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“The best of the best - Casa Barabaru is a hidden gem” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Barabaru

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Barabaru
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Thinadhoo Island   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 12 Vaavu Atoll B&B and Inns
Bicester, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
102 helpful votes 102 helpful votes
“The best of the best - Casa Barabaru is a hidden gem”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

When my wife and I decided to spend a week in Maldives, I started an extensive search on internet of the best options available. 90% of the possibilities included a resort - larger or smaller, more expensive or more affordable. But once you have been in a resort, all of them are more or less the same. More importantly, all the resorts that we could afford seemed to have some big buts or question marks - most of them related either to the quality of the service or the treatement received. Even in the best resorst there were always people complaining about this or that. People who said that their holidays had been spoiled because of that.
Considering that this was a one-in-a-life trip (my wife 40 birthday) I decided not to take any risk: I kept searching till I found a place not only nobody complaint about but more importantly, everybody seemed to be extremely happy to visit it. The place was Casa Barabaru. I they couldn't be more right.
There are so many wonderful things to tell about this place that I don't know even how to begin. The logistics of the trip, including transfer from and to the airport? Perfect, like trains in Switzerland. You said that you wanted to return at 6.30 am, and you had your speed boat ready at that time. Absolutely spot on. Service? Perfect, like in the best 5-star hotel. At this stage is probably important that I mentioned that Casa Barabaru is a family business run by a mix Italian-Maldivian couple, who are the perfect hosts for their guest. The chef is the sister in law of the owner; the waiter is the chef's husband. And directly or indirectly, all the inhabitants of the island depend in one way or other of Casa Barabaru. It's the means of living and they put their best to provide a wonderful service. And they do it. As I said, five-star quality, including floral arrangements in your room the day you arrive or you leave, or special dinner the night before you leave. Food? Amazing! Five dishes every meal. Extremely abundant, incredibly tasty. Fish was fished daily and was extraordinary. Plenty of vegetables and fruit as well. Pasta and rice extremely well cooked. Simply incredible. The island is part of a community, so you really mixed with real Maldivians, which made our experience more authentic. The beach in the island was fabulous - clean, spotless, beautiful, surrounded by corals. A very intimate place, with nobody around. In fact, most of the time, we were on our own. This is because Casa Barabaru organizes daily trips to the coral reefs or islands around for those wishing to practice diving or snorkling. We did it 4 times out of six days we stayed there and it was an amazing experience. They provide you with the gear in case you don't have any, and you are accompanied all time by experts in case something may go wrong. The coral reefs we visited are simply incredible. Fantastic! All in all the experience was beyond belief and we have decided that if we ever return to Maldives it will be nowhere else but Casa Barabaru!

  • Stayed January 2013, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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119 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

My wife and I stayed at Barabaru for 2 weeks in April 2011. It was probably the best beach holiday we’ve ever had (in the past we’ve been to Zanzibar; Mauritius; Madagascar; Sri Lanka and South Africa).

A couple of years ago the Maldivian government allowed guests to stay on ‘non-resort islands’ and Casa Barabaru opened up with two rooms. They now have four rooms in total. Both have en-suite bathrooms (with shower), aircon, fans and mini-bar fridges. Two of the rooms also have two single beds in addition to the large double bed.

The island (Thinadoo) is beautiful and only has about 30 permanent residents. Guests are asked to respect local customs and dress appropriately when in the village (ladies to cover shoulders, knees and belly) – however a private beach is reserved for the guests of Barabaru where you can tan in a bikini. Snorkelling off the beach is incredible. We saw manta rays, turtles and hundreds of different species of fish. We also saw turtles nesting and laying eggs on the beach one night. It was a very special experience.

No alcohol is allowed on the island. Occasionally some safari boats stopped overnight in the islands’ jetty and they generally allowed us on the boat (for a small ‘tax’ of $3) to have a few sundowners.
I’m a keen fisherman and went out with the ‘captain’ on his dhoni every morning and evening for an hour or two. The cost of this was included in the price. I caught tuna, barracuda, trevally (spinning, fly fishing and trolling)

The food was excellent – fresh fish, pasta, fruit – simple, but very tasty. You will not go hungry here (3 courses for every meal). My favourite was the fish curry with poppadoms. It’s important to bear in mind that this is not a hotel, and although they can accommodate most requests the kitchen functions on the basis of preparing food that is fresh, rather than having a huge variety of frozen foods.

