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Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi {MDV}

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi {MDV}

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Old Mar 21, 22, 3:22 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
:-: Welcome to the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi Wiki! :-:
Notes: All prices are in US Dollars and are exclusive of taxes unless specified (by ++)

Tax Information
• 10% Service Charge (levied by resort. For info on this and how it's distributed, see this post)
• 12% T-GST (Tourist Goods & Services Tax, levied by the Maldivian government, current as of Oct 1, 2014)
• Total tax is 23.2%, not 22% as one would think. Example; $100 + 10% = $110, then add 12% on to $110 for a total of $123.20
• Tip: To work out prices before the 23.2% taxes, multiply by 0.81169, i.e; 123.2 * 0.81169 = 100
• A Green Tax of $6pp/pn (levied by the Maldivian government) has been introduced starting from 1 November 2015. Points/Redemption bookings are exempt from the tax for up to two guests per room

Booking with points
• Bookings must be cancelled 30 days prior in order to avoid one full night's charge at BAR. (some days cancellation period is 14 days check your reservation details for the exact applicable cancellation policy)
• Website and phone agents state that a cash deposit equivalent to the BAR per night will be taken when booking stays with points. This is an error. NO CASH DEPOSIT IS TAKEN WHEN MAKING A POINTS BOOKING
• Free night certificate: The phone agent states that a cash deposit equivalent to the BAR per night will be taken when booking your free night. This is an error. NO CASH DEPOSIT IS TAKEN WHEN USING YOUR FREE NIGHT CERTIFICATE

Transfers To and From Resort
• Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi is located in South Malι Atoll, 23km southwest of Malι and Velana International Airport [MLE] (also known as Malι International Airport, previously known as Ibrahim Nasir International Airport)
• Transfer experience includes personal service for your group after luggage pick-up until arrival on the yacht; yacht includes dedicated server for champagne, non-alcoholic beverages, and light snacks. Departure experience on the yacht is the same, and your group be personally escorted through airline check-in until airport security.
• Pricing in 2021 is $650++, 2020 is $600++ per person, and 2019 it was $350++ per person per way ($1724.80 return inclusive of taxes for 2 passengers). The price for kids 5 and under is complimentary while kids 6-11 years old are charged $300++ per person. If the yacht is not available, a speedboat will be provided by the resort. If this happens, you may be refunded the yacht transfer fee.
• Pricing for 2022 will increase to $730++ for adults and $365++ children 6-12, see website by clicking here.
• The resort offers the ability to redeem Hilton Honors points for your transfer, .strValue1=all&promoGroupList[1].strValue1=en_US&qt[0].type=fieldsearch&qt[0].name=panname_country_s&qt[0].value1=MDV&rc=24&sort=timeleft_asc]click here.
• See this post for a detailed review of the yacht transfer (Courtesy of jphripjah)
• Third party transfers are not permitted by the resort.
• Transfer to / from Conrad Maldives Rangali Island: A private seaplane transfer from the Waldorf to the Conrad, taking approximately 25 minutes, is approximately USD 8,125++. Most guests travel between the resort booking the standard round trip seaplane from Male to Rangali and then the Yacht transfer round trip from Male to Waldorf.

Time
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi time has been set one hour ahead of Male’ time to give an extra hour of daylight each day. For ease, set phone or Dhaka Sri Lanka time zone.

Resort Information / Spa / Activities
• WA Ithaafushi is made up of three islands (95% man-made)
• There are 2 standalone OWVs (Over Water Villas) and 121 villas in total
• Click here (Hilton's website) or here (dedicated website) to visit the resort on the web
• The kids club (one of the biggest in the Maldives) is for children between 4 to 11 years. Click here for detailed information and here for the schedule. Click here, here and here for basic reviews and comprehensive sets of pictures (All courtesy of Traveler Dave)
• See this and this post for info on the Christmas Eve and New Years Eve Gala Fee
• Click here to visit the resort's listing on TripAdvisor
• Tennis courts: See this post
• For a new map of the resort click here
> For the old map of the resort click here * Note that this map is orientated north and so the SUNRISE and SUNSET written on it are incorrect. Also note that you receive a black and white map when you arrive and this is not as good nor as detailed as the one posted here. For comments on the quality of the map, click here
• Snorkelling spots and other info 3e4sd:Link to post: (Courtesy of AirForceFlyer)
• Scuba Diving pics :Link to post: (Courtesy of Traveler Dave)
• Activities Brochure (prices as of July 2019)
• Spa pics and review :Link to post: (Courtesy of Traveler Dave)
• Wellness Programme :Link to post: (Courtesy of AirForceFlyer)

