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rosalind o
Faversham, United Kingdom
534
Centara Grand Island
5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 21 Oct 2012
I have been visiting the |Maldives for 31 years & this was the best experience ever. Our villa was right on the edge of the coral reef and was really nice with lovely decking and steps into the ocean. The food in the restaurant was varied and of excellent quality, beef wellington for lunch and fillet steak for supper plus a huge variety of dishes. Every single member of staff was friendly and welcoming and they couldn't do enough to make our stay comfortable and enjoyable. I had a stroke last year and they always knew when I needed a little extra help. There were thoughtful touches throughout our stay, life jackets, a rope and safety swimming ring in our room, daily fruit, wine and a mini bar. I can honestly say that we coudn't fault this holiday.
Date of stay: September 2012
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Reviewed 16 October 2012

Let me start by saying this is a very nice resort overall. The staff are extremely friendly, the food very good, and the Island is clean and tidy. However I do not think the accommodation we were in was worth the price it commands.

We had the luxury beachfront pool villas island club (there are only 8) having arrived we were given villa number 3. The very second we walked into the villa we could hear a machine noise. I was told it was an incinerator that operates from 8am to 6pm. After a conversation with management in fairness to Centara we were moved to villa number 8 and couldn’t hear the noise. This villa also had a great beach in front of it unlike villas 1-3 as they have a large amount of rocks on the beach making it very difficult to enjoy the beach.

The inside of the villa was lovely but the outside could really have done with a tidy up. The decking is old and tired, the white paint is peeling considerably in parts of the fences (in fact one of the fence panels fell down when we were there) they did however have someone round within 10 minutes to fix it, the downside was 4 hours and banging and drilling to sort it. I was also disappointed with the state of the outside bathtub, I have seen comments on Trip Advisor about this but didn’t take much notice. The Tubs do need to be sorted as the enamel is peeling off on the inside and spoil the look of the place.

When writing an experience on here, it’s only fair to put the cost of a holiday in perspective. For example if you pay for a cheapo week in a resort, you’re not going to be in the Ritz but when you pay best part of a £1,000 per day I think your expectations should be higher even when considering the Maldives which is generally an expensive place to visit. Our holiday was lovely overall but if you are going to book the luxury beachfront pool villas make sure you book numbers 5 – 8 otherwise I really think you will be disappointed.

I’ve read comments that the Island is expensive, having been to the Maldives before I didn’t think it was anymore expensive than any other Island.

I would finish by saying its worth a visit but go for the less expensive accommodation, this way you get all the island has to offer (which is great) without the disproportionate cost of the accommodation.

Room tip: If you are going to book the luxury beachfront pool villas make sure you book numbers 5 – 8 otherwise I really think you will be disappointed.
Date of stay: September 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Value
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1  Thank Homes221b
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 15 October 2012

Me and my husband stayed in Centara for our honeymoon between the 24th of September and the 8th of October. We absolutely loved it and that's why i think it deserves a detailed review.
We were worried about the weather as we thought it was rainy season but the weather was just perfect. it rained only a couple of times during the night and if it rains during the day it doesnt last longer than 5 minutes and to be honest to lay on a beach for 2 minutes while it is raining is quite pleasant.
BEACH SUITE. we were in number 43. it is close to the sport center, reception, Aqua bar and Azzurri mare restaurant. we thought it would have been noisy but it actually gets busy only around 5 and for no longer than 20 mins so the location was just perfect for us. We had a look around the island (it takes 15 mins for the tour of the whole place!!) and probably there was only a tiny spot around villas 19 and 20 where the beach was not nice , for the rest the whole island is surrounded by large, white, quiet beach and stunning ocean views. We loved that the Suite is on 2 floors with a large bathroom and living room downstairs and a large bedroom and en suite upstairs so you don't feel like you are just stuck in a room.
The room was clean twice a day , one day we also had a special flower arrangement on the bed and champagne in the room and overall the island seemed really clean and tidy with refills of fresh water and fruit every day.

