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“Excellent” 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   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Vilamendhoo
Billericay, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Excellent”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2012

An excellent holiday, jacuzzi water villas were very spacious and quiet, wonderful surroundings with excellent snorkling, staff were very obliging and friendly, food and drink excellent, would definately go back.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • 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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Belfast
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
154 helpful votes 154 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2012

We spent 2 enjoyable weeks at this resort (minus 2 days –more on that later).
Seaplane transfer:
Our transfer to the seaplane terminal was quick & efficient. Please be aware that they do charge for excess baggage over 20kg hold & 5 kg hand, so if you have travelled with an airline which allows more than this, then be prepared to cough up. The charge isn’t much (not too sure of correct price as we were ok) & is for the return journey. We were then taken to the resort’s private lounge where we had an hour’s wait for our transfer to the island. The lounge has aircon, toilets (with a shower), a small library, soft seats & complimentary soft drinks so not a hardship. We were given a registration form to fill in to save time at the resort. This form has a disclaimer (basically asking you to give away any rights you have if things go wrong) on the back that they wish you to also sign but it is not compulsory. We didn’t sign it & were not pressurised to do so. The journey was about 25 mins & definitely a lovely, though noisy experience! Earplugs are supplied.
After landing, we were transferred from the plane to the resort by dhoni- a 2 minute ride. We were escorted to reception where Lou, the Thomson rep, greeted us & then we were taken to our room by a member of Admin. They have done away with wristbands for AI guests, but you have to sign for everything, even the AI stuff.
Rooms:
We had e-mailed the resort 2 weeks before flying & requested a quiet room on the north side of the island, which we were given. We were a little disappointed that our room was a semi-detached, (no 177) but it wasn’t a problem. The room was fairly central to the island & it was only a short walk to everywhere. I have to admit that we weren’t great fans of the outside bathroom though it did look lovely. We both ended up with quite a few mozzie bites & put it down to going the loo in the night. Toiletries are provided, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel & soap of fairly good quality, so no need to take your own. There is also a can of mozzie spray in the bathroom, which is replenished on request. Towels weren’t very soft. We did have to chase our room boy to leave some on one occasion. Our room was a good size, with a comfortable four poster bed, day bed, plenty of storage space, umbrella (for those tropical showers), full length mirror, tea & coffee making facilities, a mini bar & flat screen tv with dvd player. The mini bar had soft drinks & beer free to those on AI- the rest of the contents were chargeable. Each bungalow has a wooden veranda with comfy plastic rattan chairs & coffee table. There is also a large pot filled with water & a ladle to rinse sand off your feet.
Our bags arrived soon after, so we unpacked & went straight in for a snorkel.
Reef:
The reef is very healthy with a wide variety of life. We saw octopi, turtles, a couple of largish sharks & rays plus all the usual suspects. The clarity wasn’t too good the first week as there had been bad weather before we arrived but it did improve the second week. The lagoon is very shallow & sometimes difficult to swim in because of this- especially at low tide. We did see a few snorkelers get into bother trying to swim back in at low tide because they didn’t use the designated exits. The reef is much closer on the north side of the island & you are able to snorkel the whole length of it whereas on the south side, you have to get out between the jetties then get back in again. The currents run from the water bungalows to the Asian Wok on both sides of the island. They could be a little strong for inexperienced snorkelers so it is adviseable to swim with them not against, unless you are a good swimmer. There are some very large Titan Trigger Fish, but as long as you don’t go near them whilst they are feeding (they will be head down chomping on something) or nesting (patrolling a small sandy area) then they will ignore you. In fact, one day we were looking for a stonefish which had been in the same place for 3 days but we couldn’t find it. When we looked up we were practically face-to-face with a Titan! It ignored us but we swam away very fast!
Restaurants:
The resort has 2 buffet restaurants, which bungalow you are in determines which one you eat in. They both serve the same food. Ours was the Funama. You are allocated a table for 2, which is yours for the duration, though you can eat outside at another table on occasions- just tell your waiter & he will arrange it for you. Our table was practically outside anyway so we didn’t bother the first week. Our waiter was Latheef, who looked after us very well. The food was good, with plenty of choice at each mealtime, though occasionally meat in sauces were a little too salty for our taste. There was even pork served on several occasions. Real bacon & sometimes pork sausages were served at breakfast & the pastries were lovely. It was a real struggle not to overindulge. I would have liked more variety in the fruit offered as dessert.
Vegetarians might struggle a bit for choice but I’m sure that a word with the catering staff would result in something cooked specially. The vegetable curries were especially yummy.
The only gripe we had with the dining room was the harsh sand on the floor, which was also in the bars & the reception area. We did try to go barefoot but after 2 days of walking on coral bits & shell shards, our feet felt permanently on fire & we had to resort to wearing flipflops.
The Asian Wok, (chargeable restaurant) served drinks from 3pm until 11pm. It was lovely to sit here as the sun went down, as there was usually a slight breeze & you can watch the baby sharks swimming by. We did go here for a meal towards the end of our holiday. I was disappointed with my main course but I think I just chose the wrong thing. I ordered the Indonesian Bani Goreng which came with mussels, which were not listed on the menu, & I hate mussels. Luckily, my OH likes them so we swapped meals.
Bars:
The main bar area was quite large & could get very noisy when the evening entertainment was on. It was also very hot & humid in there even though all the French doors were open. It is open 24 hours though we never made it past 10 pm most nights. Freshly made popcorn is served with evening drinks. The drinks are not branded ones but were ok, There was a cocktail & mocktail of the day included in the AI. My OH had a slight complaint that some of the soft drinks were often flat as they were served out of large bottles which lost fizz very quickly. He hates flat coke in his rum & coke! It might make sense to install soft drink guns as this would do away with all those horrible plastic bottles that end up floating in the sea. Say hello to Kamal, Robin & Francis who worked very hard to keep us all hydrated! Any tips handed to one of the bar waiters are kept by them whereas any tips handed to the bar staff go into a communal box.
We only drank in the Sunset bar a couple of times, but it seemed a more relaxed bar.
The bar at the Boashi pool is open 10 am to 8pm & Jhamshad behind the bar is a very attentive young man who remembers what everyone is drinking.
Facilities:
There are 2 swimming pools on the island. An infinity adults only pool, which didn’t have enough shade but did have lovely views, & the larger Boashi pool which had loads of shade. We preferred the latter, which also had a children’s pool & playground. There were a few children there but they were not a problem. The island has a breeding pair of herons & the youngsters hung around the pool- highly entertaining when they went for a swim!
There are also a very, very small putting green, a volley ball court, a football pitch, tennis courts, a well equipped gym, an airconditioned games room & library. The staff play the guests at football once a week- staff usually win!
There is a small shop with quite a good chice of toiletries etc. There is also a tailor in the shop. We didn’t visit the spa so cannot comment on it but it looked lovely.

