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“Taste of paradise” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

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Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives
Certificate of Excellence
Southern England
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Taste of paradise”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 6, 2010

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.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ArnoldTheBulldog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (301)
Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hungarian first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Thai first
  • Turkish first
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English first
Istanbul, Turkey
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 4, 2010

As an airline pilot I am frequently travelling abroad and staying at many different hotels. This is my first time at Maldives and second time at Centara Group Hotel. I can say that I am 100% satisfied. In terms of hospitality, I can say that this hotel's staff are extremelly helpfull and polite. I want to send my special thanks to the reception staff who really helped us to sort out our lost baggage problem. Me and my wife stayed at luxury sunset water villas for 1 week. The villas are located at west of island where we almost didn't experience any strong winds and very close to reef region. I counted 12 types of tropical fishes and the biggest one was approximately 60 cm in lenght. The villas are comfortable, and satified our daily needs. At the Reef Restaurant food was delicious. In addition to local cousine, every night they are offering one more cousine from a different country. The food did not vary so much but we enjoyed what we ate. There is an inclusive cocktail menu and most of the drinks that I like are on the list. My only suggestion to the hotel management can be improvement of nightlife at the hotel. We won't hesitate to stay at this hotel again and we suggest Centara Grand Resort and Spa Maldives to all our friends.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank High-Altitude78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ceredigion, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
53 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 1, 2010

We spent some time over the Christmas period at this hotel.We really enjoyed our stay.The water bungalows were superb.The beach was excellent.The food and the hotel staff were first class. The snorkelling was the best we have experienced in the Maldives.
In summary - a excellent place for a relaxing holiday.

  • Stayed December 2007, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank halfslug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kent
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 1, 2010

We went to the Centara Grand in January for two weeks - the island used to be called Machchfushi and has been taken over and revamped by the Centara Group, a Thai company. It is about half an hour from Male airport by seaplane. Our transfers went fine (we travelled on the new British Airways direct flight, brilliant) and we were welcomed onto the island by some extremely polite and helpful staff. We had e-mailed our preferred choice of room - a beach suite - and were given one exactly where we had requested - we had a look at the island map in advance. We have been coming to the Maldives for years and have been to 14 different resorts.
There are various types of rooms available, beach suites being the cheapest. Our room was wonderful, situated right on the beach. It had every amenity you could wish for and was clean and well presented. At this point I should mention Zara, our room boy. He was magnificent! He went over and above his duties to help us. The room has a lounge and bathroom/dressing room downstairs, and a bedroom and ensuite upstairs.

The island is not a particularly pretty one, as there is a huge 'industrial' complex in the centre, housing the staff/laundry/desalination plant etc. and it suffers from the usual sand erosion problems endemic in the islands, which means there are unsightly groynes (water breaks) around the island, really horrible looking tubular concrete ones. However they do get covered at high water if you want to take the perfect photo! That aside, there is a lot of vegetation and palm trees and the island looks a picture from the sea.

I cannot comment on the diving, as we aren't divers, but the snorkelling was good and I am pleased to report that the coral is recovering from the bleaching in the 90's and is alive and well. Lots of fish, a bit of a hike to the edge of the reef, less so if you are in a water bungalow.

The island was only 20% occupied in our first week, but filled up to about 40% in the second. I don't think I would enjoy it so much if it was completely full - we never had to queue for food or the bar! There was a mix of British and Chinese in the first week, then a lot of Russians and Japanese came the second week. Got a bit noisy then!

Being Thai, the attention to detail was wonderful - the food particularly was amazing, every lunchtime and night a different buffet. Beautifully presented, fresh and great variety. My husband is not a lover of spicy food but always managed to find something he liked, even on Indian night. Top marks to the staff - Mohammed the chef, waiters Shira, Shorty, John, Ahmed and Sherry, and barman Bepu. So helpful and polite. Thank you all.

There are 2 restaurants that are not part of the all inclusive deal - a Thai and an Italian. However you do get one free meal at either per week, so we went to the Italian twice. A set menu, absolutely marvellous, about 7 courses! I should also mention the house band who go round all the restaurants (the 3 amigos!!). They are excellent harmony singers and musicians and know over 1,000 songs.

Now - the only downside, which isn't terribly important, is the lack of entertainment in the evening. There is nothing. I requested a crab race at one point, and they did one, which is good clean fun, very silly. They could do with maybe a disco once a week for the younger folk, and maybe a quiz once a week. There is, however, an excellent games room with snooker, pool, wii, table tennis etc. I also think they should develop a library, every island we have been to has one - just some shelves where you can leave your used paperbacks for others to enjoy. Small point I know. Also, they have made a mistake with the Club - it separates the guests into 1st and 2nd class I'm afraid. We didn't pay for it ($50 a day each) for the use of a 'private' pool, bar etc. etc. It wasn't used much when we were there and people who did have the pleasure spent far more time down with us 2nd class citizens at the Reef Restaurant and Coral Bar. Otherwise - no complaints!

