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Maldives Recs for 2019 trip

Maldives Recs for 2019 trip

Old May 16, 18, 7:40 am
  #16  
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Originally Posted by bagold View Post
We did Gili recently which was very good. But thinking of O&O next trip. Any thoughts if O&O Is still good?
Visited O&O last July, hated it! Actually had a client booked there and I ended up suggesting them to cancel and move over to St. Regis where they had a fab stay.

To give some context: O&O was just too large of a property for our taste. We love the Aman feel and service level. O&O felt like a zoo with standard operation procedures, which isn't bad but just isn't us. We prefer to feel like we're actually on a private/remote island with warm service.
There are so many people at O&O and it felt like college spring break in Cancun at parts of its beaches.

We escaped to St. Regis later and found it much better and our butler was very pro-active and intuitively catered to us.

Food at O&O was also terrible.
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Old May 16, 18, 7:43 am
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Originally Posted by atojbk View Post
Know there's been quite a few threads on Maldives but I can't find anything too recent. I'll be in Maldives in Feb 2019 and trying to maximize my time there. ill be arriving late from HK and would like to get to a resort that same night versus staying overnight in Male. I also have the midnight flight going home so I'd like to stay on resort for as long as possible. I figured traveling via speedboat would be more efficient? I've seen some recs such as FS Kuda, Jumeirah and Taj. Any other ones im missing? I'm into newer resorts and we dont care much for snorkeling. Looking for nicer rooms and beaches preferably.
I would consider FS Kuda as it fits your needs of speedboat and given its renovation, it's new and looks sooo much better than it did. Just avoid going to O&O if you prefer polished luxury.
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Old May 16, 18, 9:36 am
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Originally Posted by BESVISOR View Post
I would consider FS Kuda as it fits your needs of speedboat and given its renovation, it's new and looks sooo much better than it did. Just avoid going to O&O if you prefer polished luxury.
One and Only is very nice in the Grand Villa categories, and one pays a lot for that. I agree there are better option, beginning with FS Kuda Huraa.

Gili Lankanfushi would get my vote for the best resort near MLE.

I am also a fan of Taj Exotica and Naladhu. Naladhu is of course adjoining with Veli and Dhigu, which has both advantages and disadvantages. But, their villas that look out over the open ocean are quite special. You do have the view of the other resorts on the beach side of the island, but also its a pretty spectacular shallow lagoon setting.

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Old May 16, 18, 9:58 am
  #19  
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Originally Posted by MikeFromTokyo View Post


One and Only is very nice in the Grand Villa categories, and one pays a lot for that. I agree there are better option, beginning with FS Kuda Huraa.

Gili Lankanfushi would get my vote for the best resort near MLE.

I am also a fan of Taj Exotica and Naladhu. Naladhu is of course adjoining with Veli and Dhigu, which has both advantages and disadvantages. But, their villas that look out over the open ocean are quite special. You do have the view of the other resorts on the beach side of the island, but also its a pretty spectacular shallow lagoon setting.

Agree that O&O have some fab high category options but something about the place just didn't wow us in any way...However, as the nature of these things, it's all very subjective. 1st world problems
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Old May 16, 18, 11:06 am
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Originally Posted by MikeFromTokyo View Post


One and Only is very nice in the Grand Villa categories, and one pays a lot for that. I agree there are better option, beginning with FS Kuda Huraa.

Gili Lankanfushi would get my vote for the best resort near MLE.

I am also a fan of Taj Exotica and Naladhu. Naladhu is of course adjoining with Veli and Dhigu, which has both advantages and disadvantages. But, their villas that look out over the open ocean are quite special. You do have the view of the other resorts on the beach side of the island, but also its a pretty spectacular shallow lagoon setting.

I always like when I hear about resorts that are new to me...Naladhu looks very nice and with only 20 rooms. Taj has been on my radar too.