RESTAURANTS/FOOD: we looked on internet for months before we booked for this resort and the reason is that sometimes resorts look the same and they seem to offer the same kind of service.1 of the reasons why we picked Centara is becouse the ALL INCLUSIVE package is really good compared to other resorts which normally for AI mean the possibility to use only 1 restaurant. The island has 3 restaurants and 2 bars:

THE REEF is the main restaurant were a buffet of breakfast , lunch and dinner is served and the menu changes every day. There is a broad choice of food . Everything is fresh and many things are cooked in front of you. Even though is a buffet it is not crowded and it gets refilled many times so that the food is always fresh.
Our waiter was Sherry. He was really friendly and the service was excellent
In the restaurant there is also a station with live Japanese cooking. If you are AI you can eat there with an extra 25 USD per person. it was really wort it!
THE LOTUS is a thai restaurant. If you are AI to dine in this restaurant is free as well. The menu changes every day and there are so many courses that is basically impossible you don't find something you like. Of course you can decide to have á la carte menu and in that case you would get a 40 USD per person per day. This was our favourite restaurant. The atmosphere is more romantic and cosy and the service is very good as well.
AZZURRI MARE: As AI lunch is free and it consistes in a choice of pizzas and salads. For the dinner you have the usual 40 USD per person . The food was really really good with lots of fish and italian food even if here is quite expensive.
The CORAL BAR is close to the Reef restaurant and is where they do the evening entertainment. At 6pm every day there was fish feeding and you can see baby sharks , sting rays and lots of kind of fish that show up every day at the exact same time . A couple of times a week they also do crab race and maldivian songs. Overall the entertainment was quite soft which we preferred as being on a honeymoon we did not want "karaoke nights" or anything like that but just some nice relaxing time.
The AQUA BAR: is close to reception and is more quiet still directly on the ocean .

Overall the service was just excellent. Everybody is always nice, polite and ready to go the extra mile to help you.

On the Island there is also a little shop for souvenirs or basic products like suncreams, thoofpaste etc etc. but is quite expensive

THE SPA; Oh My God!!!!!! i just loved it!!! we went twice and the second time for a 3 hours treatment and trust me is not enough!!. The girls are so nice and polite that you start to feel relaxed the second you step in the place. The second time i went i had to wait 20 mins (during which i had free use of both the sauna and the pool while drinking sake !!) and for the inconvenience they apologised and gave me a scrab cream for free! If your idea of a holiday is to chill out and relax the SPA is a Must!

The Resort also offers extra services like Private Romantic dinner and Sunset cruise.
We tried both and are very glad we did.

With The Romantic Dinner we were alone on a little piece of beach which was decorated with lights and flowers and had a private chef and waiter. The dinner was amazing. We had lobster and everything from starter to dessert tasted just delicious. It made us feel so special and one more time the service was nothing short than perfect.

The sunset cruise we decited to go alone and it was worth the extra monay.
You arrive at the end of the Atoll and if you are lucky enough like us you can see dolphins turtles and Manta Rays! with a bottle of champagne , canapes , your loved one next to you in the middle of the ocean with a sky full of stars and the beautiful colors of the sunset it really doesn't get more romantic than that!

I can't comment on the diving as we did not do it but i can say that the crystal clear water alone is worth to come here on holiday/honeymoon. I actually felt like crying the morning we left!

In conclusion we spent the most amazing honeymoon made even more special by the professionalism of the people working in the resort.
Thank you for making it so special and unforgettable for us ! We will make sure to be back soon!

Date of stay: September 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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6  Thank JoandChris17
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 13 October 2012

We have just had a 10 day stay in this wonderful hotel for the second time, we were not disappointed we booked the club lounge again and the service was as good as last year, staff seen to our every need and I was unwell one day and had flowers and a get well card sent to the room really lovely gesture and a total surprise.

We met wonderful people from Melbourne and they really made the holiday a memorable one, the room we had was excellent with a jacuzzi on the balcony which was a real treat when we had finished sun bathing all day and a fab view of the beach and the ocean.

If you are looking for a resort to accomodate adults and children this is the place for you, Opas thr manager will see that you have one of the best holidays along with all the wonderful staff, once again a great big thank-you from us xxxxx

Room tip: Try and book the room with the jacuzzi you will not be dissappointed.
Date of stay: September 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank lolly57_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 11 October 2012

