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Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi
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All reviewsmonkey trailon the rockslotus courtfloating jettyshuttle boatthai restaurantthe club loungeprivate beachspa deluxe roomocean facingfree boatboat servicelow tideonly accessible by boatjacuzzi on the balconybaht bonanzawooden steps
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Reviewed 28 May 2012

We returned from Centara Grand Beach Hotel in Krabi on 19th May 2012, we had a great holiday with plenty of sun.
When going to this hotel please be aware that you can only get to it by boat, monkey trail (on foot), or by wading out into the sea at low tide, there are no roads at all that go to this hotel.
When you first arrive at the pier just the other side of Ao Nang you are met by a speed boat which is not moored to a pier it just comes onto the beach and lets down a step ladder which is normally ok but when we arrived the bottom step was very high and took some arm power to pull yourself up, (this was the only time that the step was high). When you arrive at the hotel it is a freefloating pontoon, which if the sea is calm is fine but if the sea is rough it can be very scary, the staff at the hotel are very good and come down to the boat to help you off and hold onto you until you reach land, your luggage is brought off the boat by staff as well so you don't have to worry. Once you have used the pontoon a few times you will become very good at walking like a drunk person without having had a drink, so can be quite funny to watch people. The famous 'monkey trail' if you don't like heights it can be a nightmare, I did it once in the day light and said I would never do it again, unfortunately we hadn't booked the boat to come back to the hotel one night so had to attempt it once again, this time in the dark, I felt better doing it in the dark as you couldn't see how high you were and the monkey's were all asleep. The actual monkey trail has got lights, but the land from the last bar to the start of the trail is as black as coal, lucky for us I had my mobil phone or I think we would have still been wondering around until the morning on the Ao Nang side. (It is a good idea to carry a small torch with you at all times at night incase the boat doesn't run for any reason, also some of the restaurants are not well lite so handy to read the menu/bill as well.) If you decide to walk around the rocks at low tide please make sure that the tide is well out or you will have to climb the rocks as we did one time, these are not just ordinary rocks they are millions of shells in clumps like rocks but are razor sharp and very slippery and the tide is only out for about 3hrs at a time. The only other way to get to and from the hotel is by longtail boat which the locals run, the only downside to this is that you have to walk into the sea about waist high then climb into the boat as they have no steps and when you arrive at the other end you may well have to get out the same way into the sea.
The hotel rooms are staggard up the cliff face so if you decide to have a room up high please be aware that it is a strenous hike up, unless you are lucky enough to get a ride on a passing golf truck (that will always stop if you ask them for a ride). If you decide on a high room the views are stunning and we felt it was worth the climb, and I must say after a few days we didn't seem to notice it so much. The room we had was 1135 delux ocean facing room it had a jaccquzi on the balcony which we used nearly every afternoon when we got back from the swimming pool and thought it was great just to relax with a drink in the sun looking out to sea, what more could you want on holiday. Please remember to keep your door shut and LOCKED at all times as the monkey's do know how to open them and know exactly where your mini bar is and what is in it.
The biggest downside to the hotel as most people have said is the prices of food and drink, for example on our first day at the bar near the swimming pool we ordered one chicken wrap, one beef sandwich and two drinks and in English money it came to £29. The hotel do a bart deal where you give them £200 and they put £100approx to it, for you to spend on anything in the hotel ie, food, drink, spa and shop, we did this deal and it worked out good for us but you do need to spend it all by the end of your holiday as you cannot have any left credit back.
While we were there we noticed that hardly anyone around the pool were buying drinks because of the cost, for example 2 diet cokes £6. Bring with you or buy one there, a backpack go into Ao Nang and buy your booze, mixers, and snacks take them back to your room, empty out the mini bar of their stock to one side and replace with yours until you leave, we found that most people were doing this because of the extortionate prices. (On saying that I did fill out a questionair from the hotel and pointed out the price problem and the manage replied that he was aware of the problem and was going to drop the prices, so hopefully will keep to his word).
You can also buy a club room pass that works out about £400 for 12 days for 2 people which gives you a light breakfast, free drinks at certain hours, and free tea and coffee during the day also free internet, we didn't think it was worth it as you get a cooked breakfast free with the holiday, and you can get half hour free internet in the liberary, tea and coffee in your room is also free so we couldn't really see the benefit of spending that kind of money, also there was never anyone in the club room so would imagine that you would feel quite lonely.
We did eat in all the restaurants in the hotel using our bart deal and had lovely food and good service in them all. One night we decided to use the bar located under the liberary for happy hour, when we got in there we were the only two customers, very sad really because it was a lovely bar but no atmosphere again if they had dropped the prices people would have stayed in the hotel and made use of this bar but once they go to Ao Nang there is no point in rushing back for a happy hour when all night is happy hour in Ao Nang. Also the hotel could do with some entertainement in the evening, while we were there for 12 nights there was not one bit of entertainment but go into Ao Nang and you can sit in the grounds of other hotels and eat/drink and listen to a really good singer while you are there. Also it is very cheap to eat/drink in Ao Nang a good evening meal with drink is about £15 against £60 at the hotel for two.
It sounds like we are slatting the hotel, we are not it is a beautiful hotel in a stunning location the staff are very, very friendly and the rooms were faultless but we wanted to put on here all the things that we wanted to know before we went, please remember to book the motor boat every day if you want to go out, we didn't have any problems but I don't think the hotel was full while we were there. We used the spa every other day in the hotel and found the girls very friendly and professional no complaints there and spoke to other people who had used the massage areas in Ao Nang who said the same.
All in all lovely holiday and yes we would return, but you do need to be fit and able bodied to stay at this hotel.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank wendy-brian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GeneralManagerCKBR, General Manager at Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi, responded to this reviewResponded 7 June 2012

