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Narrowing it down...lost Canadian

Edmonton, Canada
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Narrowing it down...lost Canadian

Hi Everyone,

My husband and I were supposed to go to the Maldives in 2010, but due to a family health emergency (everything is fine now), we had to cancel our trip. We're looking to go early August 2013.

What I'm looking for is: AI, water villa, lagoon access from villa (bonus), powdery sand, excellent snorkelling in house reef

Here are the choices I've narrowed it down to...

1. Kuramanthi (any tips on who to book with besides Kuoni direct?

2. Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo (book through who?)

3. Chaaya Lagoon (both Thomson and Kuoni seem close in price)

4. Reethi Beach (only on Kuoni, not Thomson)?

5. Arthuruga (I had them on my list before, but can't find a listing for them)?

SO - I'm hoping you can give me feedback on my rankings, and also on potential travel agencies besides Thomson (which there seems to be some grumbling about) or Kuoni (who seem to price highly). I did see the thread on agents in the UK, but being here in Canada, it's a bit more difficult....

THANK YOU

PS - Anyone looking for tips on Mexico or Cuba can PM me :) That's in 'my neck of the woods'

Cumbria, United...
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1. Re: Narrowing it down...lost Canadian

Hi

Of your list I have been to Reethi Beach (twice) and Chaaya Ellaidhoo (once and leaving for a second visit today!) But I will start with one I haven't visted because I know it will get everyone's resounding vote and thats Athuruga - if it is in budget and available it fits your criteria perfectly and stands out from the rest. One of the regular posters has just returned (probably been dragged back kicking and screaming) and I'm sure he will give you his feedback.

If you are hoping for long sandy beaches I think you might have to rethink Ellaidhoo. It does have a good reef (very good for divers), decent food, accommodation and AI (although not totally inclusive as you will find across most maldivian resorts) and water villas (which do not have direct lagoon access) but it does have 2 sets of sea walls - one outer wall which encircles the island with gaps in it to access the reef, and an inner retaining wall which keeps the sand in place. This inner wall means that the island only has a small area of beach - probably less than a quarter of the island's circumference. Have a close look at the photos before making any decision - it doesn't bother us but it may not be what you are hoping for.

Reethi has a chilled ambiance and is surrounded by beach (although the last time we were there there was some erosion in places). The AI is pretty good as is the accommodation and food - you can upgrade to AI+ in resort which allows you greater dining options other than the buffet restaurant. The reef is okay - we like to dive the house reef and for us its not greatly inspiring now but if this is your first visit you will be blown away. I only stayed a few days in the water villas and that was before they were refurbished and at that time they did not have direct lagoon access but I think this has changed - they are all semi detached. Reethi has a many fans here so I'm sure they will fill in a lot of the gaps.

As to agent try Purely Maldives - they post on this forum and have many happy clients. You could also try some of Kuoni's agents - Travel Lab and Travel Designers have been recommended by many.

H

Liverpool
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2. Re: Narrowing it down...lost Canadian

Can't really add much to Heather's comprehensive post, Reethi Beach isn't bookable via Thomson (although possibly Thomson Worldwide sell it), but we have always found Hayes and Jarvis more competitive than Kuoni when booking Reethi Beach.

Athuruga and Kuramathi are only bookable via Kuoni or an agent who sell Kuoni holidays. Others will hopefully be along with suggestions of alternative agents who sell Kuoni hols - I can't remember them!

While Reethi Beach is a favourite resort of mine, I couldn't in all honesty describe the snorkelling as excellent, it would have to have a thriving coral reef for that - which Reethi doesn't have. There is plenty of marine life to be found though, and more than enough there to keep us happy.

Ian

Liverpool
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3. Re: Narrowing it down...lost Canadian

To add regarding Hayes and Jarvis, you may not be able to arrange a booking online if not based in the UK, but people abroad have been able to book by telephone.

Ian

Hampshire, UK
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4. Re: Narrowing it down...lost Canadian

We went to Reethi Beach this year with Thomson Worldwide, flew with BA. Lovely island with a good atmosphere and great food but let down by an underwhelming house reef with loads of fish but not much live coral and no sharks! We went B&B and it worked fantastically for us being able to eat a la carte lunch by the pool and a choice of restaurants for dinner.

Athuruga is on our list so if in budget, go for it!

Norway
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5. Re: Narrowing it down...lost Canadian

Have not been to any of the islands on your list, but we are going to Athuruga in December after doing a LOT of research here on TA. Athuruga is a small, intimate island with powdery soft sand and one of the best house reefs in the Maldives (Mirihi is considered the best reef). You can choose between beach and water villa, the water villas are very luxurious, and the island has a very good AI. The spectacular reef is one of the main reasons we choose this island, together with its size and charm.

We booked directly hrough the hotel at this webpage: http://athurugabeach.diamonds-resorts.com/

Hope this helps. Happy planning!

Divide, Colorado
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6. Re: Narrowing it down...lost Canadian

Ian .. the op is not a uk passportholder .. so they can book athuruga wherever they please , i believe ? reethi beach charges higher prices for non-english.

athuruga - by far the best from the list .. i wouldn't hesitate for a second.

chaaya lagoon - zero reef so no snorkeling unless by excursion

Liverpool
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7. Re: Narrowing it down...lost Canadian

Spammie.....correct, correct and correct....

Hmmm didn't think that out too good did I, lol.

I'm off to give me head a wobble.....

:-)

Edmonton, Canada
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8. Re: Narrowing it down...lost Canadian

Thanks all for your prompt responses!

Based on all the feedback, we've contacted H&J to work with us, as we've now decided to depart from Abu Dhabi vs London.

The above resorts still stand -but with one further question. Some mentioned a 'poor' house reef at Chaaya Lagoon....yet on TA there are snorkelling photos?

Arthuruga I see clearly has the vote...but you are all right that it's a bit of a 'yikes' for our budget...

Thanks again, and I'll keep you posted with the 'final' decision :)

Divide, Colorado
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9. Re: Narrowing it down...lost Canadian

no .. there is no "poor housereef" at chaaya lagoon. there is none at all. those pictures must have been taken during the boat trip to the poor reef (as you can see by the pictures) . you cannot even see that much from the beach.

athuruga might be "yikes" but very much worth it! you are traveling a very long way .. why not push the boat out a little and go for excellence instead of saving a couple hundred bucks and come away feeling that you haven't seen the best of paradise (just my own thinking, of course)

Edmonton, Canada
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10. Re: Narrowing it down...lost Canadian

Thanks spammie - that clears up the issue of the 'reef'...too bad, the photos of Chaaya lagoon water bungalos were beautiful!!

Any other suggestions for places that may fit what I'm looking for?

One other change - looking closely at some of the photos, the water bungalow outsides seem to be two different varieties...One, mostly chairs and railings OR loungers/no railings...We'd definitely prefer no railings and sun loungers 'on deck'....This probably eliminates some of the above choices, but may add new ones???