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Reviewed February 19, 2011

Having visited the Maldives on numerous occasions, we holidayed on more of a budget this year (Jan-Feb 2011) - a major mistake in hindsight!

Our room alone had numerous cockroaches and a rotting rodent under the veranda (which took several days to be removed), that's before you even get into small insects inside bread rolls and sliced bread and - easily worst of all - the serious food poisoning I suffered.

As seasoned travellers to the Maldives, we've never experienced any of the above on any visit prior to going to Vilamendhoo. From what we've read on this and other holiday review websites and forums, many people seem to think Vilamendhoo is incredible but our experience was nothing short of shocking in the end.

Case in point was when my food poisoning was raised with the holiday rep and island management. Attempts were made to brush it off initially and when we were invited to speak with the Head Chef (who wasn't Maldivian - all of the locals we've ever been in contact with are always wonderful) it was laughable had it not been so serious.

We were told "it's not surprising you have people getting ill when you have to cater for 300 people on a buffet basis" and other such gems. Unbelievable. There was no real care over what we had eaten, no true attempt to get to the bottom of the cause which to us is a deriliction of duty.

The very same night after we had spoken with the Head Chef, he spent the entire evening service sitting in the bar drinking beer and eating pizza wearing his chef's whites. In light of all we had experienced and his self proclaimed 'difficulty in catering for 300 people', we would have thought he'd be better placed in the kitchens leading his team and also working hard to ensure the food posioning wouldn't be replicated.

When we saw Vilamendhoo advertised on the First Choice website we were impressed with how things looked following the refursbishment and for the price we thought it was worth considering.

On arrival, we weren't blown away by any means as we've been to islands with far bigger and more inviting beaches and a more welcoming feel. That said, everything seemed ok to begin but it soon turned sour in our case.

The best way to sum up Vilamendhoo for us is that it's all 'smoke and mirrors'. If you scratch the surface and look a little deeper beyond the new gloss and sheen, you'll most likely see (and smell if you have the misfortune we did!) some of the rodents, cockroaches and maybe even insects in the bread.

We'll certainly never return to Vilamendhoo and wouldn't recommend it at all. You don't have to pay huge amounts more to go to some other amazing islands elsewhere in the Maldives which truly are paradise.

All in all, the worst holiday experience we've ever had. Something we never expected from a part of the world we love so much. The only true good point, as referred to previously, are the Maldivians themselves but from what we saw they don't run the place!

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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22  Thank MOrme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2011

Got back on 16th after 2 weeks
Seaplane transfer 25 minutes to a pontoon then little boat to island
Luggage did travel with us on seaplane
Jacuzzi Beach villa room 217 on south of island perfect position (3 minutes to bar and resturant) Dedicated table and waiter (Ahmed who was great) every day.Lucky we got a table outside.
Pete the rep on island all the time if needed
Room was lovely but pillows a bit on the hard side
Fresh bedding and towels every day cleanliness outstanding and mini bar restocked daily
Food was rotated over the 2 weeks.Plenty curry (fish in particular)Usually another 8/9 dishes and plenty salads.
Ate at the bar a few times for a change which was not All Inc but prices weren't too bad
Gift shop small and pricey
The reef is fantastic with channels to enter so no fear of catching yourself on the coral
The north side of the island is quite dark as still alot of pruning to be done and would not have wanted a room on that side
We had our own sunloungers on the beach which is the only thing I could fault
Because its not that wide and due to the growth around other villas had to move their beds to where there were gaps and we felt a bit hemmed in by that
Over all though a great holiday and we would go back

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Jodie009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2011

24 Jan – 7 Feb 11

Journey out

Check in at LGW was excellent and so easy. Flight was okay, just over 10 hours. Arrived in Male on time. On disembarkation you queue for a short while to get through passport control; having done this collect luggage, put it through a security scanner and then you are out. First impressions are that it will be chaos, but nothing could be further from the truth. Thomson rep was there and directed us to the right booth to get our seaplane transfer, they in turn sent us on to the TMA check-in, who processed us very quickly and we were on a bus, with luggage following in a truck. On arrival at seaplane terminal we didn’t wait long at all, luggage was put on the plane and then we were called. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE – WOW, we loved every second of it. Of note, some people’s luggage was not on their seaplane, but did follow on the next one – usually within a couple of hours.

Arrival at Vilamendhoo

Seaplane lands and docks about 400 metres off this beautiful and stunning island. A boat will be waiting to take you ashore, with your luggage. It’s then into the Bonthi Bar for a welcome cocktail and check-in stuff with Pete the Thomson Rep (Thanks for everything Pete). Once done you are escorted to your villa, luggage brought to you within 30 mins or so.

