Vilamendhoo was our 4th trip for the Maldives. We’ve also been to Huvafen Fushi, Reehti Seashore, and final year, Vilamendhoo’s sister Champas resort Veligandu. In general, Vilamendhoo can be a excellent location, but it includes a few services issues that must be sorted out.
The Maldives are spectacular. This is a gorgeous idyllic location, and the weather is fantastic, and the drinking water is lovely and warm, and the fish are quite. Our Vilamendhoo go to was over Xmas, which can be among major weather conditions seasons. There was no rain throughout our go to, but there was a lot of wind.
Vilamendhoo Island is quite noisy. It’s sandwiched between the two nearby resort islands of Lily Seaside and Ranveli. You will find sea planes taking off and landing each 30 minutes during daylight hrs, and in addition aircraft sound from these other resorts. This is not an area for solitude.
We booked our accommodation only via Cosmos/Monarch, with whom we were totally amazed – we are going to use once again. Due to TA reports of overbooking at Vilamendhoo by itself, we later on also experimented with to reconfirm our reservation at Vilamendhoo by e-mail & phone. Eventually we got an emailed confirmation on the 4th attempt. Very poor service from staff member called Iyas, good services from Mr Hamdhoon.
Sea plane transfer is very efficient, and our bags accompanied us. Champas lounge at Mali airport is a nice touch. The check in process at Vilamendhoo could be greatly improved. It is very slow and unclear for non-package guests i.e. those without an onsite tour operator representative, thus relying on resort staff to perform the check in. We had to wait nearly 20 minutes to become checked in, and other couples even longer. A welcome fruit cocktail drink and cold towel had been provided. We had been escorted to our room and the room services explained, but the walkthrough could have been more thorough e.g. use of lighting and timing delays (e.g. for above water light). Baggage delivery to room was very efficient.
We had Jacuzzi H2o Villa #314. These villa rooms are excellent – very spacious, beautifully equipped. Huge, very comfortable bed and extras make this a 5* quality room (bathroom fixtures & fittings, iPhone/pod dock, nespresso machine). There had been at least 18 light switches in the room…
The deck was gorgeous with sun loungers and chairs. The deck table was fixed to the ground and did not move. The afternoon sun shone directly into our deck, so we had to move the sun umbrella from the back porch to beside the sun loungers.
Problems: The bathroom shower drain was blocked on arrival and didn’t drain, resulting in a flooded bathroom. Resort maintenance resolved the problem by pumping out the drain, and removing the drain cover for the remainder of the holiday. Our cleaner said that this drainage problem was a frequent occurrence across the whole resort, and one of the things that people most complain about. The table in the dressing area was heavily marked. The back of the wardrobe was very h2o stained – this backed onto the bathroom so the drainage problem could be the cause. The bedroom curtains had unsightly h2o stains at the bottom, and have been also almost impossible to draw due to the pole mechanism.
The Jacuzzi was not filled on arrival – this was rectified quickly by house keeping/maintenance, but was still too cold to use – I suspect the heater wasn’t working. The place of the Jacuzzi was disappointing – unlike Veligandu it’s not possible to open some wooden doors, sit in the Jacuzzi and look out at the sea. The Jacuzzi here is in the “back yard”.
The fridge did not work properly. It was replaced two times throughout our holiday but still not working on departure.
No writing paper or pen in the room, but that is a comparatively minor issue.
Room service was excellent. The cleaner was thorough and skilled especially in Maldivian bed art and flower arrangement.
The lighting along the walkway towards the h2o villas was dim and could be improved. There have been no lights illuminating the water, which was disappointing as we like to look at fish when walking to/from the villa. Additionally the positioning of terracotta pots on the walkway in unlit areas is an accident waiting to happen.
Restaurants and bars
Our assigned restaurant was the Ahima. Very good support throughout our stay by Shiham our waiter – a very impressive local chap and thoroughly efficient. No problem re table availability at any time and we had been able to sit wherever we wanted, including outside.
Food, in general is very good. Lots of variety and themes and also the head chef always on hand to supervise, and answer questions etc. Some desserts not great because of using artificial cream, others have been superb e.g. a Lebanese date pudding – yum.
Asia Wok – experimented with this twice. The services in this restaurant/bar is far superior to others on the island. Teppanyaki was excellent quality and value for money. The non-teppanyaki generic Asian food was nothing to write home about – you can get the same in the other restaurants if you’re on All Inclusive, and save the money.
The services at Sunset and Bonthi bars left a lot to be desired. I felt invisible for 90% of the time – more proactive support needed by the staff – you are supposed to approach customers; they shouldn’t have seek out staff to order a drink.
Service at the Boashi pool bar was excellent.
English was a real problem with some of the restaurant/bar staff. If staff are going to stand around in the serving area then they should expect that people will interact with them…
Some staff would only talk to males. For example, my girlfriend would ask them a question but the waiter would reply to me. This is not acceptable in a supposedly 5 star resort.
This really is the big differentiator in between the Veligandu resort and Vilamendhoo. Veligandu had good management and supervisors in all bars/restaurants – this was obviously lacking in Vilamendhoo.
Excellent, over drinking water spa. One of the nicest we’ve visited.
Diving / snorkelling
A completely professional dive center (Euro divers). I cannot fault their enthusiasm, services and basic approach to diving – it made an extremely nice change to some places I’ve been which have been run like a prison. Well done to the dive team for getting the balance perfect.
Dives had been very oversubscribed at times. For example for one all-day whale shark trip there have been two boatloads of scuba divers (34 divers in all). And this was just from one resort…
There were no mantas when we have been there, over Christmas, but manta viewing excursions have been still being advertised and sold at reception.
The house reef is excellent and there’s very little have to venture off anywhere else. One of Vila’s best assets – much better than Veligandu’s bleached coral.
Island erosion is a problem. Sandbags have been placed on the windward side of the island, to help prevent tidal erosion. They have an essential but unsightly role.
Marine debris is a constant problem, not only in the Maldives. We saw more floating flip-flops than turtles. Join Project Aware to support the mission to reduce it: http://www.projectaware.org/project/marine-debris If you see a piece of rubbish floating by – grab it and put it in your rubbish bin. Do your bit for the Maldives.
As we have been staying in a JWV we had the option of using the quiet sunset bar i.e. no pre-arranged entertainment. This was a big bonus more than Veligandu where there is only one bar i.e. no escape from the often annoying and intrusive, “entertainment”. One night the main bar had a DJ playing, and on another night the cover band “White Smoke” had been playing (and could be heard from our h2o villa). On yet another night we could hear club music from nearby Ranveli.
Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple