We've just returned from a 7 day stay in Lagoon Villa at Huvafen Fushi and have nothing but positive things to say from our first trip to the Maldives. As a couple, we are fairly critical of resorts and were overwhelmingly delighted to find that Huvafen Fushi surpassed our already high expectations and catered to our holiday needs (i.e., down time in the sun, lazy mornings, total relaxation, spa treatments, daily sporty activities...and we're vegetarians).
-Staff are v. accommodating and always available for assistance. Managers welcome you to the island, constantly ask how the accommodations are, and make sure at departure that everything was up to snuff.
-House reef is amazing! Complimentary snorkeling gear available and hired guides if needed. We didn't use the dive center, but other couples raved about it.
-Underwater spa not to be missed and worth the extra $100! LIME spa was overall exceptional. We had a couples special 90 min massage in the underwater spa, which was simply divine. Mirrors were cleverly placed under the massage tables so you could see fish swimming during your treatment. We had a second massage in the above ground massage rooms, which were also very nice. These treatment rooms were water villas with glass bottom floors underneath the massage tables. This allowed you to watch the ocean life during treatment. The quality of the treatments were excellent and on par with top notch hotel spas in NYC/London in terms of cost and quality.
-The Lagoon villa was huge, in lovely condition, Bose speakers, iPod doc & iPod preloaded w/ thousands of albums, nespresso coffee maker, infinity pool, sun loungers, tub for two, rain shower, his/her sinks, his/her closets, lighting schemes, day bed inside and out, steps into the Indian ocean, paradise!
-Celsius restaurant is amazing. The breakfast spread has literally everything you could want to eat (i.e., freshly made juices, fruit plates, eggs/pancakes to order, assorted breads and sweet cakes, yogurts, and other savory breakfast items of cheese, meats, grilled tomatoes, among other things). The spread is all of exceptional freshness and quality. For dinner, the staff at Celsius were very accommodating to our dietary needs. We are generally vegetarian and prefer simple, fresh, lighter fare (vs. fancy Cordon Bleu cuisine). There was a vegetarian house menu available to our delight. We also ordered off the menu and altered menu items daily. The staff were v. accommodating. However, toward the end of the vacation we were starting to get a little bit tired of the dinner options (see Cons for half board). We were at a slight disadvantage for being veg as Celsius offered special non-menu dinners every 2-3 days, which I'm assuming helps reduce a la carte boredom (i.e., fish/seafood night; curry night) but the options were limited for us.
-Fogliani's wood fired pizza was awesome. Literally, the pizza at Hufaven Fushi was on par with good NYC pizza and better than any pizza I've had in London (and we LOVE pizza).
-Wine cellar is amazingly diverse and well stocked (and pricey, of course, so be prepared). The Sommelier offers complimentary wine tasting of wines available by the glass to help inform your palate.
-Huvafen Happy Hour (50% off glasses 7-7:30 and again after dinner) --take advantage.
-Huvafen free drinks and canape 6:30-7--take advantage.
-Staff at Arrival/Departure and boat transfer are excellent. It is a speedboat transfer not a ferry transfer and seas can be rough when it's windy so be prepared.
-Landscaping on the island is left very natural which helps hide the beach villas and makes you feel like you're alone on the island. I'm happy the landscaping was not overly manicured and fake.
-The over water gym is quite cool. Can see rays, fish, and baby sharks while jogging. The gyms is small but adequate size for the island. Only ran into trouble w/ other couples using the gym one day.
-Lair has flat screen TV (only used for FA cup final!), internet, massive library, games, etc.
Cons (these are all very minor in my opinion and did not detract from the quality of our holiday or leave a sour taste in our mouths in any way):
-Half/Full Board is offered at Celsius only. You receive a discount of 25% at the other restaurants (Raw & Salt) during 'pre-paid' eating hours (i.e., lunch for full board, dinner for half board) as well as room service. Room service is essentially the same menu as Celsius, so that was a little bit of a disappointment.
-Alcoholic beverages: perhaps we've been spoiled with some of the best drinks in London/NYC, but the beverages at UMBar weren't great or always properly made (i.e., our dry martinis tasted mainly of vermouth). I'm assuming this is because most staff don't drink alcohol for religious reasons and perhaps cannot try the drinks prior to being served, but that is just a speculation. In any case, the point is minor, but it might be something to consider if you're expecting cutting edge mixology. However, if you do like to drink, the wine cellar and sommelier are the way to go (see Pros).
-The desserts at Celsius were not great, but we're not really dessert people.
-The toiletries could have been of a better brand & quality. Usually nice hotels offer something on par with what you would bring from home, which was not the case here.
Things to consider:
-Lagoon Villas are leeward facing and so our patio area was protected from strong afternoon winds in May. We noticed that the patio of the Ocean Villas faces directly into the wind, and so it seemed like the patio area wouldn't have been as tranquil. We would have found that bit annoying considering the extra cost of the Ocean Villa. However, the Ocean Villas appear to offer more privacy as they face the ocean v. the lagoon, which also serves as the mini huvafen harbor for transport to/from the island. The Ocean villas also have better 'back yard' access to the house reef. The Lagoon villas sit on sandy lagoon, which was great for ray and baby shark watching, but not to much to see in the way of reef life. We opted for Lagoon villa with 1 min walk to house reef channel :)
-LIME spa underwater is best during the morning because of the light into the treatment rooms.
- As typical of resorts, the cost of the activities (i.e., sunset cruises, water sports, SCUBA, etc., island tours, etc.) is high so that is to be expected at Huvafen Fushi as well.
-In continuation, the cost of food is high (but the food is v. high quality and the food is on par with the cost of high quality food in London) so budget appropriately to avoid shock (menus are available online as well, which was a pro for us when booking).
- Last thing -- This is an island for couples who want quality, romantic time together in a beautiful place. If you don't fit that profile, another island may better suit your needs. There was one small annoyance on our trip caused from an unruly behaved child (clearly, this is not a review of the hotel or hotel staff but something to consider if you're thinking about booking). I found it particularly annoying that a young family chose to bring their poorly trained child who was constantly yelling, screaming, and fussing to cocktail hour and dinner at the peak time. There is nothing worse or more rude than to spoil every evening of vacationing couples in ear shot with your screaming child. I'm not anti-child or saying that children shouldn't be allowed, but I think that fussy babies at Hufaven Fushi require an island babysitter in villa, parents who concede to order room service, or just leave the child at home. There were plenty of well behaved babies on the island, but screaming/fussing children have no place here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Float at infinity's edge. Descend stairs for underground wine. Come out of your shell in the depths of an underwater spa room - the first and only in the world - where colour fish glide past the floor-to-ceiling-windows that reveal the beauty of the reef. Huvafen Fushi, a multi-award winning island resort located only 35 minutes by speedboat from Male, offers 44 naturally modern bungalows and the luxury of 'suites at sea,' traditional Maldivian sailboats fitted out with modern indulgences and the chance to escape and relax in a secluded island paradise in the middle of the Indian Ocean. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Huvafen Fushi Hotel Huvafen Fushi Island
- Huvafen Fushi Male
- Huvafen Fushi Hotel Male
- Huvafen Fushi Maldives Huvafen Fushi Island