We traveled to the Maldives for our honey moon this September and stayed 11 nights at the Coco Palm Bodu Hithi Resort (CPBH). First of all the Maldives are absolutely beautiful. The feeling of being on a tiny island in the middle of the Indian Ocean is truly amazing. We did quite a bit of research before deciding for the Maldives and the CPBH resort. We had one "must-have", we definitely wanted to stay in an Over-Water Bungalow that is placed directly in the lagoon. Apart from that we were looking for a decent resort that would provide a quite and relaxing island honey moon holiday.
The CPBH resort seems to be in the middle price segment out of all the exclusive resorts in the Maldives ($600-1000$/night in Over-Water Bungalow). We had a very relaxing time and are very happy with overall experience. The CPBH seems to be around 5-7 years old and is in good condition. As one would expect there is no real budget holiday available on the Maldives anyway. There are cheaper resorts but also several resorts that are much more expensive than CPBH. If one is looking for a true +5star experience it is probably worth while choosing one of the higher priced resorts ($1000-3000+/night). For travelers on a "tight" budget Over-Water Bungalows start at around ~$400/night excl. lunch/dinner in other resorts. The guests at the CPBH are mainly honeymooners and couples. Mainly from Asia (Japan/China) and Europe (UK, Germany). There were 1 or 2 families. The resort is designed in a away that you feel private and alone even though the resort is fully booked. The staff houses are hidden away in the middle of the island.
The CPBH is not far from the main city Male, about 30-40 minutes by speed boat. But it's far enough not to be affected by views of high rise buildings, noise or other city nuisances. The pick-up was easy and the staff very friendly. Most people staying at CPBH transit from the airport to the resort by speed boat. We didn't see anyone arrive by water plane.
Beforehand we were a bit worried about the weather (September still rain season). But looking back this wasn't an issue at all. There were a few heavy storms with rain, but they only lasted a few hours. The air temperature was always about 28-32 deg C and we got more than enough sun tanning time. The water temperature was comfortably warm.
There are three different types of Over-Water Bungalows, differing in size, number of rooms, service package (eg private butler), location etc.! We had the entry level one which was still very spacious and well equipped with private pool, 2x showers (1x inside, 1x outside), beautiful water views and coral reef directly in front of the bungalow. There was no ventilation or air con in the toilet and shower, therefore the air wasn't fresh at all times. Some of the lights did not work but the staff fixed this within a few minutes. The bungalows are very private and it is very easy to relax. Apart from some minor details it was a dream. There are also Island-Bungalows which are a bit cheaper and they seemed nice as well.
The food packages (breakfast, half/full board) and pricing setup are somewhat complicated. During the online-booking process it wasn't really clear what one would get with the different packages. It took quite some time reading online reviews until we guessed what the best option would be for us. It is likely you will need extra money for food even if you book full board. There are a few different restaurants on the island. The main one is the Air, which is also the one that is included in the half or full board package. The other restaurants are extra but there is a credit if you have booked half/full board. We had breakfast only and therefore had to pay for every lunch and dinner etc. which was ok as we did not eat much for lunch anyway. With that option we tried an other restaurant for dinner each day and also had in-villa-dining a few days. If one only books the breakfast package I would recommend to allow approx. $150-300 per person per day extra for for lunch, drinks, snacks, dinner and activities. Plus allow a few hundred dollars for tips as you go along.
The seafood at CPBH in general is fresh and well cooked. The wine selection is ok and rather expensive. All in all the food is good to very good. Especially in the themed restaurants. The buffet for breakfast and dinner at the Air restaurant is good, but not excellent. As mentioned before if one is looking for something super exclusive there are other resorts out there. As mentioned further below, it was a highlight to catch our own fish during the day and get it beautifully cooked by the resort chef for dinner. The envy of the other guests will be yours...
There is a range of the usual activities (tennis, kayaking, sailing lessons, water ski, massages...), it is what you would expect, apart from snorkel gear all activities are extra but reasonably priced. We also tried the Male city discovery tour which was very interesting, especially the fish market. The resort staff was helpful in explaining what was on offer. Snorkeling and diving is outstanding! We saw and swam with turtles, little reef-sharks (only small and harmless), colorful reef fish, sting rays etc directly in front of our bungalow. There are no words to describe this experience. We have snorkeled at various places around the world but this was a totally different class. Especially because the water is calm and comfortably warm. The house reef was in very good condition. By the way the snorkel gear was good quality.
On a side note: Fishing is ridiculously good in the Maldives. Paradise for both of us being a passionate fisher(wo)man. We went fishing twice, once hand-line fishing with a group off a local Dohni boat (caught 1x very large red snapper), the kitchen staff of CPBH cooked the catch for $15, very yummy. The other time we booked private game fishing charter, experience of a life time, we caught 3x Wahoo's and... a 2m / 70kg Indo-Pacific Sailfish...!!! Big thank you to the young man (Akrem?!) at the reception who did an outstanding job at organizing the game fishing trip.
The staff was very helpful and treated us like royals at all times. They made us feel very welcome and always had a smile on their face.
Our room butler Mohammad Ali (yes that's his name) delivered a very good service and cleaned the room twice a day. Mo looked after every our requests in a swift and reliable manner. Mo is also a brilliant dancer as we found out during the traditional island dance & drum evening :-).
Also a big thank you to Febe Pritchard, member of the management team. Febe and her team solved a quite tricky luggage issue for us. Febe went above and beyond to help us. First class service.
All in all we got what we wanted and a lot more. We can fully recommend this resort and would not hesitate to come back. Actually we heard from a few guests that have been back a few times. The CPBH offers good value for money compared to other offers out there. Highlights are the friendly staff, the privacy of the island and the sheer beauty of this Maldivian island and under water world. It is a perfect honeymoon resort. There are minor details that weren't spot on, e.g. no ventilation in shower, but nothing that would affect the overall experience. If one is looking for something 5+ and very super exclusive there are other (far more expensive) resorts available.