had absolutely stunning views out to sea from the next to last tier of apartment blocks at the rear of the resort. Rather a long walk but we had no problem with that because the staff would always transfer you by golf cart when you requested it and they and the golf carts were available which was about an 80% success rate.
So far so good we felt the 5* rating was looking spot on, little did we know, actually this is a lie because we don't go anywhere without looking at the comments on Trip Advisor so we were prepared for what came next.
We ate in the restaurant that night as we were tired from the journey and wanted time to get our bearings. The food was OK but definitely not five star, the bill was five star ++. The plus plus you get used to if you stay on the resort as it accompanies every meal, snack, ice cream, drink in fact anything except our breakfast because that was an inclusive for our stay. The ++ means they add tax and tip charges to the bill!
However the food in AONang is cheap covers any standard and type of food you could wish for although delivered in typically Thai eating houses but there is nothing wrong with that you are in Thailand so what do you expect. So where is the catch?
How to get there is the catch, by the free resort shuttle boats from the pontoon is OK IF:
1 You can get a seat booked (the night before is just about essential and you have to decide what time you are going and be careful there is a large gap around 1200 - 1400). And decide when you are coming back they do not run too much later than midnight. Also wear shorts because the boat lands at the beach and grounds some 50 yards from the shoreline and you have to wade the rest of the way in, we had fun some other less able people did not see the funny side of this!
2 You can pay for a private (ish) high tail taxi to take you there its only 400 Baht to go to AONang but much cheaper coming back its only 80! Could this be because you are trapped on the resort otherwise paying the very 5*++ prices for everything so are willing to pay just about anything to get away!
3 You can walk, you need to be fit as some of the steps on the walkway over the rocks at the end of the resort can be a bit of a challenge, you need to not be afraid of monkeys as the colony guard the route (they do not bite we were told, but they do steal and especially food and this we witnessed). The resort security staff check names and numbers as you walk out but this seemed to be dependant on whom was on duty rather than a routine situation!
4 At low tide (and calm) you can wade around the point of the rocks in the sea as it is only ankle deep then, at any other time don't as it is about 10 feet deep at high water!

I have added some photos and hopefully they will give an insight into what I am saying. Would I go again OH YES it was fantastic. The resort could make this holiday into paradise and several people we met who are well travelled in Thailand agreed there are some better 5* resorts around but few can beat the views this one offers it is just let down by the feeling of being trapped and fleeced by the resort. If the management lowered their prices and put the whole of the price up front on the menus there would be many more people who would not bother to go into AONang and would enjoy their break that much better. We were advised to try Ko Samui next time and we will!

The very good points from Centara were the accommodation was great although the beds were rather hard and we have seen some other 'trip adviser' reviews that agree that to be the case; also the light switches seemed to be all over the place and took us days to find them all. The shower was a bit low pressure but it was wet which was what was required. The very posh electric sun blinds were totally useless as they had to stay selected down permanently or the next apartment could look straight into yours. There were plenty of sun beds but the location of them by the time breakfast was finished was less certain and the good old towels and books placed on beds worked fine and they were not all Germans it was just that they scored their penalties more often and therefore won the best positions most of the time!
The view is absolutely stunning, the weather 32 through 37 degrees for 10 days with one day of a little rain and it was just lovely!

  • Liked — The view
  • Disliked — The prices
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank ValandNeil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 19, 2008

