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“Paradise found” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

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Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   Ellaidhoo Island   |  
Hotel amenities
Wiltshire, UK
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Paradise found”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2009

What a stunning place! Quite simply the most wonderful piece of paradise I've found so far. The atoll is an ideal place to stay if you're looking for a relaxing break in the sun, surrounded by white sands or if you fancy exploring the reef with its abundance of sea life. We stayed in a bungalow which offered that little bit of extra privacy and which had everything we needed for a comfortable stay. The food was stunning, everything freshly prepared from superb ingredients and Dennis (the restaurant manager) will bend over backwards to help you out if you have something special that you might want. Polite staff, who all seemed to speak very good English and the on-site dive centre made our break exactly what we wanted. We ended our week with a massage at the spa just to see if we could feel any more relaxed too! I'd recommend this resort to anyone because it was simply wonderful. My travel tip for any of the Maldivian atolls is to go all inclusive every time.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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
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English first
Newcastle upon tyne
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2009

I am not sure I can adequately say in words how much I loved our stay, how beautiful the island was and how friendly the staff were. We chose the island for the house reef and we were not disappointed. The reef was teaming with beautiful coloured fish going about their business. The diving was superb and to see the Napoleon fish and sting rays made up for the lack of manta rays and whale sharks. The food devine. We try not to visit the same place twice but will be hard pressed not to go back there soon. It was truly a holiday of a lifeime.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Devon,
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2009

We travelled with First Choice. Our trip went well and everything was on time. We arrived at Male and made our way to the sea plane departure area where we didn't have to wait at all as a plane was there ready. The only down side was we didn't have time to get a drink, so try to get one at the main airport. Also, don't forget a camera as all bags are stored on the seaplane. Our trip to Ellaidhoo took just 20 minutes, where we were greeted with a cold drink and flannel.

Even though we arrived early our rooms were ready. We had 2 interconnecting garden rooms to start with, as we travelled with our 2 teenagers. The rooms were a good size, clean and comfortable though a little on the dark side. We were later offered an upgrade to 2 beach front rooms. These looked out onto the water villas (rooms 313 + 314) and were much lighter. We were really pleased with these rooms as it was nice to see the sea when we woke up and to sunbathe in front of the rooms.

The island itself is tiny, you can walk around it in 15 minutes. All the pathways are covered in sand and even the bar and restaurant have sand on the floor, which is a nice touch. There is a small beach area, but there was always plenty of room. There is a sea wall surrounding the island which isn't the prettiest thing, but is necessary. The water inside the wall is shallow and ideal for young children. You can snorkel inside the wall but the best snorkeling is outside the wall and a little way to the drop off point.

The food was excellent. There was always lots to choose from, some spicy but not all. There was always a good variety and it was well presented and replenished often. You will probably need to plan a diet when you return!

There is a tennis court, squash and gym on the island. The equipment seemed quite new and of a good standard. There was some organised evening entertainment such as crab racing and bingo and there was sometimes a group singing which we enjoyed.

The weather during our stay was good. We had strong winds and rain a couple of nights and just a little rain during a couple of days. We thought there might of been more rain with it being the monsoon. If any thing it seemed slightly cooler than our last holiday in April as there were some warm breezes which were nice. The only down side with monsoon is they bring mosquitoes so take the repellents!

What really made this holiday for us was the staff. They were all so friendly and welcoming and would go out of their way to look after us. We have never been to a place with such friendly helpful people. We were especially well looked after by Nalim, Dillip + Pradi in the main bar and Sidney at the swimming pool bar.

