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“Exceptional diving, and good family resort, but not quite perfect” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Bandos Maldives

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Bandos Maldives
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Bandos
Certificate of Excellence
central
Level Contributor
33 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Exceptional diving, and good family resort, but not quite perfect”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 March 2014

This is the second time we have been to Bandos (as we went in 2003) and our 8th trip to the Maldives. We adore the Maldives due to the pristine beaches, amazing snorkelling/diving and sense of total safety and relaxation. As we have 4 year old twins, we chose Bandos due to the convenience of being very close to the airport, and having a kids club that could supervise the children whilst we dive/snorkel, and this worked very well.

The island and resort is large by Maldivan standards, having capacity for up to 500 guests, but it does not feel crowded as there are plenty of beaches and many different sections of accommodation. Our deluxe villa was the same accommodation we stayed in a decade ago as a 'junior suite' though it had been done up with wood flooring, and was just large enough to fit in two single beds for the children. Everything was clean and comfortable, and there is now a large TV with satellite channels and free wifi (if fairly slow in the evening) which was great to amuse the kids either side of lunch when we were avoiding the high sun. Plenty of towels, bedding changed daily and cleaned twice a day. All round very pleasant, and quiet. Bottled water is provided with the room for free, and we got a bottle of wine and fruit basket on arrival (perhaps due to being repeat guests).

We went full board, and the restaurant does offer a wide array of food - 2 soups, a salad bar, breads, pasta with two sauce choices, rice, curry, meat, fish, vegetables and a wonderful assortment of desserts (including one of the best ranges of fruit we've seen on certain days, though other days had just 3 fruit - mainly papaya, weird bland pears and melon). As a vegetarian family where the kids don't like curry we got a bit bored with the choices (as it felt like quite a lot of white sauce/pasta/bread/rice), but once we mentioned this the chef often made us a vegetable pizza or some chips for the kids. If I went again I'd go half board and use the sea breeze cafe as the prices for lunch were pretty reasonable and this would give more variety, but it wouldn't be problematic to go on a bed and breakfast basis and then choose how many days to upgrade to include the buffet meal for on arrival. There is also a Thai restaurant and sometimes a barbecue, but both were quite expensive and we didn't try them.

The kids club was very quiet - often our children were the only kids there, but we felt they were cared for well and the kids liked having their hair braided by the ladies there, and doing colouring and dancing with them. It is open for a morning and afternoon session, but closed from 12-2, so you couldn't leave the kids to do a whole day trip. We learned to leave a bottle of water as they don't provide anything for the kids to drink, and they did sometimes let the kids nap (when we wouldn't normally allow this) but they were very kind and amenable.

The pool was lovely - about 35m across and not too busy to swim lengths, and with amazing dragonflies hovering by day and fruit bats flying over in the afternoon/evening. There is a nice kids pool, and a bubble area, with swim up bar. There are comfortable wooden sun loungers, with towels and floatation jackets available (with plenty loungers to spare, as it was fairly quiet).

The snorkelling was good - I saw a huge variety of fish and even an octopus on the house reef. You can snorkel in the shallows and over the dead coral rocks around most of the island, but the best snorkelling is from one cut through to another to the right of the dive centre (a fairly limited area compared to some other islands, but pleasant enough). The glass bottom boat trip was good for the kids (who went for free) but I think I saw a lot more snorkelling myself.

Diving was totally exceptional. I saw turtles, dolphins, nurse sharks, octopuses, more morays and lion fish than I could count, manta rays wider than my arm-span and an amazing variety of soft corals and sea life. Mausoom was the best guide and instructor I've dived with in all my trips to the Maldives and gave me some great adventure diving experiences, learning about currents and sea life, gaining my nitrox certification and diving into caves and overhangs. If I go back to this resort it will be to dive with him again and complete my advanced open water certification.

The spa was also amazing. The Balinese staff give a brilliant full body massage, which really wrings the stress out of your body. It really helped to rid me of the aches and pains of the flight and make me feel totally relaxed, and I went back for a second one on my last day. It isn't cheap at $100-$130 a pop, but was well worth it for the experience. The idea of the jacuzzi/sauna/steam room/plunge pool doesn't quite work (steam wasn't even on when I went) but it is a well created environment and the service was great.

