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“Heaven IS a place on earth!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa

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Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   South Ari Atoll, Republic of the Maldives, 20187   |  
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Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Vilamendhoo
Top Contributor
87 reviews 87 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
92 helpful votes 92 helpful votes
“Heaven IS a place on earth!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2011

It’s been a lifelong ambition of mine to visit the Maldives and my dream finally came true in October! Wanting the trip to be perfect, I spent many happy hours researching and using these forums, so I feel it only fair to write up my report.
We flew direct from Heathrow with Sri Lankan leaving at 21:45. We’d pre booked seats and these were assigned at check-in. 2 together on the right hand side. The flight took off on time and after a drink (we’d eaten in the airport) I settled to sleep for as long as possible. The flight was smooth and I woke in time to eat a couple of hours out of Male. As everyone has commented the first time you glimpse the islands from the air is a breathtaking moment! The transfer through customs to the sea plane lounge was efficient and we were soon chilling out, enjoying the heat and watching the seaplanes on the terrace outside the seaplane lounge. I’d flown in a 12 seater and a helicopter before and wasn’t wild on either of these so I was feeling a bit apprehensive about the flight but it was actually smooth, scenic and stress-free. It’s just sweltering and stuffy until the plane is airborne!
The boat arrived to meet us promptly and as soon as I stepped onto Vilamendhoo I welled up – after years of dreaming I couldn’t believe I was here!! I was worried about the over-booking issue, but happily we were allocated JBV 224, not on the side of the island or detached as I’d requested, but it was a JBV so of that we were glad! Make sure you pack some swim wear and sun cream in your hand luggage as I couldn’t wait to get out onto the beach. One bag arrived after 10 minutes, the other came about 2 hours later, so make sure you split your clothes across both cases too! Despite not being allocated our requested room, our room was perfect we decided and we had our own little private beach den between 2 palm trees and when the tide went out in the afternoon we could pull our beds into the shallow sea. The reef steps from the beach here was also superb. The first time I went into the deep area I was a bit scared, but soon overcame that. After looking out at the JWVs lit up with their steps down to the sea we decided to ask about the possibility of spending our last 2 nights in a JWV so we could experience both types of room. We were offered 2 nights free and 2 nights paid so we happily spent our last 4 nights in a JWV. At first I was unsure whether I preferred it as there are no trees visible from the outdoor bathroom and obviously no beach, but the sea life under the villa was awesome and sipping cocktails on our steps watching the sharks, rays and beautiful fish circling round our feet was magical. I’m glad we got the opportunity to experience both rooms and moving rooms was not a chore at all.
We loved the food in the Ahima restaurant – so much choice and good quality at every meal. Our waiter was a star and was always ready with more wine when we were empty. It was also so lovely to eat barefoot and feel the sand under your feet, the shoes I’d packed had a wasted journey! We’d also packed gym kit with the intention of using the gym – jog on! We decided that running could wait until we got back home but sunbathing and snorkelling couldn’t be done at home. Besides we had 30 minutes of exercise most days taking a leisurely stroll around the island ;-)
We tried both bars but we preferred the quiet of the Sunset Bar to the noisier Bonthi Bar. We’d gone to enjoy time together, chill and unwind and the Sunset Bar was definitely chilled out! The daily cocktails were hit and miss, but the wine and vodka (Smirnoff) hit the spot!
The weather was mostly sunny with cloudy spells, though we did have a couple of heavy tropical downpours but they didn’t last long. We were unlucky with the weather and the sunset on the sunset cruise but the dolphins put on a superb display and more than made up for the lack of sunset! Go towards the front of the boat downstairs for an up-close experience – amazing!
The staff were without exception superb and couldn’t do enough to make sure our holiday was perfect. On my husband’s birthday we were treated to a flower filled table outside and a decorated chocolate cake to share. When we got back to our room our bed had been decorated with flowers – topping off a trip when he’d swum with whale sharks and manta rays just the best birthday ever!
Unfortunately our dream week had to come to an end and leaving the island was a wrench and I welled up again! On the last couple of days I decided that the drone of a seaplane approaching was the saddest sound in the world. However, leave we had to and the flight back to Male was smooth and stress free again. Instead of using the ear plugs, pop your ipod in and listen to some tunes whilst taking in the stunning views. The only slight hiccup was boarding our jet only to have to wait over an hour to be cleared for takeoff. A massive downpour had struck while we were in the airport and the skies went black and the boats were bobbing about in the harbour – how glad we were not to have landed into that!! The flight was mostly smooth as we headed home, but just looooong and boring since the headphone sockets in our seats were faulty. No worries though as we were thoroughly chillaxed and just happy to read and snooze the way home.
Would I go back again? I’m not sure as the world’s a big place and we like to explore it. Also I’m not sure if another experience of Vilamendhoo or another island could possibly compare to this perfect week. However if you’re reading this because you’re doing your homework (as I was - and homework’s never been so enjoyable) then there’s no doubt you’re in for a treat. If I could award 10 stars instead of 5 I would and really can’t understand anyone awarding fewer than 5 stars. It’s that perfect! Heaven IS a place on earth!

