We stayed here late August 2012. Speedboat transfer was a novelty in itself for me seeing as it was my first time in the Maldives. The welcome drink and cold cloth was an unexpected nice touch on arrival to the island.
We'd booked a beach villa, but on arrival were offered a free upgrade to a Jacuzzi water villa as our villa 'wasn't ready' (ie people in it?!)-apparently a common practice is to overbook, then try to juggle the guests by trying to get them to go on cruises, thus vacating the rooms for more guests and so on, etc.. Can't say this bothered us as we had a fab upgrade for half our holiday, but if it was vice versa I'd have something to say about it! Through reading reviews on here I think this does happen though I have no idea whether there would be compensation, I don't know the details. Loved the steps down into the sea from the jwv. Beach villa was also nice, though the outdoor bathroom was prone to ants, hotel supplied bug spray. Housekeeping was efficient and polite.
We ate at both buffet restaurants owing to our 2 room locations, both equally as nice. Food was really lovely, plenty of choice, well cooked and non-repetitive. Sneaky glass of champers with Sunday brekkie too! Also tried the Asian Wok and Hot Rock restaurants, loved both though the Wok was the favourite, def worth a try. Limited choice of AI cocktails throughout the resort in my opinion though.
Loads of excursions possible but we chose only 2, the sunset cruise (free of charge AI) and the submarine trip + Male tour. Slightly disappointed as the tour guide was intent on taking us to souvenir shops that he seemed to own instead of showing us any true sights of the capital, suppose this is the norm in mass tourism these days?
Plenty of activities available - gym, pool, table tennis, darts, draughts, chess, cards, football, windsurfing, catamaran ride, kayaking, snorkelling, diving school plus some talks in the evening about marine life and local conservation - actually very interesting. AI gets you a free back massage in one of the spas. We opted for the over-water spa and really enjoyed watching the fish as the magic hands did their thing! Nice touch having the refreshing ginger and lemongrass tea afterwards too. We did a lot of snorkelling as we had our own stuff, but there's plenty of kit to rent including underwater camera. Only problem we found was the current - vv strong in places, worryingly strong in fact. I found myself in a spot of bother on one occasion as I seemed to be being pulled out to sea - coupled with the fact that there are no lifeguards at all, this must be a concern for people regardless of swimming ability. However don't let this put you off. If you make sure you're in a safe area and confident of the conditions, the snorkelling is amazing, well worth it.
Evening entertainment was ok, mixture of things from talks (see above) to music, dance and crab racing! But this seemed to suit the overall laid-back attitude of the island. It wasn't the type of place where you just park yourself in a seat, drink loads and watch some half-hearted entertainer do his thing, very much an entertain yourself kinda place I thought. We were happy just to walk round the island and grounds taking in the scenery, popping in to the bars for a swift refresher every now and then.
Overall I cannot recommend this enough! Yes, it was my first time to the Maldives, and yes, there are probably far more luxurious resorts to visit, but seriously consider this if you want your very own slice of paradise for a not-too-extortionate price. I would return in a heartbeat.