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Reviewed November 5, 2009

Had a lovely 8 nights at Velassaru in a deluxe bungalow, room 105 on the corner of the island so got the best of both beaches which were only a few steps away from our bungalow. Got a lovely spot on the beach beside the trees each day that was deserted had most of the section to ourselves overlooking the spa. Rooms are lovely, outdoor bathroom with rainshower is ace!!! (standard for maldives & asia) don't go to a tropical island if you don't like mossies & insects, they are a problem but hey you'r in the tropics & it is to be expected.
Don't go full board - Vela is great for breaky but not great in the evening. No atmosphere at all, very bright lights, chairs scraping on the hard floor (canteen like as said here before). Choice of evening buffet is very poor with very limited choice for the price you pay ($121 + tax for 2). Eat at Torqoise its cheaper including a bottle of wine which has table service. The cheaper bottles of wine always seem to be 'unavailable' then they offer you one at $150, keep asking for the cheaper ones the'll give you one eventually.
Estian was very good but service a little intimidating. Ate at Sand on the last evening wish we had discovered it earlier. Service & food was excellent, had a private table on the end of the jetty at the beach it made our last night most memorable.
Went on a lovely complimentary sun set cruise with champagne& canapes. Also went on the night finish trip which was very good I managed to catch 2 fish & went on the trip to Male it was ok - nothing special.
The staff are very helpful & curtious & call you by your name, rooms attended twice daily with fresh beach towels daily also.
Lastly the rubbish island which keeps being mentioned is really not a problem, just don't look at it. They have to process their rubbish somewhere.
We have been to lots of 5 star hotels in Asia & Dubai & would recommend this one very highly, just don't eat at Vela in the evening & you'll be fine.

Date of stay: July 2009
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank Po323
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 3, 2009

Ignore the complaints about the high food and drink prices, it is a 5 star resort, what do you expect? However, that argument only stands if the food is 5 star and it is no where near.
Service is very good, beach is exceptional, but 5 star price for 2 star food is unacceptable. If you want 5 star food at a 5 star resort, try huvafen fushi.

That said, the staff were friendly and made my kids feel welcome.

On balance still a good hotel, but dont go half board, the buffet at Vela is awful. Just be prepared to spend 400 usd for dinner with wine.

Date of stay: October 2009
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
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4  Thank charlie018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 2, 2009

ROOM:
We stayed in a Water Villa which are brand new, huge and very well designed. There is a massive bathroom, huge deck with steps in to the crystal clear sea, a bar, and sizeable area for sitting and relaxing. Overall lovely and very high spec. Very private too.
Our villa faced away from Male and the industrial island, if was paying $1000 a night (2010 prices) to face the industrial island i'd be livid. Suggest reserving villas 401-413 to be sure.

FOOD:
The main buffet was Ok, not bad for mass produced food. The wine list was pricey and the cheaper options rarely available which niggles a bit. Overall though the food wasn't bad and the breakfasts were nice. The Teppanyaki restaurant and Sand restaurant were great. Some prices crazy though, the oft quoted below $25 side of rice is so ridiculous I don't know what the management are thinking.
The main buffet does lack atmosphere but i don't think i've ever been to one that has any.

BAR
The bar is really nice, the decor and setting is great, really cool and a great place to relax after dinner. Live music good too.

POOL
Amazing - beautiful design and so quiet all the time
.
SERVICE
With the exception of the front desk most staff seemed completely confused by the whole process of running a hotel. Drinks orders were met with puzzled looks, english was not spoken well generally (seeing that unfortunately no guest is able to speak the local language this is a problem), I asked 4 times for my bill at the buffet one night, many staff just stand around while guests nearby plainly need a drink / food etc. Some staff were just plain rude. This is not on for a hotel positining itself as 5 star, and if they don't sort it for 2010 people will not accept the 2010 rates with the current service in my view. Maybe teething problems following the refurb but most of the staff seemed overwhelmed despite the high staff:guest ratio.

Overall though an amazingly beautiful resort with huge potential one the odd service issue resolved. Recommended.

Date of stay: October 2009
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
1  Thank ASLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2009

We spent seven nights in October on Velassaru and had a fantastic holiday. It is a beautiful island, which you can walk around in less than 15 minutes, a modern design hotel with fantastic friendly and service minded staff. We had 30 degrees in the air and water and blue sky every day.

We stayed in a deluxe bungalow. They are ca 70 sqm with a lovely outdoor bathroom and a terrace. We spent most of the time on the beach, which is beautiful. We always felt like we were the only only people on the beach, in the water - truly amazing! The coral sand is white and the sea is lovely turqoise and blue. We snorkelled every day and saw lots of fish, baby sharks, sting rays and crabs. The infinity pool is really nice and we spent some time there too.

We further did the sunset cruise (plenty of champagne and delicious canapes on a traditional Maldivian fishing boat), a trip to Male (interesting), a sea plane tour (great to see the resort and other islands from above) and a scuba dive. On the boat ride from the airport on our arrival we saw a school of 20 dolphins(!)

We strongly recommend getting up 5.45 on a couple of mornings to watch the magnificent sunrise. The sunset are lovely too and best view is from the Chill bar, with a colourful cocktail in your hand.

