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“Great island, great diving!”

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Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 9, 2012

Returned from Centara 2 weeks ago and the diving was great. Did 15 dives in 2 weeks, all different sites. Took all my own kit and it was prepared and cleaned each trip professionally. All the staff, especially Imran and Samir, we're knowledgeable and very experienced. No Manta or Whaleshark, but plenty of shark, turtles, tuna, barracuda, jacks. The highlight was snorkelling off the island and seeing a guitar shark and black tip about 10 metres from us at about 3m.

House reef is excellent and the house wreck which I dived twice, good fun.

Boat leaves at 8.30am for 2 dives and then again at 2.30 for one dive. The morning dives are 30-60 minutes away and vary from small/medium island reefs to longer drift dives.

Water temp was 26-29 and my 3mm long wet suit was perfect for me. It is quite costly at an average of £40 a dive, but well worth it.

Island itself is great. I have 2 kids so it was perfect and they loved it. Food was excellent, staff attentive and professional.

Our beach villa (no. 109 situated with dive school to our left and club island to the right as you look to sea) was lovely. Cleaned daily and an evening call each night to see if we needed anything.

It's a great resort, but it is a shame (for us) that they are putting the prices up approx. 30% as it is going premium all-inclusive. Premium drinks, spa and diving all included at no extra cost. This changes the island from an affordable family resort to a more expensive premium holiday, which is no way out of our price range. We would love to go back, but won't.

Room Tip: Beach Villa 109 between dive school and island club
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank ricjas0170
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 9, 2012

All the holiday brochures described this as a family resort - and they got that 100% right.

Great facilities for all the family; outstanding snorkelling just offshore; watersports (many free other payable) Dive Centre (payable). Kids club and an upstairs teenage area; with table tennis, computer, air hockey and big lounging cushions.

The perfect environment for a family with children to enjoy their holiday. It is everyones holiday, the adults and the children; it was refreshing to find the children of all ages fully catered for (mine are aged from 9 to 14). You will therefore experience the wonderful sound of children enjoying themselves throughout your vacation!

I found the staff to be quite outstanding, in the Reef restaurant you are allocated the same waiter for your stay; whoever had this idea was inspired! After only a few days our waiter knew our likes and dislikes and took great care of us (if you are lucky you will get Luis too!) As you walk around the resort all members of staff always make eye contact and greet you - excellent customer service.

Various restaurants to choose from but there really isn't any need to go anywhere other than the Reef buffet restaurant; loads of choice every mealtime of great high quality food - we were delighted. And the desserts .... so many to choose from all mealtimes and delicious!

The staff at the watersports centre were also excellent; we made use of sailing; fishing (boat hire); speedboat hire; banana boat rides; wind surfing; pedalos and canoes. The staff accompanied you on all your boat hire trips and they were knowledgeable and helpful. Any lessons were professional and enabled you to learn easily.

Pool area and bar were perfect; staff very accommodating; happy to mix fruit cocktails for the children to their specifications! Afternoon tea served from bar was also faultless.

We used the spa just once on our last afternoon there; that is our regret because it was truly outstanding and if we had realised sooner we would have visited it more often. Supremely professional, courteous and attentive.

Facilities in room were great; cleaned every day; rooms included good quality shampoo; conditioner and body wash; bathroom area is massive with two showers and the outside bathing area.

I cannot rate this resort highly enough - I have never felt inclined to return to a resort before but this one I would most definitely consider. If you don't enjoy your holiday here you won't enjoy it anywhere. Always bear in mind that it caters for families, and those families will be having fun (which includes a tiny bit of sound) so if you want silence be best to go to a couples resort! That said it was completely peaceful on the beaches because they are vast.

Tiny things not so perfect; main bed in beach villa is very hard; be nice if they had adjoining room facilities; sunbeds on the beach could be better.

Room Tip: You always want a room on the beach near the dive centre!
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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Thank AJGnewtrees
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2012 via mobile

My wife and I have stayed here for 8 nights and have loved every moment. We spent the first 4 nights in a Beach Suite and then 4 nights in a Luxury Sun Set Overwater Villa. If you're not intending on spending a great deal of time in your villa then go for the cheaper option. They are both fantastic and the beach is amazing. Overall, the service and care taken by the staff can not be faulted. As a couple we were concerned the kids friendly environment might detract from a couples experience, but this was completely unfounded. Far more couples here and mostly Asian wearing their nice matching love outfits. Cute. Ensure you read what 'all inclusive' means. I would have expected wifi and snorkeling to be part of the package, but no. Seems redicilous that it's not really and a negative for the resort. Great food, but the 'theme' days at Reef were hardly themed. Overall, an amazing 8 nights. I would definately come back.

