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“Luxury done right” 5 of 5 stars
Review of W Retreat & Spa Maldives

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W Retreat & Spa Maldives
5.0 of 5 Resort   |     |  
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Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Fesdhoo Island
New York, NY
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Luxury done right”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

My husband and I spent 11 nights in the Maldives to celebrate our honeymoon, 6 nights at the Six Senses Laamu and 5 at the W Retreat & Spa. Coming all the way from NY, we really wanted to choose the right resort(s), and we absolutely did not go wrong with these two. When I did research for this trip, I hoped for more resort comparison, so I'll include some comparisons here. I also wrote a full review of the Six Senses. We were here the first week of March.

Overall: The great thing about W properties is that you know to expect a certain standard (especially if you are frequent Starwood travellers like us), which is why we chose this resort, and this property did not disappoint. The resort is beautiful, the island is gorgeous, and the staff were all smiles and ready to help at a moment's notice. If we're going to be nitpicky (and we're entitled to at these prices!), there shouldn't be a trash boat hanging out in near the welcome jetty, the dive center facilities on the island seemed dated (compared to the Six Senses, which we understand is a newer resort), and my husband absolutely HATED the neon-orange buoys in the water. They spoilt the view and he insisted they should be blue or white instead, since they are mainly for the purpose of boats and snorkellers specifically looking for them. But overall, it was comfortable, luxurious, and we did not want to leave.

Food: No complaints here, minor comment is that the in-room dining menu could be more varied. My husband's celiac disease was addressed proactively, and gluten free bread was available at all meals throughout our stay (at the Six Senses, too). We didn't go to the Maldives for the food, but we really didn't have a bad meal during our trip. People balk at how expensive it is, but you need to realize what you're getting yourself into when you go to resorts like these and eating in a remote country where nearly everything is imported. We loved the Sweet Spot refreshment stations with ice cream, soda, and water, but we didn't really feel great about all the imported plastic bottled water. We would have preferred a recyclable desalinated option like at the Six Senses.

Room: We were in an Ocean Oasis, Lagoon View, room 219 near the end of the jetty. This room was simply amazing, and while we loved our villa at the Six Senses, this retreat (as they call all the rooms here) just took it to the next level. From the massive patio with a plunge pool, to the impractically large bathroom, to the plush king-size bed, this room had us in the lap of luxury. I got the best sleep in this room (the bed at the Six Senses for some reason was less comfortable), and I could easily spend days on end in it without leaving. We did notice here that we could hear our neighbors at times, just some talking and music, whereas at the Six Senses we didn't hear anyone at all. The villas were closer together here than at the SS.

Crowd: Mostly middle-aged, seriously moneyed Asians and Europeans, I think largely Chinese and Russians. Lots of smokers, whereas for some reason at the SS I didn't see a single cigarette. Note that both resorts told us that the types of guests that they see vary throughout the year depending on holiday seasons (i.e. more Chinese in the summer, more Europeans in the winter).

Snorkelling/Diving: This is where the W beat the SS hands down. Except for the fact that the dive center itself was nothing to write home about, the diving was spectacular. On our orientation dive (mandatory first dive) on the house reef we saw turtles, lionfish, frogfish, puffers, shrimp, moray eels, and more! We did five dives total here, and the experience was amazing. Special shout out to Evgeny and Christina who were excellent rare fish-spotters. And their dive boat is extremely nice and comfortable. I really enjoyed drying off on the sundeck between dives. Luxurious diving at its best. By contrast, we were disappointed with the Six Senses dive boats, though the actual diving and instructors were great there, too. As for snorkelling, we could not get enough of the house reef. The reef corner just in front of the spa is a great place to see millions of small fish, sharks, turtles, and other large jackfish and trevally swimming by. Best times are early morning (5-6am) and sunset (530-630pm), when you can see the daytime/nocturnal fish transition. The coral here is also vibrant and beautiful. You need to see it to believe it - if you are avid snorkellers/divers - this certainly must be one of the best places in the Maldives - a strong statement!

Fishing/Boats: The boats here are all top-notch. We had so much fun on the local night fishing trip that we booked to do it again. The best part is that they will cook your catch to your liking (even as sashimi!) at one of their restaurants...yum! We caught snappers, emperor, and barracuda. We also did the sunset cocktail sail on their luxury liveaboard yacht. That was probably the nicest boat we've ever set foot on. Gorgeous, we highly recommend both excursions.

