We stayed 2 weeks at the Centara and travelled with my 3 year old boy.
The pictures of the main building are not too flattering as that is predominantly a view of the lobby and restaurant area from the beach side. Depsite the size of the resort (considered one of the larger ones on Samui) it doesn't feel overy busy as there is an abundance of staff running around and ever willing to assist.
Breakfast was a reasonable choice in the main restaurant on a buffet style. A good selection of Western and Asian foods and an omlette chef frying up your requests on order. The fruits are replenished quickly and we never once heard them say "sorry it's finished" to any of the guests.
Due to the layout of the restaurant it can get a little busy but not to the point of having to queue for anything other than the cook to order omlettes.
Choices of simple food from the pool bar menu or sit down dining in one of the restaurants. My little boy loved the barbequed corn on the cob and mango from the beach vendors so we tended to stay on the beach and order a couple of dishes from the pool bar menu which is more expensive than the local restaurants but surprisingly reasonable for a large resort hotel. Quality of the food was always good from the pool bar menu.
Only criticism was perhaps the guys in the pool side bar being reluctant to take food orders...not sure the reason for this but this was the only minor glitch on the otherwise perfect customer service
We ate at the on site seafood barbeque buffet which was good. Plenty of variety. If it swims or crawls along the sea bed it was available and incredibly fresh too.
The dinners we had outside of the resort were of a mixed standard.
AVOID: the restaurant directly opposite the gate to the Centara. A Japanese family on the table beside us had selected the large tiger prawns from the display but when they had arrived they were the regular prawns. They tried to complain but spoke no thai and a little English and the staff just dismissed them. Our meal was very bland but may have been a reflection of their dislike of me getting involved and translating for the Japanese family. The cost of a small barbequed fish, 5 large barbied shrimps and some veggies was more than we paid for the sea food buffet onsite at the Centara and it wasn't even a close match to the good quality we received at the onsite buffet barbie.
Slightly further down on the left is another barbie restaurant. I forget the name but it's quite a nice looking place with decent furinishings, fire lights outside and a big open front - you can't miss it. If you have kids it's worth a visit as a safe option as the kids will like the fire and dancing. the food is fairly ordinary. Not bad nor good...safe middle of the road in flavours. This is a slightly more expensive restaurant.
Loads of great thai eateries along the main road and also an excellent place which is at the crossroads where Family mart is. Turn left and 5/6 doors down is a super Thai restaurant where the prices are incredibly cheap and the food is some of the best we had on the island. It's the first restaurant along that street and it's within 20m of the junction.
We found that the bars that offered barbequed seafood and spitroasted pig were ok for a snack but the meals in these places were severely overpriced.
We stayed in a suite which was towards the gym end of the resort on the 3rd floor. I'm fortunate enough to be accomodated in suites for my work related travel and this was of a very good standard. A large bedroom, shower cabinet and sep bath tub and very big lounge room with a full sofa set, dining table for four, fridge etc and an extra bed tucked away in the corner. The housekeeper we had was a superstar and was extremely efficient in her cleaning despite my 3 year old doing his utmost best to drag the beach into the room each day. Cannot fault the housekeeping at all.
If you have a club room or a suite you get access to the Club facilities. this is essentially an area above the lobby where you can have complimentary drinks and they serve sandwiches at lunchtime and some satay and other hawker type snack foods in the afternoon. There's a selection of books and papers along with a collection of 2/3 PCs with internet access.
For anyone who also needs to work whilst staying here, the wifi is excellent. The signal is very strong around the resort and it was great to be able to sit on the balcony and "work". There is an extra cost for the wifi but I cannot recall exactly how much that was - apologies.
Pools: Main pool for adults and a sepearate shallow pool for the kids which is also well shaded. They do well to manage the chemical levels particularly in the baby pool and even with my boy drinking mouthfuls of the stuff he didn't get sick and didn't suffer from any eye, nose, throat infections. The towels are available adjacent to the pool (just remember to pick up the towel coupons on returning the towels) There is also a selection of beach toys for the kids to borrow, bukets, spades etc...just try encourage your kids to only take what they're going to play with as some parents let their brats hog the whole lot and other kids went without...nice to be nice kids :)
Possibly one of the nicer stretches of sand along this beach. It's swepted and combed regularly and the hawkers are kept at a distance from you. Security and other staff watch them closely and they will never hassle you at your sunbeds. if you wander down to the water's edge they will offer you their goods but it is absolutely friendly and not agressive in any way. A simple no is registered immediately.
