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Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

Hampshire, UK
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Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

So we're contemplating returning to the Maldives for our 6th time next year and Ellaidhoo is cropping up as a good possible fit within budget and requirements like amazing snorkelling, nice beach villa, reasonable food and the usual chilled barefoot vibe. Little concerned about the beach erosion - would at least like loungers outside the beach villa and eating buffet 3 times a day.

Our previous trips have been:

2004 Velassaru (when it was Laguna Beach) - obv no house reef but lovely island with great food

2006 Maayafushi - awesome house reef, bit rustic & Italian dominated

2008 Vilamendhoo (pre refurb) - fantastic house reef, lack of beach disappointing

2010 Filitheyo - great house reef, lovely chilled vibe, beautiful pool

2012 Reethi Beach - ok snorkelling but no "big stuff", fabulous food on B&B, beautiful beach

Alternative is to possibly return to Fili or Reethi but keen to keep trying new islands.

DEs, regulars and previous guests please let me know what you think!

Kent, England
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1. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

My gut feel is that the beach may be an issue but the reef would more than make up for it?

Ps - I just want you to go and compare with Reethi ;-)

Swindon, United...
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2. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

Return to Fili. What was the question? :-D

Cumbria, United...
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3. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

There is little beach erosion on Ellaidhoo because there is only a limited amount of beach - it stretches around a 1/4 the circumference of the island, the other 3/4 is retained within an inner wall with steps over but there is room for loungers between the beach bungalows and the wall. The inner retaining wall and outer sea defences (which totally encircle the island with gaps through to the reef) are a necessary protection as the island sits in a channel and is subject to some strong currents - but thats what brings the sea life in and creates the underwater enviroment .

Its the sea defences and limited beach space that puts many off and only you will know if you can deal with it after having the uninterrupted beach views offered by Reethi, Vila etc.

With diving as our main priority I happily went to Ellaidhoo twice last year and would seriously have considered returning this year if circumstances had allowed. The service and staff friendliness are some of the best we have encountered. I would love to return for a third visit to Reethi but the thing that stops us is that Reethi's house reef diving is nowhere near comparable to Ellaidhoo's, although the ambience, accommodation and food choices on Reethi are a definite step up from Ellaidhoo.

Sorry I'm not selling it to you but Ellaidhoo isn't your typical pretty island, its main beauty is perhaps 10m underwater, but if you accept its limitations (and only you can decide if you will be able to do that) it does make a cracking budget choice.

Lincolnshire...
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4. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

As Heather says, Ellaidhoo is ok for a budget choice but the food, AI cocktails and beach area were definitely nothing to write home about. What other options have you got in budget?

Hampshire, UK
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5. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

Thanks guys your opinions are all helpful.

Jody - yes I'm sure you would like a comparison, if we go I promise a post on our return!

Beanerd - yes maybe, will PM you as just waiting for flight back from GPB, Antigua.

Heather - great summary of beach, much appreciated.

Lynphd - not really completed research yet but max £1,800 for 10 nights each AI with BA flight just under £600 each return but will consider B&B or HB with appropriate discount to allow food & drink costs. Paid £1,200 for Reethi B&B and £1,500 Filitheyo HB as a comparison. Travel in June 2014. Reef is the priority!

Lincolnshire...
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6. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

Do you mean £1800 each (room/board/transfers) excluding your BA flights?

Hampshire, UK
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1,052 posts
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7. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

No £1,800 for flight, transfers, room & board, i just put the flight cost as known.

Bedford
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8. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

We had a great holiday a couple of years ago on Ellaidhoo. What it lacks in beach it makes up for in the amazingly friendly and welcoming staff. What sort of accommodation does that price cover? The beach bungalows sre lovely. When T23 wakes up she will probably put in a good word for Ellai too.

suffolk
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9. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

I don't think the reef can be beaten in the budget class but......you said the lack of beach was disappointing at Vila.....there's even less of it at Ella. (and BTW, a lot less of it at Vila now, post refurb).

It's that same perfection that we're all looking for.....great beaches, fantastic reef, delicious food, low price. not found all of them together yet.

We went to Ellaidhoo in 2009 just before all the Sri Lankans returned home so probably unfair to comment on the service which has improved massively by all accounts but the food didn't impress either.

Good luck with your decision.

John

New Romney, United...
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10. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

Heather, your info on the beach has now ruled ell out for us, we are keen walkers round and round islands! Only problem is reethi is pretty much our only choice now. Ho hum not a bad problem to have!!!