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Bandos Maldives
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All reviewsstandard roomgallery restaurantsand barsea breezehalf boardjacuzzi beach villafishsundowners barkids clubdive centreother islandsisland hoppingservice chargecurriesdolphin cruisereef sharksthai restaurant
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961 - 966 of 2,290 reviews
Reviewed December 23, 2012 via mobile

An amazing experience, excellent service, average food.
Location was OK compared to other Maldives hotels.
Activities are limited if you are not a strong swimmer.
Me and my wife visited kids bandos, a small private island nearby, and spent three hours there.. It was wonderful.

Ask for rooms with sea view.

  • Stayed: February 2012
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3  Thank UntitledTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 17, 2012

well my wife and I had a short stay on Bandos in our first visit to Maldives. Nice green island with lovely beaches and a very calm place to stay and get relax. things were good. as it was our first time there, we found it very interesting and enjoyed a lot there. the only negative point is the prices are so high when you compare it to other places you can visit...!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Anisullah Q
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 17, 2012

The sand really is like icing sugar. The snorkelling on the house reef is breath taking. The leaning palm trees whispering in the sea breeze do make you feel like you are Robinson Crusoe on a desert island. Mother nature has dealt Bandos a kind hand and the Island is beautiful. Just as well too because it isn't cheap and the hotel is only just OK.

There is plenty to do during the day and the water sports team are very helpful and friendly, coming up with several suggestions and very willing to do something tailored just for you. One of the reasons that we chose Bandos is because it is relatively large and has several options in the evening. After all, you are somewhat of a captive audience on an Island. The evening entertainment was um, varied, from film showings (Thor 2(!)) to karaoke and traditional local dancing. The Sundowners bar and Sand bar both pleasant enough in there own right and the main restaurant was very good for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

We stayed in a Beach Jacuzzi Villa. Great design with a lovely outside bathroom. But the Jacuzzi didn't work for three of our five days and the blind in the bedroom was broken. We reported it of course but they didn't fix it. That's the problem with Bandos really. The beauty of the resort colours ones perspective and perception and as a result the hotel management become complacent. The staff are excellent. The hotel management invisible.

A pint of beer is $15. A small coke or a coffee is $5. A ten minute boat trip to Male is $30 each (and you get taken to a dreadful souvenir shop by the guide where they try to charge you $35 for a fridge magnet). Dinner in the Harbour Restaurant will cost you north of £100 with wine. Each. We stayed on an all inclusive package which saved us a lot of money but of course it is not all inclusive. You can have coffee but not a latte. You can have beer but the local brew rather than the branded stuff...you know the gig. All inclusive apart from all of the good stuff. Compulsory wrist bands and plastic covered all inclusive drink and food menus don't really heighten the experience either.

The Maldives really does take your breath away but there must be other resorts in which to stay where the hotel makes every effort to try and match Mother nature’s stunning beauty. We will return, but not to Bandos.

Room Tip: I think the Beach Villas are worth the extra money. They are in a good location and very well designed.
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Steve C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2012

My partner and I have just returned from a two week holiday in the Maldives. We spent the first 12 days on a liveaboard diving, followed by three days on Bandos Island. We were on a bed and breakfast basis in a deluxe villa.

We had an enjoyable and relaxing stay, although it was pricey compared to other destinations we have visited. We knew this before we went and I do appreciate that this is due in part to the fact that most goods are imported and therefore incur additional costs.

I would advise taking extra sun cream, first aid items etc. as they are costly to buy in the island, as is the case with most places.

The island itself is quiet and the grounds are clean and well maintained. Reception on arrival was welcoming and we received all of the information we needed at check in. The island is small (approx. 1.8km in radius) and easy to walk from one side to the other.

Our room was a deluxe villa and was spacious and clean with decent air conditioning, a comfortable bed and a living area with sofa and table. The bathroom was huge and there was plenty of hot water. We were diving morning and afternoon so it was good to be able to wash off afterwards and not worry about the hot water running out.

The breakfast was ok with the usual choice of fayre: fruit, cereal, cold meats and cheeses, cooked breakfast items with an egg station, Maldivian curries and breads, sweet pastries, fresh juice etc. I'm puzzled why the fresh watermelon is in syrup?

As we were on a bed and breakfast basis, we didn't dine in the buffet restaurant other than for breakfast, so I can't comment on the food at lunch or dinner. The a la carte restaurants were ok. The food we ordered was tasty. The rare steak we ordered was medium to well done but tasty nevertheless. It was the same elsewhere when we ordered steak so perhaps rare steak is uncommon in the Maldives. I'll eat just about anything but the choice of food at the restaurants was fairly limited and I can imagine it becoming repetitive after a while. However, it is a small island and the majority of guests seemed to have opted for the meal package in the buffet restaurant, so I can see why a la carte choices are limited. The restaurant waiters were uncertain of the ingredients of some of the dishes, so if you have dietary restrictions, it can be a little tricky to be sure of what you are ordering, including vegetarian options.

The gentleman working the Sea Breeze bar made us feel very welcome. Even though we varied our drinks, they remembered what we'd previously had, which is a nice touch. The popcorn and friendly banter was always in plentiful supply.