A highlight of our holiday came in the second week when we were given the chance to go to Thudufushi for free for 2 nights, as Vilamendhoo was overbooked for 2 nights. I have done a separate review for that resort. The transfer was a 40 minute speedboat ride which was lovely. If you get the chance to do this when there, take it.
We returned to Vilamendhoo on the 3rd day & were put into a different room but still on the north side. This time we were in no 190- a longer walk to our dining room! This room was basically the same as our first room except about 1 metre smaller, so no full length mirror. This wasn’t a problem, but we did prefer the larger room, as there now wasn’t really anywhere to store our cases. However, the beach was nicer & it was easier to get into the sea in front of this second room.
Our lovely dining table had to be given away to someone else, but Latheef had saved us one close to our original so we were happy & we ate outside at night a couple of times.
On arrival back at Vilamendhoo we were given a voucher for a free Whale Shark trip. We hadn’t planned on doing this but decided to go to enjoy the boat ride. Previous trips hadn’t been very successful with only one sighting in 2 weeks but we ended up seeing & swimming with 2 Whale Sharks. We also saw dolphins on the return trip. It was a brilliant day! However, one idiot did swim down & grab the tail of one of the sharks, then proceeded to stroke it’s back also, despite everyone being told not to touch if we did see one. He was reported to Vilamendhoo’s management & they fined him over $500. I’m glad that they are taking this sort of thing seriously. They have cut back on the number of Whale Shark trips each week & also restrict the numbers of people allowed on each trip.
There were a number of British guests who had been to Club Faru previously & thought the atmosphere here was not quite as friendly. We have to agree & think that the resort was more suited to honeymooners & couples wanting to be alone. Maybe this will change now that Vilamendhoo has become a Thomson/First Choice UK exclusive. However, here’s hoping the price stays affordable now there is no competition, as we would like to return.
A small note on Male airport- you can no longer take liquids into the departure lounge. They have re-sited the security checks from after the lounge to before it. Also the shop where you could buy a large bottle of water to take onto your plane has gone. You can buy small bottles at a kiosk to the right of the dutyfree shop. At a dollar each, they still work out much cheaper than what Thomson Airlines charge for water.