Breakfast is good but not as much options as we had hoped for. The restaurants are all good, but rather expensive. A meal for two with a main each and a shared dessert with a glass of wine each would cost $100-140 depending on restaurant. Sand was our favourite, as you are sat on the beach and the fish is lovely. At the Italian restaurant we were invited for a free wine tasting prior to our meal.

Our main concern prior to departure was the so called garbage island, but it did not disturb us at all when at the island.

We travelled with Emirates via Dubai. Comfortable flight and the Dubai airport is open 24/7 so lots to do although stopping over in the middle of the night.

We would definitely go back to paradise.

Date of stay: October 2009
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank LittleMissSunshine3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 13, 2009

notes:
- free wifi, call recep for login and password
- free rental of snorkel gear (mask+snorkel+fins), rent from dive shop for the whole duration of your stay, you may want to bring your own water-shoes or sports sandles, fins makes it difficult to stand near the corals
- water (2 free bottles of 0.5ltr daily), purchase 1.5ltr bottle at usd5, you can try asking the room cleaners for 2 extra bottles when they come round for second shift cleaning in the evening

we stayed for 4 nights at a water bungalow, transferred to deluxe bungalow (extra usd75) for late chkout.

ACCOMODATION:
Definitely stay at a water bungalow/ villa... can't really get the experience of staying over clear blue waters anywhere else. i think water bungalow is value for money, you dun really need to stay at a water villa... the difference (that i can see from kayaking past) the bathtub at the watervilla is segregated by balcony doors, so you can fully open the doors. the waterbungalow bathtub is in the bathroom but there is a big window beside the bathtub and u can draw the day-blinds for a bit of privacy and still look at the sky and sea.

king-bed comes with a nice down-mattress-topper.. super comfy! (you dont get these at the deluxe bungalow with queen-beds). you can watch the sea+sky from the bed..
there is a dvd player, not much to watch on tv except for the movie channels (MM1 and MM2).
deck chairs on the balcony is great for watching stars or just to enjoy the breeze in the morning/ evening.
my favourite time to spend at the balcony is in the morning, sunrises at 5.45am.. so sitting at the balcony from 6am-7am is very nice, you can see fish swimming past.. there was one morning i saw a manta-ray swim past!

FOOD:
unfortunately this is one area that velassaru did not score.. breakfast spread is acceptable.. but not great.. eggs, salad, pastries+toast, coldcuts, cereals, fruit, 3 or 4 trays of hot food (hashbrowns, grilled tomatoes).
italian restaurant is not bad, but a bit ex, approx usd30-35 for mains.
in-room dining is a bit cheaper eventhough u get the same food from Turqoise, but selection is not great, mainly sandwich and salads. approx usd20-25 for a sandwich/ burger.

Recreation:
snorkelling (best area is water bungalow 301- 310- northwest facing), we stayed at 302 so it was very convenient, corals get more dense towards 308 or further out near the breakwater.
1st day we went snorkeling ard 10-11am and again at 3.30pm, we got sunburned.. visibility of the water in the afternoon is not that good. we use the algae markings on the bungalow pillars as tide indicators, best to go snorkelling when it's hightide, less dangerous as you will not be too near the bigger corals when swimming above them. after the first day we went snorkelling at 7-8am and at 4.30-5.30pm. morning session 7-8am u get to see bigger fish (but u gotta be careful), generally the fish seem to be hungry at that time, so some coral fish will come near and try to nip off some part of your body with a different colour (e.g mole or whitespots).. i got bitten (more like it slammed into my leg since its teeth wasnt very sharp) by a bigger fish when standing near some corals (nearer the breakwater), no exposed wound but got a bruise. keep swimming even if u need to take a photo, when u stop and stand the fishes will start coming near you to see if there's anything tasty to bite off... :) saw a moray-eel hiding under some corals at the east facing waterbungalows (314-316?)
under our bungalow 302, there's a blue box fish who comes by every morning ard 9-10am.. it'll be hiding behind some pipes under the bathroom, you can see it from the staircase.
you may want to get a listing of the fish u can find in maldives at the airport upon arrival, so that you can refer to it after snorkelling.. its usd12 for the simple list. unfortunately, we only got it at our departure.. during our trip we ended up naming the fishes like "big-face", "mole-biter", "couple-fish" etc.. heheh

didn't manage to book the sunset cruise (if you really want to go book early, only 12pax per trip on selected days of the week) but we went for the dolphin expedition instead. we saw many dolphins! abt 200-300 according to our guide. they like to swim infront of the boat and some may come very near to the boat.. there were also some dolphins doing double-back flips and spins on the water.. very nice! so get your camera ready! no loss since on our way back we were sailing into the sunset, it become a dolphin+sunset cruise :)

Overall:
not a five star resort in the likes of four seasons, banyan tree etc, but definitely a great value for money place. service is not "wow" but good enough :) i've done quite a bit of research and found velassaru to be a good balance. was attracted by the fact that snorkelling areas were just below the water bungalows.. some resorts you have to take a boat out or snorkel further to get to the corals.. have decided to write this review as i understand that for some travellers when going to a once-in-lifetime-place like maldives you wouldn't want to get it wrong and end up in a resort which is not something you are looking for. i also listed down notes at the top of the review which i wasn't able to find info for. remember to bring sunblock! :)

Date of stay: October 2009
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
18  Thank SGjas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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