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“Heaven is under the Green Banyan Tree” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru

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Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |     |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Vabbinfaru
North Yorkshire
Level Contributor
59 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Heaven is under the Green Banyan Tree”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2009

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 .

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2009

We stayed at the Banyan Tree for a sublime week in November 2008. If you are looking for total relaxation, this is the perfect place to really unwind and really get away from it all. Our room wasn't huge but we didn't go half way across the world to stay inside the room. The beach was beautiful, white sand and crystal clear warm water. Snorkeling off the reef was simply amazing - highly recommended. The Banyan Tree has a relaxed, unpretentious aura which I found really refreshing. Going to dinner barefoot was a real novelty! We found all the hotel to be staff really friendly and helpful. A wonderful holiday and we would definitely go back.

  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Swadlincote, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2009

We stayed here for one week for our honeymoon. We had a week of relentless laziness, the best food we have ever had and a routine of walks along the beach at dusk, swimming with tropical fish and quiet understated luxury.

  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Level Contributor
54 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2009

20 minutes from the airport. 2 hour airport transfer on rough sea easily can ruin even the best accomodation. Beach is fantastic, best in front of villas 1-16, elsewhere can be windy and the sand erosion stronger. Villas are not new or opulent but comfortable, practical without any annoying small things. You do not need your shoes even for dinner. However, this relaxed atmosphere does not hinder a perfect service. You can see that this resort belongs to a group specialized in upmarket hotels. Food is excellent, great wine and champagne list. Reefs are close to the beach, you will have a jacket, even not perfect swimmers spend hours in water admiring the billion colorful fishes. You can even see small reef sharks and turtles. Turtle nests and rays feeding add to the programs. Although expensive, very good value, faultless in every respect.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2009

We have just returned home from our honeymoon at the Banyan Tree. I have to say we did feel a little disappointed.

The website looked totally amazing, we saw all the shining reviews on here and were aware that BT has an excellent reputation so didn't think twice about booking for our honeymoon.

I have to say that it did not meet our expectations for the money. My husband and I live in Dubai so have been rather lucky to have spent time in some of the best hotels in the world. The Banyan Tree in my opinion is not up to scratch for a high end 5 star resort.

The room was tiny, even with the "free upgrade". I felt it was all very dated and there was no attention to detail.

At the very least i expected there to be a bottle of champagne and some rose petals on the bed, but instead we got a bottle of cheap red wine. The only time we got our bed decorated with petals was when my husband specifically asked the room boy, and his request met with a grumpy "OK".

The room had a CD player but there was no Ipod docking station, who carry's CD's around with them these days. It's detail like this that makes a top end 5 star resort. It just felt really dated.

The air conditioning was noisy, there were insects crawling around our room at all hours of the day and night, which i appreciate is probably not the hotels fault but didn't appreciate the huge cockroach that shared our bathroom one night!

The food: there wasn't a lot of choice. After the first two days we were bored of the same combinations served in the same place everyday, by day 5 i didn't even want to eat any more.

As it turns out we decided to return home early, we felt that the resort did not live up to our expectations or the money we were paying per night.

The staff were very friendly and courteous though.

In conclusion, this place is expensive and not worth the money in my opinion. When we got back to Dubai we checked into The six senses hideaway resort, Zighy Bay Oman. Oh my word!!! Absolutely fantastic!!!

It was the same price per night and we had a massive private beach front villa with a private pool, the attention to detail was phenomenal.

BT needs to up their game, its not up to standard. I wouldnt go back, nor would i recommend it to any of my friends. We will go back to the Maldives but we'll go to Soneva Fushi!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BanyanTreeGroup, Hotel Manager at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, responded to this review, June 16, 2009
Dear Valued Guest,

Warm greetings from Banyan Tree in the Maldives.

With a personal apology is how I am beginning this letter in connection with your recent stay with us.

We have read with concern your feedback on the different facets of the Resort’s operations & facilities – in particular, the room size, amenities, bed decoration, noisy air-conditioning, presence of insects in the villa and the quality of food in the restaurant.

