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Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi
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Reviews (4,151)
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All reviewsmonkey trailon the rockslotus courtfloating jettyshuttle boatthai restaurantthe club loungeprivate beachspa deluxe roomocean facingfree boatboat servicelow tideonly accessible by boatjacuzzi on the balconybaht bonanzawooden steps
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Reviewed January 22, 2007

After reading some of the mixed reviews I was not quite sure what to expect, but it was sooooo wonderful!
The reports about the strange check in turned out to be pretty accurate- but nonetheless we were not kept waiting too long and were given drinks whilst we waited. We got our minibus from the check in desk down to the Pier where we hopped straight on to the speed boat and made our way to the resort. It felt pretty special having the speed boat to ourselves, and it was good as it was daytime and we were able to spot the resort at Ao Nang and get our bearings on the way in. Arriving at the jetty was fabulous and I was speechless at how beautiful the resort looked, set into the cliff side. On Subsequent nights when we were getting boat back after dinner out in the resort, I felt sorry for people who were just arriving as they could not appreciate that first look at the resort as they came in on the boat.
We were greeted by 2 members of staff who walked down the jetty to meet us off the boat, and our cases were taken and we hopped straight on to a golf buggy and up the steep resort road to our room. Everything in our room was shown to us and they showed us a map of the hotel and everything you might wish to know. I had been previously dissapointed that we had not been able to book one of the jacuzzi spa rooms, and thought that the room we had might have been inferior. However I was wrong and the room was stunning. We had a great view, although slightly obscured by a tree, and we could watch the sunset from our bed! The bathroom was pure luxury, with everything from the dinner plated sized shower head, Deep Bath, to the luxury toiletries (All Lotus Flower Scented)- The only problems we encountered in the room was slightly dodgy plumbing- the sink took a while to drain, and the door lock breaking one day which we managed to fix ourselves (Both things have been mentioned before in the reviews so a common problem)
I could see a lot of the Jacuzzi Spa rooms from our balcony and from the Swimming Pool and never saw anyone in them! I didnt mind not having one anyway, as they were not that private, and I would probably have used it at sunset or dusk anyway- which was when I seemed to get bitten alive by the Mozzies anyway!
The TV channels were great- with BBC world and various sports and MTV Asia- great for getting ready for a night out.
The MIni Bar was stocked with 2 free bottle of water each day, and I even though the prices of the beers and snacks was reasonable (Singha beer 95 Baht, Popcorn 55 Baht, Pringles 85 Baht)
Outside on the balcony there are 2 Day Beds and a Chaise Lounge Type Bed and Dining table and Chairs, with remote controlled privacy blinds!
We didn't have the "Club" Benefits, and I did read about this and it is something that might be worth it in future- not sure what the extra cost was though...
We only ate at the Lotus Court all Day Dining restaurant one day for lunch when it was too hot to sit outside at "On The Rocks" bar- We had some soup and a club sandwich and 2 drinks and although it was more than going into Ao Nang for Lunch it still only came to about a tenner. When we had lunch at "On the rocks" we had 2 Thai dishes and drinks and this only came to about 8 quid. I am amazed at the comments about the prices of the food served in the hotel, as if it was served in this country at a 5 star hotel it would be about ten times the amount- Its probably because it is easy to compare it to eating out in Aonang for half the price. What did seem over priced were the various themed evening food events- such as the lobster evening- see photo
We had breakfast each morning and it was simply superb. The choice was limitless, and all served on Wedgewood! Fruits, Cereals, Cooked, Cold, Chinese, Japanese, Thai- you name it!
One thing which was stupidly overpriced were the spa treatments- even more than in the UK I thought- I did not use it therefore- Massages in Ao Nang were only about 200-300 Baht. I am sure that the treatments at the Spa were much nicer and more proffesional though, but I could just not justify paying that sort of money.
THe swimming pool was very nice- sunbeds always plentiful- people usually scarpered after the daily 3.15pm rain shower anyway, leaving the pool area deserted!
The beach was beautiful, very sandy and very shallow so great for kids. There are thousands of little hermit crabs all over the beach and it was fascinating to watch them moving with their shells at low tide.
Kayaks and windsurfing is free- they say for an hour each day but we quite happily went off for a good 2 hours in out kayak one morning. This was enough time to explore lots of little caves and we got as far as Railey beach to see how the other half live at Rayavadee (Suckers! ) I really think that we had the better deal being at the Central as the rooms at Rayavadee are at least twice the price- And the noise of the long tail boats visitng their beaches must drive them potty- I overheard quite a lot of people saying the same thing.
I even used the gym at the hotel which was neally well kitted out and was able to watch the Australian Open on the TV at the same time.
The comments about the Deep Blu bar were unfortunately true- we went down one night for the happy hour at 11pm, and it was empty, so we felt a bit intimidated and left without a drink! It would be lovely in there if it was busier, with the trendy chairs and aquarium- they need to sort this out or it may be closed I think.
The service and friendliness of every member of staff at the resort was unbeatable in my opinion. there were a lot of staff, from the boat crews, to the maids, to the restaurant staff, to the gardeners and everyone always said hello or "sawasdee" Getting to Ao nang was nowhere near as bad as some people might make out. You have a choice of boat which goes across depending on the tides- usually at least every couple of hours- you then have to get a tuk tuk into town from the pier which costs 40 baht. Or you have 2 other options, during low tide you can walk around, or paddle around depending on the tide level- or you can use the infamous jungle path. We used the path most of the time to get to Ao Nang as we did not want to be ruled by the boat times. You have to sign in and out as you go across at the security booth. Yes it is steep, but there is a handrail all the way. It gets really hot, so dont go out in anything with sleeves as you will get too sweaty! Wear sensible shoes, but most importantly wear some good mozzy protection,as this was when I think I got most bitten! It is worth the walk as you are then pretty much straight in the resort centre after another 50 metres walk along the beach. Also you get to see the monkeys whoc live in the trees around the walkway- The monkeys are brilliant to watch- but DONT feed them as so many people were doing as this it was makes them aggresive.
The resort of Ao Nang is just the right mix of being a developed tourist resort, but still having a lot of laid back backpacker type places too- there is a Macdonalds, but there are also lots of Typical Thai restaurants, and Scandinavian restuarants, and Italian and Sea food places. Lots of Bars with Cocktails and Beers (60 Baht for a beer 150 Baht for a cocktail) The nice thing about Ao Nang was that at the various dive excursion places they had signs saying things like "Next trip to Phi Phi- Next wednesday" which makes it seem a bit more special and laidback than in Phuket where it might be "11am, 2pm"! I think this is what Phuket must have been like 10 years ago or so. I hope that Ao Nang manages to stay a little bit underveloped but I doubt it!
We came back on the boat from the resort, as the beach and parts of the path are very dark after 9pm- (Take the torch from your room) It was so lovely coming back on the boat on our last night watching the clear sky with stars, but then on the other side of the boat you could see a big lightening storm somewhere maybe hundreds of miles away.
Overall there are no words to decribe how magical I thought this place was- I will definately return one day. I can only think that the people who are giving it a bad rating maybe paid too much in the first place (We paid about 80 quid a night for it) and also maybe because they have been to a lot of other 5 star places in the world
so have more to compare to!
JUST BRILLIANT!

