My wife and I went here on our honeymoon on the 18th of January for a week on our honeymoon, and I have to say it was the perfect choice. We'd read some somewhat negative reviews in December, but these appear to have been due to an unfortunate atypical period of bad wheather that blighted the place's opening in November.
Perhaps partly because of the reviews, the resort was only about a quarter full, so despite the atol being so small as to be circumnavigated in 10 minutes at a stroll, we felt we almost had the place to ourselves.
We were in one of the Luxury Water Villas, facing west for the afternoon sun, and the villa was beautiful - a spacious designer appartment over the sea. The bathroom was large with a central freestanding bath and a wetroom shower and the bedroom/lounge, with it's super king four poster bed opened out onto a varanda with a step down to a sundeck that projected out over the sea.
From here steps took you down to the warm, clear sea, where the coral reef started litterally two metres away. From here you could snorkel 50m or so straight out to the reef drop off where the coral and sea life was stunning (The best I've seen anywhere). It was pure bliss to have this right at the end of your villa. A word of warning though, the swim out over the coral to the edge of the reef is hazardous without a mask and snorkel as in places it's very shallow and it's easy to scrape yourself on the coral if you can't see clearly to thread through it. Good quality masks, snorkel and fins are available for 13 usd per week from the watersports hut and for non swimmers, each villa has lifejackets, so you can float gently over the coral enjoying everything swimmers can enjoy.
We were on an all inclusive ceal and the food and drinks were all of a high standard. The Reef restaurant buffet food was great - a different theme every evening - Arabic, Maldivian, Japanese, Indian. We ate one evening in the Thai garden restaurant over the lilly pond and the food was excellent. House wines were fine, especially the sparkling white and the red and beers quality brands.
The staff were all extremely attentive, polite and helpful without being intrusive.
Negatives? Hardly any. The beach villas near the Reef restaurant have their area of sea directly in front protected by a breakwater made up of what appear to be concrete pipes which are a little unsightly, but the beauty of the rest of the place is stunning.
The fabulous free standing bath in the bathroom didn't get used, as it's very big and the hot water seemed to run out before you could fill it deep enough.
The water villas could do with their number being painted on the support posts at sea level, as it's all too easy to lose track of which is your villa when swimming back from snorkling.
For those that like laid on entertainment in the evening, there's not much. At dinner we had a trio of musicians on guitar circulating and the bar had an area obviously set up for bands to use, though we never saw it utilised (we were back in our villa by about 9.30 every night though).
Overall, a stunningly beautiful, friendly, relaxing high quality place, absolutely perfect for a honeymoon. We've been looking at the photos wishing we were back there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives: Set amongst the perfect islands and blue ocean of South Ari Atoll (Alifu Atoll) in the republic of Maldives, Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives delivers a unique 5 star resort experience and offers the ultimate in barefoot luxury along with a range of exciting activities that will appeal both to couples and families.Featuring 112 suites & villas, the resort offers diving enthusiasts outstanding diving opportunities including an excellent house reef complete with a dedicated sunken ship wreck and is within easy reach of the top dive spots in the Maldives. The resort offers all guests a premium all-inclusive vacation experience, along with a perfect white sand beach and the crystal clear water of the Indian Ocean.Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives offers more than simply daytime sun, sea, and sand. The resort features a variety of dining options, pools, recreation activities, Sports and Fitness facilities, bars and lounges with nightly entertainment, SPA Cenvaree, and a Kids Club. ... 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