Resort Information - F&B and Menus
• The resort has 11 restaurants / bars
• Kids under 6 eat free when ordering from the dedicated kids menu (all restaurants except the adult only ones have kids menu; does not apply to in-room dining)
• Some restaurant menus are available in PDF format on the resort's website. Click here to visit the relevant page on their website
• Menus for most restaurants as of early October 2020: See this post
• For pictures of most of the menus: Part 1 and Part 2
• Dining Programme / restaurant opening times: See this post and the post below it
• IVD (In Villa Dining) menus: See this post
• Yasmeen - Menu version discussion here.
• Terra is $298.00++ per person. As of December 2019, the set menu includes Amuse Brioche (3 selections per person), a starter (tuna, avocado, caviar), 2 courses highlighting lobster and wagyu beef with a pallet cleanse in between, a dessert course, then finishing with 3 additional sweet selections per person.
• The Ledge - See this post. Note that this menu changes daily but there are probably only 2 for each day and 14 in total (7 for lunch and 7 for dinner). Chefs rotate to the resort from Burnt Ends in Singapore.
+ Peacock Alley 1/2 priced drinks daily after 9:30pm. High-quality cocktails and liquors available at a very affordable price ranging from $13-$15 post discount
+ Tasting Table full buffet breakfast with made to order entrees and complimentary Champagne for $65++/person or Free for Hilton Diamond / Gold
+ Glow and Yasmeen wine selections are priced in the $65 - $85 ++ range per bottle.
• Lunch can be purchased at the main pool or beach from Nava or The Ledge. The majority of lunch entrees cost $30-$50++. Lunch is also available at Tasting Table, Tangled, or In Villa Dining.
• A new pizza oven was flown in from Italy to replace the original oven installed at Nava, and an Italian chef traveled to the resort to work with the team to elevate pizza quality in early December of 2019.
• During festive season 2019, the resort introduced a lobster & champagne dinner on the beach, including tasting stations, free flow champagne, and a live band for $298++ per person.

Miscellaneous Information
• Villa pool depth: See this post
• Best snorkelling spots: See this post and this post
• Complimentary water (in villa): See this post
• Walking / getting around the resort: See this post
• Sunset / Sunrise at the resort: See this post and this post
• Power outlet configuration: See this post


Elite member benefits:

Hilton Honors GOLD MEMBERS:
  • Full breakfast at Tasting Table
  • In-villa VIP welcome bottle of wine and fruits
  • Complimentary daily afternoon delights (see here for pic) with a fine selection of beverages crafted by mixologist and sommelier from 16:00 to 17:00 at Peacock Alley. Note The afternoon delights have been removed and replaced with a bowl of nuts or crisps for example
  • 50% special offer on selected beverages at Nava Beach Club from 22:00 to 23:30
Hilton Honors DIAMOND MEMBERS:
  • Full breakfast at Tasting Table
  • Free item from the kids menu for kids under 6 y.o. (staff are somewhat flexible on this age limit)
  • In-villa VIP welcome Champagne, sweet and savoury amenities, note this could be downgraded to a bottle of red wine.
  • [Diamond only benefit] With a selected 60-minute massage, enjoy a complimentary additional 30-minute at Waldorf Astoria Spa
  • Complimentary daily afternoon delights (see here for pic) with a fine selection of beverages crafted by mixologist and sommelier from 16:00 to 17:00 at Peacock Alley. Note : The afternoon delights have been removed and replaced with a bowl of nuts or crisps for example
  • 50% special offer on selected beverages at Nava Beach Club from 22:00 to 23:30 (January 2021: Currently at Peacock Alley as Nava closes at 7pm due to Covid-19 service changes)

Accommodation:
At opening the resort defined Beach Villas as the lowest category of accommodation (only this category bookable with points). The next highest category was Reef Villas then above that, the Overwater Villas. Note: villas on the Private Island do not count.
This will change in 2020. Quote from the resort "Please be informed that for next year we have changed our villa category. Kindly note that the Reef Villa will be our base category, next will be the Overwater Villa and then the Beach Villa. Basically the Beach Villa will be a higher category compared to reef Villa and Overwater Villa."
See this post for the conversation related to this. Pricing has changed as well to reflect this. See below for 2020 pricing.
Note that as of August 2019 the BV is still available to book on points in 2020. This may change, however.