Dear wendy-brian

Thank you for your detailed account of your recent stay with our resort, I am sure this information will help many future guests.

The Baht bonanza is a great initiative that the Centara group has introduced to encourage guests to use the facilities within the hotel. In regards to the prices, we have already reduced these and from next week we are introducing new food menus in both On the Rocks restaurant as well as the Lotus Court restaurant.

In regards to the entertainment, I am sorry you missed it, but we now have a resident band from the Philippines who perform 6 nights a week.

Once again thank you for your support and for choosing to stay with us.

Kind regards, David Martens

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 May 2012

Perfect getaway for honeymooners and for those who wants to avoid the crowd and all. Stayed at Spa Dlx with sea view via booking.com. We requested for the best room since we were celebrating our anniversary and the hotel granted all of our requests. We were given a room that is located right in the center, breathtaking view from our balcony. They even decorated the bed and the bathtub with flower petals for us. The room is very spacious and well designed. However, the hot tub in the balcony wasn't working properly. Far walk to the lobby if u stay at the higher level, but u can always call for a buggy to fetch u.
U hv to take the boat that runs on certain timing, continue with 'tuk-tuk' in order to get to the town area.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jonah H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GeneralManagerCKBR, General Manager at Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi, responded to this reviewResponded 7 June 2012

Dear Jonah H

Thank you for taking the time to share your comments following your recent stay at our resort.

I am so please to read you enjoyed the Spa Deluxe room and the way the staff decorated the room for you. In contrast please accept my apologies for the problem with the jacuzzi.

May I take this opportunity to thank you again for staying with us and thank you for your support on this forum

Best regards, David Martens

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 May 2012

We experienced poor room service, and had to chase Laundry and towel requests. 4 operational matters were raised, (Door locks would not operate(2), door handles falling off, lights not working).
The halls were poorly illuminated, and it took me 2 days to get Monkey crap removed from the hallway, despite daily requests and the cleaners passing regularly. When it was removed the stain was left for all to see, and I spoke to the GM about all the above issues.
The new general manager was most apologetic, but he did not offer any financial compensation for this, even though he admitted that the faults are generated from a lack of a robust operational systems and poor implementation. The staff do the minimum, and try to cover for themselves.

