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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!

United Kingdom
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11. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

Booked for end march 2 weeks AI with FC/Thomson Ellaidhoo, £4800 !! need good reef , boyo' likes a pool in the afternoon , thought that was a great deal in current silly prices prices . couldn't get anything like that deal anywhere else .

Have not been before. but have worked through the cheaper options faru/fiha/vila/reethi/ , etc... beach lowest on our list , snorkel/dive/pool/read/ our priorities. Looking forward to it, have never been disappointed yet.

London, United...
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12. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

How about Angaga? I know there have been negative comments about the food recently so not sure if it's gone downhill, but when we were there 4 or 5 yrs ago it was fine, if not fine dining. The buffet tends to be rather repetitive so you have to resist the temptation to have a little bit of everything so you can vary meals, but the quality was good, plus you can have sandwiches etc from the bar if you don't fancy buffet.

It's a rustic, old-fashioned kind of Maldives island, all detached bungalows (not sure about water villas), you can walk round the whole island and the reef is pretty good, though maybe not as good as Ellaidhoo.

Swanwick, United...
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13. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

Missfits I always get up early!

Parrot fish - I have been to Velassaru on a day trip, Vilamendhoo (pre refurb) 14 nights, Filitheyo 14 nights and Reethi 14 nights from your list. I have also stayed on Ellaidhoo twice 14 nights in a WV and a week this last July for 7 nights. My last trip to Ellaidhoo was my 15th trip to the Maldives (see review).

Heather explains the beach perfectly, however I would like to add you can walk around the island on the beach although in some parts this is behind the inner wall, but with sea views. I really like to walk around the outside of an island on the beach and on some islands this is not possible, Filitheyo is one such example due to staff quarters being at one end.

Out of the islands I mentioned Ellaidhoo probably has the best snorkelling. I returned to Ellaidhoo as I was on a budget trip with my daughter and wanted to show her the best possible place for the price. I think Ellaidhoo is probably the best value for money budget resort with a house reef.

I chose Ellaidhoo based on price, detached beach villa (our villa was behind the inner wall, but had sea access and numbered padded sun loungers with beach space), the décor is quite modern and rooms well equipped. open air bathrooms, TV, Wi-Fi, pool, food and service. The staff were just as excellent as 2009 although I believe some changes sometime in-between. Also guests changed, I know when MissFitts visited there were more Oriental guests, now only 2 rooms are allocated to these guests. Also two bars mean you can find a quiet space if you want to.

The food is not as good as Filitheyo or Reethi, but not as basic as some budget islands. Adequate choice and a reasonably good AI plan. Bottled water is included and some cocktails - unlike Filitheyo.

I would definitely return to Filitheyo or Reethi, but probably not Vilamendhoo, unless returning with my daughter, but then Fili and Reethi are quite a lot more expensive.

So if you are looking for a budget island with the best possible facilities I think Ellaidhoo will tick your boxes.

Feel free to ask any other questions.

Regards T23

Swanwick, United...
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14. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

'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.'

John, you hit the nail on the head there! We almost found it with Robinson Club, but the prices have since risen, so let me know if you find anything?

Northern Ireland...
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15. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

last october, Angaga was more expensive than Athuruga (honest it was - still got the quotes and the print out from Thomson)

Swanwick, United...
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16. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

I have also noticed that the price for Angaga has risen beyond and above the usual price increases. Another example is Biyadhoo which IMO no longer offers value for money, as it was a similar price to Reethi Beach when I last checked in July. The lowest priced islands I could find in a package from the UK were Chaaya island Dhonveli (no house reef), Summer Island(very basic with no house reef or pool) , Equator Village (far down south and no house reef), Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo and Embudu - another one to consider (I think I ruled Embudu out because I thought there may not have been enough to do if it rained -i.e.for mother daughter holiday).

There is also Club Rannalhi and Filhalhohi - I can't remember why I ruled those two out. Maybe worth taking a look for budget choice.

Also Eriyadu? although I don't think you can get that on a package deal from the UK. However Purely Maldives do it.

I know some of these may have table sharing. On Ellaidhoo we did not share a table.

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

Thanks all for your most helpful comments and input. I'm going to do so more research, mainly price and offer based and will let you know.

Turquoise23 - i was hoping you'd respond as I read your recent review of Ellaidhoo (which made great reading by the way) as I knew we'd been to many of the same islands for the same reasons! I think with your house reef appraisal, I will further investigate prices etc. Good to know about the beach villa, loungers and beach status.

Bucklebugs - think you've hit the nail on the head too!

Teddingtontowner and Paul - yep Angaga was another possibility based on previous discussions but I vowed a few years ago not to fly charter long haul if I could avoid it so will have to wait to see what happens when Thomson pull out next year.

MissFitts - detached beach villa so hopefully good.

Suffolkjohn - enjoy your return to Reethi, the beach prob isn't as much of a deal breaker as it wasn't at Vila.

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

Sorry one last thought, is the upgrade to seaplane at approx. £250 total (2 people return) worth it?

It seems the speedboat is 85 mins but can be rough as obviously between atolls but assume the seaplane at 25 mins with added transfer to terminal & potential wait will taken longer but be more comfortable? Most of the poor reviews relate to bad boat transfers...

Swanwick, United...
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19. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

The other budget island I forgot to mention is Hudhuranfushi - I was only considering that one with my daughter. It also has no housereef. Only mentioning this as it is in the same price range as Ellaidhoo, Summer, Dhonveli etc

Which is why I think Ellaidhoo is such good value for money.

Edited: 18 September 2013, 16:12
United Kingdom
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20. Re: Convince me to book Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo

T23 , always put my two penorth' in when Hud ( lohi) comes up One of our first Islands,( before upgrade WVs new pool) we loved it ,

I find it odd when its called unattractive, , the interior was the loveliest, I always spent time with the little gardener and his collection of kitchen tins growing all sorts,. walking in the banana grove. and sitting at the surf bar in the evening watching the lads surf.

Loved the cute old fashioned bungalows, alas all streamlined now, Food was fine. Some great dives I recall, ( The aquarium??) total fish soup, and a lovely fast shallow drift dive over grazing turtles, ending near the jetty.

There Is a bit of reef at the jetty end, and there were ropes to hang onto as there could be a current , but lots to see coming and going.

Small calm beach areas shallow with rocky coral lumps full of interesting tiny stuff.. I keep saying this next trip will be our last, ( ellaidhoo) and maybe its a mistake to revisit old haunts but Lohi' had a bit of everything and we loved it,