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“Magical paradise” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Maafushivaru

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London, United Kingdom
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Magical paradise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2013

This was our first trip to the Maldives, which left us feeling that it doesn't get any better than this. We had looked at a few other larger islands when planning our trip, but we were recommended Maafushivaru by friends, who previously stayed on the island and loved it.

At first we were concerned the island would be too small, but this lead to a feeling of intimacy and although, when we visited the resort was up to full capacity at around 100 guests, it never felt crowded.

The island really is a picture postcard desert island escape, surrounded by the most wonderful clear blue lagoon. We spent many hours exploring the beautiful extensive reefs that surround not only Maafushivaru, but also the sister island of Lonubu. We were lucky enough to make some really good friends during our stay, with which we spent many enjoyable hours snorkeling or having a drink in the bar. Personally I usually take a lot of convincing to snorkel and fear deep water, but had no problem here as there is so much to see you just want to get straight in! Including swimming with the resident turtle. Abdullah was very good to us and went out of his way to make sure I felt safe and spent many hours showing us around the reefs. We went on the Manta Ray trip which was fantastic and very good value - we swam with the mantas and were lucky enough to see dolphins and a baby whale shark on the way back!

We found the spa very well equipped and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon massage and chilling out in the jacuzzi, with the place pretty much to ourselves.

A lot of comments here about the food, but we found it to be very good - especially the curries! We visited the Teppanyaki several times, not only for the amazing food but also the entertaining chefs.

We stayed in a water villa which we would highly recommend. We spent so much time in the water, it was great to have easy access with all your snorkeling gear, straight into the lagoon. You also can't beat waking up in the morning to see the amazing colourful fish swimming right past your window!

What really makes this island are the staff. They really do go out of their way to make you feel very welcome, relaxed and content, but in an unobtrusive way. Many of the staff go above and beyond what is expected of them, to make sure you enjoy every minute. Niamh, the Kuoni rep really made us feel welcome and provided lots of helpful information during our stay.

Returned extremely relaxed, content and can't wait to go back! Can't recommend highly enough.

  • Stayed December 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
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  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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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Zurich, Switzerland
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2013

Love this place. We stayed at Coco Bodu Hithi for a week prior and spent a small fortune for less beauty & fun than we had at Maafushivaru (for a fraction of the price). We should have stayed here the entire 2 weeks--and will do so next time.

The staff, food, island size, resort layout, astounding beauty of the house reef, on site oceanographer and proximity to excursions to see whale sharks / manta rays / turtles, excellent spa (with sauna/steam/jacuzzi, and affordability of this island will definitely bring us back. Buffet food variety was nice, alternating regional themes nightly with plenty of healthy local options.

Other stuff
Internet in public areas only, but fast enough to download new ebooks in a couple minutes while sitting poolside.
Theme nights: they try to keep guests entertained but we never felt forced to participate if we were feeling lazy. Maldivian night was quite interesting, as well as the presentation on Reef formation/how the Maldives came to be given by the oceanographer.
Wine Room: they have a chilled room in the lobby with a decent wine collection.
Daily Activities: if you want to get off the island and snorkel with whale sharks or manta rays, you have the opportunity to take half day boat trips to do so. Really cool.
Note: as of April 2013, $300 round trip per-person flight from Male to Maafushivaru. 25 minute flight.

Highly recommend.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

We stayed 10 days here in early March. First time in the Maldives for us as our favourite hideaway has been the Seychelles. But we wanted a change - a quiet, 5 star island retreat with privacy & good food - & after the past winter - sunshine & warmth.
Booked all inclusive via Kuoni. To be brief - expensive, but actually perfect - a professionally run resort, & very private despite many on a small island (where did everyone disappear to between meals?), & a high standard of accommodation. The food was very good, & although we are not fans of buffet style eating, in this case it was perfect with plenty of choices (suggestion to chef - stick to your great local dishes & spices & avoid any temptation to copy European meals!)
We found the location, set up, heat, food & comfort forced us to relax - sleep, eat, snorkel & read - just a great place to chill in beautiful surroundings. And a thank you to Neve for helping is sort out our flight back!
Recommended - we will return as soon as we can!

