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“A beautiful little sanctuary”

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Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef Maldives
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Hembadhu
Certificate of Excellence
England - UK
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“A beautiful little sanctuary”
Reviewed December 2, 2011

Trip advisor

My partner and I stayed at Vivanta from the 16th November for 2 stunning weeks on this small but beautifully formed and well managed hideaway. I wanted to ensure I wrote a review immediately as my experience was enjoyable and positive and I wanted to put a fair and honest review to paper so to speak whilst the memories were still fresh, hence why I'm writing this from the airport!

Firstly I'm an experienced worldwide traveller, both business and pleasure as is my other half. I've stayed in a variety of accommodation, depending on the situation and the trip but obviously like most when the trip is for pleasure; annual vacation or otherwise I like to spoil myself (don't we all!).   I'm also no stranger to the Maldives so I feel my review will be all encompassing and helpful to any readers wishing to stop by.  

We had originally booked half board, in a Deluxe Beach Villa which is a middle range room after the Charm Beach Villas. The Indulgent Water Villas are the next best option after the Deluxe Villas.  For those with deep pockets there are two 'Navana' suites which are stunning with private pools but I personally feel there are not best placed at the best part of the island. The beach outside these two suites seems very rocky especially when trying to get into the sea (its also close to where the boats dock so not the most private). Nevertheless still beautiful and have the services of exclusive butlers. Personally I feel the Deluxe Rooms offer the best value, the spot of beach, coral gardens and general positioning is perfect. They are East facing and get the sun till around late afternoon by which time we were suitably fried! Our room was originally 206 which again I personally feel was the best spot (thank you to reservations as I emailed in advance for a well positioned room and was not disappointed). 

Our room was beautiful, stylishly decorated and always spotlessly clean and well maintained. Our room boy (who's name I've forgotten - sorry) was hardworking, polite and a good giggle. His attention to detail was as I'd expect for a Taj Hotel. He took his time cleaning and we couldnt believe how he made the shower screen so clean all the time, I was tempted to ask for tips!! ;-) 
The bathrooms are a great size, outside 2nd shower is a great option if the other half hogs the shower like mine does!! The baths are large and the bathroom opens out the the outside shower if you'd like to experience the outside in. 

Mini bar is well stocked, priced similarly to other resorts of this level which isn't the cheapest. We never used the minibar as the daily complimentary waters were plentiful. The beds are king size, fairly firm and again spotlessly clean. Each room has IPod docks and cable tv. Signal isn't always the best, but again you need to remember where you are and is TV that important when your in the Maldives? The outside decking is useful and a fair size too, slightly larger layout inside and out when compared to the charm villas. 

We did have a slight issue with our room as the air conditioning was faulty and over the course of 3 days we had intermittent a/c. However each time we reported this an engineer was at the door within minutes, in the end the unit couldn't be fixed in a timely fashion due to no fault of the engineers, so we were relocated to a Water Villa (109). Again a huge thank you to Vivanta, for this was a super grand gesture.  The Reception team are both genuine and professional and organised the replacement room within 30 minutes despite this running close to midnight. 

The water villas are stunning, larger floor plan and beautifully large bathrooms with bath tubs fit for 2 which then open onto your private decking. Similar natural furniture and art as the previous rooms just on a larger scale. The outside deck is also generous, my only criticism here is that could of done with an extended sun deck out a little more; as our room never had full sun or was able to view the sun sets which are stunning FYI, but I'm literally picking minor faults.  The decking steps down into the beautiful ocean with an abundance of marine life. You won't be disappointed. Personally I enjoyed the snorkelling more outside the Deluxe Villa rather the the Water villa, I found the water clearer and the marine life was more varied on the other side of the island. We were ever very lucky to see Manta Rays, and harmless sizeable Reef Shark let alone the usual 5pm Sting Ray visitors coming for the feeding which by the way was awesome. Even Dolphin came into the bay and various guests saw them whilst on the Pedlo's touring the islands perimeter. 

Previously I mentioned we were Half Board, from reading previous reports we decided to upgrade to All Inclusive which covered Lunch and obviously drinks which included a good selection of branded drinks and cocktails. Try the Red Snapper! Thank you Rana and crew! I'm glad we upgraded our plan as the drinks aren't cheap as you'd expect so I feel we got our money's worth from the upgrade. 

The pool is stunning and has sun-beds on one side as its an infinity pool so you have to chase the sun if you like to sit in full sun all day. The "egg" beds are best of you want to worship the sun all day fyi.  The pool is serviced by a number of Pool staff which I found to be fun and very helpful.  Complementary fruit kebabs and mocktails were commonplace in the morning which Id expect, cold towels would of been nice as would an afternoon treat.  Special thanks to Baasan!  (and the gentleman from Sri Lanka who's name I forgot again, sorry!). 

