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“Wonderful honeymoon!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru

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Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
5.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Vabbinfaru Island   |  
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Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Vabbinfaru
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Wonderful honeymoon!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2009

My husband and I have just returned from our 10-night honeymoon at the Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru and we are full of praise for this resort. Like other reviewers, we have stayed at many 5* resorts and the BT really does live up to expectations - but with a twist. Unlike some 5* hotels, the BT embraces its natural surroundings which only adds to its appeal. It takes its environmental responsibilities seriously with a marine research lab on-site (complete with turtle breeding and coral replacement programmes), de-salinated water, and lovely bathroom condiments in re-usable china pots to name a few. Refreshingly, it is not decorated as 'sterile chic' but with beautiful woods, thatched roofs and neutral furnishings in keeping with the culture. Our room was large with a very comfortable four-poster bed. The outdoor bathroom was great fun and very useful too with an indoor and outdoor shower (not to mention the wildlife that made its way in and out - very entertaining!). You have everything you need in your room, including some fragrant incense sticks and oils to burn which we took advantage of every day. Our villa assistant, Mustafha, was great and we would come back every evening to find a little gift such as a stuffed turtle or a bottle of champagne waiting for us. The restaurant was amazing - the food was fantastic. If you're looking for pizza and pasta then you lose out - but you do gain wonderful curries, fresh fish and sushi, not to mention the vast array of desserts. We looked forward to every mealtime and ate far too much. Our waiter Hachim was so helpful and kind - for example, when he found out that we liked curry, he would bring out little curries for us to try from the kitchen. He also brought complimentary glasses of champagne to help us celebrate eating our catch of red snapper from the night fishing. The bar was great - many gin and tonics were consumed here in the late afternoon, just before dinner, watching the staff play football on the beach. The spa was out of this world - I am not normally one for massages, but now I realise it was because I had never had it done the BT way. The spa therapists have have hundreds of hours of training and it shows. My husband and I had a wonderful couples massage for 2 hours and a complimentary massage lesson which was good fun. The environmental officers at the marine lab are very friendly and helpful. We went night snorkelling one evening and although terrifying at first, it was one of the best experiences of our holiday. It was like something out of a Disney film as we shone our torches at the reef to see a turtle slowing swimming down to the depths, a massive lobster creeping along the edge, a lazy shark sleeping at the bottom and a moray eel hiding in the shadows. Not to mention the hundreds of colourful fish which kept us entertained - including one trigger fish which seemed to take a liking to my striped bikini and followed me for a while. The house reef is spectacular but one can only imagine how amazing it was before El Nino. The island lost 90% of its reef due to the sea temperature change but the BT have made a massive effort to restore it with a mixture of painstaking care and attention and technology. They do stingray and turtle feeding every day at 5pm which is also a real highlight and attracts visitors from other resorts.

All in all, there are a lot of things that make the BT one of the best places we have ever stayed but the one USP we think it has is its exceptional service. We generally have low expectations as the UK is so bad at it, but we were seriously impressed by the staff. Everyone (and I mean, everyone) knew our name and would say "Hello Mr and Mrs X, how are you today?" when we walked past. We had one small problem with the room and when we complained, we received a bottle of champagne on ice with a written apology from the front office manager later on that evening. We barely had to lift a finger whilst we were there and they seemed to anticipate what we wanted, before we knew we wanted it!

The only thing that cast a shadow over our trip (literally) was the weather. We were the unlucky ones who lost out in the rainy season with 2 solid days of torrential rain and only a few half-days of sunshine. But, this is the risk you take when you go out of season so I wouldn't let this put you off. We still came back with a tan!

My advice would be - if you're a fan of nature and you're looking for a beach hotel that is romantic, charming and friendly with simple, understated luxury then the BT is for you. If you want a soulless hotel with umpteen restaurants, four different kinds of toothpaste and an infinity pool, I would go somewhere else...

