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“Honest Review of our perfect Honeymoon!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort

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Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Meedhuffushi, South Nilandhe Atoll   |  
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Hotel amenities
wickford, essex
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Honest Review of our perfect Honeymoon!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2010

After looking at various places in the world to go on our honeymoon, my Husband and I settled on the Maldives. It was a long task checking which resort was right for us, with a bit of ‘honeymoon luxury’ aswell as being ‘the real Maldives getaway’. We finally settled on Vilu reef mainly due to the resort facilities and reviews on trip advisor.

We flew with First choice who I must say have been outstanding with any problems we had (more of that later!). It was a 10 hr 30 min journey from London Gatwick. We upgraded to premium as it was a special occasion and I had never flown that far before.

We arrived at a sunny, hot, 30 degree male at 9am local time. Sorting out our transfer was easy and very slick. Once we gave our cases to the seaplane stand outside the airport, we didn’t see them again till we were on our boat going to the island. A bus takes you to the sea plane terminal. This is an air conditioned bus by the way! The seaplane journey is pleasant enough, albeit a bit loud so take the free earplugs they offer you! The seaplane journey takes about 40minutes and made one stop off at another island before taking us right over vilu reef for pictures and the most amazing view! We landed by a raft type thing in the sea where we boarded the Dhoni boat to the island.

We were greeted at Vilu reef with a man playing a drum as we walked down the jetty, then a beautiful hibiscus necklace and warm watery coconut drink. Wasn’t to my taste but the gesture spoke volumes. One of the staff sat us down in the bar to go through everything about the excursions, upgrades etc which I personally thought was very long and unnecessary. After a very long journey I just wanted to relax in our villa.

*ACCOMODATION*

We were upgraded to a water villa from a garden room due to our honeymoon. I’m not sure I’d pay the extra for it though but if you do want to upgrade, do it when you get there – much cheaper! Saying that, I loved our stay in the water villa. We had one sunset side, room 440. The private sundeck is the main attraction about the water villas. It really is fab if you fancy a lazy day. We spent most of our days on ours sunbathing and watching the boats and seaplanes coming and going. The Jacuzzi is more like a bath with jets and this takes AGES to fill so do it in advance – was nice to take a dip in when the heat got too much. The bathroom is HUGE and the shower fantastic. It is kept very clean by the room boy with change of towels twice a day. The beds a bit hard but that’s just me being picky now! And the steps to the sea are so awesome, a whole new world just below you, it’s amazing! Take your snorkelling gear!

Didn’t use the bath in the bathroom as the hot water was coming out the tap a rusty colour?! Asked reception to sort it out but heard nothing. It must be like this in all the water villas as we was upgraded the second week to a Honeymoon Water Villa, and it was the same there too. Our second upgrade was due to towards the end of the first week we had maintenance work and banging going on in the villas either side of us without any warning?! So we complained to our first choice rep who got us moved and upgraded free of charge the next day. Again, I wouldn’t pay for the Honeymoon water villa. The difference from a normal water villa is it has a living room area, bigger sundeck and some wannabe power shower on the sundeck. We had a drain issue in this villa but this was actually rectified by the staff after I told them.

*FOOD*

Ok, so this is an interesting bit for me personally. I do struggle with food abroad and I did get an upset tummy but this was nothing to do with the food in the restaurant, it was a Bombay spice mix we had in the bar which was VERY spicy! And just didn’t agree with me unfortunately. Saying that, my husband was having 4 helpings a night of the food in the restaurant and said it was some of the best he’s had abroad! Most of it is homemade by the chefs, including the bread rolls! There is an average variety and each night is themed, ie – Maldivian night, Asian night, International night.

We went half board and do not regret this one bit! We didn’t deprive ourselves of anything, had cocktails most nights, drinks before dinner and from the mini bar in our room when we wanted, lunch in the pool bar some days (toastie and chips for $6.50!), 4 spa treatments between us, 3 excursions and loads of souvenirs from the shop and our bill for 14 nights was under $1,200! We would have paid $132 per day between us for all inclusive! Which doing the maths is really really not worth it! All inclusive doesn’t cover anything ive listed above so this would all be extra on your bill! Even a couple we met out there who were all inclusive said they would go half board next time. If you plan on drinking beers, cokes, or house wines all day long and pigging out 3 times a day then all inclusive may be a good idea. If not, go half board. We saved easily over $1,000.

*Excursions*

We done 3 excursions and I have to say we thought they are worth every cent you pay! I absolutely enjoyed them!

- Dolphin cruise – ok so this is pot luck but for $45 each its not bad at all. We saw over 30 dolphins and followed them round for over 90minutes. We definitely got our moneys worth and thoroughly enjoyed it! Amazing experience!

