We stayed at the Cinnamon Island Resort Alidhoo (now called J Resorts Alidhoo) for
2 weeks between the 30th August and the 13th September. It has to be said that the journey is quite an arduous one, with an 11 hour flight with Thomson followed by the 55 min internal 'Maldivian Air' flight and then a 20 min speed boat ride to the island. The view from the small plane is breathtaking as you see numerous inhabited and uninhabited islands and you then realise that this is no longer a life long dream but you are actually there!
Everything though ran very smoothly despite a few issues on the main flight (the crew wasn't that good, the plane which was an old First Choice plane was absolutely filthy and not to mention the food of course which even though we upgraded to Premium Class was barely edible) - and although we were exhausted, the speed boat ride was spectacular, especially as our boat was accompanied by 15 or more dolphins. The boat crew were kind enough to stop the boat for 10 mins so we could watch. The island itself is wonderful and full of character. We stayed in a water villa which we would say is an essential move as our 180 degree view of the ocean was priceless. The villas themselves are very spacious - highlights in particular were both the down and up stairs balconies, the fantastic semi-outdoor bathroom (where it is possible to stand and have a shower whilst looking at the stars!) and a generously and frequently stocked mini bar. The sound of the waves is impressive, although you may want earplugs for night time if the sea is choppy. However, the sound of the waves are extremely relaxing and for us, the villa was a home from home and was the centre point of our stay. The beds were very comfy and HUGE. To watch the sunrise from our balcony and see the sunset from the front of our villa was something that, not surprisingly we never grew tired of. If you want total peace and quiet, do ask for a sunset duplex water villa as these are away from the bar where music plays until midnight and in our opinion have the nicer beach. We stayed in room 206 and my girlfriend arranged for a sunlounger and umbrella behind the villa on the beach. She had the whole beach to herself as most guests preferred the pool, which we definately don't. A gardener called 'Jamal' opened the umbrella every morning at 7am and took it down before sunset. This was all done without any expectation for a tip, and actually when we did tip the staff they were almost embarassed.
The other crucial part of the island was of course the restaurant called the Village which is where the buffet is situated. We had paid for an all inclusive package and so the quality of the food was always going to be of vital importance. We were pleased to discover that both the quality and variety of the food on offer was simply outstanding. Each day we were greated by an overwhelming choice of fresh salads, different meats, vegetables, fresh fruit and at least 7 or 8 choices of a main dish. And then there was the pudding section which became something of an obsession for many guests as there was so much to chose from, and like us guests would walk away with their plates piled high. At breakfast time you could have a fresh omlette made or waffles, along with just about every other breakfast item you can think of. And in the evenings there was a seperate themed area where, depending on which night it was, you could have Italian, Thai, Mexican, Morrocan, Maldivian, Sri Lankan or Chinese food made for you as you watch.
The island has a wonderful infinity pool, although we only visited it on a few occasions as we were more than happy with swimming/snorkelling and sunbathing in the area of beach around our water villa. What little entertainment we needed was provided by the hilarious shell crabs that populate the beach, who as you approach them dive for cover under their shells - and of course the amazing fruit bats that became something of an obsession of ours with many afternoons spent "bat hunting" around the island as we tried to take the perfect photograph. My girlfriend visited the spa on two occasions and had what she described as the best massage of her life so far. We also did a desert island trip, where we were taken to a completely deserted island for 4 hours which although expensive, was an amazing experience.
But our lasting memory of the island is surely going to be the staff who at every occasion provided some of the best and friendliest service that we have experienced. My girlfriend works in the catering industry and so is normally very hard to please, but she ended the holiday desperate to "steal" many members of the island staff for her own business!! We had to write some names down as they were not the easiest to remember, but special mention must be given to the chef Sanju (who prepared for us an amazing indian meal), Naveen the outstanding maitre D of the restaurant, and the many brilliant waiters including Priyantha and Shaniu. Particularly exceptional at his job was the overall food and beverage manager Quyn (we apologise for getting any of these names wrong) who really went out of his way to ensure that guests were enjoying themselves. And of course, we must mention our room boy Adam who did a brilliant job twice a day cleaning our villa and replenishing our mini bar. These staff members, and many others did feel like friends by the time we left.
A few points of interest that were explained to us by Duminda Saram the resort manager were the unique nature of the beach and the tide which actually results in there being more beach at different ends of the island depending on what time of year you are there. For us it was perfect as there was more beach by the water villas - but some of the "beach villas" had very little in the way of sand at all, so it is worth enquiring before you arrive. Also, the currents are quite unpredictable so care should be taken as to how far out you swim, and coral shoes are always needed as you walk into the sea. But considering we spent some part of every day in the sea at some point or other this really wasn't a problem, and for us added a bit of excitement amidst the tranquility.
All in all it was a fantastic experience.
- Also Known As:
- j Resorts Alidhoo Hotel Haa Aliff Atoll
- j Resorts Alidhoo Hotel
- Cinnamon Island Alidhoo Hotel
- Cinnamon Island Alidhoo Resort
- J Resorts Alidhoo Maldives/Haa Aliff Atoll
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- As you take your first step towards an unforgettable experience let us escort you to your very own personalized hideaway. Lose yourself in intimate luxury and choose and illuminating experience as we offer you to unwind yourself in harmony. All our rooms are located in the beach front or in the ocean waters. The island boasts of 45 Beach Villas, 7 Duplex Beach Villas, 46 Ocean Villas and 1 Presidential suite. The villas are designed by magnificent architectural craftsmanship symbolizing a harmonious delight for Him & for Her. ... more less
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