My partner and I have just returned from 2 weeks in the Maldives. We spent our first week at Velidhu Island (3* all inclusive) and our second week at Medhufushi Island (5* half board). We thoroughly enjoyed our time at both resorts. We travelled with Sri Lankan airlines. The flights were on time, no delays either way. The experience was much better on the way back, the staff were friendlier and much more attentive (we were given more drinks than we could cope with) and the food was ok. There is not much room however in the economy seats bearing in mind the lengthof the flight (10-11 hours).
Lets start with the Island itself. It is stunning. It is what you imagine a paradise island to look like. Lovely white/yellow sand with coconut palms and the beautiful sea lapping the shores which has so many different colours. It has its own house reef which is massive. Lots of unusual coral and plenty of fish. Unfortunately while we were there the visability wasn't great. There had been a few storms when we first arrived but towards the end of the week it was clearer and we could see just how extensive and beautiful it was. I would say it is the best house reef I have seen at a hotel. The weather was quite unsettled at first it was windy and a bit stormy for the first few days but whenever there was a storm it only lasted for a short while so every day we were there it was sunny for most of the day. It was certainly hot and we got burned even when it was cloudy so be warned. Another reviewer complained about the wind but we found this helpful, it helped to cool you down. We stayed in a beach bungalow. The room was quite large and spotlessly clean. We had a great view of the beach although the bungalow itself was in the trees (same on Medhufushi). This really helped prevent the island from looking built up. It also helped to keep things cool. Each bungalow had its own sun loungers which were numbered so there was no fear of anyone taking them if you slept in, however this did make it difficult if you wanted to lay on another part of the island. I think they could do with some more un-numbered loungers so people could move around a bit more. We were close to where the sea planes came in and they are quite noisy. They do start early too, we heard a couple at 6am. This was not a problem for us as we are early risers but if you are not then I would ask for a bungalow away from the jetty. We had our own "bungalow boy" who cleaned our room twice per day. He was so thorough. The room was spotless the whole time. We used the laundry service which was also very efficient (back the same day) and reasonably priced. The meals were all buffett style but we found that there was always plenty of choice and the food was excellent. We could not fault it. We had a meal on the beach one night which was lovely. I would definately recommend it. We had 4 courses including more lobster than we could eat for 70 USD each. This included our own waiter and chef. At meal times you had to sit at the same table each time so you had the same waiter. Another reviewer has complained about this but again we found it helpful. It meant that you got to know the people sitting at the tables next to you and you always had the same waiter and therefore he knew without asking that you wanted coffee in the morning for example. The staff were all fantastic in our view. The service was effortless. They really know how to look after you without being in anyway stiff or formal. We were on the all inclusive package and were able to have brand named spirits. They did not scrimp in any way on the drinks. We have stayed in other fully inclusive resorts where you only get local brands and small plastic cups, at Velidhu they were very generous on the measures (a bit too generous) and we were never left waiting with an empty glass. We were relieved that it was not all couples. There was a few families and groups of people. We found that there was a nice mix of people. I would say it was predominantly Brits and Germans but everyone was very friendly. We did a couple of dives with Euro divers. Again we received a great service. We had not dived for over 5 years and so we were a little rusty but we found the staff very helpful and patient. The diving was not great however due to poor visability. From what we learned it is a great place for diving in the right season (Dec-end of April) as there are several manta ray cleaning stations close by. We did the manta safari which is an excursion organised by the island where you snorkle with manta rays. We saw at least 20 mantas some of which were very close. The size and grace of these animals is unbelievable. Definately worth it (although not sure if this is a seasonal thing). The crew were excellent and went over the allotted time to make sure everyone got their fill of mantas. I can't say enough good things about this place. In fact we are thinking of going back in December to do some diving.
We spent our second week on the beautiful Medhufishi. We arrived by sea plane (you cannot reach it by boat from Male). It took around 40 minutes. The views from the sea plane were stunning. We received a very warm reception when we arrived and was personally escorted around the the common areas and taken to our room. We had booked a beach villa but decided to up grade to a water villa when we got there. We were shown both options. The back villas were very tastfully decorated and were what you would expect from a 5* hotel. The bathroom and shower were outside which was a nice unusual feature. The villas were set back from the beach in the trees, so it was lovely and cool. There was a nice deck with comfortable sun loungers which you could drag a few meters to the beach and a swing on the deck. All good. BUT the water villas were absolutely stunning. We ungraded for 100USD per night which was definately worth it. The room was very comfortable and luxurious. The bathroom was unside, very large shower and bath that you could lay in and look out onto the sea. There was a large sun deck with steps leading straight into the sea with two comfortable loungers and a swing. We really enjoyed sitting on the deck first thing in the morning with a coffee and at night with a glass of wine watching the sun set. Superb. But I have to say the steps leading into the sea were dangerous as they were always wet and slippery. I fell on the 3rd day and spent the rest of the week with a large purple bruise the top of my thigh (which is still there) and my partner also fell on the last day actually breaking one of the steps. The island is again stunning. There is no house reef which is a shame but we saw some fish as we walked to and from our villa every day. There is a fantastic swimming pool which is fresh water and looks out onto the sea. There were hardly any guests when we were there so we pretty much had the pool to ourselves which was great. Breakfast and evening meals were served in the main restaurant and were buffett style. The food was excellent. There was lots of choice and the standard was high. It was very windy though and often by the time you walked back to your seat the food had gone cold. They had another restaurant that you could dine in and pay seperately for. We did not get around to eating there but we spoke to one couple who did and they said it was reasonably priced and the food was excellent. Due to low numbers the management organised a beach bbq for us all one night which was lovely. The service was good although we found it a little stiff and formal at times. The staff tried a bit too hard, it did not seem as effortless as on Velidhu and I have to say the room was not kept was clean! The laundry service was not as efficient. It was not effortless as it had been on Velidhu in our view. There was no all inclusive package so we had to pay for our drinks. These were expensive but it it what you would expect from a 5* resort. We did alot of diving here with Werner Lau dive company,. The diving was excellent. Visability was about 15m most of the time. We saw mantas, sharks, turtles, lobsters, lion fish, tuna, barracudas plus all the beautiful colourful reef fish you would expect to see. The coral was pretty amazing too. Lots of unusual soft and hard coral. There were a couple of dives with stong current however and these were a bit hairy. The dive team were very professional. The price was about the same as on Velidhu (about 100USD with equipment) so quite expensive but I think this is typical of the Maldives. I used the spa which was very nice and quite reasonable. I paid 85USD for a 30 minute back massage and a 30 minute indian head massage.
We are already planning our next trip to the Maldives. It is a fanastic holiday although I think 2 weeks on one island without any diving would have boring at times as there is very little to do there. We saw some children around but I don't think it is a place to take children.
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- Also Known As:
- Velidhu Island Hotel North Ari Atoll
- Hotel Velidhu Island