One evening, a group of young guests in their 20s visited the island from a cruise boat called the Ecstasy. I was embarrassed to be English that evening as they proceeded to be belligerent and snobbish when the barman didn't know how to make an espresso martini and then proceeded to complain rather loudly when the pool table wasn't free of charge, having spent £50 quid on three drinks. The barman, to his enormous credit, handled both incidents with great professionalism, in spite of these people seeming to have left their manners at home.
Well done to the bar staff team! As predicted, several of them had to be carried back to the boat from which they had come! I only hope they suffered an industrial sized hang over on open seas the next day as suitable retribution for their behaviour. What is it they say about brits abroad?

We indulged in a spa treatment whilst we were there, and although extravagant, it was worth it. The reception area, treatment rooms, sauna and steam room are well appointed and the therapists professional. My full body massage was pure indulgency and sent me to sleep. My husband felt the same. In the centre of the spa, there is a coy carp pond fringed by lounger chairs but wasn't tired looking and not particularly inviting so could do with an overhaul.

Sadly, our holiday was overshadowed by a tragic accident in the sea on the day we arrived, when a gentleman drowned whilst swimming. We pulled him out of the water but it took around ten minutes for the medics to arrive, by which time it was too late. Given that there is no life guard, and that the island is surrounded by water, there should at the very least be a warning system in place and all of the hotel staff should be trained in basic first aid. Had any of the staff who arrived at the scene known how to administer CPR, perhaps the man could have been saved.

We decided to round our holiday off by diving with the resort's dive centre. The equipment seemed to be in good condition and they offer Nitrox at no extra charge. We are both advanced divers and had just finished a 12 day diving excursion on a liveaboard, so were well into the swing of things. On the first morning dive, the current was so strong that we were nearly swept off the reef and into the ocean, which meant that the part of the dive that was of interest couldn't be enjoyed and sailed by in a flash. Furthermore, the dive guide was nowhere to be seen. Whilst I understand that this is why you dive with a buddy, it’s essential to know what to expect during the dive briefing and prepare your dive plan accordingly. The other dive sites we visited were as good as anything we visited on our liveaboard. Sadly we missed the chance to dive Lankan as it was the day we were leaving. We spoke to the dive centre that afternoon and mantas were sighted on all of the dives that day.

Positives: friendly and enthusiastic staff; beautiful white sandy beaches, amazingly healthy house reef and marine life - we saw black tip reef sharks, morays, scorpion fish, crabs, and many many reef fish whilst snorkelling in the shallows; courteous and helpful staff; clean and tidy grounds; spacious air conditioned room; plenty of hot water; comfortable beds; outdoor drying area to hang swim gear, wetsuits etc.

Negatives: no life guard or help point to request emergency help from island staff; strong currents on the East side of the island (there should be a warning system like the flag system in England to indicate whether it is safe to swim); significant reef damage due to snorkelers kicking and standing on the corals; price for food and drinks; bottled water was expensive; food choice was limited; cost of keeping the room on from 12 noon to 6 pm on our day of departure was the same as the full room rate ($176), even though the hotel wasn't fully booked.

All in all, I would return for the beauty of the place, the warmth of the staff who looked after us and the diving.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank NickyMNcle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 2, 2012

