More about The Beach House at Manafaru Maldives
I consider myself well travelled, but I have never been to The Maldives before, I've never wanted to go as a week of lying in the sun is not my idea of fun!
The Beach House completely changed my mind, and I would go back tomorrow.
My husband and I spent a fantastic week here, and I have been surprised by a couple of the negative reviews. We saw magnificent marine life around the jetty, a huge array of fish, star fish and even turtles! And to say the beach and sea was "dirty" was just ridiculous
-as I hope my photos prove.
Anyway, back to my review, we were transported to The Beach House on the most magnificent speedboat, (I have to say this was not the one we were brought back on), but the one we were taken on was fabulous! A handy tip is to take your sunglasses with you as we didn't and were blinded by the glare.
On arrival we were met by the management team, which I thought was a nice touch, then we were taken to our Beach Villa.
We were in Villa 109, and we were absolutely blown away by it, it was absolutely beautiful.
You don't actually have to leave your room, there was a lovely outdoor area, with shaded and sun spots to lie in, the pool, yes it was small, but lovely and refreshing, there was also a lovely outdoor shower.
Then the fantastic bathroom, HUGE bath, HUGE shower, 2 sinks, a toilet and a bidet.
The bathroom was beautifully laid out and was very large. The bedroom had a lovely really comfortable bed, and really great pillows, and the sheets were changed daily, it had great lighting on a control with which you could light different areas of the room.
There was a mini bar, free tea and coffee and milk, a desk, iPod dock, and TV with loads of channels. A desk, umbrellas. There was also a DVD player, and you can loan for free DVD's from reception-we found this very handy when it rained for 24hrs! The air conditioning was great.
Then we had immediately outside the room another seating area with a table and chairs and comfy seat.
Then a few step from the room towards the beach we had our cabana which contained a table and chairs and a large comfortable chair like a sofa.
Then on the beach we had our beach beds with cushions and a little table attached to the bed.
The beach is ABSOLUTELY stunning, perfect pure white sand and crystal clear aqua blue, exactly what you want and expect from the Maldives.
The beach was clean, as was the water.
However....... I have to admit, that if I had been on the opposite side of the island to where we were staying, (where the beach suites are), I would have been very disappointed with the beach, and can totally understand why some people have moaned about it. It was still very clean, but there were rocks leading into the sea, and the depth of the beach was very small compared
to where we were.
However, this side of the island had spectacular sunsets, which we could not see from where we were, we would walk round to see them. But the sunsets would not have made up for the beach, and we looked at a beach suite, again the rooms were beautiful, better than the villas, but I would not have wanted to stay there as the beach was definitely inferior.
We both love snorkelling and we were not disappointed, having dived at the Great Barrier reef and the Red Sea, we had never, until this trip to the Maldives seen a turtle, and we saw plenty. And Giant Starfish. There are thousands of fish here, we used to go out to the end of the jetty and use the steps there to get into the sea.
The water bungalows looked lovely, and again, this is a personal preference, but I'm not sure this would be the ideal place to have a water bungalow, because if you wanted to sit on the beach, you couldn't as there are no spare beds to lie on, on the beach. There are a few lovely ones by the infinity pool and there are lots by the Amazon pool, but none on the beach. Again this is a personal preference, so if you are happy to sit by the pool, you are fine, if you want to sit on the beach you wouldn't be.
The "little" details made a huge difference, like the exceptionally soft fluffy robes, the incense that was in the room, the towels that were replenished twice-daily and there were always lots of them, the iPod dock, the fibre optic lights in the bottom of the pool and the bath salts.
There is a library and free internet use, and a huge powerful telescope all in the room above the reception.
We didn't particularly enjoy the managers cocktail party, it was a bit of a non-event.
We ate in all the restaurants. We were not disappointed with the food, at all. I do not eat ANY fish or seafood and was a tad concerned before we left, it wasn't a problem at all. We especially loved the Saffron restaurant, the food was exceptional. We also ate in medium rare, my husband said the fish was fabulous, and we also ate in the main restaurant on the Balinese night and Creole night. We enjoyed both.
We also enjoyed the room service. We always had lunch at the restaurant by the infinity pool, and it was always excellent. The breakfast is a delicious buffet, would recommend the waffles! And the pastries were lovely, there was always lots of it too. Also in the morning was a daily newspaper sheet in many languages.