Yoga: We didn't do the regular yoga classes here as they were on the garden in front of the breakfast area, not a particularly appealing location. But, when we went to the spa, we found out they offered reasonably-priced private classes on a stunning over-water location, so we opted for one at 8am. The instructor (forget his name) was great, tailoring the experience as we went along to our ability. We wished we had known about it earlier in our stay, we would have done it more than once!

Spa: The spa is beautifully located, and the staff could not be friendlier or more accommodating. However, the treatments themselves were just ok. I got an express mani-pedi, which was wonderfully efficient and relaxing, but the quality was subpar. They actually fixed it for me and even did my manicure completely over without charge, but my suspicion is that the polish itself was going bad and too thick and goopy. Even after the do-over it didn't look great. My husband and I also got massages, which were nice, but felt more like a good Asian massage parlor rubdown than a high-end spa treatment. This is one area where a resort like the W can certainly improve - at these prices, we want massage therapists who are experts in their field. With that said, the overall spa experience was much better at the W. The treatments started off with a foot soak, and then ended with a hot tub soak and shower, where they gave us some pineapple, chocolate covered strawberries, and tamarind juice. We felt like we could hang out there as long as we wanted and were never rushed. If the therapists could just have better training, this experience would be hard to beat! Special shout out to Nenita, who was super helpful and friendly!

What makes the W really special is underwater - the snorkelling and diving were simply stunning. The staff is also really great and everyone is willing to help at all times. Also, thank you to Ku, one of the American staff members that made us feel special! We felt like she was specifically looking out for us!

A note on transfers - the Six Senses and W coordinated our intra-resort transfer seamlessly - no complaints there and we didn't have to lift a finger! On the way home, our flight wasn't until 11pm, and the seaplanes don't fly at night, so the W arranged a dinner package at their sister resort, the Sheraton, which is just a 20 minute speedboat ride from the airport. That was also really well done and sure beat spending 8 hours at the Male airport! While we had a lovely evening, seeing the Sheraton made us really glad how discerning we were with choosing resorts and even happier with our selections. The Sheraton was way too close to the airport and it just felt like staying there would not give you the isolated, idyllic Maldives experience we envisioned.

Room Tip: End of the jetty.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JenniferWMaldives, General Manager at W Retreat & Spa Maldives, responded to this review, March 22, 2013
Thank you for choosing W Maldives as part of your honeymoon trip to the Maldives and for being a member of our SPG loyalty program. We appreciate all your mentioned comments and will look into the areas of improvement with our team, thank you for such a detailed review!

See you soon,
Jennifer
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561 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (124)
Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
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English first
Mumbai (Bombay), India
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2013

It's a little peace of heaven on earth! Absolutely gorgeous and oh so beautiful! Tropical sun kissed beaches, stretches of turqoise everywhere and your private retreat right in the middle of everything. The ocean villa was fabulous..i would wait for morning all night just for that breathtaking view from my porch.I have to make a special mention to the cheesecake here. Its the BEST cheesecake i have ever eaten...i never got the chance to thank the chef personally but it was amazing! The staff is super friendly and will go to every measure to ensure you are taken care of. They are like little genies- whatever you ask them you get wheter it be some exotic food or any other offbeat demand. And the SPA...Away spa..is the best massage youll ever get. We had the best honeymoon ever and were so sad to leave. Hopefully well be back soon:) Luxury does come at a price though...guess it always does

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JenniferWMaldives, General Manager at W Retreat & Spa Maldives, responded to this review, March 15, 2013
Thank you for choosing W Maldives for your honeymoon, it is great to read that you had such an amazing stay with us.

As we are so close to you in Mumbai, we look forward to your return!

Jennifer
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Mexico City, Mexico
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013

Maldives, its just paradise, and a very expensive one. You have to go there at least once to understand what the hype is about. I was there with my wife on our honeymoon, and we did some extensive research on all hotels, guides, reviews etc etc. With over 100 hotels, in different price ranges and all seem to offer the same, it can get hard to choose.

W Retreat is a somewhat new hotel, hence, you wont find much about it if you look around. Youll see trip this hotel in trip advisor on 38th place. Believe me, I was scared to pay such a expensive trip on a 38th place, why not spend it in Baros or Cocoa Island. Well many close friends recomended us this hotel swearing it was unbeatable in every way.

