Maldive's best hotel

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Old Jul 16, 09, 4:03 pm
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Maldive's best hotel

The most memorable trip of my life was to the Maldives three years ago. We stayed at Huvafen Fushi which was really a dream come true. Does anymone have any recommendations of another hotel in the Maldives that has the same amenities as Huvafen. Having a great house reef and baby sharks on shore are a most. I have been looking into Baros, Shangri la, Taj coral reef and the Banyan Tree tents. Baros seems to be the best one so far but I am a bit worried about the size of the rooms. We will have our 5 year old with us this time so can't do W and the main Banyan Tree. One and only and Fourseasons (both) are out due to poor beach and house reefs.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Jul 16, 09, 7:43 pm
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Your assumption that the FS resort in the Maldives (and I'm talking Landaa Giraavaru here, not Kuda Huraa) has a sub-par beach and house reef is incorrect. The beach is wonderful and the house reef is also quite decent.

Reethi Rah also has wonderful beaches, but they are man made - and no real house reef to speak of.
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Old Jul 17, 09, 8:01 am
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Originally Posted by xracer View Post
Your assumption that the FS resort in the Maldives (and I'm talking Landaa Giraavaru here, not Kuda Huraa) has a sub-par beach and house reef is incorrect. The beach is wonderful and the house reef is also quite decent.

Reethi Rah also has wonderful beaches, but they are man made - and no real house reef to speak of.
Quite right - FS Landaa Giraavaru has beautiful beaches, as do other resorts in the Baa Atoll.

Perhaps the best reef (though not necessarily THE best resort) is Como Hotels' Coco Island, but I always think of this as more of a couples sort of place - unique accommodation in dhoni fixed-moored boats with stacks of space, very good spa and food.

Amazed you liked Huvafen Fushi, but then, if this was your first Maldives experience, then I suppose it is understandable. There are so many better options than this - Four Seasons certainly (Kuda Huraa is very good for kids, but less good for snorkeling), O&O Reethi Rah (superb for kids, and with 12 beaches, superb for everyone, but less good for diving/snorkeling), Taj Exotica (very well run, not as expensive, but probably better for couples - a bit close to Malé, but diving boats take you further afield every day), Soneva Fushi (good for kids, very rustic, good diving/snorkeling and also in Baa Atoll), Soneva Gili (overwaters, stunning location fairly close to Malé, but not a great diving/snorkeling site - a unique experience though). Banyan Tree (cramped tiny island with very small accommodation and poor food - you go stir crazy after a day).

The other resorts you mention should, IMHO, be avoided, apart maybe from Shangri-La, which I have yet to try - a bit big for my liking but pictures look interesting and I am sure it would be a kid-friendly place. Don't forget this means a second flight from Malé.
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Old Jul 17, 09, 10:41 am
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Thanks for the info.

I just am so worried about the prospects of going to Fourseasons LG. It just does not seem to offer much in terms of reef and ocean life. Tripadvisor reviews are quite unimpressive. For those of you who have been there, have you noted any baby sharks swimming around the shores? How about Baros, has anyone stayed there before?
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Old Jul 17, 09, 11:07 am
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Originally Posted by aesla11 View Post
Thanks for the info.

I just am so worried about the prospects of going to Fourseasons LG. It just does not seem to offer much in terms of reef and ocean life. Tripadvisor reviews are quite unimpressive. For those of you who have been there, have you noted any baby sharks swimming around the shores? How about Baros, has anyone stayed there before?
You see baby sharks from just about every island here, even at Taj Exotica, but the best ocean life I have ever seen is at Coco Island because the house reef is so unspoilt.

Stayed very briefly at Baros - not the same level as others mentioned, IMHO.
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Old Jul 17, 09, 12:17 pm
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Originally Posted by aesla11 View Post
I just am so worried about the prospects of going to Fourseasons LG. It just does not seem to offer much in terms of reef and ocean life. Tripadvisor reviews are quite unimpressive.
I can recall seeing many critters directly offshore at both FS hotels. Small sharks, rays, eels, crabs, hatchling turtles, etc. Though it is true the best snorkeling and diving is a short boat ride away, you can access decent snorkeling off the beach at FS LG. Their dive shop was fantastic and we really enjoyed having the resident marine biologist. Oh, and your 5-year old may be interested in the "Nemo" hatchery. Who knew baby Nemos got their white stripes at such a young age!
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Old Jul 17, 09, 1:06 pm
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FS LG

Amazing snorkellig off the beach at the FS LG house reef. Lots of babysharks close to water-villas and Blu restaurant. The kids are allowed to feed them (using fresh fish) during meal-times. Exciting. In addition you can go by boat together with marine biologist to snorkel at many nearby sites, where you can see turtles and loads of fish and coral. Great.

