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“Highly Addictive!”

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Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Vabbinfaru
Suffolk
Level Contributor
66 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
“Highly Addictive!”
Reviewed March 12, 2014

Having visited Banyan Tree 2 years ago in February 2012 before the villa refurbishment it was interesting to catch up with these and any other new developments with another review. The "no shoes" ethos is still going strong and the super beaches are without equal. Absolutely beautiful! Our Beachfront pool villa (no 44) is on the south east side of the island which is where we prefer as you get the sunrise and sun for most of the day until about 5pm. Some folk prefer to see the sunset by being on the other side of the island, but we prefer the onshore breezes which keep you cool during the day. The revamped plunge pool and jacuzzi at the rear of the villa are lovely, coupled with a new sun shade seat. The villa internals are basically the same but the bed is 100 times more comfortable. As has been said before the TV is situated in an awkward viewing position, but hey! we weren't here to watch TV. Meals are predominantly Asian kitchen as you would expect, but there is plenty to eat for European tastes. It is well cooked and presented and very enjoyable. However, if on full board the lunches are perhaps a little predictable without much variation. There are two self service barbecue evenings a week which is one too much. The waiter service as a our previous visit was a bit inconsistent and second requests for things occasionally were required but really it's no big deal. Bear in mind you will need a substantial budget for alcoholic drinks although water is provided free.The mix of residents was basically the same the majority being Chinese, with French, Italian and a good amount of British who embrace the quite relaxing ethos, and now more than ever Russians but more of that later. All snorkelling equipment is hired for free which is convenient and the reefs are a must to visit independently or on an organised trip. There is plenty of non-motorised water sports and a gym if you feel energetic. We had the misfortune to have a very high maintenance young Russian couple move into the next door villa (45) 4 days before we left who really would have more at home in Benidorm. One night they played loud music in their villa until past midnight. The lady, and I use the term advisedly, flouted the Muslim nature of the Maldives by swimming and sunbathing topless and wearing an indecent bathing string. I have no objection to this in the appropriate resort, but felt this was an insult and an embarrassment to the local staff. Not withstanding this we had a lovely time and the Maldives and Vabbinfaru, when in your blood is highly addictive!

Room Tip: Rooms on South East side benefit from a cool breeze to help you keep comfortable sunbathing.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Serialglobetrotter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SrikantPeri, General Manager at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, responded to this review, March 14, 2014
Thank you for sparing time to post your review of our island on TripAdvisor.

Your review is descriptive and will encourage other guests to visit us and we thank you for actively recommending us.

I am pleased that the services and facilities at the resort were to your satisfaction. I have noted your comments on the predictability and frequency of buffets and the inconsistency in the wait staff. I assure you that we will address these with our teams. Feedback from guests is important and helps us in our endeavor of continuous improvement.

I regret that you were inconvenienced by guests in your neighboring villa but I am pleased that I did not mar memories of your stay. I appreciate your concern for the sensitivity of our associates and their beliefs.

My team and I thank you for indulgence in your "addiction" and look forward to welcoming you back to your home in the Maldives- the sunny side of life!!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (216)
Date | Rating
  • Arabic first
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
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English first
Manila, Philippines
Level Contributor
55 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed March 7, 2014

We were originally booked at the smaller Banyan resort, Madivaru, but were moved here at the last minute because of electricity issues. We were a bit worried as this resort has 49 villas as opposed to the 6 at Madivaru, and privacy was important to us. But after 7 nights here, we loved it, the staff were great, the food delicious and the beach and reef fantastic.

Villa: We were thoughtfully put in Villa 38, which judging from the other villas, was one of the most private. Lovely private plunge pool, jacuzzi, and large private outdoor area with different seating sections. From the beach, we were hidden away from view, which we loved.

Food: The buffets were very good, especially the fresh grill station and fruits at breakfast. We ordered room service a few times at our villa, which we thought were reasonably priced and very good. The bar also served delicious drinks and cocktails and had a good selection of books and games. On our last evening the "Jetty Point" dinner was a wonderful experience!

Service: The staff at Vabbinfaru were excellent. All very well trained and made a genuine effort to make our stay as comfortable as special as possible. From the guys at the marine center to the room staff, waiters and managers- everyone did a fantastic job and were ready to help at any time.

