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Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef Maldives
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Reviews (1,130)
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Reviewed 8 November 2013

When we first arrived at the resort we were greeted warmly and with open hearts. The service throughout our stay was fantastic. Whatever we needed was sent to us and all our expectations of what this resort would be we're surpassed. The food was absolutely brilliant. Delicious food everyday and in every meal. Surprisingly the menus changed everyday throughout our 6 day stay despite the resort being located on an island. I'm sure transportation of food and supplies would be difficult. We stayed on the villa which overlooked the sea and was on stilts. Although concrete and built very near to the shore the view was spectacular! I recommend everyone to stay on these ones as although more expensive than the beach villas, the view and the coral reef right in front of your door is to die for. A coral reef in which you can snorkel as well as stand when you want! Yes, it's very shallow and you can see a large variety of coral and fish. Especially in front of rooms 114 and 115 which are on stilts. I tried my hand at scuba diving as well. A beginner course for 160 dollars was truly worth while. We took a 30 minute dive with basic skills training at the beginning it was a fabulous experience and one I recommend everyone to do. You can even find the infamous clown fish (Nemo) in that dive. The bar which overlooks the sea plays some very nice music along with some great drinks and snacks. They have a pool table and table tennis there as well. Just outside the bar is a wooden deck with seats and tables with a view of the beautiful Indian Ocean. I recommend you sitting there and having a drink while enjoying the evening's festivities. At an overall we had a fantastic time at the taj, great food, service and picturesque scenery really made my holidays. I strongly recommend anyone who is looking to visit the Maldives to visit and to stay at the vivanta by taj.

Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
Thank Pranavl9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vivanta C, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 14 November 2013

Dear pranavl9,

My team and I are delighted to receive your review of your wonderful stay with us recently. Thank you for your encouraging feedback and compliments of the resort.

It is very rewarding for the team to realize that their warm, professional and anticipatory service very much contributed towards your stay experience. Indeed, it is the Taj way to ensure that all our guests receive the genuine warmth and hospitality that they deserve.

It will be our pleasure to extend the wonderful Taj hospitality to you again, should you plan another holiday with us in the future.

Yours sincerely,
Vishal

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 November 2013

We had very good experience at the resort. At the airport we were received by their rep.and he labeled our luggage. Then we were escorted to the boat. The resort is 32km from the airport and it took45 minutes to reach .We were welcomed by the staff and checked in. Our luggage reached our room within minutes . Our room was facing the beach with beach chairs .Excellent view.
In the evening at 5pm fish-sting ray gather at a spot where they are fed.
We had submarine excursion tour which was excellent followed by Diwali celebrations in the hotel .Played some games organized by the staff in traditional Indian outfit.
Actually they should have some more activities in addition to the watersports which they already have.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank sonimadhu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vivanta C, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 14 November 2013

Dear Sonimadhu,

My team and I are delighted to receive your review of your wonderful stay with us recently. Thank you for your encouraging feedback and compliments of the resort.


It will be our pleasure to extend the wonderful Taj hospitality to you again, should you plan another holiday with us in the future.