There have been some very interesting comments I've read on here and now that I've been to the Centara, I feel compelled to write my review straight away. I hope the following is helpful...
Location/Getting to and from
The resort location is absolutely stunning- surrounded by tall cliffs and lush rainforest. The only way to nearby Ao Nang is by resort boat or via the walkway. We never had a problem getting spots on the resort boats, although we did book in the mornings so it means you have to plan your day a bit. The walkway is quite ricketty- quite steep in spots and there are gaps between the wooden slats. We saw a variety of young and old taking the walkway but probably not advisable if you're not sure-footed. The problem I had with the walkway were the numerous monkeys we encountered on the railings!! A German couple told us to just walk straight past but I saw one of the monkeys swipe at someone. We were also told to hold bags close to our bodies as they would try to snatch them! So we avoided the pathway from then on! The boat was fine though and the pontoon, as others have said, was a bit unsteady, especially if other boats were leaving/arriving. The only way you'd fall into the water (as others have mentioned) would be if you were walking right near the edge. I liked the fact that the resort was 'cut off' from the town as it meant the beach at the resort is just used by guests of the hotel- and no beach sellers! The beach itself is immaculate (even the leaves are swept up each morning by 2 lovely, smiley Thai ladies) and the water was a perfect temperature. There is a spot sectioned off just for swimming. The beach water wasn't as clear as I'd hoped but found it was nicer to swim in the morning, as it was a bit more churned up in the afternoon when the tide was coming in. Still gorgeous to swim in (I wouldn't really snorkel there), especially to swim out quite far and then float looking back up at the cliffs- gorgeous!!
Resort and Grounds
Lovely, lovely! There are 2 pools- the main pool is 3-tiered and has the majority of sunbeds around it. You get a great view from this pool and the beach bar is right nearby. The other pool is further along the beach and is smaller and quieter. We liked this one the best- it had a deep section and some 'benches' around 2 of the sides for just lying around in the pool. The grounds are beautifully kept and lush with loads of tropical flowers. The resort is quite steep but this makes for better views! And there is the option of golf cart transportation. The buildings/grounds are all immaculate (I never noticed litter by the pool or rusty umbrellas- they worked fine for us!) and open-aired.
Rooms
Our room was perfect! We were 'upgraded'- I think this meant we got a room with 2 double beds, even though it was just my husband and I on holiday. I loved the bathrooms- the shower was fabulous and a big, deep bathtub. We had a lovely big balcony which we watched sunsets from, but because we were on the top floor with no shade, it was too hot to sit up there during the day. There is a great side section off the balcony with a table and chairs and a daybed, which is shaded and has a ceiling fan. The aircon worked fine for us- cool, easily controlled and quiet. We tried to sleep one night without the aircon- with the fans and doors open- but there was a loud noise, either from generators or other rooms' air con units, so we didn't really have a choice to not use them. I would recommend requesting a room away from the large generator (?) on the walkway side of the resort. There were some rooms right next to this machine/maintenance section which wouldn't be so nice.
Restaurants
There was a huge choice of restaurants. We only had 4 nights at the resort, and we arrived very late at night so ordered room service. Delicious pad thai! We also ate at the Thai restaurant- beautiful spot, candlelit- food was average- huge portions though. We ate lunch by the pool each day and thought it was fine. Your usual poolside fare- club sandwiches, pizzas, etc- and I thought it was reasonably priced. I would never come to a resort and expect eating at the restaurants there to be cheap. Of course going in to Ao Nang was cheaper, though you don't get the service or the beautiful location like you do at the resort. And yes, the minibar is expensive- but when are they ever cheap??
Staff
I can't understand some of the comments other people have made about the staff. In every case we found them to be polite and helpful and very friendly. Whenever we phoned for ice or something else it arrived quite promptly. Our room was cleaned nicely each day and someone came each evening for the turn down, complete with little flowers on our bed. The tours/activities desk was efficient and booked us a great day trip to Phi Phi Island. One of the best things about the resort were the staff!
All in all, we loved our 4 nights at the Centara. It is quite a large resort with scheduled activities so don't go expecting a quiet, secluded hotel. Expect to pay a bit more for eating at the hotel and don't go if you don't like the 'remoteness' of the hotel. Go for a great resort in a stunning location, with friendly, helpful staff and lovely, comfortable rooms.

  • Liked — Stunning location, beach, staff, rooms
  • Disliked — Searching for sunbeds
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank TahitiGirl07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 16, 2008

This 2 year old hotel is superb. If you want 5* luxury accomodation, with breathtaking views and no beach sellers, then this is the hotel for you. We stayed with our 2 young children for 5 days at the end of our 2 week Thai holiday and we were glad we did. Service is Excellent, the food is great, especially the Japanese restaurant. Choice of food variety is brilliant- 5 restaurants and 5 theme buffet nights or a-la-cart. We managed to book on half board which for 5 nights was not expensive. Many people comment on the high cost of food and drink, but if you are from a country with a strong currency then it is not really that expensive. The additional cost for drinks, lunch and 2 full Spa treatments and room upgrade cost £500 for the 5 days, so people don't grumble about it, the location and service are worth it and No-one tries to sell you anything at this hotel. The pools are perfect, the kids club was ok and kept our 7 year old entertained.
The Executive Head Chef was always around and happy to talk to people and check things were being done well.
The hotel staff are generally very very polite and efficient. I would recommend paying for upgraded rooms on the 3rd floor (Premium Ocean deluxe) and booked directly with the hotel cost £100 extra for the week.

In short: Excellent 5* Hotel, will be returning definately.

  • Liked — Location and facilities
  • Disliked — had to leave
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank 2fly-away
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 16, 2008

We had a lovely time at Centara, the view from our room was fantastic (1146) and we have a lovely jacuzzi on the balcony which had the sun from around 12 - 6 so perfect if you want to get away and spend sometime in the sun alone. The room itself was stunning and up to such a high standard.

Food was amazing at all the restaurants especially the Thai one, simply delicious! Breakfast was fantastic a real feast.