We expected the food to be expensive, and it was quite expensive, but we thought it was worth it.
Dress code seemed to be quite casual, I always wore a dress in the evening (with no shoes!), which was fine, but others didn't seem to make much of an effort, which was also fine! So whatever you want goes!
I LOVED not wearing any shoes for the entire duration! Again, this was mixed, some people did and some people didn't.
We had a lovely trip to the wine cellar which was very impressive and worth a visit.
We were unfortunate to have a whole day of relentless rain, yet even this didn't ruin our holiday, we relaxed with a couple of DVD's then we went to play Wii, the golf simulator (which was great fun!), table tennis and billiards! I didn't think this would interest me, but we had great fun doing these things and I thought this was a great aspect of the hotel, to actually be able to do things. And even more importantly to do things when it was raining.
Our room was cleaned twice daily and was cleaned to the highest standards, he really did a magnificent job.
I was surprised to find a jewellery shop at the hotel, I liked the jewellery shop, it had a large range. It also had the most beautiful ring which I really regret not buying! It was difficult because you don't know if you are being "ripped off" or paying way above the odds. Now, in hindsight, I think I loved the ring and should have bought it!
We were offered about 100 postcards when we went into the shop, I thought they had a really good variety.
Nothing seemed to have prices on which was a bit annoying, and probably stopped us from buying anything, as we couldn't be bothered to keep saying "how much is this".
I would thoroughly recommend this hotel, as I have said, we stayed in villa 109, and I think that side of the island was definitely on the most beautiful part of the beach.
The beach suites were even more spectacular rooms, but, because of the beach I am glad I didn't stay there.
It's a fantastic hotel, and definitely worth a visit
Having stayed in hotels like The Chedi in Oman, The Datai in Langkawi, The Rajvillas and Amarvillas in India, Ritz-Carlton's, Mandarin Orientals etc etc....we are used to beautiful hotels and beautiful hotel rooms. The Beach House at Manafaru certainly did not disappoint.
Rather invest in Stocks! Manafaru is not worth the money....
Yes indeed, the Island is nice and if you are aware that she is off the beaten Maldivian track you can also live with the arrival & departure "adventure". Vegetation, materials used and the ideas were good but the follow through and mangement are rather poor.
We booked a fews and left disappointed and speechless. All from the Villa Host to the GM were more like a 3-star All Inclusive Island - no style and it seems like that this is were it failed. You can't just have an good product, you must be able to live-up to expectations everyone has which does spend the amount of money you need to book this over-rated Resort.
The reviews before were all mixed and yes there are some positive things but mainly the negative which makes this overall to a wrong investment as you leave more stressed & disappointed than feeling that you done the right thing with your money.
Not that we will be ever able to meassure any changes or improvements (as we will not return) but I do hope that Guests feedback is seriously considered - no one has taken time to speak to us and the GM was somehow not into talking to Guests which had no smile on their faces.
Not living up to 5 stars and the typical Maldives feeling
We stayed at the Beach House at Manafaru from the 17 to 31 of Mai.To start off we would like to list the positive experiences we had.
- The vegetation was kept intact, which creates a nice atmosphere for the inner core of the island.
- Most of the staff was very nice and committed.
- The food in all three restaurants, Four Corners, Safran and Medium Rare, was of good quality and gave us sufficient variation for our 14-day stay.
Unfortunately, the negative experiences outweighed our positive impressions by far. And to put it short, we regret to have stayed at Manafaru due to the following inadequacies we were confronted with:
Due to the lack of a house reef or any other nearby reefs, the water is pretty rough around the island. The turquoise belt around an island, which is typical for the Maldives, is quite narrow. The rough water and the breaking waves reduce the actual beach in front of most of the beach villas and beach suites to a narrow belt. Thus, the actual Maldives feeling we know from other resorts did not set in for us.