We didn't sample the Spa this time around but from what we hear it was first class, as are the diving facilities and instructors. Some of the best I've personally seen. Patient and friendly instructors take guests thought their paces then into the open water where they can explore Vivanta's shipwreck where groups from all over the Maldives flock to view so were very lucky to have it on our doorstep! 

WIFI is available at a charge, and you can run up a mid sized bill as did I.  From my experience in other luxury resorts wifi is usually complementary either around the pool or in your room, I'd expect this and was a little disappointed this wasn't the case, but again it hardly ruined my stay. 

Now for the best bits... The food!

The menu was beautifully crafted and expertly presented and serviced. The team in Altitude were fantastic, you tend to get a regular waiter like most Maldivian resorts but this isn't always a given due to rest breaks in working rotas. All staff make you feel very welcome and all of the senior staff are great at explaining each dish if you wish. (thank you to Tariq). The deserts are fabulous and I'm definitely on diet from tomorrow as a result of this trip!! Each day there are specials which are crafted again with skill and precision. There are other options to eat at, the Pizzaria and the Grill are also  recommendable. Charges do apply for certain meals but it's well worth it. The Tapenyaki and 
Sushi are first class as was "Open" - the evening menu at the Grill. Worth every penny. 

The worst bit, coming home. 

A massive thank you to all the staff, friendly, approachable and well trained which you'd expect from the Taj group. Some minor tweaks could be made but overall this compact resort offers value for money, choice, and good solid service for an entry level 5 star resort in my opinion. If it wasn't for the fact there are so many resorts to sample I'd be back next year. I'd definitely recommend this resort for those wanting a quiet relaxing break surrounded by natural beauty qbut be prepared to come back a few pounds heavier!

  • Stayed November 2011
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Helpful?
6 Thank Mike_Ellis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Bristol, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed November 24, 2011

We had the most amazing time from stepping off the plane to our departure from the resort. The place is truly wonderful. We travelled there for a week and really didnt want to come home. The food was excellent, the menu choices were plentiful and the lunchtime menu around the pool was great, fresh pizzas and sandwiches and drinks in abundance! weather was beautiful and there wasnt anything the staff there would not do for you. We stayed in a charm beach villa which was perfect, the room had everything you could want and was cleaned twice daily. Outside the beach villa you found yourself on the most amazing beach, with a hammock or a comfy sofa to sit and relax on. We went snorkelling and diving most days and the coral reefs were beautiful. Thank you to Hussein for looking after us and all your lovely staff, nothing was ever too much trouble and we were greeted with a lovely smile every morning. A big thankyou to Scott also for the diving experience, what a truly amazing place to learn to dive. We visited the spa three times on our visit and each time we had the most relaxing massages, again the staff are brilliant and make you feel very welcome. We chose the all inclusive option before we arrived and it was well worth it. It is very expensive on the island and we were glad we did this. The only drawback was the all inclusive package still meant that you had to have lunch at a certain time, not as and when you pleased as is with most all inclusive packages. We asked for lunch at 3pm the first day we got there and were told that we would have to pay for this as it was outside the specified times. This wasnt a problem but then the waiter said he had had a word with the manager and waived it for us because we were not aware of this. Service!!.

The stingray feeding is the highlight of the day. Every day at 5pm the stingrays descend onto the beach to be fed, and a few sharks thrown in!! What other place in the world can you be up close to these magnificent creatures, so tame and such a wonderful experience to be able to see wildlife at its very best.

The place is very relaxing, i managed to read 5 books whilst there, just lounging around soaking up the atmosphere was just the relaxing holiday that was wished for and in the evenings after a relaxing massage and dinner you dont feel like you need to stay up and join in the entertainment because there isnt any!! Would not do for some people but definitely worked for us.

I was truly sad to be leaving and would liked to have stayed for another week! Maybe one day!

All in all a perfect holiday destination and should be added to everyones bucket list. Thank you for making our holiday truly wonderful.

