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“Not the luxury you would expect from Maldives”

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Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Not the luxury you would expect from Maldives”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 January 2012

Positives: restaurant staff were excellent and the all-inclusive buffet was good with excellent variety each day. Snorkelling was amazing with so many beautiful fish.

Negatives: transport from male was supposed to be pre-arranged by speedboat but when we arrived we were told we were going by seaplane and we were supposedly overweight because the weight limit was less than advised. Automatic $60 payment! Also seaplane option meant we had no control when we had to check out when we expected to be able to spend whole last day at the resort. Therefore we had to leave at 14:55 for a 23:50 flight and spend over 6 hours in the airport and we could not even check in and the lounge was not opened until 2 hours before the flight. Also, the resort made us get on the boat 45 mins before our seaplane arrived when the landing dock was literally 5 mins from shore so we sat there bobbing about waiting unnecessarily.

When we got to the resort the beach villa they gave us was right next to the island generator which meant a constant loud humming noise. Added to this was that there was no beach at all in front of the villa, just bricks. With the money paid we expected more so requested to move to be told there was nothing available apart from if we wanted to pay $900 a night to upgrade!! We refused and eventually were given another villa on the other side of the island the next day. This villa didn't have any hammock unlike most other villas as the only downside but at least it had beach and was very peaceful.

The staff on reception were really unhelpful generally and only when a manager stepped in was anything ever resolved. Even check out was a palava with 3 staff telling us we could have a late check out but then at the last minute we wee told we couldn't have it. Eventually, again after a manager stepped in we were allowed to shower in another villa before check out.

Decor of the villa was tired in some places with slopping painting and cracks. The outdoor bath also could not fill up as the plug did not work.

If we were honeymooners, which luckily we were not this would not be the resort to go to as there were so many young children and babies making every meal entertaining with screaming and crying and running youngsters. The same for the beaches with not enough loungers. Families would reserve all loungers early even though they wouldn't use them.

Although there was beautiful weather and amazing waters, if I were to return to Maldives I wouldn't choose centara again...sorry.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank LAF83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (307)
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Dublin
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 December 2011

We stayed on our honeymoon here for 11 nights in July. IT TAKES 5 MINUTES TO WALK THE ENTIRE ISLAND!

Good Points;
Food great in the italian mazurri
Great selection of drinks at the bar
Very peacefull

Bad Points;
We asked for a room on the sunset side of the island -this didnt happen
We were supposed to have our room ready with a bottle of champagne waiting for us etc - this didnt happen, we had to ring 3 or 4 times to arrange this which was off putting plus the bath in the room had to be cleaned as it was filthy
The Island is way too small if you like walking or otherwise

Overall it was a great trip...would I travel so far for the same experience to the same resort? NO would be the honest answer.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank nipkane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
118 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 December 2011

We have just returned from a week in a beach pool villa at Centara Grand. We travelled with our 2 teenage children so needed accomodation big enough for us all. The villa was spacious with a bedroom with twin beds downstairs and an open plan double sleeping area upstairs. If I am very critical it would have been better to have the double room downstairs rather than adults having the open plan sleeping area (I have noticed this comment on previous reviews). The pool for the villa over looks the beach and is a lovely addition to the room.

We had upgraded to have use of the Island Club and would recommend this to anyone travelling to Centara. The evening meals here are far superior to the other restaurants on the island. Your table has to be booked by 3pm and though there is a set menu if one of the options isn't to your taste you can substitute another option from the menu from a different day of that week. The girls in the Island Club cannot provide a better serviice, drinks are offered every time your glass is empty and all staff are polite and friendly.

My husband and son went diving every day and on all but 1 dive they were the only ones on the boat. The highlight was to dive with 3 whale sharks but every dive was excellent. The water sports staff are very helpful as are all the staff on the island.

My only negatives for the island are the steps taken to try to retain the beach. At low tide a line of concrete pipes surrounds most of the island and they are visable as are the yellow and blue sandbags floating between some of the pipes. We couldn't swim out from our beach as the pipes were so high you couldnt swim over them and some had metal wires sticking out. We have travelled to the Maldives before so we are aware that most islands have taken some measures to try to keep the beaches but the Centara hasn't done a very good job and in our view this needs attention. We looked out of our villa (number 8) and even at high tide one pipe stood out of the sea so spoiled the view. This is also the case at the Coral bar, a concrete piece has been left in the sea and look very unattractive.

Overall, we had a lovely holiay. This is a good place for families and the quality is a good 4*.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank lovemyflipflops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Geelong, Australia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 December 2011

The staff had thought of every thing from providing a quick airport transfer to the Sea Plane and even a Cake on my Birthday. There was great variety in food. Excursions are very pricey however there is plenty to do on the island with out going on excursions.

