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l7hgw
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

From chilly Scotland to idyllic Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 15 Feb 2013
We are partial to winter sunshine and where better can you find it than in the Maldives. Having been to Lily Beach and Constance Moofushi, we selected Centara Grand Island Resort and Spa as it has a Thai influence and the ultimate all inclusive (UAI) package included a little extra pampering. We stayed in a Luxury Water Bungalow and it was perfect. I had read various reports about chipped paint, worn walkways and noisy sea planes but hey guys this is an island surrounded by water and exposed to all the elements, what do you expect?? The rooms are spacious, the beds are despite what other reviewers say very comfortable, in-fact it made us realize just how bad our mattress is at home … mmm more expense post-holiday!!! The various water bungalows are well spread around the island waterfront... There are also quant bungalows spread around the island shores offering a different kind of accommodation. There is plenty of choice but if you like snorkeling take a water bungalow. After all it is the Maldives. We recommend 83 and 84 for clear water entry away from corral, not that there is a problem anywhere else, if you are a novice it just makes it easier and increases your confidence. The reef is excellent, you don’t need to swim far to see a multitude of colourful fish (and reef sharks) of all shapes and sizes, sadly no turtles this time. The Centara team is friendly, organized and very. There are 3 choices of restaurants; Azzure, the setting serene and the food truly scrumptious, the Thai restaurant was truly authentic, they will serve you three choices of spicy, less spicy, medium spicy or very spicy, we never got past less spicy. The buffet was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with themed nights that rotate weekly. Plenty of fresh choice. There was no sense of cafeteria style seating, which you can find on islands, everything was calm and spacious. You can opt to pay for little extra’s if you like, for instance sample Tepenyaki cooking or if want a beach dinner or try local lobster. We found we had more than enough variety with what was included in the UAI. Our waistlines have definitely expanded. We didn’t experience the Island Club, it may appeal to others but we enjoyed having the wider choice outside and value for money we did feel it was worth the extra. Centara are always looking to better their client experience and have added Elmer to their team, he is one to watch for sure. If you are struggling to pick, take a balanced view there is no perfect island but this one comes pretty close. We hope you enjoy your pick.
Heather and Alex from Edinburgh, Scotland. If you are reading Centara team thank you for a wonderful holiday.
Date of stay: January 2013
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
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Reviewed 5 February 2013

We visited Centara for a 9 night stay in a Luxury Sunset Water Villa number 63, the holiday was excellennt and the staff just could not do enough for us. The food was good and varied depending on which resturaunt chosen. Our villa was very spacious and equipped with all the things needed for us to enjoy our stay, the bed was exceptionaly comfortable and the view when we woke up in the mornings was stunning.
We would not hesitate to retun to Centara and to conclude would honestly say that all the staff bent over backwars to make our holiday an enjoyable and rememberable one

Date of stay: January 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Peter W
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 3 February 2013

Left Gatwick London snowing heavily, Arrived Centara on Monday 21st January 13, our Anniversary, what can I say but Wow absolutely perfect, had welcome drinks on arrival, and tour by Sweetie, who was very clear on explaining how to get the most from your holiday, we had booked ultimate inclusive which was great value for money, included all drinks, tours, 1/2 hour spa treatment a day, 3 restaurants, Reef and the Italian restaurants, were our favourites, as not keen on Thai food, but food and drinks were excellent, A big thank you to our waiter Bonda he was great. Snorkelling out of this world, Sunset Trip saw the dolphins,Whale Shark Snorkelling Tour we were lucky enough to see the Whale sharks (breath taking). Spa lovely, room perfect, champagne and fruit basket awaited us on arrival plus chocolates and champagne the day after, Snorkel and googles were supplied so no need to pack, Casual light clothing required as very laid back and relaxing holiday, everyone was so polite, friendly and kind, beaches so clean, water so blue, will be returning in 2015 definitely,
Thank you, Thank you, for a wonderful holiday,
Debbie and Richard.

Room tip: Deluxe water villa, was quiet, and not over looked.
Date of stay: January 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Debbie T
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 28 January 2013

We stayed at Centara Grand Island from January 12 to 19 2013...
This was our number 3 trip to Maldives (First was Six Senses Laamu and second was Island Hideaways) - so our review is compared to these resorts.

What can we say....once you have tried Maldives - you are so much hooked on this - and want to go back again and again... We have stayed many times all over the world where beaches also are very nice and something you would think...this is out of the world - and so nice..

BUT WHEN YOU TRY MALDIVES - nothing (so far) can compare and nothing is so wonderful as these Atolls.....

Our first trip to Maldives was Six Senses Laamu - just after opening - and we were blown away and got an experience like nothing else before...

Next was Island Hideaway (2011) where our children joined us (4 children age at that time 5,8,11,13) - and this Island was so much better in many ways that Six Senses - but also "not so good" in one way...

