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“super service, super food”

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Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 25, 2012

We were lucky people to stay 7 nights in this All Inclusive resort. It is in a beautiful location at 30 minutes by plane from Malé aiport. Unfortunately we had to wait for 3 hours at the terminal from Maldivian Airtaxi ( who was responsible for the delay). Centara arranged a meal and drink for us while waiting, which was very nice. At the resort we stayed in a deluxe sunset bungalow ( no.58, perfect view), spacious, clean and nice, but the maintenance and the sleep quality could be a bit better.Service was outstanding everywhere, very nice and friendly people. Twice a day housekeeping and clean towels.This was what really made the difference, together with the high standard ( for All Inclusive) of the excellent restaurants, especially the Lotus (Thai) with his fantastic set-menu every lunch and dinner. Housewines and cocktails included in The All Inclusive concept were also above average. The Azzuri Mare restaurant was a bit a misfit in our opinion; very expensive, no extra value. The housereef was at your doorstep and we spended many hours snorkeling. We were impressed by the variety of fish and colours, although the coral is not too colourful. Take care when it is low tide, you easily damage the coral and yourself! The resort is very nice situated in a quiet area, you can see only a few small resorts in the distance. Over all a very good 4 star accomodation with 5 star service and perfect value for money!

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank elena52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 21, 2012

We spent one week there in January and I was surprised to have to pay for internet and a lot of not very special cocktails. Also there was no beach service wheras previous islands offer fruit sticks and cool boxes with water.
The beach villa was great and novel being on two floors but there was no fresh coffee, the mini bar was extra and no ipad dock.
Service in the bars and restaurants was very good and the dive base staff were really helpful and friendly.
House reef was good both for diving and snorkelling.
The a la carte fish restaurant was good, enjoyed the lunches at the Thai and the buffet dinners and breakfasts were OK.
Overall I preferred Lily Beach last year which was a similar price

Room Tip: All the rooms look pretty good, based on the number of villas in total I am pleased to have avoided...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank spanysim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2012

This was our 3rd year to the Maldives staying at different resorts each time. I rate this reosrt with last years, too hard to choose a favourite.
Lovely beach villas and until now always stayed in a water villa. Shame the sand banks outside a few doors up and been taken away with the tide and left some very horrible rocks - however this is an Island and its nature taking its course.
Food - good buffet choice, suited us both fine. The Thai is amazing and not over priced even with room credit. Certainly some of the best authentic cusine I have had. The Italian closed and was replaced with a Seafood restaurant - which I could easily pass on I don't think it was anything to rave about and also over priced for what it was, but again it is the Maldives.
Staff - The Bar staff by the pool were AMAZING, so friendly and helpful and not just after tips. Management at the resort should be very proud to have some amazing staff.
Dive Centre - I don't see much mention on here, whatever you do - GO and see these guys, try a discovery dive but even if your not brave enough for that snorkelling at the back of the dive centre is amazing. The guys really know there stuff and there is a boat wreck a few metres out and down from the dive centre, you will do your discovery dive here and its amazing. I don't have a padi or anything but love to do the odd dive when in the maldives and here it was amazing. I know professional divers spoke very well of the dive guys (I only wish I could remember names!)
Wer didn't use the Spa but others we talked to did and raved about it!
Management are very attentive on the resort they really want to make sure you have a good holiday, so my advise if you have a problem talk to them and it will be sorted. Guest relations officer Hamish is very focused on happy customers.
Overall this was an amazing trip yet again and would I return .... YES

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Pudgina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2012

This was our second time at Centara’s Island.
We arrived just too late for the last flight with Maldives Ait Taxi (MAT – see comment at the end of my review) to make it to Centara the same evening. Instead of waiting for the late night flight to another island and boat transfer we decided to use their service to book a room at the Traders hotel in Male. Transfer was well organized and it’s a good hotel.

We booked the club package. This gives access to the club restaurant and swimming pool. Nice and quit, ideal to relax and have a drink. The service of the staff here is more than excellent. Christine, Shelly (both we knew from last time), Livi, Sinta and Shimol (hope I write this correct) are very dedicated, friendly and they will make sure you’re having a great time.
This time one family “spoiled the party” a few times for all guest. Very loud and impolite. Some guest even stayed away because of them. I would consider having an age limit to book the club package. I know this is against Centara policy but Club concept on an island like this should be synonym to relaxation.

