Well I'm not very delighted to report that I'm home after 10 days at Robinson Club. No Maldives countdown for me any more :(
I will write a full review over the next few days but just thought I'd give a brief overview of my impressions of the island.
Firstly, we had a fantastic time! So much about the island is really excellent. But it also has flaws.
Extensive reef: you can snorkel all the way around the island. We take our time so did it in two halves, before and after lunch one day. To go the whole way around I estimate would take about 2-3 hours. It took us about 4.5, going pretty slowly. We saw reef sharks every day and turtles most days but no rays at all. We saw fish that we've never seen before e.g. a giant puffer and a Napoleon fish but there were also some obvious fish completely absent e.g. orange collared butterflyfish and clown triggers. Visibility was very good usually and the reef is very accessible in some areas so good for beginners.
Food and service. Absolutely fantastic - probably the best buffet food we've ever had in the Maldives (even better than Mirihi). We don't usually like buffet style dining but this was great. We also had 3 five-course dinners, including in-villa dining. All meals were prepared beautifully. The staff were first class - they can't do enough for you. I actually shed a few tears when we had to say goodbye to head waiter Azmeel - something I've never done before! The chef gave us recipes for his chicken and fish tikka and gave us some spices. The cooks also prepared foods especially for my husband after he said he particularly liked something. Ruwan (manager of the restaurants) and Samy (manager of in-villa dining) were also fantastic. They head a great team of staff. First Class management and service!
Rooms: The water villa was lovely but I was disappointed that the jacuzzi had been removed. We spent one day in the presidential suite as part of a "Feel like a President" package. This was heavenly - well worth every cent! It included a massage in the suite, in-villa dining for all meals and a champagne breakfast and cocktails at sunset.
Minus points: Really these are down to personal tastes.
Entertainment - Just not our cup of tea! Most of the entertainment takes place at 22:00, after dinner. While we were there there were two themed parties (Caribbean night and Pirate night), casino nights, live music and a DJ and the gala night. OK, you can avoid this if you don't like it, but the music was very loud. We were in a water villa almost as far away from the island as possible and we could still hear the music in our room.
The main problem is that there is nowhere else to go for a quiet drink. Only the main bar is open after dinner. Other people seemed to love the dancing and music (although it was mainly staff dancing) but, for me, it is too raucous and, dare I say, a bit tacky!
Drinks at the sundowner bar at sunset were good - very enjoyable to watch all the photographic sessions going on for hours! Sometimes the music here also annoyed me. I would rather hear the sound of the sea.
Before dinner the main bar was absolutely dead. I think this is due to the board basis. People don't seem to want to spend money in the bar when they can get free wine and beer with their meals later. I found this a little sad. Maybe I'm just too picky - I want some atmosphere before dinner but not loud music and enforced fun after dinner! As I said - personal taste. Other people would love it.
If you want a very peaceful and mainly adult only environment then you should perhaps avoid the school holidays. There were a lot of families on the island and a fair amount of shrieking teenagers in the pool some days. This seemed to increase towards the end of our stay as more German schools would've broken up for the summer holiday. The clientèle when we were there was mainly Chinese (couples and large family groups) and German. Apart from one family on the first couple of days I think we were the only British people on the island - not a problem for us but some people may like to meet other British holidaymakers. We tend to avoid this ;-)
My brief overview has almost turned into a full review!
Our priorities when choosing an island are reef, quality of food, friendly service and standard of room. On these things RC is first class. I would definitely return to this island, which is not something I say about all islands we've visited. I would say that Mirihi is still my favourite, very closely followed by RC; which I think is high praise indeed!