On our last trip we tried to stay at Centara (without children) and we have given the same 5 star review of this also... just like we gave Six Senses and Island Hideaway 5 star...

But there are of course some differences of the 3 resorts...

Centara is a wonderful place - and have the most amazing house reef ever seen ..
It is better than Island Hideaway - and it is SO MUCH MUCH better than Six Senses Laamu...(we would say - if you are into snorkeling directly from the beach or villa - and want to see many fish, nice reef - then Six Senses is NOT an option at all... - but have many other qualities)

Centara is supreme - and better than the other 2 resorts in snorkeling - and what a feeling just to go down from the steps in our Sunset Water villa and then directly to be on the reef and to see many fish and a life under water so wonderful..

So if you are to snorkeling then Centara is the choice..

Island Hidesways also have very good snorkeling - but only one side of the Island - but also really good - and the house reef here is absolutely also highly recommendable - but Centara is just a little better...

So we thought - Six Senses Laamu (first trip) that snorkeling was really good..but when we tried next trip Island Hideaway we were blown away and thought this was so much better.....and then again when trying Centara once again we were stunned and a litlle more "blown away"..

To make this long story short..

IF YOU WANT SNORKELING DIRECTLY FROM BEACH then our choice is CENTARA - followed close by Island Hideaway - but Six Senses cant at all be compared - the snorkeling there is no way in same class as the other two resort we have tried..

So far so good...

The room (Water Villa) in Centara compared to Six Senses - then SIX SENSES beat clearly the other 2 resorts.... The resort is so nice - Atmosphere is extremely relaxed and the "no shoes concept" is perfect and the restaurants quality of food is the best so far we have ever tried. Here is something to learn Centara !!!!!!!! because not to say that the food at all was bad at Centara (or Island Hideaway) - but like we have no doubt about the house reef - then we also very certain about which Island is the best in food .... SIX SENSES LAAMU...
Also the room at the Water Villa in Six Senses have so much more better material - better quality - better room layout... and better privacy..., better outside bathroom - better toilet with view through the floor to the ocean, better outside area ...and we could go on and on..

Centara have so many problems with the wood used on the jetty - all the roofs of the water villa need replacement - and even the resort is only 3 years old - it seems that it was build 10-15 years ago - when you look at the way the villas looks now... The quality of building materials is so bad at Centara - and this is such a shame...Also the air condition is very noisy at Centara and difficult to make the right temperature.. We tried - but it was either to cold or warm..

Island Hideaway have no water villas (they have 2 spa water villa placed 5 meter from beach - so in our opinion this is not real water villa) - but the Island is one of the biggest in Maldives - and therefore you have completely privacy and each beach villa have a private beach - which is so wonderful also - and the rooms are SO BIG - perfect fitting family of 6...And the outside bathroom is just a extremely nice wonderful thing. The big living room makes it perfect - and then you almost have so much private room outside the villa going directly to your own private beach... WOW...This Island is so beautiful ...

So when it comes to "villa/room"... we would say - SIX SENSES is number 1...followed very closely by Island Hideaway - and not even close is then Centara...

When it comes to food and dining - then Six Senses also number 1....Island Hideaway and Centara number 2.... and none of the resorts are bad at all.... All three deliver high quality - but Six Senses is just in another league here...(we think).

When it comes to family if you have children with you - then Island Hideaway is absolutely the best place.. We know from other reviews of Centara that loud children sometimes is an issue - we didn`t see this at all at our stay - but the Island is very small compared to Six Senses and extremely little compared to Island Hideaway.. - so if you are bringing children then we would without any doubt recommend Island Hideaway over Centara.. The pool area on Island Hideaway is also bigger - better - and more funny for children.

Service level - Here we clearly have to say... Island Hideaway because you get your own private butler, that follow you in all the meals, trips, snorkeling (If you want). First we thought this is not so nice - but in only a half day - the butler knows what is your favorite drink, coffee - medium or well done steak and so on - and the children gets to love him so easily... Also the attention and level of service is then so much better...
Six Senses also have a kind of the same level of service - they call it personal Gem...but our "GEM" was almost invisible and did not respond to our calls at all.. So in our terms then level of service is then to prefer ISLAND HIDEAWAYS "butler" service..

So.....in our mind.....
House reef - Centara 5 star - Island Hideaway 4,5 star - Six Senses Laamu 2 star
Room - Six Senses 5 star - Island Hideaway 4 star - Centara 3 star
Food - Six Senses 5 star - Centara 4 star Island Hideaway 4 star
Island - Island Hideaway 5 star - Six Senses 4 star Centara 3,5 star
Service - Island Hideaway 5 star - Six Senses 4 star Centara 3 star
Transporttime to/from Male - Centara 5 star - Six Senses 3 star - Island Hideaway 3 star

So what is our favorite place.... ?
We love snorkeling - so that means we will never choose Six Senses again - even that the room, place, view, food is absolutely wonderful... we prefer snorkeling possibility first class and this Six Senses Laamu cant provide... but if this is not an thing you need - then we could highly give Six Senses our thumbs up !!!

