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Reviewed October 27, 2011

But that's only part of it!!!!!
The house reef at Embudu Island really is like something taken out of a fantasy. The coral garden, the sharks, the sting rays, the turtles, the tons and tons of multi-color fish makes it really hard to acutally leave the ocean-discovery world, but once you do, you won't be sorry. The tiny island of Embudu is tranquille, picturesque and above all; low key. It is not by any means a posh, jet-set kind of island. Rather is it a place where there is room for who ever you are. The staff are nice and accommodating, the bar tenders alert and on the spot; their drinks go down quite well (to say it mildly) So should you run into a day or two of downpour, do not despair. Hit the bar, the spa or hang on your veranda and enjoy the view, your company, your book or what else you might think appropriate for this dream of an island!

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
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8  Thank CLyPeD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2011

I had purchased the holiday through a deal on Groupon, opting for the more expensive Waterbungalow, and in my mind I pictured the iconic, idyllic thatched-roof accomodations I'd seen in nearly every Maldives advert. Later I learned that these waterbungalows were not much like that at all. instead, they looked pretty much just like a row of cement/brick terraced houses on top of the water (so you if you and the neighbour were on the balcony together, you could quite easily hear what the others were doing - made me very conscious of what I was doing). But, they were above the water, and they did have a balcony. So, kinda disappointed from the outset. Having said that, the waterbungalows are still the best option, as they offer a great semi-private place to tan (without getting sandy) and just look out at the sea without much interruption/interference, save for the occasional snorkeller/neighbour. Night time was also great since we could always hear the gentle sound of the waves around us, and, that was about it. Very quiet and peaceful.

The rest of the resort also saved on some of the bells and whistles (no internet in the rooms, wi-fi was on a pay-per-use basis), but when we needed to pay for anything, the prices were quite reasonable (US$5 for a beer, 7 for a cocktail), quite a bit cheaper than I was made to believe from all the other reviews I'd read about the Maldives. The food at the (only) restaurant was also quite good. Every meal was a buffet there was a decent amount of variety. Some days were better than others, but I never felt like I didn't have enough options of things to eat. But then again, I'm not a picky eater. Although, I think even vegetarians were well-enough catered to with their salad selections. All in all, the resort facilities were good enough, not mind-blowing, but good for a 3-star establishment. Anyway, when going to a place like the Maldives, one shouldn't obsess about the indoor facilities!

The island itself and the waters around it were as good as could be expected from any of the fancier resort islands. Beautiful turquoise blue water and fine white sand. Exotic and colourful fish swimming around, right up to the shoreline!! And the diving/watersport facilities here were adequate. Better than expected in fact, since all I thought there would be to do was snorkelling and scuba diving. They had kayaks, speedboat rental, wakeboarding, water skiing, banana tube riding, windsurfing, sailing (with a guide), and maybe one or two other things that I might be forgetting. Unfortunately, I couldn't take part in many of them because the water was too choppy for most of the 4 days we were there. The instructors at the Diving centre were also very good and extremely patient. Special mention must be made of one of the instructors (Arjan) who, upon seeing my wife not dealing with being underwater very well, didn't charge us anything for the time he had already spent teaching her and the rest of us (a tiny group, just meeting the minimum requirement of 4 people - until my wife dropped out). VERY understanding/generous.

All in all, this was definitely one of the top holidays I've been on. Unfortunately not the "Holiday to end all holidays", due to the image I had built up in my mind, but still a GREAT one.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank Super_Dave_Potgieter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2011

Arriving at Frankfurt airport, big airport, its better to come 3 ours earlier so you can be sure that in case you get lost, you dont miss the flight. We went with Oman Air, they had an Airbus A330
http://www.airplane-pictures.net/images/uploaded-images/2010-7/15/95387.jpg

8 hours is a long flight, for me at least it was. Be sure to have a long sleeves shirt cause they gonna use the AC all the time and it will get cold quick.
After the plain is in the air, you get some hot towels to clean your hands. You will get food but try to stay in the first seats of the airplane so that you will really have from what to chose from, else you will get the food that remains (vegetables or fish)... the food is not that good, but its something there for everyone, anyway you need to get used to it... Curry and spicy stuff
Try to get some sleep after you eat (its a 7-8h flight), cause after you land in MUSCAT you wont have any chance to sleep. FRA - Muscat - Male
Even if you can bend the chair a little, its not that comfy ... so if you can and see some free chairs in the firs row, crab them and stretch you legs

