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Maafushivaru
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Reviewed 8 May 2014

This place is perfect for someone who loves luxury and is also a diver. Then again, if you're the type who likes to wade aimlessly in the water, eat a wide variety of food, and do the spa, you're also in the right place. You can also do nothing while you watch sunsets with your honey. Some people did the gym and yoga on the deck near the spa, so it seems right for anyone.

My husband and I chose Maafushivaru for our 7 day honeymoon in the Maldives, based on extensive research about the diving and also the fact that it was the only resort with a water bungalow for our dates. We got lucky. Maafushivaru lived up to everything we had read and heard about -- and much more -- about the Maldives. It’s hard to compare, but we did find it especially luxurious and relaxing, whilst still sporting, compared to our recent fantastic trips (e.g. Costa Rica, Hawaii, Fiji, and Zanzibar). So Maafushivaru is well worth it.

This is an all-inclusive resort, which doesn’t sound like what you’d expect from a luxury resort, but many resorts in the Maldives own/occupy the whole island on which they sit. So with the accommodations, you’re also paying for access to amenities like their amazing dive shop, spa, restaurants, house reef, and in the case of Maafushivaru, a separate tiny deserted island exclusively for guests, called Lonubu

Honeymooner Tip: Book the private dinner as far in advance as you can for your dates. Here’s the PDF we wish we had found on their website.

http://www.maafushivaru.com/pdf/Lonubo_Private_Dinner.pdf

We also were thrilled with the Maafushivaru Moment package at the spa. We weren’t expecting anything but a massage and a bath, but it was pretty magical. The equipment, including the massage tables, are high-tech, covered in buttery soft white leather. It's like you're floating on air. Only the highest quality organic products. Then they leave you two alone to soak in a prepared bath of warm water, covered in rose petals, with a bottle of sparkling wine and fruit for an hour. You have the whole expansive room to yourselves as well as the deck outside, overlooking the ocean lapping with a soft breeze.

Hands down, we loved the diving the most. We did extensive research on where to dive for mantas, whale sharks and Maldives-only sea life, which led us to the South Ari Atoll, which led us to Maafushivaru and it’s elegant balance of unpretentious luxury and tranquility.

The resort is surrounded by powdery white sand that never gets hot. We stayed in a spacious well-designed and thoughtfully laid out water bungalow, and got the privacy and amazing sunset views we’d hoped for. From our bungalow, we snorkeled right out into the lagoon, to the amazing house reef. Everywhere on the resort, you see the sea life everywhere. Truly amazing.

There were healthful and extensive food selections (be careful -- that's on you if you make a mess of mixing flavors or overstuff yourself).

Genuinely thoughtful staff. Wonderful honeymoon package.

Special thanks goes out to Marco who leads Maafushivaru’s dive team, which is only accessible to resort guests, at reasonable dive prices. We learned he’s got 20 years dive experience in the Maldives. He's definitely the most knowledgeable, professional and best dive master we've encountered, so you’re in great hands there. His briefings are so clear. He's precise but laid-back so we always had fun, and he makes sure you get the most out of your dives. From the resort, we took the hotel’s boat to a whale shark spot and snorkeled for 30 minutes with a whale shark . We dove with two whale sharks that day, and stumbled upon a group of 25 mobula (like mantas but slightly smaller, still up to a ton in size. Another day, he took us on a challenging but exhilarating dive totally within our skill level near Five Rocks (too much current) and we hung out with a shark. Marco never made promises but he always delivered on them. Manta dive - check. We were with the manta for a full hour (not deep so our air was fine). What a cool guy. Aude is also very nice. Again, this is all part of the resort’s services and you have to be a guest to enjoy what we did.

Maafushivaru as a resort and the island it occupies exclusively are breathtaking. From the moment you ride up in the cool, modern, all-wood boat that seems so much nicer than everyone else's boat at the seaplane pick-up/drop-off point in the middle of the ocean, to the time you're already seeing amazing sea life teeming around the dock and seawall. The water is so calm and a beautiful turquoise blue. Visibility in the water at the resort is typically 30m (~100 feet. It’s incredible what you see from your water bungalow or just outside of the bungalows. We saw two large free-swimming octopuses, a black-tip reef shark, schools of 3-foot long gleaming iridescent needlefish, and tons of species you’d think you’d only see at deeper depths.

Again, the resort takes up the whole island, and it would take 10 minutes to walk around, even if you're in water up to your knees. You only end up wearing flip flops on the wooden decks. Everywhere else, most guests go elegantly barefoot in the fine powder white sand, which doesn't stick to you and acts as the flooring for most of the resort (except the spa, the gift shop, and the dive shop).

What else? L'Occitane spa products in the bungalows. Great design. Tons of windows to look out at the lagoon. We especially loved the shower that connected the deck to the bathroom suite.