In our commitment to providing all our guests with the best possible holiday that we can give, we would like to thank you in conveying your comments regarding the areas where we could have delivered better in reference with your expectations. Please allow me to address a few of the items in details.

I have taken note of your remark about the room size, Ipod docking station and the CD player - these details will all be taken into consideration on further improvement and upgrade plans for the island in the near future.

Air-conditioning units in the villas are currently in progress for replacement during this low season when intensive Villa Maintenance projects are carried out. On housekeeping-related matters such as welcome amenities, bed decoration, we again apologize profusely for the unacceptable oversight and lapse in service. This is not our standard and please rest assured that the attention of the concerned managers is properly directed. Insects and pests exist sporadically in tropical islands like the Maldives.

On general weather conditions, spraying the island twice a week using an environment-friendly substance does the job to eliminate them. We acknowledge the fact that due to changing weather conditions at this time, extra steps must then be undertaken. This practice is now in place where ad hoc spraying around the island and in particular rooms are done on need basis.

We regret to learn you were not satisfied with the variety of food in our restaurant. Although we do create different set menus daily with a bi-weekly rotation, daily themed lunch buffets with once a week a dinner buffet.

As there is only one restaurant it could impact the level of choice therefore to some extent. Our Executive Chef, however, is in the process of reviewing the various menus and will definitely take all your feedback into account when doing so.

On all of the above, we are definitely pleased to read of your gracious comments to our friendly and courteous associates. I will pass your comments to them so they know that the services they provide are indeed appreciated.

Valued guest, feedback such as yours are exactly what we need to assist us in continuing to improve our overall product and services. I hope that there would be an opportunity in the future when we can possibly make up for the less-than-perfect first visit.

We have a growing family in the Maldives and within our 4 Resorts (Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, Angsana Ihuru, Banyan Tree Madivaru & Angsana Velavaru), we hope to be able to entice you to once again give us a try.

Yours sincerely,

Ruud Hulscher
Hotel Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
los angeles
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2009

The service was exceptional. The staff was so friendly and helpful. We went on the snorkelling trip and they noticed my mom was a little tentative so they took her by hand around the reef. The boat driver was onshore watching and brought the boat to pick them up when they looked tired. The marine life here is well preserved. The coral reef right in front of the resort has some of the best marine life and coral I've ever seen. I also went on 2 dives. The abundance of fish and coral was amazing. The diving instructors are friendly and knowledgeable. The equipment is good and they provide dive computers. We had them take us out on a private fishing trip. Everyone caught fish and they cooked up the fish for us for no additional charge!I highly recommend this resort if you're thinking of a tropical getaway.... it's pricey but worth the money.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
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31 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2009

The Banyan tree vabbinfaru was an amazing destination for our honeymoon. Everything - the location, food, service, rooms, spa - was fantastic. From the minute you get off the plane and on to the boat you settle into comfort and relaxation. It was the perfect place for a honeymoon and we wish we could go back every year!
The villas were lovely and the staff were very friendly and helpful. Lunch was our favourite meal (BBQ buffet like you have never seen with home made ice-cream and other desserts!) but all the food was excellent with a wide range of choices. We also had a number of spa treatments and these were wonderful and we thought very good value for money.
We don't scuba dive but the snorkelling on the house reef was very good - we saw sharks, sting rays, turtles, and so many fish and types of coral! We also kayaked around the island. Extra excursions that we paid for were the snorkelling safari (good - would recommend), sand bank dining (amazing - once in a lifetime experience!), trip to local island (OK, but if you are strapped for time wouldn't do it), trip to Male (wouldn't bother doing this).
We had a wonderful time at the Banyan Tree and would jump at the chance to go back again. If you want an amazing holiday/honeymoon experience and be totally relaxed and refreshed at the end of it then this is place!!

  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru

Phone Number:
Location: Maldives > Kaafu Atoll > North Male Atoll > Vabbinfaru
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Vabbinfaru
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru 5*
Number of rooms: 48
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

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