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2011

We visited Vila from 16th to 29th Octobter. This was our fourth trip to the Maldives and boy were we impressed in comparison to other islands. The weather was not great, had only about 3 days of sunshine., it rained every day and we experienced the storm of storms, even so this did not spoil a thing. We were upgraded on the first night FOC to JWV wow that dangled the carrot so we upgraded for another 3 nights at the end of the holiday. Perfect!! Due to the upgrades we fortunately were able to sample both restaurants. Both were very good, but in our opinion we preferred Funama, it was more relaxed as we prefer to ladle our own soup etc !! and we thought had more choice. Thank you Abdulla for your excellent service and you are a true Gentleman. I have no idea about the earlier negative review as to fly's???? The restaurant conditions were very good,clean and fresh. We spent most days and nights at the Sunset Pool and bar, brilliant place to be, all staff were very attentive, first class service. Big thank you to Cyril, Rahman and Naheed for home made gifts and your company. We did manage the Sunset Cruise eventually due to the weather - cannot believe our luck - did not see any sunset but we sailed with about 60 dolphins for about 1 hour - I was overwhelmed, it was jaw dropping. Our Beach Villa was lovely, bathrooms are very modern and I love the open air feature as with most other Islands. Beds are very comfortable and new with mossie nets but to be honest we didnt even use any repellents so didnt use the nets. Air con fab, mini bar great. Only niggle! we did find the nightly turn down service to be too early- it was usually before 7.30 and we were still getting ready- I do not find this service as a must but tried not to offend. Please give a thought to the hard working beach sweepers that may seem to go unoticed. House reef amazing even for us novices. There is erosion occuring on the island, but we witnessed on several days that sand is being brought in constantly to combat this. Loved the bats, herons, lizards and all the amazing sea creatures.

Would we return? Without a doubt!!

See you next year x

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Midlands, UK
14 reviews 14 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2011

Vilamendhoo is a small island, but with snorkelling, diving, tennis, badminton and a small putting area we found plenty to do. Read earlier reviews about the best position of villas - those on the western end have a larger sandy area in front, but there are spare loungers (those in front of villas are numbered and specific to that villa) at the lovely beach area near the Sunset Bar. I suspect it's best to go all inclusive; soft drinks are nearly as expensive as beer and wine ($5 a small bottle). The evening entertainment is limited but we didn't go to the Maldives for shows...We ate at the Ahima restaurant - the food was fantasic - varied, great choice, good quality. Diving is good and very well run, but not cheap (about $95 for each dive if you go out on a boat). We had a fantastic holiday and I would recommend the resort without hesitation.

Room Tip: Beach jacuzzi villas from 199 to 212 have best beach. In the semi-detached villas you can hear your...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burgess Hill
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2011

This hotel is amazing. Spent two weeks from 16th October, although we had only four days of sun we still got really brown.

The staff cant do enough for you!

We stayed in a beach villa 112, twenty paces into the beautiful blue sea which is so warm and inviting. Conquered my fear of snorkling so if this wimp can do it anyone can! The pool was just behind us and the bar/restaurent 4 mins walk.

We did go to the adult only pool but the atmosphere was not as good as the family pool, fab 25metre pool. Sumesh the barman was amazing, within a day he knew what you wanted to drink so you didnt even have to exert yourself to order a dink or lunch!!!

Our villa boy was excellent and would reecommend this villa, looked at the jacuzzi water villas but it is really not necessary.

Sea plane amazing. Did the sunset cruise, had the best sun set of the two weeks but no dolphins, but when you have a sun set like that who cares.

Am in the process of trying to book for xmas and even my husband who normally gets itchy feet after 10 days wanted another week.

Crab racing was good and chilled entertainment of an evening.

Must mention Robin, bar manager in the main bar and his team, superb.

Bearing in mind we normally stay at 5/6 star hotels and this is 4 star plus this is up there due to to to the staff and the fabulous location. Many people had been to many islands and they said this was the best.

Room Tip: beach villa 112cher
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2011

We stayed in Vilamendhoo for 2 weeks from mid September with my parents and our 1 year old little girl. Previously we have stayed at Kuredu a number of times between us, Komandoo (both in the same chain as Vilamendhoo) and Chaaya Lagoon.