Prices - Accommodation (2020):

***** March 2020 Figures *****
• Beach Villa USD 2630
• Overwater Villa USD 2430
• Reef Villa USD 1930


Prices - Accommodation (2019):

***** July 2019 Figures *****
• 2 Bedroom Beach Villa with Pool USD 3850
• 2 Bedroom Over Water Villa with Pool USD 4350

***** October 2019 Figures *****
• Beach Villa USD 2100
• Grand Beach Villa USD 2300
• Reef Villa USD 2300
• Grand Reef Villa USD 2500
• Overwater Villa USD 2500
• Grand Overwater Villa USD 2700


***** Upgrade Costs - Jul 2019 *****
• Two Bedroom Beach - US 2000
• Two Bedroom Grand Beach - US 2200
• Two Bedroom Reef - US 2200
• Two Bedroom Overwater - US 2400

***** Upgrade Costs - Oct 2019 *****
• Reef Villa USD 200
• OWV USD 400


Villa Types and Abbreviations used in this thread (listed in order from most basic to most luxurious)

-- BVs (Beach Villas) --

BV (Beach Villa)
GBV (Grand Beach Villa)

-- RVs (Reef Villas) --

RV (Reef Villa, the Garden Villa category shown in the pre-opening promo video)
GRV (Grand Reef Villa, also a type of Garden Villa shown in the pre-opening promo video)

-- OWVs (Over Water Villas) aka Ocean Villas in rewards booking --

OV (Overwater Villa)
GOV (Grand Overwater Villa)
SMR (Stella Maris Residences)

-- Occupancy Information --
See this post for maximum occupancy of each villa type

Villa Selection
• See this post and this post
• Privacy - Beach Villas: For pics, info and opinions, see the following posts; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10


Travel & Safety Information
• The Maldives is listed in Category 1 (the highest category) on the
WHO Zika virus classification table. However, don't let that scare you because as of April 13, 2017 there has only been one confirmed case of Zika in the Maldives
• Click here for information related to the single Zika infection in the Maldives (reported in January of that year)


Contact
• General Enquiries: [email protected]
• Reservations Department: [email protected]
• Tel: +960-4000-300
• Click here for hilton site and click here for Waldorf Maldives website

Weather:
Note: since the resort is close to Mahibadhoo (where there is a weather station), I have added this info from the Conrad Maldives thread as both resorts are close by and the weather will be the same as far as forecasts go (MaldivesFreak)
• General info on weather in the Maldives: Link 1 Link 2 (Maldivian government website)
• Recommended Android weather app: eWeather HD. See this post for detailed info on the app, settings, tips and general weather info (Courtesy of MaldivesFreak)
• Want to get an idea about the weather in the month of August? Click here to read a post from a FT member that spends 2 weeks at Rangali during this month (Courtesy of Splotly)


Pictures - Resort under construction:
• January, 2018 :Link to post:
• June, 2018 :Link to post:
• Approx October, 2018 :Link to post:
• January, 2019 :Link to post:

Pictures & Videos - Post-opening:
• General pics of the resort (July, 2019) :Link to post: (Courtesy of jphripjah)
• The Stella Maris exclusive! :Link to post with links to videos: (Courtesy of alanslegal)
• Breakfast buffet at Tasting Table - Post #1 :Link to post: (Courtesy of alanslegal)
• Breakfast buffet at Tasting Table - Post #2 :Link to post: (Courtesy of jphripjah)
• Breakfast buffet at Tasting Table - Post #3 :Link to post: (Courtesy of Traveler Dave)
• Breakfast buffet at Tasting Table - Post #4 :Link to post: (Courtesy of Another Getaway)
• IVD(in villa dining) :Link to post: (Courtesy of Stivelio)
• Terra (views from all 7 'cages') :Link to post: (Courtesy of jphripjah)
• Terra and Family Pool :Link to post with link to video: (Courtesy of alanslegal)
• Reef Villa with sunset view :Link to post: (Courtesy of Stivelio)
• Views in the direction of Male (night & day pics) :Link to post 1: (Courtesy of wekxbrainx) :Link to post 2: (Courtesy of jphripjah)
• Bicycle tour :Link to post:
• Various resort and villa pics from a stay in November 2019 :Link to post: (Courtesy of aspenedelen)