Arriving in Muscat... after seeing one of the biggest airports, this one seems tiny.
They got steel chairs which are not comfy at all. At the end of the airport, there is a childrens area where there are also some easy-chair where you could get some sleep
actually its very cold inside the airport, again AC is fully used and its really cold, try to drink a coup of hot chocolate/tee to get warm... or you can take the blanket from the airplane with you and put it on the chairs to try and get a one hour of sleep, we stayed 3 or 4hours there.
From here you get outside on the bus to get to the plain.... its so damn hot, like 40 degrees or something... its anyway a big difference between the 20 in the airport and the 40 outside...take of your thick clothes remain only in some t-shirt

Once in the airplane to Maldives you will want to take your thick clothes back on, again the AC is at full speed running and it gets cold quick...
you will get another set of blanket and pillow, socks and toothbrush... again food and stuff other 4 hours of flight

Once you get to Male, you will get trough customs, and wait for you luggage, u go out and some dude from the tourist agency will wait and guide you to the right counter... there you will be asked about your destination-island, and you will be guide to another counter, from here you will be asked to wait in the cafe-terrace and after 10-15 minutes you will get a guide and follow him to the ship or water-plane
you get to your island in 30-50 min, pay attention you might see dolphins on the way...
you will get on the island and be guided to the reception you will have to fill out a form, and u will get your key/room

We got one hour or so to unpack and take a shower, and to get back in the reception to get some explanations of the services of the island and all kind of info, after that at 19:30 for us it was dinner time, at 18 its dark already so you cant do much ... only eat, stay at the bar and then go to sleep

breakfast is at 7:30
lunch is at 12:30
dinner 19:30

might want to bring with you a light... from 6 pm it gets dark, if you wanna explore the island nights ;)
you need to bring your own snorkel or else you will be paying something like 20$/day to rent and 100$ to buy from the island shop

the natural juice is not included in the AI, so you will pay like 4$ for one

anti-mosquitoes cream is a must

The island is beautiful, natural, there is allover sand, no roads or anything, like in the Robinson Crusoe novel. The service was good, the food was plenty, the water was clear with lots of fish and small sharks ... a joy.
The Rooms are ok, its not like a hotel room, you have enough space, we had a fridge, AC.
The Restaurant and Bar are also great, great service and good cocktails ;)
Great snorkel site, near the beach the water is very small, so it might be ok for children as well.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank KayNix
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2011

After a couple of hiccups along the way in booking this holiday, we finally flew out on September the 14th. Many thanks to Thomson who failed to inform us that there in fact was no premier service - and to the woman at Manchester airport delivering that news who didn't even make eye contact just thrust a letter into my husbands hand as we were boarding.

Ok, Flight was good, staff were attentive, pretty standard stuff but a positive experience all the same. When we arrived at Male we were whisked onto our waiting boat and taken straight to the island. Really quick this, no hanging about - very nice. A short 35 minutes or so later we arrived at Embudu, registered at the reception whilst having a cold drink, all very quick. Porters took our luggage to room 31 and we were on our hols.

We weren't quite sure what to expect as there has been talk of refurbishments etc so here it is, they are renovating ( re-building ) bungalows but ther are in need of it. Although our little bungalow was good it was very tired and in need of an update.The new bungalows look identical to the existing ones and - having a peek through the window - do not seem to be in any way upgraded. They just look like new versions of the old ones. They look lovely and I think that the island will look really nice when this work is all completed.
They are working all day and well into the evening but they have a deadline to finish of the 16th October ( for this phase ) so have to get a move on. It isn't just hand tools but also power tools which, if you are a little bit too close, could be annoying. Our bungalow was away from all the noise and mess so really no problem for us.

Where they are working it's pretty dirty so we quickly got into the habit of just avoiding that area, it wasn't a big deal.

Really this was a lovely place, it isn't as clipped and manicured as a lot of other islands but I think that is part of the charm. It is very laid back but you still get great service. The staff are very friendly, with the eggception of one member ( you know who you are!! ), but even he kind of made us laugh at the end. Our waiter was Mohammed and he was perfect in every way. Nothing was too much trouble and he was always happy. The food was great, there is always something nice even if you don't really fancy whats on. You don't exactly go hungry on these holidays.

The bar and staff were just super, always ready for a chat - Hi to Shyam- lovely young man, again really friendly and informative.

We upgraded to a waterbungalow for our second week and it was worth every penny. The room was really large with a lovely balcony overlooking Male. My husband spent LOTS of time looking into the hole in the floor at the fish.

The snorkeling here is great.The house reef is packed with beautiful coral and consequently lots of fish - I will however have to say that the current here is very strong, just a word of warning to swimmers who may not be prepared. The dive centre is excellent ( I don't dive, but my husband does ), from everything that I saw, they were helpful and professional and all spoke good english.