Having checked TripAdvisor daily from booking to leaving for our holiday we were not dissappointed with our stay as the reviews on here are very honest.

We were really well looked after from the moment of getting through passport control. It seems if you are travelling with a little one they whisk you through the airport and onto a sea plane asap which was greatly appreciated after the long flight. Arrival at the Island was just as efficient and we were quickly shown to our rooms. Throughout the holiday the staff could not do enough to accomodate our daughter and it was really appreciated, especially the help during meal times.

We had requested rooms as close the JBV as possible as other reviews had said the beach there was best and this is completely true. In many places of the Island there are sea defences which make it impossible to access the sea from your section of beach and impossible to get your sun bed onto the sea shore. The defences really spoil the paradise island look from certain parts of the Island however as recent reports say there is a lot of work going on to rectify this problem. We were allocated rooms close to JBV's and were in a very fortunate location. Beautiful very spacious rooms, even with a cot in the room, fantastic bathrooms and lovely outdoor furniture. Only critisism is that there are so many trees over the room your sunbed has to be in quite a depth of water at times to get full sun however having seen the location of other rooms this was something we were quite happy to put up with and it kept us from getting too hot in the gorgeous weather we had whilst there.

The food was faultless and really really delicious - we had to go back for seconds and thirds too many times for our waistlines!!! In previous Islands there has been a big display of show cooking however there is very little show cooking here which is a shame as there is lots of room for show cooking to take place and when it was done it was really lovely. Only other thing of note is that some dishes go very quickly and run out and other options come out to replace them so if there is something you particularly like the look of get in quick and pile the plates up at your table!! Weather permitting we were able to sit outside to eat every night as suprisingly not many people seemed to want to sit outside to eat of an evening.

The Asian Wok really is a treat, both for sunset drinks and meals outside on the decking.

We found both pool areas to be lovely, although we used them very rarely.

In places the snorkelling certainly is amazing, the coral is spectacular however we would say that we have seen better in other islands in the maldives but it is worth taking your snorkelling gear as there are some beautiful things to see. Diving ticked every box - manta and whale shark seen numerous times and an excellent diving school with new equipment which is always reasurring when renting dive gear.

The rep on the Island, Lou, has been praised so many times but we cannot tell you how fantastic she is - a HUGE thank you to Lou for her help. Not only did I have an accident on the Island but I also lost my engagement ring and she was such a help in both instances, nothing is too much trouble for her and she is so quick at coming to your aid when in need!

If we had to rate Vilamendhoo against the other Islands we have stayed in overall this is not the best Island neither the worst mainly for the fact that our personal preference is to stay on a smaller, less populated Island with a little bit of space. However we would return IF the issue of beach and sea defences is sorted out if we were to stay in a BV again, as it is a bit of a lottery whether your get a perfect location or a pretty poor one. Garden villas have use of sun beds at either end of the island in a lovely location, JBV are in a lovely location and WV are something very special. A lot of people were talking about the prices escalating and to be honest I wouldn't want to pay anymore than we did for this holiday, we booked in Feb this year and we think the price then was fine for the standard Vilamendhoo is offering.

If you have booked Vilamendhoo you will have a great time because you are in the Maldives and to us the Maldives are paradise and we just want to go back!

Room Tip: Book Garden Villa, JBV or WV or request room 173 to JBV for good location
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Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
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Preston, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2011

Travelled to the island with Emirates have booked with Regal Dive. The journey both ways was faultless. We had booked an all inclusive package. The arrival was efficiently and courteously handled. The bag porter was pretty pushy for a tip, and having just arrived I had no one dollar bills. The welcome info says tips are not essential but appreciated and suggest US$ 10/week for room. restaurant & bar staff. Read the minibar prices carefully. Crisps, nuts, and chocolate, as well as all the spirits and wine are extras. A chocolate bar is around US$ 4. At the bar though wine and some cocktails are included, and to be fair the staff warn you when you will have to pay.

Mosquitoes were only a problem after it had rained hard, and ants, whilst big and plentiful keep the charming ghecko population well fed. The rooms were immaculate.

The restaurant was superb, my only complaint being that some items such as roast and sauteed potatoes don't keep well in a bain-marie.

There are two other restaurants which are not all-inclusive but a friend received a voucher for two and a bottle of wine when she had to change rooms. The Asian Wok was certainly very good but if all inclusive I'd settle for the standard buffet.

The Eurodiver centre was well run and equipped. Qualified divers WILL need SMB's with at least a 30m reel and a reef hook. This is not Stoney Cove! We saw whale shark, mantas, shark, and so much else, but beware very strong down currents. The boat crew and instructor were very helpful but did not have the wisdom that only experience can bring. The instructor was nowhere to be seen with the three dive incidents that occurred, you and your buddy must be able to get yourself out of situations by yourselves.

