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“Great Week in the sun”

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Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 15 March 2013

We spent a week here in April 2012. We flew into Centara on a seaplane which was amazing. The views were spectacular, as was the first glimps of centara.

Unfortunately both myself and my husband had a sickness bug (that we took with us not from the resort) whilst we were at Centara. As I was preganant at the time the hotel staff arranged for the doctor to visit me. The doctor was very nice too.

All the staff were incredibly helpful during our stay. We had the same waiter each day and they remembered us and were very friendly.The selection of food at the buffet each day was very good. My one complaint would be that in the evenings there wasn't any plain food (that I was craving after my sickness bug). I did order chips one evening from the bar (at room service prices!) just for something plain and boring! The thai restaurant was lovely, the selection and quality was very good.

Our favourite meal was at the fish restaurant. The food and service was truly excellent. The island band came to visit the restaurant (I think that they go round all three restaurants each evening) and they did a request for each table...they were fantastic and they have a great repertoire of songs. They really made our holiday.

The pool was lovely and we loved to just sit and look out over the ocean. It was quiet when we were there and there was never a problem getting a sun lounger.

We chose to stay in a sunset villa...wow it was fantastic. We had great views of the ocean (from the bed!!) and two levels of balcony outside to sunbathe...pure luxury! They were definitely worth the extra money.

We snorkled most days off our sunset villa, the coral and fishes were beautiful. We also hired a pedalo and sailed around the island. I would really recommend this, it doesn't take long but it gives a good view of the whole island.

Due to me being pregnant (and our bugs) we didn't get a chance to do many excursions. There are lots to choose from and they looked really good. We did do a sunset cruise which was really good. The amazing colours of the sunset against the ocean was really something to see,

We would definitely recommend this hotel.

There weren't many children on the island and I would say more of a couples holiday.

Room Tip: Definitely push the boat out for a sunset villa! We didnt think that club access was worth the extra...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank mmunro100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 15 March 2013

We stayed here in October 2012 for our honeymoon and stayed at the Luxury Water Villa. I adore the outdoor showers after swimming in the ocean, I was told that the outdoor showers were not available on the other larger water villas (Sunset villas?) so was pleased I'd booked this one. The villa was lovely and spacious with great view of the ocean (and neighbors too if you don't keep the curtains closed at times). We also had the Island Club deal which gave us exclusive use of the addtional private pool which I found to be less busy and not so many children. The all day and all inclusive drinks and food was fabulous. Lotus restaurant was our favourite but we found out it had to be booked early or risk not getting a table.
We had a little problem with room service as they kept charging us for the drinks from the minibar which were meant to be inclusive, when we talked to the service manager we were told only some were included but there was no information anywhere as to which were and which were not.

Room Tip: Definitely worth taking the Island Club
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  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank KritsanaChase
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2013

My husband and I stayed here in 2011 and returned for a quick week's break the beginning of Feb. Again this resort failed to disappoint us -

Food - buffet was as good as we remember it and great choices for all meals with a superb selection at breakfast. The waiters are amazing and ours even remembered us from 2011! The Thai is a memorable as our first trip and could not wait to return here for this reason and they did not fail to deliver! On our last visit the Italian was turned into a fish restaurant and became very unpopular, we did not enjoy the meal when it was a fish restaurant but had heard great reviews from when it was an Italian - we were however disappointed. Tepayaki, as good as I remember however the menu did see the same!

Rooms - we again stayed in a beach villa, normally when we visit the Maldives we stay in Water Villas but with this resort there is no need. It did look as though the accommodation could do with a re-fresh.

The entertainments guys we lovely chaps, certainly knew they enjoyed their work - perhaps just a shame that not many people participate in evening activities (apart from crab racing). The band that plays every evening are amazing and I really think they all have talent, they were there on our last visit.

