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!
- 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