During our 2-week stay at Manafaru we moved three times:
At first we stayed at the beach suite 311. After a while we noticed a pungent smell. In the beginning we were not able to determine were it came from. In the next couple days the “sewer-like” smell became more intense and we contacted the reception concerning this matter. In the meantime, we had already figured out that the smell actually emerged from one of the island facilities/staff area. (Pictures A & B) and we wanted noting more but to change to a Beach Suite with a neutral and pleasant odor. The reservation manager addressed us concerning our issues and tried to convince us that the smell must stem from our beach suite and that they would try to fix the problem. Knowing though, that the smell did not have its origin in our beach suite, we were quite upset about the management’s reaction and demanded to change our accommodation as fast as possible. During our stay other staff members who were not aware of our situation confirmed that there is indeed a problem on the island concerning the smell. Eventually the management gave in and “upgraded” us to a water villa, since there were no empty beach suites left. Considering a water villa an upgrade can only be justified, because the water villa costs more than a beach suite. Considering though that we prefer and booked a beachfront accommodation, for us personally this was not an upgrade.
What makes matters even worse: There also seems to be an electrical generator or a large air-condition system that constantly creates noise. Once you switched off your villa’s air-condition and the water pump for the pool finally turned itself off, it was still not quite. (video) Thus, if you plan to spend your vacation at the beach house Manafaru we would recommend you to avoid the beach suite 311 and any other suites that are close by.
As mentioned above, we were moved to a different place, namely to the water villa 510. Waking up the first morning we noticed that overnight the contents of the cesspit forced itself back into our water villa. There must have been a pressure build-up in the drainpipe that forced the entire excrements trough the tiled walls, as well as trough the shower drain and trough the toilet back into our bathroom. At this point our vacation was over for us since we did not trust the hygienic standard of the accommodations anymore. So, if you plan on booking Manafaru make sure you don’t stay in the water villa 510. If the villa’s bathroom is not renovated completely, there will still be feces between the actual walls and the tiling (black slate which is porous even if impregnated (made dirt resistant) correctly)
And we moved once again: This time we changed to a water villa. The last week of our stay, we were finally able to move back into a beach suite (nr. 302) – further away from the bad smell.
Our impression in general of the different villas we have seen:
- The wooden floors in the water villas are already damaged and scratched. The floors in the beach suites were made out of a beige stone, which was fine. In villa 302 we noticed though that the stone had black stains that looked dirty. Probably it was forgotten to impregnate (made dirt resistant) the stone or it was done too late. (picture C)
- The constant noise of the water pump for the private pool in the beach suite was really annoying. Either a pool pump has to be put into a silencing container or placed outside of the villa’s boundaries. (video)
- The paint job in the villas was done very badly. The wood of the doors either splintered off or were scratched. (picture D)
- The refrigerators in all the villas were way too underpowered for our taste.
- The tiling in the showers and toilets were poorly done. The green ceramic tiles were either broken or fixed to the wall in a slanted way.
- The sun chairs/sun loungers were in bad condition. Either the wheels were loose or the mattresses were dirty and full of mildew. ( Picture E)
As a whole, we perceived the rooms to be at a lower end standard for a 5-start resort. The wear and tear of the villas interiors is more than present, which is astonishing since the resort is quite new. Things were repaired or exchanged if asked for, but we don’t consider it the job of the guests to constantly point out things that are broken.
The quality of the housekeeping for the villas strongly varied. Some days the cleaning staff did not appear at all. On other days only half of the job was done. The best housekeeping service was done in the water villa 206.
The most disturbing experience concerning service occurred in the saltwater bar. We were informed that the saltwater bar stays open until the last guest leaves. Around 00:30 we – a group of six people - asked the self announced manager of the saltwater bar, if it would still be possible to use the facilities in the gentleman’s club. The prompt answer was no. He told us that supposedly due to security reasons we were not permitted to switch to the gentlemen’s club. We did not really understand what security reasons could apply, especially since some of us had spent time in these facilities way after midnight a few days prior to this incident. The “manager” of the saltwater bar then seemed annoyed and asked us to sign our bills. When we asked why he wanted us to sign these forms, he mentioned that he would need to do so for night audit. For us, this came across as an indirect request for us to leave. After the six of us paid our bill of 1000 dollars, we also asked him if guests should be treated that way. The manager answered that he doesn’t care since he is planning to leave the resort in the next couple months anyway.
Considering the tear and wear of the villa’s at Manafaru, the location which is very far away from the main city male and which doesn’t provide the usual Maldives atmosphere-experience and the unprofessional service one is confronted with, Manafaru is not a good choice. There are several different resorts that offer a lot more value for the same or less money.
