Centara was the second stop on our trip in Thailand where my husband and I came to celebrate our anniversary. It is really difficult to rate this hotel because of its absolutely amazing location and picturesque hotel grounds and beach but on the other hand inconsistent service. However, despite several niggles, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay and we would probably come back if we did not decide to splash a bit more money on neighbouring Rayavadee.
When we were booking the hotel, we were slightly scared because of some bad reviews here on the TripAdvisor. However, I am glad to say that not all the reviews are true. People complain a lot about the floating peer and the general access to the town. Well, these people then surely did not do enough research because all this is stated on the Centara’s website. Yes, there are only 2 ways to get to the hotel which actually gives you the unique and secluded feeling – these include a free boat transfer (5-10 mins from Noppharat Thara beach) which takes you to not very stable floating pear which is actually quiet fun as you feel like surfing while you are trying to walk to the beach (this is definitely not a place for people with mobility problems), Centara staff will take care of your luggage. The 2nd possibility included the ‘monkey trail’ which consists of a quite steep climb on the wooden stairs around the hill which takes around 15 mins to get to the Ao nang town. In our case, it took around an hour because of the several stops with the monkeys which we absolutely loved. Yes, they are very cheeky and try to grab sunglasses, bags and anything sparkly but if you are not like us and you simply ignore them, they are fairly harmless. I personally love animals so seeing monkeys playing, swimming in the water, eating or even climbing on my back was one of my highlights of our trip to Centara. If you consider using monkey trail, I definitely recommend flat comfortable shoes (no heels!) and as little clothing as possible (yes, you will sweat, a lot!!). If you don’ t fancy the climb, you can always book free boat transfer which will take you to Noppharat Thara beach located around 5-10 mins taxi ride from Ao Nang which offers a variety of restaurants, bars and shops. The monkey trail on the other hand takes you to the beginning of Ao Nang beach which has stunning views but is a bit dirty so we always preferred staying in the Centara beach which was always empty.
More about location: Centara’s location is really unique, offering you beautiful views of the limestone located right in front of its beach. The beach, despite being public, was always very quiet, the water was clean and the distant sound of the long tail boats really did not bother us. The hotel is also just behind the corner from the stunning Railay beaches and Phranang cave beach. You can hire canoe from the hotel (free for an hour) and around £7 for the whole day which I would recommend to everybody who would like see the area without a tour. We have done a whole day trip around the Railay peninsula and the beaches there were breath taking!!! Yes, there were quite a lot of people but not as many to spoil the experience. It takes about 30 mins to get to Railay by canoe. Noppharat Thara beach is another stunning beach close by– no people and peace and quiet – worth spending 2-3 hours there.
The hotel – rooms, food, pool: We stayed in Spa Deluxe Ocean facing room as it was our anniversary and we wanted something special. While booking, we have requested an unobstructed view of the lime stone feature in front of the hotel but from the room we were given we could see only a part of the floating peer which made us feel really disappointed. We were offered moving to another room on our 2nd day, however, it did not have the view either so we stayed in our original room. I do understand it was only a request but I was still very disappointed. The room was really nice, we also got a cake and flower petals on the bed and in the bath which was a nice touch and having the Jacuzzi on the balcony was fantastic. It had very Thai feel to it and its layout was very interesting. I also loved the rain shower in the bathroom! Toilet was separated from the bathroom which is always good and if you wanted, you could open the bathroom door and literally see the ocean. Although the room was visually stunning, we could notice its age – we had trouble locking the main door and the balcony door were getting stuck. Housekeeping could also spend a bit more time cleaning as the floor always felt a bit dirty and lamps and tables were a bit dusty. We also ordered room service one day and that was a disaster. My husband’s burger came completely cold, so was my club sandwich and chips. We also asked for mayonnaise which was forgotten and when we asked again, it took around half an hour to get it. The food was also only cling filmed so no wonder it got cold so fast as there was nothing to keep it warm. However, the issues were rectified as the meal was eventually taken of our bill. Another disappointment came with our evening meal where we meant to celebrate our anniversary. A few days before that day, my husband called to book us a nice table and asked if it could be made special as we will be celebrating our anniversary. However, this was not acknowledged during that evening and no special table reserved – we got a table in the middle of the dining area. The food was, however, very nice – it was ‘barbecue buffet’ which although quite pricey (around £35 pp) was of very good quality – grilled prawns, lobster, steaks. The life music was also very nice touch.
The staff we encountered in the hotel were all very polite and friendly – a massive credit to a lady on the tour desk (morning 27th of Feb) who helped us arranging a day trip with a personal driver (to Tiger Cave and Emerald pool) and also organized the hotel to take our luggage and transport them to their head office in Ao Nang where we could pick them up after our trip and continue to the next destination. She was absolutely brilliant and arranged everything as we asked.
The hotel has also its own spa, which was very expensive so we didn’t try it and free use of the gym which was very good and well equipped! The hotel has 2 pools – a large two tier pool which was absolutely stunning and never crowded and a very small adult pool. They have also a strict policy regarding reserving sunbeds and leaving them which was greatly appreciated! If you desire to stay on the beach (where sun bed are not allowed), you can use the beach towels or borrow a ‘beach mattress.’
Breakfast in the hotel was great and in a beautiful setting – surrounded by a pond full of fish which the kids could feed and with the amazing ocean views. Everything we tried was really tasty – there was a great choice – Thai dishes as well as European style dishes, pancakes, a lot of pastries and cakes, a big selection of cereals etc. and they were changing some items daily. You could also order chef’ s special which was different every day. I also loved the choice of smoothies and freshly prepared yogurts.
Overall, we really enjoyed our stay in Centara. It has a fantastic location and stunning beach. It is a very beautiful resort and despite the few slips, I think we would be both happy to stay again. Don’t believe the bad reviews.
- 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 And Villas
- Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hotel Ao Nang
- 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