Just returned from a family trip to Lily Beach with our 21, 14, 11 and 8 year olds. We travel quite a bit for both work and pleasure, have Platinum SPG status, PPS Solitaire with Singapore Airlines, 1K with United etc. etc. I tell you this because we are normally treated quite well when we travel with these companies so our service expectations are a tad high. Many thanks to the Lily Beach staff for the excellent service provided! I loved the extra touches- drinks in conveniently supplied coolers near the beach loungers, snorkel equipment we signed out for the week, afternoon snacks available near the pool etc.
We stayed in the family beach villas- they were well appointed, clean and supplied with sodas, beer, wine, toiletries, fluffy towels, a variety of pillows, deck lounge chairs, assigned beach loungers etc. I love a hot bath under the stars- the candles, wine and large outdoor bath tub were just what I wanted to end my evenings and enjoy my relaxing vacation.
We are avid divers and have stayed in both the North Ari Atolls (Club Med- not such a good experience) and the South Ari Atolls (Conrad- excellent for couples and diving). We prefer the diving in the South Ari Atolls, thus the trip to Lily Beach. There are over 50 dive sites to dive and one of the local dive staff members grew up in the area and has worked at Lily for over 10 years. His knowledge of the sites is excellent! We only travel with our dive computers and camera- no other equipment- and were very pleased with the quality of the dive equipment and the organization of the dive shop. The staff was safety conscious, friendly and professional. All our equipment was carried to and from the boat for us. Fruits, water, sodas, cakes etc were offered at the conclusion of our dives and on our two tank dive we were offered coffee and tea as well. We dove the local reef from the water sports desk to the spa twice (one day and one night dive) and were quite pleased! All our 8 dives at Lily were teeming with fish, healthy and colorful corals etc. The white and black tip sharks, turtles, eagle rays etc were in abundance. I was in a quandary as to focus on the micro life or macro life as I dove. We did a manta dive and saw over a dozen of these elegant creatures. We passed on the whale shark trip but heard they were successful.
Lily does an excellent job of separating those traveling with kids and those traveling without. With a quiet, adults only pool/bar at one end of the island and a pool/bar with a kiddie pool, game tables, Kid's Club and playground on the other end of the island, guests can find the peace and quiet or the family time they are looking for. Our daughter throughly enjoyed the Kid's Club and Anju clearly loves children and goes the extra mile to entertain them. Once, our dive was late returning (unexpected stop to snorkel with mantas!), Anju had taken our daughter to lunch, made a bracelet with her and kept her so happily occupied she didn't notice we were late. Anju clearly enjoys playing with children in the pool, on the beach and in the club. Kudos to Lily Beach for hiring such loving staff.
The food was ok for buffet style eating with a wide variety of cuisine to choose from. The fresh bread, omelet station and prosecco (for non dive days) were good but the buffet items could be a bit hotter. The kid's station had spring rolls, chicken samosas etc but would be better if it included a few basic staples (eg french fries, chicken strips, pizza and pasta) every day. The pasta bar at lunch was enjoyed by all but dinner fell a bit flat. The chef is new and I am quite confident he will continue to improve the buffet. The Asian specialty restaurant, Tamarind, was a hit with our family and we would happily return again and again. For those that are a bit fussy with their wines, there is a wide variety of both included wine and nicer wines you can purchase.
We didn't get a chance to try the spa- just too busy diving, snorkeling around the lovely house reef etc. Next time!
We had already booked another resort for return trip to the Maldives in the spring but have since changed our minds and are thinking of staying at Lily Beach again. I can completely understand why guests return repeatedly to this lovely resort.
All in all this was a great combination of family friendly resort, fantastic diving, superb service and lovely surroundings. We would highly recommend Lily Beach to those seeking a great vacation in the Maldives.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In the deep blue sea of the Indian Ocean, among the scattered small Islands known as the Garland of Flowers (Maldive Islands) of indescribable nature, Lily Beach Resort is the island - Huvahendhoo at the South East Ari-Atoll. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Lily Beach Resort And Spa
- Lily Beach Hotel South Ari Atoll
- Lily Beach Resort All Inclusive
- Lily Beach Maldives