After all the things that had happened to us, the General Manager was not very interested in our problems. However, we did received two letters of apologies (one for the smell and the other for the excrements), a bottle of Champagne and red wine (which got lost on the way when we moved for the third time) as well as a free in-villa dinner. My girlfriend got a short apology from the GM after she had rushed out of the water villa full of excrements to grab some of her stuff. But not once did the GM properly or officially address us to discuss any of these matters.
We have a German saying; The fish starts stinking from its head!!!
Fotos and videos will follow, Fotos marked with A - E
Enjoyed Beach House
This was going to be our 4th visit to the Maldives having already been to Kuredu over 6years ago, then Banyan Tree and then Aardaran Water Villas in 2007. We travelled to Manafaru on March 10th this year after a rather roller coaster start to the year. We were due to travel in January but due to personal circumstances had to change the date. From the start Diana Dowling (marketing for Beach House) was superb, made several telephone calls to her and also much contact via email.
We had a rather poor start to our holiday as our Monarch flight from Manchester via Gatwick was delayed by 4hours which meant onward travel was rather put back. The Beach House had a representative at Male waiting to hurry us on for the onward internal flight which went without a hitch. I have to say at this point I was a little disappointed at the boat that was laid on to take us to Manafaru, I had joked to my husband about the age of a rather ugly looking boat sitting at the jetty to suddenly realise that this was our taxi. We were all tired and then unfortunately had to endure some 3 episodes of Mr Bean which were put on for our entertainment. Unfortunately due to our long delay at Manchester we arrived at Manafaru in the dark. There were a gaggle of people on the jetty waiting to greet us and then we were escorted to our Water Villas.
I have to say they are very well kitted out and furnishings are all high spec. The bathrooms were beautiful and to be able to open the sliding doors and just look out on to the Indian Ocean is rather impressive. Our host showed us as much as he could. We were rather shattered.
We decided to eat in the main restaurant for the first night. We were on full board. The island is rather like a maze but once you have got the basics it is not hard to work out where you are.
The island is very lush and it is fantastic that they have managed to maintain an undisturbed appearance.
The weather was not great whilst we were there, mixture of cloud and rain and very little sunshine which doesnt help.
Eating. We came to the conclusion that the Saffron was by far the best although if you were staying longer than a week I suspect you would get rather bored with the menu (this may alter). The grill didnt impress us at all. Although the food was ok it wasnt brilliant the service was poor. My husband had requested a certain bottle of wine and it took over an hour and a half to get it, on the third attempt we gave up and just accepted the one that was brought and said nothing.
As the weather was not great we did tend to hang around the Amazon pool as the sea was choppy and it got very windy on some of the days, a shame when you travel to somewhere where the sea and sand are out of this world and you dont get to use them everyday. When we did venture into the sea the reef was not that great compared to other islands and I think if we had been travelling here just for that I would have been disappointed. We didnt do any excursions as a/ weather not great and b/ a little on the pricey side.
We managed to play one game of tennis ( we were told that as our footwear was not appropriate it was too dangeous and therefore were told we could only play Badminton, this turned out to be great fun but I would suggest not that safe either, the court was constructed out of sand but it was quite dirty and had huge pieces of sharp stone etc on it, the outlines of the court were string which got tangled in feet ( a huge source of amusement) and it also had huge dips in it. Felt that this had been an after thought rather than planned.
I did use the Spa once. Lovely but a little expensive compared to Banyan Tree.
We did purchase from the gift shop but we were disappointed with the lack of choice. Again going on past experience of the Maldives, Banyan Tree had it just right. I know that they are brand in their own right but almost everything that we had in our villas was on sale in the gift shop. A huge opportunity missed. Likewise with the postcards. Choice was hugely limited and we felt that some of the island would have been great. My sister in law purchased a necklace which wasnt cheap but fell apart on the second time of wearing (this was a gift so quality was unknown until our return to the UK)
Not so sure that we liked the service charge on absolutely everything, even removing something from the mini bar incurred a service charge. I hope that everybody gets a share of this charge.
This review does sound very negative. It is not meant to be, the island is lovely, the people very helpful but I feel from past experience if they want to be up there with the best there are a lot more little things that could be done that would get it there. We all said that it was missing something and we werent quite sure what. I think it is that little personal touch, personality..........Every night at Banyan Tree there was a little gift in your room, token gesture things, but tiny things that made it seem finished off, even playing a CD of soft music, lights dimmed and a scented candle or something just seemed to make all the difference. I am not so sure how long things will continue to look fabulous either. The floor of our water villa was very damaged from people moving furniture around and also a couple of bits of furniture on the terrace were broken (fixed very quickly once our host was informed). Another observation, why are there no sun umbrellas on the beach, wasnt an issue for us as it was cloudy most of the time but if the sun had come out there was nowhere to hide...!