Yours sincerely,
Vishal

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 October 2013

We stayed at Vivanta for 4 nights in mid October. We booked the hotel about 1 month in advance and informed the hotel by email that we will celebrate my birthday and my pregnancy with our first child. We were really looking forward to our holiday in the Maldives for the first time but we were truly disappointed.
Lots of things went wrong during our stay:
Upon arrival at the airport, we were the very first passenger at the hotel booth but first unpleasant surprise: they couldn't find us on their list of guests to pick up. After a phone call and lots of searching in their drawer, they found our names with a remark "no flight details provided". This was of course not correct, I got a confirmation email from Shipra on the 13th of September that they received our flight details. Lucky us, there were 3 more couples on the same flight going to the same hotel, so we did have a boat waiting for us.
During the first 3 days we had a couple of incidents with the hotel staff making mistakes, but we decided to ignore them so we can enjoy our holiday. On our 2nd last day, things got out of hands, so I decided to list all of them here:
1) Rooms:
We were upgraded to a water villa for our first night (we arrived late in the evening) and were told that we will need to move to our beach villa at 11am the next day. The water villa had a nice view, but beware, the photos shown on their website are not correct. They are photoshopped! The removed the stone wall from their photos on their website.
The male staff who showed us to our water villa made us very uncomfortable. First he introduced things to us that didn't work. For example he said, here you can switch on the lights for the deck outside, then we went outside and it was pitch black. He just pretended everything is fine until just before he left he discovered that he didn't push the card correct, so there was actually no electricity during the whole introduction. After that he just stayed there and didn't leave, although we thanked him and very clearly dismissed him. He just stood in our room and said nothing for at least 1-2 minutes. My husband suddenly realized, he was waiting for a tip. We are not used to this because we travel mostly in South-Asia for beach holidays and it is not common there to do this.
The water villa itself is nice because you have direct access to the water from your deck but it is not the typical water villa you are used to from the Maldives. The villas are not on water, but attached to the beach. The interior looks a bit empty, needs a bit more decoration. The bathroom was nice, very big bathtub.
We preferred the beach villa though because you have direct access to the beach (only the closest ones to the watersports center though) + some nice shades from the palm trees. The deck on the water villas are completely exposed to the sun.
The next morning we went for a very early breakfast at 7am and for a swim, so we could be ready for our move at 11am. At 10:45 someone called to our room but we were too late to pick up. We called back within 5 mins asking who called. The receiver didn't know and said will call us back. No one called back. At 11am we were ready with our luggage and waiting for the bell boy. No one came, so we called again asking when we can move. The lady on the phone said, we were not supposed to move until 5pm. We couldn't believe that, we packed everything already and didnt want to unpack a 2nd time. We said we want to move ASAP. She said ok, she will try. In the meantime we went to the pool bar for lunch and a drink. Just after we ordered a staff member showed up and said he wants to move us now. We said, sorry, cannot, we just ordered. He was clearly disappointed although they were late, not us. During our drinks another lady came and asked the same thing again and we said, we need another 15mins.
After that we finally moved to our beach villa.
2) Island/beach:
The island is very small which is fine, but they almost completely built around the whole island, which means, you have no access to the beach/water, except at the small beach right next to the pier. You cannot go for a walk around the island.
The snorkeling is very nice at their house reef but we couldn't find any soft corals.
3) Water sports center:
We wanted to join some organized trips and checked their "today and tomorrow schedule". We found something interesting for the next day and asked to sign up. The guy told us the information shown on the board is actually not correct, they don't update it and the activity we wanted is not on tomorrow's schedule.
What a disappointment! Why show a schedule if it is not correct? They also told us we need to approach other guests ourselves if we want to book a scenery flight or an island hopping trip. We never had this problem before that we couldn't book an activity and have to organize 5 couples ourselves. We didn't know any of the other guests and thought it is not appropriate to bother them on their honeymoons.
It felt like begging. So we were not able to do any island hopping or the scenery flight.
4) Spa:
On my birthday we booked a couple treatment for my husband and me. They didn't offer any prenatal massages, so I could only choose a Facial. The lady who did my facial was a smoker. I could smell the cigarette smell on her hands when she massaged my face. I am a nonsmoker so this was a very unpleasant experience for me.
5) Restaurants:
The food for lunch and dinner was good, although very pricey (normal in the Maldives). Breakfast got boring after 2 days because it was always the same small buffet.
6) Staff:
There are mostly men working in this resort and their English isn't that good (except the higher positions). We had always the same guy as our waiter in the main restaurant and he always only mumbled something which we couldn't understand and never smiled.
One morning he spilled my husbands juice, didn't apologize and walked away. We had to call another waiter to clean up his mess. The next day the same thing happened again. He made me very uncomfortable because he never smiled.
On 2 occasions I told one of the staff that I am pregnant: a) barkeeper asked why we don't drink any alcoholic drinks and I said I am pregnant and he replied "Oh no". This is not the correct way to respond to such news. He realized it later on and came back and apologized.
b) at the Spa I informed the male staff that I am pregnant and he answered "I am sorry". No idea what he meant with that. Both situations made me uncomfortable because I am happy to be pregnant and they made it look like I am ill.
7) Sting ray feeding
The sting ray feeding was really fun however they let guests touch and even snorkel around them while we fed them. They had a brochure in every room "Save the Maldives" which states that you must not touch any animals.
However, at this resport even the staff encouraged guests to touch the sting rays and go into the water with them.
8) Guests
There were almost only Mainland Chinese guests on the island during our stay which means lots of smokers and they smoke everywhere (pool, bar, beach, even on the little motor boat we took to the sand bank etc.). As a pregnant woman this disturbed me even more than usual. Imagine you are in the middle of the Indian ocean on a little boat and you have to breathe in cigarette smoke. It was disgusting.
9) Departure
This was a nightmare and made me decide to write all of this down. On the day before our departure we went to the reception to inform them once more about our departure the next day because we knew they lost our flight details.
The lady told us someone will contact us during the day to ask for the details. Someone came by our villa in the early afternoon asking for the flight details. We told him and he left. Later in the afternoon we walked along the beach when another staff approached us asking the same question again. We told her we just informed her colleague about this but provided the flight details once more.
In the evening someone called to our room asking a third(!) time about our flight. I got annoyed and said I provided the information twice today already. She said she will check again and call me back. 2mins later she called back and had our flight details.
Then she told us we have to leave 4 hours(!!!) before our flight although the lady at reception told us it will be 3 hours. I complained and said we want to leave earlier because we don't want to stay 3 hours at the airport.
She said, cannot change because other guests also take the same boat to catch the same flight (which meant all of us had to wait 3 hours).
At this point we were really disappointed and angry. We chose a resort that is close to the airport so we have as little travel time as possible.
The boat trip only took around 50mins (there are no traffic jams on the sea), so we arrived more than 3 hours before our flight's departure. On the boat were a few male hotel staff in regular clothes (I guess they had their day off). One of them continually stared at me and my husband, probably because we are a mixed couple, me being Caucasian and he is Chinese. Hotel staff should know better that this is rude behavior.
At the airport, the check-in counter hasn't even opened yet, so we had to wait 1.5 hours on a bench before we could check-in (there is nothing else to do in the check-in hall, no restaurants or shops). Of course our flight was delayed, so we were more than 4 hours at the airport.

