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Anantara Veli Maldives Resort
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Reviewed 7 May 2012

How about 6 hours in a night flight and being welcomed at the airport with cold towels and warm smiles? :) Yep, that was an excellent start, especially because i was considering the boat ride under my " travel time budget" and not as official vacation time!

Coming from Dubai, we see and experience many 5 stars hotels, but not all provide you with a 5 start guest experience. When you plan to go to the Maldives, you would expect all hotels to be paradise... how to find the real ones is a matter of service offered by the staff.

I was very amazed how any staff, from cleaners to waiters, were knowledgeable and helpful on both island and hotels (they even knew all the worldwide locations of the hotel chain... impressive!). Joking aside, we were welcomed with an offer to upgrade (a real bargain!) to a Deluxe water villa. Coming early in the morning, we were first provided with the room we booked (early booking provided with a smile and no fuss) and later upgraded as the room became available. The deluxe room is larger (the standard room was very large, but deluxe even more so!) and has an impressive bathroom with a water facing bathtub which resembles a mini-pool and a lovely deck on the water across a tiny unused island.

There is a unique element to this hotel... during the day it feels very secluded, with numerous spots hidden within the copious vegetation where you find hammocks with pillows just asking for you relax upon. At night, the hotel comes together in a more vibrant atmosphere.

A good hotel is visible during problems. As the A/C was not properly working, we raised a complain. The staff responded promptly, and checked back after 10 minutes to ensure problem was resolved. A stand-by room was prepared...

Food is generally expensive in the Maldives, as everything is imported in a logistically challenging island environment. However the quality and value differ dramatically. Here you do not have a 200 items watered down buffet, but rather live cooking stations of fewer items, but great quality. Breakfast is equally impressive. the only suggestion would probably be to augment the snack menu for some in-between break!

You would not get bored here, as the connection with other hotels makes it fun and interesting to plan your days. My wife enjoyed starting with the yoga class overlooking the ocean, whilst i enjoyed the (complementary) kayak trips around to find a good spot for snorkeling where (to our surprise) we also found a "deserted" island with a hammock and hotel staff handing out cold water and fresh coconuts...

Another clever bit is the fact that the resort caters to both Families (Dighu) and Couples (Veli) alike, separated by a 2 minutes boat ride (readily available at all times) and shares two succinct environments. Having a 3 years old boy (at home this time) we can see the merits of traveling with kids to this resort, yet as a couple who sneaked away for a few days, it was nice to have a more relaxing environment that looked specifically after us!

This review is being written whilst we are still enjoying the great atmosphere of an afternoon on the deck. Tomorrow is our last day before departure back to Dubai, and wanted to share the positive vibe before being run over by work yet again!

On a last note, being from the carbon emission reduction industry, i was positively impressed to see how they invested in environmental efficiencies and "greener" infrastructures in the hotel. Well done, and worth of a praise!

Highly recommended to all.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Ivano I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2012

We just returned from our 11-day April 2012 honeymoon in the Maldives. We usually get bored quiet easily and like experiencing lots of different things, so decided to visit 3 very different islands in 11 days. For those of you reading this looking to go there also for the first time like us, we can tell you that we have been to pretty much everywhere in the world and Maldives is really something else, you really should experience it if you can afford the high price tag, it is definitely worth it.

We chose to stay in Anantara Veli for the last 4 nights based on Tripadvisor reviews and the recommendation of our travel agent.

Around 30 minutes by speed boat from Male airport, very smooth transfer. Greeted upon arrival by the manager Matthew and immediately shown to our room where we completed the check-in procedures. We had contacted the area general manager Jeffrey by email (saw in on a Tripadvisor comment he sent) before our arrival asking for an over-water-villa facing the sunset and they had not only arranged that, but had also upgraded us to a deluxe villa which was itself excellent with great views. Bathroom had a bath facing the outside which was great. Room was very clean. They provide 8 bottles of bottled water every day for free, which is usually charged in other resorts. I think normally they provide 4 bottles per person but because my wife is pregnant they show extra attention for her.

Snorkelling around the over-water-villas in Veli was excellent... we saw thousands of little fish as well as some small sharks and 3-4 sting rays. We never went to the reef, didnt feel confortable swimming there on our own and they had no complimantary snorkelling trips.

Anantara Veli and Dhigu are just next to each other, there is a free boat shuttle service every 5 minutes and take about 1 minute to go across. SO you realy get to enjoy both islands. We liked Veli more as a couple, Dhigu seemed to have more families. They have another island linked by a long bridge called Naladhu I believe, seems a bit more exclusive for those who want absolute privacy and dont mind paying $2000+ a night, we visited the rooms and seems very nice but we were very happy with our on-water villa.

