I visited Laamu in April with my girlfriend and overall we had an extremely relaxing stay and were quite sad to leave. I would say the high points were the location itself, by which I mean the beautiful tropical foliage, the beach and clear waters, fish swimming by your villa, wonderful bike paths, and the lovely Chill Bar with its semi-circular lounge area facing the water and sunset. Contrary to a previous review I did not feel as if the resort was an overbuilt Waterworld, but maybe this is just because I haven't been to any other Maldives resorts. You will not see many guests out walking around during the day, which lends a relaxed feel to the place. It really does allow you to slow down and just enjoy the surroundings. Beware of walking on the hot wooden decking at midday! There are water stations to cool your feet, but it's still painful for tender city feet. One of the best things was the near-absence of biting insects, which can be a real torment on beach holidays in other parts of the world. We were greeted at arrival by Martine, the general manager. Although we never saw her again during our stay, we didn't really need to. Our experience overall was a very good one, but there is definitely room for improvement as described below.
Beach villa versus water villa
We began our stay in a beach villa which had the benefit of beautiful tropical shade trees surrounding the villa and giving a sense of privacy. We had scheduled to switch to a water villa after a few nights, but soon began to wonder whether the beach villa isn't actually better than the water villa. Because of the shade trees, the beach villa tends to be cooler than the water villa. In addition, the presence of the tropical trees with beautiful broad leaves gives a relaxing feel. The water villas, in contrast, look as if they are really baking in the summer sun. We also had a resident chameleon at the beach deck, and could hear the interesting call of the local birds, so I enjoyed the feeling of being in "nature." The snack bar area is much larger in the beach villa, as is the outdoor bathroom area. The upstairs lounge area is also large enough to house a table and lounge chairs with a view of the ocean, whereas the water villa has a very small upstairs lounge, which isn't good for much.
After switching to a water villa, we did appreciate the benefit of being right on the water for snorkelling, and sitting in the hammocks over the water. Our water villa also had the benefit of a small coral reef directly in front, with a variety of fish hanging out by it, so we could go for a very quick snorkel whenever we wanted. In the end, I would say each type of villa has its benefits, and neither is clearly better. You should try both.
Our experience with the service was overall quite good. Our Guest Experience Maker (GEM) was very quick in responding when we asked him to inflate the water loungers we brought with us. He brought them back in a flash! Probably less than 30 minutes. Also, when my girlfriend requested that she switch from a bicycle to a tricycle, this was done very quickly. We had only just spoken of it at breakfast, and by the time we went to the bike parking area after breakfast, the change was done. When we needed a repair done to the tricycle, that was also done on the spot. When we were considering an extra night in the beach villa instead of the water villa, our GEM was very understanding and investigated the options for us, although in the end we decided to move to the water villa according to our originally planned schedule. So overall the service was very efficient and always performed with a smile. The only time we thought that it could have been better was before checkout. We were told that we would be notified of travel arrangements the day before checkout, and presented with an itemised bill for extras. However, by 6pm we had not heard from our GEM. Only after calling and arranging to meet with our GEM at 8pm did we finally get the bill settled and find out about our departure time the next day. While most of the staff were generally very cheerful, we found that the ice cream lady seemed to be moody at times and schizophrenic - sometimes cheerful and other times didn't even say hello and looked sort of unfriendly. This didn't deter us from going for ice cream often, however, since the ice cream is provided at no additional charge.
This is the one point where we felt the resort really fell down in the guest experience, in regards to lunch and dinner. Breakfast is an exception, however, and is by far the best meal to be had on the island. Don't make the mistake of sleeping in and skipping breakfast as we did the first morning! The breakfast buffet was fabulous, with excellent fresh-cut mango, bircher muesli, pancakes, waffles and eggs made to order, and an assortment of excellent breakfast juice cocktails and smoothies from the menu. The Asian dishes at breakfast are also good, with fried noodles and curries with rice. However, lunch and dinner options were less than spectacular, and service was invariably slow at all restaurants. In fact, some dinners took close to 2-1/2 or 3 hours to complete, which of course some people might appreciate as they want to enjoy a leisurely meal. But the quality of the food was an especial concern given the high prices at some of the restaurants (Leaf in particular). At Leaf I had the grilled jack fish, which was dry and monotonous, and my girlfriend had the beef roll, neither of which were great considering the $250 bill total for two. As a starter we had the lobster risotto, though, which was much better than the mains. At Longitude, we found the menu to be rather limited and again, the fish was again not very tasty. I would suggest some other types of fish rather than tuna and jack, even if these are imported and not local. After all, the beef and lamb are imported from Australia and New Zealand so it's not as if they have a policy not to import food (although this would detract from their eco-credentials I suppose). The sushi platter at Longitude was substandard for the way the fish was cut (roughly hewn slices which included a bit of white connective tissue that was difficult to chew). The pizza at the Chill Bar was acceptable but far from a gourmet experience, given that the crust seemed to be a premade-then-baked variety rather than made fresh on the spot. The burger I had through the In Villa Dining option was strangely un-beeflike in its texture and flavour (not sure what was added to the meat patty) and the bun had been soaked to sogginess in some places by moisture from the lettuce. Certainly the food isn't the main reason why people visit the Maldives, so it's not a dealbreaker, but since food can be one of the most enjoyable dimensions of the guest experience and is something to look forward to during the day, I do feel that the resort is missing out on its potential here. I did not try the Japanese restaurant, Zen, so cannot pass judgment in that area. Our GEM also recommended the Vietnamese lunch at Leaf, but we also did not try this as we tended to wake up late and have breakfast late.