  • Stayed: September 2012
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1  Thank SeanKennaway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2012

My husband and I spent 2 weeks this August at the Centara grand island resort with our 6 year old twins.
I was a bit nervous about going to the Maldives in August. We've been before in February when the weather is at its best and I was concerned the weather would be disappointing.
We had a couple of days rain and the odd rain cloud over the 2 weeks but on the whole the weather was lovely.
I can't fault anything about the resort itself.
We had a beach suite which is the starter level of accommodation but it was absolutely perfect for a family of 4 with young children.
We were in villa no.39 which had a beautiful view and was just along the beach from the water sports centre. We had a hammock just outside the front door and it was a few steps to the water!
To be honest the island is small and beautiful all around so most accommodations would be just as good.
We ate in the Reef restaurant most evenings (the buffet restaurant which is also the place for breakfast and lunch) and the food was fabulous! We all gained a few pounds over the 2 weeks!!
We ate at the Thai restaurant 3 times and it was absolutely lovely with a good Thai kids menu too. (there's a kids menu in the Reef too so they can choose from that if they don't fancy what's on offer on the buffet on any night).
We ate once at the Seafood restaurant, again delicious but required a little extra on top of the All Inclusive. It wasn't outrageous though so not bad value depending on what you choose. ( surf and tuft was great and good value).
The service was fantastic everywhere and everyone was great with the kids.
Our girls used the kids club, they didn't have to as they had loads of fun at the pool and they were never bored but they loved the ladies at the club and went there for a couple of hours most afternoon with friends they met by the pool which was good as it gave then a couple of hours out of the sun.
I could go on and on but in summary it was all great. Lovely people, great accommodation, fun water sports, amazing food, beautiful beach, fabulous reef for snorkelling ( we saw rays, sharks and turtles on the resort reef!)
I can't recommend this resort highly enough. I will definitely look at other Centra resorts elsewhere in the world. If they're anything like the Maldives resort you can't go wrong.

  • Stayed: August 2012
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2  Thank LAA74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2012

We stayed in a beach villa for nine days at the end of August. Arrival by seaplane and transfer by boat to the other end of the island (about 2 mins) went smoothly; we were greated with a drink and a cold towel, filled out the required paperwork, and were walked to our beach villa. The island really does look as amazing in real life as it does on the pictures.

We had beach villa no 109. I think all the beach villas are the same inside, but it is the location that matters. Ours was near the dive centre and coral bar, and we had a lovely stretch of white sand in front of our villa. It was generally quiet, and once in a while a boat would dock near the dive centre, giving you something to look at. Also, it was a 20 second walk to the bar to get drinks. We found that the sea was calmer at our end of the island, perfect for snorkeling (which was best off the steps at the back of the dive centre).
The other stretch of beach villas seemed to have stronger currents (i.e. more waves), which may have been difficult for small children. Although it started off with a nice wide beach near the watersports centre, the beach gets narrower. There are about four or five huts that do not have a beach to speak of; at high tide, the water comes up almost up to the patio; at low tide, fist size rocks make for a diffult entry into the water. However, the majority of huts have a really nice beach. Also, did not notice the pipes that some reviews complained about, and was not really bothered by the sandbags.
The villa was fantastic. You walk through your own gate at the side of the hut, then enter on the beach side via the patio: very big, partly covered, with a table, chairs, rocking chair and bench. Two sun loungers on the beach are also yours (although they are the crappy plasticy ones).
Inside, there is a seating area, with stairs to the mezaninne, and with double doors leading to the bathroom, which was huge. Shower, toilet in its own cubicle, wardrobes. the bathroom is open on one side to a small and very private courtyard, where there is a bathtub with rainshower. Quite magical to have a shower outside there, but there are also blinds that can be lowered if you don't like the bathroom to be open. We did not really have a problem with insects (apart from the odd ant), and the room was very clean. Bathrobes, slippers, towels, shampoo, shower gel, conditioner and body lotion all provided.
Upstairs, a superking sized bed, with a hard-ish matress, but also with fantastic pillows, and a proper duvet (none of these blanket and sheet concoctions), telly, and another toilet. It was very nice to have the separate sitting area downstairs, and the two showers and two toilets. Overall, we really liked the room. One thing though: it is semi-detached, and we could really hear our neighbours clomping up the stairs (I woke up the first night because I thought someone had walked up our steps and was with us in the room - but you get used to it).
Although we did not see the other rooms on the inside, we observed the following: the family water villas did not seem to have any sun loungers, nor was there any shade available. The only villas that did offer some shade were the sunset luxury ones, but obvioulsy, you could only have sun for part of the day, depening on which wasy your villa faced) Also, the watervillas looked quite tired.
The family pool beach villas looked very nice - again, most of them had a fantastic stretch of beach - a couple had rocks which meant that access to the water was not that easy from in front of the villa.

