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“Outstanding Water Villas, House Reef and Service !!!”

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Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives
Certificate of Excellence
Trondheim, Norway
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Outstanding Water Villas, House Reef and Service !!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 July 2010

If you want a quiet and relaxing holliday with perfect snorkling condicions this is the place for you and your family ! The Water Villa is delicate and the house reef are exellent.!! You can see lots of fish, very colorfull corals, and many "friendly sharks". The service on the restaurant is superb (ask for Sherry or Shorty.) They have a nice but ordinary swimmingpool and a perfect game (meeting) room for teenagers above the main bar. The only thing that could be better on Centara is the beach.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled with family
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3 Thank maldives2010
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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English first
Kilmacolm, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 July 2010

Embarking on an all inclusive holiday is never without its concerns: what will the resort be like, will the room be ok and will the food be acceptable? At Centara everything has been thought out and coupled with Thai hospitalility, you won't be disappointed.

This is the first holiday we have had where your resort is your entire world for the length of your stay but it proved to be an excellent choice. We cannot fault the hospitality of our hosts. Service was excellent with friendly staff who were only too happy to go the extra mile. Our room was a deluxe water villa and we loved it. Steps down into the ocean, lovely deck area and really nicely appointed. We did look at all the accomodation available and these were the best.

I have to take the food separately as it really was fabulous. The main restaurant (Reef Restaurant) was more casual than the other 2, but the food standard was extremely high. Having spoken with the man in charge of Food and Beverage (a fellow Scot called Alasdair Bletcher) it was easy to see why. Regional food is prepared as it would be eaten by people of that area, any tweeks required to meet dietary requirements are absolutely no problem - you only have to ask and with an 8 day rolling programme, it never becomes boring.

There are 2 other restaurants at Centara; 1 is Italian (Azzuri Mare) and the other Thai (Lotus). The food in both is exemplary. Do try the duck fois gras salad at the Italian and the Tom Yam soup at the Thai. I also had the best steak I have ever eaten which was beautifully presented and cooked exactly as I requested. These comments come from a couple who consider themselves real “foodies”. You can also take your All Inclusive allowance with you ($40 per person) which gives you lots of options.

The all inclusive packages allow for local spirits, a selection of cocktails as well as white, red, rose and sparkling wine. All the restaurants serve these but there is also a comprehensive wine list at very reasonable prices.

July is monsoon season so we were restricted a little as to what we could do and when but still returned with an enviable tan. We used the gym, snorkelling equipment, tennis, the hobby and kayaks from the watersports hut on the beach and my husband did a couple of dives. The Spa was really special and well worth a visit.

We had a superb time, very relaxing and totally pampered. Bliss.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank alison_watson1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, TX USA and Doha, Qatar
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2010