The beach is also fantastic. And the resort is very children friendly.
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Old Jul 20, 09, 6:49 am
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In my opinion the minute you mention "a short boat trip" to get to the best snorkelling you are not talking about the best house reefs of the Maldives. To me accessibility is key: I want to decide on a whim to swim out to the reef and then I want it to be shallow at the top and have a reasonably steep drop-off so that you get to see a variety of creatures. That also opens up the option for some night snorkelling and shore diving - so that you don't have to be on anyone else's timetable with a boat. I love the islands that are encircled by a reef that you can snorkel all the way around - those are great house reefs!

Over the 15 years that I have been going to the Maldives I have gradually moved up the luxury ladder. To my chagrin now that I can afford some of the top tier resorts (when they offer good deals!) I find their house reefs disappointing in comparison with those of much humbler establishments. I have looked at the reefs of all the luxury resorts and apart from Banyan Tree (which also has a marine conservation centre to add to the interest) none of them thrill me greatly.

Google Earth is a great resource for checking out the lie of the land - or in this case the sea. It is quite obvious from the air which reefs are accessible from the shore and will be exciting to dive/snorkel.
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Old Jul 20, 09, 10:14 am
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Originally Posted by Cheetah_SA View Post
In my opinion the minute you mention "a short boat trip" to get to the best snorkelling you are not talking about the best house reefs of the Maldives. To me accessibility is key: I want to decide on a whim to swim out to the reef and then I want it to be shallow at the top and have a reasonably steep drop-off so that you get to see a variety of creatures. That also opens up the option for some night snorkelling and shore diving - so that you don't have to be on anyone else's timetable with a boat. I love the islands that are encircled by a reef that you can snorkel all the way around - those are great house reefs!

Over the 15 years that I have been going to the Maldives I have gradually moved up the luxury ladder. To my chagrin now that I can afford some of the top tier resorts (when they offer good deals!) I find their house reefs disappointing in comparison with those of much humbler establishments. I have looked at the reefs of all the luxury resorts and apart from Banyan Tree (which also has a marine conservation centre to add to the interest) none of them thrill me greatly.

Google Earth is a great resource for checking out the lie of the land - or in this case the sea. It is quite obvious from the air which reefs are accessible from the shore and will be exciting to dive/snorkel.
Indeed, Huvafen Fushi had a great drop off around it and you could jump in the water from your ocean villa and be amongst the best of the best in snorkeling sites. Does Four Season LG offer this type of opportunity? Also, in regards to the Banyan Tree, is it their large resort or smaller one that has the superior snorkeling?
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Old Jul 20, 09, 10:50 am
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This is turning out to be a deeper discussion. We have encountered some very good hotel house reefs with diverse fish life and healthy corals, but its always going to be better when you get in a boat. The very act of constructing a hotel causes impact to the coral and marine life that can take decades to reverse. Sure, some hotels are built with greater care for the reefs (this is a big reason why we avoided the O&O RR). But even our very favorite house reef ever (Hotel Bora Bora) paled in comparison to what we saw from a boat 15 minutes out. We snorkel and dive from our hotel beaches everyday of our vacation, but don't like to deny ourselves the boat ride to see the best-of-the best.

Back on topic. The FS LG has a house reef in front of the dive center that has very good corals and marine life. There is also a man-made reef on the other side of the island and a wall dive just off the tip. These reefs, IMHO were not as good as Amanwana or Hotel Bora Bora house reefs but that is setting a pretty high standard. Perhaps someone else can compare them to the other Maldives hotels.....we struggled with this information as well when planning our Maldives trip. There is a lot to weigh.
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Old Jul 20, 09, 11:59 am
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Originally Posted by Ericka View Post
This is turning out to be a deeper discussion. We have encountered some very good hotel house reefs with diverse fish life and healthy corals, but its always going to be better when you get in a boat. The very act of constructing a hotel causes impact to the coral and marine life that can take decades to reverse. Sure, some hotels are built with greater care for the reefs (this is a big reason why we avoided the O&O RR). But even our very favorite house reef ever (Hotel Bora Bora) paled in comparison to what we saw from a boat 15 minutes out. We snorkel and dive from our hotel beaches everyday of our vacation, but don't like to deny ourselves the boat ride to see the best-of-the best.

Back on topic. The FS LG has a house reef in front of the dive center that has very good corals and marine life. There is also a man-made reef on the other side of the island and a wall dive just off the tip. These reefs, IMHO were not as good as Amanwana or Hotel Bora Bora house reefs but that is setting a pretty high standard. Perhaps someone else can compare them to the other Maldives hotels.....we struggled with this information as well when planning our Maldives trip. There is a lot to weigh.
Thanks so much Erika. I have also been to Bora Bora twice and it is an amazing place. But if you are comparing Maldives to the Bora Bora, then for sure you have not stayed at the right place in the Maldives.

