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“Really Close to Perfect”

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Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives
Certificate of Excellence
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
39 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Really Close to Perfect”
Reviewed March 10, 2012

Let me start by saying that the good outweigh the bad by a lot. We had a wonderful honeymoon and would stay at Centara again for sure. There were just a couple of things that would have taken the trip from "really good" to "really great".

- Island Club: We really appreciated Shelly, Sinta, Christine, Livi (the afternoon crew) they could not have been better. They were always friendly, helpful, and smiling. We wanted to upgrade to the Island Club primarily for the "premium spirits". I don't know about you but I don't consider Jack Daniels, Gordon's gin, and Stoli vodka premium especially when they have Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire, and Crown on the island and at all of the bars. For what Island Club costs to upgrade, we were pretty disappointed in what was included. Also, you only get the premium beverages at the Island club. If you want a nicer cocktail with dinner, you have to pay for it. We found that pretty frustrating. Also the web site says that Island Club guests get free WiFi but you really only get 30 minutes per room per day and you have to be at the Island Club.

- Tours: We really wanted to do a snorkeling tour or some sort of excursion. unfortunately they only do certain tours on certain days of the week and there is a minimum number of people that have to sign up. Tuesday was the only day they did the tour we wanted and no one else signed up so we couldn't go. I wish they would work with the other two resorts that you can see from the island to organize excursions for all of the guests.

- Food: The food at the Island Club was not for us. I am sure it is really difficult to feed people from such different cultures. We really enjoyed the food at the Reef, they always had something for everyone. The Thai restaurant was pretty good. We did both the set menu and ordered off the main menu. We also did pizza and salad a few time for lunch. One thing that is confusing is that sometimes you sign a receipt at the restaurant and sometimes you don't. Sometimes the receipt has the "cost" of the meal and sometimes it shows $0 even though it is all included anyway. It all ended up fine on our bill at the end but it just seemed like they didn't know what they were doing and the staff couldn't consistently answer questions about what was included and what wasn't (we got different answers). I would also say that the timing of the meals was frustrating at times. Breakfast is served from 7-10:30 and then you can't get anything until noon. Lunch is from noon - 2pm. After 2 you have to wait until 7 for dinner. So, in the event that you got up late and had breakfast at 10am you felt forced to eat lunch before 2pm because you would be starving by 7pm. I wish they had a snack bar where you could get something light at any time during the day.

Room - We stayed in a Deluxe room (89) and we loved it. It is on the end of the row so you don't feel like anyone else is around. The room is very modern and big. There is a giant tub as well as a big shower. We loved our room.

Kids - This resort is family friendly and there were a lot of families. Don't get me wrong, there were a lot of kids that were very well behaved but all it takes is a couple of screaming children with parents that don't care to really disrupt your relaxing vacation. I wish there was an adults only area. Even the bars had kids running around (I am sure they were bored to death). Anyway - that would be a really nice escape.

Overall we really loved the resort. I think the staff made the trip for us. Everyone is always smiling and happy to talk to you. We tipped the staff members that really worked hard for us. We didn't really see anyone else do that but they certainly appreciated it.

Room Tip: We loved our room - 89
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank Megs98198
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Tetbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
40 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed March 9, 2012

It's a lovely hotel, and I think us going back for a second time demonstrated that. We wouldnt normally go back somewhere a second time as there are so many wonderful places in the world to explore. The Island Club really makes this place, the service is excellent, with Shelly, Sinta and Christine. Although the morning crew do let it down a little, not very friendly and extremely slow service. The selection of drinks is better in the IC, and you have the added benefit of an extra dining facility, which the food is amazing, great deletion and superbly cooked. I am afraid that is where the excellent comes to an end. This type of holiday is certainly a treat, and one if you go for the sunset villas with IC, you need to save for! Going back this time, there are some small things which could easily be sorted to make your experience that bit better. This all comes down to how they are looking after the place unfortunately, and you would think the type of monies being bought to this island and Centara that there is a lot for them to play with! Things like, mould on the ceiling of the bathroom, which looked like the thatch on the roof has leaked, dirty/mouldy blinds on the windows in the bedroom, broken/rusty lights on the deck, no umbrellas which obviously have blown away and not been replaced on the decks, wood needing to be treated, as just been left to weather, holes in towels. There is also one things that absolutely amazes me that no one mentions on here is the beds ! They are so uncomfortable, after a couple of nights it reminded me of last time we stayed, I had to get another duvet to use as a sheet, to try and soften the mattress . My sides of my legs where I had been lying were so sore, as there is just no give in the mattress. The funny thing is, many people have mentioned this in the resort, however no one seems to mention on here! I am afraid I need a good nights sleep, and unless you decide to drink the vinegar in the Aqua bar en route to bed, then it's a restless night! For us, we have visited a second time, but this will sadly be our last. I think Centara need to be reinvested in the resorts they have, rather than investing in new ones.

