We stayed at Robinson Club for 10 days in July. This is the 7th island we have visited. Our priorities in choosing an island are the quality of the reef, good food and service and a good standard of accommodation. In these respects Robinson was first class. For these reasons I have given the island a 5 rating. However, it is not an island which would appeal to everyone but the faults which I perceived are largely down to personal taste, not fundamental flaws.
Arrival: We arrived in Malé on the night flight from Dubai with Emirates at about 8:30 AM and we were met by a rep from RC and taken to the domestic terminal, a short walk away. Our internal flight left at 10:00 so we only had a very short wait, which was fantastic. The local airport, Kaadedhdhoo, is basic and has lots of mosquitoes – have some repellent handy! We walked a short distance to the speedboat, which took about 30 minutes to reach the island. On arrival we were greeted with music and sparkling wine (very nice) and had a brief introduction before being taken to our room.
Room: We stayed in Water Villa, number 1111. I contacted the resort beforehand to request a villa as far away from the island as possible and this was honoured. My reason for doing this was, from looking at aerial photos, it appeared to be a shorter distance to the drop off on the reef. I would say this location is very good for people who want to do a lot of snorkelling from their decking. The quality of the room was very good: very comfortable bed, good air-con, a nice sofa, clean and modern bathroom, plenty of storage space – no issues. I was a little disappointed that the Jacuzzis had been removed from the water villas. Instead there is a very comfortable day bed, which was fine in the early morning and evenings but, in the day, with no shade it was impossible to use. However, there were two sun loungers (although pretty uncomfortable) with an umbrella. I would have appreciated an outdoor shower on the deck (or even just a tap) in order to rinse off snorkelling equipment, rather than dragging it all in and out of the bathroom – a minor point, though.
For one night we stayed in the Presidential Suite, as part of a “Feel like a President package”. This was out of this world and, I thought, good value for what you get; lunch, a massage, sundowner cocktails, a 5 course dinner and champagne breakfast, all in-villa. The room was beautiful and the private pool enormous. It also had various sun loungers, a day bed, a Jacuzzi, two amazing bathrooms, a dining area and living area. It was absolute bliss for 24 hours. We organised this through Marion, the head of guest relations, who was very helpful and super friendly.
Reef: Our main priority and we were not disappointed. Prior to booking I had read that the reef at RC is comparable to those at Mirihi and Athuruga, both of which we enjoyed immensely. And we enjoyed the reef here equally. It is possible to snorkel the whole way around the island along the drop off – perhaps not in one go, but we did it twice in two halves, before and after lunch. The reef is extensive with a lot of coral. In parts there seemed to be quite a lot of algae growing on the coral but perhaps this is a seasonal thing. It was a very easy reef to access and swim. While we were there, there seemed to be very little current and visibility in most areas was excellent, especially in the morning. Some areas are better than others. We especially liked the area around the top of the water villas and presidential suite and also the opposite end of the island, between the arrival jetty and the channel closest to the service jetty. Every day we saw white and black tipped reef sharks and most days we saw turtles. Fish life was abundant – most of the usual and we also saw fish here that we have never seen before; a Giant Puffer and a Napoleon wrasse and we also saw fish rarely seen elsewhere e.g. Batfish. The only obvious absences were rays. Also, from here, unlike other places visited, it was not possible to go on trips to (hopefully) see Whale Sharks or Mantas. We saw a reef patrol once and there were guided snorkelling sessions but I do still fear a little bit for the health of the reef as we often saw guests standing and sitting on the coral and even dragging themselves along by it! I’m sure that guests are advised on arrival about how to treat the reef but it is, perhaps, not enough for some guests who are very new to snorkelling.