So we arrive to Male, after a horrible overpriced experience at the Traders Hotel, we went to pay for what we thought was an overpriced water plane ride to the hotel (400us+100us of excess baggage pp), it is very expensive but the experience overall is worth every penny, you can see the beauty of maldives as you approach to paradise... literally paradise.

So setting aside the fact that W hotels are love or hate, If you like them, you will love this one. The staff is always there but never intrusive, you CAN NOT beleive how in an island in the middle of NOWHERE you get get anything you want, from special food to mint and berry shishas, from chocolate milk to exotic fruits or a rosted pig on a firepit... in room BBQ? there you have it. We were scared of the prices in general having heard stories of 30usd for a coke... well cokes, sprites, chocolate milk, iced coffee, ice cream, magnums... they are all free. Prices for room service dishes were around 25usd and cocktails around 15usd, breakfast was 25usd, yes its not cheap but its the same than any other hotel in the world on this category.

I read many bad reviews of the food, many of them are reviews from 2010-2011, I think they sorted out that problem by now, their food is delicious in every place, room service, in room bbq, breakfast, fire restaurant was amazing buffet with seafood and top quality meat (110usd pp) foodwise its perfect.

Now when it comes to activities, there are some expensive things to do like renting out private boats or riding to private islands, there is also a lot of complimentary things to do, the best for us was snorkeling. They provide you with great quality equipment for your whole stay, you can literraly jump of your balcony and snorkel through beautiful coral reefs full of everything, amazing experience. If you are afraid to go in the water they have a clear kayac which you can see through while you paddle, also nice touch.

The rooms, we stayed on the ocean side first and were upgraded to lagoon side, it is well worth staying at the lagoon side, we were offered a beach room for our late check out so we could compare all of them, all of them are excelent but the lagoon overwater side is worth it. The rooms are huge, super well decorated, beds are amazing, views are stunning, there is a clear window on the ground to remind you you are overwater, nice plunge pool with star effect at night, great sunbeds and outside living room and the bathroom is wonderfull. The lighting is also very well put together as well as the tv and bose sound system inside the room and on the terrace.

Staff is great, they are very friendly, for some they might come about as unproper or even disrespectfull for being so laid back on their tone and uniform, im ok with all of this since everybody is very professional and knows what they are doing. They literraly do anything to make your stay amazing in every way possible.

Finally and most importantly... detail, atention to detail. Everywhere you see is clean and perfectly well kept, its full of those amazing details that make excellent things amazing! Beach bags filled with suncream lotion, rugs changing throught the day with good morning or good evening or good afternoon messages, constant cleaning of rooms, free massage for my wife for womens day, free cocktails on the bar because we are "nice people", everything and I mean everything was perfect.

We stayed here 4 days, and even though ive traveled to many places, i had NEVER felt like this before, it was 4 days in paradise, with nothing to worry about, everything was in place and time, nothing mattered because of how the hotel is designed, small, convenient, excellent service, excellent food, excellent room, excellent staff, it was perfect, 5-5-5-5-5-5 hotel, thank you very much for making an unforgettable stay.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
JenniferWMaldives, General Manager at W Retreat & Spa Maldives, responded to this review, March 15, 2013
Wow thank you for such a detailed review about your recent stay at W Maldives; I am pleased to read that you enjoyed your W experience so much.

Congratulations on your wedding and see you again for your first anniversary!

Regards,
Jennifer
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Hong Kong, China
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

A nice trip during Chinese New Year in 2013. Excellent Service (from welcoming to say Bye to W Retreat, Maldives) with Excellent Location, Clean beach, Clean water and good facilities, but hope can be provide more entertainment in the island. Highly Recommend...

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JenniferWMaldives, General Manager at W Retreat & Spa Maldives, responded to this review, February 27, 2013
Thank you for recommending W Maldives to other travelers, it's great to read that you had such a great stay, thank you for all your mentionned comments.

See you again!
Jennifer
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Doha, Al Jahra, Kuwait
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

A wonderland of white sand beaches, turquoise lagoons and breathtaking reefs. The service is perfect, all the staff are willing to do anything to make our stay amazing!! From the moment we were greeted at the airport and escorted by private car to the W Seaplane Lounge,to the moment we left from Maldives, everything was perfect! Nothing was too much trouble and everyone was lovely and warm. Thank you all for everything. Special thanks to Chef Indika from the Kitchen Restaurant, Ali and Muthu from WET and Arshaad from the check in desk! Thank you all for everything. Best Holiday destination in Maldives!! <3 <3

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JenniferWMaldives, General Manager at W Retreat & Spa Maldives, responded to this review, February 11, 2013
Thank you so much for such great comments, I will share them all with our team! It is great to read that you had such a special stay and we look forward to welcoming you again for another fabulous holiday in paradise!