Room Tip: If staying in the sunset water villas, you need to make sure you get from around 59 to 70, as these...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
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3 Thank mel47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 4, 2012

We had the utmost pleasure of staying at Centara this February and would go back in a heartbeat. Myself and my mum treated ourselves to this amazing holiday and it was the first time for both of us in the Maldives. Between us we are well travelled and so have experienced a variety of resorts but both of us agreed this was one of the best we have ever come across.

Firstly the island is stunning but on top of the turquoise waters and spotless white powder sand (staff get up early each morning to clear the beach) you have amazing food, a fabulous house reef and service which is unbeatable.

We stayed in a Deluxe Water Villa and had paid the extra for Island Club. We were more than happy with the Water Villa over the Sunset Villas as we felt our terrace had more sun later in the day and the sun loungers were not as exposed (we had a screen on one side whereas in the Sunset Villas the platform protrudes out from the terrace so you are exposed from all sides!)

We stayed in No.94 which was perfect, not too far to walk to the main restaurants and bars, sun most of the day and also plenty to see snorkelling directly off from the villa steps. In fact boats of divers from other islands were regularly dropped off in front of our villa so it was obviously a good spot!

In terms of Island Club, we loved it. We both prefer to drink premium spirits as we don’t get on very well with local ones and it meant little extras that really helped such as free Wifi, free mini bar (great if sunbathing or snorkelling in your villa all day) and sunbed service. Also, the food served in the Island Club restaurant was outstanding. All the restaurants served great food but some of our favourite dishes were from Island Club. You also have access to the swimming pool. As we mostly sunbathed and snorkelled at our villa and used the Island Club pool, I cant comment on the main pool but I am guessing it would have been busier and at times we were the only ones using the Island Club pool and sunbeds – it felt like our own private pool with waitress service!

However, the food is more than adequate at all the other restaurants so if you are not too bothered about premium spirits, Wifi, mini bar or the extra touches like sunbed service then rest assured you will still have a fabulous time!

The Reef restaurant changed its theme each night: Italian, Indian, Japanese, Chinese – one guest commented it was like Masterchef every night! The Thai restaurant was superb and the Seafood restaurant, well the best lobster we have ever tasted!!

We never once walked past a member of staff without them greeting us and when my Mum casually mentioned she was unable to eat nuts to one waitress, every bar and restaurant we subsequently went to knew about it and made sure they didn’t serve her any. The waiters and waitresses make the effort to get to know what you like to drink either at breakfast, lunch or dinner and remember it each time.

There is not much going on in the way of entertainment past 10pm in the evenings, but that suits the laidback feel of the island. For the more adventurous the snorkelling is outstanding, there is the opportunity for diving and I would highly recommend a wind surfing lesson, great fun and really reasonably priced for a 1 on 1 lesson.

The spa is beautiful and we both had lovely massages. Really worth booking one.

A few reviews seem to mention bugs. Well we saw 2 cockroaches the whole week. I had packed jungle strength mosquito spray as I am prone to being bitten but we didn’t see a single mosquito the whole week!

Due to co-ordinating flights from various countries, there is sometimes a wait for the connection at the sea plane airport but it is more than worth it once you arrive.

We hope to go back to Centara again, we’re not sure any other hotel could live up to our expectations now!!

Room Tip: 94 - 98 Deluxe Water Villas have a great reef
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Jassmine V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Veenendaal, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed March 2, 2012

It's a lovely hotel!!

We booked the "Island Club" and were very happy with that upgrade. Very nice food, very friendly crew especially in teh afternoon//evening. The morning crew did not wake up nicely I guess.... ordered drinks were forgotten, sometimes the crew was watching the tele instead of serving...

The normal 'Reef restaurant' served a buffet. We've been there once, because we forgot to reserve our diner @ the Island Club. We didn't liked the buffet restaurant at all. The quality/taste was not nice. We've had much better buffet food in Turkey!!

The Island club house was really nice!! Beautiful surroundings, very nice bathroom, terrace. Only one sunbed was broken, including the mattress was torn and not replaced when we asked for replacement.