In terms of the glitches that stopped this being the perfect trip, it was mainly a lack of those special touches that make you feel valued and a sense of being milked for the maximum money. So we didn't have a fixed table for our meals despite being full board and a family with young children, and had to find tables each meal - often having to push together two small tables to make a family table - when all previous resorts have given us a table that is ours throughout our stay. The waiter and room cleaner both changed during the stay, so we didn't build a personal relationship. We didn't get our room/bed decorated with flowers even on the last day or any fancy pleating of the sheets as we have always had in other resorts. The dive centre tried to charge me $2 to use a snorkel despite me having booked $800 of diving with them (as snorkels are not issued with the diving kit). We had to point out that our late lunch on arrival was part of our full board to not be charged an extra $48, and we didn't get given the promised 10% off all drinks and purchases for being repeat guests. Every purchase had a 10% service charge and tax added on top, making it quite expensive, and not giving the option to tip who you felt gave great service.

So overall it was another lovely experience of the Maldives, and a decent comfortable island to stay on that didn't feel too crowded. It was a good choice for a family with young children, and the diving was exceptional. However they could easily have made this close to perfect and for the price I'm a hint disappointed that they didn't.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank mimschat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (308)
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English first
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 March 2014

We visited Bandos over New year and had the most wonderful time! I am admittedly a beach lover, but both my husband and teenage son are not, so get bored very easily. This could have been a recipe for disaster, but instead we spent a lovely 6 days snorkelling, wandering on the beach and generally just having a lovely relaxing time. We had a beach Villa, which was idyllic, with our own almost private little stretch of beach just in front of us and one of the best bathrooms I've ever seen! I definitely didn't find the staff unfriendly, but then we took the time to smile and chat to them? The only reason I've given a 4 instead of a 5 rating is because of the food and in particular the wine. We decided on all inclusive and although the food was plentiful, having stayed in Club Med resorts in the past, it really wasn't a patch on that. Also the wine on offer was absolutely disgusting sweet dessert wine...and that was the only choice on the all inclusive package?? I would go back, and in fact are already planning this New Years holiday.

Room Tip: The Beach Villas are gorgeous and worth the extra money.
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank lesley6610
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Northampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 March 2014

Really nice island even though it's close to Male amazing snorkelling place!!
Nice setting lovely rooms good service, everyone has a smile, making for a lovely holiday. Although full when we went in February, you could always find a secluded beach to yourselves.
Would certainly recommend. First island I have been to with lots of children as it's family friendly, but really not a problem, as they are well catered for.
Would love to return.

Room Tip: All rooms are good but garden bungalows are opposite the swimming pool without sea view. Although we...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank JOJO_1372
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Jose, California
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 March 2014 via mobile

The resort is 15 minutes speedboat from airport but the experience flying on a seaplane and viewing the resorts below is missing. Great food,rooms, service and people to talk to at main bar. Beach next to scuba center has stones etc though the house reef further out is great. Scuba facilities are super but if you have medical issues the dive operations tend to get way too conservative even if you have a medical padi approved form. Nonetheless diving is superb, check out the aquarium site. I would have given it 5 star but the beaches clearly lack compared to other destinations in Maldives. So go for scuba but if you want to see the splendor of Maldives or on honeymoon type trip go to another resort that requires a seaplane to get too. I myself will return as I scuba.

Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank pvasa2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HERTS
Level Contributor
46 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 March 2014

We stayed here in February 2014 for 10 days with my husband and my in laws.
This was our fourth time that we had visited the Maldives. This was probably the best island that we have stayed at.
For the first time we went bed and breakfast rather than All inclusive, this worked out approximately £450 per person which was about £150 per person cheaper than the All inclusive package. By going for the bed and breakfast package we had the choice of eating and drinking in all the other restaurants rather than the buffet restaurant only. This price also included a fabulous Thai buffet which offered a delightful variety of Thai food. The food and drink does appear expensive ( UK prices) when you look at the menus but actually certainly worked out cheaper for us. All food was excellent and a variety of food was offered even catering for my gluten free mother in law.
Plentiful choice for breakfast.
Our standard room was clean and spacious with a lovely bathroom with a great shower. Toiletries were provided on a daily basis.
Plenty of beach towels were provided in your room but also available by the pool.

The pool was beautiful and clean with plenty of sun loungers (about 30) so it was always easy to find a spot. This was the first time we had been to a resort which allowed children in the pool and at the swim up bar and as it was half term there were quite a few children in the pool !
Tasty cocktails are available at the pool bar.

This is a very modern island and for the first time we saw a lot of women working on the reception and restaurants which we haven't see on previous islands very refreshing.

The standard of island was reflected as there was a conference taking place with Maldivian dignitaries present.

We were there for Valentine's Day and when we returned to our room after dinner our bed had been made with flowers on it saying "Happy Valentine's Day" which was very sweet.

Overall an excellent trip , we would visit this island again and recommend it for couples and families ( there was a kids club available).

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank ALIHerts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
41 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 March 2014

I stayed at this Hotel with my Mum, My sister and a friend to celebrate my hen do in February 2014.
The speedboat picked us up from right outside the airport and it was only a quick trip over to Bandos!

