This was our 12th trip to the Maldives and the best so far. This island just ticked all the boxes for us. We stayed for 14 nights from Jan 9th in a Garden Villa and flew Thomson Premium. All went without a hitch, we landed at Male and were immediately escorted by a Robinson rep to a private air-conditioned lounge (newly built Jan 2010) light refreshments included. We were the only couple on the way to Robinson Club. We waited approximately 90 min for our connecting flight. The flight time was around 80 minutes. Once landed we were taken by speed boat to Robinson Club which took a further 20 min, where we were greeted with sparking wine and snacks, then whisked to our room.
Firstly do not be put off by the word 'Club' because the truth is:
There is no animation. To be honest with you we were a little concerned about this at first. Our type of island would be smaller, but this time of year our 1st and 2nd choice of islands was a little too expensive, so we took a chance on Robinson Club with no regrets.
The advertised motorised water sports? In reality you hardly see any boat traffic at all; you can sit for hours staring out to an empty ocean, which maybe boring for some but for us it was pure bliss.
There is no plane traffic at all, being so far south there are no sea planes either. In two weeks other than the island speed boat bringing guests we saw one fishing boat and a military boat. You get a true sense of being cast away on a desert island.
There is a staff/utility island off the end of one jetty and all deliveries are handled from there, so that side of things is also out of guests view. Staff can use the island to swim off which I thought was nice. It is not out of bounds for guests though if you want to walk over to it. It is also used as a landing and departure point when the seas are too rough to land on the main jetty by reception.
There is no fish feeding, the island is very environmentally friendly. Water quality gets tested weekly by a person from Male and I had no problem using the tap water to brush my teeth.
There is a daily actives programme, beach volley ball, yoga etc all of which held in a 'Well fit Area' in the centre of the island, so unless you are looking for it you won't find it. There is nobody getting you off your lounger to join in or disturbing the peace with a game of volley ball in front of you.
No segregation according to room types, all facilities are available for everyone.
You can walk around the perimeter of the island albeit for walking under 3 jetties, on the beach.
Plenty of wooden padded sun loungers and umbrellas are dotted around the island; you can take your pick each day as they are not allocated per room. There was never a problem finding a bed at anytime of day. They were also really comfortable and the cushions got laundered regularly. There was also a section of beach that had huge bean bags on it.
The pool area which is next the main bar has lots of different seating options and daybeds, including the four poster type with canopy and loveseats (looked like Dedon) - all very stylish.
The beach is extensive and wide, runs around most of the island and the sand is powder soft.
No sea walls or unsightly views, just little islands dotted on the horizon.
The island is very beautiful and natural with winding sand paths amongst dense vegetation and lots of palm trees with no concrete paths anywhere.
All the buildings blend in well with the surroundings and things like signage, lighting and dustbins are unobtrusive. Apparently most of the buildings were built around the trees where possible, which explains why they are dotted about the island.
All public areas are spotlessly clean and to a five star standard with modern fixtures and fittings.
No visible entertainment. We were there for 11 days before we saw any and that is because we went looking for it - Bonfire on the beach.
No noise at night (except for one night a coconut fell on our roof) - I believe that the entertainment is now held in an enclosed area due to complaints about noise from the main bar to the water villas when the island first opened. We went to the main bar four times after 10pm and there was only ever background music playing and about five other guests.
Everyone is on the same board basis - Full board plus, this includes wine, beer, water and soft drinks with meals. Wine is all bottled - Merlot, White Zinfandel and a crisp dry white of European origin. After dinner you can sit finishing your wine under the stars with views from the decking out to sea. You can order until 9.30pm and most guests go to bed after that.
There is no mini bar as such in the room, you can order to your requirements to fill the room fridge and there is no tray charge for beverages, which may explain why the main bar was always so empty. Wine starts at $25 for a bottle, beer around $6. Water is $5 for 1.5l.
You get 2 x 500ml of water per room per day included. You can have a standard breakfast in your room and pay only a tray charge. There is also in villa dining at various prices.
The rooms - they are a little dark but the bathrooms are light with a good shaving mirror. I loved the open air bathroom with a rain shower although there was also a spa bath and an inside shower. Toiletries provided were soap, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. The room descriptions are true to the Robinson website. No surprises except that the bed has a wooden surround at shin height designed to whack you below the knees every time. Fresh towels including beach towels are provided daily and there are tea and coffee making facilities. Lifejackets for emergencies, flat screen TV, hairdryer, safe, fridge, free wi-fi - check website for full list of amenities. The garden rooms were semi detached but we never saw or heard our neighbours.
Plastic key cards for room - doubles as a charge card for the room, we liked this type of key as hygienic and easy to take swimming.
Most of the guests are middle aged Germans, the rest are a mixture between Orientals and other nationalities, but no rowdy types and very few Brits. Not many honeymooners although this is the perfect honeymoon island. Not many children, which I assume is due to the island's location and travel time. This is also an island I would recommend for solo travellers as they have two daily snorkel trips on the house reef and if you did not want to eat alone it is possible to share tables although there are plenty of tables for two.