We loved the small friendly feel of this island. We met some lovely people during our stay. We will never forget our lovely Ellaidhoo

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Yorkshire
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2009

GETTING TO ELLAIDHOO
We flew from Manchester with FC/Thompsons. We had booked our seats (for extra cost) and I was a little concerned, as the seat numbers did not show on our tickets. No need to worry as we were given our chosen seats. The flight was on time and quite comfortable with good legroom. I would advise taking water onboard with you though as the drinks trolley only came round once and water was expensive.
On arrival at Male we quickly passed passport control and were directed to the seaplane terminal. Directed to our rep who directed us to our seaplane check in. On a bus for the short journey to the seaplane. After a few minutes we were boarding the seaplane and on our way. The seaplane is small and very hot. Ours was full and quite cramped but it only took 17 minutes to get to Ellaidhoo. Please remember to have your camera in your hand, as your hand luggage will be taken from you. The view is amazing and you will defiantly want to take photos.
The seaplane dropped us off with another couple and we boarded a boat for the short journey to the island.
On arrival we were given a cold flannel and a drink. Very much appreciated. After a few formalities and we shown to our room.
ROOM
We were in 108, which is a LV. It is in a good position near the pool, pool bar, gym, spa, tennis, squash. If you cross the path and go between 2 BB you are on the beach. The allocated restaurant and dive centre are a few minutes walk away.
The room is large and comfortable with an outdoor bathroom. A fruitbat sat in the tree behind our bathroom each night and watched me dry my hair. The LV and WB are semidetached. We could hear the people next door which is a little strange when you are in the bathroom but we did not find it a problem as our neighbours were quite quiet. The room is quite dark and I would advise taking a torch, as we needed one to see into the safe.
POOL
Anthony at the pool put towels out for us each morning so we had a lovely shady spot round the pool. There is not much shade at the pool so we really appreciated this as I am quite fair skinned. There were plenty of beds on the beach both in the shade and out of it if you like to be on the beach. Dissa (Sorry I know I have the wrong spelling) at the pool bar kept us well supplied with drinks both during the day and on an evening. My husband damaged his knee on the second day and Dissa brought a big bag of ice each morning for him to help take the swelling down. The pool is quite small and not very deep but it is lovely to lay on a bed in the pool, with a book and the sun shining down, looking out to sea. (Bliss!)
CHILDREN
There were children at Ellaidhoo the first week they were quite quiet but the second week there were a few Italian families. Most were well behaved but one set of parents were never to be seen with their children (who looked about 7 & 9) and these children did encourage the others to be more boisterous. The Italians in general are much more enthusiastic about everything then the other nationalities. You will see what I mean on Crab Racing Night!
FOOD
The food was plentiful and changed every day/ mealtime. Some days the food was better than others but there was always something we liked. It is certainly not all curry although this is available every mealtime if you want it. We were allocated a waiter and a table near the door. I am pleased we were not near the middle of the room as it was quite warm.
We had a Lobster Dinner one night. (Ask for Donald at the Pool Restaurant.) We could have had this at the poolside, beach or in a little watchtower looking over the beach, pool and WV’s (You will see what I mean when you get there) We had our meal in there. It was very private and the staff made it really special. Donald asked us to eat in the WV restaurant for 2 evenings after that. You choose the meat/fish you would like and it is cooked for you in this restaurant which is really nice. We ate in this restaurant on our last night and Donald moved our table out to the poolside to make it more special.
SNORKLING
As my other half was laid up I didn’t think I would get outside the wall to snorkel but thanks to another guest I did. It was amazing. Each time I went out it was different and sometimes it was better than others. I am no expert so I don’t really know what I saw but the size and colours of the fish were incredible.
SPA
I had a massage which was expensive compared to where I live. The staff were friendly and I enjoyed my massage although it was ‘rougher’ than I had expected.
WEATHER
Most days the sun shone all day. On 3 days we had rain. You can see it coming across from the other islands. It did not last long and was not a problem.
GOING HOME
I was getting in a bit of a flap, as we did not know what time we would leave until the afternoon before. A letter was left on our TV and we did not find it until we were just about to go out for our meal but there was no need to panic as everything went as smoothly as when we arrived
At Male we had no problem with our plane seats as we had prebooked them. There was a couple checking in before of us who could not get seats together. I know it costs more to book yours seats (not just together as this could be across an isle or behind/in front) but I am glad I did not have an 11 hour flight next to a stranger. My biggest problem with the flights was the lack of water on the way back they had no bottles! At the end of each flight I was dehydrated so I would advise taking some with you. At Male you will have to get it in duty-free and ask for it to be sealed. We would have done this but we couldn’t find which outlets sold it!
OVERALL
Ellaidhoo is lovely small island and I am sure there is something for almost everyone. We met some really lovely people both guests and staff who helped to make the holiday even better. Hi Ronnie & Nicola, Sharon, Simon & family, Mark & family really enjoyed meeting you all!

