If you are looking to spend 2 weeks on a small, very pretty island with good food, a good house reef, no pool, no kids club, no motorised water sports and little or no entertainment, then look no further!
We booked through Maldives Direct, where Jim and his team provided an excellent service, even having us met by a ground agent with our names on his board: first time that has happened to us in the Maldives!
WEATHER: For most visitors to the Maldives this is one of the most important considerations and one of the most frequent questions asked on the Maldives Forum! We knew the weather had been bad in the week before our arrival, so we were relieved to find blue skies with scattered cloud. There was, however, a strong wind from the South-West, and our end of the island (see below) took the full force. The wind dropped to a breeze after a few days and the good weather continued. In the first 10 days we had 2 day time showers of about 2 minutes each and heavier rain one night. We then went into a pattern of sunny mornings until about noon followed by thick black cloud rolling in on all sides, accompanied by heavy rain which lasted for about 4 hours. Over our 14 days we probably lost 1 complete day to bad weather which we felt was a good return for what was clearly the wet season.
FLIGHTS: We flew BA from Gatwick. Our last BA flight to the Maldives was disappointing, so we were a little anxious as to what we might experience this time around. It is worth commenting that the 3-3-3 seating configuration in Economy is one of the most unhelpful there is, in my opinion. The vast majority of passengers will be couples, which inevitably means that if the cabin is full then some couples will be split up. On the outbound flight, Economy was only about 50% full, so there was room to breathe. The dinner was good, we had chicken curry, but the hot breakfast was rather unappetising. On the return flight, which surprisingly left 30 minutes early, Economy was nearly full and the two meals on offer were poor in that they were essentially identical: chicken or pasta. This was the same combination that we had on our previous BA flight back from the Maldives, so clearly BA need to speak to their caterers at Male airport!
TRANSFERS: After the usual lengthy queues at Immigration, not helped by the fact that the BA flight had no Immigration forms on board, we cleared customs and were met by our Ground Agent. We quickly completed formalities and check-in at the Trans Maldivian Airways desks and were transferred to the TMA seaplane terminal. This has grown a lot since we last used it and there is now plenty of seating, a small bar for snacks and drinks and even a small clothing shop. Our flight was delayed 60 minutes awaiting the arrival of a late international flight but we were happy just to sit and plane/people watch. Once we finally got airborne, our flight time was about 30 minutes. Our return flight took rather longer, as it arrived 30 minutes late at Angaga, then went all of 2 miles to Mirihi to collect passengers; then went all of a mile to the Conrad, where - after an aborted first attempt - we landed to collect more passengers. By the time we actually got to the International Departures desks at Male they were calling our flight, so we had no time to shop or draw breath.
ARRIVAL: We were met with a very welcome cold towel and shown to the large and airy Reception area for a cold drink and registration and after filling in the usual forms were quickly shown to our room. Surprisingly for a fairly distant island, the time on Angaga was the same as Male, so there was no requirement to put our watches forward the usual hour.
OUR ROOM: Angaga has 20 Water Villas and 50 detached Beach Villas and we had booked one of the latter. Our room was right on the western tip of the island about as far as you could get from Reception. However, this was no hardship as the island is small and our location meant we were a long way from the seaplane landing area
The room was accessed through the patio doors at the front, was quite spacious and, surprisingly for the Maldives in our experience, was remarkably well lit. All the furniture - very large (6ft) double bed, 2 easy chairs, 2 bedside tables, 1 dressing table, 1 coffee table, 1 stool, and 1 mini-fridge container/TV stand - were all made from bamboo which was quite chunky. The wardrobe was a large, walk-in area with shelves, hanging rails and a full length mirror. Sachets of coffee and various green/herbal teas were provided and there were a couple of umbrellas in the “wardrobe”. There was a very quiet and efficient A/C unit mounted high on the wall. The mini-fridge was empty but we could fill it up ourselves with cans and bottles obtained from the bar.
The bathroom was fully tiled and in the shower area was partly open air. Small bottles of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel were provided and this seemed to be of OK quality. There was a hair dryer and an electric kettle. In total there were 4 electric sockets in the room and all took standard UK 3 pin square plugs. The bathroom had a lockable back door with a separate key which meant that after swimming or snorkelling you could wash sand off your feet with the outside hose and then let yourself directly into the bathroom, so avoiding leaving a trail of wet sandy footprints in the bedroom! 2 beach towels were provided and were replaced every evening.
The patio area at the front of the room had a Maldivian swing - OK for lying on but not for sitting - and another hard bench where the 2 sun lounger mattresses were stored. There was about 20 feet of soft sand in front of the room before a 3 feet drop took us onto the beach itself, where our 2 numbered sun loungers were.
BEACH: We were on the western tip of the islands, where the beach was quite narrow, although there was still room for the sun beds without too much fear of getting wet when the tide came in. Further round the island the beach was much deeper and there was a lot more in the way of shade, although the beach villas were set much further back behind the trees and bushes. The absence of much foliage on our side wasn’t a huge problem and might well have accounted for Mrs D’s surprising lack of insect bites. If shade was required it wasn’t too difficult to get the sun beds up off the beach and into the shade of the front patio.
As mentioned above, the island is small and walking around it at a gentle pace took only about 15 minutes. It is worth noting that our west side of the island caught whatever breeze was going, whereas the other side had absolutely no wind at all, which at times made the place unbearably hot - almost oven-like in temperature. So, on balance, we were very happy with our location.
CLIENTELE: Guests were predominantly German (75%), with 15% Japanese and Brits and others making up the other 10%.
EATING: The one restaurant is quite large with a sand floor and open on 3 sides. On arrival we were assigned a waiter and a table both of which we kept for the duration of our stay.
