Very good, but not excellent.

100   Recommended

Room 212 , Overwater villa - lagoon ...
November 22, 2020 by

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Room 212

Overwater villa - lagoon ...


Overwater villa - lagoon facing

We left mid-November and stayed there for a week. Weather was great half of the week, but we don't mind so much as we enjoy some rain. We took a direct flight from Abu Dhabi to get there. I'll list the pros and cons for us: 

- The hotel staff is well trained, well-meaning and will attend to your every need (I received a yoga mat at the villa, buggies were around all the time, etc.). We fell in love with Shareef, our villa manager / cleaner and Raj the fitness instructor, who were simply amazing with us. There were also a lot of very caring waiters and a great young local chef. 
- The reef is nice and on good days, it's easy to spot sharks, rays, turtles and even dolphins in the ocean from your deck (ocean side). 
- The overwater villas are cheaper than the beach villas. We really wanted to experience an accommodation over the water and got to book it. Plus, we got upgraded to a lagoon side since we are Marriott Bonvoy members. 
- Excellent gluten-free food options and catered special requests (it was possible to ask the chef to prepare a meal for the same night or next day). We also received a discount on F&B because we are members.
- The room is cleaned twice a day and we received a nice welcome pack for our anniversary.
- The Spa has an excellent location and skilled therapists. It's also a great place where to leave your stuff at before visiting the house reef.
- There are many excursions that can be booked on the island although the price can be steep.
- Landscaping and general design of the island are great. 
- The welcome team at the airport is excellent and the lounge is good enough for a short wait (they serve snacks and drinks and offer free wifi).
- Upon insisting, the team opened up their welcome lounge for us on our departure, which is only available for arrivals (please note this! there is no departure lounge and the local one at the airport is TERRIBLE and will cost you 40 dollars per head). There was a very long waiting time for our return flight back home seeing as apparently, the local seaplane company was not flying later than 2pm (we were leaving around midnight that day). We were disappointed we had to leave that early and could not enjoy the resort some more, but received assistance on our way out, so I prefer to put this in our pros instead of cons section. It did feel as if we were warmly welcomed and somehow kicked out on our way out, maybe something the resort will have to correct in the future since they are working on their new lounge in the upcoming airport (to be seen then). 
- The beach and sand quality are excellent, which is not the case everywhere. 
- The complimentary sports classes and gym are a great distraction and Raj is an awesome trainer.

- A lot of the experiences get affected by COVID restrictions: the breakfast buffet became an à la carte menu (which for us is not necessarily a plus seeing as a buffet could be possible provided someone serves you), the happy hours and free goodies were not available and the local bar was closed (we had to order from WET, the pool bar/café, but it felt like we were missing out), we have to wear masks in the common areas even if outdoors (granted this is a government measure, but it does affect one's experience). 
- The food was not extraordinary. We enjoyed local tastes and traditional Maldivian dishes, but a lot of times, our experience was rather average: overcooked and chewy lobster and octopus; breakfast was rather disappointing in taste and dishes were delayed so much that we were not hungry by the time they came to our table; local dishes are overpriced - coconuts cost 11 dollars and a main of fish was around 60 dollars. We're foodies, so for us it was not overly exciting. Also, the coffee was nespresso only.
- Whatever, whenever... or almost? Reservations at restaurants were not possible though they tried to accommodate us on busy days (they suggested booking slots, but then said to come early instead on most days because they could not guarantee it). The resort was half-full on good days. 
- We wanted to dive but the hotel was fully booked that week. We asked if bookings were necessary and were told per email that everything could be booked on arrival. That was disappointing. We got to do an island hopping / snorkeling excursion which was still available, but it proved to be slightly disappointing as the captain tried to cut our experience short (Greg and the other diving instructor did not participate). 
- The main jacuzzi of the resort is not heated. Same for the pool at the villa, which is cold and outdated (super scratchy inside, to the point where you would damage your swimsuit just sitting in there). We made friends there who also did not use the pool for the same reason. It's mostly decorative at this point, even on hot days. We had 3 days of bad weather and still went swimming in the murky water because it was hotter than the pool. 
- We payed 200 dollars for Covid testing per head. We have friends who stayed at the Anantara and payed less.

Coming from the Middle-East, but born and raised in Europe, we know we tend to have high expectations and we are also used to our fair share of luxury trips and restaurants, which gives us a base for comparison. This was definitely a great experience and Maldives is a little paradise to begin with, but the resort can definitely do better and improve its services if general management wishes to maintain its good reputation. 

Check In

Very smooth and straightforward. The whole team welcomes you and you are brought to your room in a buggy. The welcome at the airport and transfer were quite smooth as well.


We were upgraded to a lagoon facing side, which is not really an upgrade since the over-water villas are identical to the villas facing the ocean. We made friends who were staying in the other type (which was our first choice) and did not find there was a signifcant difference: only the net on the deck that is located right above the water changes. It's a personal preference then: do you wish to snorkel or do you want pretty pictures with turquoise waters in the back? We liked both equally. The room is not very big, nor small. Very clean and comfy beds. The pool and outdoor furniture could be replaced as they look quite aged and the pool is cold.


We loved the views from Sip and Fish, but preferred the vibe of Fire for some reason, although there's no sea view (go figure?). I think it's the cosy fire and grill that have this special touch. 

Very good, but not exceptional.



This review lives in the Very good, but not excellent. thread.
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