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Maafushivaru
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Reviewed March 7, 2014

This is a beautiful and superbly managed hotel filled with attentive, responsive and cheerful staff. The food is great, with loads of variety. It is extremely comfortable, well-appointed and well laid-out. We did a number of trips, all of which were incredible - the marine life around the island is absolutely astonishing. The jewel in the crown is the private island lonubo which is truly the Maldivian dream of the desert island - absolutely picture perfect. Ron and the team will fall over themselves to ensure that your holiday is perfect, and our Kuoni rep Barbara was also superb.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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    • Location
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4  Thank RichardBroadbent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2014 via mobile

We chose this island after having trawled through multiple holiday brochures and read many reviews on Trip Advisor and I can say the homework paid off!
The island is small and I agree with other reviewers you often feel as if you are the only one's there, as no one else can be seen and it is so quiet. You can walk around the island in under 10 minutes, with it's immaculate white sand and beautifully kept grounds. We stayed in a Water villa for 12 nights giving us direct access to the sea via steps, making easy access for swimming and snorkelling out to the reef. This was our first attempt at snorkelling and although a little apprehensive, what you see at the edge of the reef made it well worth the effort! The villa itself is large and had everything we needed, tea / coffee machine, mini bar with regular supplies of water & non alcoholic drinks, hair dryer, plentiful toiletries and of course the most amazing view to wake up to! The room is attended to twice daily by friendly, yet discrete staff.
We stayed 'all inclusive' which for us proved the best value. There is always a good selection of food choices at all meal times, good flavours and although buffet style, it feels very relaxed with the staff running the restaurant in a friendly, efficient way. You always get the same waiter which is a nice touch.
My husband only tends to like white or sparkling wine when having an alcoholic drink. Sparkling wine is not in the all inclusive package but when this was mentioned to the management team they immediately allowed us to add sparkling wine to our package! Thank you Ron & Marie for that as it was such a lovely gesture.
We spent a great deal of time lounging around the pool / swimming in the pool as it offered more shade. The pool bar staff again are very friendly and attentive, filling up empty glasses!!!
Entertainment is laid on every night, is relaxed and generally easy listening or watching a film etc with no pressure to join in anything or stay and watch if you don't want to.
In summary, after 10 days away I am usually ready to go home, however I can honestly say this is the one place I really didn't want to leave as it felt so perfect, from the moment we arrived via the sea plane to the time we left!
Would I recommend it, you bet I would! Could I find fault in any way, no I couldn't!
Thank you team for making it a wonderful, relaxing 12 days for us.

Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
5  Thank Roose1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2014

Having been to Maafushivaru in March 2012 and had the most amazing holiday ever, I couldn't wait to go back.I was however advised by several that having had such a magical time that it was probably a mistake to return because it would more than likely be a disappointment and not be as a good on a return visit. How wrong can you be? It was just as amazing and even more so. There has been a change in management and in my opinion Ron and his team with Kuoni rep Barbara are doing a stellar job. All staff seem even happier and I believe that's because they now work much more as a team and they have developed a culture whereby each and every person goes out of their way to make your holiday as memorable as possible, even down to the gardeners and maintenance people. It really seems to matter to every member of staff that you are having a good time.The beach was cleaner with less rubbish being washed in and the island itself kept immaculate. Often you feel like you almost have the island to yourself as there are parts of the day when no one else seems to be around. I love that you can walk the whole perimeter of the island. The house reef was amazing and on one early morning snorkel we saw a turtle, five eagle rays which were very nosey, four sharks a mixture of black and white tip and so much more it was just incredible. Our room was kept spotlessly clean by Naseer who is a very bright intelligent young man and a real character. He was always asking was there anything more we needed and making towel creations. To boot he is an amazing dancer, heading up the Bodu Beru on Maldivian night. Aminul and his team at the water bar are outstanding, Jean, Jaisa, Elsie and of course Ruwan All make you feel very special and constantly running around filling empty glasses. Having visited several islands in my opinion this island is by far the best and for me is a dream place to be. It's incredibly relaxed there and I can't see how anyone could fail to enjoy their stay. I have been home two days and am already trying to think of ways to save and get back there.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Donna S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2014

My husband and I went on honeymoon to Maafushivaru in January 2014, and loved every second of our time there. I can’t recommend this resort highly enough – in summary, it’s beautiful and welcoming and an absolutely paradise!