Hope this helps.
K.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2009

It's very easy to be put off staying at a place when you start reading reviews on Trip Advisor, however, there are very few bad reviews of this place, and rightly so! We are very picky when it comes to holidays, and it took us a long time to settle on buying this holiday.

We stayed in room 346, this is nextdoor to a double story bungalow, but it's set back from the beach unlike most of the other beach bungalows. It's very quiet and off the beaten track so you don't often see people passing. We requested a quiet room, and after walking around the island we would recommend this room to anyone who likes their privacy! The staff play cricket and football on the pitch behind these beach bungalows at about 1600 every afternoon - don't be put off by this - it's lovely to watch them as they let their hair down for a bit, they get only one day off a week and work exceptionally hard.

Inside the room, there is some damp on the wall behind the bed - I'm told that this is being dealt with as part of a refurb program, and might also explain why the bathroom looks a bit on the tired side. Our booking with First Choice advised us that there is a bath included - which is accurate, however it has a big crack down the concrete where the roots from a tree (also in the open air bathroom!) have taken hold, so it has now been filled in with plants and isn't used.

The public spaces are well thought-out, and although the restaurant does get exceptionally hot, the food is OUTSTANDING, and a fantastic variety of beautifully fresh food and a mix of local and international food is put on every day/night. We are particularly greedy and never missed a snack time so with five good healthy meals a day you need to commit to a diet when you come home! We certainly didn't have any dodgy belly problems either and usually we'd be worried, but there's no need to be here.

The staff are second to none, and everyone was really friendly and helpful and went above and beyond. We bought the $20 CD that the entertainment group are selling - and were pleasantly surprised with the music that reminds us of our holiday and feels like we did something a bit charitable as the Maldives clearly have their unemployment and poverty problems. Saying this, we never experienced begging or trying to sell us anything and those that we tipped were exceptionally grateful and didn't expect anything.

There is a house reef here (a diving friend made us aware of the term!) The fish are fab and I'd recommend taking at the least a decent snorkel mask.

The down side: Beware of Thomson Airways - none of the drinks on board are included and the food will leave most people feeling hungry - especially the second "snack" which is half a sandwich. If you're not willing to pay the extra £40 to gaurantee seats next to each other, then make sure you check in early - we arrived 3 hours early and got the last 2 seats next to each other going out. In my opinion, I would make sure to stock up on bottled water and snacks before you go through to the gate. On the up side. the seats are better than BA and give you more leg room. The planes are Boeing 767 with 2-3-2 configuration. Leather seats and in head rest screens with free headphones. it can get very cold on the plane, make sure to take something warm to pull over in the night!

Also, note!! Male airport complete hand baggage scanning checks AFTER you leave the departure longue - this means that you CANNOT take liquids through to the gate and on to the plane - this will be removed from you when you go through - so you are stuck buying Thomson Airways drinks on the return flight (£1.60 for a small bottle of water) The only exception to this is if you buy duty free drinks that will be sealed in to a heat sealed bag.

Also, the trip is very long, we left at 0300 UK time, and got home last night at 2230, after a boat trip, sea plane trip, bus ride, long haul flight and a train to get home - if you don't travel well, you might want to look closer to home!

All in all, a fantastic trip, fab location and accomodation and would thoroughly recommend.

There is an excellent forum available with more information on the island, search google for Chaaya Forum - it will be the first link.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norfolk
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2009

We visited Ellaidhoo again end of May to mid June, this was our 13th trip to the island - that's how good it is!
The weather was kind to us with just a little rain now and then to clear the air.
The diving as always was spectacular - a big thankyou to Adam, Soilly and Magic!.