Room/villa:
We stayed in a luxury sunset water villa (#61, great view). The villa is specious and has a very nice bathroom and an even better terrace with a great view, especially during sunset.

Restaurants:
Club Restaurant – always high quality food both for lunch and dinner. Breakfast is limited but a good alternative for the more crowded Reef restaurant (fresh roll’s would be a significant improvement). We used the restaurant at least twice a day.

Reef restaurant – good quality of food and friendly service. Each evening an other theme. Of course more crowded and especially now with the holidays with more kids.

Lotus – the Thai restaurant has both an excellent set menu and a la carte. Very tasty. Also here excellent staff.

Azzuri Mare Seafood Restaurant - although very good quality, the high price despite all inclusive discount of $40 US each made that we had dinner here only one evening. The quality in the restaurants is just “too good” to justify the extra charge.

Bars:
Aqua bar - great place to have a drink in the evening especially during sunset. Bipu and his staff will take good care of you! They also service a salad, pizza lunch. We never went there but heard good things about it.

Coral bar:
Nice bar for the evening or if you spend time around the main pool.

Overall:
A very good resort. And although maintenance is difficult in a climate like this they make an effort to offer the same quality year after year. Accommodation and restaurants meet expectations and in a lot of cases the staff exceeds expectations (I refer to the names mentioned)
We missed the Christmas dinner due to our late arrival but the New Years party was one of the best in my life!

Would we go back?? Yes for sure if…….

And that is the issue we have now. MAT made multiple mistakes. They first booked us with a tight schedule for our flight back. Only 1 ½ hour before departure of our international flight. Second was that the plane didn’t show up and the back up plain picked us up only 20 minutes before departure. They assured us that the international flight would wait. Nothing was less true. The plane was pushed back on the runway while we approached the airport. Instead of an direct business class flight back home we had to wait till the evening, had a 9 hour stop over in Doha (night time without accommodation) and arrived home almost 24 hours after schedule. All of this poorly managed by MAT and economy class without any reimbursement of our – due to Christmas – extremely expensive tickets. Reaction form general management was extremely disappointing. Not taking responsibility other then “getting you home”.

I need to state that this has nothing to due with Centara and they offer alternatives ways to get to the Island.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Kees_Niek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2012

Sea Plane Transfer
Be prepared to wait a while at the transfer terminal. We arrived at the sea plane transfer office at 0915 and were told we would be on 1015 flight – for one reason or another, this kept being pushed back and we got on a sea plane at 1230. Another thing to be aware of is that your suitcase may not make it onto the same plane as you even if it’s under the 20KG you are allowed – we were told 20 mins before flight and had to scramble to get out the essentials (swimwear and suncream). Our cases then followed us on the 1430 flight and were in our room by 1530. Not a huge deal now that we look back but because we didn’t know this it was a little annoying when we were there. The sea plane transfer itself was amazing and the views were breathtaking.

Arrival
When you arrive at Centara the plane settles at a little manmade island and one of the boats greets you to take you to the actual island. As we had booked island club we were taken there to check in and this was all done in the air conditioned lounge with a welcome drink and cold towel. This is where the amazing service started for the 12 nights we were there. As we got to the island before 1400 we had lunch as our room was getting prepared and then at 1400 we were shown to our room.

Room
We were staying in a Deluxe Water Villa and we were given villa 98 which is one of the first ones as you approach the villas and is right next to the beach area. The villa was very spacious and well decorated with lots of windows to take in the views of the sea. The bathroom had a shower, toilet and double Jacuzzi that looked out to the sea. (It took forever to fill) The main wardrobes were also in the bathroom and you had a safe in the wardrobe. In the main room there was a desk and a seating area at the back and then at the front was a big bed, TV, music dock and more seating looking out over the ocean. There were doors to your deck from both the bathroom and the bedroom. On the deck you had 2 sun loungers, 2 chairs and a table, an outdoor shower (not private though but good from rinsing off the sand) and steps into the ocean. As previous reviews have stated the steps that are in the ocean are slippery which is to be expected so you have to be careful. We were also lucky that our villa steps went down onto a sandy area rather than coral (some of the villas further along were directly above the coral). The room also had a kettle, some bottles of still water, hairdryer and a mini bar. We found the mini bar prices to be good compared to other hotels (2 USD for a bar of chocolate, 4 USD for a big packet of crisps). We had a couple of minor problems with our room such as the wardrobe door sticking and the air conditioning freezing but the hotel would send someone straight away to deal with these issues and you cannot ask for anything more.