The house reef is fabulous and runs around the entire island. Parts are so close to shore (about 1m) that it makes it ideal for all snorkelling abilities. The reef was one of the best we have seen but not the most fish, possibly due to lack of fish feeding. There was noticeable coral re-growth. We saw lots of the usual fish, including the big stuff (Napoleon fish, sharks and rays) also lots of turtles.
Either the room density is low or the geography of the island is very good because you can sometimes feel alone on the island. You can read on the beach and only hear the gentle lapping of waves. I did several laps of the island without passing a single soul; it takes about 20min to walk around.
There is an absolutely stunningly turquoise lagoon for swimming, I had no need for any wet shoes although after I left I heard that you could walk out to the reef from the lagoon, off from the water villas. This is quite a distance and the furthest point to the reef so saves you swimming it and then you are able to float over it, so if you plan to do that wet shoes would be advised.
All bars and restaurants have sea views and weather permitting you can eat outside all the time. Only the swim up pool bar and main bar are open daily, the others seem to open occasionally and follow the sand movement as a sandbank formed the 2nd week by the water villas and the bar there opened the week after we left. None of the bars ever had more than a handful of guests. The main restaurant is in a stunning location spread out and overlooking the ocean and each meal time was a pleasure like dining out and not just functional.
The main bar has a sand floor and the main restaurant has open sides, with a tiled floor, ceiling fans and has decked outside seating area. The main bar also has an upstairs area which was built in case of a tsunami alert.
Finally the food! Well if food is an integral part of your holiday pick this island. It is advertised as a buffet but in theory it is 90% show cooking. Forget about digging around in steal drums for overdone meat on the bone, this place is for all you 'Foodies' out there.
The kitchen forms part of the restaurant and is surrounded by an open counter, behind which houses the ovens, pizza ovens, grills and wok stations, all chefs on view cooking flamboyantly to your specifications.
A central island houses the fridges and this is where all your fresh salads, sandwiches and chilled meals are prepared.
An example dish will be on display and then everything is cooked, assembled and garnished in front of you.
Breakfast - fresh fruit juice squeezed in front of you, smoked salmon, omelette stations, fresh fruit, muesli, yogurt, cereals, full cooked breakfast, healthy options or continental and oriental. The chef also made me the Maldivian Mas Huni once I told him I liked it.
Lunch - Pasta stations, pizza, freshly made salads, sandwiches and various other cooked dishes, fish and meat.
Dinner - Included dishes like suckling pig, sushi and sashimi (one night this was made from a 45kg sail fish caught by a guest), Ostrich on a bed of mash and Bok Choy with a pomegranate garnish, tenderloin, rack of lamb etc. All cooked to your liking. Fresh fish was on display daily. Do try the roasted garlic soup.
Desserts - Now I'm not usually a dessert person but they were amazing, these were served mainly buffet style, except for one live cooking station serving for example Crepes and also daily ice cream etc which was homemade. The pastry chef made elaborate designs daily. A cheese board for those without a sweet tooth and freshly made bread was also on offer.
Pots of tea and coffee available at all meals at no extra cost.
The 'Well Fit' concept also leaked into the restaurant with a wide choice of health foods on offer; chilled fruit soups, Soya milk, fresh fruit nuts and seeds. Lots of vegetarian options but because this is a German island also a wide selection for carnivores. Even Gordon Ramsey would be impressed.
There is a gala dinner once a week. White night began with aperitifs and scallops at Das Edel, followed by a five course dinner which included Beef Wellington.
Red night started with cocktails and crab cakes at the main bar followed by a five course dinner which included tenderloin of veal. Any special food requirements and the menu would be adjusted so just have a word with the chef.
Beach BBQ at Das Edel Speciality Restaurant once a week.
There is a daily newsletter and it is worth looking at, as Restaurants alternate and one evening we arrived to find the main restaurant closed and only after reading the newsletter discovered that meals were held at the Das Edel that evening.
Bar area for sundowners - with canapés from 6pm daily very comfy seating, daybeds, sofas with plenty of space for everyone watching gorgeous sunsets completely unblemished on the horizon.
Once a week they had a 'Sweet' afternoon at the main bar at no extra charge - cakes, biscuits and fruit on skewers and a chocolate fountain.
The island has fruit bats, two parrots and one cat but no Heron, so there is an opening for a Mr or Mrs Heron.
There is no dress code as such just the normal Maldives attire, everyone was quite casual. I am also glad to report no topless bathing or thongs spotted!
There was no trying to sell trips or trying to up-sell more expensive meals or drinks by staff. Management take a keen interest in their guests and record any comments, they were visible but not obtrusive. All staff were very attentive, waiters always there to top up your glasses.
The funniest thing that I have ever found in a room in the Maldives was at Robinson club - a 30cm shoe horn!
To sum it up this is a very quiet, relaxed, romantic, casual and unpretentious island, more 5 star than 4 and I can't wait to return as there was absolutely nothing that could be improved upon.
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- Also Known As:
- Robinson Club Maldives Hotel Villingili
- Robinson Club Maldives Villingili