As room for improvement I could suggest that a live band be brought in perhaps a few times a week either at Chill Bar or at one of the restaurants to complement the DJ offering at Chill Bar.
The boat snorkelling trip for $45 per person is a good deal, as they take you to two locations and you guide you to swim from one coral outcrop to another. This was probably the best activity we participated in. We saw a spotted eagle ray and a turtle or two. We took advantage of the catamaran that is available for no additional charge (if you already know how to sail), which was a nice touch. Also, riding the bikes through the island pathways covered by tropical foliage is quite a pleasant experience in itself. Snorkelling the house reef in front of the Chill Bar was decent if not amazing (and snorkelling gear is provided at no additional charge). The Sunset Dolphin Cruise was a bit of a disappointment, however, as I was expecting dolphins to be jumping the bow wave while the boat is moving, as most of us have seen on television. However, the dolphins in this case were just lolling about lazily while the boat was standing still. The dolphins swam slowly and just broke the surface without jumping, while the boatman was blowing a whistle lackadaisically in an attempt to excite the dolphins. The upside to the cruise was that we did get to see the Yin Yang wave where a few people were out surfing at sunset (not from Laamu but from a liveaboard).
Also, there are DVDs and books which can be borrowed from the library, which can give you something to do if you get bored during a longer stay. However, the selection of DVDs leaves something to be desired as the movies on the list are mostly rather dated.
Overall I give the experience four stars. A much better food experience could push it to five stars.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dear Michael H,
Report response as inappropriate
Thank you very much for choosing Six Senses Laamu as your first holiday destination in Maldives and we greatly appreciate your detailed feedback regarding your stay at our resort.
While naturally very pleased that you generally you had a wonderful experience and highlighted many positive experiences at the resort, I was disappointed to read that you also had experiences which did not meet with your expectations. Please accept my sincere apologies for the perceived flaws and know that your contructive feedback is helpful in our quest to contineously improve our services and offerings.
The sunset Dolphin watching cruise is one of the main highlights of our guest experiences and activities, and as such, we make sure that we do it in a sustainable way by following certain norms of conduct. This includes guidelines to watch the dolphins from the boat at a certain distance so viewers do not disturb or alter the dolphin’s natural ways. In fact, Six Senses Laamu is very proud to be the first resort in the Maldives to establish and implement an internationally respected Code of Conduct for dolphin watching and our boat crews are well-briefed to ensure we strictly adhere to these policies and procedures. I am sorry though that seeing the dolphin comfortable in their natural settings and surroundings did not meet your expectation based on television programs but I am happy the cruise allowed you to visit the Ying Yang.
My apologies also for the delay you experienced in receiving your departure flight details and know that this has been addressed with the team. As you know, our domestic flight transfers are arranged by our airline partner Island Aviation and flight timings generally become available by 6pm on day prior to departure. While there occassionally are delays in obtaining flight timings due to Maldivian Aviation autority delays, we certainly should have communicated this delay proactively to you so as to avoid setting a wrong expectation resulting in your disappointment.
Our Culinary Team, often very much valued by our guests and TripAdvisor reviews, shall take your detailed feedback on board. The multi talented team tries its utmost to consistently meet and exceed the expectations of all of our guests, catering to a multicultural clientele, and the Chef and his team aim to deliver the best food offerings possible to the taste and preferences of each and every of our guests. The entire Culinary Team is available daily at all of our restaurants and you should not hesitate in future to share your feedback and special preferences to them as they welcome the opportunity to accommodate any special request. Again, the team takes on board your feedback and looks forward to your return visit confident they can raise your star rating from 4 to 5.
Thank you again Michael for sharing your experience with Six Senses Laamu. While I regret that I was unable to meet you during your stay due to my departure off island for an urgent medical situation, I am very pleased though that you felt in good hands with the rest of the team. Thank you again for your detailed constructive feedback and please do not hesitate to reach out anytime if I can assist you with your next reservation, be it at Six Senses Laamu or at any of our other Six Senses resorts; it will be a pleasure to welcome you back.
With best regards,
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.