I have been back in England now for a month…. I so wish I was back out there in Thailand!!!! We stayed at the Centara for 1 week in March 2011.
Transfer from Airport:
It was a private minibus transfer for just the two of us and was a little hair-raising at times! It took around 20 to 30 minutes to reach the harbour which gave us plenty of time to get our first sights of Thailand!! The driver was pleasant and helpful.
Transfer from Harbour to Centara:
We arrived at the ‘harbour’ which is really just a cove where all the boats have decided to dock – not really a harbour like you may think. It was really busy with other minibuses, cars, tuk tuks and people, but it was the middle of the day. It was made clear where we had to be so there was none of the worry of ‘Are we in the right place? Is that boat the right one?’ etc. We were helped on to the boat and our 10 min journey to Centara began. Have your camera ready because the scenery along this journey is breathtaking!
Arrival at Centara:
First views of Centara are amazing, the hotel is set into the bottom of these huge cliffs covered in forest. It really is difficult to describe how huge these cliffs really are and the view and the resot is just jaw-dropping.
I was worried about walking along the floating jetty because of some of the reviews that I had read on here, but there was no need… after a couple of steps you get used to the wobble and it really isn’t anything to worry about.
You are seated in reception with any other newcomers to fill in the necessary forms. We were told our room wasn’t ready for another couple of hours and that we could change and shower in the gym if we wanted to. We weren’t going to let that ruin our first day (yes we were tired, yes we just wanted to get settled, yes it was irritating…but why let it ruin things?) We did as they suggested and changed into our beachwear and headed for some lunch.
We had lunch on the first day in the Beach Bar…. Pad thai – very tasty, Chicken Satay & Grilled pineapple – also very tasty… 2 x Singha Beers… just what the doctor ordered!!! It all cost around £6 which I thought was reasonable. Over the week we found service could be a little slow here which could be irritating, but was ok.
We paid for a Sea View Jacuzzi Club Room and it was well worth the money it cost – Wow. The main part of the room is the bedroom with a huge bed positioned in the middle so that you have the seaview when you lift your head off the pillow. The seating area is on the balcony which is kept private with blinds on all areas. To the front of the room was the ‘sun balcony’ which has our Jacuzzi and 2 sunbeds. The bathroom was huge with the deepest tub I have ever seen!! Loads of mini bottles of everything you could want and a hairdryer. On a couple of occasions the smell of the drains seemed to invade the room…. It was pretty bad, but wasn’t enough to make us complain to the management or anything. Just get some air in to let it out!! You should keep the inner patio doors closed if you open the main ones to keep insects and monkeys out!
There is a mini bar in the room, but don’t pay those prices. I would recommend on your first night in AoNang you head to a Supermarket and stock up on beer, soft drinks and water as it is half the price of the cost in the hotel!!
We used the hotel restaurant for one night only. We had a main course and a drink each and it came to around £50 which is on the expensive side… but when you compare that to 2 mains and 2 drinks in town at around £10 then the hotel is definitely premium prices, but that is exactly what I would expect!
We made it here once for a drink or two… it is a lovely setting and really nice in there. There was a live band playing everynight. It was a really nice place to relax and chill out.
We spent a lot of time at the beach. Instead of sunbeds they have beanbags to collect and drag to your favourite spot …. These were really comfy when you are catching those rays!! The sea was lovely and warm!
We only made it to the pool for one afternoon. It is a lovely pool with a Jacuzzi and waterfalls. Most people seem to head for the pool rather than the beach so it did seem quite busy.
As part of the room upgrade we have access to the Club Lounge, a small airconditioned room where you could lounge on the sofa’s, use the free internet, have free drinks and food. This is well worth the extra cost as it covered our lunch. We would head into there and have soup, sandwiches, fruit and drinks which was plenty to keep us going till dinner. We also would call in one our way out for the evening for a quick free drink.
There are 3 ways of reaching AoNang from Centara, we tried all 3 options and settled on walking the monkey trail to reach town and booking a boat trip home:
Through the low tide:
There was only one day when the sea was out far enough to walk round cove and it was still over knee high. When you are carrying handbags, cameras and holding up skirts and rolling up trousers or shorts it’s not the easiest option!