All in all this was a good 4* island, almost perfect in fact. I highly reommend it.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank PatziSarg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wales
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 25, 2010

arrived for new year 2010 wonderful stayed in sunset water villas fab lovely large bed large bathroom could not fault our villa it was brill steps down into the ocean crystal clear waters great snorkeling in warm waters it is paradise staff were faultless food was great this is a truly relaxing holiday dont no if we could have done 2 weeks think we might have got bored but thats us had some wonderful treatments at the spa however they are expensive as is the maldives but it was lovely.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank fibee17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
India
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 20, 2010

Stayed at the Centara in Novemeber 3rd week, given that they had opened fairly recently we had some reservations, but were absolutely delighted with the service from the time we landed. A Centara rep awaited us at the Airport jetti to receive us, we had opted for the boat ride vs the sea plane. Those are the two options to choose from when you visit and each is as good, as some of our friends opted for the Sea plan (30 mins) and the boat is about 90 mins. On arrival we were greeted by the staff, welcome drink, garlands et al. We stayed for 5 nights, food was absolutely great, a ton of different cuisines that were churned out n every meal. Drinks and cocktails were in good variety, check for the wine list, some very nice wines are available. We stayed at the Pool villa, right at the beach with a private pool, we have a little daughter 3.5 years old, she loved it. Besides the pool, there is a great Kids center, where you can leave your kids to enjoy their art and craft, toys, watch TV, play games in very caring hands.

The staff was outstanding, have not experienced better service. Pampered you to every extent posible and largely responsible for all of us gaining a couple of pounds and inches. Some of the interesting things about their food and fruits was that most of it is imported fresh several times a week from across the globe, truly exceptional in taste and quality.

The SPA hadnt opened at that time but you could have them visit your room, opted for the Thai Massage, much better that the SPA at the Marriot in Thailand.

Must do: Snorkel, if you're mode adventurous do the deepsea diving, watch the sunset, have Bambino (steward) pamper you at the table, enjoy the SPA. Watch the Sunset and I forgot to mention, they organized a great fishing trip.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Sachin09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
27 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 16, 2010

We just got back from 2 weeks at this place and we had a great holiday. We were very lucky with the weather as it had been raining non stop for 10 days prior to our arrival whereas we got perfect sunshine all the way (perhaps too hot in week 2).

The resort is new and still learning but if you are booked to go you should have a great holiday. We booked the top package (deluxe sunset water villa, Island Club and Business Class Travel) and I think that without that we would have been a little disappointed.

We flew with Sri Lankan and they were just fantatstic. Great food and wonderful service with perfect puncuality. Note though that the lounge at LHR is a joke and you don't get called which is a shame.

The one part of the travel that was dire and is what causes me to offer the warning above is the wait for a sea taxi from Male to the resort. We had to sit at the taxi rank for 3 hours to get a 30 minute taxi to the resort and this was after 20 hours of travelling. You may get very lucky but this delay happens to a lot of guests as the planes won't fly until full. Destinolgy did not warn us about this.
On our return the resort kicked us off the island 5 hours before our flight out of Male and for these reasons I would not return. They need to get this sorted. (BTW if you have to wait at Male airport don't use the cafe outside. It is a rip off and the beer is both warm and tastes disgusting (non alcoholic))

One reason that we may have been booted out so early is that the resort was empty for most of our stay. We liked this a lot but some might find it dull.

The room we had was excellent with a big bed, big shower and big bath. Two sundecks over the ocean (one is upstairs and a complete waste of space, you will never use it) and there are steps down into the sea which is great.

The pilows were not good for me despite trying options. One was always too little and two too many so had interupted sleep most nights. The wine cooler in the room is so brightly lit you could see it from space - it needs covering if you want any chance of sleep.

One of the biggest irritations of the holiday was that the mini bar is not included in the all inclusive price nor in the additional Island Club package. This is just not acceptable in my view esp as there are no drinks in it that you can't get for free at the bar.

The floors are very slippy and you will have a few whoaaa moments when you have wet feet.

The staff are great although I think that there will be a major issue with staff retention. Those they have imported have to stay for one year or else pay back their air fare etc. Despite this some are already leaving and paying it back and many are just waiting for their year to be up.

Food is good in the Reef restaurant (buffet where most people eat most of the time) but it is not great and you will have to get used to some slightly strange food pairings on your plate. That said, the heat is such that you don't feel like eating loads and the food quality will certainly not compromise your holiday. To be fair some of the food in Reef is excellent.

We ate nearly all our meals in the Island Club where food is very good and is served to you rather than having to be collected. You can also get any drink you like here. We would have enjoyed our holiday a lot less without the IC package. The staff in the IC are really good and great fun.

We went to the opening of the Thai restaurant and ir was OK. We didn't go again and the reason is that weirdly it seems hard for the resort to get coconut milk which is essential for many Thais dishes and its absence makes them a bit odd.

The Italian is nice if not very Italian and we ate there twice.

The bars are fine but again an irritation lurked. That is, if you have the IC package you can't use it to get the drink of your choice at the bars (only in the IC). I can understand that allowing this would cause friction between guests who do and don't have it but they should be able to come up with a workable system.

The gym is surprisingly good and has to be the best located gym in the world - in a large room over the Indian Ocean with huge windows on two sides. It is next to the dive shop and behind the dive shop is the best place for snorkelling ever. It is like jumping into a huge tropical fish tank. That said, snorkelling off the back of your room is excellent and I saw a huge sting ray, several trigger fish, a shark and loads of smaller things that will voraciously eat bread from your hand.

Try to get into the habit of waking and retiring early as there is nothing to do at night (except drink) and the early mornings are gorgeous (best time for snorkelling)

Snorkelling equipment usage is free and the kit is of good quality and you can take canoes/pedaloes for free. You can only take a catamaran out with a skipper and you have to pay as you do for any motorised sports although I would have them banned as the noise does interupt the tranquility.

The only other element that is of any real importance to me is the other guests. They are divided roughly into three groups, Japanese, Russian and Brits. The Japanese are very smiley and polite, the Russians are the opposite and the Brits were fine.

Final comment, this was our first trip to the Maldives so I can't say how much of our enjoyment was due to the novelty of being in such a paradise and how much was down to the resort. What I can say is that the resort did not compromise our enjoyment of said paradise;-)

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Dawkinsrocks
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:
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 Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
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):
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

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