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!
- 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