More detailed review follows…

Seaplane and arrival:

Once we arrived at Malé, we found our way to the seaplane transfer desk with the help of the resort's airport staff and from there made our way to the seaplane lounge. We had quite a long wait here as a storm had come in just before we landed, delaying our international flight and also putting seaplane transfers on hold for a time. The staff at the lounge were very helpful though, and kept us informed as to the flights and there were plenty of snacks and refreshments to keep us happy.


The seaplane transfer was incredible - a real experience and absolutely amazing views. Cramped and hot inside though, so if you get an opportunity to change into something a bit cooler, I would recommend it! Quite noisy, so if you need to protect your hearing, I would bring earplugs just in case. The flight time from Malé to Maafushivaru was about 30 mins, and made one stop at another nearby island on the way to drop off and pick up other passengers.


The seaplane leaves you on a little pontoon that is anchored a short distance from the island, and you transfer from there to the island itself on a traditional boat (takes about 5 mins). The staff were very helpful, carrying our luggage for us off of and onto the boat and once we were checked in took it straight to our room. On our boat over we were greeted by our Kuoni rep, Babs, and the resort manager, Ron who were both so friendly and helpful, and checked in on us throughout our stay. At check-in, we were given a fruit juice refreshment which was very welcome as were were hot and still in our wintry clothes that we'd had on since we left London the day before!

Accomodation:

Babs took us to our villa (number 122) and showed us how everything worked and explained a bit about the island before we settled in. Our villa was gorgeous - it had its own private decking area which caught lots of sun and looked straight out onto the beach. It took us about 30 seconds to walk from the villa into the sea. It’s worth mentioning at this point that not all beach villas had views to the sea, as many were set back behind trees. They were however, still very close to the sea. Our villa had an open-air shower which was great – it also came with an indoor shower, but we never used it as we loved the novelty of the outdoor one so much! The bathroom came with complimentary L’Occitane toiletries too which were lovely, and were also replenished regularly if we used them all up. That being said, I would take care to bring plenty of your own toiletries and sun cream – there’s only one shop on the island, and it can be expensive! Our villa also came with its own electronic safe (although personally we never felt that we had to use it), air conditioning, television and DVD player espresso machine and mini-fridge with soft drinks and water. Our bed was huge and very comfortable and for the most part we slept well. The only problem we had was the fumigation that takes place regularly to kill mosquitos – it’s a noisy machine which comes around in the early hours once a week. I imagine if you were in the water villas you wouldn’t hear it. However as noisy as it was, it was only 10 mins of noise, and it meant that we didn’t have to worry about mosquito bites and any of the diseases that they can carry.

Food and Drink

We were on the all-inclusive option, which gave us:
- All meals in the main restaurant
- Very wide variety of drinks, including beers, wines, and a considerable selection of spirits and soft drinks and water
- Afternoon tea in the library (tea, coffee, finger sandwiches and cakes)

The food in the main restaurant was lovely. Every day had a different theme (e.g. island cuisines, curry night, barbeque night…) and the food was always delicious and varied. Special mention should go to the grill area, where for dinner and lunch the chefs would prepare you fresh grilled and/or baked fish and cooked delicious pasta fresh for you too. At breakfast time, this area cooked bacon, sausage and waffles freshly for you, and would also cook eggs any way you like them too.

The waiting staff are all lovely. You are assigned a waiter who will wait your table at all your meals and they are very friendly and chatty, and can give some good pointers on where is best to go snorkelling!

There wasn’t much available on the all-inclusive outside of meal times, so if you are a big eater you may struggle to find a mid-morning snack. We overate at almost every meal though (we couldn’t help ourselves… we wanted to try everything!) so got by fine. There was also the afternoon tea if we needed a pick-me-up though.

