The location of Baros is what makes this a '5 star' - it is simply stunning. The best thing by far is the house reef, which is huge and minutes away from any villa. We saw reef sharks, turtles, rays and so much more. This really made the whole stay here worthwhile.
I have tried to do a balanced review below, but please bear in mind that this is in the context of a magical honeymoon. I absolutely unreservedly recommend Baros despite our few qualms.
We were collected from the airport by the Baros boat, but did have to wait 15 minutes for them to arrive- this seems a common theme from reading other reviews. We were met on arrival by the front office manager Shijah who was very accommodating, and allocated a villa representative who handled checkin and bookings. We were impressed and grateful that they took us to our room despite our early arrival.
We stayed in a water villa and absolutely loved the privacy and the feeling that you were alone in the ocean. The bath, toilet and shower all look out to the ocean and it is a very special feeling. If you can afford it, I would definitely recommend it. The rooms are well decorated and spacious, with nice little touches such as the provision of yoga mats, slippers and robes.
We had pre-requested villa 310 based on previous reviews and were pleased we did-it is very private with great views. The manager did warn us that there would be work happening on villas near us but that we wouldn't be disturbed. Unfortunately after a couple of days a large digger appeared near our villa, and despite being assured it would be removed when we complained, it reappeared almost everyday which was a shame. To their credit the next day we called we received a complimentary lunch, but we gave up calling after that.
We went half board and were glad we did as the food prices, like the drinks prices, were extortionate. You probably end up paying the same but it was better to swallow the lump sum up-front rather than spoiling the holiday worrying about prices. I do buy the argument that some goods cost a lot to import, but when fresh local tuna costs around $45 you do raise your eyebrows. The bars were always quiet and restaurants dead at lunch because people simply can't afford 3 meals a day plus drinks. I suspect if they halved the drinks prices the bars would get busier and they would sell at least double the amount. As an example, a large bottle of water costs $9, the same as a fruit juice which will also mainly be locally sourced. Everything has 8% government tax and 10% service charge, even things like massages which are surely a service in themselves. We noticed most guests brought the free water bottles from their rooms to dinner to help reduce the costs!
Half board gets you breakfast and dinner in the Lime restaurant each day or 45% off the others. We ate in the Cayenne and Lighthouse once and both were far better. The Lime is a bit of a 'jack of all trades', offering a huge selection but we kept trying new dishes mainly because we didn't have anything that great. The food on the whole was good though, but poor value at half the price. We stayed during their quiet season and the majority of guests were Korean. We did find it slightly off putting that they spent most of their meals taking photographs and would advise management to ban cameras in the restaurants for the benefit of other guests. Most guests attended restaurants in vests, shorts and flip flops which we just felt prevented meals feeling like a special event. Especially in the Lighthouse there should really be a proper dress code.
The Lighthouse Lounge is excellent and the cocktail prices are actually probably fair (around $14) given you get some lovely canopes too. I recommend the Lighthouse Dhun that comes with cherrywood smoke and Nitin is a wonderful waiter. We also had a stunning meal at the Lighthouse, watching sharks swim below as we ate food fit for any michelin starred kitchen. The lobster bisque is cooked in front of you and really delicious, and I would definitely recommend the tuna rossini. Our waiter was Ali and he was exceptional and added that extra touch of class to the evening.
The spa was great and we had a couple of nice massages. We really did love the service of everyone we came across at Baros. It was the best we've had at any hotel, and we have stayed at many of the world's best hotels. Everyone was incredibly friendly and professional and the staff did all that they could to keep people happy. We found Nitin in the Lighthouse bar, Ali in the lighthouse restaurant and Faththey and Eyshadh at Lime really stood out and deserve a special mention. The cleaning staff were also brilliant. Every time we went to breakfast we came back to find a clean room, and likewise at dinner for the turn down. At the end of the stay the villa attendant gave us a leaving gift-a lovely touch.
Overall, this place is not faultless but we did have a lovely stay. It's worth coming for the house reef alone, and when you spend most of your days snorkelling or sunbathing then you can happily tolerate the little niggles. I can't imagine you will find a better hotel in the Maldives but be careful if you haven't got deep pockets!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A lush, tropical island set in the shimmering waters of a shallow lagoon, ringed by a reef vibrant with marine life. Stay in elegance in Villas created from timber and sandstone, poised and peaceful over a translucent lagoon, or nestled discreetly among exotic blooms by the beach. Revel in romantic privacy on the perfect vacation. The essence of the Maldives, defined at Baros. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Baros Maldives Hotel North Male Atoll
- Baros Maldives Male
- Baros Maldives Hotel Male