Also, I'm dismayed to here about O&O, as that was my first choice (we are still planning, but likely won't be till late '19). I am happy to read Besvisor's update as it has definitely shaken my desire to go there. For me at least, I need a castaway feeling (yet, like the OP, not have to make a journey of it once I reach Male) in the Maldives, otherwise, I have many gorgeous options for stand out beach vacations that are a better value.
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Old May 16, 18, 11:15 am
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moved

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; May 16, 18 at 11:53 am
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Old May 16, 18, 11:25 am
  #22  
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Originally Posted by mumum17 View Post
I always like when I hear about resorts that are new to me...Naladhu looks very nice and with only 20 rooms. Taj has been on my radar too.

Also, I'm dismayed to here about O&O, as that was my first choice (we are still planning, but likely won't be till late '19). I am happy to read Besvisor's update as it has definitely shaken my desire to go there. For me at least, I need a castaway feeling (yet, like the OP, not have to make a journey of it once I reach Male) in the Maldives, otherwise, I have many gorgeous options for stand out beach vacations that are a better value.
Sorry, not trying to scare you, I will say that there are many others who really like/love O&O...it just wasn't for us. We are just too used to and prefer Aman and Four Seasons ethos. I know some people who hates Aman, so just different strokes for different folks, no right or wrong.

I knew we were in trouble soon as I was told by the staff (upon arriving, without asking) that O&O is ranked as the best luxury resort in Maldives and has unbelievable food...In my experience, thats a bad sign. I'm sure they are well intentioned and truly believe they are #1 but the issues is that (it's very likely) they've not stayed at many luxury resorts as a guest nor have they visited all the resorts in Maldives.

I think the best resorts in Maldives are likely not within a boat ride but require you to hop on a flight...in which case, Cheval Blanc's own private plane transfer is probably the most comfortable ride in Maldives and one that you wouldn't mind too much.
I've not had the chance to make it to CB, it's on my list but all clients I've sent there absolutely loves it and returns annually. For context, their other all time favorite is Villa Feltrinelli...so it gives me confidence that it's good. And the new Director of Sales is a friend so I trust her feedback as well.
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Last edited by BESVISOR; May 16, 18 at 11:32 am
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Old May 16, 18, 11:47 am
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Originally Posted by mumum17 View Post
I always like when I hear about resorts that are new to me...Naladhu looks very nice and with only 20 rooms. Taj has been on my radar too.

Also, I'm dismayed to here about O&O, as that was my first choice (we are still planning, but likely won't be till late '19). I am happy to read Besvisor's update as it has definitely shaken my desire to go there. For me at least, I need a castaway feeling (yet, like the OP, not have to make a journey of it once I reach Male) in the Maldives, otherwise, I have many gorgeous options for stand out beach vacations that are a better value.
The F&B prices at OO RR also are high, even compared to most other resorts.

I will further narrow this down

Overwaters:
Gili Lankanfushi (sometimes full board inclded when booking in advance)
Four Seasons Kuda Hurra

Beach/Ocean villas:
Taj Exotica has some beautiful beach accommodation
Naladhu Ocean Houses, or if budget allows, the Ocean facing residence Villa.

If budget allows for OO RR Grand Villa/Grand Overwater villa, and if you can get a rate that includes full board as they sometimes offer, you may wang to consider.
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Old May 16, 18, 11:53 am
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FS KH is very high density, note island sizes and aerial photos (of all resorts)

i recall a lot more discussion of anantara than naladhu, but could be wrong

O&O island size and density is much better than most if not all others, but likely occupancy everywhere is up

maldives is mainly about type of beach/water villas vs elsewhere
edit - also some house reef, snorkeling, scuba - some pelagics

until jani builds beach villas (only 1) they have undeveloped islands

if doing maldives peak, should compare to 'most expensive' islands

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; May 17, 18 at 10:34 am
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Old May 16, 18, 4:18 pm
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Originally Posted by MikeFromTokyo View Post


The F&B prices at OO RR also are high, even compared to most other resorts.