I really worried over this choice since the pictures and AI aspect made me think of Club Med but the reviews were so favorable that I wanted to give it a try. I was afraid the island would not be relaxing and it wouldn't feel like The Maldives. I was wrong. Maybe because it was low season and the resort was only about half full but the place seemed deserted. It was quiet and lovely but I think it could have gotten a bit crowded at full capacity. The rooms were more Caribbean than Maldivian but they were lovely, spotlessly clean, and wonderful. The staff was incredibly wonderful. Hard to explain how they practically bent over backward to serve use with smiles and speed. The staff were friendly but not intrusive and really seemed happy.
The resort visitors were about 3/4th Asian (Korean, Chinese, Japaneses) and about 1/3 British. There were the occasional honeymoon couple but mostly families with small children or older teenagers. In both cases the kids were well behaved and overall all the guests were on the quiet side. There is really no nightlife here but that's what we wanted.
The dive center was professional and the equipment was new and top notch.
The food was fantastic and plentiful. The Thai and Italian restaurants serve 6 courses. You would be hard pressed to find better food and service at any restaurant in the world for any price. The Reef Buffet is equally good.
Our Sunset Water Villa was big and spotlessly clean. We were upgraded from the DWV. Maybe because it was low season, maybe because it was our 25th anniversary, or maybe we were just lucky but it was a nice surprise.
We opted for the Island Club package and thought it was great. It had a small pool that was really quiet and relaxing and the drinks were an upgrade. For example, I ordered a Cosmo Martini at the regular bar and was told they couldn't make it because they had no Triple Sec. My husband wanted a Bourbon and 7-Up but they had no Bourbon and only Sprite. At the IC they had all premium liquors and offered my husband Jim Beam Red or Black label and they had 7-up. Small details but still nice. Also, the IC is air conditioned and that can be nice when you want to eat where it is cool. The staff will know you by name and it truly feels like a private club. The IC has lots of books and magazines and they borrow our DVD's for the room. We enjoyed the extras of the IC. Breakfast there is very small but plenty of food and it is cool and quiet. We liked it better than the big buffet breakfast.
The only complaint is that we really didn't get any kind of orientation upon arrival. I don't believe the boy who checked us in spoke much English. We kind of had to feel our way through the process and missed out on a couple of things. We didn't get the pamphlet that told of the monthly offerings until day 3 of our 6 day stay when it was left by the cleaning boy.
The a/c in our SWV was a bit loud but the room is really big and it kept it really cool.
So in a nutshell, The food is fabulous. The staff is beyond fabulous. The resort is really great.
I think the resort is great and I would stay there again but a few suggestions would make it even better.
We took the AI package but it didn't include the mini bar. It would have been nice to have a drink in the room occasionally. I understand that some people would probably load their suitcase every day and feed all the snacks to the fish if it was all included but maybe 2 beers and 2 sodas per day and maybe a bottle of wine per week would be great.
Also, we would have really benefited from an orientation about all that is included in the AI and the IC packages.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank DohaSessions
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Birmingham, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 July 2010

My wife and I visited Centara toward the back end of June 2010 for our honeymoon. We stayed a Deluxe Luxury Beach Villa, which had a tremendous view of the ocean. We booked Centara after I had read certain posts which had complimented the food selection and quality. I have to totally agree, that the restaurants and the Buffet food was amazingly fresh and tasty. We were looking for a relaxing holiday after the headache of our stressful wedding preparations! That is exactly what we found at Centara, the Spa resort was second to none, fantastic expertise by authentic Thai specialists, which helped relax the body, mind and soul. All in all, the best thing about our experience was the attention to detail and overwhelming personal service we received as Honeymooners. They went above and beyond to ensure our stay was a memorable one, and even arranged a private Dinner for my wife on our final night with a customised theme and menu, which was fantastic. The personal service was the outstanding factor, as I always felt that the people genuinely would go out of their way to ensure their guests are having the best possible stay they can. We also enjoyed the Deep sea diving, JetSki and the beautiful Sands and Beach. Without a shadow of a doubt, the best holiday I have been on to date.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank MSBhandal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 July 2010

Although the weather was 50/50 we expected this due to the time of year. After arriving late in the vening from Kuala Lumpur we were met at the airport by a Centara rep and were asvised due to bad weather we were to overnight at the Holiday Inn Male as the speed boat was not operating and that we would be flying to the island early in the morning. This was all arranged for us and although we only had a few hours sleep before getting up for the seaplane departure it was no hassel and we were not upset in any way. As soon as we arrived on the island we booked for an extra night as we new we were going to love this place even before we had been taken to our room.

I never really expected to go to the Maldives but as an Airline Employee I am always looking at special offers that come out for industry personel and whilst it would not be prudent to advise the rate but it was too good to miss. We stayed in the Deluxe Water Villa and could not have been happier with out choice. The villa was huge and so was the bathroom. We stayed in Villa 89 at the end of the walkway and it was great.....just staring out at the ocean from the bed. Having said this any of the accommodation on the island would be a good choice from what we could see.

The island was at quite a low occupancy while we were there but we did not mind as it added to the relaxed feel. The food was great and the changing theme of the night buffet was well received. We chose to eat one night at the Italian speciatly restaurant and it was superb. Excellent quality food (as was the buffet) and great ambiance.

The only recommendation I had for the hotel was and IPOD dock in the room and for the Cocktail menu on the all inclusive package to have a few more choices or have some variation every couple of days. I also thought they should have a few free internet terminals in the games area just to quickly check your email without being charged for it.

If you are thinking of going to Centara Grand it is a absolute yes from me.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
2 Thank AIRLINE-STAFF-TVLR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bristol, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 July 2010

We travelled to Centara as the main part of our honeymoon during June and July 2010.