The guys selling drinks, mango, corn etc are super friendly and you can order your corn, fruit and drinks and he'll bring them to you to save you waiting around. No need to over tip them either as he said to us that he prefers repeat business and the tips are unnecessary :)
Word of warning about the "thai silk bed spreads" many of them for sale at the beach are not all silk and only partially silk. Althought they are a lot cheaper than the shops - just make sure what you get is silk.
the metered taxis in Samui are not like anywhere else in Thailand and are much more expensive. Longer trips to Nathon of the elephants can be prenegotiated upfront and it's best to asks a couple of drivers to get a gauge of their offerings. Prices vary. A really handy way of getting around is the baht bus (pick up truck with bench seats in the back). Very easy system. Hail it down, jump in the back and when you want to get off, ring the bell then pay the driver. Much cheaper, safe and we found them to be a good and easy mode of transport for short journeys.
Nathon - we went to see this place as something to do suring a wet day. there's plenty of shopping and it's cheaper than in chaweng but till 2-3 times as expensive as JJ Market in Bangkok. It's only worth a visit if you're at ends for something to do as there really isn;t much there.
Elephant rides - I'm not a big fan of the tourist elephant rides etc but with a 3 year old boy in tow it was going to be on the agenda so rather than booking a whole day's trip, we grab a taxi to the waterfall where we could see the elephants for ourselves and their condition (my wife's a vet and has spent many years as a game reserve vet in Tanzania). My wife was happy that the animals were in reasonable health and condition so took a short ride and my kid had a ball. If you book a taxi and turn up yourself and negotiate the ride, you can save yourself a heap compared to the prearranged packages plus you have the flexibility of coming and going when you please and also the chance of a bit of solitude rather than following 40 other elephants in a line.
Flew Bangkok Airways - he beats Thai and Air Asia etc in terms of comfort and especially their own lounge which is business class standard (exception of the food). But it is more epxensive than the other carriers.
Shopping along chaweng - very expensive compared to Bangkok and if you're a big shopper, you're best off spending a day in BKK where it's a shopper's heaven. My wife spent two days in all the malls and markets whilst my son and I visited the Aquarium and had boat rides etc :) Wouldn't catch me shopping 9-5 on holiday :)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The five-star Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui is a long-established resort that sits right on Chaweng Beach, a tranquil location that yet provides easy access to Central Festival for shopping and the ever-present buzz of Chaweng Road. Complete with the old world charm of colonial-era architecture and an unparalleled beach front setting, the resort is home to a host of facilities and activities, including a beautiful spa, complimentary Yoga classes a large sea-gazing swimming pool with its own swim-up pool bar and Jacuzzi, a fitness centre, two tennis courts and two kids clubs. You’ll enjoy no less than seven restaurants and bars, including COAST Beach Club & Bistro. Perfect for the most tranquil romantic escape or an adventuresome family holiday, the resort also features Muay Thai classes, beach volleyball, and a choice of water sports – think kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, Hobie Catamaran, body boarding and paddle boarding - as well as superb snorkelling and island hopping excursions around Koh Samui and diving opportunities arranged respectively by the tour desk and the PADI Dive Centre. Whether holidaying in Samui just the two of you or with the family, you will enjoy views of over the turquoise expanse of the Gulf of Thailand from your balcony or a private plunge pool. Spaciousness is a feature with all rooms and suites, with total living space ranging from 40 to 132 square metres while selected suites also provide concierge services. And your good times will begin almost from the minute you touch down on the island, as the resort is a short 15-minute drive from the airport. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui Hotel Chaweng
- Centara Grand Beach Hotel
- Hotel Centara Grand Beach
- Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui Ko Samui/Chaweng