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Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives
Certificate of Excellence
Faversham, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Return visit”
Reviewed March 30, 2014 via mobile

We stayed at Centara Grand Island Resort and Spa Maldives All inclusive resort for our honeymoon in September 2012, we stayed in a deluxe family water villa and when we returned this March, we stayed in the villa next to the one we had honeymooned in. Number 16. As we arrived at the island all of the staff, including the managers were on the jetty to welcome us back as friends. So many familiar smiling faces made us feel very special. When we got to our villa, our bed had been decorated with flowers spelling out welcome back and champagne was chilled ready for us. The steps from our terrace led straight into the crystal waters which were teaming with fish and we were just a couple of meters from the reef edge. Each room is provided with snorkeling vests for safety and the staff had remembered that I am not fit and had provided extra safety measures for me. Each of the restaurants serves wonderful food and and the chefs go to extra ordinary lengths to make sure that you are pleased. The complimentary spa treatments were a complete surprise and the lovely staff were so knowledgeable and gentle but prepared to be more firm should you wish.
Our room was kept spotless throughout our stay, our towels were always fresh and our bed turned down. Wine was always available and we can't fault anything. We have been visiting the Maldives since the early pioneering days some 30 years ago when things were really basic and you made your own entertainment. It took 24 hours to get there from England stopping over at Sri Lanka. We are a lot older now so We appreciate the luxuries a lot more. We will do our very best to return to Centara, not just for the location but because we feel that the management and staff have made us their friends and we feel that we are family. That is something very special,and I doubt there is an island in The Maldives where the Management and staff take such care of you.

Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
8 Thank rosalind o
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Machchafushi, General Manager at Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives, responded to this review, April 20, 2014
Thank you for your wonderful comments and our team was so honored to have you back to stay with us. We are thrilled to read your comments about your recent visit and that you had another great stay with us. Thank you for your recommendations and we look forward to have the opportunity to welcoming you both again soon.
Best regards
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English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed March 28, 2014

Why did I choose this island? I wanted the best combination of house reef and family-friendly style that didn't make me cringe every time I had a drink/meal. This island hit the mark better than our previous experience at Iru Fushi. The snorkeling off our beach was impressive, live coral, loads of fish, and a drop-off just an easy swim away. This would be enough for us to return, but if you're looking for more...read on.

The Ultimate All Inclusive is a fantastic plan. It provided meals, activities, and spa services in sufficient amounts to please the whole family. Some of the highlights were the 30 min complimentary daily massage for adults - I would TRY to book these before arrival with the hotel or as soon as you step foot on the island, as their schedule was full the entire time we were there. Vipin had amazing technique that broke down the knots I've had for years (not without pain, but with welcome relief from tension) - I recommend him enthusiastically! Flexibility and a friendly approach will go far as the ladies do their best to fit you in.

The covered activities included snorkeling lessons, snorkeling safari, sunset fishing (no rods, just a line, hook, bait...still fun, but not good for small kids), banana rides (for older kids), whale shark trip (we didn't get lucky and it was a 3+ hour commitment...think hard on this one if you have small kids), local island tour, and sunset cruise. Again, you want to book them in order of preference and keep in mind that some may be canceled for bad weather (front load the most important to avoid disappointment). They had quite a bit of snorkel gear/life vests to check out, as well as paddle boats and sea kayaks.

Eating is another thing that must be scheduled, unless you want to only eat buffet. Each of the 3 restaurants with table service had a different requirement for scheduling. If you have problems getting the time you want, work with reception and the hostess...a little friendliness and patience goes a long way. We were able to make reservations for all with the Tepanyaki being the most difficult, as the primarily Asian guests made it the most in demand. The buffet was consistently good, though they could benefit from keeping the mousse-based desserts colder. Again, the menu had a heavy Asian influence, but each night there was a different regional theme that spiced it up. The kids were able to order off their own menu with standard kiddie food and the staff was willing to provide plain pasta/pancakes/etc. when requested. I was a little disappointed in the lack of variety of fruit offered, with most days having watermelon and papaya and maybe one other regional fruit. The salad offerings were pretty solid and for a buffet that was smaller than large resorts, we didn't have a single bad meal. The effort Amir put into folded napkin animals for my kids was extra special.