The food was generally of a high standard with plenty of choice. Breakfast was the usual offerings of fruit juices, 4 or 5 types of types of fresh fruit, various cereals, yoghurts, toppings, bread, croissants and pastries, plus an egg station and various hot options, including bacon. In the evening, there was always a choice of fish, meat, poultry, pasta and various vegetables. The meats, usually 3 choices, were very good with the Brazilian beef particularly so. For those wanting a bit of spice there was always a curry plus a couple of oriental-style dishes. Each evening’s buffet was slightly different but followed the basic description above. There was a very good beach BBQ one Sunday but were no “theme” nights and, disappointingly, there wasn’t the traditional Friday night Maldivian banquet that we have had on every other island we have visited. The choice and quality of the breads on offer were not a patch on other islands we have visited and were disappointing.
We never got bored with the food but there was a rather “samey” feel to every dinner, especially when we were in to our 2nd week. It is perhaps worth commenting that the restaurant is severely lacking in atmosphere. Most nights the place was hushed and there were even times when it was quieter still: like the Reading room in the British Library! One evening I laughed loudly at a comment Mrs Dibble made and the whole place went quiet. You could have heard a pin drop! Interestingly, every British couple we spoke to commented on this lack of atmosphere, so perhaps the quietness was a national characteristic?
NB: For anyone who is a passionate non-smoker please take note! Angaga is the first island we have been to that allows smoking in its restaurant. It seemed that every single German guest on the island was a smoker and most of them liked to smoke during their meals. I commented on this to the Management and they said they would look into it.
We were on Half Board Plus so can’t comment on lunch. The Main Bar/Coffee Shop served a wide choice of snacks and bigger meals and quite a few guests seemed to eat there at lunchtimes. Our HB+ entitled us to cakes and/or sandwiches between the hours of 10-11.30am and 3-5pm. So we generally skipped lunch altogether and just had cakes/sandwiches in the afternoon. The toasted cheese sandwiches ($4) were very good and came with French fries and coleslaw and were far more than just a snack.
DRINKING: Angaga has 2 bars, a main one and the Sundown Bar at the far end of the water villas. Both were open from 8am - midnight and neither was ever busy. As mentioned above we were on Half Board Plus which was essentially All Inclusive without lunch. It appeared to be a well kept secret as none of the Brits we spoke to had heard of it. Under HB+ we were entitled to bottled water, Coke and Sprite etc, beer, house wine and spirits and ALL cocktails, of which there were 77.
Prices were very reasonable: Coke and mixers ($3), 1.5L bottled water ($3.50), beer ($4.50), house wine ($4), house gin ($4), house brandy ($5), cocktails ($8- $10); all of course subject to the usual 10% SC and 3.5% GST. Both bars had a “happy hour” from 6-7pm, where prices were reduced by 20%, except on wine and champagne.
ENTERTAINMENT: There was a band each weekend, either the Saturday or the Sunday, and that was it. Nothing else! There was a TV in our room, which we never switched on, and another in the TV room/Library. The library was well stocked with books; mainly German but there were several shelves of English ones as well.
SPA: This was one of the Coconut group of spas and was efficiently run, with a very wide choice of massages from around the world, plus skin treatments, body wraps, manicures etc. Prices did not seem too exorbitant but the spa never looked to be very busy. Indeed, in a bid to drum up custom there was a 20% reduction for the whole of the two weeks we were on Angaga.
EXCURSIONS: There was not a huge range on offer - snorkelling, night fishing, visit to local island etc. - and what was available only occurred on 4 days in the week. Perhaps the most interesting was the chance to visit the underwater restaurant on the nearby Conrad Rangali island. However, this was also the most expensive excursion: $20 for the boat plus a further $55 (+ 10%) charged by the Conrad as entry fee; although this did get you a cocktail and a canapé.
DIVE CENTRE & WATER SPORTS: The former always appeared to be busy with scuba lessons and courses etc and the dive boats went out several times each day. In contrast, the Water Sports Centre was a veritable oasis of inactivity. It offered a wide variety of non-motorised activities: catamaran sailing, kite surfing, wind surfing etc. However, apart from a single use of a wind surfer by one of the instructors, there was no activity for the whole of our 14 days.
SNORKELLING: For us, good snorkelling is nearly as important as good weather and good food; and Angaga did not disappoint. The large coral gardens were impressive and when the tide was high it was possible to snorkel over the top of these without fear of hitting the outgrowths. The high winds had churned up the sand and visibility was rather poor - especially for taking photos. The reef seemed to be in good condition and fish were plentiful, although there were apparently fewer than in previous years. Strangely, we did not see a single shark; not even a single baby in the lagoon. We thought this rather surprising when compared to other islands. However, this was our first time in the Maldives in May so perhaps it wasn’t the baby shark season? There were warning notices in reception about nesting Titan Trigger Fishes and their potentially aggressive behaviour. Only came across 1 adult Titan and it was happily feeding. Also saw a couple of baby Titan’s so perhaps the nesting season had passed?
IN CONCLUSION: Angaga, is a lovely, small island; very much of the “no shoes, no news” type. It provides comfortable accommodation, good food, good snorkelling and plenty of peace and quiet; the latter broken only by the arrival and departure of sea planes which we actually think is quite fun.
Would we recommend it to others? Yes - without hesitation. Would we go again? Yes - without hesitation.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 1. Angaga Island Resort & Spa is located in the South Ari Atoll and is surrounded by a wealth of natural beauty along with crystal clear waters and a white sandy beach. The island is approximately 45,000 square metres and is superb for snorkeling and diving with the house reef just 7-8 metres from the beach featuring live coral and beautiful marine life. This is a great island for those holidaymakers seeking peace and tranquility. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Angaga Island Hotel Angaga Island
- Hotel Angaga Island
- Angaga Island Resort Maldives