  • Stayed December 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Lgclay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore
Level Contributor
64 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 168 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 December 2011

My family of 4 stayed in Centara for 7 nights here. Our stay was a very memorable one with

- Great food & drinks. We looked forward to the different theme planned for each night to savour the different tastes at the Reef Restuarant. At the Lotus Restuarant (Thai food), we enjoyed the food and the hospitality from the staff there too. We went for lunch at Lotus very frequently, we noticed that there were only 3 different set menus to be rotated, we wished there could be more varieties. We were spoilt for choice for the drinks.

- Great reef with so much to see. We were greeted by fishes, string rays, squids, reef sharks, etc and it was pure fascinating. We stayed in the family water villa and we enjoyed spotting the different sea creatures from our decks. There were lots of coral reef around our villa's access to the sea and hence we were able to see many fishes. The down side was to be careful not to be cut by the reef as the tide was rather low. We didn't bring any reef shoes and there were none which we could rent from the water sport centre.

- Great excursions. The excursions didn't come cheap but we thoroughly enjoyed them all. In the sunset cruise, it was a joy to see the dolphines. The whale shark trip was one which would leave a deep impression. The staff were great and they took really good care of us. Seeing me struggling at the 1st jump, they were always there to check on me. They also encouraged my kids to join in and helped to tend to my boy while snorkelling in the sea. I couldn't be more grateful and happy with their service. We went to the adhoc Lunar Eclipse Cruise. As no one else opted for it, it became like a private and personal cruise for us. It was a relaxing cruise under the moon and stars. We also enjoyed the fishing trip where my boy caught 2 fish but was surprised at the steep price of US$10 per pax if we would decide to cook/eat the fish. As we had 2 days of rain and hence didn't have time to do more cruises.

- Great room. My children thoroughly enjoyed the jacuzzi in the delux family villa. The playstation was great for them too. I love the BIG pillow in our room. We did have some delays getting service such as shampoo (I broke it while bathing) and touchlight (which was missing). It was not a big issue but it did take about 2 calls before we finally could get it.

The only 2 glitches which we would like to highlight:
- We had problem finding the hotel rep when we touched down. Apparently another hotel's rep brought us to find her and we found out that she had brought some guests to the seaplane counter and hence missed us. We thought she could have waited for us. It is never a pleasant feeling to be stranded in the airport searching high and low for the hotel's rep.
- We almost missed our flight home as there were some hiccups on the seaplane arrangement. Our seaplane delayed from 10:50am to 11am, and as there were some miscomm on the pick-up point, we were ferried to and forth between 2 islands. It was not pleasant to be stranded rocking in the sea. By the time we reached the airport, the screen was already showing final call. We rushed all the way to the plane and I was unable to shop for soverneirs as I had planned :((((

Overall we enjoyed our stay very much and would definitely recommend it to our friends.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank oliviamummy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
manchester
Level Contributor
59 reviews
58 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 December 2011

I didnt want to leave this place. I also wish id had longer than 7 nights.

It all started with the seaplane. we had a very short wait of less than an hour and then we were whisked away with the dots of the islands below us, beautiful! Half an hour later we landed on a little platorm and were taken the last bit of the distance by dhoni boat. The scenery is stunning an i had little butterflies in my tummy arrving onto the island and then whisked away to the island club to check in.
Here we were offered cold drinks and towels (also lunch which we declined) and then taken to our luxury sunset o/w villa. The decor was very nice and "beachy" feel, wooden floors, huge four poster bed with netting, huge bathrrom with freestanding bath and seperate shower and toilet (which had a glass wall to watch the fish!). Outside we had a lovely deck area, table and chairs, comfortable sunloungers and an upstairs (outside) daybed, good for watching stars at night. The best bit was the steps down into the sea, we had villa 68 and so the water was deep enough so that we couldnt touch the bottom and there was so many fish and coral, it was absolutely stunning!
The rest of the resort was also lovely, there was the sunset bar which was very laid back and the italien restaurant opposite, then there was the island club which offers premium cocktails and things like coronas beer and baileys etc. you can also have speciality coffees and milkshakes there included in your a/in, they also have a poolside drinks service, priority restayrant booking, free snorkelling equipment, free 2 pieces of laundry a day and a seperate restaurant serving 5 course dinners. We felt this was definately worth the upgrade and even better if you are going in 2012 as if you stay island club then your mini bar is also included if you have island club (the only gripe we had was that we had to pay for the mini baras we didnt want to leave the room during the day and miss out on our resident fish!)
there was also the thai restaurant and the reef buffet. For an all inclusive hotel the food was fantastic, our favourite being the thai. The buffet for breakfast and lunch was also very good with different food each day and very nice staff.

