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“Better than expected”
Review of Bandos Maldives

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Bandos Maldives
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Bandos
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 26 April 2014

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.

Bad things

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.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank DickBurton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 April 2014

We were met by their hotel rep at the airport. Not only did she arrive late but she never said a word to us, she just walked off to the speed boat, leaving us to sort out our luggage. She then just sat herself in the boat and started texting.
On arrival at Bandos, a dreary-looking reception. We were told what we could not do and what we would be fined for. We overheard someone checking out who was being charged for the water that he drank even though he was on an all-inclusive package!!! Sadly this theme continued throughout our week.
The jacuzzi-Villa is very poor indeed. Very small, no en-suite! Cracks & poor paint work everywhere. The cleaning service consists of changing the towels as I see no other evidence of cleaning. Even the fridge is dirty. The free wifi is slower than dial-up and the so-called normal wifi doesn't work but that won't stop them charging you $20 per day per device!!!
You get 1 small bottle of water each per day the rest you must pay for. It is a joke!
You cannot really swim in the sea as the water only goes up to your knees until you hit coral and "You'll be fined if you touch it."

The food is very poor as is the service. It's the 1st place I've ever seen that charge extra for fruit juice at meals!
Complaining to the manager about anything is pointless as a) he's hardly ever around b) he takes ages to call you back if at all.

This is not a place for couples, lots of children.

This may seem like one long rant but everything I've said is true.

On the plus side, the weather is great. We can't thank Bandos for that though. I've got 2 more days here. Looking forward to leaving.

Room Tip: I've not seen any evidence of good rooms
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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15  Thank DrLife L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2014

Upgraded to beach house since the AC went down. Really nice stay, beach is nice! the staff were professional, a great selection of food and price are cheap compared to other islands. night fishing is highly recommended.

Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
1  Thank phishinghan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2014

A short get away from Dubai found us staying at Bandos Island and were met with the friendliest and professional staff. The island not from from Male is superb, only bad thing i can say is that I did not wake up on time on first day to get some diving done - snorkeling and diving is spectacular with the Dive shop there being one of the most professional i have ever dived with , well laid out, great equipment and instructors and of course so much wonder to see below the water line - i will most definitely go back and would recommend this place to anyone - great family type place yet it was peaceful and could find quiet spots - FYI the beach villas with hot tub are a must - you will not be disappointed with an outdoor shower, toilet bath - Just go - its worth it

Room Tip: Beach front villa's - romantic, quiet, next to beach, great out door features -
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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2  Thank BryanS1981
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2014 via mobile

How you will feel about Bandos will really depend on what you're expecting from the Maldives!

This our 3rd holiday in the Maldives but the first with our kids (10 and 13), so it was important to find an island that would offer a good range of activities in addition to snorkelling. We also went full board so we didn't keel over when we got the bill for all those Fantas at the end!

On the plus side Bandos is a short (40 min) transfer by speed boat from Male; the house reef is extremely good; the food is plentiful and very good; the service is good; the rooms clean and well appointed. The island offered a good range of water sports and activities and all the equipment was in excellent condition. We went on a couple of excursions - night fishing (which was included), snorkelling with Mantas (saw 2 - amazing) and dolphin watching (saw around 2000 - awesome!!). We took the private dolphin watching trip and I'm really pleased we did as the resort boat had around 50 people on it.

On the negative side, Bandos is an older and larger resort meaning the architecture not particularly sympathetic to the location and there is a lot of it. There are only 2 beaches of note and hence they are quite busy. The guests are very multicultural, a LOT of Russians, Germans and Japanese. The resort is quite tatty in places, exposed pipes leading out to sea (ick), concrete sea walls and piers in places (to stop erosion, but not pretty all the same). The cost of hiring fins, masks etc is ridiculous so bring your own and the water sports are expensive so temper expectations of how much they will be doing!

All in all a good and reasonably priced (for the Maldives) family holiday. Just be clear what you want from the Maldives before you book Bandos. If you want a romantic idyll, look elsewhere - if you want a family break, this is as good as anything given the price.





  • Stayed: April 2014
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4  Thank Dyan C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 April 2014 via mobile

After the bustle of a wedding, Bandos Island resort was an amazing source of peace and relaxation. The beaches were pure white, the bluest water I have ever seen and extremely attentive staff who provide a very high degree of service. Additionally, the buffet was fantastic food and there were a range of activities to choose from... Although the bed was so comfy it was difficult to leave it at times. Pure island bliss......sigh.

Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
Thank April B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2014

A little late in posting this, my wife and I visited Bandos In October 2013 for our wedding anniversary. We stayed in a beach villa for 9 nights. We are very familiar with the Maldives having visited seven other islands before Bandos. We have often travelled to other islands by sea-plane, one thing that made visiting Bandos a joy was the short (10 minutes) speed boat ride to the island. The island itself is small, our beach villa was lovely. The food was cooked very well with a wide variety of choice. The main bar was very welcoming with a wide selection of cocktails on offer. My wife and I snorkel and we found the reef very good, we were rather surprised as we had thought being so close to Male it might suffer but we saw turtles, rays and black tipped reef sharks and a wide variety of other fish, the water was a bit rough but it was October so you expect it. All in all a very pleasant stay, it had been a last minute booking but we would definitely go back to this island – it’s a little gem.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank rwdavy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about 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: £157 - £495 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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