You can prebook a place on the boat to get in or out of Ao Nang. There are limited boats and limited places, we found if you booked the day before you tended to be able to get the times that you wanted. When you get to the harbour you just need to catch a TukTuk into the town centre which costs around £2.
This is quite steep and uneven and by the time you reach the top you will be huffing and puffing a bit!! We probably only came across monkeys a couple of times on the trail and we used it most nights and if we wanted to stretch our legs during the day. I had to use the hand rail to help me along and when the monkeys are out the tend to sit and run around on the rails so don’t be surprised if one runs over your hand!!
We really enjoyed it in the town. There is lots of shopping, good bars and restaurants. I would recommend the Eden restaurant, they have an upstairs terrace where you eat and it is lovely, the food was also fantastic. Beware of the Tailors… if they catch you into a conversation you can’t get away and before you know it you have wasted 30 mins trying to get away from them – great if you want to buy something, but not so great if you don’t want to!
Koh PhiPhi Trip
We did the trip to Koh PhiPhi/Maya Bay trip which was great, but very busy. There are tourists from Krabi and other resorts on the mainland as well as from Phuket and other islands nearby all heading to these beaches, coves and islands so don’t expect to land at a quiet cove. The cove where ‘The Beach’ was filmed was breath takingly beautiful, but you couldn’t take a picture without getting a few hundred tourists in it!!! Koh Phi Phi was also crazy busy, but had a great vibe… I would have liked to stay longer. The speedboat journey back wasn’t the greatest journey… very rough seas!!
These were the highlight of our holiday! Seeing them on the trail and at the end of the trail on the beach. They are not at all bothered about the people and just carry on grooming each other and playing. Don’t let your guard down though… they will steal anything they can especially plastic bags because they think there is food in them. We saw a young monkey steal a key from someone and as he turned to try and stop it, the adult monkeys scared him away by trying to grab at his legs. He did get his key back when the monkeys had calmed down!
If you spend time on your balcony you can see the monkeys running around on the rooftops of other rooms (usually at breakfast time or early evening). They can take you by surprise when they suddenly appear on your balcony! We had a couple of friendly visits from them!!!
One day, early evening the monkeys came to the beach and made their way from one side or the cove to the other, there were around 50 monkeys parading up the beach... that was an amazing sight!!
All in all I would highly recommend this hotel. It didn’t let me down at all!! I went with an open mind and didn’t expect perfect and it surpassed any expectations I had!! The only downside was that the hotel has outpriced it's amenities... in comparison with other hotels it isprobably the same, but when food and drink in AoNang is so much cheaper you are more likely to spend time out of the hotel!
Loved it!! The location is completely unique and breath taking and as for the monkeys... well they were the highlight of my holiday
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hidden away in secluded Pai Plong Bay and surrounded by emerald waters and a luxuriant national park, this five-star beachfront resort is a tropical paradise for those seeking a romantic hideaway or a relaxing stay with their family. The resort instils an air of understated luxury with generously-sized rooms and private villas ranging in size from 72 to 399 square metres and offering the option of garden or ocean views, an outdoor Jacuzzi, or a plunge pool. Designed in modern Thai style, with high ceilings, spacious living areas dominated by wooden accents, stone features and soothing colours, the rooms and villas are calm oases. Accessible by boat only, the resort offers an abundance of opportunities to relax and explore. To name a few: unwind with blissful spa treatments at Spa Cenvaree, savour Thai, Japanese, and International cuisines at one of the four restaurants, enjoy complimentary water sports (kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding – the first hour is free), lounge by one of the swimming pools while the kids are kept busy at the kids clubs, enjoy carefree days on the white sands of Pai Plong Bay. With warm waters with extraordinary underwater visibility, beautiful coral formations and an exotic marine life, the Andaman Sea is a tropical paradise for diving enthusiasts and those with a longing for more holiday thrills. The experts at the resort’s PADI dive centre provide everything that is needed for beginners, those with medium skills, and expert divers. Krabi International Airport is 40 minutes away from Nopparatthara pier which is approximately 15 minutes from the resort by boat. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hotel Ao Nang
- Centara Grand Beach Resort And Villas
- Centara Grand Beach Hotel
- Centara Grand Beach Krabi
- Central Krabi Hotel
- Central Krabi Bay Resort
- Central Bay Resort Krabi
- Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi Ao Nang