Ok we won't bother mentioning the international flight because everyone travels from different countries on different airlines and whatever happens on your flight has no reflection on your island :-) Here we go:
We arrived at male international airport and were quickly taken to the Vilamendhoo's private lounge at the sea plane terminal by bus. The new terminal is great after being treated to a nice cold towel you can help yourself to a soft drink and chill out in the air conditioned lounge or take a seat outside in the sunshine. The sea plane flight as expected was fantastic with breath taking views of the Maldives (camera's ready). The flight took an estimated 35 mins including a stop off at Mirihi to drop off some other lucky travellers. On arrival at Vilamendhoo you immediately realise you have arrived in paradise it really is breath taking ! After being greeted by a member of staff with a cold towel, a glass of ice tea and a quick check in you are then taken to your room.
The first part of our holiday was spent in a beach villa on the north side of the island. The villa was very modern, air conditioned and spacious it has a large comfortable bed, plenty of storage for clothing including hangers, a full length mirror for the ladies, a flat screen tv, dvd player, coffee machine (received 2 free capsules daily), Mini bar, hair dryer (which only works on the sockets inside your villa not in the outside bathroom), a bed settee with lots of scatter cushions. The outside bathroom is fantastic with his and hers sinks, large mirror, shaver socket, hand towels, face towels, bath and beach towels, soap, cotton buds, large shower with shower gel and shampoo provided. At the front of the villa there is a small terrace with 2 wicker chairs and a table. You also have 2 sun loungers on the beach in front of your villa.
Jacuzzi Water Villa
Our second half of our holiday we spent in a Jacuzzi Water Villa. Our JWV was facing the north side of the island but there was plenty of sunshine on the sundeck all day. Again the JWV was very modern but slightly in need of a little tlc here and there. It had the same amenities as the BV but was much larger and had an ipod docking station. The bathroom was slightly larger with the same amenities as the BV. It also had a Jacuzzi situated at the back of the villa on it's own secluded terrace with a double sun lounger. At the front of the JWV there is a sun terrace overlooking the ocean with 2 sun loungers and a small table with 2 chairs, there are also steps straight down into the ocean. On an evening it is nice to sit with a drink on your decking with your own flood light switched on illuminating the ocean watching the fish swim by.
We used both of the buffet restaurants due to our upgrade. The first half of our holiday we used the Funama restaurant (family side) where you are allocated a table upon arrival. We found this restaurant to be the better of the 2 due to the fact they seemed more organised by never running out of food items and the food always seemed warmer. The staff seemed more efficient by never letting your glass run dry. On the second half of our holiday we used the Ahima restaurant there was no table allocation you could sit anywhere you liked at any meal time. At this restaurant you always seemed to be waiting for food items to be topped up and the food never seemed warm enough. The food menu served in both restaurants were the same as each other. We found the buffet to be a little repetitive at times but generally the food served was of good quality and you could always find something to eat.
If you are on an AI package there is an excellent choice of beverages including:
Tea, coffee, soft drinks, Carlsberg/Tiger Beer, red/white/rose wines all very good, house brand spirits and a choice of 10 cocktails. Some items of the mini bar in your room are also included on AI ie beer, ice tea, ice coffee, soft drinks and water. The spirits and wine in your mini bar are not included in your AI package. However, if you ask at the bar for drinks to take back to your room they will happily give you a very large glass of wine or house spirits to take away. You also receive 1 half bottle of Champagne on ice free this is left in your room on your first night.
The spa offers a variety of treatments and the staff are very professional. We upgraded our free 15 minute spa treatment on our AI package to a treatment for couples which included a 90 minute full body massage and a glass of Champagne which was absolutely fantastic.
Both pools are immaculate and there were always plenty of loungers available. The infinity pool (adults only) over looks the ocean and water villas with it's own resident Heron who regularly floats by. The Boashi bar pool (family pool) is in the middle of the island and has it's own bar and a small play area for children. If you are an adult it makes no difference which accommodation you are in or which restaurant you are allocated you can use either pool.
There are a few bars on the island for a quiet night you can use the Asian Wok bar where you can sit on the terrace and watch the fish in the illuminated ocean. The Sunset Bar is also a quiet chilled out bar (adults only). If you fancy a more lively night head for the Bonthi bar (families welcome) which is open 24 hour where they provide entertainment most evenings including live music and crab racing. Again if you are an adult you can visit any bar no matter what accommodation you are staying in or which restaurant you are allocated.
Before we arrived we were really worried about what we had read of the lack of beach's at Vilamendhoo but we were more than happy with them. The south side of the island has the best beaches. The north side has beach erosion so there are a lot of sand bags but has a nice breeze.
The reef at Vilamendhoo is simply amazing and is where we spent most of our holiday, it's what makes the island special. The easiest access to the reef is on the south side between the service jetty and the sunset pool. The reef is only a few metres from the shore in places with a large variety of fish and coral. The reef on the north side seems to have more fish but the reef is not as pretty and the current was much stronger than the south when we were there.
Vilamendhoo is a fantastic paradise island with a beautiful reef. The staff are very friendly and attentive. The accommodation is modern and clean. The food and drink are of a good standard. There are a variety of bars and entertainment to accommodate for couples or families. We can highly recommend this island.
Tips & recommendations:
Take your own snorkel equipment, it's extremely expensive to purchase on the island.
Take a small torch for night times it gets dark in places on some paths.
Make sure you have camera's handy for your sea plane transfer.
Try the spa it's excellent.
We can recommend The All Day Cruise the food is excellent, all drinks provided with a potential of seeing Whale Sharks and Manta's (we did) ending in a Champagne sunset (approx. 240usd per couple).
Take plenty of 1usd bill's for tipping (tipping is not compulsory).
Upgrading your room - we upgraded our room from a BV to a JWV but to be honest the BV was so good we did not think it was good value for money. We think a JBV would be a good compromise as we like to be on the beach.
Hope you enjoyed the review we have tried to make it more about the island and less about us. If there is anything we have or have not covered and you would like to ask a question about it please don't hesitate to contact us. We are sure that if you choose this island you will not be disappointed :-)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Vilamendhoo Island Resort, surrounded by a beautiful lagoon, an excellent house reef and long stretches of white, sandy beach, is the only Resort on the island of Vilamendhoo, South Ari Atoll. It is 900 meters long by 250 meters wide, about 55 acres. Your seaplane transfer from Velana International Airport is a scenic, 25 minute flight. 184 Rooms include 30 Jacuzzi water villas, 30 Jacuzzi beach villas, 111 beach villas and 13 garden rooms. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Vilamendhoo Island Hotel Vilamendhoo
- Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa Maldives
- Hotel Vilamendhoo Island