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“Best Value in the Real Maldives”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Equator Village

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Equator Village
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gan Island
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
117 reviews
88 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 284 helpful votes
“Best Value in the Real Maldives”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 6, 2012

The all-inclusive Equator Village resort has to offer one of the best values for money paid in the Maldives. We paid a very reasonable sum for a five night stay here. No there was no five star beach front over the water villa accommodation, yet we would find friendly staff, a comfortable room, decent food and drink, private snorkel excursions and all at a fraction of the cost of other resorts in the Maldives.

We did significant research on “real Maldivian” spots and were rewarded with the what we sot after! Gan island is pretty much the only place in the whole Maldives where one can rent a scooter, drive about and interact with the locals and if that along with basic all inclusive accommodation and meeting some great Maldivians is your thing then you cannot go wrong staying here!

We were somewhat nervous of our booking and flights as the resort refused to confirm or book our flights from Male until a week before our arrival. Apparently they told us this is standard procedure. We had to insist on a booking for insurance and to make sure we made our connecting flights resulting in some heated email exchanges which eventually led to a booking and confirmation number……. It was not a great start and still does not sit well with us. The flights going and coming from Male a number of times a day are always full so be prepared to be flexible with your schedule if you book flights and accommodation directly with the resort! I think we would book our flights separately if we returned again to avoid this experience!

The flight up to Gan Island was part of the parcel and truly a scenic one that included crossing the equator for which we were all given certificates. Our pick up ride was waiting for us at the airport and we would subsequently check in to a large clean plainly decorated room, that unfortunately refused to cool. After two hours the temperature actually increased in the room and we complained. Maintenance showed up and declared the A/C good based on the fact they could hear the unit operating, and thereby indicated we wait for four hours. After four hours the increased temperature still had not moved from 29.0 Celsius so we tracked down the General Manager who immediately moved us to a room with a brand new A/C unit that worked bang on and cooled the room promptly below expectations.

In the barracks style room which was large, clean and comfortable we had a fridge, on demand hot water shower with soap but no Shampoo……… however a trip across the road to the local shop solved the Shampoo issue and all at a very reasonable price. The store sold a number of sundries and touristy items and would also rent Scooters to tour the island, however it pays to check with the shops further up the road as their prices can be somewhat more competitive! Although the resort offers free bicycle use, we had difficulty finding ones that were reliable and in good repair, so a pair of scooters for travel in the heat of day seemed to be the best option for touring the complete Attol!

The grounds here are beautiful and well-manicured. Gardeners can be seen maintaining the grounds daily. Say hello to them and you might find yourself with a bouquet of tropical flowers or just one or two for your ladies hair. In fact all the staff from the gardeners, the front desk staff, cooks, waiters and bar staff were supper friendly and always helpful. Speak slowly so they can understand you and spend some time getting to know them. Some of the staff are imported on a one year long contract from Sri Lanka, however many of the staff were born on the Island of Gan or a neighboring island and are raising families and living nearby.

The dining room, bar area and recreations rooms is all barracks type open air rooms that are cooled by ocean breezes. There is a military type regimented system in that on arrival you are assigned a waiter (ours was Ishmael) and a table which is yours for all three meals a day for your entire stay. You must use the same table for every meal. Singles would sit at the same table on their own every meal………

Meals are buffet style and the food is basic and bland but serves the purpose of a meal. Keep in mind you are not paying for five star gourmet meals. The resort caters to a lot of Russians who can get quite pushy to get their food. Delaying until they go through is generally the more relaxing approach. There tended to be a different Buffet food theme every night, Western, Chinese, Russian, BBQ nights etc.

Lunch & dinner always had salads, breads, chicken, fish, rice, curry & cooked vegetables, Deserts consisted of lots of gelatin type dishes with a few cakes

There is an omelet station at breakfast. Breakfast tended to be put out around 4:00 AM to feed the first flight out guests, so the food was a bit dried out by 7:30 – 8:00 AM opening time frame.

