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Reviewed December 7, 2011

Ok we booked a garden room with the idea of upgrading when we got there, in the end we choose to stay in the garden room and use the money else where , the garden rooms are all new and are very close to reception and very close to a near piece of beach , so it really didn't bother us ! The room was nice and new , it had the out side bathroom ,pretty much the same as a beach villa except a view , we used the money on a massages and restaurants. , trips etc . The food was good , lots of choice ,we tried the hot rock which was nice but I had a nice steak and the mrs a veggy platter ! Drinks were good including the AI cocktail and also the iced coffee s! We dud pay for a fair few cocktails , margarita / mojito etc which were pretty expensive but nice! .Snorkling around the island was great , I did see a turtle around by the spa which was great and a massive aray of fish ! TIP take a rash vest before you go as the plankton was stinging us like mad ! Saw a women with massive rash from it ! Also wash your ears out after !.We did 2 trips and they were both great , saw manta rays and turtles and whale shark ! we also spent a small fortune at the spa which was worth it , couples full body massage , lotion scrub, bath , and champers ! Overall we didn't feel croweded at all , we felt chilled out , not much entertainment of an evening but that didn't spoil us ! We had a great honey moon , I would go back again! Big ty to the staff who work really hard !

  • Stayed: November 2011
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10  Thank chri1982
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 7, 2011

We stayed at Vilamendhoo in a beach villa and then a garden villa. Unfortunately we only had two to three days of great weather. Mostly it was overcast with a little rain and a few hours of sunshine during our eleven night stay. It also rained heavily with thunder and lightning for two of our days.

The flight;
We flew with BA directly to Male from Gatwick, on a half empty plane. The return journey had a lot of empty seats too. We then took the seaplane to Vilamendhoo after a wait of about half an hour. The flight is pretty spectacular so have your camera ready.

Arrival at Vilamendhoo;
We were greeted as expected with a cold towel and cocktail, and were upgraded from a garden villa to a beach villa. We were taken to our villa and some of our bags arrived shortly afterwards. Due to the amount of passengers on our seaplane flight one of our bags had not arrived. Luckily we had read previous reviews giving advice that we should take a change of clothes and some sun tan lotion in our hand luggage. (Either buy some after security in the UK or take it from your main luggage before you get on the seaplane). You can buy it at the resort but it costs between $25 to $30! My girlfriend's suitcase arrived about six hours later just before we went out for dinner!

Rooms;
Our beach villa was on the Northern part of the island which we thought was best as the beach is better, particularly at the western side. It was semi-detached so unfortunately you could hear your neighbour in the bathroom if you also happened to be in yours. Although apart from this the villa was spacious, clean and pretty nice. Because of this we decided to stay a bit longer in the beach villa and chose to upgrade for a further five nights, $25 dollar per day charge.

The garden room was quite a bit smaller, and we had neighbours on both sides. It was a lot noisier, and although you look out onto the gardens you have some sort of building work going on behind you. This is where the staff stay, and also where all the rubbish seems to accumulate. With this in mind and the relatively small cost of getting a beach villa, i would certainly recommend going for the beach villa.

Food;
We also upgraded from FB to AI plus. When you consider the cocktail of the day is included on the AIP package and is $7 on the drinks list. The lager about $6, a coke is $5, and you are charged a similar price for bottled water. We easily exceeded the $40 cost per person per day. Note this is what our tour operator charged us, it would have been more at the resort. The AIP also meant we had a free sunset cruise, gym use, tennis and badminton courts, kayak rental and windsurfing equipment we thought it was definitely worth the upgrade.
We found the food to be average to good. Some nights it was very good, although disappointingly for us we both got upset stomachs after having the curries. I tried them once more and had the same result. I regularly eat curries at home and so i was not happy with this but always found something else to eat that was fairly good. It does seem as if the same curries are left to eat all day, even at breakfast, and the food is never hot so this may be the reason. The desserts were always good though.

Trips;
We went on two whale shark trips after having only seen one on our first trip, $48 per person. The second trip was cancelled one day and re-scheduled the next day due to weather. However the weather was very overcast and the sea was far from calm so we were surprised this trip went ahead. As expected nothing was seen and so we felt we had wasted money as there seemed little chance of spotting a whale shark in such weather. Unfortunately you are charged for a trip if you don't cancel at least 8 hours before it is scheduled therefore we weren't able to cancel this futile second trip.
We also went on a manta and turtle trip, $48 per person. This was good and we saw both, although i would say fins are a must. I am a fairly strong swimmer but found the currents to be quite strong in some places, this also goes for the house reef. At the house reef the current always seemed to be North to South so swim accordingly. Sometimes the current was too strong for my girlfriend and so she did not go snorkelling despite wearing fins.