Our room was lovely, I was slightly concerned that it looked dated from the photos on here,but got a pleasant surprise. The bed was comfortable and the shower in the bathroom was powerful! The room was cleaned in the morning and again when we went out for dinner. Something I questioned before going was plug sockets-they have U.K 3 pin plugs so no adaptor needed. Also, there was an extension lead by the bed which had a multi adaptor in it for other plugs. The mini bar is to be paid for but they provide a bottle of water each for free per day.

We went all inclusive, unlike most of the all inclusive I have visited, there are quite a few restrictions but once you have established what you can have when it is fine. We recommend doing the all inclusive as we looked at the prices and drinks are quite pricey! With the all inclusive deal you can eat all meals in the buffet restaurant, afternoon tea at the Sea breeze and drinks at the Sundowners and Sand bar. You can also have drinks at the pool bar but only non alcoholic.

The Hotel provides green beach towels in your room that are replaced daily and also by the pool there is a hut with blue stripy towels to use there.
The pool is beautiful, lovely surroundings, dragonflies and parrots flying over..but we only went there once as the beach is so nice!

The beach is perfect, white sand, blue sea..also if you swim out to the reef you can see some amazing fish! We hired snorkelling gear from the Hotel, there is a fee per day but it was well worth it! The fish are beautiful and there are also sharks! Some people saw a turtle but unfortunately we didn't see it!

We ate in the buffet restaurant all week and couldn't fault it. I have done all inc. in Mexico, Cuba, Dom Rep etc and this was the best I have experienced in terms of food quality! Lots of curries and on the action station there was always meat/fish being cooked. Even their desserts were nice!! So expect to put on a few pounds!! The only annoying thing as they want you to sign for everything on all inclusive which can be frustrating if your waiter is busy. The service was very good-Our waiter Hussain was amazing!! Could not fault him! Every day he had a table ready for us! The staff in general are all very good and remember everyone's room numbers which impressed us!!

We spent a lot of our evenings at the Sundowners bar! It is a lovely place to relax and watch the sunset and if you look over the edge you can see fish and sharks. There was entertainment every night at the Sand Bar- It was really good quality! 3 men came 1 night-cant remember their names and sang and they were fantastic!! Plus Mike who sings there and at the Sundowners some nights has a lovely voice!

Excursion wise we did the dolphin trip! It was a nice trip but there were so many boats 'following' the dolphins that they hid- but it was a nice boat trip..but not much dolphin action!
We also did the night fishing, it was okay..i'm not a fishing fan so probably not the best trip for me as I didn't like seeing all the fish death but may be better for people who like fishing-nice view of the sunset though!We also did the trip to Paradise island and a local town! I recommend this one-the tour is really interesting and you get to see a fish market, shops etc.The paradise island is very beautiful too!

On the last night we did the lobster meal on the beach. It was beautiful with candles around the table and lots of tasty courses!!

We used the spa-the surroundings are lovely and we had a good massage so I suggest going there!

This is the first time I have visited the Maldives and I was really impressed! I would go back there as had such a lovely holiday!!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank HollyP186225
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
manchester
Level Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 March 2014

We stayed 4 nights at bandos on a full board basis, standard room and were happy with both choices. The room is large and cleaned twice a day with tea, coffee replenished in the evening and
2 bottles of water daily. The food in the gallery is very good, maybe not the same variety as we had on paradise island, but still more than enough to satisfy us and tasty too.
The staff on the whole very friendly, we were offered a complimentary drink of our choice on arrival as our room wasn't ready, but we hadn't expected it to be as we arrived at 10.30. After a short time we were ferried to our room in a golf cart.
Loved the snorkelling, plenty of quiet spots around the island if privacy is needed.

Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank adventurer94
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bandos Maldives

Property: Bandos Maldives
Address: (Formerly Bandos Island Resort & Spa)
Phone Number:
Region: Maldives > Kaafu Atoll > North Male Atoll > Bandos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Bandos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — Bandos Maldives 5*
Number of rooms: 215
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Not wishing to rest on the laurels of our existing achievements, Bandos Maldives had in the past year undertaken a major refurbishment project with the intention of transforming ourselves into a hotel that is truly reflective of the times. Careful consideration however, was given at all times to ensure that the old-world refinement for which the island has a reputation remained uncompromised. Under the project, major facelifts have been given to the front desk, lobby areas, shops, restaurants and bars and have furthermore commissioned a new swimming pool and additional accommodation facilities all of which perfectly blend with the island's tropical splendour and give visitors a taste of the Maldivian aesthetic. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bandos Island Hotel Bandos
Bandos Island Resort Maldives
Bandos Island Maldives
Bandos Maldives

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