Room Tip: Rooms on north side quieter with better views
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bridgwater, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2012

We visited Vilamendhoo in August. Wow, what a place! From the moment you step off the plane in Male, you are taken care off by the Vilamendhoo representatives. Whether it's free cool drinks, or a cool towel across your face, they really do take care of you.
Arriving at the island by plane is just magical! The views are spectacular! The Island itself is simply beautiful. The sand is pristine white, and the water is crystal clear! You really could not wish for a better place to go on holiday. The food is amazing, i have never tasted food so good in all my life.
The House reef for all you snorkellers is breath taking! It actually took my Wife's breathe away as she attempted to snorkel over the top of the reef drop off, she had to turn around and go back to shallower water because the sight took her breath away. The most colorful fish, the most amazing coral reef and visibility was 50 meters at least! If you are lucky you will see turtles, and you WILL see Rays, Sharks, Trigger Fish, and much much more.
Scuba diving here is awesome. We stayed in a Beach Vila, which was fantastic. The room service was incredible. We would arrive back to our villa and found that the room had been cleaned sometimes twice per day, and petals laid across the bed, with different shapes of fish or love hearts on the bed. I felt like i was treated like a prince, and my wife was the princess. We also took my daughter Karma, aged 17, she also fell in love with the island.
The weather was also amazing., We was told before we left that it was monsoon season, well, you would not have guessed that. It was hot every day, we had 1 morning of showers, that passed within 2 hours.
Honestly, i cannot understand how anyone can say anything other than amazing to this island, its the most amazing place i have ever been too and the memory will remain with me for ever.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2012

From the moment we stepped onto Vilamendhoo till we left we were made to feel so special,
The weather was perfect and we had a beach bungalow No 143 which was perfect in every way,
The beach was clean tidy the sea was clear and the reef was beautiful and full of various fish,sharks,turtles and rays
The food and restaurant was excellent and all the staff on the island are a credit as nothing is to much trouble for them,
I was my wedding anniversary and the restaurant staff made a special table for us" wishing us a happy anniversary" and specially decorated for the occasion.
I can't recommend this island enough, it's perfect in every way and I will return.

  • Stayed October 2012, 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 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, England, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2012

From start to finish perfect. Clear water, perfect weather, pefect staff, great food.

I'm glad we booked a water villa well worth the extra cost, I would say they are at the better end of the Island. No holiday will ever hold a candle to our perfect honeymoon.