Finally our return journey home was in a lovely speed boat (a type Id hoped we were going to arrive in). The captain on the boat stopped for us to take pictures of some dolphins playing in the sea. On our arrival at Male we were rushed through departures by a Beach house representative much to the annoyance of some fellow Monarch passengers who had to carry their own luggage.
I wouldnt return to Manafaru, I dont think it is poor or excellent and I think that we have now done the Maldives and maybe it is time for change, there are so many places in the world to see I think it would be a shame to return to somewhere you have already been to before. Maybe as this resort beds itself in the little niggles will sort themselves out aslong as they listen and take on board all that is being said.
I would still like to say a huge thank you to Diana for helping us through to the end with this booking.
Gorgeous resort, ignore negative reviews.
We are the kind of people who read all the reviews and use the info and never gets around to providing feedback for others. After returning from 6 nights at The Beach House, together with reading KentDougal and Putesh's reviews, we felt we must contribute and provide some kind of rejoiner.
Firstly, the food. We were very impressed that we finally came across some successful creativity in resort dining (which usually consists of "meat and three veg"). The sushi was impecable, together with the hot and sour soup at Saffron (the laksa was great too).
At Medium Rare the scallops were sublime as was the seafood in general (note that the Maldives is a Muslim nation, "Beef bacon" didn't come as a surprise) and they are to be congratulated on focusing on their strengths which rest on local fresh seafood rather than pandering to providing chops chips, veg and steak. By the way these (i.e. non spicy "adventurous" food) were available if you wanted them. We'd recommend the Half Board Option - it gives you the option of eating anything in any of the restaurants every night ( 3 courses).
Secondly, the accommodation. We stayed in the Water Villa which despite our intial concerns, were not too close together (we had all the privacy we could ask for). We thought the rooms and fittings were amazing with mod cons we would expect (bar the crazy jacuzzi!). The outlook from our villa was breathtaking and the personal infinity pool gold.
Thirdly, the service. Yes we would admit at times the service was a little slow, but some perspective is that you are on an island in the Indian Ocean and not in Manhattan - it's meant to be a holiday. The Villa Host was fabulous and thoughtful, providing my wife with a birthday cake and a little present (above and beyond we felt).
Fourthly, regarding activities there is a multitude of things to do (others have listed them) or you can just sit by the stunning pools (or your own in the water villas). One note to management, is we would agree that the snorkelling via the boat ride should be provided free rather than guests being penalised for the poor coral that surrounds the island (but not a lack of marine life, as evidenced by the amazing reef shark and manta ray we spotted at night under our villa through our glass floor).
Final comments, our room was impecably cleaned twice a day, the room check in was great (last thing we felt like was standing in reception going through the motions). The cold press towels, the fresh fruit platters & the constant smiles of staff made our honeymoon incredibly special. Thank you to The Beach House.
Don't bother with this one
Don't bother going here there are a lot better resorts for the same money. I was very disappointed with all parts of the trip, we booked well in advance the grand water villa but 6 months later we werere told they had booked it to somebody else because they paid cash, so wouldn't honor the booking. They offered us the Grand beach pavillion as a upgrade (It is not an upgrade!!!!!!!)
Poorly finished rooms, a beach that you can not lie on as it is to steep and is also like being at picaddiliy circus, so many people walking past. You can not go directly into the sea outside this property you have to walk past 2 other villas to get into the sea because of all the rocks outside this property and then you can not swim in the sea because it is to rough here to swim.
Service in the restaurants was poor and if you did have a problem, the Management were no where to be seen. Soneva is much better go there instead.
Great to see Resort Management who care !!
I have not stayed at this resort (I have written many reviews on other hotels etc on Tripadvisor) but felt compelled to CONGRATULATE the General Manager Philippe for having the courtesy and conviction to reply to every review whether good or bad!! I believe this is unique on Tripadvisor and helps give a more 'rounded' review for the more 'negative' ones !!
I will be looking to book an extra special holiday for my 10th wedding anniversary in 2010 so Philippe, please feel free to upgrade me to one of your 'Grand Beach Pavilion' rooms !! WELL DONE and keep it up...