Reviews:
• Review by Jermyn
• Review by goldelite8
• Review by escape4
• Review by Falcons05 (text only)

Historical Information for high rollers:
+ $135 shisha, Check out this post
+ If you do NOT have Gold/Diamond status with Free breakfast AND you decide NOT to pay the $65++ for full buffet at Tasting Table, then you may or may not encounter a $35 charge for a single egg
+ 106,000 dollar bottle of wine: Click
here for a picture of the wine menu (reactions follow on subsequent pages)





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Old Jun 23, 22, 9:10 am
  #2611  
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Posts: 16
Originally Posted by yutaka12131415 View Post
Hi, thank you very much for your reply. Yes I have been checking for 20+ WA Ithaafushi reviews and have saved all the menu for services and dining for the last 7 months planning this trip. There have been different level of changes since they opened, from price change, redemption change, service change, and new restaurants that only people that recently travelled there will know. Also, hotel bills on stays and airfares are not a big deal to frequent flyers that have a lot of miles and points with airline and hotel status because they are all free with award travels.

This place has a almost too many options and too many changes that happen so frequently it's hard to budget for it. We are budgeting $4000 for dining and activities now but just want to know what other people are thinking about. If you go on island destinations often you would know that there are a lot of factors that can affect water activities, such as schedule, weather, quality of the environment, current conditions, among other administrative controlled changes that only the locals and people who have been there would now. There is no reason to waste $2000 for whale cruise if there is likely going to be any whales or sharks for example. We go on vacations 4-5 times a year on exotic places, there is nothing wrong with budgeting each destination. Not everyone is born a millionaire.
In case you go to the Philippines, you can swim with the whaleshark for $20 US dollars. This was when we went in 2018

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ArLin is offline  
Old Jun 23, 22, 10:54 pm
  #2612  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: San Francisco
Programs: GM on VX, UA, AA, HA, AS, SY; Budget Fastbreak
Posts: 18,850
Originally Posted by joecool1885 View Post
Yikes. Didn't even know it was possible to spend 6K at the Grand Wailea. Definately didn't get close to that for our visit.

As far as W.A, we averaged $1200/nt over ten nights... that was inclusive of spa treatments, diving for 1, Terra, and a Private Dinner at the Stella Maris. If you cut the fat you could definately get away with $4K for 5 nights.
sorry to distract - Grand Wailea was about $700/night plus $700/cabana per day plus meals since we ate brekky and luncheon on site. I like the cabana. Not cheap and without it, I’d never find chaise. It’s a pain to try to reserve 7 chaise (us and our friends) on my own at 7a.
But the real key is that we only can go during April break from school when lotsa families are on April break so there’s high demand. At least flight cost to OGG is less than MLE - some trade offs.
sorry to distract from WA in Maldives.
gaobest is offline  
Old Jun 24, 22, 1:09 pm
  #2613  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 3,036
Originally Posted by ffman999 View Post
Has anyone ever done the Whale Shark snorkeling excursion with WAI?
I have done it back in March this year.
We did see a couple of whale sharks several times (they come and go) during our excursion.
I thought the price was very expensive, but I have no regrets - it was one of the most spectacular moments in my life seeing a gigantic whale shark up close in nature.
I know in Asia the same excursion is much cheaper, but that doesn't matter to me...seeing a whale shark in the Maldives is something I will never forget.
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agjil is online now  
Old Jun 24, 22, 2:16 pm
  #2614  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 343
Talking about excursions, what is one excursion you guys do recommend?

thanks!
yolie is offline  
Old Jun 24, 22, 4:51 pm
  #2615  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Programs: Alaska MVP Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 612
My family will be there for 9 days in July. If you will too and want to meet up, send me a DM. I had a great time meeting fellow FlyerTalkers when we went last September!
ffman999 is offline  
Old Jun 26, 22, 12:43 am
  #2616  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: CVG
Programs: Hyatt Giraffe
Posts: 1,632
We will be there June 29 to July 8th. Looking forward to returning. Happy to meet any FT'ers there, we were able to meet one couple last year!
sam_goh is offline  
Old Jun 26, 22, 2:17 am
  #2617  
 