Room Tip: The Charm Beach villas are excellent value for money. We loved the fact that you could just walk st...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Tracey W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mumbai (Bombay), India
Level 3 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed November 24, 2011

Simply Amazing (Someone said a pen in mightier than a sword, but this is an exception its simply not explainable through a review). Everything about the hotel is excellent - Rooms, service (more like, your wish is our command), amenities, food and location. have an option to take submarine ride or go underwater scuba diving and best the sting ray feeding. Got a free upgrade from water villa to superior water villa. Will definitely be back

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Ashok77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed November 21, 2011

As i write this i am sitting in my designated beach bungalow overlooking the beautiful Indian Ocean. I know i will probably not write a view when i get back home, so this seemed like an ideal time. after using trip advisor so very often to look up reviews for impending holidays, i felt it was about time i wrote one!  

firstly i would like to say that everything you see in the brochures is absolutely accurate, from the qaint reception area you first encounter on your arrival to the pristine villas. I would like to add that there are three types of main villas, each beautiful, we are staying in a charm villa, which when we booked we were not quite sure if we had made the right choice, but on arrival it was perfect. We highly recommend the one we are staying in (220) as it has the best stretch of beach out of all the 'delight charm villas', with an excellent view of the sunset.

Secondly, the service is second to none, on arrival by boat we were quickly checked in and shown to our lovely room, followed by our laggage. We manged to lock ourselves out of our safe and had problems with the internet, both were rectified quickly and efficiently. The staff are friendly, proffessional and curtious. I would like to give a special mention to Amol,Isam, Hussain and Frasier in the restuarant and Kannan in the bar who are making our dining and bar experiences perfect. There is large selection on the menu, we are here for two weeks and there is something deliciousg to eat every night.

The dive centre is excellent, from what other people have mentioned to us whilst we are here, we booked a snorkeling trip, my husband is a non swimmer, but he took the snorkeling lesson for $50 and it was worth every penny, he overcome his fear, so thank you Scott for acheiving what we thought would be impossible! Needless to say he did very well on the trip, but i had a panic attack, but Hakim was on hand to relax me and actually coaxed me out of it..

There are different packages you can choose from, we opted for half board as we do not drink alchohol that much breakfast and a three course dinner was enough for us. However if you like to drink and eat all inclusive would be advisable as drinks range from $8 for a bottle of beer, $10 for non alchoholic drinks and $15 for cocktails on top of that you pay tax (3.5%) and service charge (5%). Pizzas are aprx $30 each.

So if you are considering a trip to this resort, you will not be dissapointed, everything you see and read in the brochures is spot on..if you are not sure whether you would like a beach villa on the sand or a water villa, then I would suggest if you prefer more privacy and immediate access to the calm waters of the lagoon a water villa is ideal, otherwise you will not be dissapointed with a beach villa.

Although i started writing the review whilst on holiday, this has been posted on our return. We had the most relaxing holiday surrounded by beauty and lovely people. This is our second visit to the Maldives and one day we would love to return to Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef.

Room Tip: Out of the delight charm villas rooms 220 - 222 have the best stretch of beach, the superior charm v...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank TheAndreous
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, New Zealand
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed November 20, 2011

OMG, thank you Vivanta by Taj, we came to you on our honeymoon, and we could not have choosen a better place. I would recommend Vivanta by Taj to anyone wishing to visit the Maldives. The food was top class, the service was outstanding, the people amazing. You just went that extra mile and believe me it totally counts, thank you once again for being top class in everything you do.

Room Tip: Pay the extra for villa overwater
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank EvaHeron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gurugram (Gurgaon), India
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 13, 2011

Maldives, for the longest time, has been a dream destination for me and I couldn't believe the fact that I actually managed to tick it off my list.

From the time we got off the plane, we were treated to luxury. A hotel official greeted us and took us to our speed boat. We reached past midnight and the staff was kind enough to arrange our room earlier than usual. Our beach villa was beautiful, spacious and very comfortable with an outdoor shower. We had beach chairs and a hammock which overlooked the ocean and we found ourselves there quite often just soaking in the sights.

We managed to snorkel a couple of times and the corals, color of the water and the marine life are no less than what you see on Nat Geo. For me that was a real high point of the trip. The fact that you can step out of your room and straight into the water, snorkel to your hearts content and then relax by the beach with a good book.

The staff was very friendly and jovial. They always greeted us with a smile even when they walked past. A special thank you to Allwyn Drego, the GM, who ensured that the guests were always comfortable at the resort. He would take out time to meet and talk to his guests and offer advise on how to best spend the time at the resort. We spent an evening at the bar with him and the diving instructors - Scot, Frankie and Marcus - a fun loving and jovial lot. It was a great evening with great company! Thanx guys!