Food and Drink
The food in all of the restaurants was fantastic both in presentation and taste – we never had a bad meal the whole holiday. All of the ingredients are fresh and well cooked and this is demonstrated in the taste of the food.
Breakfast – We had breakfast most mornings in the reef restaurant where they have a very good selection of food both hot and cold. They had cooked breakfast which included things like - bacon, sausage, eggs, tomatoes, hash browns, toast, pancakes, omelet etc and cold breakfast which had - cereal, breads, pastries, cheese, meats, fruit, yoghurt and fresh juice. The scrambled egg was to die for too  We also ate in the island club once or twice and they had a cold continental breakfast which was also very good.
Lunch – For lunch you have 2 choices on all inclusive and if you are island club you have a 3rd choice. The reef restaurant which is a buffet is very good and had a wide variety of food everyday which changes enough for it not to get too repetitive. You can also eat at the Lotus restaurant which has 3 set menus that rotate through the week. There were 5 courses on each menu and you got a lot of food, the dishes on this were lovely and include things like soups, salads, red and green curry, satay skewers, vegetables, rice. With our island club we got another option for lunch in the island club. This was called a light lunch and consisted of a soup to start and then either pasta, salad or a sandwich and chips depending on what day you were there. We always laughed with the staff as this was a big lunch really and always very filling especially the steak sandwich which was lovely.
Dinner – For dinner you have 3 choices on all inclusive and again an extra choice if you are island club. The reef buffet again was very good and rotated through 8 different themes. Some of the themes were Chinese, Indian, French and Maldivian. All of the buffets we went to were again amazing and had a good variety and were a true theme not like other resorts we have been to. We personally loved the Indian night and the chicken tikka skewers were the best we have ever tasted. The Lotus restaurant and the Azure Maire offered either a set menu or and al a carte menu where you have 40 USD credit pp applied to the bill. The Lotus was the Thai restaurant and we ate off the set menu and the al a carte menu both were fantastic and the set menu allowed you to try things you might not normally pick. The Azure Maire was Italian themed and again we ate of the set and al a carte and the food was fantastic there too. The day we left however the Azure Maire was being changed to only offer al a carte and was getting changed into a sea food restaurant – we did not see the menus so cannot comment on this. The island club offered a set menu (Italian based roughly) and again was lovely and also with it being the only air conditioned part of the dining facilities was a nice break from the humidity.

Island Club
In our opinion for our honeymoon the island club was well worth the extra cost. We were unsure what to do about it and the previous reviews were all opinion based. The benefits for us were: Extra dining facilities, quieter pool to use during the day (children are allowed here), waiter service to the sun beds, premium alcohol such as – Balies, Sothern Comfort, better vodka (not Smirnoff or absolute though), different cocktails such as Kir Royal, Blue Lagoon etc, priority booking at al-a-carte restaurants, free snorkeling equipment and two items of laundry a day. That said what really made island club for us was the staff there – Shelly, Sinta and Livi made us feel so welcomed and by the end of our 12 nights they were more like friends than staff, their customer service skills were fantastic. In the island club you also get little extras like cold towels during the day, sorbets, afternoon tea and canapés that all go that way to make your experience better. If you are debating what to do about the island club upgrade I would say if you are going for a special reason go for it – it can only enhance your experience. If it is just a normal holiday and you are not so fussed about the extras then you will still have and amazing time and service without island club.