The bed was really king size and a good mattress! The only thing... (bed)bugs... The result was itchy feeling, red skin with sting spots. The last night we slept on the couch. We mentioned it to Centara and there was nothing they could do/find...

I also sent an e-mail to Centara and got an apology, but that doesn't change the bug-experience.

The reef is especially nice near the standard water villas (near villa 52/54), at the Island Club villas, the water is too low most of the times to cross the reef. But as mentioned before, the reef is best near the water villas.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank Ivor72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
manchester
Level Contributor
46 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2012

As we left last year, we looke at each other and said @are we coming back ..?' Oh yes and we could not wait

We were met off the seplane by Hamish, the guest relations manager which just exceeded our expectaions as he remembered us. He was brilliant throughout.

The staff, the food, facilities and weather just brilliant
The snorkelling is amazing too. Try to get the Sunset water villas from 60-70 as I think they are the best views out to sea

Hello to our special friends, Bipu, Christine, Sinta Shelly and Liv.Also to Roshan, Shira, Fizi and our fab waiter Sheery.

My favourites were the Thai for lunch and sipping cocktails in Aqua bar.
Consider upgrading to Island Club you will feel totally pampered

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
12 Thank katiecrunch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 19, 2012

We stayed for 4 nights at centara. The experience was amazing. I have never been on such a relaxing enjoyable holiday. It was 5 days of early rising, full breakfast lunch and dinner, mornings spent on the beach, snorkelling, using the pedalos and canoes to circle the island. A truly amazing experience. We stayed in a beach bungalow. Waking up first thing in the morning to sit on the beach for the sunrise. Watching all the staff start their morning with a clean up of the beach. The staff are friendly, attentive and really make you feel individually special. We were greeted by name every day when we went to the restaurant. We will definately want to go back :)

  • Stayed February 2012
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Natbutler5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2012

We just returned from a 6 nights stay at Centara Grand, and we think all aspects exceed expectation.

Food selection - wide range of food and drinks on the all inclusive package, which really helps manage cost. We did not opt for the "Island Club" upgrade and we don't think it's necessary. Drinks-wise, there's juices, soft drinks, wine, beer, cocktails and mocktails. Food-wise, there are 3 restaurants: the reef restaurant which serves buffet, there's lots of variety in breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a different theme each evening. There's also a Thai restaurant where you can pick from set menus if you prefer being served than going to a buffet. There's also a seafood restaurant but based on reviews we read here we decided to give it a miss.

Snorkelling - it's our first time snorkelling, and I'm in love with the fishies! There are plenty of them, especially in the area between the dive centre and the water villas. Bring your own gear though, we bought our Cressi set for GBP 40 each, while the shop in the resort is selling a set for USD 125!!! I think you can hire too, no idea how much it'd cost, but if you intend to snorkel everyday like we did it's probably better value to bring your own set. There's also a dive centre that offers diving courses but we didn't try out because of I'm pregnant.

Room - the beach suite (42) we stayed in was very spacious - there's a living area and a sleeping area upstairs. There's also an outdoor bath tub. The room is air-conditioned (please remember to turn it off when you're not in the room though!) Our beach suite faces a nice stretch of sandy beach, we have our own hammock and sun lounges - great for relaxing! Our room is tidied twice a day - once in the morning and once while we're having dinner. There's always fresh towels and clean floors.

Service - all staff are very helpful and friendly, and they work very hard to keep the resort clean and tidy. (One morning we were up early and we saw them sweeping the beach to keep it nice and pretty)

Spa - we tried the facial treatment and massage treatment at the spa. It's a very relaxing environment, and the staffs are very professional.

Watersport - there's complimentary use of non-motorized watersport eg canoes, pedal boats. All is good fun!

Excursion - we did not go on any as there is enough to do in the island (and I get sea sick quite easily) but I can see that they are very popular.

Sand barriers - having read reviews here before our trip I noticed sand barriers are being mentioned quite frequently, but having been there ourselves, we honestly don't think there's any issue with them. They are measures to preserve the beach, and they did not spoil our holiday. You can probably spot some fishes if you snorkel around them!

All in all, a very happy and relaxing vacation. The all inclusive deal makes cost management much easier. (Imagine having to pay for each drink separately at inflated price otherwise!) We intend to return in the future!

Room Tip: We stayed in beach suite 42 which faces the sunset and have direct access to a nice stretch of beach...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank travelhooolic
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

Property: Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives
Address: South Ari Atoll
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 (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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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