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Best house reefs resorts in the Maldives

Best house reefs resorts in the Maldives

Old Oct 10, 20, 10:25 am
  #1  
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Smile Best house reefs resorts in the Maldives

Hello,
We are leaving for the Maldives from 14 November until 20 November (tickets booked) from Abu Dhabi. We're in the process of selecting a resort with a really nice house reef. We were initially looking at the St Regis as we have Mariott Bonvoy points we could use, but I cannot see anything about it suggesting it has an interesting reef. From what I've read so far it seems the Park Hyatt has one of the best reefs and the Anantara. Are there any sea-life aficionados on the forum who explored different hotels and can recommend which resort has the best reefs and sea life (sharks, turtles, etc.)?
We're travelling from the UAE and are ideally looking for an interesting deal / rate for a luxury stay since we are staying 6 days but would happily compromise for a lower category if this means nicer beaches and sea life.
Thanks for the recommendations :-).
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Old Oct 11, 20, 2:28 am
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So I researched a little further and other suggestions incl. the new Radisson Blu, Baros, W Maldives, Mirihi.... I find it very confusing. We are gourmets and care about sea life a lot. Seems difficult for me to tell apart all these places.
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Old Oct 11, 20, 10:45 am
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Raffles is really good! Easily accessible, lots of sea life!
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Old Oct 11, 20, 9:58 pm
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If you're Marriott, W has a great house reef.
Old review (with old/bad pics before I got much better at it) but details here: https://www.thesuitelife.com.hk/w-ma...-hotel-review/

Soneva Fushi also reportedly has a good reef and Baa Atoll in general is highly regarded.
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Old Oct 11, 20, 11:50 pm
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If it is just about the house reef, Baros is absolute a stand out.

Others I recommend to clients for house reef are:
  • Six Senses Laamu
  • Soneva Fushi
  • COMO Cocoa Island (lovely intimate resort and food is generally known to be quite good here).
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Old Oct 12, 20, 1:41 am
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I fully agree with the Soneva Fushi suggestion. Very good house reef and an excellent choice for foodies (have a look at their Soneva Stars programm for instance). You could even add a daytrip on Soneva in Aqua.

I will (re)visit Fushi in 3 weeks. Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.
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Old Oct 12, 20, 1:50 am
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What's the best spot to snorkel in Soneva Fushi? In front of Out of the Blue? The water was very rough when we were there last time so didn't get a chance to snorkel...
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Old Oct 12, 20, 2:09 am
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Originally Posted by Passportinonehand View Post
What's the best spot to snorkel in Soneva Fushi? In front of Out of the Blue? The water was very rough when we were there last time so didn't get a chance to snorkel...
I think it will very much depend on the current, weather and time of year. Starting at Out of the Blue should be one of the better options but when currents are strong and water is rough, visibility will be less of course. When we were there in August 2018 it was fine to start at Out of the Blue (which was just finished back then). I would also highly recommend the guided tour with a marine biologist at Hanufaru Bay for one of the world's largest populations of manta rays but that's also seasonal (June to November).
@Passportinonehand : we hebben dezelfde homecountry . Ziet er hier niet goed uit, ik hoop dat we nog kunnen vertrekken...
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Old Oct 12, 20, 3:48 am
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Back in the late 70s and early 80s, when the Maldives first started to encourage hotels, the whole point - the sole point - of going was the marine life. I went in the mid-80s and stayed at was what one of the few upmarket hotels, the Taj, which was actually two hotels based on Biyadhoo Island and its neighbouring atoll. I had flown up from Adelaide via Singapore on Singapore Airlines. From Male Airport, you got there in a three-hour voyage in a dhoni. Speedboats, seaplanes and helicopters were unknown. The island was tiny with lovely little beaches. The house reef was astonishing, an incredible spectacle, and people also went out diving, which I don't do. However, even by the standards of those days, the hotel was terrible with very basic rooms. Food mainly consisted of tinned pasta and vegetables with locally caught fish. They were proud of growing their own tomatoes in a sort of hydroponics system. But all that didn't matter. Everyone was there for the house reef. Taj gave up the property after 10 years but I think it's still operating.

