My wife and I were at the Residence for 3 nights from the 2nd of June 2013.
Much can be found on the internet about the Maldives and the Residence, so i'll try to keep this review on-topic about our experience.
The domestic flight from Male to Kooddoo was delayed for 1hour based on the information given to us, sketchy at best. We were put in a comfortable lounge with food and drinks, free wifi and the usual perks. The service staff come by to inform you of your flight's availability.
Flight to Kooddoo involved a stop-over at Kadhdhoo for a good 30 minutes as the plane reloaded on passengers. We were not informed of this and would have alighted had the attendant not stopped another group in front of us. Supposed flight time without the stop would have been 1 hour. It can get very stuffy onboard during this period.
Upon arrival at Kooddoo, we were quickly ushered to the speedboat, with all our luggage handled by the Residence staff. Airport to jetty was 2-3 minutes, wait for boarding the speedboat was 10 minutes and the boat ride itself took 15 minutes.
All-in-all, we were on the road for almost 11 hours considering the SQ flight from Singapore only takes 4.5 hours.
You are blown away the moment you spy the resort on the horizon. There is a dedicated reception jetty which is made out to resemble a villa rather than a jetty. You are quickly whisked away by buggies to the reception on the island and a dedicated member of the staff walks you through the formalities. Within 20 minutes, we were running amok in our water villa with private pool.
The resort is in good condition, we are told it is about a year and a half old. The grounds are well-maintained and the rooms are very clean.
We stayed at 304 which was closer to the dive-shop and reception jetty but this was no problem at all with regards to privacy. The design of the rooms mean that strategically-positioned panels and walls cut out prying eyes. We had no problem with noise at all during our stay, unless you consider breaking waves to be a problem. Our room faced the west which meant we did not have the morning sun and howling winds from the east side.
The buggy service handles all your mobility issues and we never waited long for someone to pick us up after arranging for a pick-up. The island is small anyway and a nice walk is never out of order.
The toilet opens up to the sea and this literally means you can take a dip right after you are done with the bathtub. It's only a 2 metre leap of faith, considering the leap most honeymooners have already taken. Do attempt this during high tide though :)
The spa by Clarins is truly luxurious and the treatment does turn back the clock and undo those smile lines. Do book ahead as the spa is very popular - we thought we could call in the morning and get an afternoon appointment, this was not the case.
Snorkelling was wonderful, we entered from our villa and swam a short 40m to the edge of the house reef where it plunged down to 20m and beyond. There were countless turtles, white-tip sharks and tons of anthias, fusiliers and baitfish. Bluefin trevallies and some small tunas would cruise by and suddenly explode in the direction of the baitfish. Large snappers sat in midwater and parrotfish busily pecked at rubble. Visibility was so-so, maybe 5-10m. There was negligible current and the water was warm.
There are 3 options - in-room dining, at the Dining Room and at Falhumaa. We tried all 3 and had no problems with any. There is a menu for food and also the option of asking for something special off the menu, if the chef can, he WILL make it happen. Falhumaa is an experience in itself, a restaurant set 150m out to sea with the big winds and surf providing a backdrop. You can feed the reef fish and opportunistic reef sharks which swim just under your feet.
Food is in generous servings and are priced as all Maldivian resorts price them. We had very good meat dishes at Falhumaa and wonderful Asian cuisine at the Dining Room.
This is what sets the Residence apart. We were at the W after the R and honestly, when it comes to service, R does indeed come before W. While not putting the W down, it would be remiss of me to not praise the quality of the Residence's staff.
From the gentleman who greets you at the arrival hall right to Jambe who sends you off, everyone makes it a point to let you know you're special. Everyone tries their best to know your name, and there were some really difficult names to remember, and everyone spends time to chat with you. Yes, this is a job requirement, but you'll understand what sincerity means when you head to the Residence and experience it yourself.
Every member of the staff is exceptional, in our case we were fortunate to interact more with Amour, Luciano, Puneet, Nalin and Kunal. For those we have failed to mention, our apologies, but you were all fantastic. Executive chef Amour in particular made it a point to customise the dishes for us and prepare some absolutely delicious Asian delicacies. Ask for his mee bakso if you're in the mood for some Indonesian cuisine.
Sorry for the long review. In short, there are many many many reviews on the Maldives and even more on the resorts around. All we can say is, you won't have a bad time, in fact you'll be absolutely pleased with the Residence. Every island in the Maldives will more or less boast stunning cobalt blue and azure waters with white sandy beaches, along with some good snorkelling and water activities. It is really the service that makes or breaks the experience.
For us, the Residence deserves top marks.
- Also Known As:
- The Residence Maldives Falhumaafushi
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Residence Maldives is a world away from reality. This private island resort is anchored in one of the planet’s widest and deepest atolls, its sugary white sands lapped by sapphire blue waters, its pristine reefs the exclusive playground of its privileged guests. All 94 luxury villas lie on the beach or over the water, their traditional Maldivian architecture enhanced by anything from dedicated butlers to private pools. Dining is an international affair overlooking the Indian Ocean, The Spa by Clarins the only one you’ll find in the entire Maldives archipelago ... ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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