We really tried hard to ignore all their mistakes and mishaps but the last day made us so angry that we decided to write a negative review here on Tripadvisor.
We blame the management for not training the staff well and not organizing the hotel operations better. We are business owners ourselves and we know, if the staff is doing something wrong, often you have to blame the management for not training them correct.
We are very seasoned travelers, going on business trips and holidays on a monthly basis and are very familiar with airport operations and 5* hotels. Unfortunately, this was the worst 5* hotel we ever visited. It was the first time that we were both looking forward to leave and go back home (after only 4 days).
We recommend to travelers who live in East Asia to better travel to Thailand, the Philippines, Bali, Fiji, Malaysia etc. with beautiful beaches, fantastic local food and very, very friendly and ever smiling hotel staff (for a lower price than in the Maldives).

Room Tip: choose a beach villa very close to the water sports center, otherwise you need to walk to the beach.
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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16  Thank pumi26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vivanta C, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 1 November 2013

Dear Pumi26,
Thank you for your review of our resort. Please do accept my sincere apologies for not being able to ensure that you have a memorable stay with us.

It is our desire that every guest who stays with us leaves as an ambassador of our hotel. We at Vivanta by Taj – Coral Reef, Maldives strive to excel and surpass guests expectations at every interaction, as members of The Taj Group of Hotels, We pride ourselves as being "World Class", It is feedback from discerning travelers such as yourself that help us in our "Quest for excellence."
Thank you once again and do keep us posted should you plan another trip to our part of the water world.
Regards,
Vishal

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Reviewed 23 October 2013

We recently stayed at the resort which had such high ratings. The resort is dated and the pictures on the web are not a true reflection of the resort. Staff were excellent but overall the resort is tired looking and definately not 5 star. Food was expensive relative to setting and facilities.

Room Tip: the beach villas looked in better condition that the water villas, which are on land and run down
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank Jacky313
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vivanta C, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 25 October 2013

Dear Jacky313,
Thank you for your review of our resort. Please do accept my sincere apologies for not being able to ensure that you have a memorable stay with us.

It is our desire that every guest who stays with us leaves as an ambassador of our hotel. We at Vivanta by Taj – Coral Reef, Maldives strive to excel and surpass guests expectations at every interaction, as members of The Taj Group of Hotels, We pride ourselves as being "World Class", It is feedback from discerning travelers such as yourself that help us in our "Quest for excellence."
Thank you once again and do keep us posted should you plan another trip to our part of the water world.
Regards,
Vishal

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2013

One of the most amazing place on earth...breathtaking views of Indian Ocean... perfect place for relaxation... amazing food; some of the best variety of seafood. excellent hospitality... beautiful rooms and villas...

  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank rpv28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vivanta C, General Manager at Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 23 October 2013

Dear rpv28,

My team and I are delighted to receive your review of your wonderful stay with us recently. Thank you for your encouraging feedback and compliments of the resort.

It will be our pleasure to extend the wonderful Taj hospitality to you again, should you plan another holiday with us in the future.

Yours sincerely,
Vishal

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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