Let me start by saying that this resort is in the absolute middle of nowhere! Getting there involves a 1 hour domestic flight to the island of Khadadhoo and then a minimum hour boat ride from this island to the resort (if seas are rough or the boat breaks down then the boat ride will be longer). But when you factor in the extra amount of time it takes for transport to the airport, check-in at the airport and then waiting time at the airport then you have lost a minimum of half a day of vacation for each leg of travel to the resort. Trust me, you will be much happier if you choose a hotel closer to Male. In the past we have stayed at both the Huvafen Fushi and the Anatara which were both around 45 minute speed boat rides from Male. The trip to these islands was much easier and more enjoyable than the trip to Ayada which was downright miserable.
We were also disappointed in the resort itself. Don't get me wrong, it's a stunning new resort on a beautiful island. But it's not at all a hip or happening scene. Even at 80% occupancy (which very rarely happens but we were there during Chinese New Year) it's a total ghost town. There's never anyone hanging out at the pool, the bar's always vacant, we were always the only people dining at the non-buffet restaurants. It's downright creepy. At both the Huvafen Fushi and the Anatara there was always cool music playing and people sipping on cocktails at the bar. Their restaurants were always packed and happening and the food was always fresh and delicious. We enjoyed the lively music, people and scenes of these resorts. But the Ayada is the absolute opposite of these trendy resorts. You will see on their website that they advertise a "wine and cheese island" and a "hookah bar". But this is false advertising because both of these are closed unless you make an appointment because nobody ever goes to these. There are 2 non-buffet restaurants but both of these are ghost towns. The only happening thing at this whole resort is the all-you-can-eat buffet which apparently people arrive at half and hour before opening and wait in line just to get in. It should be noted that the clientele at this resort is almost 100% Chinese. And the resort definitely markets to this clientele with the music they play, the food they serve and the evening activities they offer. Think awful 2 person band and karaoke. And still nobody came. Downright depressing.
The food was also a disappointment. You have to remember once again that you are in the middle of nowhere and it's difficult for them to keep the food supply stocked. The day we arrived the bar ran out of fresh mint and limes and they never restocked these during our entire week stay. The Asian restaurant ran out of noodles our last night there and who knows when those would be restocked. The food in general was of very low quality and tasteless. The buffet was obviously geared towards the Chinese clientele. There was almost never any local Maldivian curries or other foods which were always served at other Maldivian resorts that we stayed at. Very little local seafood was served and when it was it was expensive. We were excited to order a local fish at the Mediterranean restaurant only to be informed that it would be $250 for this fish! The local island 15 minutes away is an island filled with commercial fisherman so we were shocked to hear that we would be charged $250 for a locally caught grilled fish. The food at the Ayada was by far the worst food we have ever had in the Maldives. It should be noted that one day we visited a local island and ate at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant and the food was a million times better than at the "5 star" Ayada. We were actually excited to get back to the airport hotel in Male because the food there was incredible compared to the food at the Ayada! And there were actually people having drinks at the bars and eating food in the restaurants!
We did enjoy most of the staff at the Ayada though. Since there we no other guests to converse with (we don't speak Chinese) we became friends with many of the staff members. They were all friendly and efficient although most of them seemed unhappy to be working at the Ayada. When taking a job in the Maldives they were under the impression that they would be working close to Male. They seemed just as depressed as us to be stuck at a ghost town island in the middle of nowhere. Most of them were counting down the days until they got to leave and we didn't blame them!
We will not be going back to Ayada. There is really no reason to go there when there are MANY far superior resorts that are either a short boat ride or float plane ride away from Mali. And these resorts are the perfect mix and cool and trendy as well as relaxing. Choose one of these instead of Ayada!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Voted the 'Leading Water Villa Resort' in the world at the 2014 World Travel Awards, Ayada Maldives is a luxury private island resort offering a truly luxurious retreat with a genuine Maldivian style. Set in the relatively unexplored Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll in the south of the country - just a few kilometres from the equator - the island offers 112 spacious villas and suites, all with private pools, butler and thoughtful five-star detailing. Traditional thatched-roof water-villas stand on stilts over the resort's peaceful lagoon, while beach villas offer absolute privacy amid tropical greenery alongside powder-soft palm-lined white beaches. Food lovers can explore the six restaurants and bars, while those seeking complete relaxation will find their haven in the large spa set in beautiful tropical gardens which boasts a Turkish Hammam as well as a Vichy Shower and eight private treatment villas. The resort is noted for its gardens and tropical greenery and is ringed by a pristine coral reef where dolphins are frequent visitors. The active can explore the area on a host of excursions that include visits to the equator, local villages and fishing trips, while at the resort they can play tennis or badminton, take up watersports, learn yoga or simply hit the 24-hour gym. Outstanding diving and snorkeling opportunities surround the island on reefs that have barely been visited by humans while some of the country's best surfing breaks are just a quick speedboat journey away. Weddings take place just before sunset in the private wedding chapel set in a treelined garden or on the beach under a gazebo draped with flowing material. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ayada Maldives Hotel Maguhdhuvaa
- Ayada Maldives Maguhdhuvaa