Not a resort for those who want real 5* service and amenities
Booked this hotel through our travel agent who recommeended it to us as a "new up and coming hotel in the Maldives" when to our disappointment our reservation at the Four Seasons had fallen through. In fact most of the other high quality Maldivian hotels were fully booked except for Menafaru, so we took a chance...and spent £10,000 on a 8 day trip to the Maldives followed by 3 days in Al-Maha, Dubai through A&K. Verdict: we will always go with a reputable tried and tested brand in future as this was a very expensive mistake. (As an aside, Al-Maha is evrything Menafaru should have been)
To keep it (relatively) brief, 5 reasons:
1. LOCATION - SCENERY NOT WORTH THE EXTRA TRAVEL TIME The trip to Menfaru is very long - you are adding approximately an extra 5 hours to your journey once you hit Male (there are 2 transfers: one domestic flight (1h) and 1 speedboat transfer (40 mins) but depending on when your flight arrives you can easily be left waiting for up to 3h). This takes a whole day out of your holidays if you consider that you have to make the same trip back. I had stayed in the Maldives before in Anantara, which was only a 30 minute transfer.
The problem is that the scenery and the landscape did not offer more than what you got in the closer atolls (except vegetation, which is what tourist go to the Maldives to see). The snorkelling was disappointing: the coral is all dead and grey (although this will be the same pretty much anywhere in the Maldives), and the fish frankly not that exciting!
2. VILLA HOST - SMILEY BUT INCOMPETENT
Each villa has a villa host, which actually would be a very nice touch were it not for the fact that the hosts were so inept. Everything we asked of our host was impossible for him to do: it took him 3 days to get excursion brochures and prices, he could not tell us about any of the activities at Menafaru, when we had issues with the pool (which is very noisy when it comes on in the morning), he failed to have the activation time changed despite promising to do so 2 days in a row. On the 3rd day, tired and angry at getting woken up by loud noise and unpleasant vibrations every morning, I reported the problem to reception. Eventually reception sorted the problem out (by shutting the pool off altogether).
3. NO VILLA GAMES, MUSIC OR PASTIMES
We asked for board games or a pack of cards to wile away the hours in the water villa, but the hotel had none. We asked to borrow some CDs but there were none - unless you had brought your ipod, you could not listen to music.
Now when you go to a Maldivian island resort, you really do need the hotel to think about how you are going to spend your time there, but neither the hotel nor the villa host had pre-empted any of our needs, and could not deliver on our needs when we raised them.
4. STAFF - UNTRAINED STAFF
Clearly unhappy about the way they were treated, and all too willing to share their woes with you. Apparently the hotel was in the process of building a swimming pool for them but this was nowhere near complete. As they are not allowed to use the tourist facilities, including the ocean, they felt miserable and shared that with holidaymakers.
Now it's a hotel's job to ensure that their staff give out a positive feel, and they should therefore take proper care of their staff and train them to be professional (staff should not be complaining to holidaymakers about how little they earn, even if that is the case...)
Equipped with high tech jacuzzi bath tub and flashing lights...but no water pressure, limited hot water and was difficult to use. The walls appear to be made from black stone but in fact it's wallpaper...
Now if you did get a hefty discount on the hotel, then you may well find that these failings are acceptable, but this is not a resort for those who want real 5* service and amenities (and who pay for it). A 5* hotel should pre-empt its customers' needs and delight them with the unexpected; this hotel could not even deal with our express requests and complaints.
We have just returned from a 7 night stay in a Villa Suite (no 307).
Firstly the positives -
1. The suites are amazing in size and design
2. All the staff are a credit to the Beach House we never experienced any problems and ALL staff were friendly and helpful.
3. The food in Saffron was wonderful, the Four Corners restaurant food was good (we had breakfdast and lunch here) although the choice could have been wider - perhaps because it was low season but not a huge selection available.
4. The recreation faclities were excellent with plently to do if it rained.
Now the negatives -
1. Although the suites were amazing we had in our short stay the following problems - Broken blinds to the bathroom, broken coffee machine, broken door bell and lock and a disgusting blocked toilet that smelt and squirted out the dirty toilet water - these problems were rectified quickly but shouldn't be happening in a resort which is less than 6 months old. Our suite also showed signs of ware and tear, the bathroom door leaked water when it rained which in turn had taken the plaster and paint off the wall. We did bring this to the attention of our island host and the front office manager who just offered us his apologies. I also appreciate that we were in the tropics but I do not appreciate being woken most nights and mornings to find small insects had dropped from the ceiling onto the bed I ended up sleeping with a small hand towel over my head!!!