Join Date: Jun 2022
Location: Los Angeles
Programs: Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum
Posts: 14
Originally Posted by ffman999 View Post
My family will be there for 9 days in July. If you will too and want to meet up, send me a DM. I had a great time meeting fellow FlyerTalkers when we went last September!
We will be there from July 23 to July 28!
yutaka12131415 is offline  
Old Jun 26, 22, 8:57 am
  #2618  
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 2
I haven't been able to find any 5days slots for points redemption. Is it just me not being fast enough? or have WA not been releasing slots?
koyo23 is offline  
Old Jun 26, 22, 2:31 pm
  #2619  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Programs: Alaska MVP Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 612
Yes. It opens up but gets snapped up quickly.
ffman999 is offline  
Old Jun 27, 22, 1:37 am
  #2620  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: BHX
Programs: BA GGL CCR GfL, Marriott Ti, HH Diamond, Hyatt Globalist, Cafe Nero Loyalty Card
Posts: 7,008
Originally Posted by koyo23 View Post
I haven't been able to find any 5days slots for points redemption. Is it just me not being fast enough? or have WA not been releasing slots?
The next batch of dates to be released will be for late June 2023. When the hotel releases these dates, it will be possible to get a 5 night redemption; but the availability will be snapped up very quickly.

The chances of finding 5 consecutive nights for dates prior to June 23 is close to zero.
Wozza2404 is offline  
Old Jun 27, 22, 2:09 pm
  #2621  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: BHX
Programs: BA GGL CCR GfL, Marriott Ti, HH Diamond, Hyatt Globalist, Cafe Nero Loyalty Card
Posts: 7,008
We recently stayed here for just over a week. I figured I'd give my views on the resort.

Arrival was smooth. We were greeted by name as soon as we approached the guy holding the WA sign - which meant we knew we would have the transfer to ourselves. I can't stress enough how the yacht transfer is a much smoother experience than a seaplane. No mini bus to a remote lounge to wait (often hours) for the seaplane departure. We were leaving the dock under ten minutes from walking out of baggage reclaim - champagne in hand.
The snacks on the boat are little cakes - the same as come in the jars each evening with the turndown service. Nothing special. Frankly given the quality of the breakfast pastries (exceptional) I'm not sure why they don't just have a basket of those for each yacht journey.
The champagne served on the boat is Veuve Extra Old.

Arriving at the resort is a dream, and check in is done in room and doesn't take long. Our host had made reservations for dinner for the first 4 or 5 nights just so we had an option booked. We kept all but one of them.

We had an anniversary cake in the room which was a nice touch, plus the bed was decorated for us. We had the usual Diamond fruit basket and bottle of red wine (a £20 bottle of Bordeaux which was perfectly pleasant). People had mentioned the little jars of sweet treats given at turndown service each evening - but we found these to be - frankly - naff. Generally half stale little cakes, or unripe dates. Nothing to get excited about.

The room itself is exceptional. I think most people know this by now so I won't dwell too much, but it really is breathtaking. We were in reef villa 502 - and I think we were very lucky with the allocation and positioning. The villa is a reef villa but due to the position, 502 constantly has water underneath it. The Grand Reef Villa next door and the other villas moving down the row are dependent on tide - and sometimes have beach underneath them. This means at night the waves can crash onto that beach. From our villa we could hear the waves crashing underneath next door and it was quite pleasant - but I'd imagine from inside that villa that noise would have been LOUD. You may think this sounds amazing, you may value a little more tranquility - but it was something I noted.

Positioning of the villa was good. From the pool, you look out and you can see some OW Villas and then open ocean. If you lean out and look to the left you'll see Maafushi - but the light from the island at night isn't intrusive. I've put a night photo below and you can see it's just a twinkling of lights in the distance. This is in STARK contrast to the other side of the island - where the light from Male is exceptionally bright. I was absolutely gobsmacked at how bright it was on that side - to the point where you couldn't see any stars in that direction. Now, people may be looking at this and thinking I'm being a bit precious - so I took a photo from Zuma across the bay and you can see the light from Male on the other side. It really really took me by surprise just how bright it was and it would have seriously detracted from the tranquil evening vibe on our deck had we been in a villa on that side. The one downside of this villa (and any in a similar position) is that you do hear the buggies coming on an off the bridge (a rumble strip kind of noise). The villa also looks out at the little sand island with the swing on it (Insta Island) so you do get a steady stream of kayakers, folk on pedalos, etc. heading to the island to take their 'shots for the Gram' but by late afternoon it's deserted again.