I would specially like to mention the food at this point. If I have one word to describe it, it would be OUTSTANDING! I decided to try a different dish with each meal and, mind you I am one fussy eater. Every dish set the benchmark slightly higher than the previous one. From the innovative b'fast menu to the pizzas we had for lunch to the steaks for dinner ...everything just kept getting better and better. I believe the creative brain behind the menus and food presentation was Chef Vikas... kudos to you and your team. Hussain and Sattar are two people who with their warm and friendly smile made the whole dining experience even better! Your two bartenders (i'm sorry for not knowing their names) were quite an entertaining duo. Again, very friendly, energetic and hospitable. Sattar went to the extent of making an origami fish out of leaves for my wife.. something he said he only does for his special clients. We will preserve that forever. Thank you!

One of the highlights of the holiday was certainly the sting-ray feeding... something which we had never experienced or seen before. Initially I was very scared but the following day I warmed up to the idea and then I couldn't get enough of it. If you ever happen to stay here then it would be a waste if you didn't try this.

For us it wasn't just another holiday... it was an experience of a lifetime!
My wife said..."It's going to take me quite a while to wake up from this dream!"

Room Tip: If you stay in the beach villas then nos. 210 & 211 offer a beautiful beach.
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank SidKaps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AllwynDrego, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef Maldives, responded to this review, November 15, 2011
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your detailed and fabulous review of our lovely resort. I am glad to know that you enjoyed your stay with us and do recommend us as a preferred holiday destination to family and friends. I will certainly convey your gracious words of praise and appreciation to my entire team especially the various names mentioned. Words that you have penned down inspire us to excel and create magical moments for our guests that last a lifetime.

Do keep me informed whenever you plan your next trip to our part of the water world.

Yours sincerely,

Allwyn Drego
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Henley in Arden, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed November 13, 2011

This is the first holiday (our honeymoon) which actually looked better than the photos. We had a bungalow on the beach which was impeccably clean, stylish in design and with 17 different pillows to chose from; you needed for nothing. The shaded sun lounges and hammock were a welcome break from the sun and you only took three steps into the beautiful ocean. Snorkelling is outstanding here.
Thanks to Kanan and Raj for making our lunch and evenings great, Kanan does a fantastic job getting you your favourite music (lovely touch) to listen to in the bar. Both Kanan and Raj are the epitome of great service.
Thanks to all who were so considerate when my husband was taken ill; they couldn't do enough. And thanks to Tariq in the restaurant for again - superb service.
Make sure you get some scuba diving in with Scott & Frank, they really do look after you.
The food is well prepared and presented and there is an endless choice. The pizza's at lunchtime are scrummy!
Book this place - you will not be disappointed.

Room Tip: The beach bungalows are just as good as the water bungalows
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Rudders71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AllwynDrego, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef Maldives, responded to this review, November 15, 2011
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your detailed review of our lovely resort. I am glad to know that you enjoyed your stay with us and do recommend us as a preferred holiday destination to family and friends. I will certainly convey your gracious words of praise and appreciation to my entire team especially the various names mentioned.

Do keep me informed whenever you plan your next trip to our part of the water world.

Yours sincerely,

Allwyn Drego
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef Maldives

Property: Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef Maldives
Address: Hembudhu Island, North Male Atoll
Phone Number:
Location: Maldives > Kaafu Atoll > North Male Atoll > Hembadhu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Hembadhu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef Maldives 5*
Number of rooms: 62
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
VIVANTA BY TAJ. A FRESH NEW WAY TO HOLIDAY.Vivanta By Taj - Coral Reef, Maldives has all the exotic ocean views and dramatic sunsets that are de rigueur for any tropical holiday. The twist comes when you step into your villa and instead of the usual beach dcor, find a streamlined, sophisticated take on resort accommodations. Vivanta by Taj has revamped the resort experience from stem to stern and offers the ideal escape at a stunning value proposition. Divers, beach bunnies, and honeymooners - we welcome you. After you descend into Male airport, a luxury speedboat spirits you and your luggage away to Hembadhu Island, where you arrive at Vivanta by Taj - Coral Reef. The resort is a diver's dream destination with numerous diving sites and it's very own 1000 year old coral-reef and shipwreck to explore. For those that prefer to stay on land, the view of the lagoon dotted with water villas is hypnotic. No matter where you travelled from, your world is about to become filled with white sand and magnificent coconut palms. Let Vivanta by Taj introduce you to bliss. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vivanta By Taj Coral Reef Maldives Hotel Hembadhu
Taj Coral Reef Hotel
Hotel Taj Coral Reef
Taj Coral Reef Maldives
Taj Coral Reef Resort Maldives
Vivanta By Taj Coral Reef Maldives Hembadhu

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