How to start this review?
I really want to rate the resort as average, but can't do that because it really was much better than average.I don't like resorts and probably never will, particularly when you are trapped on a small island - all too much like being in an episode of "hi-di-hi".
That said I can't fault most of what I experienced over the four nights we stayed in the resort. We came out to the Maldives for a 10 day dive safari, but as the days preceding were over the Easter holiday it seemed daft not to extend the break by adding a few resort days, besides we could dive at the resort.
The Maldives really is a spectacular destination, if you like water sports. If you don't, I've no idea how you would fill the time on a resort for any more than a few days. It is also one of the most expensive places I have ever visited and it can sometimes feel as if they are ripping you off, although having visited a couple of times now I don't really believe this to be the case. Examples are when they quote all prices exclusive of taxes, service charges etc so you have to add 20% or so to all bills. Also you are often given change (from dollars or pounds) in the local currency, which is no use to tourists.
A word about meal plans. We were going to take all inclusive and then stopped to think about it. For four nights this was going to add over £600 to the room rate for two of us. Also this restricted where, what and how you could eat and drink. We decided to opt for B&B and ate a la carte each night. We had quite a few beers, cocktails and a bottle of wine (the cheapest at $48) every day and the bill only came to about £400. We didn't eat lobster and steak every night though, mostly salads, pizza, chicken etc. We did cheat as well and made some butties up from the breakfast buffet for lunch. So we were definitely better off and had freedom of choice. We were also out most of the day diving, if you want a large lunch and intend to start drinking beer at lunchtime then go all inclusive, if not then weigh up the other options.
Really good things.
Service and friendliness - second to none. The people working on the island are really great, the cynic in me says it's because they want tipping, but I actually believe they are a friendly people. We arrived at 8:00 AM and expected to have wait until 14:00 to get in our room. We had asked our agent in the UK and they had said we would have to wait. Not so, we were greeted very warmly, given drinks and told we could have our room from 9:00 at no extra charge. Brilliant!
The room was very good ( we opted for deluxe, one up from standard and only a little more expensive). You could easily be comfortable for a long period in the room. We were very well looked after by the cleaners and the bed strewn with flowers on our last day was a nice touch. Only downside was that the position of the room (opposite a fantastic Banyan tree) was always in the shade and poor for drying the diving gear.
The resort was obviously quite full, but the island never seemed that busy. I don't know where they all went, but it worked well for us (with some exceptions - see later).
Service in the restaurants was generally good, but poor where there were obvious new staff. The sundowners bar was our favourite.
Again on leaving we were told that we could check out late as we didn't need to leave the resort until the afternoon. Very good news and unexpected. There was no surcharge for paying by credit card and checkout and transfers were very efficient.
The dive school was also very good and the dive trips themselves not bad value.
Not a place for a romantic holiday or for anyone who wants to get away from kids. It is very family oriented, but we only noticed on the first day (when jet lagged and very tired) and in the truly awful sand bar! This was a daft idea - happy hour at the same time as kids entertainment. Mind you happy hour wasn't half price, or two for one, but simply 20% off! which made it the same price as shown on the menu! Not really worth the agony. The worst kind of pop music blared out of this venue. To be avoided at all costs.
On B&B you get half a litre of water a day, the rest has to be paid for. Pretty stingy and not good practise as you need you need to drink much more. We tried to fill a small bottle at breakfast and got our knuckles rapped! You can of course buy it at a premium.
Internet access. Very slow (acceptable), but also highly restricted. No acces to the apple App Store (understandable), download file size restrictions (annoying) and censorship (unforgivable). Half the websites linked from a daily news site were banned, for no apparent reason other than they obviously offend the local theocrats. I don't know what they've got against Game of Thrones.
So overall, good for families who like water sports. Good for everyone else for shorter breaks.
- 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