Beach Villa

We were in Beach Villa 151, a lovely spot,plenty of shade but it had no beach to speak of out the front of it. (If you want that you should try to request the villas from the Reception to the Asian Wok side of the island.) Our villa was close to the Boashi Bar and Pool. The villa itself was lovely, a four poster bed with mosquito net drapes (we didn’t use the nets at all), a large screen tv, dvd player. The jewel in the crown is the open air bathroom and shower, really lovely.

Food

We ate in the Funama Restaurant and can honestly say the food was amazing throughout the whole holiday. You are allocated a table on arrival, and a waiter. This was really nice as there was no scrap for a table as in previous AI we have been on. Our waiter, Hassan, was excellent. We were told to hold tipping him until the end of the holiday. We didn’t eat at either the Asian Wok and didn’t have the Hot Rock or Beach Dinners, they all looked lovely but we felt expensive. You can have sandwiches at any time of the day from the bars – if you are for some reason, still hungry after meals!!!

Minibar is replenished daily with water,beer and soft drinks on AI. There are snacks in your room but not included in AI and are expensive ($4 for a Mars bar!!) not that we needed them after the amazing puddings available for lunch and dinner.

Drink

Plenty of it on the AI package, and you can drink in the Bonthi Bar, Sunset Bar, Boashi Bar, Asian Wok or from your mini-bar. Very expensive if you want anything outside of AI package, due to importation and alcohol laws, but we were quite happy with the AI offerings.

The Island

Absolute paradise. Sitting by the Sunset Pool, or on the beach is lovely and views are amazing. The island seems almost deserted at times as many people stay by their villas – which all have sunbeds outside them. The Sunset Pool was quiet until about 4.00pm, the Boashi Pool was often totally deserted. The reef is fantastic and so close and shallow. Snorkelling is an absolute must do activity, the fish are amazing, although they surround you anyway as you stand up in the water. You can hire snorkel and mask for $5 at the Euro Divers We didn’t dive but it is supposed to be amazing. As part of your AI you get an hour free kayak each day – a kayak around the island is amazing, it takes about 40 mins or so.

The sunsets are wonderful, we watched from the Sunset Pool but a different view is from the Asian Wok, which is the perfect place to have a drink after too long at the beach! The AI Sunset Cruise is a nice thing to do, it takes you a good way off the island – sometimes you see dolphins but sadly we didn’t. The sunset from the boat is truly stunning as you look over a totally calm ocean sipping a fruit punch.

The gym is well equipped, I used one of the treadmill a few times. There is also a staff v guests football match on Sunday at 4.00pm, so if you are interested take some kit and trainers. I played and it was good fun but quite competitive – we drew 8-8, a rare result as they staff normally win!!

Trip Home

Seaplane is between 0830 and 0930, on arrival easy transfer to the International Airport. Security and check-in is very well organised and painless, and you don’t have a huge amount of time to hang around the terminal. There are a few souvenir and duty free shops to browse around, and before you know it you are being called through. Flight home was 12 hours due to high winds en-route.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank Wasps214
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2011

What a glorious place. We stayed for a week in a swim-up jacuzzi room and were delighted from the moment we touched down after a thrilling sea-plane transfer.

Our room was amazing with a sun-bathing deck facing the sea, a large bedroom/sitting area, separate dressing and shower room and a private deck out the back with jacuzzi and double sunbed. Well worth the upgrade we felt.

The highlight for us was the snorkelling and we felt that the underwater scene was one of the most beautiful things we had ever seen and made for compulsive viewing. However, spending large parts of the day floating face down did make for rather sun-burnt backs! Do not under-estimate the strength of the sun and take adequate protection with you. (We ran out and were rescued by our very helpful rep, Peter.)

I was slightly disappointed that the A la Carte restaurant was not included in the AI package (ditto a lot of the bar drinks) but the prices were not too bad if you did fancy a change and to be honest, the quality and variety of the food at the buffet were so good I was very happy to eat there most nights.

The staff were great and the spa treatments relaxing.

I may have to break a holiday tradition to always try somewhere new because I cannot imagine not returning to this little piece of paradise!

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank liber8me
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2011

Just got back from 2 fab weeks in Vilhamendoo. Stayed in one of the brand new Jacuzzi water villas Two decks with loungers ,hot tub, parasol and table and chairs brilliant.
Ate in Ahima restaurant and must give a special mention to ous waiter AHMED who was brilliant. Food great( especially the homemade bread and desserts !!!) plenty of variety and all the fruits, salad vegetables really fresh and of the highest quality.
Still some work being done on tidying up the island after the refurb, such as pruning trees and replanting shrubs and plants but this did not affect our holiday at all. The reef at Vilhamendhoo is fantastic one of the best in the Maldives and very close to the beach.We saw a lovely display from the dolphins and saw turtles, octupus, reef sharks and all manner of fish and we didn't even dive or snorkel. FANTASTIC.
The organisation on arrival and departure is faultless(,well done Pete the rep) and the seaplane transfer was brilliant.
Would we go back ? We'd be on a plane tomorrow if we could !!!

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank SueAndrew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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