Getting around the island we always did on bikes. the buggies are a nuisance during the day and they're downright dangerous at night. We cycled to and from dinner each evening and there were multiple occasions where buggies - travelling at speed - were forced to sweve into the foliage or emergency brake to avoid hitting us - this is because whilst most of the paths are wide enough to have two 'lanes', the do narrow significantly in certain places and the buggies barrel along as a serious pace. Frankly I'd say it's only a matter of time before someone walks out of their villa pushing a pushchair and a buggy colides with it coming around the corner. Buggies on the bridge at the Conrad were the one significant negative I had at that resort and buggies in general were a significant negative here as well. I will say that is another plus for the positioning of our villa - 502 - we never felt we needed to call a buggy - even going to Zuma (the furthest restaurant from us) took just 15 minutes on the bikes.
NB - The bikes now have villa number tags on the back of them so you know which are yours.

Water is provided FOC in the villas, and it's provided free at Nava beach club if you head down there. They'll also give you bottles to take with you if you go out on a pedalo, etc. House water is available at all restuarants but if you don't specify then you'll get a $12 bottle of Evian. House water has a charge of $5. Frankly given the nature of the resort I'm not going to get worked up over a $5 charge on a $400 bill. Others may disagree.

Food I'll give a brief overview of where we ate below:

Breakfast - Well covered in reviews upthread. Best breakfast in the Hilton world? Probably up there, yes. Free flow Tattinger. The Maldivian egg dishes on the a la carte menu are well worth trying.

Yasmeen - Nice setting. Food was plentiful and some dishes were excellent. Ultimately it's bread, salad and grilled meat, though and it's nothing you wouldn't get for a fraction of the price at a decent Lebanese or Middle Eastern restuarant back home. Bill was approaching $400 all in which was the set menu plus a few beers. Worth doing and a nice experience but we wouldn't have gone back.

Tasting Table - We had the seafood platter here one evening sat on the beach and it was probably one of the best value meals we had. Whole lobster, very large prawns, a reef fish, scallops, etc. and we also ordered some noodles and a rice dish. Few beers and the whole thing came to $300. This is where you want to be eating if you need a budget night - you could do dinner for 2 here for sub $150 here - and nowhere else on the island. Menu is extensive - a little bit of everything. We ate here twice.

The Ledge - We said this was the best food on the island - and that would have stayed true if Zuma hadn't opened whilst we were there. Some really excellent dishes - the beef marmalade starter and the smoked potato puree being stand out dishes. The reef fish was also exceptional here. A couple of poor items as well - in particular the caesar salad which was just 3 cups of lettuce with shredded lettuce, cheese and what I think was bacon dust in them - and it cost £30GBP after the ++. I've put a photo below purely for the lols. However, outrageously priced lettuce aside, this place is unmissable. It was $300 for two with a couple of drinks (would be a chunky amount more if you went for the wagyu beef). We ate here twice.

Nava Beach Bar - I had lunch here a few times.
Pizza - done in the wood oven. Had a salami one. Was it worth forty quid (yes, that's pounds)? No. I can do better in my Ooni at home. But it's fine if you want a quick snack.
Chicken Burger - Actually very good. Fried chicken thigh with a spiced slaw and pickles on a very light brioche bun. Worked well. Almost seemed reasonable at £35 compared to other options.
Burger - Cost over £60. Annoyingly it was absolutely outstanding. Smoked beef patties and a really good burger cheese. The chips let the dish down (at this price point just throw on the truffle fries instead of chunky McCain home chips). In my top ten burgers ever - though you'd expect it to be at that price.

