Just returned from 2 fantastic weeks at Chaaya Reef. This was our first visit to the Maldives. Do not be put off by reviews that put down the speedboat transfer...it was a welcome refresh after a very long journey; 90 minutes of beautiful ocean with 2 stops to view dolphins!! On arrival, you are warmly greeted with cold towels, drinks and a warm handshake by the staff.
We booked a standard room which was basic but contained everything you needed. Spacious, very clean, comfy large bed and an open-air bathroom which makes showering a unique but pleasant experience. Our room had an inter-connecting door and due to the design it is commonplace to be able to hear your neighbours as you go about your business!!This is not an issue as all guests seem to accept the potential 'humour' of this. Sadly our neighbours did not (apparantly they could hear our voices in the morning as we woke up too early???) and we thought it best for all concerned to ask to change rooms. We were moved to another room after explaining the situation to the ever-helpful reception staff which was equally pleasant. However, after 2 days the manager "George" decided that as an apology from him and his staff for our inconvenience, we should be upgraded to a beach bungalow for the remainder of our holiday (thanks neighbours!!!).
The Madi restaurant food quality is very good with lots of interesting choices for all meals. You are allocated a table for your stay and your own waiter who works very hard to give you an excellent personal service. As we were celebrating my birthday we chose to pay extra one evening to eat at the private dining area which is over water and lit with fairy lights!! where we received an excellent 4-course meal made all the more special by meeting the chef, fantastic service from the waiters and being sung "Happy birthday" to by the staff and presented with a specially made cake. The evening was completed by returning to our room which had been decorated with petals, balloons and a birthday banner!!
ALL staff are genuinely warm, kind and helpful people. Nothing is too much trouble and their friendliness and attention to detail is excellent. Rooms are cleaned daily, mosquito repellent, torch and umbrella provided in the rooms, towels and linen changed at your request, beds turned down each evening and fresh beach provided for everyday use.
We are not divers (and most people who go there are) but the marine life you see around the island is amazing. As sunbathers we were concerned by reviews of the lack of facilities available. This was not the case. The main beach area is beautiful, not over-crowded and has sufficient sun loungers. Beach bungalows mostly have their own small beach area outside your verandah with loungers allocated to each room. We were in room 317 which was a more shaded area until about 3pm but this provided a welcome break from the intense heat!
Evening entertainment consisted of excellent bar staff, a live singing duo, bingo, crab racing and an interesting magic show! One evening a party was held for those guests who had visited Chaaya Reef previously; George informed us that 94 guests had attended the previous week which, i think, tells you everything you need to know!
Overall the holiday was amazing. The rooms and certain areas are a little 'tired', if you need a decent hairdryer please take your own and the lights in the room/hut and bathroom may not be sufficient if you need to put make-up on in the evening. However, these small niggles are insignificant and do not affect your island experience. Please consider your flight home times at the time of booking though. We had a 6 hour wait at Male airport for our Emirate flight to Dubai and another 6 hour wait between landing at Dubai and leaving for Gatwick. It would be worth paying extra for earlier flight times.
To sum up our holiday, it was an amazing experience made all the more perfect by the kindness, hard work and professionalism of all the staff at Chaaya Reef. A huge thank-you to George and his team for making our time on the island a wonderful, relaxing and "must be repeated" experience. We very much hope to see you next year!!!
Rooms 300-315 seem a popular choice for all.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Greetings from Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo..
Thank you for taking time to share your experience “An amazing holiday!!” on Trip Advisor.. :) We are truly pleased that you chose to spend your very first Maldivian holiday with us at Ellaidhoo.. Its an even more pleasure to know that you've had an amazing experience, despite the little niggles.. However, we've taken into consideration your feedback, and will work on improving those areas.. :) Its been our delight making your birthday a very memorable experience and are glad that you've had an exceptional and fantastic time through out.. :) We look forward to welcome you and to have you partake in our Special Repeaters Cocktails and Dinner party.. Until then, Cheers from the Manager - Prem, the Management and all the "warm, kind and helpful" staff out here at Ellaidhoo.. :)
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.