The staff is lovely and welcoming. Immediately, upon arrival, you have a warm, welcoming greeting with cocktails. Every day, the staff was so gracious and greeted us with a sense of respect and care. They knew our names after just a day or so. The resort designates a particular waiter to you as well as your own attendant. We noticed Italians, German, South Korean, Chinese and French guests, all with a waiter speaking to them in their native tongue it seemed. Americans are as frequent as European guests, so they seemed to appreciate that my husband and I traveled a far distance..

** Great job -- special appreciation to Adam in the Library for handcrafting a parrot and fish out of palm leaves for us on our honeymoon dinner night by the water.

Our only two regrets at Maafushivaru was that we didn’t take advantage of their house reef for snorkeling and we didn’t know to book the Lonobu island for the private dinner (it was totally booked by the time we read about it in the hotel literature in our room).

This place is worth the long flights to get there, the early morning sea plane, and of course the cost. We’re definitely planning to return to Maafushivaru, and we’re recommending the resort to all of our friends.

Room Tip: Water bungalow is a must. We were in 216 which got the sunset.
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank Rosally S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 April 2014

We went to Maldives in April. It was our first time at Maldives. we arrived in Male at night and went at morning to Maafushivaru. The staff of the lounge was ok, but not that attentive. Our host, Kim, was very attentive. We stayed in the bungalow and it was great, but our cabana boy, Hassan, was the laziest of all, quite disappointing.
One day we went diving with the manta ray and the shark whale but besides the seasonality ( the fish didn't show up that day ) our guide was the worst.
We were in an all inclusive package and the lowest point was the food, how can I say, heavy, tasteless, the boy on the grill saved all the days with a less than regular pasta.
If u into food, run....
Maldives is so incredibly beautiful we decided to come back every year, as a first time the resort was ok, but we definitely won't come back there.

Room Tip: Bungalow at the sunset side.
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank phibrz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 April 2014

Let me start off by saying that as soon as we were in the hands of Maafushivaru we were impressed. Our experience started in the lounge as we waited for our seaplane flight that would take us to our taste of paradise.. Lounge was comfortable, cool, nicely, simply and tastefully decorated. It is equipped with comfort - clean washrooms, refreshments and wifi.
As soon as we reached the resort, we were in awe. The facility is everything that we expected. We were warmly greeted by the staff and Ron, the resort manager.
Our water villa 216 was as we requested facing the sunset .. Beautiful .. Perfect!
An area for improvement where our room is concerned, they need to make sure that our mini bar us constantly replenished with supplies, fix the cups and saucers and maintain the coffee machine - which we loved by the way..
Our food .. Now let me talk about OUR food. We are vegetarians and on our first day we were disappointed with our options because we specifically gave the resort a heads up that we are food loving vegetarians and will not only survive with salad.. When we had a conversation with the F&B head - Didi, they wasted no time in adjusting and made sure they specifically prepared an Indian vegetarian food for us throughout our stay!! And they did awesome job! Our waiter Hassan made sure we got our smoothies just the way we wanted it at the beginning of all our meals. He was always pleasant and smiling and eagerly serving us.
Our snorkeling experience was also very pleasant and will recommend it to the guests. The boat crew and our snorkel guide tried to maximize all our excursions. The fruits and refreshments on board was also appropriate and timely served. Aslam - who accompanied us was extremely helpful.
Some few customer service tips that they can polish -- need to train staff to replenish towels in the towel station at all times! When asked they should respond that what we are asking for is there (and points somewhere else) instead of walking a few steps to give us what we need. Typically we don't expect that but that kind if service is standard with 5star properties ..
The manager, Ron is great. Always willing to extend assistance and offer options and sincerely tries to go the extra mile!
Overall, it was truly an amazing experience. Not a perfect one BUT they they listen and once feedback is given on the imperfection -- they go above and beyond to make it PERFECT!
Thank you Maafushivaru staff for making our experience special and unforgettable!
Thankyiu

Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
2  Thank PinayExplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2014

Great place, great service level, great food.
For us, second Time in Maldives. Just amazing.

One downside: the house wine (and overall the winelist) is just something that is so far from the resort standard that you realize how much they would need a true sommelier

Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank zanel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2014 via mobile

Seaplane at the airport is expensive but worth a once in a life time experience.
Upon arrival near the resort, there is a "LOTR" lookalike epic boat to pick you up.
Takes 5 min from the arrival float to the resort jetty.
At the reception, there will be a fresh cold towel to welcome you for the registration. Tried the beach villa, it's excellent at room 107.
Water villa facing the spa offered a sunrise view for 3 night.
A must - sunset cruise, manta ray snorkel, lonobu island for snorkeling.
Bring: toothbrush, lots of suntan lotion, sunglass.
Improvements wanted: sound system with cd to be at the water villa suntan area. Add toothbrush as standard, more entertainment e.g. quiz night, improve the male airport!
Special mention: kim from guest relations, adam from the restaurant, waterbar crew. Remember to put some $ at the waterbar tipbox.

One word - Beautiful.

Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank Mokette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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