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!
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Vilamendhoo Island Hotel Vilamendhoo
- Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa Maldives
- Hotel Vilamendhoo Island