I will further narrow this down

Overwaters:
Gili Lankanfushi (sometimes full board inclded when booking in advance)
Four Seasons Kuda Hurra

Beach/Ocean villas:
Taj Exotica has some beautiful beach accommodation
Naladhu Ocean Houses, or if budget allows, the Ocean facing residence Villa.

If budget allows for OO RR Grand Villa/Grand Overwater villa, and if you can get a rate that includes full board as they sometimes offer, you may wang to consider.
Thinking about staying at the FS Kuda Huraa and FS Landaa Giraavara in July. I will be 3 nights at each resort. Would you suggest an overwater room at FS KH and just a regular ocean front bungalow at FS LG? I don't know that I need 6 nights in an overwater room but definitely want to experience it for part of the trip. Rack room rate at FS KH is $900 for beach villa up to $1800 for an overwater sunset view room. At FS LG the basic oceanfront room is $1325 up to $1725 for a sunset overwater villa and goes to $1925 for a sunset overwater villa with pool. I realize I will spend a lot of money but if I can save $1000-2000 somewhere, I'm all for that as well, but don't want to spoil a once in a lifetime trip to save $1000-2000 if the experience is that much superior.. Thoughts on the room choice at each hotel? Does FS ever include full board booking in advance like Gilli Lankanfushi sometimes does? .Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old May 17, 18, 12:26 am
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Originally Posted by sportsguymichael View Post
Thinking about staying at the FS Kuda Huraa and FS Landaa Giraavara in July. I will be 3 nights at each resort. Would you suggest an overwater room at FS KH and just a regular ocean front bungalow at FS LG? I don't know that I need 6 nights in an overwater room but definitely want to experience it for part of the trip. Rack room rate at FS KH is $900 for beach villa up to $1800 for an overwater sunset view room. At FS LG the basic oceanfront room is $1325 up to $1725 for a sunset overwater villa and goes to $1925 for a sunset overwater villa with pool. I realize I will spend a lot of money but if I can save $1000-2000 somewhere, I'm all for that as well, but don't want to spoil a once in a lifetime trip to save $1000-2000 if the experience is that much superior.. Thoughts on the room choice at each hotel? Does FS ever include full board booking in advance like Gilli Lankanfushi sometimes does? .Thanks for your thoughts.
I would do the reverse if I were you. Book the beach villa at FSKH, and then the overwater (with or without pool) at FSLG. Its generally best to go up in choice of hotel and accommodation during a trip than to go down. That way it feels like a step up.

FS offer very good half and full board plans for purchase. Unlike some other resorts, you are not limited to certain outlets or menu selections. You can have anything at any restaurant on a full or half board plan. There may, in rare cases, be surcharges or exclusions for specialty items like caviar, etc., but for the most part anything on the menu is included.
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Old May 17, 18, 1:34 am
  #27  
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Re: the Naladhu questions - great timing. Mentioned earlier my colleague was at Naladhu. Just got done with the review and video and photos. Still finetuning some of the sections but check it out below:

VIDEO:

REVIEW WITH PHOTOS AND VIDEOS: https://www.thesuitelife.com.hk/nala...-hotel-review/