2. Our suite was the 'windy' side which was OK but why put more expensive suites this side? At high tide some had hardly any beach also there were no parasols (probably because of the wind) so this meant no shade other than 'hiding' in a bush! Our request for Villa 301 or 302 was not met and I would not recommend any villa past 307 as the beach almost disappeared.
3. I used the spa on 4 occasions which although good was very expensive and why allow customers to book relaxing massages at 5pm when the peace is disrrupted by the man spraying the island to kill of the mosquitos? - I mentioned this to the receptionist and changed the rest of my reservations.
4. The boat trip back was a joke, we had no air conditioning on the boat (it was not working) and were not allowed to have the door open in order to get some fresh air all we were offered was some water. It was a very long and unpleasant end to our holiday (1 hour journey).
To summarise the island is beautiful, the staff are very attentive, the villas are amazing on the surface and we did dispite the numerous problems have a very relaxing week.
Too far for one week? Think again......
I have to say I was wondering if travelling to Male, flying to Hanimadoo for an hour and then almost an hour by boat to get to the Beach House for just 7 nights was not asking too much.
Add to this the fact that it wasn't a direct flight home, but meant travelling from Male to Colombo and then transferring to our flight to London, and I could understand people having reservations about the trip.
Taking it back a step, i have to say a big thank you to The Holiday Place, and Mark Sumpter in particular, for his usual enthusiasm and patience with my questions as we narrowed down our search. I am always after detailed information on diving, the dive centre, facilities for your own gear and definitely the dive sites and what you might see. There are times where this information isn't always available, as we found for Cuba at Christmas, so now I pass on what I find for future use!
Sun International Divers at The Beach House are still in the process of adding details to their website for this resort, so information was sketchy.
So, to this end I contacted Diana Dowling, who heads up Sales & Marketing for The Beach House. Diana was an absolute star providing me with information to my questions, and what she couldn't answer off the top of her head she asked for me. This then moved on to information regarding menu choices at the restaurants so we could vaguely have an idea of the likely spend for the week, and also for the spa treatments and costs.
Back to The Beach House. We finally arrived, and an overnight flight with Sri Lankan, who were great and economy was fine for a change over that distance, definitely made it easier.
We were met off the speed boat by the General Manager, Philippe, and his team. This was a nice touch to make us feel immediately welcome. I hadn't touched my luggage since Male and this continued as it was loaded onto golf buggies, as were we, and driven to our water villa.
To my surprise, there was no trip to reception. We were taken straight to our water villas by our Villa Host, Ahmed. Our credit card and passport details were taken in our villa and we were shown the villa itself and how things worked after cold, lemongrass oil infused face towels and a cold drink.
I have to say, our initial impressions were "wow!" as we walked in. We were also on the windy side of the island, and we were battered by winds and storms for a couple of days, but not a single problem as others seem to have encountered. We were also at the end of the pontoon next to the Grand Water Villa. We were fortunate to get shown around this and it is spectacular. If you are given the opportunity to look round, take it.
The villa was amazing. We stayed in 532 from the 24th May, and I was a little disappointed that after 6 months, there were scratches on the glass shelves in the shower, and on the glass wall in the toilet to name just a couple of things. I'm not unhappy with the hotel, but the people who have stayed there and done that sort of damage. I do expect some wear and tear where I stay. I don't expect places to be revamped the minute I leave ready for the next customer, but I do feel that as a customer I also have a responsibility when I'm staying somewhere to actually look after it. Paying a lot of money does not entitle me to do what i want when I get there!
The villa facilities were excellent. The door bell didn't ring either. Oh well. Knocking works!
The Four Corners restaurant had a fairly good selection of different buffet food everyday. The staff here, as everywhere at the resort, were very helpful and very friendly. The newspapers every morning published at the resort on A4 from up to date Internet news were great. Nothing was too much trouble for anyone. You could get pasta dishes made for lunch, omelettes for breakfast, waffles. I could go on, but the themed nights provided a variety of many dishes from many sources.