- Snorkelling Turtle Point – this was also enjoyable, my husband snorkelled, I stayed on the boat (non-swimmer!) but still enjoyed myself on top of the boat taking in the view! My husband saw manta rays, thousand of fish and turtles!!! Again, at $49 its well worth it.

- Robinson Crusoe ½ day – this is amazing. A whole island just for you for half a day! We chose half a day coz of the heat and lack of facilities but half a day was plenty enough time for snorkelling, sunbathing, checking out the island, pictures, and even dolphin spotting on the reef! This was $137 and drinks were extra.

We did hear the night fishing wasn’t worth the money and quite dangerous as its literally dark when you go and you only have a small light to use and the decks slippery etc so we gave this one a miss.

After every excursion, upon your return you are welcomed with a cold towel which is bliss after the heat from the sun!!

*WEATHER*

The weather here is mental! Its sunny most mornings and always very hot! The wind can pick up in the afternoons and sometimes the water villas feel like the roofs going to come off! Then the afternoon storms are amazing/scary! Like nothing ive experienced before. It pelts it down with rain and howls with wind for about 20mins before becoming sunny and calm again!! We had a storm almost every afternoon, but loads of sun and heat. Take your factor 25 upwards!!! The sun is VERY strong!

*ENTERTAINMENT*

This was different every night. Crab racing was by far the best night, closely followed by the Vilu band and Disco nights. The entertainment doesn’t start till 10pm and the music can be heard right over by the water villas so be warned it can be a bit noisy on the island after 10pm! But this didn’t bother us and didn’t stop us sleeping.

*SPA*

The spa is absolute bliss! We both had a massage and a foot massage, both were amazing and worth the money! The Staff are nothing but professional and kind. You are given a cold towel and ginger tea before your treatment aswell which is another nice touch.

*ISLAND/STAFF*

The island overall is ideal for honeymooners and couples. It is kept beautiful by many dedicated staff. Paths and the beach are swept before you even wake up! There is a heady smell of hibiscus everywhere you go. If you pass a member of staff they never fail to say hello or good day!

The snorkelling reef is amazing; we mainly went in from our water villa steps. So many types of fish and sea life to see. We took the opportunity to feed the fish and sharks from the water villas pier every morning. Very entertaining I must say.

There is a bit of beach with sun loungers especially for the water villa guests. We spent a day or two here as a change from our sundeck. Again, it’s perfect. No rubbish in sight. The beach is white, powdery sand with bits of coral and shell so I’d advise flip flops!

We planted a coconut tree as part of our honeymoon which was a nice gesture.

You are expected to tip the staff aswell as pay 10% service charge on everything which I think is very cheeky but we tipped the staff that were more personal to us. We had the same waiter in the restaurant and the same waiter in the bar every night who again were very friendly and nothing was too much to ask of them.

I personally think 10 days would have been plenty at this resort. 1 week not long enough but 2 weeks maybe a little too long due to the routine and quietness.

Ultimately i loved it here and do wish i was back there now. Do not hesitate to go here if your thinking about relaxation and somewhere to recharge your batteries - its very laid back here and such a beautiful place!

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 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
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Whitley Bay
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2010

My wife and I decided no where on earth would be as good as our Maldives holiday to Velassaru last year so in the end we just booked with www.cheapbeachholidays.co.uk and got a great all inclusive deal with Thomsons to Vilu Reef.

First of all the direct flight from Manchester in just over 10 hours - WOW now thats a good idea, and the BOGOF offer to upgrade to remium for just £150 - brilliant! One of the best airliens we've travelled with if you are on a budget. The staff were outstanding and never acted anything than professional, (take note virgin).

The sea plane journey in was a wonderful experience and one I will never forget, make sure to keep your camera out to snap all those beautiful atolls.

Upon arrival at Vilu reef we were greeted from a fresh coconut drink, in the coconut and we checked in. Easy peasy!

We decided to go for a beach villa, anywhere on the island is great, we stayed in room 246 I think it was and this has the best side for snorkelling, we also saw dolphins just 5 metres from the barrier. Amazing!

Top Tip: Book a basic room or beach villa and when you get there its only $50USD per night to upgrade to water jacuzzi villa. Absolute bargain, we didnt as we've done that before and preferred being on the beach itself.

Food is the best ive eaten on holiday ever, authentic fish dishes, curries, italian, asian, you name it they do it and in 7 nights the food was never once the same.

Activities:

Big game fishing - went but caught nothing just my luck but the trip before caught 4 marlin.

Night fishing $32USD well worth it and would do again and again, the night after you eat your catch on the beach with a barbeque they provide, sweet!