Where did the resort fall short?
The kids club is small and focused mostly on the under 5 crowd with Little Tikes toys and play equipment being the primary focus. My six year old didn't complain, but other kids might. There were only two helpers there, and there wasn't a solid "program" that was followed. My kids played Uno, played in the sand, and colored, with baking cookies being the most developed activity. It fell substantially short compared to our other resort experiences, but it was good for dropping off the kids for an hour during our daily massage. The ladies gave my girls a parting note and small gift, which was a nice touch.

Rooms are not fancy and need some additional upkeep. They have sensors that turn down the A/C when doors are open or occupants are out. Ours failed the first night about midnight, turning off the A/C. We fiddled with it for a while, but ended up having to call maintenance in to disable the sensors. My compliments to the guy for being able to work in the dark and not waking up my kids. The roll-away was terrible, but housekeeping did their best to remedy the situation with a couple of extra comforters thrown over the mattress. There was quite a bit of stair/door noise from the attached villa, but this may have been due to the neighbors. It was nice to have a stocked minibar included, but I didn't appreciate the selection of goods. In hindsight, I would have made a special request to reception the first day to try to get a better selection for our family.

Miscellaneous:
*Mosquitoes were not a problem for us except the night we ate at the Thai restaurant that had a fish/mosquito pond. Otherwise, we didn't even need bug spray.
*We visited the clinic once, and noted that it seemed pretty sparse. I would pack anything you might need and then some, as I was told that a lot of things they have to send for internationally...no idea the time/cost of that.
*Don't forget sun gear. My husband purchased a rash guard on the island for more than $100.
*Construction is ongoing on the island, but it impacted us minimally. They made a good effort to block the work with a wall and the noise wasn't substantial.
*Staff was professional and service exceeded our expectations.
*Note that our afternoon departure resulted in a meal after checkout that wasn't covered by the all-inclusive cost. We found on our bill a charge for $200+ for family of four lunch on our final day. I expressed my frustration with the front desk, though I don't think that it mattered. They did remove the charge and allow us to order from the menu, so we ended up with three pizzas for $90 instead. Budget accordingly, as you will not likely know your departure time until the night before you leave.
*The Island Club benefits are not entirely clear to me, but I think it is supposed to give you more exclusivity with private pool, fancier lounge, dining and individualized service. For the price, I didn't really see the benefit, keeping in mind that the extra cost may move you into another category of island.

We had a great stay, and I would absolutely stay here again. It was the right mix of comfort and casual in a small island. I wouldn't recommend it if you want to share your vacation with English-speaking guests, as most were Chinese/Russian. This wasn't a problem for us, but it could be socially limiting for those inclined to mix with other guests. The rooms weren't dodgy, but imperfect wall/paint repairs and furniture in need of updating might disappoint some guests. The attached villas did not give as much feeling of privacy as our previous experience at Iru Fushi, where we saw/heard little from our villa.

Room Tip: We were in an attached villa in the 100-105 range. It was great location for snorkeling, close to t...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank travels_with_2_tots
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Machchafushi, General Manager at Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives, responded to this review, April 20, 2014
Dear Guest

Thank you for your feedback following your recent experience at Centara Grand Island Resort and Spa Maldives. We are pleased you had an enjoyable experience and you were comfortable in our care. We are glad you enjoyed the Ultimate All Inclusive plan and we will be sure to pass along your recognition to Vipin from the Spa and Amir from the Restaurant. We are appreciative of your comments about the Kids Club and our rooms. This is disappointing and certainly not indicative of the service level we strive to maintain. Please assured your comments have been addressed with our team and note that we are currently upgrading areas of our resort. We look forward to welcoming you back to our resort soon.