Li Long - Erm.... Bit conflicted here. Location wise it's one of the best places to eat on the island. Right on that deck looking into the water we saw sting rays and nurse sharks and schools of jacks hunting and loads of cool stuff. The food... well it was very average Chinese food. My soup was tepid - not hot. The noodles were a little dry. My seafood was bland in the XO dish. Like it wasn't terrible by any means but certainly if we hadn't been sat on that deck we would have probably been disappointed with it overall. We didn't return. $375 I think.

Zuma - Oh, Zuma. Immediately, from the moment you approach it, it's a different level. The atmosphere is refined yet fun. The staff greet you vibrantly. They have proper menus (the rest of the resort still has those naff QR codes - though all restaurants will give you an ipad menu if you ask and don't want to be squinting at your phone). The place sits out over the water and in the centre the chefs are flying around preparing the dishes all in full view. The bulk of the staff have come over from the Dubai one if anyone is familiar with t. That place.
The food is is a cut above anything else we had. Currently the menu is a little more limited than the 'normal' Zuma menu you might be familiar with elsewhere, but the main dishes are present (tempura prawns, miso cod, spinach salad, maki rolls, etc.). This is a supply issue apparently, and the menu will be extended once they have ironed out the logistics of getting the goods there. Cocktails were the best we had anywhere on the island by a LONG way. They were saying they're hoping to have live music each night and make the bar area a destination for cocktails after people have eaten elsewhere - as well as a dinner destination in its own right. Given the proximity to some overwater villas I'm not sure how that will go down with folk in those villas, but that's the plan anyway.
We ate here twice on consecutive nights - not cheap but hands down the best place we ate on the island. Absolutely not even close. $550 and $450, respectively, with a couple of cocktails.

Finally, Happy Hour. This is between 4-5 in Peacock Alley which meant if we wanted to go then we had to pack up off the beach and head down there. Which is a bit of an effort. We made it probably 3 days in total. The drinks are OK but nothing earth shattering. No deviation allowed from the menu (this seems to depend on what staff you have, how busy they are, etc.). The 'snack' is peanuts. You're asked to sign the bill at the end so they're clearly tracking exactly what this is costing each day. Service is slow - with only one bartender - so 3 drinks is about your lot in an hour. Frankly, most days we just stayed at the beach and paid for drinks - at least you get exactly what you want that way. Also at the Conrad Happy Hour everyone was chatting away across tables but everyone kept themselves to themselves here (of course this will vary day to day depending on who is on the island) - as such, we prefered the beach.

Clientele - Well, it's June. Sports seasons are mostly finished. So there were a LOT of current and past footballers and NFL players. Couple of recognisable tennis players as well. Apparently the resort is starting to get a name for itself for privacy AND it has that 'en vogue' instagram quality currently - which is attracting certain celebrities. Then there was a lot of Asian families (quite a few people we spoke to were from Singapore). So lots of children running around at breakfast, playing in the sand on the steps, jumping off the decking, etc. This will either bother you or it won't. We chose to sit away from it after the first day of having kids crawling under the tables.

Marine life - This is where the island falls short. If you've been to the Conrad you'll be disappointed by marine life here. It's coming - but it's not there yet. From the deck of our villa I saw blue spotted rays, triggerfish, jackfish, schools of chromis, squid (very cool), a baby shark (once) but you had to really sit and watch for it - or get lucky to be in the right place at the right time. Compare it to the Conrad where there was a constant stream of critters performing for us off the deck. Similarly the snorkelling is not a patch on the Conrad - there's some cool stuff - I saw a clam, I saw a sizeable black tip off the reef drop off, unicorn fish, moorish idols - and the coral is coming - there are bubble tip anemones, crusting montipora, etc. but it's nothing like the Conrad reef. So if you've never snorkelled in the Maldives then you'll see plenty of fish - but if you've been to a resort with a decent house reef, lower your expectations.

The nurse shark snorkelling trip, however, is one of the best things I've ever done. It's heavily priced at around $475 all in per person, but to get that close to 10ft nurse sharks - and huge numbers of them too - was insanely cool.

SPA - I didn't go. My wife did. She said it was very pleasant and relaxing but she was in no real rush to go back again. Said she'd much rather do a day spa at Champneys in the UK (no idea what that means but I imagine it's going to cost me money).