Room Tip: All are good but we would choose a beach villa - just nice to walk out across the sand into the sea...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 2
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Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

OK, it's not Conrad Hilton standard but we were very impressed. A bit about getting there by Emirates from Gatwick. Slight delay leaving Gatwick but longer delay at Dubai trying to land at about 1.30am! Mad. Delay leaving Dubai en route to Mali as well but I liked the food and the films were so good that I didn't read any books/papers that I took and this made the flight go quicker. The flight was packed whereas others flying BA had spare seats to be able to lie out and sleep. Delay at Male where we kept being told the flight would be leaving in 10 mins. After being told this about 6 times, we phoned the rep at Maafu and coincidentally we were put in with others going to Conrad Hilton. Take all that with a pinch of salt because once you get to the island (which they can control) the welcome is simple and lovely. The rep works very hard and nothing is too much trouble even on her day off.
The Water Villas were good and everything was there without being dazzling. The verandha was OK with two beds and a fixed seated area and a large parasol. Room 206 on the sunset side was a good situation and I think even numbered Villas were preferable due to having sun all afternoon and also the sunset. The higher the number, the better position - even nos.
I found it got too hot on the verandha so preferred the beach so in reality I think a beach villa would have been fine as a place to sleep at night.
It was a special occassion for us and the Island came up trumps with a romantic meal, bottle of bubbly and twin back massage thrown in complimentary.
We had our meal on the deck and it was great. Heard that others who chose the beach had a small problem with ants and crabs. Massage was very good (and painful cos I'm not used to it) and the Spa experience is worth a visit. Look out for the special offers.
We had a meal at the Tapanaki which was very entertaining and again worth a visit.
Generally, great service. The staff are very attentive most of the time. Sometimes at breakfast you see the guys apparently having a 'staff' meeting which makes attracting attention for a coffee refil slightly delayed but I really wasn't bothered.
I found the food very very good. Being a smaller island the trays that they present the food in are not very big and so the food is replaced frequently which prevents it from either deteriorating in the heat or over-cooking. The salad area is particularly extensive and impressive. Add to that a soup and pasta, meat and fish varieties and there is something for everyone. Deserts leave a bit to be desired. They look great but because of the heat, they are fairly bland. That said, I hardly had desert as I was too full by then.
I liked the bar area. It was oval shaped with tall seats that were very comfortable. San Miguel was my choice for beer on AI with the occassional G & T. All good brands for the alcohol on AI so no complaints there. They have a problem with the red wine as their shipment went elsewhere and they are struggling to find an adequate replacement - so I was told. The red now varies box to box so you may want to stick to white or Rose which I am told were OK.
Entertainment wise, not great. Maldavian night sees the Manager out chatting freely to visitors. I found his assistant (Mr. Giggle or Yes-man) a bit of a pain - and I wasn't alone! Don't let that put you off.
Our trip to Lenobo started in sunshine and ended in a mini monsoon. Snorkelling there was very good. Keep away from the birds at the left of the jetty. Very protective. Don't get the idea that you are in for a romantic couple of hours on the island cos generally there seems to be another couple at least on the trip and there is also a maintenance man on the island. There are also two villas on the island that you can hire for the night! Not worth the money I think.
Diving was very good and the viz on all my dives were very good. White-tipped sharks on virtually every dive. Four Mantas at Manta Point, Whalesharks on the Whaleshark spotting, which I didn't do. There were no house-reef dives which was a disappointment. Snorkelling was good with a great variety of fish to be seen. At high tide you can get out to the overhang between a gap in the sea wall to the left of the spa. Snorkelling to the left to the end of the water-villa area took around half hour with good fins. There was no real current and so the snorkelling seemed safe. The channels through the reef seem so far away and yet you can walk out fairly quickly. From the water-villas towards the dive school is not too good I was told - so I didn't do it.
Dive staff were very good You don't do anything, staff get your gear together etc. All you need to do is check everything is there. No actual buddy checks either. They use integrated weights with their BCD's so as long as the air is on and you've got enough of it, that seems to be OK. I didn't find it a problem though and it made for a relaxed atmosphere. I did my own checks anyway.
Back to the island and there are sprays at various points to wash the sand off your feet. No mozzies although something had a go at my ankles.
In the villas, the hair drier was OK without being very powerful. There was plenty of water. I frequently took a can of beer back to the room as there was none in the mini-bar.
Even on AI you have to sign for every drink. The manager told me the reason which was very plausible so don't worry about it. You can always say you'll sign later.
Our overall opinion is that we were very impressed. Loved the island. Loved the food. Loved the staff. The Island will soon be open and not exclusive to Kuoni which may bring the price down a bit. The island often seemed deserted although it was about 60% full.
You don't need shoes at all. With the showers, you can make it across the decking which gets very hot in the sun. Shorts are OK in the evening so you can travel light.
Would I go back? Very likely. Need a bit of a break from the Maldives now after nine visits but this island is in my top three!! Go for it.