The all-inclusive package includes Chinese Beer / Cheap Rum & Brandy /whiskey and wine. There are no blenders, but ice, Juice & soft drinks are available for mixed drinks
The pool here is large and spread out with lots of chairs around the pool – like the beach, people tend to spread out and there is never a feeling of having people on top of you or finding an empty chair.

We would snorkel the house reef finding it not too bad for a house reef. The best value was booking a private boat through the resort for around $100 for the morning and taking a three stop snorkel tour getting to see rays and turtles and a good assortment of fish and coral.

Laundry was very cheap and the clothes always returned clean.

The Spa was a bit of a rip considering the only one girl working appeared somewhat inconvenienced by having more than one massage to do in an afternoon. We wished we had given it a miss as her massages reflected her attitude – weak and ineffective!

We knew before arrival that we had not booked five star luxury, but for what we paid and the experience we had this may well have been the best value for money spent on our whole two month trip.

Our thanks to the management and staff, who made our stay so pleasant and memorable. Given the opportunity we would return again and look forward to that possibility!

Room Tip: Come with a purpose to see & meet real Maldivians
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank andy.karla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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170 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
Date | Rating
  • Czech first
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 10, 2012

The Equator Village Hotel is a converted ex-Airforce base on the Island of Gan. It makes no grandiose claims to be a five star hotel so you pretty much know what you are going to get before you book. However, whilst I was not at all disappointed with most of the hotel facilities - rooms are large and clean, the grounds are beautiful and well tended, the bar, pool and restaurant areas were clean and comfortable. The big downer for me was the food. It was awful, sometimes inedible and very limited. All this hotel has to do to improve is to go for better quality food! Gan is considered to be the best place to dive in the Maldives, as a diver I was bitterly disappointed with the dive school there - really poor service all round from the bad dive briefings to the prices and quality of the services provided. The dive school really need to improve before I would revisit Gan again.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
6 Thank Dix999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michigan City, Indiana
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 26, 2012

Stayed here for 3 weeks, that was 2 weeks too long. Accommodations are clean and simple. AC and fans works well when electricity works, which is most of the time but not every day. Staff is moderately friendly which works for me, the eastern European didn’t seem to mind but for the Americans you could see it was an issue. Equator village manage to miscalculate my arrival and miss-booked my ticket, so I had to at my own expense change my whole travel literary. No apologies or effort to try to compensate me. They did the same thing at arrival so I had to stay an extra day in Male. I heard from other travelers that I was not alone in the booking mess situation. So whatever you do, do not book directly with Equator Village, they can’t handle the administration of it. I had to change my room once during our stay, I never got an explanation for that either, but all rooms are the same basically. During my 3 weeks I got water refilled only twice in the room. A bottle per person and day was promised at booking. Bottle of water cost 3 dollars at the bar, if you don’t have the all inclusive option. Bikes are flat out dangerous and not recommended, they need so much service that it’s almost not worth it. Breakfast is decent with lots of options. Rest of the food is rather bland and got quickly old. It is definitely pricy and not worth the cost. Meals are $17 a pop. Lunch and dinner felt like extremely overpriced leftover every time.
Diving is ok, I’m honestly surprise about the reviews since I’ve been around and I can tell you it’s not cheap or fantastic. I’ve had much better diving in Indonesia and Australia and the Dominican Republic, and very similar experiences in Malaysia and Thailand and the Caribbean. The dive staff seems to be targeted to their German customers. If you are used to dive with professional dive masters this is a bit different and I would not recommend this for beginners even if most of the dives I did were fairly easy. Diving with the shop is bare minimum. No gauges at all. You can rent a computer for extra which is recommended. Dive prices are on the higher side ~70 dollars per tank. Overall it’s barely OK. Not worth a trip around the world for. I will not come back and I would not recommend this place for others.