The Island have moved to luxury all inclusive, you need to make sure you ask for a Gordon Gin and Tonic as it is not automatically given, this I think for now is due to those who booked before it became ultimate all inclusive. Was disappointed on the amount of cocktails offered, those that were once AI were now chargeable.

Apart from my small winges, both my husband and I love this resort – the staff are amazing, the island beautiful. It meets our every wish for a relaxing and effortless holiday and will return again…. Perhaps later this year!

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Pudgina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2013

This place was absolutely AMAZING! I have nothing but positive things to say about this place. The service was amazing and EVERYONE on the resort's staff was friendly and welcoming. My girlfriend and I spent about a week there and everyday there was something different to do, not once were we bored. I expected there to be a slight difference between the pictures and the actual resort (as is the case with a lot of other resorts/hotels), not the case at all with this resort. The white sand beaches were even more white and the water even more blue. The entire stay was an awesome experience, so much in fact that I'm not sure that I would go back for fear of ruining the flawless picture of what a vacation should be like by having something go wrong the second time (only kidding).

  • Stayed: October 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Fredo305
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2013

Feb 2013
This was our 5th visit to the Maldives and as such was the most expensive. It was, however, All Inclusive and we stayed in the Sunset Water Villas. ( #60) which was at the end of the straightest pontoon and first on the right having turned left. The facilities were first class and if I had to criticise anything I would say that there are one or two areas that are beginning to look a little tired and are in need of renovation / maintenance. Nothing major though. The accomodation was otherwise excellent. The food at the Reef Restaurant was the best we've had and to that end felt it wasn't necessary to pay for extra in the form of A La Carte options and individual meals such as a lobster or seafood platters. Personal choice though at the end of the day. The staff were all very friendly and attentive. My wife unfortumately slipped in the Spa on the wet tiles after a rain shower. They had a Doctor check her out and they offered her a complimentary massage with a couple of free products thrown in. Most managers and reception staff were aware of her accident by the following day and asked how she was when they saw her.
Choose your Trips carefully. I booked a Whale Shark snorkelling trip through Reception for $100. Booked through the Water Sports Centre it was $650-$750. I only paid $50 in the end as I didn't get to swim with the Whale Shark. I did see one swim past the boat and did see Dolphins, a Manta Ray and Flying Fish on the way. This trip was on a Dhoni and so wasn't as manouverable as the smaller, faster speed boats. The best experience was Robinson Crusoe Island. An excellent day for the two of you on your own private island paradise. We originally booked it for Valentine's Day but cancelled it due to bad weather. We went the following day to our island via a 20 minute speed boat ride. There are two food options but in all honesty unless you particularly want Champagne and Lobster then the cheaper option $295 was more than adequate. There was more food than either of us could eat in the time available. Beef,chicken,salad,salmon and muscles along with a host of other items including wine , beer and soft drinks. This is all set up for you in a shady tree lined area by the staff while you take a brief walk on arrival. You are then left to enjoy the island and each others company on this beautiful sun kissed island. You are left with a mobile phone in case if emergencies or you want to leave early and the boat returns to pick you up at about 4pm. This trip is a must. Don't go home wishing you'd done this once in a lifetime experience. Snorkelling around Centara is excellent of course and the island is mostly surrounded by shallow water (7') and coral reefs. If you want deeper water with the chance of seeing something different then best access to deeper water is via the steps at the rear of the Dive Centre. This is an excellent All Inclusive Island with good facilities including a Spa, Gym , Dive Centre and child entertainment facilities. Arriving at Male in a plane load of Brits we were the only ones to get on the seaplane to our Island. It is mainly occupied by Chinese, Japenese and Italians.