WHAT I LOVED

  • Location. Located only 35-minutes speedboat ride from Male International airport, its close proximity to the airport has both its positives and negatives. Naladhu is located next to two other sister-Anantara Resorts – interconnected by a wooden bridge to Veli and a 5-minutes jetty ride to Dhigu. The proximity and speedboat accessibility is great for late night arrivals and/or short Maldives stays.
  • Privacy. Naladhu can only be accessed by guests staying at Naladhu, making the island extremely private and peaceful. Privacy is at its most prominent in the rooms; the 180 degrees ocean view houses offer complete privacy, since the reef is not accessible by guests due to the rocky surface, and there are only a very few occasions when boats sail a few kilometres away from sun-deck at the room. The sister resorts are located on the other side of the island from most of the rooms, so the rooms look out onto complete serenity.
  • Rooms. There are only 19 villas on Naladhu, with 18 one-bedroom villas and one two-bedroom villa. For bang for your buck, this is the place to be if you’re looking for huge rooms and private pools. The one-bedrooms are spacious (300sqm / 3,230 sqft), with the option of choosing Beach House or Ocean House. All Houses at Naladhu have a 35sqm infinity private pool and are allocated a separate private cabana at the resort’s main beach. Inside the room, the bathroom opens out onto the private pool, with part of the bath being transparent as it shares a wall with the pool creating an open space. The outdoor sundeck is beautifully built for lounging and lazing, with a swinging couch and separate dining space overlooking the pristine sea.
  • Two-bedroom Pool Residence. The two villas are linked by a very large wooden deck with an outdoor 20m x 5m infinity pool. The main villa has two floors, the lower floor consists of a large living and dining area, and the upper floor with a master bedroom and a bathroom with ocean-view. The second villa offers another bedroom ideal for children or families.
  • Excursions and experiences.
    • Lagoon Lunch. We were delighted to enjoy our lunch in the lagoon, sitting in ankle-deep water. The three-course lunch was very standard. Meats and seafood were grilled right next to us by the beach, but we did not find them juicy enough. However, the signature cocktail was exotic, made with tropical fruit in a young coconut and the highlight was certainly having lunch with baby sharks swimming around us as we sat in the water, which made for a unique experience.
    • Turtle Snorkeling. Snorkeling is definitely on any must-do list in Maldives. We joined a turtle snorkeling tour and traveled 30 minutes on a speedboat south of Naladhu. We did see a medium-size turtle right after we jumped into water, and had a chance to swim very close to it. However, as you would expect for resorts in atolls close to Male, we did not see much colourful underwater life, and, sadly as is the theme in the Maldives of late, a lot of the coral reefs were dead and the overall experience was not as great as we imagined. We did speak with people who joined another earlier morning tour, who mentioned they did see more turtles and dolphins during the morning.
    • Spa. Guests can choose to do spa on the beach or on the room terrace, we choose to experience it on the sundeck and it was one of the very best spa experiences we had, both in ambiance (sound of waves crashing into the rocks) and in execution. The masseuses understood our needs and preferences thoroughly before the treatment and delivered the most personalized experience.
  • Food. There is only one restaurant on Naladhu, but guests staying at Naladhu can also dine at the other 8 restaurants on Veli and Dhigu. This is our first trip to Maldives, and I have been warned of the bad and over-priced food. But at Anantara, we had a remarkable experience, and tasted some of the best foods in our lives. Some of the highlights:
    • The Living Room (Naladhu): Settled on the beachfront on Naladhu, Living room is our favourite restaurant, most of the dishes we ordered were very good and we especially loved the pan seared foie gras, yellow fin tuna tartar and anise & coffee spiced duck breast. The romantic dinner setting is also very elegant and impressive.
    • Baan Huraa (Veli – Thai): Anantara is renowned for its excellent Thai cuisines. The seafood platter we had for lunch was good, but we were more surprised at how delicious the fried rice was. Baan Huraa sets over the lagoon on the bridge between Naladhu and Veli, and if you Look down from Baan Huraa into the ocean, you can see stingrays and sometimes, tiger sharks.
    • Origami (Veli – Japanese): the sushi and sashimi were a bit disappointing, but the age sofutosherukururabu (soft shell crab) was spectacular and made up for the average appetisers.
    • Sea. Fire. Salt (Dhigu – Seafood / Steak): the medium rare Maldivian tuna fillet was perhaps my favourite dish during the whole trip
  • Service and the team. When guests arrive Naladhu, they are warmly welcomed by Shebo, the resort manager, their House Master and the Naladhu team. The service is consistent, warm and efficient on the whole:
    • Guests are always greeted by their first name with a warm smile by the friendly hotel staff who are always ready to help
    • The House Master is always available 24/7 and be ready to help with a phone call, whether it is a dinner booking at one of the restaurants, or if you need help inside the room.
    • The House Master will set up a bubble bath and bed decorations for its guests the day prior to their departure.
  • Design. Decorated in an electic ‘colonial meets marine’, the design might appeal to some – it certainly strays away from the ‘tropical’ cliches found in the Maldives, as well as the uber sleek/elegant styles some of the newer resorts have opted for. While we didn’t particularly ‘love’ it, it was a refreshing change to see something a bit different in the Maldives.
  • Price. This really depends on what you’re looking for from the Maldives. Serious snorkelers or divers should stay away from Naladhu. However, for those looking for a first-time Maldivian experience but also prioritising luxury hotels, service and large rooms with private pools, in shoulder or high season, where luxury resorts can often charge upwards of USD 2,000/night++ for a private pool villa, Naladhu can be excellent value. However, in low season where the same luxury resorts often provide attractive offers (Stay 4/Pay 3, Stay 7/Pay 5, Half-Board, One Way or Return Transfers), it can make that choice that much harder.