When we were there it was packed with Germans.No problem as everyone seemed friendly and got along but if you want a bit of a chat at the end of the day ( you may not of course ) , you might be hard pressed to find someone to chat to! We met a lovely couple-Liz and Chicho- and it made the evenings a lot more fun. I think that it was German season as we were told that at the end of october all the French arrive. There is never an English season.

It is very quite here, there is nothing really to do except dive, snorkel and read, there is no real entertainment.This suits us just fine but if you are looking for fun this isn't the place. Again, I think that it is the charm of the place, I hope that it dosn't change as there are plenty of holiday destinations with what we call ' Stretchy Stretchy ' enforced fun.

Finally, do I think that it is going upmarket - No - It just looks to be renovating, having said that I think that they are putting in more bungalows so I wouldn't want to go here in high season as I think it would be too crowded. I have had a peek at the prices for next year at the same time and although a little higher they don't seem to be trying to attract a different market. I guess that time will tell with this one. I really hope that it dosn't change as there are plenty of other islands with more stars to chose from but not many for us on a smaller budget looking for simple peace on a beautiful island.

Debs
P.S. I did pick up an excursion list but lost it. I don't think that the list has changed and Embudu has a very good E Mail service and dedicated Web site.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank DebsSouthWales
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2011

Just returned from a wonderful five days at the Embudu Village resort. The holiday began with the boat trip from the airport, only 30 minutes and a great way to get into the mood of the holiday, shoes off on the boat and stayed off until the return trip to the airport at the end of the holiday, also we had a pod of dolphins escorting us which was incredible.
Upon arrival we were escorted to the reception where we were greeted with a cold towel and a cocktail and within no time we were checked in and off to our rooms.

As many people have already mentioned the accommodation is not luxurious, basic but sufficient, if you plan to spend a lot of time in your room then don't come to the Maldives, stay at home and rent a sunbed.

The island was just as I had imaged, beautiful white sand beaches with palms and crystal clear warm water, a real Robinson Crusoe type of getaway, no cars, no crowds, a complete escape for the modern world, there is internet access available (very expensive) but it is easy to completely disconnect from the world, sometimes holidays can be stressful in that there are so many places to visit and tours to go on, shopping trips, museums, excursions etc etc, here there is nothing more taxing to do than stroll down to the beach, don your snorkelling gear and immerse yourself in the beauty of the undersea world.

The island is ringed by a wide coral reef which in some places is only a few meteres from the beach which means that, unlike in some Maldavian resorts, you do not have to take boat trips out to the reef, you can go when you want and stay as ,long as you want.

The reefs offer an incrfedible array of marine life and everywhere you look there are a multitude of brightly coloured fish, at the edge of the reef there is a steep wall that drops down almost vertically and this is where you can see the biggest variety of fish, including turtles and black tip reef sharks (these are harmless and will go out of their way to avoid contact with humans) if you do see one then think yourself lucky and enjoy the experience of one of these beautiful creatures in it's natural habitat.

There can be strong currents running along the edge of the reef and it is best to check which way the vcurrents are running, also I would suggest that you always wear flippers when snorkelling as they give you more power and control when swimming in the current.

Close to the water villas you can see baby black tip reef sharks swimming along the waters edge, there were 8 in all when I was there along with 3 rays, brightly coloured parrot fish and a whole host of other fish, jjust sitting on the jetty watching them all pass by below was a very pleasant way to pass time.

As to the hotel facilities, the bar, restaurant and sitting area are all pleasantly appointed and are open air benefitting for the breezes that constantly blow accross the island, the food was excellent, lots of choice and plenty of it and very tasty, the only low point was the BBQ dinner when some of the meat was over cooked and dry but there were plenty of alternatives and you will never go hungry, the range of desserts was great and it would be easy to pile on the pounds if you aren't careful!

The staff were very good although some of them did seem a bit jaded but they work an 11 month contract and I guess that being on holiday and working on the island are two different things and it must get very boring as there is not a lot for them to do when they are not on duty.

I was a bit unsure about the assigned seating arrangements at meal times but I ended up with great table companions and had a great time (hi Pam and Oxana).

I will definately go back to Embudu and would reccommend it to anyone who doesn't want 5 star luxury but wants to enjoy all that the Maldives have to offer, the short tranfer from the airport is a definate bonus as some resorts have up to a 4 hour boat trip or expensive sea plane transfer.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled solo
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12  Thank Markwalsh2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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