We (two adults and three kids, aged 11, 9, and 9) have just returned from our first week in the Maldives - it won't be our last... The trip was fairly last-minute (booked three weeks before leaving) so our travel agent only gave us the option of about five islands. We whittled it down to Maafushivaru and another island called Gangehi. In the end we plumped for Maafushivaru as we were concerned about reports of sand erosion in Gangehi. However, we also read reports after booking in which the cuisine in Maafushivaru was criticised as being sub-standard. We really enjoy good food so were a little concerned...
As this was our first trip to the Maldives, we had no benchmark for comparison. Nevertheless, I can say with some confidence that criticism of the cuisine must have been from reviewers either of the most rarified culinary taste (accepting Michelin-grade food only), or someone who "can't be doing with all that foreign muck". We found the food to be very good. Each evening was themed for different national cuisines (italian, american, maldivian, etc) but this constituted only a fraction of what was available on the buffet - there was a constant array of differing curries (the daal was especially good), and a good range of salads, fruits, and desserts, plus some standard pasta for the more ingrained italian guests.
What else? We spent five nights in a deluxe beach villa in order to accommodate the whole family in a single unit, and the last two days in two adjacent water villas. The latter were very well appointed and the view directly on to the lagoon was fantastic, but we were unfortunately placed in units facing in a north-east direction - less sun, and an enthusiastic wind blowing straight into the rooms, which could cause doors to slam shut with alarming force (luckily no little fingers were caught in the door frames). The luxury beach villa was superb. More generously dimensioned, with your own small pool (which our twins used too much, preferring this to the stunning beach... wierdos!), great bathrooms, and like I said, a great sandy beach just outside the enclosure, with our own sunbeds. So, although the idea of the water villa does appeal, we definitely preferred the beach villa.
We used the excellently equipped sports center a few times (elliptic, bike, and treadmill, plus weights). The main bar was very relaxing and the staff there (and elsewhere on the island) were charming and helpful. Oddly, the "infinity pool" was hardly ever used. Not sure why not.
Lastly, we went snorkelling around the house reef each day. The interesting part extends about half way round the island, at least as far as I could tell. We were told it was a goodish reef but not the best. Again, because we had no benchmark, we couldn't pass judgement on this, but all I can say is we passed many pleasant hours drifting above it, with enough to see to induce this reviewer to make nearly 1000 snaps with his Canon Sureshot D10 waterproof camera.
In summary, a great place to visit, also for families - lots of excursions organized, very friendly service. And GOOD food!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Reached by a picturesque flight over the mysterious atolls of the Maldives, Maafushivaru is a quiet island knitted with lush flora surrounded by pure white sandy beaches and incredible turquoise lagoon. Next to the resort is the tiny desert island of Lonubo, exclusive to Maafushivaru guests. A visit to this beautiful island is a must. You can choose from daily visits for basking in the sun and snorkeling the beautiful reef, or ultimately book to stay overnight, an island just for you and your beloved, even if only for a night. Slumber at your choice of three distinct villas. Beach Villas are sited on postcard perfect beaches whilst the Water Villas are built on stilts over the Indian Ocean providing sunset and sunrise vistas that will be forever etched in your memory. For a fun filled holiday, the Pool Villa is the right pick for families or friends travelling together, featuring two separate villas with a shared pool. Summon the bon vivant inside of you with the delectable fare. Cuisine Gallery showcases a potpourri of dishes from all over the world. While 135° East is your key for an authentic Japanese cuisine displaying the art of teppanyaki and the hibachi steakhouse. Sip favourite sunset cocktails at Water Bar with eclectic evening entertainment ranging from Maldivian evenings, to laser shows and disco nights under the starlit sky. Located on the water’s edge, instill a sense of calm and quietude at the Spa with signature product line Voya focusing on healing therapies and rituals. Explore rich underwater life on the house reefs of Maafushivaru and Lonubo, where fish teem and corals bloom colourfully. Dive with whale sharks and mantas in famed spots down south. Discover the epitome of Maldives – Maafushivaru. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Maafushivaru Hotel South Ari Atoll
- Maafushivaru Tclub Hotel
- Maafushivaru Maldives/Southern Ari Atoll