All inclusive is a great option i highly recommend it but even off the meal plan pizzas are less than $12 and drinks are very modestly priced.

Snorkelling on this island was better than any ive ever seen. If you go near the pier to the water villas there are up to 2 dozen reef sharks up to 4-5ft some are much smaller. Get some bread, banana or fish from the restuarant and feed them, we did every day and we had a little shark feeding frenzy where one of the fish was eaten by the sharks as we were feeding them. Unbelievable.

Best holiday ever!

Spa is also amazing!

Rained once about 4 am for 2 hours and 5 minutes another day but it was over 30 ever day so we were quite happy with it. Rainy season over now they told us so enjoy!

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leicester, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2010

We have been to the maldives twice before and it never ceases to amaze us, the beach, sea, weather, people,service all fantastic!. Vilu Reef was lovely we had no complaints until the end when i had a bad fall in the shower, with suntan oil/lotion on you they are very slippy so i told the hotel they would be safer with a non-slip mat on the bottom of the shower, after speaking to other guests we found that they had been putting the big beach towels down for safety, don't be put off as that could be rectified by next year. We checked the weather forecast before we came which didn't look good,but found it rained mostly at night, if we did have rain, it was a shower with bright sun straight after. Things to be aware of are the hidden things like the male scales we were told weighed heavier than gatwick, so we were told our cases were overweight, and were charged $2 per kg. If you like snorkelling and i can really recommend it, take your own, they are expensive there. We took our own t-bags and coffee ( 3 in 1 ) because you are charged $10 even if you use 1 t-bag! Suntan lotion is $35 per bottle. This may seem a bad review, but it is meant to help you if you have never been before' so don't be put off, the weather, scenery, sea, food, white sand, peace and quiet relaxation more than makes up for it. We had a fab time hence the third visit and are already looking forward to next year. I hope this review is helpful to you, we read other peoples reviews before we went to Vilu Reef and like you , found them very helpful.

  • Stayed July 2010, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2010

We stayed at Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort for 12 nights from end of June. It was me and my husband and our 18months old toddler. We had a Beach Villa, which was room 109 and it was looking out to the house reef and the island opposite of Vilu Reef.
This was our 4th time to the Maldives and we stayed at 5 Star islands as well as 4 star islands before. This island is definitely a 4 star island.
The Beach Vila was a good size, very comfortable with a good size outdoor bath room. We did have ants in the bathroom and some in the Villa but I think you can expect this being an outdoor bathroom. They didn't bother us and were not a problem at all.
The beach in front of the villa was perfect for our toddler. It was quite a goos stretch of sand and the water was very shallow for a while. Perfect for snorkeling as well as the entrance for the house reef was right there. The staff was brilliant. They really looked after us and looked after my son and gave me and my husband a brake as well.
Diving was ok but we dived at better locations before. The house reef is brilliant for snorkeling and you will see lots of fish out there. We even had a baby whale shark at the house reef one morning but unfortunately we didn't see him.
The food was ok. It was as always in the Maldives buffet and you had a selection of food from Indian curry's to pasta, fresh fish and even Japanese food. It was getting a bit boring after about 10 days as you will see some dishes several times over your stay. The puddings are alright, not great but I think people always forget that they are in the middle of the Indian Ocean and it takes time and money to import certain food items. The spa is brillaint and I would recommend it!
All in all we had a brilliant holiday and I would highly recommend the island!

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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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somerset uk
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2010

cant recommend this enough--the very best place i have ever been!! so amazing, beautiful place and fantastic staff........please go if you can!! so romantic and special, an amazing place.

Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
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Cornwall
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2010