The other guests were from all over: UK, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia...., couples and families. Generally the children were well behaved, although tended to dominate the (fairly small) pool. The staff seemed to be fantastic with the children, although some children were allowed to run riot and almost harrass the staff (following them into the staff village on their day off and chanting their name underneath their window, without parents saying anything?).

Breakfast, lunch and dinner were in the Reef Restaurant. What we really liked was that it was very informal, no need to dress up, or wear shoes (they only ask that you are not wet, and cover your swimwear). The floor of the restaurant is covered in sand, so it made good sense going barefoot.
The buffet theme changed every eight days, and the quality of the food was very good. Breakfast reflected the variety of nationalities: you could get a full English, or a curry for breakfast, as well as some cereals, bread, pancakes or waffles, and eggs made to order.
However, we found that for lunch and dinner, the choice of food was somewhat limited. If you do not eat red meat or seafood, there was hardly any choice (other than boiled vegtables). The salad bar consisted of pre-mixed salads, usually with pasta, and seafood or some other meat. Although they do have live cooking stations, and cook in front of you, it is not to your choice - the food is cooked and placed in the holding pan for you to help yourself. A couple of times I requested something as the ready cooked version contained things I did not want; they try to steer you towards the ready cooked versions before giving in.
Although, as said before, the quality of food was very good, the limited choice means that we would not go to this place again. However, if you are not a fussy eater and prefer meat and seafood to salads, you will enjoy this place.
Try to have dinner on the deck, and get one of the tables near the water; magical to view the baby sharks whilst eating; one evening, a sting ray paid a visit, and another a rather large shark (compared to the normal baby sharks that are about - it was probably only about 1.5m).
The staff were alwasy lovely, but sometimes forgot our drinks order, and never offered a refill (unless you were leaving) - you had to try to catch their eye if you wanted another drink.
The Aqua bar offers a light lunch; you can have a small pizza and a bowl of salad (however, if you wanted seconds you would have to pay). We found this a littel bit to small, and really needed to eat the cake in the afternoon to tie us over to dinner.

The minibar was not included. However, you get four bottles of water a day, which was fine for us. You can also walk over to the bar, where you get cans and bottles of soft drinks to take away (which you can then put in your minibar...).

Now, the most wonderful thing was the sea life. If you look out, you may see a dolphin in the distance. Snorkling, you may see sting rays, and any number of wonderful fish in all colours, who seem to be interested in swimming with you, and exploring. Truly magical. Bring your own snorkling gear, as it is expensive to rent.
In the mornings, we went to the part of the sea behind the Reef Restaurant - a number of baby sharks seemed to be gathering there most days. Also, you may see a shark swimming near the shore on the beach, but they are very shy and will swim away if you try to get close.

We also tried to go sailing. What we were not keen on was that they asked you to book in advance (and the whole point about a holiday is not to have a schedule). They then needed to assess your sailing skills, but they did not really give us any time to get accustomed to the boat, and we had no clue what the guy was asking of us. He told me to sail out through the channel, I asked if I should go inbetween two boats (there seemed to be a huge stone between those boats) or go around them to get to the channel. He seemed to think that I did not have the confidence to sail between the boats - and kept telling me I did not need to if I was not confident, when really, I did not know how big the stone was and therefore asked for his advice. So, despite the fact that we have several years of sailing experience, we were told we would have to take a lesson for USD50 first, which we decided not to do. On our previous holidays (both in the Caribian and Indian Ocean), you are given the boat, and someone will watch from the shore in case there are problems - not here; quite unhelpful and unwilling.

Overall, we had a lovely time, and if you have already booked, you will too. The accommodation was amongst the nicest we've ever had, the fact that you do not need to dress up (bring some swim wear and something to cover you up, like beach shirt, and some flip flops, and you are sorted) is fantastic, and the island really does look as amazing in real life as it does on the pictures. We would not go again because of the food choice - but that may be more down to us being picky eaters who do not eat much meat.