The bar was equally brilliant. The staff were all very friendly and always made sure that you had a drink! Cocktails were all yummy and there were a lot of different ones to choose from – we were quite spoiled for choice. They also put the football on for us one night too.

As we were on honeymoon, we also had a candle-lit dinner on the beach which was lovely. For this, we had full table service from a pre-ordered menu. From memory, we ate ceviche, steak and fresh fruit, but there is a choice of two or three options for each course.

There is a teriyaki restaurant, however as this wasn’t included in the all-inclusive, we didn’t go. It looked lovely, and was situated on its own little jetty near the water villas, but I can’t comment on the food etc.

It’s worth mentioning that even on the all-inclusive you will need to sign for everything. However this gets deducted to zero (unless you purchase something that isn’t on the all-inclusive) and is just for the resort’s invoicing purposes.

Snorkelling and swimming

The all-inclusive allows you use of flippers and snorkelling gear which is useful, and which was in good condition.

The house reef at Maafushivaru is absolutely gorgeous. It has some of the best snorkelling I’ve ever experienced, and I would say it definitely rivals the Great Barrier Reef. We saw more species than I can even begin to name, but to list a few:
- White-tip reef sharks
- Grey reef sharks
- Titan triggerfish
- Sea turtles
- Moray eels
- Many reef fish, including tangs, needlefish, parrot fish, jack fish, snappers…
- Sting rays (porcupine rays, pink rays, feathertail rays, eagle rays)
- Barracuda
- Tuna

And the above was just on the house reef and neighbouring Lonubo Island. While there were sharks, these didn’t come particularly close to people and at no point did we ever feel in danger. They only grow to around 5 feet in length, and aren’t interested in people much! The best places to spot them were on the reef edges, although we also saw them swim around under the main jetty by the reception after there had been some rougher weather. We were more concerned with the triggerfish, which were patrolling along the reef edge to and had read they can be quite territorial, so we kept our distance although they never bothered us.

We had quite windy weather while we were at the resort which made the sea a bit choppy and the current quite strong. We were still both able to swim around the island, however swimming against the current was very difficult at times. Something to bear in mind if you go out as it can be easy to tire yourself out without realising it if you’re having as much fun as we were! Once while using a ladder to climb out of the water, a strong wave pushed me back onto the reef and I got a bit scratched, so you do need to be careful (although this is advice I would give to anyone swimming in any water – best to always have your wits about you!). We also made the mistake of trying to swim around the entire reef on Lonubo – although the island is much smaller, the reef is much bigger and it actually takes longer to swim around the Lonubo reef than the main island reef. Lonubo only has a couple of channels into the island again, and they are both on one side of the island so it’s best to stick near these if you can.

The resort obviously has a pool, but we enjoyed snorkelling so much that we only used it once. It was very clean and well-maintained though and good to have a dip in when it got a bit hot when sunbathing.

There is also a PADI diving centre, although we didn’t use it. However it did seem well equipped, and they offered regular excursions and night dives too.

Excursions and entertainment

There were many excursions on offer, and we took part in a couple. Firstly, the sunset cruise which came as part of the all-inclusive. The cruise took us out to the more open areas of water not far from the island. It was nice to be on the water and watch the sunset into the sea. The cruise also supplied sparkling wine, and we saw dolphins which was an added bonus.

Secondly, we took part in the whale shark expedition. This was an extra cost of about US$50 per person (bear in mind there is an extra 18% of the cost added in service charge and tax to everything in the Maldives). The expedition was great. It was about 45 mins out on a boat to another reef, at which point the crew would then scout out whale sharks. Once one was found, it is a bit of a mad scramble to get into the water as there can be quite a few people on the expedition with you. For this reason, I would definitely recommend that you be a confident snorkeller, as it can get quite busy in the water and you need to be able to swim to follow the shark. We were lucky and saw 2/3 sharks, and they were amazing. Being able to swim alongside them was incredible, and I would definitely recommend the trip!