Sports etc;
Make sure if you play football you take trainers as there is a staff versus guest match every Sunday, which the staff take very seriously. We played 35 minutes each way in near 30 degree C heat, luckily it was cloudy!
If you intend to use the gym note that it is quite small and the equipment is limited. Despite this the running machines and bikes are very new and better than those at my expensive gym at home.

Overall;
The beaches are cleaner and more idyllic than most Caribbean beaches although pretty much non-existent on the Southern parts of the island. The resort is lovely, and most of the staff are extremely friendly, without seeming to be doing it just for tips. Especially Robin at the Bonthi bar and one of the bar staff at the Boashi pool bar who's name i forget.
As expected on a tropical island there are ants everywhere. We were also bitten a lot although we never saw any mosquitos and never left doors or windows open, so i am not sure what we were bitten by. The wildlife was amazing. Young black tip reef sharks, eagle rays, manta rays, sting rays, moray eels, turtles, geckos, fruit bats, herons and hundreds
of different fish could be seen in and around the island all the time.
Despite the island being quite small i still had enough to do, admittedly though a few more days would have been too much as we had quite poor weather.
We gave tips to most staff, and it seems the done thing, although sometimes we were made to feel the staff we waiting for a tip before they would go.
A great holiday.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank christycerny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 3, 2011

We had a very efficient transfer from Male airport to the seaplane port. The private lounge was a very pleasant and welcome surprise with comfortable seating, cold towels and free cold drinks.
It was here, however, that we were presented with THE FORM. Every adult is asked to provide personal details on one side and sign the INDEMNITY POLICY on the other. We are surprised that no-one else seems to have mentioned this. We believe that signing this might invalidate your own travel insurance policy, as we understand it to state that howsoever your injury or death may be caused it is not the fault of the owners. We refused to sign this but it did have implications for our stay there, meaning we could not partake of any trips as by doing so one is deemed to have agreed to this policy. We were less than impressed to be presented with this at this stage of the holiday, as we would have liked to check it out with our insurers/take legal advice on it.

Transfers - The seaplane transfers were excellent, especially our return as a gale was blowing but it was a very comfortable flight.

Check-in - We had read about over-booking but hoped for the best. We arrived about 10:35 and had to wait an unacceptable amount of time to be seen(about 25-30 minutes) which after a long flight is not what you want. What we noticed was that people who were going to get the rooms they had booked were seen first which only adds insult to injury. We were told by Sabine that our room (a Jacuzzi Beach Villa) would not be available for 2 days. We were upgraded to a Jacuzzi Water Villa. We did want to see what they were like but were disappointed that we could not have what we had booked. Further insult was added when we were told that the JWV would not be available until 1p.m. We were AI so could go to the bar and get a drink but we would have liked somewhere to freshen up and to leave our cabin bags before lunch. We do not think that management either care or realise how tired you are after a long flight and you just want to get settled in your accommodation. They then asked us to return to reception to collect the key. Now they should really have been coming to us with it. Sabine offered us a free trip for the inconvenience but no use to us. Would have preferred free ironing!! Did not feel settled or that holiday had started until in JBV. However the 2 days gave us time to compare the 2 rooms on offer.

TIP: pack things for a 2 day stay so that you can get to your essentials without creasing everything.

JWV - These are luxurious. They are very spacious with a low queen-sized bed which was supremely comfortable. There is a flat screen tv, coffee table, i-pod stand (also for MP3s), a dressing area with fridge and espresso machine. There is a very large part open bathroom area that leads to the jacuzzi area at the back. Large patio windows at the front lead to the decking area with excellent rattan sun beds and a table and two chairs. Steps lead down into the sea and there is a hand held shower. The table is fixed which meant that when it rained we were not able to move it back in order to still sit out. There was little cover when it rained.

JBV - We opted for one on the south side which gave some cover under the palms and which had a banyan tree outside the door. There was noise from the planes and the boats. We also had one afternoon when there were fumes around. In the end I had to go inside as I am asthmatic. Also on Saturday a building was knocked down somewhere behind us so we had a very noisy day. We also had an ugly cargo boat moored spoiling th efew for a few days before it moved to the man made island. The room was excellent having a queen-sized four poster bed that was also supremely comfortable. It had the same furniture as the JWV except for coffee table, and espresso machine. We had a kettle instead. The i-pod was not a stand and did not take MP3 but we were able to use DVD machine and put it through the tv. The decking area at the back was slightly smaller than JWV. We had a semi with a pillar at one side and a wall at the other. This wall offered some shelter and privacy. Lots of people walk past on this side. We also had a lot of rain and some very high winds. You have 2 rattan armchairs and a table. Main difference between JWV and JBV seems to be privacy.