Activities
We did not do very many activities during our time there as we just wanted to relax. The snorkeling there was very good and you see so many different fish, sharks and rays  We always went out through the boating channels around the island and back trough one as the coral can get quite high and we didn’t want to damage it through carelessness (unlike some tourists). The reef edge was the most beautiful thing we have ever seen and with the free life jackets you get in your room you should be safe. We also hired a pedalo one day and enjoyed this. The only other thing we really did as an activity was a private beach dining which was fantastic. You get a table on the beach with lights in a heart shape around you and a 7 course menu with the all inclusive drinks. This was very romantic and a surprise for me on our honeymoon. It is a little pricy but well worth it for a special occasion.

Summary
In summary I would recommend this hotel to anyone who wants to experience the Maldives and do so with a lovely surroundings and the best customer service. I would return in a heartbeat (if my bank manager agreed) as we have never felt so relaxed, special or welcome before. With this being our first trip to the Maldives I’m sure there are other great islands that are not as built and without children, but for us this was not a problem. If you are booked or thinking of booking you will not be disappointed and will have an amazing holiday to remember for years to come.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank GeordieCouple2829
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2012

Spent a week on the island in early November. Centara is absolutely stunning with great snorkelling/diving and the beach villa was perfect. The food was the best food we've eaten on holiday and all the staff were fantastic. Said this would be a holiday of a lifetime but itching to go back already.

Room Tip: Go for beach villas near the watersport centre
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  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank bigbenross
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2012

Stayed here for 7 night all inc as part of our honeymoon last yr in March. We paid a little extra for Island club access. Everything about this place was amazing, from the welcome, the meals, the staff etc.

We stayed in a ocean villa which was very big in size and had direct access to the waters. The snorkelling around here is really good and many different varieties of fishes.

The rooms were well equipped and most importantly for me they were very clean.

The food at Centara Grand is amazing, they change the menu daily so you will not get bored. If I remember correctly there are three restuarants, the main rest, italian rest and a thai rest. We ate all three. Great food at all, but our favourite was the main rest due to the vast varitey of items on offer.

The Island Club offered cocktails, canapes and our own private pool area. Having the upgrade option of the Island Club allowed us to borrow unlimited dvd, books and use of the Internet.

The spa treatements here are a little pricey but they are excellent quality and leave you feeling so refreshed.

The staff here are ever so helpfull and no request is too small.

10/10 from me and hopefully I will be back one day!

Room Tip: Ask for ocean villa, you won't be disappointed
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  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank smEssex79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

Address: South Ari Atoll
Phone Number:
Location: Maldives > Alifu Atoll > Southern Ari Atoll > Centara Grand Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Centara Grand Island
Price Range: $766 - $1,775 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives 5*
Number of rooms: 112
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Surrounded by a stunning house reef that is a kaleidoscope of colour for snorkellers, and distinctive with its timbered walkways and colonial-style buildings, the five-star Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives is a barefoot paradise. With the Ultimate All-Inclusive concept, your stay is absolutely carefree meaning that all meals, spa treatments, activities and water sports, daily excursions, and even diving are all included. Weatherboard villas, thatched-roof buildings, a white-sand beach and sparkling lagoon are the setting for your honeymoon or fun-filled family holiday. Villas and beach suites are generously-sized (86-159 square metres); the over-water villas enjoy their own sundeck with steps down to the multihued coral reefs. Special villas for families have bunk beds in a children’s area, and you can also enjoy the option of an overwater villa with plunge pool. When it comes to dining, all your meals – and more – are included. Sumptuous champagne breakfasts are available at Reef Restaurant, lunches and dinners are to be enjoyed at the Azurri Mare Italian Restaurant, the Suan Bua Thai restaurant or Reef Restaurant. There are two bars on the island. Voted as Maldives’ most family-friendly resort two years in succession, the island has the ideal family itinerary: activities at the age-specific kids’ clubs, water activities like banana boat and tube rides, water sports, and pool games by thea children’s pool. Anyone in need of some deep relaxation can enjoy the daily spa treatments at Spa Cenvaree, yoga sessions, or simply laze beachside. Beside water sports and one of the best PADI dive centres in the Maldives, the resort’s house reef and lagoon provide fascination for snorkellers, and just off the reef there is a dedicated shipwreck that offers easy diving and a close-up view of turtles and whale sharks, manta rays, and surgeonfish. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Centara Grand Island Hotel Centara Grand Island
Centara Grand Island Resort And Spa
Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

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