This is only a small island but is great. I stayed in a sunset over water villa which was beautiful and ideally sited for the sun set every night.
The transfer from the main airport is by sea plane which adds to the luxury feel of the resolrt although the plane was very hot and humid
All of the staff on the island were fantastic with restaurant staff always making sure you had enough drinks, clearing plates as well as being willing to chat with you about your day, things on the island etc.
The bar staff couldnt do enough for you with me and my girlfriend being the only people in the bar after about 9 !
None of the staff expected a tip but were very grateful when one was offered.
The island is sold to the asian market as a honey moon destination meaning that the majority of the guests are all happy and only stay for 4 days.
The mainly chinese guests were all polite and you only really saw them moving around snapping away. They dine early and go to bed early so I mainly enjoyed empty restaurants and bars
The food could not be faulted and was varied with themed menus each night. It was a buffet so if you maxed out every night then yes it was fish, chicken, beef etc but that covers the food groups you'd eat at home
I also dined at the pay for Thai and Azzure restaurants and could not fault the food there either.
Over the two weeks I put on 4kg so the food was good !
The on site dive centre is great especially as there is a wreck about 50 metres away. I did some boat dives one day and was the only person on the trip getting personal service. I just sat down and they fitted the kit to me !
I did the whale shark trip and had the joy of swimming with a 20ft whale shark and managed to get some great film
We enjoyed speaking to the managers of the resort in the bar who didnt seem to mind speaking to guests on their night off.
When I had a problem it was resolved very quickly with everyone I dealt with going the extra to make sure I was happy - I fell and broke my thumb.
Overall its everything the maldives is - sun, fantastic seas and reefs and fish, relaxed, luxury.
Yes the sand does move when its rough and you get some untidy sections but the staff are out each morning sweeping all paths and the beach
I couldnt fault the staff or food and the villa we had was beautiful with a reef down the steps.
What more could you want ?
I'd definately go there again and would recommend it to friends and family.
I've been to other Maldives islands and this is worth going to

Room tip: the sunset villas are worth the premium though you need to get one around room 67 as some dont face the sunset ! The beach club isnt as the bars and restaurants arent full.
Date of stay: June 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank Ken026
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 8 October 2012

My husband and I travelled to Centara for our honeymoon and were absolutely blown away by the stunning location, the incredible coral reef and marine life but that's all I'm afraid. We were expecting that since we had spent a significant amount of money that our holiday would at least meet our expectations but sadly it didn't.

I suppose the resort must have honeymooners stay a lot or something as we were not at all made to feel anymore special than the other guests (lots of families were staying while we were there, often quite noisy and disruptive at the restaurants too). I've seen photos of pretty floral arrangements on beds but the most we received was a cheap bottle of sparkling and a tiny fruit platter on arrival. Also on arrival, we had to remind staff to bring our luggage to our villa which took than half an hour to do (we could have walked and got them ourselves quicker) and our package deal that we had paid for had been questioned and it took a day to rectify the issue. Fortunately they did eventually honour the deal we had paid for. House keeping is quite average, I had to ask for our shower gel bottle to be refilled for example. Our luxury sunset water villa didn't really have a view of the sunset (again frustrating that for our honeymoon we had booked something special but not had this expectation met). The rooms are quite tired and worn - floor is marked and scuffed, railings are peeling, rust stains, bathroom bottles were broken and had to take lids of to even use, could barely open the doors to our deck they were so jammed! However, the rooms have fairly modern furnishings and feel fairly clean so I could ignore those issues.

The all inclusive isn't really very all inclusive as only a few drinks are covered on the list and at the azurri mare restaurant (seafood) you have only a $40 credit and most of the meals are far more expensive than this. We weren't at all excited by the thai restaurants menu but we loved reef and ate there for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reef buffet was amazing, why would you want to go anywhere else?! And there was different theme nights for food each night so there was always something new and exciting to try! Even breakfast and lunch were varied each day. Special thanks to Shiva who was our favourite waiter! Always prompt and friendly and worked tirelessly to ensure our meal times were enjoyable!

Snorkelling here was incredible! And my husband enjoyed diving also! The pool was lovely and we enjoyed the coral bar immensely! Loved the fish feeding at 6pm every night! There are some water sports activities you can use such as paddleboats, kayaks, windsurfing but we didn't really use these much. It wasn't really that exciting and others were often using them. You also have to pay for your snorkelling equipment although this it is only $5 a day per person so not expensive. You can choose to do tours but these were quite expensive and did not seem worth it to us. The spa... Absolutely wonderful!! Expensive yes but if you can afford it, I would highly recommend it! The girls are so welcoming and the treatments are incredible! Could not rate the spa more highly! As I said the location is incredible but we only stayed for six days and by the end of this time, there was really nothing else for us to do. We were ready to come home.

All the staff are friendly and say hello to you as you walk by. Quite a few even make the effort to remember your name. Mousab was so lovely and always took an interest in us as we walked by him at reception! Special thanks for the extra efforts Mousab! I just felt that some of the critical aspects of service were lacking such as the housekeeping and efficiency.

We had an amazing honeymoon but this was simply due to the fact that my husband and I made it incredible for each other and the location was fantastic not because the resort made it for us. Had we have travelled here for a normal holiday I probably would have rated it more highly but then we would never have spent so much money to actually get there had it not have been our honeymoon.

Room tip: If you are keen to stay in an overwater luxury sunset bungalow request the lower numbers under 70 and you may actually see a sunset! Or better value for money, book a beach villa with private pool. You still get the beautiful view anyway!
Date of stay: October 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank GinaKS16
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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