Had a massage in Dhigu Spa which was over water, nice location, good massage but not very cheap.

They have nearly 10 different restaurants. Breakfast buffet was OK. We were on full board. We could have lunch anywhere we wanted including a la carte restaurants, but in evenings we could only have dinner in the buffet or have set menu in some of the a la carte restaurants. For lunch Geckos and Fuddan were great. If you want to have a la carte dinner, as full board they give you $30 credit per person and you pay the extra. Drinks as usual not included, $3 for warter and $5 for cola. Restaurant staff was excellent everywhere in the islands, so were the chefs.

They had no mosquitos which we think is excellent.

We had a great time, we hope that we will go back soon.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Sierra2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2012

My husband and I finished our honeymoon with 4 days in an overwater bungalow at the Anantara Veli Resort and Spa. It was certainly an experience we will never forget! The arrival at the airport, the boat taxi to the island, and the escorted walk to the bungalow were just the first few signs that this part of our vacation was just going to be heaven.

I am sure the other reviewers will let you know how nicely maintained, clean, and amazing the rooms are....so I'll give some other tips :)

Make sure you make reservations for dinner. We kinda blew this off the first night but learned our lesson :) Make that reservation for 8 or later....as the families/kids are still out a bit earlier and made our romantic dinners NOT so nice. (only on the last night as we had a 6pm reservation)
We did one of the 'events' where you cook with the chefs and have dinner on the beach. It was pretty pricey but what a fun experience! Made some really special memories that night!

Check out the Thai (I think Baan Thai??) What a great meal! Probably one of our favorites although ALL of the food on the island is super good. Breakfast were a standard brunch fare but the staff are so friendly and helpful the meal is just as special. The chef made eggs benedict for me that I will never forget :) and the variety of food available is very nice. I don't think I had the same thing twice.

Grab your snorkel gear as soon as you get to the island and return right before you leave! :) Make sure you kayak to Picnic Island to snorkel the outter rim of the lagoon. As special as snorkeling off our back porch was....this outter rim gave some really great views and different marine life.

Enjoy a book around the pool....they have a litle basket of sunscreen available at the pools (MAKE sure you apply and RE-apply). The pool staff are just awesome and take good care of you while you are soaking up the sun. A mid-afternoon fruit kebab and little smoothie is a nice touch to freshen up :) Just one of the special touches Anantara does.

I am sure there is soooo much more to say but just GO....you will not regret it! It's absolute paradise and there is no other place I would recommend more to friends and family interested in experiencing the Maldives

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank StephAC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2012

I guess it's all been said before, so I'll reiterate the key aspects of our wonderful stay after just returning from Anantara Veli.

We had 4 nights in an overwater bungalow. The arrival process was very smooth and transfer to the island. The staff were aware my wife was pregnant and had made arrangements for us to sit in more comfort at the rear of the speedboat. Upon arrival to the resort we had a pleasant check-in in our room and settled in nicely. Looking at the layout we wondered if there might be better rooms available with sunset views, etc, and I recalled some advice here about it, so we were tempted to ask for a "better" room, but didn't bother and in the end we were very happy where we are. I guess all the rooms have pros and cons, and we liked the afternoon shade of our deck area and easy access to the lagoon for snorkelling. As for no sunset views, we were happy to wonder out and view the sunset from the pool bar or elsewhere.

In case you need to choose on the meal plan, as mentioned by others I would also recommend the "room only" option without half or full board. It's better to be flexible and unless you are a huge eater, it seems unlikely to save you much money to commit to the meal plans. Far better to sample the other restaurants we had great experiences at Terazzo and Baan Huraa (where we went twice for the stunning night views over the ocean, we even spotted sting rays and reef sharks during dinner!). The breakfast at $34++ is also an excellent experience with fantastic service.

Regarding activities we enjoyed snorkelling in the Veli lagoon. There's a good range of fish there, and a lot to see. I hope the staff will take time to educate and instruct all the guests on appropriate care and use of fins and kayak, to make sure the coral is well preserved for the future. We have our own equipment and we are also advanced divers so are quite well versed and passionate about this, but from my observation some of the other guests might not be so aware or considerate of the fragile marine environment they are privileged to access here.

The room was very comfortable and well appointed, although starting to show some early signs of wear and tear that may need refreshing soon to maintain the 5* rating. Occasionally I would pick up a minor issue with the resort or service, but overall the standard is very high and it's clear the Anantara staff are focused on providing a quality experience for their guests. For example, we had a problem with the room service dinner on our first night, which I had ordered without any dairy but was served with butter sauce. The waiter offered to re-do the dishes but we said we would make do. Upon collecting the dishes the chef came personally to apologise and offer a complimentary dessert.