Thank you
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Adelaide
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed March 27, 2014

I have just returned from the Maldives and i was lucky enough to see 6 resort island while i was there.
This is a great size resort it not to big and easy to get around. The room i had was a 2 bed beachfront pool villa which are perfect for small families and 2 couples.
I would recommend having full board . The beds were a little hard but i have been told that they are about to go under renovation . There was also great snorkeling just off our room.
Breakfast was a buffet and they also served Moet Champagne !
Over all i would highly recommend this hotel.

Oh and the spa is to die for!

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank AUSSIEAGENT84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Machchafushi, General Manager at Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives, responded to this review, April 20, 2014
Dear Guest, great review!

We are appreciative of your review following your recent experience at Centara Grand Resort and Spa. We are delighted you were comfortable in our care and that our resort, spa and buffet breakfast were to your liking. Thank you for your recommendations and we look forward to having the opportunity to welcome you again soon.

Kind regards
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Malaysia
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed March 26, 2014

Allow me to comment on this resort before sharing the tips to avoid disappointment; from not being able to dine in a specific restaurant to not being able to enjoy the complimentary spa treatment!

Resort's a bit rundown, much to our disappointment. Our shower door creaks so loudly we were sure it's going to fall off the hinges each time (We stayed at Deluxe Water Villa #91). Shower area's flooded on the first day but was rectified immediately after we alerted the front desk. We were treated with honeymoon complimentary by having a bottle of chilled champange with fruits the moment we opened our room door - requested for this via email before our departure date and was pleasantly surprised they remembered. Our room faces east so we can catch sunrise every morning and as it looked out into the open ocean, we had a lot of privacy in our sundeck. Water pressure's very good and jacuzzi was in good working condition. The blinds however, were not very coorperative at times - there were a few times when it just wouldn't stay up! Crystal clear water and you can easily spot baby sharks (some not so baby at all), fishes and even squids and octopus.

This resort offers a variety of excursions but one can only go for max 2 per day due to their timing. Excursions can only be booked upon arrival, no pre-booking allowed. Also, guests are only allowed 1 complimentary excursion per stay.
1) Sunset Cruise - Good experience. The dhoti comes with open sun deck so one can enjoy unrestricted view from the top. Just need to be careful if you come with kids as they can easily fall overboard.
2) Local Island Discory - We were brought to visit a local fishing village / island and caught a glimpse of their local school, police station, mosque, nursery, medical center with free time later to shop for souvenirs or just laze by the beach. Worth the visit to enjoy something different and to see the true Maldives.
3) Snorkeling Tour - This was good but I had dived in better places (in the league of Sipadan etc.) so I personally felt that the location we were asked to snorkel do not have enough corals or sea creatures to wow me. The snorkel location's the same each day so do not think it's worth to pay to go for 2nd round.
4) Whale Shark Trip - No guarantee to be able to catch this gentle giant but we managed to! Fantastic experience and I had the priviledge to have this fish swimming directly under me when we spotted her. Neat! Pls. just dive into the water the moment the crew asked you to, otherwise you will just lose her in the deep abyss.
5) Sunset Fishing - No high-tech fishing rod but everyone were just handed a fishing line. However, you will be surprised at how effective (and strong) this simple gear turned out to be. Crews onboard were amazing and they will assist with the bait, to untaggling hooks caught on corals to unhooking the prized catch. Worth exploring.

Restaurants - Not many people know this but you can actually pre-book the restaurant 1 week prior arrival. All applies expect for The Reef Teppanyaki - you can only book this on the very same day you want to dine here. No pre-book required for The Reef & Lotus (lunch).
The Reef - offers different cuisines daily but I find the food too salty for my liking. Friendly staffs and you will always be greeted with a smile and help's always available whenever needed.
Lotus - Very nice Thai food. They will prepare the food with extra spicy to mild to none in accordance to your tolerance level.
Azzuri Mare - Good Italian meals. Went to this restaurant 3 times and each servings' fantastic. Limited choice of food with same menu though.
The Reef Teppanyaki - Thoroughly enjoyed our meal here. There's only place for 10 people and only 4 sessions in a day (2 during lunch and 2 during dinner). Pls. be punctual or your place will be released if you are 10min late.