We organized and booked the trip ourselves through maldives_resorts.co.uk. This was the first potential stumbling block as we couldn't find any reviews other than one stating that the travellers had not managed to get their money back after canceling their trip. We emailed the resort directly to confirm all details before paying our deposit and again before the final settlement and checked other details with them before travel. We were, however, still relieved to meet our rep at the airport!!

We opted for the speedboat transfer, as both my new wife and i like boats more than small planes, even though it was 2 hours. The trip there was moderately rough when outside the atolls but it probably only felt bad because we'd stayed up overnight to get the most out of our time in Dubai - totally our fault! Otherwise it ran smoothly and made the island feel more remote.

One thing we found was that maldives_resorts.co.uk charged a bit extra for the transfers - therefore we cancelled them and booked direct with the hotel.

We arrived to cocktails at reception and a cold towel - the service was excellent, check-in was taken care of in minutes and we were off to our villa. First impressions of this were amazing. We stayed in a deluxe water villa - 83 - not the furthest out into the reef but well isolated from the main island. The villa was huge for 2 people, excellently kitted out but we didn't have a jacuzzi! During the stay we got chatting to people in the other villas and found out they did. I know - not exactly the end of the world! We loved the outdoor rain shower.

The island itself is small as other reviews state. That was good for us but to be honest we spent most time in our villa, the sea and the main social hub of the Reef restaurant and Coral Bar. Fish feeding is every night at 18:30 (it gets dark at 18:15 in June/July) with Haroon :) Make sure you chat to him as he is a legend! We found out a lot about Maldivian culture from him and he was a great friend through our stay :)

Food was stunning as everyone else has said. The buffet at the Reef restaurant was always fresh and the live cooking stations were great. Chefs Mohmed and Jeyakumar are very friendly. The menu is different every night for 7 nights but when it is repeated it is exactly the same. As everything is so tasty this actually only means you are looking forward to it not awaiting it with trepidation! We did eat at the other two restaurants. They were both great but the Italian was our favourite. We used our free set meal at the Thai and used $40 credit each at the Italian which got us a great pizza each! We also sat outside watching the fish and reef sharks. Both restaurants were very quiet as it was low season and the service was amazing!

All the staff were fantastic throughout our stay. There were no exceptions.

Weather - we were a little worried when looking at weather information for June as 300mm of rain is an average!! and the sea is reportedly rougher - which limits visibility for snorkeling. I don't know whether we were just fortunate but we had 30 mins to 1 hour of rain every day for the first 5 days (our umbrella blew away during one of the storms - a tip would be to lay it flat when you are not using it!) and then 5 days of perfect weather. As the weather stayed calm the seas got clearer and visibility improved.

On our final snorkeling trip we saw a turtle, a shark, 2 clown trigger fish, a giant trigger fish, a tuna and a myriad different fish species. The best site as long as you are happy swimming is off the back of the dive centre and to the right. Easy entry and turtles live on this stretch. The coral is a little deeper which i preferred but my wife liked to swim at areas where the water was a little shallower. The hotel provide life jackets in your bathroom if you aren't a confident swimmer. I swam round the whole island during our stay - the best coral is on the family water villa region round to the luxury sunset villas - you can't really get out easily at any point on this swim and have to cross the boat channel so only do it if you are a fan of swimming. It takes a little over an hour to encircle the island :) Also there were a lot of pipe fish which we both agreed were creepy!

Excursions - sunset fishing was great craic. Caught quite a few each time but be quick - if you get a bite and don't hook it bring the line in! Some of our fellow fishermen/women spent about 75% of the trip fishing with a bare hook at my estimate! Dolphin cruise was great if you like dhonis but not so great if you want to see dolphins! - we went twice, saw a sailfish about a mile away but did get a bottle of wine per person!! which eased the pain - during June and July it's very rare to spot dolphins as the sea is rougher according to Haroon and Fox our excursion leaders :)

Only negative as a few others have stated is the concrete and the wave breakers! These are VERY evident from a couple of the beach villas but can't be seen at all from the water villas. (well unless you're trying very hard to)