  • Stayed: February 2013
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3  Thank Brums999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2013

My husband and I (were early 30's) just spent a 4 day holiday at Centara Grand an we did not want to leave! It was better then we could imagine, pure paradise. We stayed in a sunset water villa which was awesome and we did pay extra to use the Island Club amenities (private pool, restaurant, and more beverage options). The two restaurants at the resort Lotus and Azzuri Mare seafood were really good and we had no problem making reservations. Even one night the Lotus restaurant stayed open till my husbands football match was over on tv so we could have dinner. Service was excellent everywhere. All the staff went above & beyond with a smile.We were also worried about getting bored, but there was so much to do. Kayaking, pedal boats, banana boating, snorkeling, fishing, massages & cruise excursions. All these activities were included and you don't have to pay extra! The all-inclusive was definitely the way to go. Without it, I figure my husband & I would have spent easily $300-500 on food, booze & activities a day. We did have quit a few cocktails and they would be costly if not all-inclusive. Other reviews mentioned the wood is run down on the walk ways, but they were all being replaced when we were there. The whole resort was immaculate & the rooms were very clean. And I will admit I'm a bit of a hotel snob. I was jealous of all the people entering the resort as we departed, it was picture perfect! Last thing, there is an Amazing nightly band at the Coral bar called The Dorados, there very hip, definitely check them out:)

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Ashley4131
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2013

I booked the Centara to celebrate a big Birthday in July 2012 with our two children aged 10 and 12. It was our first visit to the Maldives. We stayed in a beach villa 3 villas away from the water sports centre.

I would strongly advise that you check your villa fully inside and out before unpacking. Especially if you are in a beach villa as the amount of beach available varies hugely. Also reef access varies hugely in the water villas so check if it is important to you.

The seaplane journey is an amazing experience. It is extremely hot and you may need to ask for the fan to be put on. They take your hand luggage from you as you get on so make sure that you have everything that you want on your person as you aren't able to retrieve anything during the trip. The children especially found it extremely hot and noisy. I was glad that I had ear plugs as they weren't provided before the flight.

We went in the rainy season and weather wise, we had a bit of everything. Rarely was a whole day the same which was very refreshing. We probably had thirty per cent direct sunshine which is perfect with children as the sun is obviously very strong. The temperature is constant though and we often swam in the rain. We remember most about the wind and the rain, rather than the sunshine. Suntan lotion is expensive although they do stock a wide range including factor zero (!?!?!?) at $17!!

Shoes are not necessary. It is a sandy, slightly uneven road to the restaurant so probably best to leave the stilettos at home. I found it easier to go barefoot. Do take something that won't be wrecked if it rains. Umbrellas are provided. Sometimes the wind means that they can't be used. In which case we found that beach towels provide excellent protection from the elements.

Dress code in the buffet is relaxed. Dress up or down the choice is yours.

Bear in mind that if children stay with you, then your villa will look nothing like the photos. The villas are designed as spacious accommodation for two people. For families, they add camp beds to the middle of the lounge. It worked, but lost much of the magic. But there are many that would argue that taking children to the Maldives does that anyway.

The air conditioning was not overly noisy, but you must keep all of the doors closed or it cuts off. It has to work hard to cool the large space of the villa so even a short break takes a long time to rectify. Logical, but how many times do you need to remind the children that?

I booked this resort partly because they have a childrens' club. My 10 year old son is not as confident with snorkeling as the rest of the family. I therefore hoped that he could spend an occasional hour in the kids' club whilst we were able to make the most of the snorkeling opportunities. When we arrived we were told that he was too old which was a big disappointment. All rooms have life jackets which gave our son extra confidence despite him being a strong swimmer. In addition you can buy fish cards from dive shops in the uk and the children loved identifying the different species. We borrowed some cord from the water sports centre and tied the cord to our son's life jacket so he could identify fish as he snorkel led. He gained so much confidence that when we came face to face with a white tip he followed it rather than freaking as I would have expected him to.

My daughter has coeliac disease. She is very sensitive and ensuring that she is able to eat properly and safely is always a main priority for us. I emailed the resort before booking and was assured that it would not be a problem. When we arrived I enquired whether the message had filtered down and was told that all of the restaurants knew that Maya was on the island and that there would not be a problem.

