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“Fantastic hotel in one of the best locations in the area”

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Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi
Ranked #4 of 108 Hotels in Ao Nang
Certificate of Excellence
Staines, England, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Fantastic hotel in one of the best locations in the area”
Reviewed May 4, 2013 via mobile

We have just stayed here as the first part of our honeymoon. The hotel is in a secluded bay and is only accessible by boat or a short walk across the "monkey trail" which is a short cliff side jungle trail across a colony of monkeys which was great.
The hotels was fantastic with lovely villas overlooking the bay scenery and is in the middle of a national park so monkeys will come into your room if the door isn't locked.. We loved this place and the staff were friendly and helpful. In fact we hardly had to lift a finger out whole stay.
The hotel is self contained however runs free shuttle boats to town if you want to explore or go for diner in the nearby town. There is also the option of hiring kayaks from the hotel and just around the bay is railay beach which is stunning. We took kayaks out twice to explore and hang around these beaches. We did notice that all of the other beaches we visited including the beach at the nearby rayavadee and the beaches on phi phi were all stopping points for boat tours meaning every few hours an armada or boats would arrive and drop tens or hundreds of boat trippers off.
This hotels beach was the only beach we found that didn't have this, it's completely private and stunning.

The only negative we possibly had on this hotel was the restaurants. We ate in the Thai restaurant and the Japanese. We can't fault the quality of the food in either, they were both excellent. The only problem was the price. While by uk standards they were not expensive, compared to the food you get in the local town, for the same quantity and quality you would pay three times the price to eat here. They are lovely places to eat and are convenient however we couldn't help feel that if they lowered the prices slightly they would have busier and more lively restaurants at night. They hotel lacks a bit of atmosphere in the evenings as a result. This was a minor negative though as we combined eating here for convenience with the cost saving of traveling into town.
All in all a hidden gem in a breathtaking and very private location. Excellent

  • Stayed May 2013
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3 Thank Lee S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Manchester
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed May 3, 2013

I travelled here with my boyfriend in May 2013 on a 4 night stay at the Centara Grand staying in a Deluxe Sea view room.

We booked direct through the hotel website - normally I would book through a discount site when shopping around I noted that the rates were lower and that a free breakfast offer was available direct with the hotel. We did book transfers from the Airport to the hotel through the hotel at a cost of 900 BHT return. We were met outside immigration by a hotel rep and showed to a mini bus (Marked Centara) it took around 30 minutes to get to the port, the speed boat took around 10 minutes tot he hotel.

First impressions are very good, the hotel is situated in a private cove, the speedboat docks at a floating pontoon. The images shown on the websites are very accurate - powdery stretch of sandy beach with low rise structures. The beach villas are based on the beach set behind palm tree's. The standard rooms are set further back with limited sea view. The premium rooms are set further back and are 3 levels high, these rooms either have a terrace and sea view or a terrave jaquzzi and sea view.

On arrival we were met by reception with a cold towel and welcome drink - they do take a 8000 BHT deposit off your cerdit card so watch for this - what they dont tell you is yo have the option to increase your deposit to 10k,15k or 20k if you do this you will be offered up to 3,000 BHT back in free credits to spend on resort. Check in was relitivly slow and took around 20 minutes. Your cases will be taken to your room so dont worry, be warned that this is a tipping culture so around 40 BHT was given to the bell boy.

The room - very spacious, deccor was thai style, all the usual expectations; TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Kettle tea/coffee & Mini bar.. The thing they dont include or offer in room is internet access - you can get free wifi in the library however. The rooms are in need of some TLC as the wood work and furniture is scuffed however the bed is comfy and the scuffs are easily overlooked. Please note that if you do book a premium room that it is somewhat of a climb, we are in our 20's and in the heat its a trek up a small hill plus 3 flights of stairs as there are no lifts.

Restaurants/Travel - There are 4 options for food on the resort; Thai restaurant, Beach bar (Italian/Bistro), Japanese Restaurant and a general Asian/Westen buffet. The prices are quite high and in line with a 5 star hotel. The other option is to get the boat to Ao Nang and eat out locally. You can book the speedboat from the travel desk in the library, this is free and runs every hour starting from 8am through to 11pm (there is no 9am boat, for those returning on the Tiger flight at 1150am). Breakfast is very good with plenty of choice, there is a egg station with Chef - however the this is a changable menu each day from waffels, pancakes etc - served daily from 630am to 10am.

Spa - We booked a Thai massage for 2 at a cost of !800 BHT per person for 1 hour, this was a great experience and worth the money. However please note that we also had an hour Thai massage in Ao Nang at a cost of 200 BHT for the hour.... of course the standard was less and surroundings.