POINTS TO NOTE

  • House Reef. Located only 21km from Male airport, pristine picturesque Maldives this is not. While the shallow lagoon setting is quite interesting, the resort lacks a true house reef. We covered it previously, but much of the coral in the surrounding area is badly bleached, and while there is some semblance of life, this is not the resort to be at for serious snorkelers or divers.
  • Facilities. Facilities on Naladhu are sparse due to both room count and its overall size. There is a small library and gym on Naladhu, as well as a small but unimpressive main pool on the beach next to The Living Room. But when you have a 35sqm private pool, the main pool is often not occupied by guests. There are also kayaks on the beach that guests at Naladhu can use. Generally, users have to cross resorts to use some of the other resorts larger and more expansive facilities.
  • Maintenance. Maintenance at Naladhu is passable, but not excellent. The resort opened in 2007, making it just over 10 years old – one would probably guess it was ~15 years old based on outlook. The resort’s maintenance could certainly improve. However, the sister resorts (which one must visit to enjoy wider facilities) showcase very poor maintenance across the board.
  • Lack of Attentiveness. The service at Naladhu is warm, efficient and friendly, but for a resort with 20 rooms, guests would expect perfection and a little more attention to detail and care. There was more than one occasion when used towels were left on the beach or sun lounges / cabana for half a day or longer, including our own cabana once.
  • Private Island. When staying on a self-marketed private island, guests would typically expect complete isolation. However, Naladhu’s definition of a ‘private island’ is rather skewed. Any Maldivian resort claiming to be luxury, by definition, should be a private island. While it’s trying to bring a unique concept with its location next to two other sister islands which guests can have access to, but only granting private accessibility to its own island, it’s not what you would typically expect from a ‘private island’. Certainly, there are no clear or obvious mentions on its own website about this arrangement.
  • Sand quality. In the Maldives, one might expect the sand to be powdery soft. But on Naladhu, the white coral sand actually feels very rough at some points. There are better locations, both within and outside the Maldives, for powdery-soft sand lovers.
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Old May 17, 18, 2:10 am
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While there isnt a house reef, there is very good diving accessible in the vicinity of Naladhu. The exact same dive sites that can be reached from all of the other nearby resorts.

There is also the option of using the overwater spa located on Dhigu if one does not want an in villa massage.
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Old May 17, 18, 10:35 am
  #29  
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IIRC FS often does full board, transfers, 50% off cruise through EU travel companies
and at least in past FS website had free nights, transfers, discounted KH 'stopover'

random - anyone asked re use of under/over water common areas after hours?

thanks chinmoylad, what is low season rate for the 2BR with 20m x 5m pool?

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; May 17, 18 at 7:46 pm
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Old May 17, 18, 8:26 pm
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
thanks chinmoylad, what is low season rate for the 2BR with 20m x 5m pool?
Their BAR/rack rate is still high for this room type - especially in comparison to multi-bedrooms from some other top Maldives hotels - but if doing a longer stay (4/3, 7/5 etc) I saw it as low as approximately ~USD 4,000/night.
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