Room Tip: water villa every time!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2012

We stayed at Vilamendhoo from 23rd August to 3rd September. Everything has been said previously about how wonderful the sea, snorkelling, beach, food is etc., so I don't want to just repeat it all. We preferred the pool in the centre of the island to the Sunset pool as it was larger with a good depth, and although it was the family pool, wasn't noisy, even though we were in the school summer holidays. The reason for me writing this short review is to say that Francis, the pool bar man, was so fantastic that I think he should be given a large pay rise, as one of the reasons I would recommend the island to friends is because of him. His smile, friendliness, and the service he provided was first class, bringing drinks to the side of the pool if you were in there, or to your sunbed, and frequently coming back to see if glasses needed refreshing. On his day off, his smile and service was truly missed. Vilamendhoo Island owners: please take note!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guernsey, Channel Islands
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2012

We read hundreds of reviews after we decided to go to Vila for our honeymoon (Sept 16th 2012 for 2 weeks) and we think that most reviews are very accurate. My husband is 34 and I am 28 and we saved for a long time to go here, so were able to have a JWV, which was a fantastic experience. Neither of us had been to the Maldives before.

We travelled with Thomson and upgraded to their Premium service, we are both very tall and not very good with zero leg room on long haul flights, but the extra bonuses of seperate check-in and getting off the flight and collecting bags first also was great as when we arrived in Male we were straight through Passport control, straight to the seaplane transfer and before we knew it on the island! However if we had had to wait in the seaplane terminal, drinks were provided and it was a comfortable airconditioned room.

We had a welcome greeting to the island and were promptly shown to our Water Villa. The room was fab, just as expected, and the view of the Indian Ocean to wake up to every morning was amazing. If I had to be really critical the only slight let down was that I'd told Thomson numerous times it was our honeymoon and expected the Fruit basket and it to be ackowledged in our room but sadly not. We weren't overly bothered but it would've been a nice touch.

We fell into island life very quickly. Snorkelling on the world class house reef, relaxing by the Sunset Pool and visiting the spa. Snorkelling as everyone says on TA is amazing, we went everyday (took our own snorkel stuff) - saw thousands of fish, reef sharks, rays, lobster, cuttlefish, octopus, eel, truly wonderful. We also visited the spa on numerous occasions and the service was absolutely brilliant. I enjoy a good massage and wasn't disappointed. We took advantage of the 15% offer when you book 3 or more treatments but something to consider is the 6% GST added to the bill. Still we felt comparative to prices at home, it was reasonable and didn't stop us from enjoying a good variety of relaxing treatments whilst on resort.

We went on the Manta & Turtle boat trips and swam with both - a wicked experience. And we also tried the Whale Shark trip twice but were unsuccessful in finding one. Needless to say the trips were amazing and it was nice to venture off the island even if just for a few hours. Other trips during our stay were successful at seeing one but for us it was not meant to be.

The only other trip we were keen to do was the Robinson Cruesoe but due to the Government they'd disallowed this currently (past 4/5 months or so) - so that was a huge shame but again, not the resorts fault. The only thing we felt was that we could've been told prior to arriving.

Food was fantastic, how people couldn't find something to eat is beyond us. The variety from day to day was impressive and on many occasions I'd eat vegetarian as the selection was so so good! Desserts were our downfall. Really good - too good. We visited the fitness centre a couple of times - as a fitness instructor myself I thought the equipment was good, but felt 3 treadmills and two bikes were an odd choice. They could've done with a rowing machine or cross trainer, to help work off some of the desserts! We also played badmintion which was fun and didn't want to risk playing tennis as the court surface is so badly damaged that we didn't want to come home on crutches! These aren't points we'd bother "complaining about" - but just things to mention, when we go on holiday it's to relax and unwind not to pick into every detail of what we've paid for (unless it warranted a complaint!)

We went to the Asian Wok twice, food and service was brilliant. We didn't do the Hot Rock as we have this at home.

So all in all we had the most amaing time, met some really nice people and would highly recommend this resort to others. At the end of the day if you want a five star holiday then you have to be prepared to pay five star prices. Our priorities were 2 weeks of snorkelling, sun and relaxing and with Vila we got all those things! An amazing honeymoon!

Room Tip: If you can go for the JWV or JBV, especially if for the first time!
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
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
Amenities:
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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