Few other bits and pieces - the adult only pool looks very smart but it's falling apart. You'll be pulling tiles up by the fistful. And you can see where they've tried to use waterproof filler to plug the gaps. Poor considering the age of the resort.
The overwater villas - IMHO - don't have the same kind of wow factor when you walk in as the reef villas do. The beach villas are insanely private. But if given a choice (not including Stella Maris or Private Island) I think I'd take a Grand Reef on the non-Male facing side over any other option.
Wear slippers on your deck or you'll be pulling splinters out real quick.
Mini bar beers are $10++ - which seemed almost reasonable compared to everything else on the island.
You MUST try the smores at The Ledge when you go for dinner.
Despite being June, we had one afternoon where it rained. Otherwise the weather was absolutely stunning. However they did say that just a couple of weeks before we arrived they had weather so bad for 3 days there were periods you couldn't get on or off the island - so I guess you take your chances this time of year.
Despite my moaning about the prices (I knew what I was walking into but some things still took me by surprise) my overall bill was actually lower than anticipated.

EDIT: We didn't eat at Terra or The Rock. We spoke to a number of people who had done Terra whilst we were there and all said that the presentation and service was amazing but the food was just 'OK'. At over £700GBP before drinks we decided we were better off having a second night at Zuma. The Rock we would have likely gone for if it wasn't private - just us two doing a wine tasting isn't our thing, but with other people it would have been fun. Conrad does the wine cellar dinner where you sit with up to 5 other couples and it was one of the best nights we had on the island - but it wasn't our thing at the WA.

Photo 1. That's not moonlight, that's Male-light. The light from Zuma is making it appear fuzzy but you get the idea of how bright those lights really are.
Photo 2. Maafushi lights just visible in the distance from the deck at twilight.
Photo 3. A £30GBP caesar salad.
Photo 4. One of the may little bolt holes tucked away just off the paths that offer little 'easter egg' viewpoints around the island.





Last edited by Wozza2404; Jun 28, 22 at 2:04 am
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Old Jun 27, 22, 2:30 pm
  #2622  
 
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Originally Posted by Wozza2404 View Post
We recently stayed here for just over a week. I figured I'd give my views on the resort.
Thanks for the thorough review - some informative datapoints for our upcoming stay!
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Old Jun 28, 22, 4:15 am
  #2623  
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Thank you Wozza2404 for your comprehensive review. Lots of useful information to take away for our return visit shortly (We'll be there 13-23 July, so happy to catch up with any other FT'er who will be in-residence).

Almost three years on (we stayed in the first week the resort opened), our sentiments are similar to yours. Most dining options on the island are a try-once but you would never logically go back for the second visit. Apart from The Ledge, I recall many people raving about Li Long or Yasmeen and while it is a nice ambience, the food is not wow or great esp. if you have grown up (for eg. in Australia) surrounded by middle eastern or chinese food made by refugees/migrants of those countries. That said, we'll likely try those places again because it is part of the novelty factor (like who eats plenty of food, within a middle eastern village, set on an idyllic maldivian island?) and we'll worry about the costs later.
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Old Jun 28, 22, 4:27 am
  #2624  
 
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Originally Posted by alanslegal View Post
Thank you Wozza2404 for your comprehensive review. Lots of useful information to take away for our return visit shortly (We'll be there 13-23 July, so happy to catch up with any other FT'er who will be in-residence).

Almost three years on (we stayed in the first week the resort opened), our sentiments are similar to yours. Most dining options on the island are a try-once but you would never logically go back for the second visit. Apart from The Ledge, I recall many people raving about Li Long or Yasmeen and while it is a nice ambience, the food is not wow or great esp. if you have grown up (for eg. in Australia) surrounded by middle eastern or chinese food made by refugees/migrants of those countries. That said, we'll likely try those places again because it is part of the novelty factor (like who eats plenty of food, within a middle eastern village, set on an idyllic maldivian island?) and we'll worry about the costs later.
I think that's exactly it - for most of the restaurants it's ambience that takes priority over the food.

At the Ledge, it's the other way around - the ambience isn't anything special (tucked away behind the pools) but the food is a cut above.

Zuma is a breath of fresh air as they hit both - a better ambience than anywhere else on the island and better food. But you pay a premium for that.
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Old Jun 28, 22, 8:32 am
  #2625  
 
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Re: lights at night.

So my hopes of seeing the Milky Way from the Maldives are dashed, right? Just not possible given the light pollution? Or is it a mater of which villa you get?
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