All in all our stay was absolutely fantastic, a once in a lifetime trip and one which we will remember for a lifetime.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ricbrown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
windsor
Level Contributor
35 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 July 2010

So you’ve done you Maldivian research: there are around 1200 islands, 200 are inhabited and ninety odds have tourist resorts, the islands stretch over 700 kms of Indian Ocean - so the Northern islands frequently have different weather systems to the Southern islands (near Gan). The question is: how do you choose which one to visit?
Although our kids have flown from the nest, we do like the concept of “all Inclusive resorts”. However we are not big drinkers of cocktails or wine, our family has always got through dozens of soft drinks in a day whilst in the Tropics. These can mount up to a seriously damaging bill, when you check out! We also selected this resort because it’s reasonably close to Male - 30 minutes in a sea plane or 2 to 4 hours (depending on the sea conditions) by speed boat and because of its fabulous diving.

The British Airways Boeing 777 touched down firmly on the Northerly runway at Male on schedule and we passed rapidly through immigration and baggage retrieval. We had booked the Centara directly through the internet and were delighted to be met by a company rep at the airport. He directed us onto a bus for the short journey to the Eastern side of the airport where the floatplanes are based. There are two floatplane companies in Male: TMA run a fleet of blue and yellow Twin Otter sea planes and TMA are painted in Red/Black. The Hotels/Resorts phone up TMA/MAT the previous day, and at around 5pm the airline companies decide when and where the flights will take place. Well approximately as all the flights are “charters” which run to Maldivian time! We were taken to a cool lounge which offered cold drinks/towels whilst waiting for our flight which actually departed earlier than originally stated.

Tip: The air conditioning in the Twin otters has been removed to save weight, so change in the loo to beach clothes before departure.

The seaplane journey went via Lily Beach so we had two flights for the price of one. The views were spectacular and not to be missed. The take-offs and landings were exciting.
We were met by a launch at Centara, as the landing barge is a short distance from the beach. We were taken to the Island Club for a refreshing welcome drink and subsequently taken to our Sunset Villa.
Tip: The Villa was about 330 metres out to sea along a fairly narrow walkway, so don’t get tipsy and fall overboard!
The Villa was styled in a “Cape Cod” décor with a main living area, consisting of bedroom overlooking, two sundecks (with one elevated deck in the eaves, accessible by a spiral staircase. The bedroom was kitted with everything you might need. The gigantic bathroom had a boat shaped bath, twin basins, walk in shower, wardrobes and separate loo (with sea view!). Every room in the resort has its own life jackets in case of a Tsunami!

Food: The head chef is a Scot, who has honed the food into a gastronomic treat to equal anywhere in the world. The main Reef restaurant is a buffet style, with two chefs cooking a variety of fresh dishes. The Italian restaurant and Island Club serve 6 course dinners. The Thai restaurant was our favourite – the chef “Ning” previously worked in the Sheraton Hotel in Bangkok.

The Island Club has its own pool, air-conditioned lounge and served meals, snacks, sorbets, drinks and cold towels virtually throughout the day. The staff at the Island Club were great.

Dive School: The PADI dive school is run by a Dutchman and had the most modern dive equipment that we have ever used. The house reef is renowned for being one of the best in the Maldives. We saw: Baby reef shark, turtles, barracuda, stingray, giant clam, moray eel to name but a few. The island has one of the few wreck dives in the Maldives and the KUDHIMA lies about 250 metres from the Dive shop.

Centara is a relatively small island and a gentle stroll around takes about ten minutes. All the islands have their own electric generators, water desalination plants, sewage plants, trash compactors and communication towers (for internet/mobile). This all crammed into the middle of the island with the staff quarters. As the islands are evolving all the time, the topography of the beach and the island are in constant flux. A good example was the staff trying to beat Mother Nature by underpinning (with sand) a corner of the Island Club.

Naturally there are a few rough edges: The architecture and construction of our Villa had not been constructed to deal with the July Monsoon and water lashed in even with the patio doors closed. It only rains for about 30 minutes a day in the monsoon - usually around 5pm - but the rain is horizontal! Also consider how far you are away from medical facilities if this is an issue for you. There appears to be no defibrillation kit on the island and sea planes do not fly at night!

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Tipsyagain
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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