Banyan Tree are in the business of providing high end luxury resorts, and this they do exceptionally well, but with a strong sense of community and eco tourism. This is what sets them apart for me, the work they do under their Green Imperative Fund is essential if we are to continue to travel to and enjoy the Maldives and its fragile environment. If you are reading this review, you are either considering or going to Vabbinfaru, and you couldn't choose a better resort, we have visited several Maldives resorts, and this is the finest you can get for the money. The management and staff are very professional and make a point of greeting you personally and remembering your name and acknowledge any previous visits you may have had. The accommodation, although not huge, was very cosy and well designed, with double sinks and showers, plus a great jacuzzi and perfect ocean view ( we had 42, a deluxe beach front villa). A previous reviewer mentioned ipod docking stations, I agree they are pretty essential for todays traveller, so are a great idea, my only gripe with the villa, if i had to find one, the very firm mattress, but I still slept well. The room was serviced twice daily, kept immaculately clean, and the nightly turn down service provided a wonderful little gift, different each night, perfect. Superb toiletries are provided, along with fresh fruit and a rather nice bottle of wine complimentary to new arrivals.
I wondered if privacy would be an issue, but as the resort was only at about 50% occupancy, it was not, and despite being monsoon season we only had one day of rain, plus the odd small shower, the rest was blissful sunshine. Food was superb, very fresh, with a huge choice for breakfast and lunch ( buffet ) and dinner apart from Friday's was chosen from the menu with 6 courses ! We would have enjoyed more evening buffets, Angsana do alternate nights which is a good idea, just because we felt we were eating too much, (not that we minded). The service again was fantastic, we commented on the great salads and dressings and the next day the chef had made one up for us to a recipe we could use at home, above and beyond !! Do use the bar, it is a very relaxing and casually elegant place to be, great cocktails and beers with a happy hour from 10pm to 11pm every night, star gazing is done here on the telescope which the barman will set up for you, missing it already.
Snorkeling and diving is superb, both at BT and Angsana, the house reefs are excellent, with an abundance of reef fish, turtles and sharks. there is also a small wreck at Angsana. Some of the work which is being done to restore the reef ( coral bleaching caused by El Nino and damage from the tsunami ) can be seen easily, new coral gardens have been planted with great success and the reef has recovered significantly quicker than many others as the destructive 'crown of thorns starfish' is removed monthly. Some beach erosion is visible sadly, this will vary around the island and is caused by seasonal weather and tide changes and the need to remove areas of reef to allow access for boats and people to and from the island, this is a constant battle fought with sandbags and sand dredging and pumping, trying to keep the beach in place for all the guests to enjoy. So something you will see, but hopefully it won't spoil your enjoyment or the pictures you take of the beach.
The Marine Lab team are fantastic, full of enthusiasm and are a mine of knowledge so if you are at all interested in the Maldives and its people and marine life, do go to the twice weekly lecture, it is both fascinating and informative. We hope to go back and help to plant our own coral garden, and visit the turtle we adopted !! While we were staying we were lucky enough to meet Abdul Azeez, co-ordinator of the Green Imperative Fund and a passionate marine life conservationist. The efforts made by the team and by the Company of Banyan Tree, combine to make a resort that is cherished and protected for those of us lucky enough to be able to visit.
Normally we never return to a location twice, always preferring to try new places, but I have to say that this is an island that gets under your skin if you embrace it fully, needless to say we hope to return again and again.
We would like to thank everyone at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru for the excellent standard of service and for making our trip so enjoyable, we hope to see you all again soon.
M & J Wainwright .
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Cast away on a secluded coral atoll in the paradisaical Maldives archipelago, you experience a sense of magic, romance and tranquility at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru that's second to none. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru Maldives