The majority of our 3 week Southeast Asia honeymoon included staying at $50 or less a night hotels. For the last stop on our tour we decided to splurge. We figured it was the beach portion of our honeymoon and we would be spending more time in our room here than we would anywhere else.
By saying that we spent more for this hotel than others that we stayed at would be an understatement. We spent a lot more money than usual because it’s our honeymoon and we felt like they should splurge a little.
I did some digging to find us a nice hotel in Krabi. I wanted something both romantic and a little posh. It was then that I found the Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas Krabi. It was exactly what I was looking for – secluded and luxurious.
Since the resort is located in a national park and physically separated from the rest of the beach by a cliff the only way to reach the resort is via boat or the infamous monkey trail.
Getting to the Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas
Coming from the Aonang Cliff Beach Resort we decided that we would just walk down the street to catch the complimentary boat over. I had seen the Centara Grand name on the closest dock to town. Once we arrived to take the boat we learned that we could get a boat to take us there, but it was not the free option.
We inquired where the free option was and they told us to keep walking down the beach. We kept walking until we hit the next dock and they told us to keep walking. After we hit the 3rd dock, we were starting to get a little frustrated and really hot since we had been walking with our large packs as well as our day packs in the heat of the Thai sun. The guy at the 3rd dock told us it was a good 30 minute walk to the boat dock we needed to get to. Since we had already walked quite a ways, we were pretty frustrated.
I pulled out the schedule of free boats to the Centara Grand and decided that the only way that we would make our boat on time would be to grab a tuk tuk or taxi. Although we didn’t want to spend money on a tuk tuk or taxi after walking so far already, it was a necessary evil.
When we arrived we checked in and waited in the shade for the boat to arrive. While we waited, we spoke with the staff and inquired why the free dock was so far from town. She let us know that it was because of the depth of water and solid structure dock that is needed. It made sense since people going to the resort have luggage and may not be comfortable wading in the water to catch their boat or standing on a dock that moves.
Once the boat arrived, we all piled in. We were told to put on the life jackets but kind of disregarded that direction. The ride was longer than we thought it would be, but then again we had to walk pretty far from town to catch the boat.
Upon arrival to the resort, we pulled up to a floating dock. There was staff there to help us get out of the boat and get our footing on the dock as it moved. I read horror stories of people who said the dock was unsafe but I think they were over-exaggerating. Unless you have absolutely terrible balance you will be completely fine, especially since the staff takes your bags for you, leaving you without anything to carry.
We walked from the dock to the front desk to check in and were greeted by an American staff member. It was nice to converse so naturally after almost 3 weeks of speaking to non-native English speakers.
Keeping in the trend of hotels in Southeast Asia, we were given a fruit juice drink while we filled out our paperwork. Once our paperwork was filled out we got into a golf cart with our luggage and headed up to our room.
Spa Deluxe Ocean Facing Room
One of the splurges that we made during our trip was to get a really nice view from our room. We opted for a spa deluxe room which had a hot tub on the balcony.
I was happy that our room was decorated for our honeymoon. Surprisingly out of the 7 hotels that we stayed at only 2 decorated our room even though I notified all of them that we were on on our honeymoon.
The room itself was very nice although there were parts that were starting to show a little bit of age. Normally this would not bother me much, but for the price that we were paying I was surprised by the number of things that I think should have been addressed.
The view was a little underwhelming which really bummed me out. We had spent more money to guarantee a nice view and our view was partially obstructed by the roofs of other rooms in front of us. I spoke with the front desk shortly after check in and they told me that the hotel was full, but they would change my room the next day when there was a better view available. The best part is that when we were off scuba diving, the hotel moved our bags to our new room.
The Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas is a huge complex. Depending on where you room is in the resort, you may have to walk quite a bit to get from one end of the complex to the other. There are a lot of amenities available to guests, in theory you could show up at the resort and never leave.
The beach is very private and well kept with plenty of lounge chairs for the guests. I really liked the number of chairs available since I have been at resorts with too few chairs which is always a frustrating thing. In addition to the beach, there are also 2 swimming pools. The pools are pretty cool and include a waterfall as well as a secret grotto.
We checked out kayaks which are complimentary for the first hour. We could have checked it out for longer but knew that we would likely be tired after an hour and being frugal didn’t want to pay for something that we didn’t have to. We were going to also try stand up paddle boarding as well, but after Andy got badly sunburned, we decided to stay out of the sun as much as possible.
The hotel has a staff which can book anything that you need, from excursions to scuba diving. We booked our scuba excursion directly through our resort which was really nice since the boat picked us up directly at the hotel dock and brought us to town where we met up with our larger scuba excursion boat. We considered diving with another company but when you factored in the logistics of getting there, the price was extremely competitive.
There are 5 different restaurants on the resort property. Even though we really liked going to town to eat at small local restaurants, we ended up eating at the resort twice due to bad weather.
The Monkey Trail
One of the things that we were most curious about after reading the reviews online was what the heck the monkey trail was. We read reviews that said everything from it wasn’t a big deal to how terrible it was to walk all the stairs with monkeys almost attacking you.
Except for our boat rides coming to the resort and leaving the resort, we took the monkey trail exclusively. There are quite a few stairs, I estimate the equivalent of 5 stories high, but nothing crazy. The stairs aren’t perfectly level and lined up, but with it being an outdoor staircase in Thailand on a cliff next to the beach, what do you expect? You may get a little warm walking the monkey trail to town but you can always stop to take a break, enjoy the view and drink some water.
Make sure that you bring a flashlight if you venture into town in the evening. It is perfectly safe to walk the trail at night, but the lighting on the trail isn’t consistently bright making it hard to see where the stairs are at certain points.
There are monkeys around the monkey trail, but unless you have food out they just chill out and look at you walk by. I think honestly that we were way more excited about seeing them than they were to see us. The only time that I got a little nervous is when I had a pineapple core with me. I had gotten it as a thank you after I had a massage on the beach and saved it even though it says not to feed the monkeys. Anyway, once a monkey saw the pineapple, he jumped on me, yanking the pineapple out of my hand pretty forcefully. I guess that is why they have rules in place to not feed the monkeys.
For anyone that is looking to get away and enjoy some privacy, I highly recommend the Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas. Go in with expectations that the room may not be 100% perfect, but the location more than makes up for it. We appreciated that the only people on the resort property are guests. This makes for a less crowded beach since you don’t get the foot traffic that other hotels on the main beaches of Krabi have.
The staff at the Centara Grand was amazing, doing everything in their power to make us happy. From the big things like changing our room, to the small things like smiling and greeting us as we walked by, we always felt welcome and cared for.
The biggest hurdle that we had during our stay was the distance of the free ferry from the resort to downtown Krabi. It’s not that expensive to get to get a taxi to town, just the annoyance of having to deal with getting the taxis.
If you stay at the Centara Grand, make sure that you leave the resort to get some local Thai culture. Taking the monkey trail to town is an experience in and of itself which adds to the adventure.