Room Tip: Get a beach villa. Generally the higher the room number, the better the beach.
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank 1X2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2012

When your 70 year old mother in law falls down the stairs in the middle of the night on your first day you think your holiday is at an end. We feared a broken leg, arm and jaw at best. Thankfully she was badly bruised and shaken but nothing more serious, but with the island Doctor (yes, less than 300 guests and it has a resident doctor) whisking her off to Male Hospital at dawn in the hotel speed boat (she couldn't have got in a sea plane) the Hotel started to prove its worth. The duty manager really thought on his feet in an emergency situation and gave my sister-in-law a wad of cash (you don't need local currency ordinarily there) in case it was needed at the other end, a local mobile phone, and provisions for the journey to hospital. He gave us the number and said to call the mobile at any time from our room. The hotel speed boat stayed in Male all day returning with them that evening. I must add that my sister in law is a doctor in accident and emergency in the UK, but was more than satisfied with the tests carried out at the hospital in Male (they even had a CT scanner at the hospital which surprised her).

On return to the Centara Grand the whole staff were fantastic - they could not do enough to make my mother-in-law's time as good as possible. And it proved to be the perfect place to recuperate. She had to have room service for a week with my father in law but it was at no additional cost. When she did venture out they sent a golf buggy to collect and return her -- and the island is only about 350metres long and 200metres wide. The restuarants made sure our party of 8 always had a table near the entrance, and propped up her back with extra cushions in her chair for example. Even without her celebrity status, the staff were always friendly and helpful throughout.

For us in a pool suite it was perfect. For the days when she could not venture out the children could play in the pool, on the beach or in the sea. Watching grandchildren play has a great medicinal effect. But it was not long before the young ones had made friends and were venturing off around the island to the various pools, beaches and activities. At 13, 9 and 7 we felt they were safe, especially as they are all good swimmers. But one day I was in the gym, looking out over the Indian Ocean (better than the view of an industrial park I have at home) and I noticed some kids jumping into the sea from a platform at the Dive Centre next door. My two children were among them. Out deeper into the sea was a member of staff -- who had taken it upon himself to swim out and watch out for them while they played. That is Centara Grand in the Maldives.

We had a fantastic time despite our traumatic start. The food was great, the service first class and the location beautiful. The watersports staff were wonderful -- giving my 9 year old far more time than we expected when teaching him to windsurf. My daughter & I completed our PADI open water diving course with a very professional and charming team. We would certainly rate the resort as excellent.

Special mention to Satish the Assistant Manager who was just so attentive to my mother in law's needs and that she should still have a holiday; King and Shilftah in the Reef Restaurant were wonderful with the children; Shaan in the dive centre is patient and an understanding teacher and Ali from watersports was fabulous with our 9 year old.

All in all a wonderful wonderful holiday !

Room Tip: Pool villas 7 & 8 where we stayed had the best aspect in our opinion.
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank Ian D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2012

We arrived after a long flight and our sea plane transfer was delayed by 2 hours so I was eager to get to the hotel. When we arrived at our villa I was not disappointed. We stayed in a deluxe beach villa and it was amazing. It was 2 floors and had a massive bathroom / dressing room, huge bed and even an outdoor shower.
The food was also fantastic and even though I am not a fan of buffets I was pleasantly surprised at both the quality and variety of foods on offer. We also tried the seafood restaurant and Thai and these were both good also. The food was probably the best we have experienced at an AI hotel.
There is plenty of sealife around the hotel. Every night beside the buffet restaurant little reef sharks come to feed and most days I saw dolphins swim past the hotel. Also every night 4 /5 rays come right up to the coral bar to be fed. I snorkled from the dive centre most days and always saw an amazing collectiong of fish and baby sharks.
All the staff were fantastic and very attentive. The pool area was adequate and a free sun lounger was always available.
As Virgin holidays customers we were also given 200 dollars spa credit and used this for Maldivian massages which were amazing. The spa is a must for anyone wanting to relax.


My main gripe about the hotel is not in any way the fault of the hotel. This is a very family friendly hotel and I would not recommend this hotel for couples on honeymoon. When we were there we found several large families with teenage children who were basically allowed to run riot around the pool area and restaurant without parental supervision. After one particularly noisy afternoon at the pool with constant splashing, shouting and high jinks from the children we decided to not use the pool again and found the beach to be very quiet and relaxing. It's such a pity as this really was my only complaint with the hotel and to be honest there is very little the staff could do about this.

For anyone with children looking for their own little piece of paradise this is surely the hotel for you - if you are looking for a quiet, romantic hotel, I would honestly look elsewhere.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank celticdream
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: $742 - $1,681 (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 Resort And Spa
Centara Grand Island Hotel Centara Grand Island
Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

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