Spa: We took the package and treated ourselves to several massages and scrubs over the week- really excellent and possibly the best spa in all the resorts we have stayed at.

Room Tip: Try and book one of the larger beach front villas which offer more privacy - some rooms are right on...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Islandpotter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SrikantPeri, General Manager at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, responded to this review, March 14, 2014
Thank you for sparing time to post review of our resort on Trip Advisor.

We regret that we could not accommodate you at the resort earlier booked by you, but are pleased to know that we were able to provide you with a memorable alternative.

Your appreciation of the house reef, the villa, the food, service and the spa is generous and will motivate us in our strive for excellence.

My team and I look forward to welcoming you back to your home in the Maldives- the sunny side of life!!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manila, Philippines
Level Contributor
70 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
Reviewed February 11, 2014

My wife and I stayed at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru for 5 days and 4 nights last January 2014. We spent another night and day on Banyan Tree's galley boat the Veela. It was our honeymoon and our first time in the Maldives as well as our first time at any Banyan tree hotel/resort. The weather was great. There were occasional very light rains but they only lasted a few minutes. We booked an ocean view pool villa with Banyan tree.

Upon arrival at the airport in Male, we were able to easily identify the designated person waiting with a Banyan tree sign who guided us to their booth at the airport. From there, they took care of our luggage and guided us to the waiting speedboat. It took about 20 minutes to get to the resort. On the way there, our speedboat driver stopped to show us a group dolphins crossing the ocean.

We were given room 22 on the island which seems like a good room (there are 49 villas). It's in the backside of the island almost exactly in the middle of the rooms so I think it was one of the more secluded rooms. In any case, when I had a look around the resort, I believe whichever room you do get, it's walls are high enough to provide a private space for you.

The first thing I noticed about the villa was that it looked almost exactly as the virtual tour on the website so it definitely didn't disappoint. The only thing that looked different was the pool. It looked bigger on the website, but it's really not a big deal as the pool is spacious enough to lounge a couple. Don't expect to actually swim in it though as you're end to end in a few strokes. I guess that's why they call it a plunge pool.

The rooms were very clean when we got there. There were some minor problems like some clogging in the shower drainage because it looked like they forgot to clean it before we got there, but we called it up and it was cleaned immediately. The bedroom was great, the air conditioning was cool and adequate. They give you different incense everyday in your room so that was a nice touch. Every night, they also leave a gift for you from their in-house store - we got stuff like a sand filled turtle, bag tag and passport holder which add a nice touch to your stay. The outdoor bathroom was amazing. A mix of nature and modern comfort. If you're shy, there are these blinds you can roll down to close out the bathroom, but we never did because we felt pretty secure in our villa.

The oceanview villas have a place where you can lounge at the back facing the ocean. It's a great place to relax with a great view of the ocean but you'll likely see your neighbor when you go out there because the personal view areas are beside each other without any dividers. There was also a hammock at the back of our villa. From the back, you can go straight to the ocean if you want to swim and they also provide a floatation device if you want to lie down on the water.

I read here previously that the choice of food was not that great considering it's a full board resort and there are no other choices. My wife and I found the food to be very delicious with a wide variety of choices and tastes. Admittedly, I'm no foodie, but I found the food to be above expectations. The drinks were priced all right as can be expected from a hotel, nothing really exuberant.

There is a third-party service provider that partners with Banyan Tree to offer a free complimentary photo shoot. Our photographer was Angelo who was extremely talented and took great photos. They give you one photo print for free and its up to you if you want to purchase the other pictures. We enjoyed the shoot so much and loved the photos so we ended up purchasing all the photos.

There is a stingray feeding every 5 PM and is a good chance to see the stingrays up close and to learn more about the environment. I really saw the environmental efforts put in by Banyan Tree while I stayed there and you can really tell it is their passion and core value to protect the environment.

As mentioned before, we spent 1 night on the Veela, a galley with 6 cabins owned and operated by Banyan tree. It was a really great experience of the Maldives, I wish we could have stayed longer. The boat has six cabins and the crew will take you to wherever you like and do whatever you like as long as they can schedule it within your stay considering what time you need to be where (in our case we had to be at the airport a certain time). We were able to go snorkeling at two different spots as well as going to two different sandbanks. We also visited the capital city on a different island. While talking to the staff, they mentioned other options like dining at an uninhabited island. The great thing about the boat is that it allows you to see multiple places and have a different view everyday.