Seperately be aware that this hotel has no road at all, so if you travel during the rainy season, ( May to November) many times you will be forced to endure the monkey trail, which is not for unfit people and impossible for those with walking difficulties. We had to do this on many occations ( we actually lost count) for our stay of 13/05/12 - 26/05/12.

To conclude: the new GM has got his hands full to stop the rot that has been in progrees, i would guess for some time, as another guest stated ''this place is tired around the edges''!

You have to make your own conclusions as to why the Centara group does not make an infrastructure investment, to improve comunications to Ao Nang.By simply offering a complimentory ferry service that is difficult to board in most weather conditions for the less fleet footed, is not good enough; and certainly should not just be described as unsuitable for people with walking difficulties.
Guests should be allowed the freedom to chose to spend time in Ao Nang, or the overpriced options at the hotel.

Room Tip: Pick a room as high as you can
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Foilsy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GeneralManagerCKBR, General Manager at Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi, responded to this reviewResponded 31 May 2012

Dear Foilsy

Thank you for taking the time to share your comments following your recent stay with us.

Please accept my apologies that we could not meet your expectations and for my oversight that you were looking for some kind of compensation.

In regards to your comments regarding access to the resort, this is no secret, our resort is only accessible by boat or the monkey trail, which is displayed on our website and contracted with our global travel partners.

Unfortunately during your stay the entire south of Thailand experienced unusually severe weather conditions and therefore, for both guests and staff safety we had to cancel the operation of our boats. The cancellation of boats due to weather conditions is clearly marked on all our schedules and tickets, plus our guest services team tries their best to warn guests that trips may be cancelled during this time.

Once again I am truly sorry that we did not meet your expectations, however we will continue to work to ensure we can improve on the experiences you mentioned so that we can meet the expectations of all our guests.

Yours sincerely
David Martens

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Reviewed 25 May 2012

We decided to take our family vacation at Krabi, and after reading a few reviews on TripAdvisor we chose to stay at Centara Grand. It is a 5 star resort, has many great reviews, the location looked beautiful - but mostly I was convinced it would have good service since, well, everyone said so. Wrong. There were so many things that shouldn't had been, in any hotel, and especially in a 5 star resort. I will list them here.

- we had to wait for 45 minutes at the pier, even though the boat was already there, because they had to follow the schedule (which really CAN be changed since the resort management created it); 4 families all arrived from the airport (2 with resort arranged car service) and first we stood under the hot mid day sun then watched the thunderstorm approach. The resort had all of our schedules, and should had arranged for the whole group a boat service to swiftly bring us onto the resort after our travels. It felt like we were going on a school trip and had to wait for the bus. Then the GM spent a good amount of time on the phone "explaining" that nothing could be done as all other boats were allocated elsewhere. Everywhere besides servicing the guests.

- website also states 40 minutes from Krabi Airport to resort. Not so if one had to wait at the pier.

- on the website it states that a walkway connects the resort to AoNang where shopping and dining are available. However it is only when we arrived that we discovered the walkway is a series of wooden planks hammered together into a makeshift passage to go over the limestone mountain. Too steep and too dangerous for the elderly, the young and ones with injuries. We were mostly trapped on the resort. Should had been clarified on the website.

- long blond hair found on the room floor and short ones on the slippers, 30 minutes into check in. We all have dark hair.

- baby crib wasn't prepared in the room when we arrived (our toddler desperately needed to nap after the traveling and the extra waiting at the pier), and then it was left outside the door unassembled. We didn't set it up ourselves as it was very dirty - the mattress as well. The sunbed mattresses were also moldy, ripped and dirty - and not set up either. Finally a team of people came to change everything after about 30 minutes.

- dust on all room glass shelves. There from date of check in and remained until check out.

- frayed bath towels.