Stayed: January 2007
47  Thank dave80s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2007

Checked room rates on AsiaRooms.com. (Rate included buffet breakfast).Then checked with hotel directly. Same exact rate, so booked with hotel. Only on check in was informed it didn't include breakfast buffet. Explained to Anglo manager who refused to budge on issue. At $300USD++ per day, what is a lousy buffet breakfast? (book through AsiaRooms.com)

The service in their restaurants was the worst we experienced in our years of traveling in Asia. The wait staff must be all high school interns. The first night our food was cold and we had to keep flagging down waiter to get wine repoured. There is no team work among staff. The second night our unopened wine bottle was put in ice bucket on stand next to table. It was over 10 minutes before I found someone to open the bottle. When our food came my wife's entree was present but mine was no where to be found. The waiter never ordered it. She was done before my entree arrived.

The locking mechanism on our glass door into room was falling out of door because of screws missing. Told Anglo manager. The next day, told him again that it wasn't fixed. On the final morning of 5 night stay my wife slid the glass door closed while exiting the room and the lock engaged on its own and locked us out of our room. Fortunately we were dressed. I went to lobby and told duty manager about the lock issue and we needed to get back into room to finish packing. He said he would send someone. After 20 minutes, still no one arrived. I stood out front and found a maid to let us back in. For 5 days the manager himself ignored the issue.

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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9  Thank TomBrodehl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2007

24-29 Dec 2006: High Season, VERY EXPENSIVE when booked thru the hotel's website, there are no advantages or discounts offerred. I booked on short notice and paid the price and now regret it.

Premium room: shower drain clogged for 2 days straight, sink drain for 1.

Rat or simular rodent had a nice snack on the fruit basket at the head of my bed whilst I was sleeping. This didn't seem to raise any concern from the staff since you are sort of near the jungle.