Monkeys - well I read the reviews expecting the worst, but to be honest we saw then on the terrace one morning and that was it. A few in the tree's here and there but certainly not a problem at all. The famous monkey trail - well its located at the far end of the beach and is extreamly steep, we took one look at thought better.

Trips - we booked the 4 Island tour & lunch, if you like snorkling and were a fan of the film 'The Beach' then worth while it was 1800 BHT each. Really worth the money though, although due to the level of trips happening around the same time the fish were quite limited due tot he noise. Also the captin of the boat dove down and caught 2 nemo fish and started teasing them so not very nice, also they do bait the fish with bread which is good to see the fish but cruel. That was the only negative though.

All in all - a lovely stay, good service and nice setting. Negatives - due to the isolation from the mainland I think 5 days is enough. The service wasa little slow and the rooms need a little TLC. We would probably go back there for a short break again. If beach, sun, cocktails and R&R are in order then certainly book this place.

If you need any advice - Give me a mail.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Foocumchu
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, May 6, 2013
Dear Foocumchoo

Thank you for sharing your comments following your recent short stay at our resort.

It was a pleasure to read you enjoyed your overall stay and thank you for acknowledging the efforts of all the team.

In regards to your comments about the room needing a little TLC, yes we acknowledge this and I am pleased to confirm we are about to commence a room refurbishment program which will see all the rooms updated over the coming months. Phase 1 will be completed by the middle of July and the 2nd phase will begin 1st September through to 18th October.

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

best regards, David Martens
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1 review
Reviewed May 2, 2013 via mobile

This is a fantastic location for a hotel! It's magazine gorgeous and secluded from the public. Only trouble is you are only able to get to and from it by speedboat that takes 15 min and you have to prebook the boat. So this also means you spend more time ( and money) at the hotel restaurants. The hotel is pricey but food is great in all the restaurants. There are stairs everywhere (i am not exaggerating-its all upstairs n down stairs for restaurants, reception, rooms) so if you have kids or knee problems I would not stay here. Overall I loved it but I won't stay there again because I like leaving the hotel whenever I like n going to town. (Oh n if u hear bout going to town via the monkey trail walk. It is really steep n you get ravished by mozzies!)

  • Stayed April 2013
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank Tracylg12
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, May 6, 2013
Dear Tracylg12

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

It was a pleasure to read you enjoyed your stay overall and yes our resort does keep people fit walking the stairs, and many guests think the views are worth it.

Once again thank your for your comments and wish you continued good travels.

Kind regards David Martens
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barnstaple, Devon
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed April 26, 2013

I was a little worried about booking this hotel due to the price and the mixed reviews. However I decided to take the risk wondering perhaps if some people were being rather 'picky' and hard to please. On reflection, I'm glad we stayed here but understand why some people express a few grumbles. Here's my opinion, for what it's worth.....
PROs
Location! Simply spectacular. Stunningly Beautiful. Breathtaking. If you want a great view, this is the place.
Rooms - very well appointed and spacious. We had a deluxe ocean view with jacuzzi on the balcony (free monkeys thrown in!) the bed was the comfiest I've ever slept in. Loved the rain shower, daybed, sala...all of it. Felt very indulged. Excellent standard of cleanliness. Bit disappointed with the view though. Thought it would be an uninterrupted view of the ocean but only had a glimpse through the trees. I guess it is in the jungle after all!
Breakfast - best we've ever experienced in Thailand. Varied and plentiful.
Restaurants - a little pricey but Great quality and hey... This is a 5 star resort.
Loved the 'on the Rocks' beach bar which served great lunches and the sunsets from there were to die for.
Beach - private and quiet. Loved this aspect - no hoards of day trippers arriving on long tail boats.
Monkeys- star attraction for us as wildlife lovers. Most were friendly and cute.. A few of the older ones were a bit aggressive. One tried to snatch our camera from my husbands pocket..husband won.

Cons
Arrival - felt very embarrassed when asked to pay upfront for room as I'd left my credit card in my case which had been taken to the luggage store. Was asked to open my case and search through it in front of other guests and got all flustered. Finally my husband said 'cant we do this in our room.? Which was agreed but it was too late and I felt very disappointed in the way we were treated. Felt like they thought we'd do a runner... Not sure how- once at the hotel it's pretty hard work trying to escape!
Monkey trail- before I experience this I thought people who moaned about it were being picnickity but now I see why... It is rather dangerous and really hard work in the intense heat. We walked into Ao Nang and by the time we got there we were both dripping in sweat and needed a shower! It is good fun once or twice but I wouldn't like to do it every day. Boat service is fine and tuk tuks readily available to take you into town from Noppharrat Thara. It is a bit of a mission though.
Sun beds - get up early. There are towels on all the beds in good spots from the crack of dawn! Annoying as there's nobody on them half the time.

