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Maldives Reviews and Questions: Consolidated Thread

Maldives Reviews and Questions: Consolidated Thread

Old Nov 10, 14, 5:28 am
  #1  
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Maldives Reviews and Questions: Consolidated Thread

Cheval Blanc vs Reethi Rah vs Velaa Private Island

I’ve been to all three this year, in Feb 3 nights at Reethi Rah (Beach Villa with Pool) and 4 night at Cheval Blanc (Laggon Over Water Villa) and now in November 5 nights at Velaa Private Island in a sunset over water villa.
So here is my feedback,

The Rooms:
1. Cheval Blanc wins this one, they are huge, beautiful and just plain nice. Also the biggest pool of the 3 (if you want one). Some have more privacy than others. Beach Villas also look amazing but I would always go for over Water in this Resort.
2. Velaa Private Island, smaller rooms than Cheval Blanc and less of a WOW feeling when being there. Still very nice though, the over water villas offer nice privacy (can’t look from one deck to the other – this is possible in some of the Cheval Blanc Villas).
3. Reethi also has beautiful rooms but theyre older and just not as flashy as the other 2, but still very very nice.

Service:
Honestly all three are on an equal footing, Velaa and Cheval Blanc having the advantage of being smaller – therefore more personal than Reethi Rah, but even there, excellent service overall.

Restaurants:
This is difficult to rate and this is my personal view:
1. Reethi Rah
2. Velaa
3. Cheval Blanc
Reethi Rah just gives you the most dining options of the three which is of course also due to the size. Furthermore we are not the kind of people who go to the Maldives to have Michelin star Restaurants. Cheval Blanc and Velaa both have one and I don’t really understand why, just give me fresh fish and other good stuff and I’m happy. I don’t need 400 USD per person Dinners in the middle of the Ocean. Cheval Blanc also rates last because of the setting of the said Dining options, their Venues are just not as nice as the other two. Velaa has the most beautiful Restaurants, especially the Michelin Star Restaurant is in an amazing setting over the water in a great design. Cheval Blanc and Velaa are on an equal footing in terms of prices, Reethi is a bit lower. I think everyone heard about the 82 Dollar Burger at Cheval Blanc, but honestly, Velaa aint better in that sense. 58 USD +10% Service Charge + 12% GST for a Tiger Prawn Curry – with 3 Prawns in it is not really a bargain either. So be prepared, even a small Dinner with hardly any alcohol and 2 course will set you back 200 USD easily. Reethi Rah just has the most Dining options and is cheaper. They also have the biggest Breakfast Buffet. Velaas Breakfast was also very good – decent size Buffet and Cheval Blanc - while also very nice - had the smallest Buffet of the 3 and therefore comes last.

Amneties (Gifts, Minibar etc)
At Reethi Rah you get nice little Gifts on your Bed at night, Cheval Blanc gives you 2 Beach Bags to take home as well as little Toiletry Bags and a gift or 2. Velaa gives you nothing.
Minibar is included at Cheval Blanc (very nice – since you do spend a lot of time in the room in these places). Velaa and Reethi aren’t. Prices not so nice. So while Cheval Blanc has the 82 USD Burger, the others have expensive Mini Bars that’ll cost you a lot more than that Burger
Activities:
Velaa has Golf (kind of 9 holes Golf Course), mini submarine and all other kinds of gadgets as well as a house reef. So they win this one.
Reethi is the only one offering a sandbank dinner so far (sets you back 2000 USD but REALLY NICE).
Beach Dinner BBQ at Velaa: 400 USD p.p. – if you do it on their extra island (v. close by) – Crusoe style - that goes up to 2500 USD – yes you read that right.
Similar prices at Cheval Blanc.
All three are basically Expensive, Velaa sometimes taking the cake, sometimes Cheval.
Prices
Reethi the cheapest, Cheval Blanc the 2nd and actually Velaa is really the most expensive of the three.

Final Verdict:
All 3 are really worth going for, that being said we will probably do a mix between Velaa and Cheval (20 min boat ride between the 2) next year.

Feel free to ask Questions.

Last edited by Michael82; Nov 10, 14 at 5:36 am
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Old Nov 11, 14, 1:56 am
  #2  
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a long one but definitely worth reading, I ll keep these points while visiting there !
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Old Nov 11, 14, 2:44 am
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I would like to go back to Maldives but I have an issue with Human Rights there moreover these prices are crazy. I am probably not their marketing target anymore lol. Thank you for the detailed review anyway it was a great trip!

Last edited by Pierre&Cédric; Nov 11, 14 at 2:50 am
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Old Nov 11, 14, 8:09 am
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Originally Posted by Pierre&Cédric View Post
I would like to go back to Maldives but I have an issue with Human Rights there moreover these prices are crazy. I am probably not their marketing target anymore lol. Thank you for the detailed review anyway it was a great trip!
What human rights issues?
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Old Nov 11, 14, 8:49 am
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Thank you very much for this comparison!

Two questions:

1) How do the three resorts compare in terms of snorkeling opportunities right from the beach? You mentioned the house reef at Velaa. I understand Reethi Rah is man-made and not great in terms of snorkeling, but what about Cheval Blanc?

2) You mentioned combining Velaa and Cheval Blanc on your next trip and transferring directly between the two via boat. How easy is it to organize this? I have heard that transfers between resorts are typically done via Male, and people recommend against it because it easily leads to losing an entire day if you take into account wait times.