This shower issue and rodent problem were brought up at check out, the receptionist had the we are so sorry about it down pat. I asked if this was a 5 star resort and she said yes, my responce to this is that the problems I had should have been addressed promptly. No accomodation to my bill was offerred.

Beer and burger at the beach bar with tax was 500 baht. High point to note is that they do make an awesome burger but I could not justify the beer at 150 baht since a trip over the hill to the outside world reward you with a beer for 60 baht and it is in a bottle vice a can.

I felt like I was trapped like a milk cow in a barn except I was being pumped for money at every turn. Ao Nang Beach is very nice but over the hill, quite a trudge up and down on rickity steps.

There is a disclaimer at the the bottom of the steps which the hotels uses to prevent you from taking action against them when you slip and get injured however take note: all the employees must use this trail and it is very dangerous. I can only imagine the effort and inconvenience to those who must use it for work during the wet season and summer months.

Beautiful view, best seen during low season so you can afford those burgers and beers. I would rate the resort a 4 star, definetly not up to the level of hotels I have stayed at in Bangkok, Vegas, Singapore and elsewhere.

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
5  Thank sailorboy4real
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2007

I am a regular business traveller and holiday maker and so have a good benchmark of what to expect from hotels and what is realistic.

This hotel is a lovely setting with nice rooms and a decent beach. Views are excellent. This is where the compliments end.

Having stayed around Asia it has to be the worst service I have experienced in 30 years. The General Manager and his new number two have no idea about leadership and the whole hotel is a service shambles. I dont feel angry with the staff but rather sorry for them, they have no idea what they should be doing - to the point where I witnessed another guest assualt a receptionist through his frustration leaving her in tears.

I cringe when I read stories about the hotel and spa rooms and club facilities etc... I paid for two of these rooms and still had trouble getting what I had actually paid for.

Id wait for a management change before staying here

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
9  Thank DavidHertordshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2007

My spouse and I took a short trip to Krabi and managed to book the hotel through online through a Thai travel agent. The problem with the package was that it was a room only package. Fortunately, upon arrival at the airport, there was an airport transfer service at BHT600 per trip to Ao Nang. If you wish to book a mini van (for >4 people/heavy luggage), the cost is about BHT 1200. Note : Airport Transfer also services rides to other areas like Khao Lak at different prices.

We are whizzed off to the mainland reception of the resort which we were greeted by welcome drinks, complimentary coffee and the local tree frogs which have climbed into the lobby from the lush green surroundings. After the administrative stuff, the resort van would bring us to the Ao Nang Bay to catch the resort speed boat to the resort . (5-8mins ride)

Upon arriving at the resort with its own exclusive beach, we were shown our rooms. This is the amazing part. The beautiful decorated room with its own patio, rain shower, white porcelin bathtub.... are the first signs of a 5* resort. The hills being the resort's backdrop together with the wonderful landscape is throughly heaven. However, please ensure that you are not placed in a room next to the resort's generator, the noise may be too loud for you.

Though we have limited sports activities at the resort (Doby Sailboat, Kayaking,Snokelling, Windsurfing), a day out sunbathing in the sun is very invigorating. With its clean swimming pool, beautiful view, it is throughly relaxing.

Breakfast at the resort is a full spread of intercontinental breakfast, with good choice of fruits. For dinner, you can catch the complimentary resort boat in the evening(schedules are available at the resort's lobby, please book before going) and the local taxi from where the boat alight you (BHT20 per person per trip) to Ao Nang for the local delights. Some of the smaller dining places like Jhanatporn Restaurant have more delicious & cheaper homecooked local meals than the bigger and beautifully elaborated restaurants.
(Note: Anything with Noodles, Rice are usually one dish meals. If you and your family wish to try some different dishes, you can order 2 to 4 ala carte dishes , depending the number of people eating,and eat with one plate of rice per person ).
If you are keen to stay in the resort for dinner, they have daily dinner meals which have themes

During the day, if you are game and pumped , you can climb the wooden stairs over the hill (about 300 steps one way, I counted) which you take you directly to Ao Nang Beach where rows of open air massage huts greet you (charges abt BHT 200 per person for an hour of Thai or Oil massage, with pineapple as refreshment after). You can spend your afternoon sunbathing at the beach too. There is a local boat service kiosk which takes tourists to other beach spots around krabi. However, one must be early to book and it is more cost effective if you have 6 to 8 persons going to the beach destination. You may one to share a boat with some of the tourists.

Generally, the resort is great if one is looking for privacy and space. Together with great view & surrounding as well as beautiful rooms, it makes it all worthwhile.

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
22  Thank TravelL0verFromAsia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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