Would we stay here again? Yes, probably. It sort of grows on you. It's worth it for the stunning views. However if given the choice I preferred the Amari Vogue.

Room Tip: If you want a spectacular view then get a room right at the top of the resort.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank kyle9205
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 29, 2013
Dear kyle9205

Thank you for sharing your comments following your recent stay at our resort.

It was a pleasure to read you enjoyed your stay overall and as you mentioned the location is truly spectacular.

In regards to your payment up front on check-in, I think I responded to your questionnaire on check-out and apologized that the staff were not sensitive to the situation at the time and we have since discussed this with the front desk staff to ensure a repeat of this does not occur.

The monkey trail is discussed at length on this forum and it is not for everyone, however it is an option and an alternative access to Ao Nang and we do our best to maintain this within the limits of the national park authority.

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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istanbul
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed April 26, 2013

Reviews are about the good and the bad. The resort has a lot of good points but these are all brochure and covered elsewhere.

This resort has an absolutely stunning location and the views are heavenly. The Spa is superb(our impression after one visit). We have booked and made arrangements for visits through our stay. Our holiday came with a spa package. We think the Spa will more than make up for any of the rubbish service we might be faced with elsewhere in this establishment.

This Resort has fantastic potential. I say potential because it could be so much better with better service. I figured the quick fix solution being an Asian myself! Tipping improves service levels dramatically. This is poor because in a resort with a 10% service charge and a five star rating, tipping should be for exceptional service and not a survival measure.

So far I can confidently say that about 50% of the staff seem to serve with a smile. The remainder can be seen/observed serving begrudgingly.

Check-in process could be improved significantly:
The lady we spoke to at the reception spoke little English but then this is expected. We are in Thailand. There is nothing stopping the resort from providing a better information pack, including a map of the area etc. Information regarding the loyalty scheme and the free internet room access that comes with enrolling was missed in the pack (?purposefully). After asking about this at the front desk the next day, we were told that we had to register on-line. Again the process itself was a mystery before I asked another member of staff who was more helpful than the front desk.

In essence the service is lacking in a key area expected in a 5 star resort: the art of anticipating the customers needs. This is absent to lacking which essentially leads to significant losses and a rather poor customer experience in my opinion. On two separate occasions I did not order a wine bottle because nobody came back to ask or come back with the wine list even though I told them that I would order a bottle of wine after a first drink before dinner!

We have eaten at the Hagi (the Japanese restaurant) now. Food is great but the service is appalling. Forty minutes before the waitress came back to take a drinks order and then a further forty before we saw any food. I asked if the Chef had gone fishing!! But she then came back with vouchers for two free drinks at the Deep blue bar! Bless her.

Our experience of service for drinks at both the bars has been poor, so far. Again it is the issue of anticipatory service. They serve you a drink, then they seem to disappear. Having a second drink is quite a challenge..only if you can find anyone. On one occasion even after getting someone's attention he walked away and disappeared!! The barman at the deep blue makes about two drinks every half hour!! How slow is that guy!! Gosh if only he watched some bar work on the internet, he would realize that his speed is money!! After a drink at the deep blue and waiting for about fifteen minutes watching this guy make two vodka martinis, we gave up and asked for our bill and left for the above 'Hagi' experience.

There was a pager button on our umbrella at the pool. After pressing it and observing this bar attendant standing about ten yards away, I decided that this place was doomed by its service. I saw this guy looking at his pager after I had pressed the button, but he just continued chatting to the life guard, placing the pager back in his pocket. I suspect he was on Holiday as well! I managed to get his attention after a while and he then ran this charade like the pager had not worked! Silly buggers...

Nothing seems to occur without a hitch in this resort. Its either a 'Thai' way or a 'Centara' way of life. We went for a buffet this evening and the maître did not find us on the reservation list. We told her that the General Manager had made the reservation, she then went away and spoke to her manager and found us a table!

Service EQ is definitely not about language, its about a willingness to create value for the customer and his/her needs. Oh....I forgot, we had an angry Thai when we wanted a golf buggy to get us to our room one morning. We have started walking more now and we should thank this bloke for his contribution to our health and fitness.

Overall, so far, perhaps the bad apple in the Centara basket!!

We'll do another review when we complete our Holiday to see how the initial and final impressions match or change!!!

Room Tip: If you are staying in one of the upper rooms, make sure you tip the buggy driver for further seamles...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank chakkuli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bishops Stortford, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed April 25, 2013

Let me start with the good points of this hotel. The setting was wonderful, a private bay which felt like we were arriving at a set from a James Bond movie. The room was well appointed with a very comfortable bed and luxurious bathroom with a large bath and wet room. Kayaks and a small catamaran were available and complimentary. Breakfast had an excellent choice of foods, although on a wet day you could be asked to wait up to 30 minutes for an inside table.

