At Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa, the island’s All Inclusive plan means you can eat at any of the four restaurants on the island during your stay. So you can dazzle your tastebuds with a different culinary experience in a new corner of the island, each day.
The main all-day dining restaurant, Reef serves buffet-style meals and it’s there you’ll start your day with a substantial breakfast spread. Dining alfresco in the thatched roof restaurant means you sit with toes in the sand, enjoying the sea breeze as the morning sunlight hits the water just metres from your table.
Waffles, pastries, eggs any style, tropical fruit, superfood smoothies, iced tea infusions, the menu goes on. Fresh and colourful culinary creations cover every corner of the buffet counter and anything that isn’t there, you can simply ask to have made. If you really want to hit the indulgence button (Hello, Honeymooners!) grab a glass or two of French champagne to set a celebratory tone for the day.
For a casual and fun dining experience, the Teppanyaki Grill inside also inside Reef is a great dinner option. Seating times are set as is the menu, so the chef can wow the crowd with his skills on the iron hot plate and serve diners simultaneously. We ate fresh greens with seaweed, eggplant with a thick miso dressing, fresh fish, sea scallops and beef hot off the grill, egg vegetable fried rice, mushroom soup and a green tea brûlée for dessert. We waddled out of the restaurant after the meal but the experience was fun and interactive and the food was delicious.
Azzuri Mare Restaurant
Azzuri Mare was my favourite restaurant on the island, no doubt owing to my obsession with fresh seafood and clean, Italian flavours. We took a seat for lunch on the water’s edge and stuck with the set menu which hit every tasty note. We shared a fresh Caprese salad, beef carpaccio with rocket and parmesan, fresh salmon fillet with greens and a balsamic reduction, tuna with a sesame crust and a rich chocolate dessert. With cocktails included in your stay, you’ll likely find it difficult to say no to a tropical drink with lunch, as we did. Beyond the set menu, you can (at an additional cost) really splurge on seafood, but unless you’ve got lobster on your mind, you’ll probably be satisfied by the selection offered on the daily menu.
Suan Bua Restaurant
Suan Bua is the Centara Grand’s signature restaurant. It delivers traditional Thai cuisine with a modern twist. A great spot for a dinner date, tables are set in private wooden bales perched around a peaceful lotus pond. We were treated to a Thai feast at the restaurant and having just spent time in Thailand, I like to think we had a slightly more seasoned appreciation for Thai flavours. All the ingredients and even the chef have been brought in from Thailand to create the most authentic experience at the restaurant, incorporating flavours and traditions from each corner of the country.
We had Poh Pia Thord (Spring rolls served with sweet chili sauce), Som Tam Ruam (Green Papaya Salad with mango, coconut, palm heart and tomatoes), Satay Gai (satay skewers with cucumber relish and peanut sauce), Tom Yum soup (clear, spicy soup), Salmon Panang (Pan-fried salmon in a red curry sauce) which was the stand out dish for me, Phad Kraprow Gai (Stir fried chicken with garlic, ginger, chili and basil), Phad Thai Pak (stir fried noodles with vegetables), Goong Phad Med Mamuang Himmaphan (Stir fried prawns with chili paste, online, capsicum and cashews) and Sticky rice with mango and home made coconut ice cream. The setting was intimate, the meal offered a wonderful mix of flavours and it wasn’t super spicy which I appreciated as a bit of a wimp when it comes to chili.
You’ll spot the perfect sunset viewing seat on the island as soon as you arrive at the Centara Grand main wharf. You can’t help but notice the bright blue plush, padded swing chairs hanging off the edge of the boardwalk at Aqua. Facing west, the cosy cushioned chairs offer a very comfortable vantage point to laze away the afternoon and watch the sun go down over a few cocktails and afternoon canapes. Aqua is often used as a meeting point for activities during your stay on the island, so it’s the ideal place to grab a lounge chair and settle in for a pre-tour coffee, coconut or smoothie too.
Coral Bar & Lounge
Coral Bar & Lounge is more of the is where you’ll be tempted to grab a snack and afternoon cocktail as it’s positioned beside the infinity pool on the other side of the island (5 minutes walk away, don’t panic). There is a pool table and entertainment for teens or even bigger kids to play a few games out of the sun upstairs and downstairs, they offer complimentary afternoon tea and canapes delivered to your day bed. The lounge has a fun, relaxed feel with bright vibrant coloured soft furnishings, oversized wooden lounge chairs and staff are on hand for cocktail recommendations.
Every night the resort invites guests to a fish feeding activity which is something you must-do during your stay. I personally wasn’t that enthused when I heard we were going to watch fish being fed. But these weren’t goldfish we were talking about. A few stingray swam in, reef sharks and schools of colourful tropical fish all came in for a snack. I couldn’t stop snapping photos while watching them splash around just below our feet. It was incredible to watch. Little did I know, I was going to get up close and personal with another gorgeous creature the following day.
Centara Grand Island Resort, Maldives
The Fit Traveller was a guest of Centara Grand Hotels & Resorts for this stay. As always, the opinions, words and images are authentically our own.
Skye is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fit Traveller. She is a journalist, writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a former personal trainer with a passion for helping others reach optimal health. As a TV journalist and producer, Skye has worked for household names such as 60 Minutes, Sunrise, TODAY and Nine News. She has also written for Women’s Health, Fodor’s Travel and Yahoo7 Travel, among many others.
Skye created The Fit Traveller as a beautiful online space and community where people feel inspired to escape the desk to move and explore more.
Equally comfortable in a 5-star resort or hiking a far-off mountain, Skye loves the unexpected and enriching life experiences that each trip brings and can often be found in a backstreet chatting to locals with her camera in hand.
Skye is based in Sydney, working to master the balance between motherhood and her insatiable appetite for adventure.