Has anyone stayed or can comment on Angsana Ihuru? My concern is the size of the rooms.
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Old Jul 20, 09, 12:54 pm
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Sorry, I wasn't trying to compare the Maldives to Bora Bora. I was trying to say that a hotel's house reef, even when very good, is often not as good as what else is out there.

If you're that serious about snorkeling/diving, have you considered the FS Explorer? Itineraries start at 3 nights and the boat is gorgeous! I think Kage posted some sale prices, too.
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Old Jul 20, 09, 2:00 pm
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Originally Posted by aesla11 View Post
Has anyone stayed or can comment on Angsana Ihuru? My concern is the size of the rooms.
I am happy to say that I have stayed at Angsana Ihuru. Their reef is a phenomenal. It has everything you could want from a close-by encircling reef - even a wreck! We were also able to kayak to Banyan Tree (which is related in some way) to visit the marine conservation centre and snorkel there. I found the ability to do that quite a thrill. I cherish, among others, my pictures of schools of large, motionless batfishes. (So much easier to photograph than the more hyperactive species.)

But you are right to worry about the rooms. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with them but they are not spacious by any standards and do not exude any sense of grandeur or indulgent luxury. That said they are very comfortable and the friendliness of the staff, the relaxed ambience and the exquisite reef seemed like luxury, albeit of a different sort. As a snorkelling enthusiast you will know that most of the Indian Ocean is still recovering from the coral bleaching event caused by El Nino and the warming of the ocean. Some reefs were turned into lifeless debris. But Angsana and Banyan Tree are extremely vigilant about the health of their reefs and were among the first to pro-actively attempt to regenerate the corals. I would stay in a primitive grass hut just to have those healthy corals as my playground.

I know that once one has experienced certain levels of luxury you get spoiled for anything less, so I am reticent to say that Ihuru is up to your standards. But in my view the rooms at Angsana will not blight your enjoyment of the island if you get a big kick out of wonderful reefs. And of course anywhere you go in the Maldives they will make a huge, and totally genuine, fuss about your young child.

Just curious, though: why don't you want to go back to Huvafen Fushi? It sounds like it ticked all your boxes so why take a chance on somewhere else?
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Old Jul 20, 09, 4:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Cheetah_SA View Post
I am happy to say that I have stayed at Angsana Ihuru. Their reef is a phenomenal. It has everything you could want from a close-by encircling reef - even a wreck! We were also able to kayak to Banyan Tree (which is related in some way) to visit the marine conservation centre and snorkel there. I found the ability to do that quite a thrill. I cherish, among others, my pictures of schools of large, motionless batfishes. (So much easier to photograph than the more hyperactive species.)

But you are right to worry about the rooms. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with them but they are not spacious by any standards and do not exude any sense of grandeur or indulgent luxury. That said they are very comfortable and the friendliness of the staff, the relaxed ambience and the exquisite reef seemed like luxury, albeit of a different sort. As a snorkelling enthusiast you will know that most of the Indian Ocean is still recovering from the coral bleaching event caused by El Nino and the warming of the ocean. Some reefs were turned into lifeless debris. But Angsana and Banyan Tree are extremely vigilant about the health of their reefs and were among the first to pro-actively attempt to regenerate the corals. I would stay in a primitive grass hut just to have those healthy corals as my playground.

I know that once one has experienced certain levels of luxury you get spoiled for anything less, so I am reticent to say that Ihuru is up to your standards. But in my view the rooms at Angsana will not blight your enjoyment of the island if you get a big kick out of wonderful reefs. And of course anywhere you go in the Maldives they will make a huge, and totally genuine, fuss about your young child.

Just curious, though: why don't you want to go back to Huvafen Fushi? It sounds like it ticked all your boxes so why take a chance on somewhere else?
Exactly what I was worried about, the rooms. I would be happy in a rustic tent, but gotta think of the wife. In terms of returning to Huvafen Fushi, I would love to but think that there are similar resorts out there and need to be discovered! Also, there is a definite ethnic change that has forever changed the atmosphere (from what I hear). Further research has also taken me to Coco Palm Bodu Hithi's water residences. Any suggestions there regarding this one?
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Old Jul 24, 09, 9:21 am
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Thanks for everyone's input. I have decided for a week in Coco Palm Bodu Hithi's OTW residence and the second week in Alila OTW Villa. They both offer excellent snorkeling off the room and seem quite luxurious.
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