Room Tip: Even nos. 202 to about 220. The higher the number the better but probably harder to request.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013 via mobile

We went to the Maldives - Maafushivaru for the fist time on march 2013. Is not the first holiday in super lux Hotel so we can confirm that it was really a good hotel!! Starting from the airport lounge...fantastic! The staff very very kind, the water villa a dream, food delicious new menu every day for all tastes. Good quality! We advice to book all inclusive for a relaxing holiday...! A very quiet island, it's worth to spend time in the SPA (couple massage ... A dream!) we made the sunset cruise... WOW!! Spectacular sunset with champagne... I would like to congratulate the hotel manager and all the staff, because they are preventing pollution of the sea. They reuse everything's possible including plastic bottles for the construction. Food waste go to the fish. They are very proud in this! And me too. Romantic atmosphere, for honeymoon is perfect! I hope to go again with my husband to Maafushivaru ... Holiday to remember! Thanks a lot!!

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Reston, Virginia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

We were travelling to the Maldives for the first time (three weeks ago, second week of March) and picked Maaf after much consideration. We were not disappointed and would highly recommend this resort to anyone. This island is just pure paradise!

1. Resort - It is small, intimate, very relaxing, and absolutely gorgeous. You can walk around the entire island in like 2 minutes. The island is all sand, beautiful powder white sand, except for the jetty and the walkway to the water villas. We didn't wear shoes the entire time, which was so nice and different. All you need is a pair of sandals to wear on the walkway to the water villas because that can get very hot during the day time.
The island is tiny but it doesn't feel crowded. We were worried that being at a smaller island we wouldn't have any privacy, but that was not the case at all. At times we felt like we were the only ones there, even though the resort was quite full.
The ocean is beautiful with multiple hues of blue, calm, and absolutely clear.
Every side of the island has equal access to the beautiful beaches.
The sea defenses didn't bother us at all.

2. Water villa - The water villas have a modern feel to it. They are spacious, clean with an amazing view. Really beautiful. It was pretty private, you can't really see the neighboring villas. Unless you are in the water.
It was great being able to jump into the warm waters right from our room. We also enjoyed relaxing on the lovely terrace and watching the sea life right from the deck. We stayed in room 208, which is on the sunset side. We would recommend a higher number room for a more private feel.

3. Snorkeling/House Reef - We snorkeled for the first time on this trip, which was an awesome experience. The house reef was great with lots of sea life. We borrowed fins from the reception (which were free) and just snorkeled right from our water villa and also around the island. There's so much sea life right there.

4: Lonubo: The gorgeous and intimate private sister island. It's just like Maaf but much much smaller, you can walk around the island in like 45 seconds. It really was a deserted island. There were some facilities, like a bathroom and lounges. But that's it. We were the only people there. The snorkeling from the jetty area was breathtaking. Make sure to pack a bottle of water and maybe a light snack, as there really is nothing there.
There's a boat from Maaf that goes there twice a day (9:30 am and 3:30pm) and drops guests off for two hour visits. Or, if you feel adventurous, you can rent a paddle boat and just go there. We saw one couple do this.