About 10 minutes away is a small uninhabited island which we visited whenever we wanted. We had a picnic lunch with fresh fish barbeque whenever we visited. This island had a fantastic reef just a few metres off the beach. The snorkelling was the best I’ve ever experienced.

Overall, we were looked after extremely well by all the staff at Barabaru. Everything was included in the price (all food, drinks, day trips, fishing). There were no hidden extras. It usually takes me a few days to wind down from city life, but we just felt instantly relaxed here. We were collected at the airport in a huge speedboat, and it was all as easy as can be. The journey is about an hour and a half from Male.

It’s rare for me to say this, but I’ll definitely return. I cannot recommend Barabaru enough.

Room Tip: All the rooms a great.....
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  • Stayed April 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shanghai, China
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2012

For our second vacation in the Maldives, we chose to have a more personal, closer-to-local experience and decided to spend a week in Casa Barabaru.
The initial contacts were a bit complicated, having to arrange deposit payment across borders, and dealing with sales office in Italy + the local team. Our advice here: plan the holiday in advance, and do not panic if responses are slow. This is how it's done :-)
Past all that, the welcome we got was just lovely. Our flight got delayed and we arrived very late to the island (close to midnight), but that didn't stop the crew from holding a true welcome party for us when we disembarked from the boat.
The rooms are spacious and impeccably clean, with all the amenities you'd wish for: air conditioning, mini bar, etc.
But what sets Barabaru apart from the more mainstream resort experience that is standard for the Maldives is that you feel right at home: the B&B is right next to the village (actually, our first room was IN the village), and you can feel this local presence all around you, adding to the charm and beauty of the place.
You do get your own space and time, with a private beach a few hundred metres from the village. Ideal for a total chillout and for paradise island pictures :-)
We were taken daily on the dhoni, in the morning for snorkeling (each day to a different reef, with different fish and corals, turtles and dolphins) and in the afternoon for some fishing (tuna, mostly... makes for great sushi dinner). All with an ever-smiling and absolutely lovely crew.
The whole place makes you feel special. The food is also excellent, being a blend of local (we specifically asked for Maldivian food almost every day, it's that good) and Italian cuisine.
In all, it was just an amazing, totally relaxing experience surrounded by genuinely lovely people and their great hospitality. All of that at a fraction of the price that most resorts would charge.
Definitely recommended.

Ben & Wichaya

Room Tip: Choose the room in the village if you want to be more immersed in the local experience and away from...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Recco, Italia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2012

Last year we went to this little island attracted by the description on the web site. We looked for a quiet and cozy environment. We found more: good food, friendship, willingness to fulfil all our wishes. The perfect vacation we were looking for. As a matter of fact, we came again this year: 9 days instead of a week and again it was worthwhile. For the anglers it is a paradise: there is the possibility to make different types of fishing. In 9 days they caught three sailfish 2 meters long. Snorkeling at the northern reef is wonderful.

Room Tip: Ask for the rooms by the restaurant: they are closer to the sea
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kiev, Ukraine
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2012

I could never imagine I would have a dream vacation on Maldives spending affordable amount of money and getting so much pleasure during 8 days of my trip! Quiet beach, good food (do not miss the Maldivian cuisine day - the food is just superb!), trips to the sand bank and deserted island and snorkelling were a lot of fun. Every day was so full of happiness, sun and turqoise blue ocean.

The beach is very nice and quiet. And if you travel before the high season, as I did, you will even have the chance to stay on the 150 m beach by yourself (!) and still enjoy perfect weather. For a person living in a big megapolis this is close to unimaginable!

The people who run the place are very pleasant and you have the feeling that they care for you from the moment they pick you up at the airport. Special thanks to Ibu, Azmil and Zuna for their warm hearts!

I was not sure whether the guys at Barabaru speak English as most reviews were in Italian, so I took Italian language guidebook with me)) Well, they do speak English, so all English speaking travellers are welcome!

If you want something authentic, quiet and different from the usual package any 5 star hotel would offer, Barabaru is a place for you.

Room Tip: I would advise to choose rooms #1 or #2, because they are closer to the ocean and it gives you a nic...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled solo
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Barabaru

Address: Thinadhoo Island
Location: Maldives > Vaavu Atoll
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 12 B&Bs / Inns in Vaavu Atoll
Number of rooms: 9
Also Known As:
Barabaru Maldives/Vaavu Atoll

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