I've broken my review down into headings so you can read what you want. :-)
Flights- with Thomson. Buy water (and snacks) once you're through security at Gatwick as the supplies on Thomson are NOT free and feeding/watering times are sporadic! Staff were not particularly friendly but hey ho!
Once you're in Male, you will take a sea plane for approx 25mins to Vilamendhoo!! I would advise travel sickness pills and water as it is a little bouncy! Also, they supply you with ear plugs for the flight to the island but not back, so keep hold of em! Additionally, our luggage was the maximum (20kg) and was "bumped" to a later flight and we ended up waiting 4 hours for it. So, my advice is pack light and take a change of clothes (bikini, shorts, t-shirt, flip flops) and mini toiletries in your hand luggage just in case. Also, beware buying 23kg from Thomson as the sea plane will fine you ~£65 for luggage over 20kg.
Package-We went all inclusive and it is worth it! Otherwise prepare to pay $10.50 for cocktails and $3.50 for glass of water. Meals are at set times and are in a buffet style. There is also afternoon tea (cake and sandwiches). The food is excellent and there is plenty of choice. You can be super healthy or go for a total calorie blow out! Drinks are very good and I recommend sampling the cocktails and iced coffee (+/- rum!). You have an allocated table and waiter throughout. The resort is "cashless" and you sign for things until you check out. Keep cash for visits to other islands and tipping at the end of the week/stay. The Thomson rep, Lou, is very helpful and it is a must to attend your first night meeting for very useful info (just get a cocktail first!)
Activities-You can do as little or a much as you want on the island. There is a dive centre, gym, tennis court, mini golf, badminton, table tennis and games room with snooker table, table tennis and darts if you feel sporty. I would strongly recommend buying your own snorkelling gear in the UK as it is really expensive ($100+ to buy or $8/day to hire) (watch out for chewed snorkels, yuck!). Also, bring an underwater camera as the fish and coral are out of this world! We tried a free trial dive and also, if you are all inclusive (AIP), you can have one free windsurf, tennis, snorkel lesson. You can also take a kayak out for one hour a day for free, but go when the water is calm! You also get a free 15min massage but most people we met upgraded to an hour (~$69 + each). There are lots of excursions and AIP guests get the free Sunset Punch Cruise. Beware the punch, it's not very nice! (Ours went overboard). You see dolphins which are amazing. Again, take travel sickness pills if you're prone to sea sickness. There is entertainment every night, quality varies but you have a laugh!
Room- we started in a Beach Villa but were upgraded for free to a Jacuzzi Beach Villa (adults only section) in the second week as there was some construction work being done on the villa next door. The staff were very helpful in the matter and the jacuzzi and double sunlounger were fab! The bathroom is outside by the way! We had lots of ants and the odd cockroach but bug spray soon gets rid of them. There are mosquitos so pack good quality repellent and apply liberally. Also, pack Germolene or similar and keep in fridge as bites itch like hell. Plug sockets are standard UK and you have a tv and dvd player (for when it rains). Each room has allocated sunloungers by the Ocean so there is no early morning rush to reserve! If you want to chill out by the infinity pool, the loungers are first come first serve. Both our rooms were clean, had air con and the mini bar (some all inclusive) was re stocked daily. The room is cleaned daily and you get an evening turndown. We also received a complementary bottle of champagne on our first night and a fruit basket with a happy honeymoon message.
Sunbathing/safety- I'm super pale so factor 50 was a must. Again, buy in the UK or pay $28 per bottle on the island. The sun and heat are intense so be careful of sunburn/heatstroke. There is a doctor on the island but prepare to pay to see him! If you swim in the Ocean take care to rinse your ears with bottled water when you get out as there is a dense plankton population in the water which die and putrify in your ears.
Other guests- half the island is adult only although we saw people take their children "across the line" a lot. Reinforcing this rule could do with some work! There was a mix of Brits, Germans, Russians, Chinese and Koreans. People tend to keep themselves to themselves but we got to know a couple of other couples. You can socialise or not, there is no pressure.
I hope this has helped!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Vilamendhoo Island Resort, surrounded by a beautiful lagoon, an excellent house reef and long stretches of white, sandy beach, is the only Resort on the island of Vilamendhoo, South Ari Atoll. It is 900 meters long by 250 meters wide, about 55 acres. Your seaplane transfer from Velana International Airport is a scenic, 25 minute flight. 184 Rooms include 30 Jacuzzi water villas, 30 Jacuzzi beach villas, 111 beach villas and 13 garden rooms. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Ebookers, TripOnline SA, Agoda, Holiday Gems, Odigeo, Travelbag, Priceline, Traveltool, S.L.U., Ctrip TA, Hotel.de, Evoline ltd, Cancelon and HotelQuickly so you can book your Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Vilamendhoo Island Hotel Vilamendhoo
- Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa Maldives
- Hotel Vilamendhoo Island