Jennifer
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Sydney
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

We had a sensational holiday. We wanted to go to a place with good snorkelling and selected W on that basis. We stayed in an ocean-side Ocean Oasis, which was very beautiful and really liked the view of the ocean. It had direct access to the reef-just climb down the ladder and the snorkelling was fantastic. I can't think of a way that the room could have been improved.

It was a reasonably long walk from the villa to the beach but golf buggies were always available to take us. There was a "sweet spot" just across the boardwalk from our villa where we had the occasional (complimentary) ice cream. One day a pop-up cafe appeared there selling very tasty burgers--we had the tuna burger and a beer.

Although the food was not cheap, every meal was of a very high standard. Highlight was dinner at Fish (such as the multi-course Lobster dinner).

The Spa was also beautiful and the treatments not overly expensive--cheaper than they are at spas in Australia.

We went in October and the weather was a bit overcast on some days but this time of years was good.

The service was friendly and unobtrusive.

Room Tip: Ocean oasis on the lagoon side has views of the resort and beautiful lagoon; on the ocean side they...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
JenniferWMaldives, General Manager at W Retreat & Spa Maldives, responded to this review, January 29, 2013
Thank you for sharing your W experience in the Maldives; it is great to read that you enjoyed your stay so much.

We want you to go back too!

Warm regards,
Jennifer
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Paris
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
To be honest, there are no words to describe the whole experience.Absolutely amazing!The location,the service,the food, our villa and staff.
From the moment we were greeted at the airport and escorted by private car to the W Seaplane Lounge,to the minute we left the country,we were treated as VIP.
Upon arrival at the Maldives airport we were so pleased to be greeted by a W representative and have our luggage whisked away and were on our way on the W Private lounge seaplane within minutes!
From the Sea plane adventure over the beautiful atolls to our arrival at W Maldives and the warm welcome, the perfect level of attention without being too fussy and intrusive.
PS on seaplane take the last rows seat better for pictures
We stayed in a overwater villa for 5 nights. The overwater villas were part of the ‘dream’ maldives factor and were modern, with a large and great bathroom and lovely deck with a huge Jacuzzi that was very private.
The property is gorgeous, well designed, well maintained and staffed by friendly, caring people that were always smiling. Very special place with outstanding service. Luxurious and private, just paradise. Staff and talents was fantasic and dive school and beach WAVE (water sports) very personal.
Take the opportunity to enjoy the spa, So relaxing and sooothing!

We spent most of the time in the island snorkeling and enjoying the house reef which is truly spectacular,such a shame we didn't manage to see any sharks and turtles,maybe next time.
Lagoon water villas are good for sunset
Fishing at nigth and then eating your caught was great and funny

If you are ever visiting Maldives, head straight to W retreat and Spa because you will never be short changed nor regret the experience and it is the perfect resort to be in even though it may be a little pricey for spa, beach activities and diving

Room Tip: Lagoon villa w private jacuzzi are the best for sunset
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JenniferWMaldives, General Manager at W Retreat & Spa Maldives, responded to this review, January 29, 2013
Bonjour and thank you for your comments on Trip Advisor; I am thrilled to read that you had such a perfect and relaxing stay with us in paradise at W Maldives.

We look forward to a future opportunity of welcoming you back again.
Jennifer
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Additional Information about W Retreat & Spa Maldives

Address:
Phone Number:
Location: Maldives > Alifu Atoll > North Ari Atoll > Fesdhoo Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Fesdhoo Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — W Retreat & Spa Maldives 5*
Number of rooms: 78
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bi-level beachfront and over-water retreats let indoor and outdoor mingle; roofs with peek-a-boo views of the sky and glass-paneled floors that reveal lagoon fauna below. Privacy is paramount - enjoy your own plunge pool, sundeck, and beach. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
w Retreat & Spa Maldives Hotel North Ari Atoll
w Retreat And Spa Maldives
w Retreat Hotel Maldives
w Retreat Resort Maldives
w Hotel Maldives

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