Centara is really nice and wonderful - and we could reconsider going back - if we were to travel alone..but.......
What we dont like is the Ultimate All Inclusive plan at Centara - not to say the food or drink is bad - but you are on a "fix plan" where all extra cost much more - and when you feel that you have paid before - then it feels difficult to "pay much more".. Also the Ultimate All inclusive plan is so stupid that if you are to choose extra - then you have to pay all extra....
Island Hideway and Six Senses meal plans is so planed that you have an amount to use and then pay extra if you want something more.. Lets say you one day would like a candlelight dinner at the beach in private - or you one day want a lobster or anything special - then you "only" pay extra at Island Hideaway and Six Senses.. but at Centara you pay full amount with no discount at all -even you then dont use your ultimate all inclusive plan... So our recommendation to Centara is - give people the choice to pay extra like other resorts instead of trying to "rip people" off when they want to try something extra on the menu.

So it is quite difficult for us to make a 100% choise - and since all people are different - then it is also quite difficult to say one is better than the other..

We think that all 3 resorts in Maldives we have tried are wonderful.. but our favorite as a couple we would say....Centara because for us snorkeling in high quality is so important - but if we next time bring Children then Island Hideaway...

BUT.....

If you could get...the quality of food and villa like Six Senses - the personal touch of service and extremely privacy from Island Hideaways combined with a house reef like Centara - then we would really have found paradise beyond this world.... Now we are "stock" with only paradise..... which are really nice also !!!

Room tip: Our sunset water villa room 55 was directly in Sunset every night.. The rooms on the side of the jetty (you can see on the hotel map - that you have 5 rooms one side - and 8 rooms other side) Sunset water villa - we would say to be very honest - THESE ROOMS ARE NOT SUNSET - so if had been given one of these rooms then we would have complained - because no sunset directly... But our room number 55 was extremely good - and also the other rooms in all this jetty is nice and directly sunset.
Date of stay: January 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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10  Thank KristensenDenmark
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 27 January 2013

We stayed at here for 9 magical nights in January 2013. The ultimate all inclusive package is brilliant, choice of 3 restaurants included for lunch and dinner, drinks all day including a choice of around 10 different wines. 7 spa treatments available and daily trips all included in the package. The food, drink and service from this hotel was 5 star and the only reason we haven't given it a total of 5 star points is due to the ugly sea defences and pipes that run visibly thru the pure turquoise water which does somewhat detract from the beauty of this island.

We stayed in a water villa, the room was amazing with magical views across the sea. The mini bar was restocked daily and included a selection of beers, soft drinks and water. Our room was always immaculately looked after by the room boy who will also do bed decorations at evening turn down.

Our top tips

7) Take some light weight clothes to change into on arrival at male, we had a wait of nearly 2 hours for our seaplane at male. The seaplane is also very hot.

6) Take some good water shoes to wear into the sea. At low tide coral high and this protects your feet.

5) You can hire all your snorkel stuff out there at no cost under the ultimate package, so saves some room in your case.

4) Book your spa treatments on your first day, we did this and had no trouble getting treatments or times that suited.

3) Romantic beach dinner is lovely, if you have the money well worth it - you have your own private butler and chef for the evening

2) If you do have any concerns whilst on the island do bring this to the attention of the management they are more than happy to go out of their way to resolve problems. We had 1 minor problem that Doi sorted for us immediately - thank you Doi.

1) Robinson Crusoe island trip was our absolute highlight and in our opinion well worth the money.

The staff are brilliant, from the beach cleaners to the management they are all attentive but not over bearing and genuinely seem to want you to have an amazing time on their island.

Date of stay: January 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
11  Thank James B
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 24 January 2013

After a 30mins seaplane flight from Male, to arrive at the lovely island.

Everything is provided for (ultimate-all-inclusive) and we can have all the drinks we want anytime of the day

You can never have too much of the sea and the sunshine here.
Enjoy the sunrise, sunset, star gazing everyday and night.

One point, to plan carefully for your excursions due to your limited time!
every excursions is worthed the trip, so be sure if you can squeeze in some time for every one of them! We are lucky to see dolphins during the whale-shark excursion, although we didnt manage to see the whale-shark. haha

spend most of the time in the sea, snorkelling.
Prepare your underwater cameras! Time passed too quickly for our 5 days trip.
Be sure to be well equipped with sun lotions...

We shall come back to Maldives soon.

Date of stay: November 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank aychuen
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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