My wife and I have just returned from an 11 night stay on a half board basis, at Bandos. This was our second visit in 3 years. We are a professional couple in our mid 40's and we also holiday in Mauritius. This will hopefully be a balanced and fair review. At the outset, I'd like to state that we had a great time, I love the island and we want to return. It does, however, have its faults and for some people those faults will be terminal while for others, they will seem trivial. It all depends on what you are seeking. On both occasions we booked last minute and this is not our main holiday.
Firstly, it has to be understood that Bandos is NOT your typical romantic location. If you want the stereotypical, exclusive romantic honeymoon paradise, you need to go elsewhere. Bandos caters for couples, families, groups (including airline cabin crews on stop overs) ...a whole cross section of people from quite a mix of countries and cultures, young and old alike. That isn't to say that you wouldn't find it romantic, just that it is a bit more multi purpose with something for everyone.
Secondly, whilst the service is generally courteous and welcoming, some individuals put in more effort than others and it is not the pampering, customer is king, nothing is too much trouble sort of service we experience in Mauritius. It did feel sometimes that the level of service was geared more to the convenience of the staff and not the guest. The inconsistency of service meant that we experienced some staff who appeared to want to do that little bit extra for us, while some others appeared somewhat less enthusiastic and less user friendly.
(We usually fly direct with BA but on this occasion flew Emirates via Dubai. Emirates has more leg room (I'm 6ft 3") on its flights, the service is better and it's actually nice to break the 11-12 hour flight journey and have a couple of hours to stretch your legs and use the facilities at Dubai.)
On arrival at Male we were met by the rep from Hummingbird travel and led 50 yards or so from the airport terminal to the harbour where we boarded a boat and arrived at Bandos about 10-15 mins later. First impressions as you see the island are "wow" and you are welcomed at the jetty by staff who lead you to reception and check you in. Guests and their luggage are then driven to their room in an electric buggy. The island itself is round and compact..it takes less than half an hour to walk around it and you are never really more than a 2 minute walk from the beach. The beach is certainly no more than 30 seconds from any of the accommodation which is low level and spread out amongst the gardens and palm trees. Wildlife seen daily includes lizards, geckos, large fruit bats ( flying foxes), hermit crabs of all sizes, myna birds, parrots and of course the fabulous marine life. Fabulous house reef with so many fish. You can snorkel, paddle or just stand on the harbour edge and see it all through the crystal water. You can learn to dive here and the diving and game fishing scene is huge here. Reef sharks regularly swim by, within reach, most no more than 2ft long and an awesome sight. They steer clear of humans, so don't worry. There is a dive centre, medical centre, water sports facility, gymnasium, squash and tennis courts, kids club, swimming pool with swim up bar. Everywhere you go, it feels uncrowded and very peaceful. You have Sundowners bar and restaurant which gives great views of the sunset and the Sand bar, which is the main entertainment venue. The Gallery restaurant us the default buffet venue for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are 2 a la carte restaurants, the Harbour and Sea Breeze. Both have a good variety of local and international dishes. Breakfast is a choice of cereals, fresh fruit,dried fruit, pastries, curries, boiled, fried or scrambled eggs and omelettes. Some reviewers criticise the "lack of choice". I don't know about you, but I eat porridge everyday at home. Most folk don't eat a hotel style cooked breakfast each day...so how can anyone complain about a so called lack of choice? Lunch and dinner in the Gallery are a choice of meat/fish/ veg curries, local fish, salads etc. there are chefs cooking up assorted stir frys, pasta dishes and meats and fish from the grill. The choice of deserts was great and there is plenty if fresh fruit. We were half board and chose to do lunch each day rather than dinner ( it's up to you each day, they just tick you off on a list) . We then paid to eat in the main restaurants each evening. All costs are billed to your room account. Our favourite is Sea Breeze where you sit outside on a wooden veranda, over the sea, so you can watch the fish below as you enjoy the beautiful view. Alcohol is expensive. Wine starts at $19 for a carafe of house wine and from $35 a bottle. However, if you go to Sundowners for happy hour, you can purchase wine at a 25% discount and take it to dinner with you. All prices have an additional 10% service charge added ( no need to tip) plus 6.5% tax. If you are half or full board, you get 15% off food in the a la carte restaurants. All inclusive is very restricted and you still have to pay for tea, coffee and water!!!! If you are return guests, you get 10% of food AND alcohol. We paid £3200 (total)for flights and accommodation for 11 nights on half board. We then spent an additional £800 on food and drink, which wasn't too bad. Next time we will go bed and breakfast.
Accomodation wise, we stayed in a Garden Villa near the pool. Very peaceful and convenient, very charming, thatched roofed wooden "Tenko" style huts with verandas. These are semi detached, with wooden floors, wooden walls , four poster bed, TV, fridge ( mini bar) , shower/ wet room with toilet. The only problem we found was that the dividing walls are paper thin and we heard every single bit of the neighbours activity as if we had been in the same room. We have previously stayed in the standard rooms and they are of a sturdier construction and much better insulated against noise.
There are trips available, daily ferries to Male, trips to the uninhibited sister island Kudabandos and the dolphin trips. Entertainment is varied , from karaoke to live bands, local cultural displays and crab racing...Its generally low key with an atmosphere dictated by the type and number of guests. There is lots of outdoor seating where you can chill or use the wifi, which is free in and around the bar, but you have to pay to use it away from the bar. Views from the west and south of the island are beautiful. The view from the east is ok, but you see Male and the airport in the distance. The North side gives you distant view of "Rubbish Island" with its constant plume of smoke. Most of the viewpoints seem designed to give you the best views and avoid the less desirable sights.
There is a jungle feel to the island, with an abundance of palm trees, lizards and the graceful fruit bats that fly from tree to tree all through the day. A fascinating sight. Moveable Sun loungers are spread out along the beach, for you to put where you want. There are no parasols on the beach and no waiter service. Personally I think this makes the beach feel more natural. Sun loungers and parasols are around the pool. It's very relaxed and we never felt any need to reserve a lounger. There were always some available. Gardeners seem to be constantly planting things and pruning trees, removing coconuts etc. sadly not enough effort goes into keeping the place free of litter and it is disappointing seeing empty plastic bottles and other bits of packaging lying in the grounds and on the beach. Whilst guests should be tidier, it is up to the resort to keep things tidy.

I think that's most things covered... we didn't see many Mosquitos but still got bitten, probably by sand flies. No nasty bugs, no nasty spiders. 30 degrees most days. When it rains, it's usually torrential for 20 minutes then the sky's clear again and it's sunny. Even when overcast it's lovely and hot. As I said at the start, we love Bandos, the reef, the wildlife, the atmosphere. Some things let it down, but for us it was a convenient, last minute beach holiday, good value and most enjoyable. Almost paradise. And we will return... Enjoy!

Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
8  Thank Hitmanmark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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