- green algae all around on pool walls and rocks.

- fresh fruit juice non-existent on resort (besides coconut juice).

- breakfast selection was very basic; no espresso machine

- sponge fibers on pasta.

- servers at the restaurants were nice, however not the most attentive in serving. By the beach bar was worse, sometimes they were huddled into conversation while I'm trying to place an order. At dinner one night a waitress gestured with a flip of her hands for us to move the object from the table so she could put down the dishes of food.

- renovation on lobby and beach bar wasn't notified on website or via email when we made reservations. Could had vacationed without the dust and workers.

On the plus side, the entire staff was very kind and loving towards our child, especially the ladies at the Kids' Club. The location was beautiful, beach clean and water clear. The activities planned everyday (Thai boxing, yoga, beach volleyball, beach football, etc) were good alternatives for guests. Thailand and its people are warm and welcoming, and also one of the reasons why we chose Krabi as our holiday spot. However, I had expected much more from Centara in regards to service and making their guests feel pampered. One of the most important criteria of being a 5 star resort besides facilities and food (both lacking here) is service. I hope Centara could improve on this soon, as the resort and its staff are beautiful.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank VW933
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GeneralManagerCKBR, General Manager at Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi, responded to this reviewResponded 31 May 2012

Dear VW933

Thank you for sharing your detailed comments on this forum following your recent stay at our resort.

I would like to apologize for the problem that you experienced with the cleanliness of the room on arrival, as I explained when we spoke this should not have happened and our staff rectified this as soon as you highlighted it to me.

In regards to the boat transfers, as I tried to explain to you, these operate on a schedule, so that all guests can maximize the use of transferring back and forth from the pier to the resort. The boat schedule operates for both arrival and departure guests as well as guests wanting to visit Ao Nang during the day. Most resorts of this style around the world operate to a schedule and not on demand. I am truly sorry if this was not explained to you when you made your reservation.

In contrast I am happy to read that the staff was attentive to your child and that you enjoyed the activities on offer at the resort.

Once again I am sorry we did not meet you expectations but be assured that we are all committed and working hard to continuously improve the quality of our service to meet our all guest’s expectations.

Yours sincerely,
David Martens

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Reviewed 25 May 2012

We stayed here in May and had a great time with my family of 5. The resort is very secluded and the only way in to it was via speedboat. You need to remeber this when booking as its a little like being stuck on an island and the resort know it as they charge appropriately. If you want to go to the main town of Ao nong you need to book a speedboat that takes 10 min (free). This is fine but unfortunately it still drops you off out of the way and you need to take another 5 min Tuk Tuk ride to get to the main town. (200 BH) The resort was clean, the rooms were pretty good and the location and views were magnificant. The monkeys are a little problem as they can actually open the doors (so you dont just close the doors but you need to lock them!) and have no hesitation to come in your room even if you are in there!. But dont worry they appear harmless. We had two interconnecting rooms with ocean views BUT for all you familes out there remember the interconnection is via the balcony - hard to be comfortable with this when you have 3 kids in the next room and monkeys are walking around every morning opening doors! We loved the free Kayaks that allowed us to take them out for 1 hour each time (not day) for free. Well worth it as there were plenty of cliff/hongs to look at and explore. Definutely take up the free Bhat offer if you get the opportunity as you will need it if you are eating and drinking at the resort.
Finally the monkey trail. We did it at least 10 times and it was steep but fun for our family - but wore thin near the end as it is quite strenuous. (no way for older travellers or kids under 6) (ps NEVER saw a monkey) Overall this was one of those places that are one in a millon as far as view and location goes - worth the effort if you can cope with what i have mentioned. If i could say one thing to the resort it would be to make the prices a little more reasonable for dining - if you did there would be a lot more use of your facilities and the ambiance at night would be much better (now they are relatively quiet!)

Room Tip: not all rooms have views!! but all rooms that do have views have strenous walks to access them (catch 22!!) decisions decisions
  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Subway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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