Jacuzzi - really enjoyed using this. Did not have any instructions so good job we had seen them in JWV. Only downside is that after a few days the water becomes a bit musty smelling. Eventually asked for water to be changed. Does not seem to be a system for keeping these clean. Water only changed when new holidaymakers arrive.

Snorkelling - the house reef is very close so very easy to get too. We saw a range of tropical fish too numerous to name but did not see the eagle ray reported to be near the Asian Wok or any turtles. Please beware the 'rogue' Titan Triggerfish that is between the Asian Wok and the jetty as it bit a German man and tried to attack my husband. It is far easier to go with the current. This was the worst visibility of any of the 5 trips we have had to the Maldives. We can usually see well out onto the ocean bed but at times it was difficult to keep track of each other. A point of concern was that the boats do not cut their engines when approaching the jetty and it is only a matter of time before a snorkeller is injured by being dropped onto some sharp coral.

Food - The food here is excellent and by far and away the best we have had in the Maldives. The quality of the food and the consistency was excellent. Ariyadasa and his chefs deserve high praise indeed for maintaining such high standards at every meal. At breakfast there is something to suit every nationality. There is a fresh egg station where you can have eggs cooked in any way you like. Lunch and dinner always had fresh cooked meat or fish. Fresh pasta was only available at lunchtime and we would suggest that occasionally this was an evening option. In the evening it tended to be a Chinese option. Curries were available at every meal. Roasts were available each week. The beef wellington was absolutely superb. There was an extensive dessert menu with every dessert you can think of being provided over a two week stay. A cheese board was provided occasionally. Fresh fruit was on offer at every meal. The only thing letting down the chefs is the system for keeping the food warm. They use heated, lidded trays which are not up to the job and much of the food is luke warm at best. This is a real shame and maybe they need a few microwaves around if they can't make this system work or get a better one.

As we were in a JBV we dined in the Ahima restaurant. On arrival here you have to report to one of the waiters who will check to which of the two seating areas you have been assigned. We were placed in the one by the pool. Our waiter was Nishad with whom we had a great laugh with his dry sense of humour. He went on leave and Hassan with his gorgeous smile took over. Both waiters looked after us exceptionally well and were brilliant. We also noticed that Thauheed worked extremely hard and was very welcoming to us.

Asian Wok - We ate here on my birthday as the weather was too uncertain to have a beach meal. We chose the fondue style meal which was excellent, far too much for 2. Unfortunately you cannot eat outside with this option and it was probably not the right choice for a balmy evening in the Maldives and more suited to a winter's evening in UK. They pulled out all the stops as it was a celebration but I will not go into detail as I do not want to spoil the surprise for anyone else.

Romantic Meal - We have dreamed about having a romantic meal on the beach on a balmy evening. As they cannot guarantee that the meal will go ahead we did not choose this option for my birthday. Unfortunately we are still waiting for that sort of evening. On this occasion there was a gale blowing and we had to give in and go in for the dessert. We chose the lobster meal and it was fabulous. Rafiq, our waiter was great as he was always there at the right time without being intrusive. There is a choice of 4 different meals and we would suggest that all of these are put together to make a choice of 4 starters, 4 mains etc. As the owners have spent such a lot of money on the refurbishment it is a pity that they did not build a temporary structure where these meals could be taken in inclement weather.

Bars - we spent most of our time in the Sunset Bar. The waiters were always very polite and friendly but at times were more interested in moving chairs and plumping up cushions than looking for customers. However we never had to wait a really long time for service. Bonthi bar was more efficient in service. The owners have spent some money on the furniture in and around the bars. There are rattan chairs and tables and our favourites which we have not seen before were the double sized low seats. The only downside for us was the music in the Sunset Bar. It was too loud and intrusive and AWFUL. After a week we stopped going and got a take-away to take to our room where we could listen to music to our liking.

Spa- had really looked forward to a treatment as I had not managed one on other islands. However once in there we were presented with the INDEMNITY POLICY to sign which we refused. They would not treat us without it even though form says it has been signed without coercion. We walked out.

Entertainment - typical of a Maldivian island. We only went to see the group White Smoke who are very good and well worth seeing. There was also a Maldivian night with a difference as crafts were a part of it., crab racing, a disco, karaoke, movie night, diving night etc.

Shop, library, jewellers - The shop sells a range of gifts and also toiletries. There was also a tailor who would make garments to your taste. I wanted to use this service but the tailor was on holiday. A pity a notice was not put up to that effect. The library has a range of modern English books with some books for other nationalities and some papers and magazines.