Maafushivaru also has its own tiny sister island (Lonubo) which you can sign up to visit for free as many times as you like during your stay. The boat that shuttles you to/from there leaves about three times a day and each trip lasts about 2-3 hours before pick up again. It’s possible to have the island reserved for yourself for lunch or dinner, and you can stay on it overnight too, although it is quite expensive.

Other excursions that we didn’t go were the manta ray trip, night diving, guided snorkelling and others. All did require you to pay extra to go on them though.

The resort also puts on entertainment many nights, including movie night, disco night and talks given by the resident marine biologists. I would definitely recommend going on the island tour. It was really nice to learn a bit more about the flora on the island and about how it is run day-to-day behind the scenes. We were both impressed with the effort that goes into making sure the island causes as little pollution and waste as possible, by them taking measures including investigating more efficient generators, having their own carpenter and mechanic to carry out repairs on the island without having to ship in parts and specialists, and storing and recycling water and waste. It was also good to see that the staff who live on the island are well looked after too, and have their own temple for worship and recreational areas.

Wildlife

In addition to the wildlife mentioned above, we also encountered geckos, lizards, fruit bats, and a few different bird species too. There weren’t many insects. Some butterflies and small ants, and one cockroach, but these last two have to be expected in tropical climates. The island also has many crabs living on it and most nights we saw glowing shrimp wash up on the beach. These were incredible – so bright that when you walked through then and lifted your feet up, they lit up all around you like a flashlight.

Spending on the island and cash

The island operates on a cashless system, so anything you buy (including in the shop and when signing up for excursions) will be added to your room bill and then you can pay it all off at the end of your stay. You can ask at reception if you want to check in on your current spend. The only time we used cash (US$) was to tip the staff at the end of our stay. We were there for ten days and tipped about $20 to our room boy and waiter each and the bar staff as they had provided brilliant service throughout our stay. We also tipped the boat staff when we went out on excursions too.

Room Tip: In general, water villas have better views as the beach villas are set back from the beach behind some trees. But villas 122 and 123 are very close to the beachfront.
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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7  Thank Steffi333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2014

My wife, my 5 year old son and I have recently returned from Maafushivaru (9th February 2014 – 21st February 2014), where we had the most relaxing vacation ever.

After lots of research, we picked this island for its' house reef, the opportunity to dive with whale sharks and manta rays, and we were not disappointed. The island itself was absolutely beautiful and exactly what we expected from the pictures and previous reviews.

The house reef is easily accessible from the main beach or from the arrival pier and it is abundant with a variety of marine life including eagle rays, sting rays, turtles, sharks, clown fish, eels, parrot fish, trigger fish, squirrel fish, angel fish and even octopus.
The beach was of excellent quality white sand all around with very little broken coral.

The diving was great and in two days I’ve seen more that I expected to see (manta rays, whale shark, dolphins, nurse sharks, black and white tip sharks, eels, napoleon fish, eagle ray, sting ray, pipe fish, turtles).

We stayed in the beach villa 128, which is a good size, well equipped and extremely comfortable.

The food was excellent, a good variety. It is a buffet style for all of the meals in the restaurant, with a vast variety of dishes, all of it well prepared and cooked, all hot dishes were kept warm in pots that stop any drying out, so it always tastes fresh. We liked the fact that for lunch and dinner there were always two kinds of fresh grilled or baked fish available.

I would recommend Maafushivaru if you are looking for an intimate and private escape. We liked the mix of guests compared to some of the other islands.
I have to admit that Maafushivaru is the friendliest island we've been to. All the staff was great starting with Ron, the Hotel Manager, Anna, the GRO, Abigail, Jaisa, Aminul and the guys from the Water Bar, Mohamed and Ayya, the cuisine waiters, Some from the pasta bar, Marco, the Diving Center Manager and the girls, and all others were absolutely great.
Thank you!

Room Tip: We stayed in the beach villa 128, located on the main beach. We were happy with it as the Water Bar, swimming pool and restaurant were closed by.
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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2  Thank GimiBucharest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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