Complimentary Spa - Pls. pre-book the spa with your choice treatment before arrival. Would suggest for you to check with the hotel on the excursions' timing and blend it with the 30min complimentary spa. Some small planning required but worth all the effort. All treatments were good and comes with experienced hands.

Sharing a small little bad experience - I requested for dried ice to keep my breastmilk upon checkout but there appeared to be some miscommunication along the way and they were not able to provide me with one. However, they really tried their best and at last told me to collect the dried ice from Centara reception counter at the international airport. When we reached the counter, I was taken aback as the staff told me to follow him back to Male town to purchase the ice! Further, if I were to keep my luggage in the airport, I will be charged USD5 per piece. We thus requested the staff to purchase the ice on behalf and we will pay for the effort. After waited for 2 hours in the airport, we were handed a pack of normal, melting ice... :(
If I was told that the resort is unable to adhere to this request - I will not be bringing all the necessary to keep my breastmilk for the journey home and free some space in my luggage..


All in all, nice place due to it's location but definitely have plenty of room for improvement.

Room Tip: #91 faces east. Good for sunrise with open ocean for privacy
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Eljanea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Machchafushi, General Manager at Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives, responded to this review, April 20, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to convey your feedback and recommendations following your recent visit. We are very appreciative of your comments and note the areas for improvement. As you may be aware, we are currently upgrading our resort therefore for your next stay we hope that the rooms will met your expectations. However we are pleased to hear that you were promptly looked after and that you enjoyed the complimentary honeymoon treats as well as our amazing sunrise views.

Thank you for your recommendations on our various excursions and we agree, the whale shark trip is an amazing experience. Thank also you for your comments regarding our restaurants. We sincerely regret that the service for your ice and apologise for any inconvenience.

Thank you for your feedback, we hope to have the opportunity to restore your faith in our services and welcome you back to Centara Grand Resort and spa.
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Hong Kong, China
1 review
Reviewed March 24, 2014

I have very bad experience for the Seaplane arrangement on arrival at 05:00am and I have extended the such to FOM-Sati, he is very nice and professional. He tried his best and made room ready for me at 08:00am. He looked after me and made my stay from bad mood to enjoyable.
Besides, RM-Krist also extend his good hospitality to me and my friends. Seaplane was delayed on departure. He offered us a drinks in anticipate on the departure.
Furthermore, rooms are clean and in good condition, Staffs are friendly and greeted us when we met on the path every times. Reflected how good manage in Staffs training & Property Maintenance from Krist & Sati.
Thanks Krist & Sati. Wonderful Holiday.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank hknken
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
16 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed March 24, 2014

I stayed here in early March 2014 for 5 nights for my honeymoon. Arriving on that seaplane is just the most spectacular thing ever! The colour of the water and just the whole experience was awesome!

I had organised to upgrade to Island Club before we arrived however when we got there our reservation was messed up and we had to wait for the staff to sort out what had happened. They were all really nice about it but we didnt get to check in at the Island Club which I was looking forward to. Having said that, in my opinion the Island Club was worth it! We spent almost all of our time here or snorkeling! The food was excellent and the staff in the Island Club are exceptional.

We stayed in a Deluxe Overwater Villa, number 97 and I was a little underwhelmed. The view is wonderful and the room is big but it felt run down and I expected it to be more polished for the money we paid. The mini bar is also not the best. It has a few beers, soft drink and thats about it. I would have liked some wine at least. And our mini bar was ungraded to premium with the Island Club so I can only imagine how poor the standard was.

We ate at all the restaurants at least once. The Italian was good and the Reef was pretty good for a buffet. The Japanese Grill was pretty good too. We ate dinner at the Island Club each night and the food was always excellent.

I used our free spa treatments while there and the spa was excellent. I upgraded my treatment on the last day and it was a nice last day treat!

We saw whale sharks on the snorkeling tour and the sunset cruise was nice too. It was awesome to have the reef surrounding the island as we spent most of our time snorkeling around the island. We saw quite a few sharks (mostly small) and loads of fish. Was like swimming in an aquarium every day!

