Just returned from our second trip to Centara. We have stayed at 9 different Maldive Islands and this ranks as the best. The management team and staff are exceptional. We were treated like VIP's from the moment we arrived until we left. All guests receive outstanding service with a genuine smile from a happy and attentive team. Nothing is too much trouble and they are constantly striving to improve what is already a stunning island.
We were greeted on the Jetty by management and representatives for all departments, welcoming us back from last year. They were also all there to say goodbye at the end of our trip! The care and attention to detail is exceptional, and is lead by the expert management of Voytek, the area General Manager. They are particularly good at listening to guests and making changes to accommodate guest feedback. They had reviewed our guest comments from last year and all the minor points we had made had been acted upon. This is impressive.
Assessing each aspect of the island, the following may be if interest:
As usual, a slick transfer from male airport to the seaplane lounge where we only waited 40 minutes for our connecting transfer (25 minutes) to Centara. For anyone who hasn't been on a seaplane, it is a fantastic start to your holiday. A Dhoni (boat) collects you from a pontoon and takes you to the reception and aqua bar where, for us, an amazing turn out to welcome us back awaited, followed by refreshments. It was lovely to see staff from last year, and some new ones. They all seemed to remember our lively 8 year old daughter, Sophie!
BEACH VILLA - 102
We emailed before we arrived to request 103 or a neighbouring beach villa as they are situated in the largest lagoon with best beachfront for children. Luckily, we got the villa next to the one we stayed in last year. As repeat guests, we were greeted by a bottle of brut sparking wine and our bed decorated in flowers with a message welcoming us back. There was also a thoughtful card from Voytek wishing us a pleasant stay and thanking us for returning.
CAMP SAFARI KIDS CLUB
We were delighted to find that the club is still managed by the wonderful Annie, a delightfully loving, kind and skilled child carer. All the children adore her. The activities are varied, fun and offered in a safe and secure environment. The children regularly had trips to the restaurant kitchen to make cookies, did all sorts of arts and crafts, shell collecting, afternoon ice cream slot etc etc. Most children wanted to go in the afternoon, which is great as it gets them out of the sun for a while, they have lots of fun and the parents get a break too! Annie is exceptionally kind and skilled at her job and a real credit to Centara.
I raised a few points in my guest review last year and absolutely everything had been acted upon. This is a management team who really do take on board guest feedback and I am particularly impressed by this. Thobe dived with me throughout my stay and he was fantastic. Very thorough, very attentive to diver safety and protocol and great fun too. Doing somersaults on my last dive was particularly fun! There is a large Chinese contingency on the island who don't seem to swim or dive, as a result of which the dive centre is not overrun. The morning boat is a twin dive and most seem to go on that. The afternoon dive is a single dive and I was usually the only one. It was great for me but, I am sure Best Dives would like more divers. They deserve more custom as there are some great dive sites (a good house reef too) and I could not fault their attention to safety, friendly approach and flexibility to accommodate diver requirements. A massive thank you to Thobe who I really hope I can dive with again. He was great and spotting sea creatures and quite funny (with underwater taking too)! thank you.
WATER SPORTS CENTRE
Lovely to see same staff as last year. As friendly and helpful as ever. Free trips include whale shark snorkel trip, another snorkel trip, sunset cruise and fishing or local visit. Fantastic value. Thankyou for all Sophie's tube rides. She loved them, and so did I! The water skiing was brilliant too. Never done it before and would recommend to anyone who hasn't to give it a go. They also do wind surfing, wind permitting, paddle boarding, pedalos, banana boat and parasailing. A great team. Thank you.
Reef, Lotus Thai and Azurri Mari Italian all fantastic. The chefs are very talented and all staff extremely lovely and attentive. Thai and Italian need booking but we were always accommodated.
Italian wonderful but I would suggest extending the starter menu a little. If you visit often, you run out of different choices. However, the mains list is extensive and fabulously tasty.
Fabulous treatments. Book all as soon as you arrive. They are very skilled and, compared to UK therapists, they are amazing.
Good pool by reef bar. I think it could do with remodelling into more curved edges at some point, but didn't seem to bother children. There is another pool in island club section which looked lovely although we hadn't upgraded to that and it seemed more for couples wanting more peace and quiet. I would love to try it next year though as extra dining options there too.
Can only comment on beach villas. They are very spacious two storey villas on the beach. Bedroom and toilet upstairs. Lounge and extra bed (for children if needed) downstairs plus an enormous bathroom including indoor and outdoor shower and huge bath. In need of a cosmetic makeover but nothing major, just a new bathroom suite and grouting. However, can't complain, they are fantastic villas, particularly for families. One small suggestion for us ladies - a well lit mirror inside where air conditioning is would be good as not ideal to apply make up in outside bathroom where you are so hot. A small point but I am sure this would be appreciated in the upgrade. There are plans to updated and refurbish the villas in the next year or so.
Improved enormously with nightly dancing/DJ and live band. Thank you for this improvement. I thoroughly enjoyed it as I love to dance!
So much more I could say but, to round up this long review, this is a superb beautiful island, great for families and couples alike. Expert management, exceptional team and great all inclusive value. We don't usually visit the same island more than once but it's very likely we will return again next March. For children, it's fun, safe and an ideal holiday. A perfect dream destination!
We will miss you all but hoping it's not goodbye forever!
Nadia, Hadi and Sophie
- 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