Only problems were, as most people say, the check in in Krabi which takes rather a long time when all you want to do after a long flight is go straight to the hotel. The staff were slightly rude and seemed to be a bit lazy, but this could be due to lack of training or the language barrier. I think it would be best if there were a few more staff around the pool, as the area is so large and maybe go round offering people iced water as they do at other 5* resorts, espcially as it is so hot there.

Overall, we had the most fantastic time and really enjoyed ourselves and the hotel was brilliant and in such an amazing location. If you go pop over to Railay Bay in a long boat for some delicious food or Ao Nang for some shopping.

We will be back!

  • Liked — The qaulity and view from the room and the food
  • Disliked — The staff's attitude at times
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Blonds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Henley
Level Contributor
135 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 11, 2008

This was our 2nd visit to the Centara (the first being in 2006) and we enjoyed it just as much as the first time round.

The check in procedure seems to have become a little more convoluted but the new way round does keep your feet dry. The check in is in Ao Nang, they then drive you 2-3 miles away from the hotel to a pier where you get a speedboat to the hotel.

This time around we had a basic deluxe room which was absolutely fine. Not a great view of the beach but seeing we had spent all day on it we weren't concerned.

The shuttle service to Ao Nang was fine when we remembered to book. If we wanted the flexibility we used the walkway. The walkway was good fun and the monkeys were often there (particularly around 6.00pm). Be warned it is quite steep in places and the gaps between the planks could be awkward for small children.

The setting of the hotel really is magnificent with a beautiful bay (without any vendors) and the stunning cliffs and vegetation surrounding them. Last year we stayed at the Rayavadee (which is excellent) but the ability to get into Ao Nang easily and the overall setting just swing the Centara for us.

We didn't eat at the hotel this time so can't comment (last time was excellent). It is true that the drinks are expensive; a cocktail and a beer was about £9 once tax and service were added. In Ao Nang the drinks and restaurants are a lot cheaper and if you don't want to walk too far you can stop for cocktails at the bar just at the end of the walkway and watch the sun go down and then walk just a few yards further for a meal (about 10 minutes from the hotel). A slow walk all the way into Ao Nang is 20 minutes.

In Ao Nang the Indian restaurant behind the shops on the right is excellent and the restaurants right on the see at the end of the high street are very good.

I went diving with Seafa Diving (run by Peter Osbourne, an expat Brit). Very good friendly service which I would recommend. Did some dives at Hin Daeng with a ripping current but worth it for the Manta Rays I saw.

The gym was a good modern Gym with enough equipment and weights to have a good work out.

Breakfast is excellent with a great spread and setting. The pool area was full every day we were there but there is plenty of room further down and there is a 2nd much quieter pool further down.

After 6 nights here we went for 8 nights to the Phi Phi Island Village Resort which you can read under that hotel. I will describe the transfer fully under the PPIV review but suffice to say if you can afford it get a private speedboat. One last thing- we booked with Virgin Holidays who are absolutely useless and clueless try someone else (we have used Tradewinds previously who have been very good and know the area).

  • Liked — Views, Comfort
  • Disliked — Drink prices
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Milnthorp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 10, 2008

Got to see it for yourself.... great boat ride to catch an early flight.

  • Liked — Location location location
  • Disliked — Had a little trouble with the broadband... but exec club has internet.
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank hotelier021
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lancashire
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 8, 2008

We have just returned from 10 wonderful nights at Centara Grand Resort, Krabi.
Like many people I was a little concerned by some of the comments I had read on this site... nothing could be further from the truth! The setting is magical.. a private bay away from the bustle of ao nang sea front.
To cover a few points:
The floating pier is FUN- it's a bit different but that's what holidays in far flung places are all about!
The staff and management are very hepful and all spoke enough English. I would like to see some people's Thai who have moaned on this site.
Yes.. you have to book yourself onto the shuttle boat to ao nang- so what- be organised and do it! -It's not rocket science!
The rooms are excellent, spacious, clean and luxurious. The wet room was a nice touch.
The resort restaurants are a little pricey for Thailand... we ate 5 nights in the resort and 5 in ao nang- a god compromise.
I would recommend the themed buffet nights in the resort restaurants, especially the thai buffet in the rim saai and the surf and turf bbq on the beach. In ao nang i would recommend any of the restaurants on seafood alley- turn left where the boat drops you on the beach front- Sala bua was a particular favourite- great snapper and lobster!
As for trips- we booked ours in ao nang at Starlight travel agent- on the main road near burger king! We went on the 4 islands tour and Phi phi islands tour- wonderful days! They are alot cheaper than what you pay in the resort and just the same!!
We are already dreaming of returning- thank you Centara!

  • Stayed April 2008
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank jamo1973
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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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