5. Excursions and Activities: There are plenty of activities. Every night the staff has some event organized, such as DJ night or Maldives night, so that the guests have something to do at night.
There's also plenty of excursions. There are signup sheets for each day at the lobby. Keep in mind that not all excursions are offered everyday. Wish they would have put up a schedule online so we would have known. We really wanted to do the sunset cruise, however, it was not offered the days we there. We were only there for two nights and just happen to be when the sunset cruise was not offered.
The water center has paddle boats, kayaks, etc.

6. Food: Given the island is so small, there's not too many choices. There's the main restaurant, a Japanese steakhouse, the bar, and the coffee shop. The Japanese steakhouse is only open at night and is only open on select nights. The main restaurant serves meals three times a day, buffet style. You can just walk in and sit where every you like. The restaurant has a small area close to the sea that was reserved just for couples. The food was good, but not great given the price we paid. They had different themes every night, like Italian night or Maldives night. The chef at the grill was pretty friendly.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2013 via mobile

A very simple resort with a heavy emphasis on quality. We felt welcome the minute we arrived and within minutes of getting to our room were on the sun beds in front of our beech hut enjoying the scorching sunshine. The water villas are also pretty amazing with stunning views, although we did see some of the roofs come away in a storm :-/ Service A1 Bar Staff A1 Food, not quite A1 but a good variety for all and nice relaxed atmosphere to enjoy your food. look out on the veranda at lunchtime for the Moray eels in the pool underneath, quite amazing.

As an excursion i would also highly recommend the snorkelling with whale sharks, a one of experience. However, just snorkelling off of the island is something else. As the shallow coral drops away the scenery underwater is quite amazing, we took out daily trips out to see the 4-5ft reef sharks.

A friendly, classy resort which I would recommend to anyone.

Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Additional Information about Maafushivaru

Location: Maldives > Alifu Atoll > Southern Ari Atoll
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Southern Ari Atoll
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Southern Ari Atoll
#8 Luxury Hotel in Southern Ari Atoll
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Maafushivaru 5*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Harmoniously combining a Maldivian paradise with contemporary indulgences, Maafushivaru is the very epitome of an island hideaway. With barefoot luxury surrounded by idyllic turquoise water and the archipelago’s finest coral reefs, its secret delight is a beautiful romantic and uninhabited sister island.The Cuisine Gallery restaurant offers Mediterranean cuisine infused with local flavours, sumptuous buffets and outdoor dining, and à la carte and private dining options are also available. For an authentic Crusoe-esque experience, couples can take a boat across to the nearby uninhabited sister island for romantic picnics, candlelit dining or luxurious lobster dinners in picture-perfect surrounds (prebooking is advisable). The beachfront infinity pool is conveniently next to the bar which also has seating on the beach. Facilities include a lounge, wine cellar, library, overwater spa and gym, yoga pavilion, children's swimming pool, dive school and watersports. There is complimentary Wi-Fi in most public areas and activities including sunset cruises.Accommodation50 stylish villas with Maldivian touches, each featuring airconditioning, kingsize bed, flat-screen television, DVD player, iPod dock, telephone and minibar.Spacious Beach villas (116m²) are directly on the beach with private terrace, semi open-air bathroom and rainfall shower. Pool villas (116m²) are in groups of two with a shared pool and are ideal for families. Water villas (91m²) are scattered on stilts over the blue lagoon, have direct access to the water from a private wooden deck, and an indoor bathroom with bath, rainfall shower and ocean views.Restaurants• Cuisine Gallery - Mediterranean inspired buffet dining infused with local flavours • A la carte option • Private dining - Candlelit diners on the beach or lobster dinners on the deserted island of Lonubo • Beachfront bar - Wide variety of bev All Inclusive. ALL INCLUSIVE OPTION• All meals in the restaurant• Selected drinks, beers, soft drinks, house wine, spirits and mineral water• Snacks• Afternoon tea• Snorkeling equipment• One sunset cruise per stay. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Maafushivaru Hotel South Ari Atoll
Maafushivaru Tclub Hotel
Maafushivaru Maldives/Southern Ari Atoll

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