Food and service: EXCELLENT! We are not usually fans of buffet food but this was something different – the best food we have ever had in the Maldives. The choice was immense and so much of it is freshly cooked in front of you. I think it would suit everyone. The standard of food, organisation and service at the Gala Evening was phenomenal. We also had a meal at Das Edel and five course In-Villa dining, both of which were fabulous. The service in the restaurants was faultless. The staff have so much time for you. A huge thank you to Azmeel, the head waiter, Ruwan, the manager of the restaurants and sommelier, and Samy, manager of In-Villa Dining. These people and their hard-working teams helped to make meal times an absolute joy. Ruwan and Samy went out of their way to cater to my fussy, kind-of-vegetarian tastes and ensured my husband had two amazing birthday meals. Every day Azmeel made us laugh. I have to admit, with some embarrassment, that I actually cried when I had to say my goodbyes to him in the restaurant – something I have never done before! Also, a big thank you to Chef Annad (hope I got that right) who gave us the recipes and spices for his chicken and fish tikka and to breakfast chef, Stalin, who made some Indian breakfast dishes especially for my husband. The waiters were incredibly efficient, always on hand to serve more drinks, take away plates and help you to carry things to your table, if two hands are not enough!
Bars: There are three bars; main bar, pool bar and sundowner bar. Most of the time the bars were very quiet. Apart from the weekly pool party the pool bar was generally pretty empty. But it certainly filled up when there was free canapés and drinks! ;-)
The sundowner bar got busy at sunset and it was very entertaining to watch all the photography sessions – my favourite involved three women in wedding dresses and another endlessly trying to pose as though she was holding the sun in her hands. We also enjoyed sitting at the sundowner in the afternoon as it was very peaceful. At sunset there tends to be music played (sometimes by a DJ or occasionally live music), which I found quite annoying. I would rather hear the sea. However, when we sat on the row of bean bags closest to the sea it was fine. Before dinner the main bar was extremely quiet. Often we were the only guests there. I’m not sure whether this is partly due to the board basis; people not wanting to buy drinks when they get beer and wine free with their meals or maybe it is just that most guests do not want to drink before dinner. I found this a little disappointing as I like a few drinks before dinner and to have some atmosphere e.g. being nosy people watching In retrospect, maybe we should have taken our drinks outside to sit on the decking. After dinner things in the bar got a lot more lively (unfortunately – some might say)!
Entertainment: This is where the personal taste comes in! When we go to the Maldives we basically do not want entertainment. Caribbean and Pirate Parties should, in my opinion, stay in the Caribbean. I don’t want casino nights or discos. Of course, this is a matter of personal preference. Other people may love it – although it did often seem to be mainly staff dancing. After dinner I like to sit peacefully and look at the stars and listen to the sound of the sea. I don’t want thumping music and dancing. The problem is that the main bar is usually the venue for the entertainment but there is no other option for people who don’t want this – apart from to go back to your villa. I suppose you could sit outside on the decking by the main bar but the music really was pretty loud – we could sometimes hear it in our room, even though we were pretty far away from the island. Perhaps it is quieter in the beach and garden villas.
Atmosphere: We were on the island during school holidays and towards the end of our stay it was getting busier with families. There were quite a lot of daytime organised activities e.g. exercise classes, aqua fit, volleyball, mini-golf, kayaking around the island. Again, not to our taste, but you don’t have to participate and nobody hassles you to join in anything – so no problem! There were some motorised water sports e.g. a banana boat (never before seen by us in the Maldives) and jet skis, but these were only used very occasionally so the noise did not bother us. The clientele when we were there was mainly Chinese and German; many family groups and couples. For the vast majority of our stay I think we were the only British guests on the island. For us this is not an issue at all. It would appear that the resort is mainly targeting the German and Asian markets so if you are British (or at least an Anglophone) this may be an issue if you like to make friends with other people on holiday – although, of course, many other nationalities speak excellent English. We are not especially sociable so it suited us fine!
Overall we had an absolutely fantastic holiday and I would recommend Robinson Club very highly – even to people who don’t like entertainment! Out of the seven islands we have visited I would only definitely return to two of them and Robinson Club would be one of these two. Thanks again to the staff named earlier, who really added so much enjoyment to our holiday. I am more than happy to answer any questions if people send me a personal message and I also have a link to photograph albums of the island and the reef which I am willing to pass on to people who are interested.