We went to the buffet restaurant on the first evening and were seated quickly. A chef came to our table and introduced himself as Maya's chef for her stay. He then asked what she would like to eat. His knowledge of her condition was impressive. His attention to detail even more so. Every day he cooked her food to order. He was from Sri Lanka and Maya's favorite food is curry: she was in heaven. He learned her tastes and kept her dessert separate to avoid any chance of contamination. In short she felt like a princess. So often she has to make do with whatever is offered: having her treated like royalty made my holiday.

My son who is a fussy toad was also very well catered for. The combination of buffet and the childrens' menu will satisfy the fussiest child.

This is partly why I waited so long to write the review. I almost feel that the resort deserves a 5 for this alone, yet other points made it more difficult to award more than 4. In addition, I sent an email thanking them for their assistance with Maya's diet and raising the negative points about the holiday, together with constructive suggestions for their improvement, but received no acknowledgement.

Good points:

1. Staff, efficient and friendly. Their attention to detail made you feel valued and welcome
2. Snorkeling fabulous. Walk right around the dive centre and enter deep water via the steps. Dive staff very helpful with advice on tides etc.
3. Beaches, beautiful. Breakwaters were not offensive and only visible at low tide. Necessary and great habitat.
4. Food, excellent. Good variety.
5. Water sports centre very helpful. Good trips. I noticed that they use suntan lotion and wondered how much it costs them. They were extremely grateful when I left my part bottles with them at the end of the holiday.
6. Musicians. Very talented and if you can catch them in the bar later they will take requests. Brilliant musicians and a great sense of fun. They love having guests boogie and it is almost rude not to oblige.


Points for improvement:
1. Crab racing? I was quite shocked when my children refused to take part. They spent many happy hours around the villa and Island, studying the fascinating little crabs. Especially at night with torches when they are most active. They were really upset to see these little creatures kept in a cramped tank with numbers on their shells. They are taken out of their prison twice a week, tossed into a plastic cup and given to jeering, shouting holiday makers. In order to gee them up and make them go faster most people shake the cups. The children were right. Three crabs were dead before the race and had to be exchanged for new ones whilst the dead were disposed of. Killing the wildlife is the last thing that I would ever want to do anywhere. But especially not in paradise.
2. Paradise or Butlins? Centara Has guests of many different nationalities which I love in a hotel. Whilst we were there, special offers were made to the Chinese to fill the rooms. Large groups arrived for short stays, which meant that they were very loud and high energy for their whole stay. Many stayed in water villas which meant no access to sunbeds on the beach. The solution? Just use other people's. Almost daily we would find people on our sunbeds. Instead of bothering reception, I simply moved their belongings. They were always polite and apologetic. But it doesn't feel relaxing. We found that a good solution is to leave something personal on the beds.

In addition their lesser sense of personal space means that even with most of the beach empty, they would come and sit beside you.

Table manners are very different in their culture. In the restaurant large groups would stack all of their plates high meaning that they cleared the buffet. Most of this was then left for scrap. In addition they were very noisy. I hope that you are lucky enough not to witness their toilet habits.


3. Drinks. I won't harp on about this old chestnut as I know their policy has changed. But it is frustrating not to be able to use the minibar for drinks at an all inclusive hotel. In addition, you cannot get any drinks on the beach and you cannot enter the aqua bar wet. So in order to get a drink after your swim, you must dry off, get dressed, walk a couple of hundred yards for a small paper cup. We did manage to get hold of plastic glasses at the other bar this way we were able to get them refilled at the aqua bar. I hope that this has been solved now. This didn't ruin the holiday, but would have been so easy to resolve.

All in all a great holiday, and so close to perfect as to almost not matter.

Room Tip: Check before you unpack
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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11  Thank RiaBlack
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

Address: South Ari Atoll
Phone Number:
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: £548 - £1,215 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 Hotel Centara Grand Island
Centara Grand Island Resort And Spa
Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

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