Thirty years later the Maldives have developed far beyond any sustainable level - hardly anyone gives much thought to the marine environment and it seems hardly anyone even goes into the ocean. Why would you if you have a pool hanging over the water? People go for the privacy, the spas, the luxury of their villas, the high-end dining etc. Because of this, luxury hotels are usually built in marine deserts, where there is no reef, and this is especially true of the resorts with overwater bungalows - and that's most of them these days. Overwater bungalows are ecological disasters in so many ways - tiny specks of sand can now accommodate huge numbers of guests, making the resorts financially viable and leading to an increasing number of islands turned over to smouldering landfill sites. Add to this an unsavoury government and the ravages of climate change which is wiping out entire reef systems, I do wonder why anyone would want to go there anymore.

My advice is to find a resort with a decent house reef (use Google Earth for this) and no overwater bungalows. Soneva Fushi might be the best option. I think even Baros has OWBs.

The best snorkelling these days is to be found in Micronesia, the Solomon Islands, New Guinea and parts of Indonesia. Even more remote are places like Ducie in the Pitcairn Islands (the best ever for me) and I remember Simon Reeve and a TV crew saw amazingly healthy reefs in British Indian Ocean Territory. There are no luxury hotels in these areas. Is that a coincidence?
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Last edited by Pausanias; Oct 12, 20 at 4:58 am
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Old Oct 12, 20, 5:55 am
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Originally Posted by Epicura View Post
I think it will very much depend on the current, weather and time of year. Starting at Out of the Blue should be one of the better options but when currents are strong and water is rough, visibility will be less of course. When we were there in August 2018 it was fine to start at Out of the Blue (which was just finished back then). I would also highly recommend the guided tour with a marine biologist at Hanufaru Bay for one of the world's largest populations of manta rays but that's also seasonal (June to November).
@Passportinonehand : we hebben dezelfde homecountry . Ziet er hier niet goed uit, ik hoop dat we nog kunnen vertrekken...
Thanks for the insight! We had a guided snorkel tour planned when we stayed there, but it got cancelled because of the weather. Will not be staying at Fushi for our November trip to the Maldives, but will keep it in mind if we ever return!
Epicura Leuk om een landgenoot tegen te komen hier! Ik stuur je een pm!
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Old Oct 12, 20, 8:29 am
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As somebody wrote, Baa Atoll is very good. We have staid at Milaidhoo (excellent snorkelling) and Amilla Fushi (very good snorkelling). Milaidhoo had slightly stronger currents a couple of days, but I can't imagine you would be disappointed with the snorkelling at either.

And I slightly disagree with Pausanias: the hotels themselves do care about the reefs (after construction...). Unfortunately they have neither the money nor the scope to return the Maldives to the level of Raja Amput. But they do at least make some minimal investment in reef health and regrowth (or at least both of the places I mention did).
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Old Oct 13, 20, 11:13 pm
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I also highly recommend Milaidhoo. Both the resort and house reef are amazing. I've also been to Park Hyatt and while that had great coral at the time, the fish life was lacking compared to Milaidhoo.
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Old Oct 14, 20, 2:38 am
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Originally Posted by Five Star Traveller View Post
I also highly recommend Milaidhoo. Both the resort and house reef are amazing.
Mmmmm . . . I've Google Earth'd it and can see about 35 overwater villas covering an area larger than the tiny island itself. There is indeed an encircling reef. I'm sure it's nice with good service and all that stuff but it's totally unsustainable.

Last edited by Pausanias; Oct 14, 20 at 6:55 am
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Old Oct 14, 20, 11:44 pm
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Originally Posted by Pausanias View Post
My advice is to find a resort with a decent house reef (use Google Earth for this) and no overwater bungalows. Soneva Fushi might be the best option. I think even Baros has OWBs.
Soneva Fushi has just opened their new OW option, based on the Jani villas. I don't think they necessarily take away from Sonu and Eva's sustainability focus/ambitions though.
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Old Oct 15, 20, 12:32 am
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Originally Posted by SojournsOf View Post
Soneva Fushi has just opened their new OW option, based on the Jani villas. I don't think they necessarily take away from Sonu and Eva's sustainability focus/ambitions though.
8 OW villa's IIRC. Although I understand that Soneva wanted to integrate the Jani type villa's on Fushi (the entry level villa's at Fushi are very basic compared to Jani for instance), I am not sure I will be a fan. I liked the Jani villa's very much but Fushi being one of the few options without OW villa's was quite charming. I also assumed that building astounding Out of the Blue was the main reason to keep a competitive benefit towards all those OW resorts. The main difference in general might be however that Fushi is quite a large island for MLE standards. 8 OW villa's will probably not have a huge impact in that case.

I will be there (if all goes well) in just over 2 weeks, will report back!
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Last edited by Epicura; Oct 15, 20 at 1:01 am
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