Room Tip: Away from Mosque, they will wake you up at 4am.
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
16 Thank Lucy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northop, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2012

We went to Equator Village 6/12 for 14 nts. Rooms had just been decorated so were clean and comfortable. The pool bar was unmanned and the bar staff were very rude and would not even acknowledge you were waiting to be served, I complained to a manager who was having his dinner in the restaurant and after that we did get better service at the bar and the pool bar was opened most days. We took bikes out to see the island but all the beaches were so dirty that we gave up and went back to the hotel.On every day bar the last day the evening meals were pretty bad and we struggled to find enough to eat. i did write a complaint about the food in a book at reception though nothing was done. On the last day the food was really nice and it turns out the chef had returned, they must have been managing without a chef so no surprise that the food had been bad...The Diving at Equator Village was amazing very diverse lots to see, Manta point is excellent and saw some really big manta's.House reef is ok for a couple of Dives but quite a bit of debris. Overall we had a good holiday but would not return as the hotel needs a good shake up. Its a shame nothing major was wrong but just a lot of little things which could be so easily rectified.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Diana S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2012

My wife and I have just retruned from a seven-day stay at the Equator Village and are cursing the fact that we couldn't stay longer. 10 days should be the absolute minimum for anyone planning such a long journey to such a wonderful destination.

Our experience of the hotel and the island, was very positive, and fits in with the descriptions provided by several other satisfied guests in this forum (tripadvisor). One thing I wanted to add was to emphasize the special staff-guest relationship at th heart of our experience. The front-of-house manager Zuhair, a former Maths teacher, excells in welcoming and caring for his guests. The personal approach he adopts is extended to the dining room. Our waiter for the week introduced himself as Ishmael, and the Head Chef, Ali, was always on hand at the buffet to invite guests both to sample his wares and to chat about the day's diving, snorkelling and sightseeing activities. I noticed that the guests who appeared to be the happiest tended to be those who engaged with each other and with the staff in a relaxed and friendly manner. One word of warning: some of the guests - thankfully very few - are less civilised than others. Remember the name of the resort is the Equator 'Village' - so yes, there are village idiots that you need to ignore or find ways of working around.
Best wishes and good luck to all of those planning a trip to this location and lots of love to Guido, Shereen and Janine, our wonderful new friends!

Room Tip: There are some newly refurbished rooms - ask for one of these
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank martin m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gan, Maldives
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 5, 2011

I was there to eat food and have some drinks, they have stopped us from drinking because some guy urinated on the driveway in a bush. Is the resort telling us that there have been no guests in your resort who have done crazy stuff after getting drunk? No one is new to goto resorts here and neither is drinking new to us.

The way the staff treated us even though we just asked for food was very unacceptable. He told us there was just 5mins left for the kitchen to close and as we were looking through the menu he tells us we have only 4mins left (dint know they had stop watches). Even the way the food was served was as if they were doing us a favor.

The place is a good place but with a very bad staff, even the manager doesnt know how to treat and talk to customers.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Deepanarun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
384 reviews
68 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 204 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 12, 2011

The resort is really a former British air force base returned to the Maldives in 1976. So it feels a bit military, barracks really, but really nicele re-done and converted for tourists. It is not luxury, though the rooms are clean and service is impeccable. Each room has an ensuite and A/C.

The garden are well tended and food is abundant and hearty. All-you-can-eat so watch out! The menu changes every day and they can manage cuisines from around the world rather well. Waiters were friendly and helpful, as was all staff really.

The dive center, which is really the main reason to fly all the way here from Male', is run by a German old hand who keep a tight schedule and an efficient operation. Lots of five sites, so plan to stay as long as possible! The good thing is that el nino did not cause any bleaching here so the coral gardens are intact!

You can also ask for a tour of Gan by car, of bike, it's worth a couple of hours perhaps on your last day before flying back when you can't dive anyway.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Marco C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Equator Village

Property: Equator Village
Address:
Location: Maldives > Addu Atoll > Gan Island
Amenities:
Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Gan Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Equator Village 3.5*
Number of rooms: 78
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Equator Village spa resort- the alluring tropical beauty of Addu Atoll. Nestled in one of the largest, most interestingly formed and historically rich atolls of Maldives, an exotic adventure begins the moment you start your journey from INIA to Gan International Airport. This is not your typical Maldivian resort; this is an equatorial escape into a land of culture and nature entwined together ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Equator Village Hotel Gan
Equator Village Seenu Atoll
Equator Village Maldives/Gan Island

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