We did a couple of trips, the whale shark snorkelling, amazing! was usd100pp approx and we saw 4 of them, lucky i think but definately recommended! then we did the robinson crusoe experience, was pricey but something we wanted to try (gbp500) and it was an amazing experience, we had a speed boat full of food and drink incl lobster and champagne adn were dropped of for the day to enjoy the 2 of us on the island, i am biased as we got engaged there but it is the perfect setting and if you can, i would definately do it (honeymoon or anniversary, you cant beat it!).
This place amazed me, yes there are some bits of peeling paint but then your eyes are dragged away to the sharks chasing the squid or the dorien fish swimming round and round their respective posts. It is also an island in the middle of the sea and you are going to get a bit of wear n tear, it doesnt in anyway detract from your holiday, I'm saving up as i write this!

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank dinglenoam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
116 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 December 2011

This was our first trip to the Maldives and after a lot of searching on the internet and looking at the many resorts available, we settled on the Centara. I had read that the Ari Atolls had better snorkelling options and as this was high on our list of experiences I did not want to get it wrong! Well, we were certainly not disappointed. The house reef was excellent - I have never seen so many different fish in all my life. We saw sharks, rays and even a turtle. I do not really swim and therefore used the handy life jackets. For those who make negative comments about people wearing life jackets here, I have to say my experience would have been very different without this option. It gave me the freedom to discover much more than I would without it.

In terms of the rest of the resort, we were very happy with what we got. We went for the full monty and had the sunset water villa and the Island Club upgrade. Villa was excellent though as many have reported, the steps into the water are slippery. We took rubber shoes to use which were a great help. The hotel are trying their best to keep this in hand and send a guy around regularly to scrub the steps. You can't however beat stepping off the veranda and onto the reef - quite idyllic!

The resort was not overly busy when we were there which was great. The Island Club felt at times like our own private pool/bar. The girls who work at the Club were fantastic - friendly, helpful and attentive. It was nice to have the option of the bottled beers (draft beer wasn't up to much), a wider cocktail list, good fresh juices. We ate here a few times and the food was excellent. If I had any complaint, I would say that the wines in the Club are perhaps more suited to having with a meal rather than drinking on their own.

The Thai restaurant was great as was the food in the Reef. Some good selections for both lunch and dinner. The highlight of the week in the Reef was Japanese night. Fantastic Sushi.

Also enjoyed the free laundry every day as part of the Club package.

All in all, a great first trip to the Maldives. A few comments both on this forum and by people in the resort that it wasn't at the same level as other resorts but in all honesty, I was perfectly happy with our experience. We went to relax but also with a great desire to snorkel. If this is what you are after, then Centara is the place for you - it may not be 5* complete luxury but it provides a level of luxury, with a good balance of friendly, helpful staff and some excellent under water life.

Room Tip: If you choose any of the over water villas you will not be disappointed.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank mynameisalwaystaken
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

Property: Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives
Address: South Ari Atoll
Region: Maldives > Alifu Atoll > Southern Ari Atoll > Centara Grand Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Centara Grand Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives 5*
Number of rooms: 112
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Surrounded by a stunning house reef that is a kaleidoscope of colour for snorkellers, and distinctive with its timbered walkways and colonial-style buildings, the five-star Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives is a barefoot paradise. With the Ultimate All-Inclusive concept, your stay is absolutely carefree meaning that all meals, spa treatments, activities and water sports, daily excursions, and even diving are all included. Weatherboard villas, thatched-roof buildings, a white-sand beach and sparkling lagoon are the setting for your honeymoon or fun-filled family holiday. Villas and beach suites are generously-sized (86-159 square metres); the over-water villas enjoy their own sundeck with steps down to the multihued coral reefs. Special villas for families have bunk beds in a children’s area, and you can also enjoy the option of an overwater villa with plunge pool. When it comes to dining, all your meals – and more – are included. Sumptuous champagne breakfasts are available at Reef Restaurant, lunches and dinners are to be enjoyed at the Azurri Mare Italian Restaurant, the Suan Bua Thai restaurant or Reef Restaurant. There are two bars on the island. Voted as Maldives’ most family-friendly resort two years in succession, the island has the ideal family itinerary: activities at the age-specific kids’ clubs, water activities like banana boat and tube rides, water sports, and pool games by thea children’s pool. Anyone in need of some deep relaxation can enjoy the daily spa treatments at Spa Cenvaree, yoga sessions, or simply laze beachside. Beside water sports and one of the best PADI dive centres in the Maldives, the resort’s house reef and lagoon provide fascination for snorkellers, and just off the reef there is a dedicated shipwreck that offers easy diving and a close-up view of turtles and whale sharks, manta rays, and surgeonfish. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Centara Grand Island Resort And Spa
Centara Grand Island Hotel Centara Grand Island
Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

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