Leaving the island was the down side for us as we were booked on a 2:30pm seaplane but our flight out of Mali wasnt until 2245. We had to sit at Mali airport for 7 hours while we waited for our flight to open for check in. There is nothing at Mali airport!!

One thing that I really hated was the spa booking system. The first thing you have to do is go to the spa and book your treatments or you will not get them. They are literally booked out for days in advance. I would suggest a better solution might be to give everyone a free treatment when they arrive and then operate like any other resort spa. This way there would be more flexibility and more services could be offered.

All in all a good resort and an amazing honeymoon. I truely didnt want to go home!

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank samwk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Machchafushi, General Manager at Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives, responded to this review, May 2, 2014
Dear Guests
Thank you for your feedback which posted on Trip Advisor review and the positive feedback about the island club and the resort. Apologies that the deluxe overwater villa was not as you expected, your feedback will certainly be taken into consideration when future refurbishment will be planned. We understand your comment about the mini bar but please understand that we have all the bars open from 10.00 till midnight with a grand selection, which means that our room mini bars are not prioritised.


I sincerely hope you will extend us with another opportunity as it would be my pleasure to personally welcome you back and ensure you will experience the true Centara standards on your next visit.

Thank you
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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2014

Our first trip to the Maldives for our honeymoon and wedding anniversary, reminded the hotel upon arrival although I have informed them thru email a while back, over the phone the staff requested that I produce our wedding cert (why would I bring such a document with me on a holiday??!) so i went to the reception personally and found a bottle of sparkling wine and some apples & oranges in the room on the second day. Wasn't impresive at all. Rooms: We stayed in deluxe water villa 88, although I thought rooms 89, 90 & 91 would have been better. 89 & 90 is the last 2 villas at the end, 91 is facing the open sea more privacy and appears to be newer/had some work done more recently, our friends was staying in 91. The accommodations are in dire need of a makeover, the age is showing very obviously. Honestly, I was quite disappointed with the room upon walking in for the first time as everything looks so worn out and old. But after a while the sea & surroundings outside the villa kinda made up for it. Excursions: Highlight was the whale shark trip. Book early as it is very popular. We got pretty close, the moment the crews spotted the whale, we were asked to jump into the water immediately. Hesitate and you might just miss it, happened to a handful of people on our boat. Sunset cruise was nice although we didn’t see much sunset as it was cloudy, served with wine. Sunset fishing was also quite enjoyable; almost everyone on board caught something. I won’t recommend the local island tour, pretty waste of time to me. Snorkeling trip was just ok, managed to see much more just snorkeling around the resort. Food: Breakfast at the Reef was ok, lunch and dinner wasn’t so good. You can opt for teppanyaki lunch/dinner at The Reef, worth trying. Open for booking for the same day lunch/dinner. Only 10 spots available. I didn’t like it that if you’re having teppanyaki, you can’t even have some fruits from the buffet line. Thai fare at Lotus was good as well, there’s an almost different menu for lunch & dinner every day. I said almost because we were served the same soup for lunch and dinner on the same day. Didn’t really matter as it was nice. Italian restaurant Azzuri Mare only offers one fixed menu, but almost everything we had was good. We managed to dine there 3 times. Spa: The supposedly 30 mins inclusive daily massage is actually only 15 mins to be fair. But each time was very satisfying. Just wished they would’ve really been 30 mins as stated. Glad we booked our slots through email before arrival as it was pretty full. Staffs: Seriously only a handful of them came across as friendly and welcoming. The one that told me I can’t have anything from the buffet line because I was having teppanyaki didn’t deliver the message politely. He wasn’t entirely rude, but I felt it could have been in a much nicer approach. Watersports: Only available from 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm. We didn’t get to do much of that. Wished we stayed more than just 5 days. Don’t think we’ll stay in this resort again. Will want to try other resorts but will definitely visit Maldives again!

Room Tip: We stayed in deluxe water villa 88, although I thought rooms 89, 90 & 91 would have been better...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank WeilsC
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
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 (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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