OK, it's not Conrad Hilton standard but we were very impressed. A bit about getting there by Emirates from Gatwick. Slight delay leaving Gatwick but longer delay at Dubai trying to land at about 1.30am! Mad. Delay leaving Dubai en route to Mali as well but I liked the food and the films were so good that I didn't read any books/papers that I took and this made the flight go quicker. The flight was packed whereas others flying BA had spare seats to be able to lie out and sleep. Delay at Male where we kept being told the flight would be leaving in 10 mins. After being told this about 6 times, we phoned the rep at Maafu and coincidentally we were put in with others going to Conrad Hilton. Take all that with a pinch of salt because once you get to the island (which they can control) the welcome is simple and lovely. The rep works very hard and nothing is too much trouble even on her day off.
The Water Villas were good and everything was there without being dazzling. The verandha was OK with two beds and a fixed seated area and a large parasol. Room 206 on the sunset side was a good situation and I think even numbered Villas were preferable due to having sun all afternoon and also the sunset. The higher the number, the better position - even nos.
I found it got too hot on the verandha so preferred the beach so in reality I think a beach villa would have been fine as a place to sleep at night.
It was a special occassion for us and the Island came up trumps with a romantic meal, bottle of bubbly and twin back massage thrown in complimentary.
We had our meal on the deck and it was great. Heard that others who chose the beach had a small problem with ants and crabs. Massage was very good (and painful cos I'm not used to it) and the Spa experience is worth a visit. Look out for the special offers.
We had a meal at the Tapanaki which was very entertaining and again worth a visit.
Generally, great service. The staff are very attentive most of the time. Sometimes at breakfast you see the guys apparently having a 'staff' meeting which makes attracting attention for a coffee refil slightly delayed but I really wasn't bothered.
I found the food very very good. Being a smaller island the trays that they present the food in are not very big and so the food is replaced frequently which prevents it from either deteriorating in the heat or over-cooking. The salad area is particularly extensive and impressive. Add to that a soup and pasta, meat and fish varieties and there is something for everyone. Deserts leave a bit to be desired. They look great but because of the heat, they are fairly bland. That said, I hardly had desert as I was too full by then.
I liked the bar area. It was oval shaped with tall seats that were very comfortable. San Miguel was my choice for beer on AI with the occassional G & T. All good brands for the alcohol on AI so no complaints there. They have a problem with the red wine as their shipment went elsewhere and they are struggling to find an adequate replacement - so I was told. The red now varies box to box so you may want to stick to white or Rose which I am told were OK.
Entertainment wise, not great. Maldavian night sees the Manager out chatting freely to visitors. I found his assistant (Mr. Giggle or Yes-man) a bit of a pain - and I wasn't alone! Don't let that put you off.
Our trip to Lenobo started in sunshine and ended in a mini monsoon. Snorkelling there was very good. Keep away from the birds at the left of the jetty. Very protective. Don't get the idea that you are in for a romantic couple of hours on the island cos generally there seems to be another couple at least on the trip and there is also a maintenance man on the island. There are also two villas on the island that you can hire for the night! Not worth the money I think.
Diving was very good and the viz on all my dives were very good. White-tipped sharks on virtually every dive. Four Mantas at Manta Point, Whalesharks on the Whaleshark spotting, which I didn't do. There were no house-reef dives which was a disappointment. Snorkelling was good with a great variety of fish to be seen. At high tide you can get out to the overhang between a gap in the sea wall to the left of the spa. Snorkelling to the left to the end of the water-villa area took around half hour with good fins. There was no real current and so the snorkelling seemed safe. The channels through the reef seem so far away and yet you can walk out fairly quickly. From the water-villas towards the dive school is not too good I was told - so I didn't do it.
Dive staff were very good You don't do anything, staff get your gear together etc. All you need to do is check everything is there. No actual buddy checks either. They use integrated weights with their BCD's so as long as the air is on and you've got enough of it, that seems to be OK. I didn't find it a problem though and it made for a relaxed atmosphere. I did my own checks anyway.
Back to the island and there are sprays at various points to wash the sand off your feet. No mozzies although something had a go at my ankles.
In the villas, the hair drier was OK without being very powerful. There was plenty of water. I frequently took a can of beer back to the room as there was none in the mini-bar.
Even on AI you have to sign for every drink. The manager told me the reason which was very plausible so don't worry about it. You can always say you'll sign later.
Our overall opinion is that we were very impressed. Loved the island. Loved the food. Loved the staff. The Island will soon be open and not exclusive to Kuoni which may bring the price down a bit. The island often seemed deserted although it was about 60% full.
You don't need shoes at all. With the showers, you can make it across the decking which gets very hot in the sun. Shorts are OK in the evening so you can travel light.
Would I go back? Very likely. Need a bit of a break from the Maldives now after nine visits but this island is in my top three!! Go for it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Reached by a picturesque flight over the mysterious atolls of the Maldives, Maafushivaru is a quiet island knitted with lush flora surrounded by pure white sandy beaches and incredible turquoise lagoon. Next to the resort is the tiny desert island of Lonubo, exclusive to Maafushivaru guests. A visit to this beautiful island is a must. You can choose from daily visits for basking in the sun and snorkeling the beautiful reef, or ultimately book to stay overnight, an island just for you and your beloved, even if only for a night. Slumber at your choice of three distinct villas. Beach Villas are sited on postcard perfect beaches whilst the Water Villas are built on stilts over the Indian Ocean providing sunset and sunrise vistas that will be forever etched in your memory. For a fun filled holiday, the Pool Villa is the right pick for families or friends travelling together, featuring two separate villas with a shared pool. Summon the bon vivant inside of you with the delectable fare. Cuisine Gallery showcases a potpourri of dishes from all over the world. While 135° East is your key for an authentic Japanese cuisine displaying the art of teppanyaki and the hibachi steakhouse. Sip favourite sunset cocktails at Water Bar with eclectic evening entertainment ranging from Maldivian evenings, to laser shows and disco nights under the starlit sky. Located on the water’s edge, instill a sense of calm and quietude at the Spa with signature product line Voya focusing on healing therapies and rituals. Explore rich underwater life on the house reefs of Maafushivaru and Lonubo, where fish teem and corals bloom colourfully. Dive with whale sharks and mantas in famed spots down south. Discover the epitome of Maldives – Maafushivaru. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Maafushivaru Hotel South Ari Atoll
- Maafushivaru Tclub Hotel
- Maafushivaru Maldives/Southern Ari Atoll