With the soothing sea breeze, white sand beaches and tranquil turqoise waters are beautiful features and the resort has been extremely well designed to blend in with and make the most of this perfect island landscape. Highly recommended for couples on honeymoon or special occasions. Surely it is expensive but worth it, and we definitely plan to return.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank alq77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2012

We stayed in Anantara Veli in July last year but being lazy bums only managed to write a review now.

1. Resort environment - Absolutely stunning! The Maldives is just a place I know we'll always remember and hope to come back for our wedding anniversary someday. The resort is always quiet and peaceful. There are not many rooms so it always feels sparse even if you know it's probably almost fully occupied. You can take many pictures with no one in the background!
The infinity pool is beautiful. We were glad we stayed at Velli rather than Dhigu because it just felt a lot more cozy and romantic. Dhigu is beautiful as well but we got lost there on our first night out and most of the facilities are at Dhigu so it's more family oriented compared to Veli. The sand at Dhigu is noticeably much finer and softer than the sand at Veli but we just liked the romanticism of Veli more.

2. Room and amenities - we stayed in an overwater bungalow near the end of the pier which was beautiful. The view isn't fantastic because the bungalows are all facing each other so it isn't like you're facing the open sea, except for the bungalow right at the end i think. I was a bit disappointed at first but turns out it didn't really matter because the other pier of bungalows are not very close (separated by the pier for the shuttle boat that goes to Dhigu) and you can still enjoy the views of the clear blue waters. Even seeing and hearing the shuttle boat (not noisy don't worry) coming to and fro between the islands from our room was quite therapeutic. I think we felt more like at a resort seeing other bungalows around rather than just seeing the sea. The view of the blue waters and this small deserted island is still beautiful.
I love it that they give you free snorkelling equipment and compimentary water which is replenished every day. We even lost the tube of the snorkelling mask on an expedition out at sea and were very surprised and grateful when they didn't charge us for it.
water to our bathtub came out yellowish at first (which I had already read about in one of the reviews here so was kinda looking out for it) but got better after an hour or so. probably stale water from the pipe. Water from the overhead shower was fine though.
One thing which I didn't really like also, was the non-disposable toiletries ie the bath and shower foam were in clay jars and are presumably topped up with each guest, which I thought was a bit unhygienic. I know it's not as eco-friendly, but would have preferred if they gave normal disposable plastic bottles instead so I don't have to worry about sharing shampoo with a previous guest who has used the same clay jar. But the conditioner was great, kept my hair smooth considering how many times it was soaked in pool/sea water.

3. Food - we booked our room on agoda.com which gave only breakfast, then topped up USD 55 for half board when we reached the resort. (I think it's usually $65 if you booked half board straight on?) I didn't think the quality of the food was really all that worth it to be honest...but it's a resort and you can't go anywhere else so you expect it to be expensive. The half board doesn't include drinks during meals as well (except for those at the breakfast buffet). We enjoyed the Thai food the most which is also not included in the half board (but they do give you a $30 voucher for the restaurant instead). We're not big eaters so in retrospect I think we would have done better and saved some money just eating ala carte instead of going half board. But if you don't want to calculate the cost every time you eat then half board is good.

4. Activities - we took the half day snorkelling which was great. There are fishes around the resort and under our bungalow but definitely nothing compared to the tons of colourful fish you can see further out. We didn't get to see manta rays, sea turtles or other bigger fish which my friend got to see at Conrad hotel though. Veli has an excursion to see manta rays but we were told that it was not the season for it so we didn't go. We did sunset fishing as well which was also great fun...the catamaran was so clean and well maintained, and guests get to go up to the roof of the boat for great views.
Spa was expensive but enjoyable. We took the couple promotion package and enjoyed soaking in the tub before the massage.

5. Souvenirs - as expected, souvenirs in the resort shop will be a bit expensive but we didn't feel that they were exorbitant. Of course, you can get cheaper souvenirs at Male airport. There is a shop outside Male airport that sells souvenirs at the same price AFTER bargaining as the shops INSIDE the airport which are fixed price. So if you're not really into bargaining you can just shop inside the airport. There are 2 souvenir shops inside the airport with the same extensive range of souvenirs.

We haven't stayed anywhere else in the Maldives so won't be able to compare, but enjoyed ourselves immensely at Anantara Veli although it was still expensive. Hope this review comes in handy for those going there! You'll have a great relaxing time!

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with friends
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6  Thank fnz289
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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