The food on board was great, just like the resort, if not better. The only downside was the cabins were a bit small. It had all the basic toilet amenities but it seems the cabins could use a bit of upgrading considering the excellent accommodations at the resort. We found out later that you could actually sleep on the deck of the boat, under the stars. We would have done that if we had known earlier as one might have a bit of difficulty sleeping below because of the noise produced by the generator. There's nothing really the staff can do about the noise below because they need to power essentials on the boat but they would be willing to setup your bed on deck if you wished.

I think the best thing about the resort and the Veela were the people working there. I felt that they truly cared about making you happy and were not only pleasant, but very warm and accommodating. We had an excellent time talking to the manager Simad who made us feel very welcome. Resort staff members Pearl, Shuwa, Shameem, Ting and Adam and Veela Staff Mohammad and the captain all made our trip very enjoyable and memorable. One thing that stood out to me was when we talked to them, many of them had authentic praise for the company they worked for. Banyan Tree must be doing something right.

Overall, it was the best holiday I've ever been on and we'll definitely be coming back one day!

Room Tip: Ocean view villas have more privacy but you probably can't go wrong with any room.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank rjyu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SrikantPeri, General Manager at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, responded to this review, February 15, 2014
Thank you for posting a review of our hotel. Your review is descriptive and we appreciate that you spared valuable time to detail your experiences.

It is a delight to note that the services and facilities matched your expectations. I have shared your appreciation with the Resort's staff members Pearl, Shuwa, Shameem, Ting and Adam and also the Velaa staff Mohammad and the Captain Habeeb. Your recognition is motivating for them.

It would be a delight to welcome you back.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level Contributor
92 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed February 4, 2014

We had a beach villa facing the sunset on the calm side of the island, Villa 2. We loved it, the room, the beach, the privacy, the plunge pool and jacuzzi. Even came to not mind the water hen that started chirruping before dawn in the bushes.

Staff were great, a little slow but it didn't matter. The reef is fabulous, hours spent snorkelling around the island and around the sister island where the reef is so close even nervous and poor swimmers can enjoy seeing shoals of fish.

The marine staff were knowledgeable about the turtles and the stingrays and it was a pleasure to watch the feeding in the evenings.

Food was plentiful and delicious, we had a full board package, much the best. Wine and drinks prices are not unbearable.

We took a spa massage, one of the best and we are massage experts, the setting is superb and the attention to detail and service quite brilliant.

It is a small island but there is plenty to do and the days pass in harmony and tranquillity. Go, you will love it.

Room Tip: Choose a room on the sunset side of the island, the water is calmer, the wind much less than on the...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank footlocker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SrikantPeri, General Manager at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, responded to this review, February 11, 2014
Thank you for sparing time to post review of our hotel.

Your appreciation is motivating and I am pleased that the snorkeling experience could add to the memories of your holiday.

We look forward to welcoming you back to your home in the Maldives- the sunny side of life!!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beijing, China
1 review
Reviewed February 2, 2014

This is the best island we have ever been in Maldives for snorkelling. We did it every day around the island to see beautiful fish and coral. Love to see the turtle and sting ray feeding every afternoon. The villa we lived is very clean and comfortable.

Room Tip: Clean and comfortable
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with BanyanTree.com

Helpful?
Thank Zhq Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SrikantPeri, General Manager at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, responded to this review, February 11, 2014
Thank you for sparing time to post review of our hotel.

Your appreciation is motivating and I am pleased that the snorkeling experience could add to the memories of your holiday.

We look forward to welcoming you back to your home in the Maldives- the sunny side of life!!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
21 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed January 31, 2014 via mobile

This was our second trip to the Maldives and I write this review whilst sitting outside our villa on Baros, still within easy view of this delightful resort.

Baros is rated higher on tripadvisor and for very understandable reasons, indeed I shall be leaving another review in 6 days time.

There are so many positives worthy of comment for this Banyan Tree resort. The layout of the villas is well thought out. The king size bed is comfortable, you have a generous choice of pillows and a net around the bed which was hardly needed as I only saw two Mosquitos in the eight days we were there and rest assured they were dispatched quickly.