  • Stayed August 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.
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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
    4.5 of 5 stars
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2009

I really get shock when I saw my deluxe beach front villa, it was much smaller than the web site photo. I suppose to stay there 2 night but i stay one only.
The bathroom and the cloth closest out door and the is lizard and ants.
The bed was uncomfortable i cant sleep well !!
one resturant only !!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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, August 19, 2009
Dear valued guest,

Warm greetings from Banyan Tree in the Maldives.

Thank you very much for providing us your detailed feedback following your recent stay at Banyan Tree Maldives Vabbinfaru.

I am truly sorry to learn about your disappointment in some areas where we didn’t meet your expectations. We would like to thank you in conveying your comments. Please allow me to address a few of the issues in detail.

I have taken note of your comment about the villa size. I also read and acknowledge with concern about the lizard and ants in the outdoor villa areas, please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience you experienced as a result. As all our villas have a semi - open design with outdoor bathroom and shower facilities, there may be occasions that such insects can be found due to our natural surroundings. I am pleased to inform you that we started to increase our hygiene and pest control schedule in our villas and hope that this would ensure that a similar situation will not occur.

We regret to learn you were not satisfied with the quality of the bed. I am also sorry to learn you wished to have more dining choices on our island apart from the one restaurant that we currently have. I would like to share with you however, that we do we have plans in the near future to add another dining outlet at our sunset jetty, which hopefully by then, could add more variety for our guests.

We thank you for your comments as it is exactly feedback such as yours that assists us in continuing to improve our overall product. 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.
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2009

This is the second trip to BT the first in 2005, again it was excellent!!! real 5 star as for penny123 Ms "we come from dubai so are lucky enough to stay in the best hotels in the world" yea right we needed to know that!! obviously doesnt have a clue!!! this is type of person who thinks bigger is better!!! We have stayed at Four seasons, Grosvenor Dubai, Oberoi, Shan-gri-lah to name a few so we know what constitues good 5 star's.
There a reason why BT is number 1!!! attention to detail is everything at BT, we stayed at the coco palm in a escape water villa at alot more than BT's beach view villa rate yeah the room was huge the private pool was great, but when we got to BT after the stay at Coco palm budu hithi it just seemed a little lame, we arrived with a big welcome back on the bed, they gave us the same room we had last time, really great service. Food is excellent buffet is good, dont expect michellin star level from the buffet but its more than good, the dinners are always great with excellent service a great menu and beautifuuly served. Best resort in maldives by far next time i will not even bother trying another resort it will be straight to BT

  • Stayed February 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2009

Just returned from truly memorable honeymoon at Banyan Tree, Vabbinfaru. The setting is idyllic, the water crystal clear and the weather perfect - we actually think their winter is a good time to go as you get the odd cloud to break up the blazing sun (we had no rain during the day in our whole 10-night stay). We had villa 2 which was perfect - deluxe beachfront but with privavcy and space. The furnishings / fittings were amazing and we just loved the outside shower, our private sala extending onto the beach, the rear courtyard with jacuzzi and the very useful 'day bed'. The housekeeping service was seriously impressive - twice a day, very thorough, very friendly and with little gifts (including champagne on a couple of occasions!). We also got a 'britain today' newsletter in our mail box each day. The food was amazing - lunch in particular, where everything looked great, smelt great and tasted great. We were also 'assigned' a table server for the stay who was very friendly, very courteous and very professional. The marine centre was another bonus - great people; very helpful, very professional (I did my open water course) and very knowledgable. The snorkelling equipment is free to hire and the house reef is literally on your doorstep. You will see turtles, sting-rays, sharks, tuna, 'nemos' and well just about every fish known to man it seemed. Walking round the island takes about 10 minutes which is lovely to do as the sun sets. The sunsets from our villa were stunning - although there is also a sunset jetty for those not facing west. We also got to know the management quite well who were themselves great people and very keen to hear from guests. Both my wife and I have been to some great places in the World but nothing beats the Maldives and no hotel / resort has for us beaten what we got from Banyan Tree - a really wonderful time, and we want to say again a big thank you to all who work there.

  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Yorkshire
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Swadlincote, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 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
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 Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru

Address: Vabbinfaru Island
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 Spa 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*
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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