Agree about the comment on gourmet food, by the way. To each their own, of course, but I wouldn't be really up to a formal dining experience at a remote resort either.
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Old Nov 11, 14, 9:19 am
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Originally Posted by MikeFromTokyo View Post
What human rights issues?
There are wikipedia pages for Human Rights in Maldives and Human Trafficking in Maldives.
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Old Nov 11, 14, 9:31 am
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Originally Posted by MikeFromTokyo View Post
What human rights issues?
It´s a fundamentalistic islamian country. I woudn`t go either. They had for example raped women who got punished.
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Old Nov 11, 14, 10:32 am
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Clearly there are unfortunately such issues, but I do not believe that simply avoiding parts of the world with human rights issues is the best way to effect positive change. Resorts in the Maldives are a huge source of employment and revenue for the country, and for the most part are ethical employers. Refusing to visit the Maldives could indeed have a negative overall impact on quality of life for locals.
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Old Nov 11, 14, 12:29 pm
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Originally Posted by kamel123 View Post
Thank you very much for this comparison!

Two questions:

1) How do the three resorts compare in terms of snorkeling opportunities right from the beach? You mentioned the house reef at Velaa. I understand Reethi Rah is man-made and not great in terms of snorkeling, but what about Cheval Blanc?

2) You mentioned combining Velaa and Cheval Blanc on your next trip and transferring directly between the two via boat. How easy is it to organize this? I have heard that transfers between resorts are typically done via Male, and people recommend against it because it easily leads to losing an entire day if you take into account wait times.

Agree about the comment on gourmet food, by the way. To each their own, of course, but I wouldn't be really up to a formal dining experience at a remote resort either.
Hi,

1) Cheval and Reethi Rah both dont have a "house Reef" - if you want to see something at either - take a boat. Vela does, so you can actually snorkel right from your villa and see quite large amounts of Fish. They also have Manta Ray Feeding every evening at 6:30 at one of their beaches.

2) Yes, typically via Male which is ridiculous (and expensive - Return flight to Velaa is 850 USD per person). Ive also done a direct Seaplane transfer once between W and Huvafen Fushi but it was ridiculously expensive (chartered the whole plane). Since Velaa and Cheval Blanc are so close to each other you can just rent one of their boats for the transfer - so arrange direct with either Hotel. Its a 20 Min Boat Ride. Shouldnt cost more than 300 USD.
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Old Nov 11, 14, 2:07 pm
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Thanks again!
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Old Nov 12, 14, 7:50 am
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Originally Posted by MikeFromTokyo View Post
Clearly there are unfortunately such issues, but I do not believe that simply avoiding parts of the world with human rights issues is the best way to effect positive change. Resorts in the Maldives are a huge source of employment and revenue for the country, and for the most part are ethical employers. Refusing to visit the Maldives could indeed have a negative overall impact on quality of life for locals.
I agree with you, but... I don't think there is an easy answer to this one. I had a long conversation with a Tibetan businessman in the Lhasa airport about 15 years ago--before the train and at the beginning of massive incentives for Han Chinese to move to Lhasa and settle. Meaning before the ship had sailed on Tibetan independence and real autonomy. He felt similar to you, but said that a good chunk of Tibetans wanted no visitors, and felt that a "ban" on travel to Tibet was appropriate. There is no easy solution in many cases. To bring it back to topic, and to hopefully avoid the sword of the moderators--I am not sure that money spent in the middle of nowhere really trickles down to the rest of the Maldives. I would suspect that it is much like Cambodia where most of the tourist infrastructure is owned by a few wealthy individuals. Visiting Cheval Blanc would have very minimal benefit to the nation as a whole. I would love to be proven wrong, and I certainly don't have the data on hotel ownership in the Maldives, but...
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Old Nov 12, 14, 9:43 am
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Originally Posted by Michael82 View Post
Hi,

1) Cheval and Reethi Rah both dont have a "house Reef" - if you want to see something at either - take a boat. Vela does, so you can actually snorkel right from your villa and see quite large amounts of Fish. They also have Manta Ray Feeding every evening at 6:30 at one of their beaches.

2) Yes, typically via Male which is ridiculous (and expensive - Return flight to Velaa is 850 USD per person). Ive also done a direct Seaplane transfer once between W and Huvafen Fushi but it was ridiculously expensive (chartered the whole plane). Since Velaa and Cheval Blanc are so close to each other you can just rent one of their boats for the transfer - so arrange direct with either Hotel. Its a 20 Min Boat Ride. Shouldnt cost more than 300 USD.
Hi, you mention that you've also been to Huvafen Fushi, any thoughts on that hotel as it compares to the three mentioned in your original review? Considering going there next April -- hoping to stay at the Cube.
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Old Nov 12, 14, 2:10 pm
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Great review. We looked at these three, particularly Chevel Blanc, but ended up at the COMO resorts. We're more into barefoot luxury vs. the haute luxury these seemed more focused on. But Velaa looked really fun!
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Old Nov 13, 14, 3:52 am
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Originally Posted by latinrusso View Post
Hi, you mention that you've also been to Huvafen Fushi, any thoughts on that hotel as it compares to the three mentioned in your original review? Considering going there next April -- hoping to stay at the Cube.
Hi,

also very nice Hotel, I would put it similar to Reethi Rah, been a while since I was there though so cannot really comment on the current status. Also House Reef, we stayed at the 2 Bed Ocean Pavillon which was pretty amazing (but also pretty amazingly expensive)
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Old Apr 19, 15, 12:42 pm
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Out of curiosity, does Velaa charge a lot for the use of the mini submarine?
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