Sometimes 'grandiose', the Centara Beach Grand bears its name well as it can, at least where the hotel entrance is concerned. On arrival at the hotel you'll find the entrance decked with lush green tropical plants and a huge glass-roofed reception area that partially opens out onto the gardens. The surroundings here are almost colonial in style, with a relatively traditional decor, light-coloured floors, and white columns. The reception itself is very bright and has a certain elegance to it, even though it generally isn't the most luxurious of settings.
An almost imposing staircase leads down to the hotel's garden, which is located between the hotel and the beach. This area provides a charming setting, with a combination of an extremely well-maintained English-style garden, tropical vegetation home to brightly-coloured butterflies, and Oriental influences including ponds full of water lilies.
Carry on through these Zen-like surroundings and you'll find yourself at the Cenvaree Spa, tucked away between two buildings and pleasantly-decorated in the traditional Thai style, with a preference for plush surroundings and open-air massage rooms. (Cenvaree Spa: open 9:00am to 8:00pm).
Further along still, heading towards the restaurant area, you'll come across the main swimming pool, which is surrounded by plants and trees bringing a lovely feeling of tranquillity to the place. Unfortunately, though, it does have a few flaws that detract somewhat from its elegance, such as the outdated, plastic, and really not very appealing deckchairs. Having said that, it might not be the widest of swimming pools but it is certainly long enough for you to be able to start or end your day with a good swim (when there are fewer people about).