A very big downer was the fact that after we arrived we were told the Government had placed a tax on every dive from a boat of around US$ 15. They also are strict on wanting medical certificates which makes the doctor an extra US$ 20. (He's a nice chap but does not have the equipment to properly assess divers to UK standards - and it's not in his employers interests for him to forbid diving). We did two day trips on the boat, we complained about the food after the first dive and it was only marginally better on the second. It appeared to be an ill considered collection of left overs put together by a kitchen porter and was a disgrace in comparison to the restaurant.

The weekly Maldivian night provided a great range of flavours in the restaurant (as we would have expected) but the Powerpoint presentation in the bar was so bad we decided to do something exciting in comparison and left to find some paint that was drying.

On arrival we got a free voucher for a 15 minute massage, provided we used it in the first 3 days. Actually booking one was almost impossible until I said I wanted to use it towards an hour long session when they suddenly found time. It was worth every penny! I felt 20 years younger afterwards.

On the final day we couldn't dive of course because we were flying and four of our group booked to go game fishing. Despite submitting the forms several days before it was only when they enquired the night before at reception about meeting points etc they were told the boat was out of operation and had been for a while.

I would certainly go again, and with the proviso that self control is essential to avoid ill health, ill wealth and grief. I would recommend it to all.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2011

Holiday started Sunday morning. Parked our car and we were dropped off at the north terminal. Check in went smooth. But seat scheme is so wrong 2-3-2. Maldives are visited by couples and lots of people were split. Also honeymooners were seated separate.
So famous 33” leg space means nothing on long haul flights. Seats are so narrow and uncomfortable. We struggled on this 11-hour flight. Also it’s a big NO NO to pay for drinks. If you are thirsty prepare yourself to pay 4 pounds for a small can of beer or 6 for tiny bottle of booze. So get yourself something to drink before you board the plane. Meal was served after 2 hours. Nothing special. But After that was free coffee and tea. LOL
If you can change carrier – then do it.
Arrived to Male on time. Passport control took so long. 2 or 3 planes landed at the same time. We left the building and went straight to buy local sim card. (20$ for 1 hour of Internet on the island is a rip off). Airport rep – not much use. Instead of greeting he rushed us to the transfer plane counter gave few flyers and gone. We arrived on the other side of the island where our transfer took place. It appears that our resort has its own lounge. Refreshing towels, drinks, comfy sofas. Our plane was rescheduled. We waited 2 hours for the plane.
Views are amazing. We landed in the middle of the ocean on some kind of raft. Local boat came and took us to resort. It was awesome.
Greetings with refreshing towel and fruit punch. We waited a while but finally someone came explain everything, gave us few discount vouchers (to use within next 3 days only) put All-inclusive bracelets on and were guided to our bungalow. Best part is we didn’t have to carry our luggage. Staff was so nice and done this for their guests. We had semi detach ocean villa. Thought we can change the room for detached or upgrade to better one – but everything was all booked up. Room was great, modern, spacious, well lit. Really high standard.
Food fantastic. Every day-different dish. Really tasty and well presented.
But our servant was not helpful. Not pleasant. If you notice this– change it quick as we have been waiting for our drinks so long that one night I finished eating before he approached and asked.
Entertainment –hmmm could be better. Was boring. We had a few days with rain and there was completely nothing to do.
Excursions there are few. You have to put you name down on the list in reception and if they have enough people then it will take place. We sign ourselves for island hooping and Male visit – both canceled. So we took what was occupied by most visitors -sunset cruise (included in AI package), and snorkeling trip.
Resort went some recent upgrades and you can see it.
It is really nice place to stay.

Room Tip: Ask for detached villa, opposite site from reception. We stayed in 181 - entrance to the reef righ...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa

Address: South Ari Atoll, Republic of the Maldives, 20187
Location: Maldives > Alifu Atoll > Southern Ari Atoll > Vilamendhoo
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Vilamendhoo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 184
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Vilamendhoo Island Resort, surrounded by a beautiful lagoon, an excellent house reef and long stretches of white, sandy beach, is the only Resort on the island of Vilamendhoo, South Ari Atoll. It is 900 meters long by 250 meters wide, about 55 acres. Your seaplane transfer from Ibrahim Nasir International Airport is a scenic, 25 minute flight. 184 Rooms include 30 Jacuzzi Water Villas, 30 Jacuzzi Beach Villas, 111 Beach Villas and 13 Garden Rooms. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vilamendhoo Island Hotel Vilamendhoo
Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa Maldives
Hotel Vilamendhoo Island

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