Facilities - there is a gym and a sports field with a small putting area, a football pitch, cricket square, outdoor table tennis .We played petanque in the area outside the dive centre. The boules are on a stand in the corner. Five of the six boules have the same markings but we managed.

We had a very relaxing holiday spent snorkelling, swimming and reading which was made by the brilliant staff. Management attitude left a lot to be desired.

Room Tip: JBV probably better value for money.
  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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10  Thank Christine B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2011

It was superb, I have no doubt that there are better places in the Maldives, but I really couldnt have asked for more.
It's private without being too uneventful.
The house reef is one of the best in the Maldives, it's so impressive that we didnt even dive, we didnt see the need to.
The service was fantastic, Hassan looked after us the entire time, and Rafiq made our candlelit dinner on the beach very special.
Food was plentiful, and there was an abundance of variety which changed daily.
The one thing I do wish - is that those Kurumba Coladas be made part of the A.I. daily free cocktails! They were the best!

Room Tip: The Jacuzzi becah villas are the best value for money.
  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank Sassyninja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 29, 2011

This was our 3rd visit to the Maldives, previously we visited Viledhu and Chaaya Reef. Our wish list is All Inclusive, a good accessible reef for snorkelling and beach accommodation.
We flew with Thomson and the comfort was definitely better than with Monarch. Thomson were also the best deal for this island, among the usual operators.
When you arrive in Male you are directed to a private lounge to await your seaplane transfer to Vilamendhoo. it was Airconditioned, cool towels were provided and soft drinks were available free of charge from the fridge. On previous trips we had waited in a general area where there was a bar from which you could buy drinks so this felt a bit special and was appreciated after the long flight. The seaplane is always fabulous and the views of the islands as you fligh over the atolls is wonderful. A real must do.
We stayed in a beach jacuzzi bunglow just one away from the bar. We thought this would be noisey and we'd have a lot of people walking to and fro outside our bungalow but that was not the case. It turned out to be a prefect location. The bar,restaurant and the adult pool were just a one minute walk away from our front door. We had a little area infront of our bungalow with numbered sunloungers on but the 2 bunglaows on either side of us shared the space so it was not as idylic or as private as it could have been. There was no problem with the neighbours, I just like to feel like I am the only one on the island. That's why I choose the Maldives. the previous 2 islands were better for that. Having said that the island didn't feel overcrowded but we did see more people that we had previously. Not a problem, just not so castaway feeling.
The adult only pool was great, really brilliant for a float about. The sunsets are beautiful from here and the bar (it's called the sunset bar!) The bar boys were very efficient.
The JBV / Water villas have there own restaurant and pool were children are not allowed so that was lovely. The restaurant was lovely and the food was excellent. definitely the best food considering the 3 different islands. There was a great choice and we really enjoyed the curries, the loin of pork, the steak and the desserts were v.good too. We have found in the past that they look great but tend to be jelly or squirty cream but Villamendhoo was excellent. There were Meringues, gateaux, loads of fresh fruit etc. Definitelt top marks there, can't fault it. On the Sunday morning there was a special Champagne / Bloody Mary breakfast which was a nice touch.
The jacuzzi was great, very luxurious to have your own private tub outside on the deck. The outside bathroom was great too. We did have one night where loads of ants decided to congregate in and around our loo but it only happened once nad we'd never had any trouble with insects in the bathroom before. it wasn't a huge problem, all part of being on a island and having an open air bathroom. The hotel provided bug spray so a couple of squirts sorted them out and they were gone by the morning.
We took a canoe (part of the AI package) around the island, that was great. it's hard work but a lot of fun. It took about 50 mins to paddle around the whole of the island.
We did the sunset cruise and were lucky enough to see dolphins.This was also included in the All Inclusive package.
The highlight for me was the Whale Shark excursion..it was amazing. if you want to do it put your name down as soon as you arrive as it is v.popular and gets filled up quick.
We saw and snorkelled with 4 of these beautiful creatures..what an experience. The guys on the boat are great and the main guy was funny too....he constantly said 'Oh there's one now, don't panic, no rush...quick quick jump jump!!! very funny.
We fully relaxed, ate too much, snorkelled a lot, read books and took some brilliant photos and have wonderful memories. we would go back but there are so many other islands...will probably choose another excellent snorkelling island next time (maybe next year!)
Oh and the Spa was gorgeous too...out on stilt along the walkway to the water villas. You are given a free 15 min massage but you can upgrade this for about $50 for a full body or Thai etc massage. I had a Thai massage and it was lovely.

Room Tip: Stay on the JBV side of the island, the other side is not as good. Get a JBV if you can, they are the best (WV look great too)
  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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9  Thank Jandy44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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