We went to Medium Rare one night, which was more of a grill (but better than that makes it sound!), and the a la carte food was wonderful. We then went to Saffron twice. The lobster was great, as were the starters and the Kulfi for dessert....amazing! Thanks to Khalim for his service both nights.
The spa was excellent. It wasn't cheap but it's a spa resort and comparable to London prices. Good service though and they did a deal when we were there whereby if you had a 1hr massage you got a free half our head and neck massage for free. Perfect finish to the week half an hour before we left our villa for that trip home!
The dive centre is run by Bea, and they really are great. You can take your own gear and store it there as we did, but the kit they provide is of very good quality. The boat crew are so helpful and attentive. The only thing they didn't do was the dive for you! The dive guides we had, Sawadh and Ibee, were excellent, safety conscious and good fun too. A perfect combination.
The dive sites are good, although visibility was low last week with a lot of plankton. Currents are about medium or less, but we saw 7 nurse sharks on our first dive, turtles, lobsters, nudibranchs, napoleans, stingrays and on our last morning at Manta Point, 3 mantas. The third just 20ft or so in front of us. They still learning about the dive sites and what to see there through the year obviously since it's so new.
The way the diving was run made it very simple, with 2 dives in the morning leaving at 9am, and one in the afternoon leaving at 3.30pm.
The cocktail party was ok, but nothing special. If I had to comment on anything negative it was that the management team except Philippe and the Sales & Marketing lady (who's name escapes me), didn't really mingle. Well, not at all actually. They just stood around and looked a little worried at the prospect of having to talk to complete strangers! Everytime we caught someones eye they seemed terrified and scurried off. That was a real shame as everyone else on the staff at all levels just can't help but say hello or chat to you! Maybe it was the formality of what was supposed to be an informal get together that made it like that. It was quite odd and very out of context with how everything else is on the island! Someone should tell them they can have fun and loosen up AND be professional still! Non management seem to! I wasn't sure if it was because they were in front of their boss, but they seemed quite stiff and needed to relax a little. Maybe they should take a week at their own resort to help relax!! We talked to everyone!
There were some lovely little touches when we were there and we were surprised to feel like we'd spent forever in the resort even after a couple of days. That's never happened to us before. As I've previously mentioned, the ice cold lemongrass oil infused face towels. No matter where you go, you're always presented with these. They smelt good enough to eat!
At the Amazon pool which is simply an amazing area with little secluded areas with underwater seats, jacuzzi areas and jacuzzi beds, you were greeted with sun bed towels immediately. Then ice water which is replenished and they even bring round complimentary sorbet for you! Oh yes....and the cold face towels again. Excellent!
Every day, our villa host brought round biscuits and mini blueberry muffins, and our towels were changed twice daily.
During a very stormy evening we declined going out for dinner and decided to sample room service with a couple of DVD's, which are complimentary to rent (along with CD's). The food turned up along with candles, and the table was laid for us as if we were in a restaurant. If I'd received that food and service in the restaurant I'd have been very happy. It turned into a lovely romantic meal in our wonderful water villa with great wine and food.
We didn't want for a single thing all week, and everything seemed to have been thought of. We were advised of our bill to review the evening before departure and what time our pick up would be. We were gathered up with our bags, taken to reception to pay, and onto the jetty for the boat.
Just as on arrival, Philippe and his team were there to say goodbye. Problem was, as relaxed as we were we didn't want to leave.
Philippe should be proud of what everyone there has accomplished in the 6 months of being open. As I said to him on the jetty when we were leaving, much as I like to see peoples views on trip advisor, we all have varied opinions and experiences and let's face it, not everything can be perfect. What makes the difference is how people deal with the issues that crop up regardless of how much they try to ensure they don't happen in the first place.
This review is a snapshot of the week we had and I've added some photos too. I've already got our seats on hold ready for October, and we'redefinitely going to return to the Beach House again.
We've stayed in some very nice places around the world, and some lovely spa resorts too, but what made The Beach House stand out from other places was the service/people and the forethought. I'm sure they know about things they can improve on that didn't happen to us or that we're not aware of, but they are very keen to learn of any issues so they can constantly improve and seem to feel that their resort is a work in progress, which is a great approach.
You should try this resort? Well to go back to my original point, is it too far to go for just a week? No definitely not. The way we were treated and the way we felt throughout the week and when we got back proved that.