Ellaidhoo is a small island but for some reason it never seems to be overcrowded.
The staff are fabulous, very friendly and helpful and go out of their way to make things just right for you. My husband had his birthday there this time - we had a wonderful dinner overlooking the lagoon with so many of the staff coming to wish him a happy birthday - it's what holidays are all about!
Yes there is the odd rat as you would expect on a tropical island, but there not smelly London sewage rats so why worry? The management seems to be doing as much as they can to get rid of them but anyway their presence is far outweighed by the herons, fruit bats, mynah birds, hermit crabs and the amazing stingrays that come in to the lagoon every night to be fed!!
By the way the mynah birds will eat out of your hand if you feed them at your bungalow - they're especially partial to cheese and onion pringles - so take some with you!
The other thing you might want to take is some books! Not as bizarre as it sounds - the island has close links to another non tourist Maldivian island called Hangameedhoo and is supporting the school there, so any books Harry Potter, National Geographic etc would be most welcome. The children are aged from 7 to 17. Some of the staff are from there, as are the ladies you will see sweeping the paths etc on Ellaidhoo. Hopefully they won't have to do this for much longer because the island is donating trees and organic seeds etc. so that they can make some money by growing and selling fruit.
Please remember that the Maldivians are a very poor people and need all the help that they can get. You can visit Hangameedho if you go on the shopping trip excursion it's worth a visit to see the real Maldives.
We were surprised to hear that Elliadhoo is also opening a 'how to work in a hotel' school for nearby islanders. This is government backed and a smashing idea because tourism is their only real source of income.
We stayed in a beach bungalow which was wonderful, lovely to lie in bed at night and hear the sea. The bungalows have a veranda - a quiet peaceful place to read a book if you need to be out of the sun!! Don't forget to try the infinity pool which is by the water bungalows, its fab!
The last thing to mention, that makes this a special holiday are the guys who provide music every evening. They're really good - smashing voices and lots of 'oldies' to sing along with. Perfect on a balmy evening!
We love Ellaidhoo, it's just what you expect from a small Maldivian island - a little bit of paradise!!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
high wycombe
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2009

We travelled on 31st May to Elliadhoo with First Choice. This was our 3rd visit to the Malidives & we chose Elliadhoo as it is small. The weather was the best we have had on 3 consecutive trips - wall-to-wall sunshine apart from 1 overcast afternoon - which was a bit of a relief! We had a beach bungalow on the opposite side of the island to the bar, restaurant etc. Somedays, we would see nobody at all when we sat outside our bungalow - the island really is calm, quiet and relaxed - although being low season I think it was only running at about 50% occupancy. The Dive Centre staff are friendly and happy to help with anything. I am not a confident swimmer but my husband is a diver & he persuaded me (along with Aly from the Dive Centre) to do a night snorkel. The thought of getting in the water when it's dark is a bit scary but at night all the corals etc display the brightest colours you can imagine. We decided we would like to do the desert island snorkelling trip which needed x8 minimum to run & at 70 dollars a head seemed a bit steep. Eventually we collared 2 other couples & they agreed to run it with only 6. What a day - there were 6 of us & 6 staff! They loaded 5 giant coolboxes on to the Dhoni & off we went to "Sweet Water Island". About a 45 min boat trip & uninhabited & totally unspoilt. The staff bbq'd a beautiful lunch, laid out cloths on the sand and we had a fabulous day - snorkelling, eating, chatting & generally wondering if a place like this truely exists??? Hello to Mick & Kerry, Karima & Peter - our fellow castaways. Happy memories ..............
Hello too to wonderful staff - Pradeem, Nalin, Dhillip & Nash

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

Address: Ellaidhoo Island
Location: Maldives > Alifu Atoll > North Ari Atoll > Ellaidhoo Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Ellaidhoo Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo 4*
Number of rooms: 112
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo, like all nature's wonders, is blessed with a spectacular offering for marine enthusiasts, is known the world over as the dive island in the Maldives.In the shade. Under the palms. On the Beach. Over the water. There are plenty of stylish types of living spaces to choose from at Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo. The 112 rooms are delightfully designed to blend in with the tropical backdrop and its natural environment.A stunning location combined with star-class facilities and outstanding levels of service. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo Hotel North Ari Atoll
Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo Resort

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