Bad points:
-The annoying rickety monkey trail to get to Aonang (seemed fun at first but got very tiresome). I don't see why the hotel or the town itself can't invest in improving this facility. The path is unsuitable at night and in the rain. We are a young agile couple, I can't imagine how disappointing this would be for anyone immobile or elderly.
-The hotel boat only brought you to a pier that was nowhere near the town, you had to pay extra for a longtail boat if you wanted to get to Aonang.
-Sometimes the boat was fully booked meaning you had to come back much earlier or later than you wanted. A lack of freedom to do as you please is not ideal on holiday.
-The hotel boat had to be booked in advance, tickets had to be obtained. We found it irritating having to live our holiday to a timetable, clock watching and rushing to get tuk tuks to the pier wasn't fun.
-The boat was unkempt and obviously far too small for the job.
-There was a lot of rubbish strewn at the aft of the hotel, as if the builders didn't clear up properly after they finished construction. This really needs to be cleaned up.
-Grounds and vegetation were not well kept, it seemed quite wild and overgrown and not in a good way. The overgrown vegetation obstructs the "sea view" of most of the lower and medium level rooms.
-Some parts of the hotel were very unattractive and utilitarian
-At the end of the monkey trail was an extremely dirty and disgusting area of beach, although I appreciate this was not part of the hotel complex, it was very off-putting to see a black, polluted stream running into the sea so near to our resort. There was a lot of litter and pollution. Beware of the more aggressive monkeys in the this area!
-Some staff were friendly, although most were deadpan, it all seemed a bit poorly managed and inconsistent. English skills were quite poor (although I don't like to criticise as I can't speak a second language!). It just made things quite difficult when trying to communicate with the staff.
-We opted for a room with a jacuzzi on the balcony, although it was very nice, there wasn't enough hot water available to accommodate this facility.
-Dinner buffets were very overpriced compared with the selection of restaurants available in Aonang, if it had been better value we may have actually eaten in the hotel.

It is true what people say about the monkeys, we forgot to lock our balcony door one night and the next morning had a rude awakening from a cheeky monkey climbing in between the slats of the venetian blinds! This was hilarious and no fault of the hotel, we were well warned to lock our doors!

As I said, this place has a lot of potential but needs better management. There are much nicer places to stay in Thailand for your money.

Room Tip: As high up as possible to be able to have a proper sea view.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Cat C
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 29, 2013
Dear Catourkid

Thank you for sharing your comments following your recent stay at our resort.

I was pleased to read you enjoyed the setting, the room, our complimentary water sports and the breakfast buffet.

I have taken note of your comments in regards to our location, however for the benefit of other readers on this forum our location is very unique and only accessible by boat, which is one of the main reasons guests stay with us. The monkey trail is an alternative to guests who do not want to plan or book a seat on a boat to Ao Nang. If guests are looking for a resort where they don’t need to plan to catch a boat then our resort is probably not the right choice for them.

I appreciate your comments about the vegetation and we are currently in the process of cutting back many of the trees to re-open the view.

The beach area you mentioned at the end of the monkey trail on the Ao Nang side has been raised with the local authorities, who are taking this up with the local business houses nearby.

You mentioned our dinner buffets were overpriced however we regularly review our prices with our competitor hotels that offer the same services and facilities and we are in line with them. We do not compare our prices to local restaurants in the village as they do not offer the same facilities or have the same overheads as a resort of our size. I was surprised you did not take advantage of our Baht Bonanza program with is a great initiative offered by Centara where you can save up to 30% off food and beverage in the hotel.

I was surprised to read your comment about the staff friendliness as we do receive many positive comments about this.

Once again thank you for your valuable feedback and I am sincerely sorry that on this occasion we did not meet your expectations in some areas.

Yours sincerely, David Martens
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Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed April 25, 2013 via mobile

Stunning location. Excellent service, such a different setting. You feel so secluded and relaxed yet very adventurous. Many many options of things to do and places to see. The resort facilities including gym, spa and restaurants are excellent. Highly recommend paying a little more for The Club Lounge benefits. We absolutely loved walking the Momkey Trail ❤❤ plenty of cheap eats and market style shopping in town. Love love love can't wait to return!!

Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
Helpful?
3 Thank Gloria C
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 29, 2013
Dear Gloria C

Thank you for sharing your wonderful comments 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 all the team.

We truly appreciate the 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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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
Phone Number:
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 by 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 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 & Villas Hotel Ao Nang
Centara Grand Beach Resort And Villas
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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