There is a day bed with ample cushions inside the room for lounging if you wish to feast from the sun for a time.

The real advantage though to this accommodation has to be outside the bedroom. To the rear is a beautifully designed private garden complete with daybed, jacuzzi and plunge pool. The rear area flows Into the bathroom area which features two showers which is more useful than you may first think. Only possible negative for some may be the fact there is no bath. It didn't bother me at all.

Every small detail has been thought through when it comes to the washroom products.

The beach is wider than on most islands, especially on the side that faces their sister island angasana. The only possible complaint some may reasonably make was that there is a dredging boat they have moored up at various parts of the island whose purpose is the pump sand back onto the beach. Again I did not find it ruined my time here but some may. There is also a large metal cage structure built about 100m out with the honourable function of helping to rear to adulthood rare turtles for release.

Twice a day, Shamim who works out of the marine lab on the resort will feed the young turtles and anyone who wishes to swim out with him can watch them being fed. A very rewarding experience. Whilst on the subject of Shamim, at 5pm each afternoon he also feeds the large stingrays that come to be fed. This is worth watching and is very educational. Shamim deserves commendation for his work, he is a very pleasant man.

On the subject of food, I have to say any complaints about the food are entirely unjustified. I felt the choice was very wide and varied for a full board option resort. It doesn't claim to be A La Carte but the food is beautifully prepared and the services is excellent. You will not receive better attention anywhere in the world.

Some days are buffet style and some nights are set meal options. There are 'paid optional choices' such as lobster or crab if you so desire. For ice cream and sorbet lovers, they make their own on vabbinfaru and it is superb.

Waiters who deserve special mention from me are Althan and Moosa, I think they went above and beyond, but all of the staff are absolutely sweet and genuine, I could not spot a single fake or insincere one among them.

front of house staff including Ting, Becky and Lynne were all very helpful.

Last but not least our room was maintained by Khaleel. He too went to great lengths to ensure we had everything that we needed or wanted.

In my opinion, if this island lacks the polish of islands like Baros which I am right now enjoying, it certainly does not fall short on service and the nicest staff I have ever encountered.

We were in room number 2 and any of the rooms opposite Angasana island, which, by the way, you can visit free by hopping on the two hourly shuttle boat are a good option as this side of the island gets the best view of the sunset but more significantly is sheltered from any strong breezes which hit the other side of the island.

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Paul H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SrikantPeri, General Manager at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, responded to this review, February 11, 2014
Thank you for sparing time to post a detailed review of our hotel. I trust that your stay at Baros was equally memorable and you have returned home.

I am pleased that the services and facilities matched up to your expectations. I have shared your recognition with Shamim, Althan, Moosa, Ting, Beck, Lynn and Khaleel and they are delighted and motivated.

We endeavor a holiday experience that is "low tech-high touch". I thank you for appreciating our endeavor and look forward to welcoming you back to yor home in the Maldives- the sunny side of life!!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sofia, Bulgaria
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 29, 2014

Paradise...they make you feel special...the food was very varied....the staff is very friendly...should visit SAND BANK(unforgettable experience)....and special thanks to photographer Angelo..heaven on earth!!!!Thank you for everything!!!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Armenag S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SrikantPeri, General Manager at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, responded to this review, February 11, 2014
Thank you for sparing time to post review of our hotel.

Your appreciation is motivating and I am pleased that the sandbank dinner could add to the memories of your holiday. Angello and the entire team are pleased by the recognition offered by you.

We look forward to welcoming you back to your home in the Maldives- the sunny side of life!!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru

Property: Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
Address:
Location: Maldives > Kaafu Atoll > North Male Atoll > Vabbinfaru
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Vabbinfaru
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru 5*
Number of rooms: 48
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cast away on a secluded coral atoll in the paradisaical Maldives archipelago, you experience a sense of magic, romance and tranquility at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru that's second to none. Cocoon yourself in a web of shimmering turquoise waters, swaying coconut trees, indigenous blooms and pure white sand. Free your spirit on the Maldives' North Male Atoll. In Maldivian, Vabbinfaru refers to a round island circled by a round coral reef. In this circle of peace, claim sanctuary at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru resort. Feel the natural sea breeze sweeping in from the majestic Indian Ocean, and let the resort's signature hospitality bring you peace and tranquillity. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru Maldives

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