We arrived by seaplane onto a raft and then transported by dhoni boat to the island. We were greeted by the drummer boy who escorted us to the main bar where a very welcoming coconut drink was prepared for us.
This was our 4th visit to the Maldives but our Ist to Vilu Reef. Overall this island comes a close second to Reethi Beach purely down to the house reef access and strong current. Vilu Reef is the most beautiful of the 4 islands we've visited even though people report of the ugly island close by and the burnt down water villas, it really isn't that bad. Building has already started to replace the water villas.
We stayed in room 162 on the lagoon side after moving from room 128 on the reef side. There was nothing wrong with 128 if you don't mind sitting in the shade for most of the afternoon. Room 162 had plenty of beach and we enjoyed watching the sea planes land and the sun set. We had 2 wooden sun loungers on the decking in front of our villa along with a table and 2 chairs. We also were allocated 2 plastic sunbeds for the beach. Each sunbed has the room number printed on to save any confussion.
The house reef was very good with lots of variety of fish and great to see coral regrowth. The reef has a lifeguard who will advise (using flags) whether it's safe enough to swim due to strong currents. I'm not the most confident of swimmers but enjoyed it all the same.
The food was very good and the chefs in particular are very friendly. The Friday night meal on the beach was fabulous. Shame the second week was called off due to bad weather.
The Robinson Crusoe trip was well worth it. We were transported by dhoni boat and then 2 of the staff took us over by rowing boat to a small remote island where just the 2 of us relaxed all day. We were left with 2 sunloungers, an umbrella, lots of water and soft drinks and a large cool box of food. Don't forget your camera as it's great for photos! This island felt like paradise, quite expensive but worth it $249 for us both.
We also did the full day snorkel trip. We visited 3 reefs and stopped off on an island for a BBQ. This was $49 each - well worth it. In fact we enjoyed it so much we did it twice. Hello to Harry and his crew, thank you for making the trips so comically entertaining. After lunch we all decided to have a crazy half hour jumping off the top of the boat. Even the chef jumped in clothed in his chef uniform! Hello Mr Turtle Man!!
We went A/I which was beneficial to us even though we don't normally drink that much. If we had gone H/B we probably wouldn't have had so many drinks.
Lunch would cost $15 each or you could eat at the pool and main bars, i.e. pizza, burger etc. Here are a few prices for drinks...
Malibu $4.20
Pims No 1 $4.20 (sadly not in the all inclusive deal)
Napoleon Brandy $4.80 (also not in the all inclusive deal)
Water 1.5lt $3.50
Canned Juice $2.50
Fanta/Sprite/Coke $2.50
Diet Coke $3.50
Cappuccino $3.60
Tea/coffee $2.40
Tonic water $2.50
Don't forget the surcharge of 10% on food, drinks, shop purchases, trips etc. We would have liked to have tipped more staff but knowing this it put us off a little.
Weather - not too bad for saying we had rain 11 out of the 14 days. It was usually short half hour bursts. We had some bad thunder storms during the night which even caused damage to one of the villas. This is the start of their winter so we expected it. We still managed to come home with a tan.
This is a truely laid back island and we would strongly recommend it to everyone.

  • Stayed March 2010, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2010

We travelled to the Vilu Reef for our honeymoon. I felt a little dissapointed to be honest as the resort didn't live up to it's brochure reviews. We came away thinking it was Ok but definately not worth the money we had paid and that Thomson's really need to reassess their star rating if they think that the Vilu Reef is a 4 star.
We had booked a beach villa and were loking forward to spending 2 weeks in luxury. We were allocated a beach villa facing onto the lagoon (with view of factory on next island!) and it smelt funny - a mixture of damp and pesticide. That night we discovered why the room smelt of pesticide, when our outdoor bathroom was invaded by an army of large black ants and cockroaches. The next morning we went to reception and managed to get an upgrade to a water villa ($55 per night extra). The watervilla was the luxury we had expected in the first place and we were happy to be there.
The biggest let down for us was the whole dining experience. I think we made the error of expecting 4 star all inclusive dining comparable to what one would receive in the Carribean or U.S. and it is nowhere near those standards. Unless you chose to dine at your own expense in the A La Carte restaurant, you had the same table and waiter in the same restaurant for your holiday duration and if you missed lunch service, it was tough luck and you had to buy some over priced crisps from the shop to tide you over until dinner! Even the meal on the beach was dissapointing, too regimented and too many tables crammed together. The food was nothing to rave about, we found it all very salty and if you don't enjoy fish, the Maldives isn't the place for you! It was either fish or some kind of cheesey pasta salty slop. We paid extra for the Lobster night and it was the only thoroughly enjoyable meal we had.
The best part were the snorkling trips out to other islands looking for sharks and turtles and the sea plane ride to and from the island.
All in all, it wasn't what we expected and should we revisit the Maldives before they disappear forever, we will definatley book with a Western hotel chain.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort

Address: Meedhuffushi, South Nilandhe Atoll
Phone Number:
Location: Maldives > Haa Dhaalu Atoll
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Haa Dhaalu Atoll
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 178
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sleep in a shell home and wake up to the sound of waves, gently slapping the white sandy shore, just steps from your luxurious beach villas, Jaccuzi water villas, water villas with pools, honeymoon water villas and the Presidential water suite. Take a refreshing morning swim in the crystal clear lagoon of Vilu Reef Beach Resort & Spa, or enjoy a relaxing hot dip in your private open air bathtub. Your cooled and spacious villas, tastefully furnished and designed to blend with the shades of Maldives' nature provides all the modern amenities that make you feel at home away from home. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vilu Reef Beach Hotel Haa Dhaalu Atoll
Vilu Reef Beach And Spa Resort
Hotel Vilu Reef Beach
Vilu Reef Maldives
Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort Maldives/Haa Dhaalu Atoll

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