Our decision to head to the Maldives was a last minute thing, something we had on the 'back burner' while we were traveling in Sri Lanka and noticed flights were quite cheap from there. As independent travelers, it was out first resort experience, it felt weird to us be it was very comfortable.
We chose this place mainly because it was recommended by divers, and has been so for years, apparently. And of course, the price was interesting, this being a 3-star place and not too far from the airport, we wouldn't have to break the bank that much and wouldn't need to buy an extra domestic flight or crazy expensive boat ride, since we were only staying for 3 nights at the end of our trip (to Sri Lanka) before flying home.
We'd read reviews, the good and the bad ones, and were pleasantly surprised by everything. My girlfriend is a strict vegetarian and she found plenty to eat at every meal. As far as buffet goes, they try to please everybody. It's ok, we get it, the majority of guests (Europeans, mostly Germans) got straight here from home and might freak out. We would have liked spicier and more local style but there really isn't anything to complain about by what we had.
We didn't go for the 'all included' thing, didn't seem worth it since I wasn't planning on getting wasted every day. I only had one drink per meal and that cost me about 4-5$ a piece for a glass of wine or beer, so quite a fair price.
The house reef is indeed quite nice, and the dive shop staff very professional.
We booked a Superior Room directly with them. Ours was near the sandbank, quite far from the restaurant and generator (still about a minute walk away, it's a small island), so it was nice and quiet. Aircon worked well, the room was nice and clean, hot shower, everything. It felt there must have been renovations recent years. Our main concern with the room though, was that the wall separating us from next door wasn't really soundproof. Surprisingly so. We could hear a whole lot. It's also true they don't provide beach towels, so bring a sarong or something.
Our other negative thing was mostly communication problems. Trying to book the room, it was very hard to get to anyone. They had two email addresses on their website, one didn't work, the other, well we didn't get any answer. I think I tried again but nothing. Then eventually I made a Skype call from a crappy internet connection in Sri Lanka, got to talk to someone who mumbled English at best, but at least could put me through to the right person, but then I got disconnected. So I tried again a few hours later, this time I managed to talk to someone in charge of reservations, he said he never got my emails, but just to send it again right now. I did and he did respond and they had availabilities. At that time of year there was an additional 10-15% discount he gave us (it was also mentioned on their website). Splendid! We then booked our flight and sent him the details of our arrival for the boat transfer. When we arrived to the island, our bill didn't have the discount on it, so we had to explain and then wait for someone to approve of it, even though it was written on their own website, that employee didn't seem to have heard of it. Weird.
I might add that if, like us, you're traveling in a neighbouring country and thinking of going, and you're flexible, you can always check again later. Because on my first try to make a reservation, they were full. But then just a few days before the end of our trip, I checked again for kicks and sure enough we got a room. The manager of the dive shop told me it's quite common, since big European agencies book a whole lot of rooms months ahead, but then cancel some of them if they don't fill up enough tourist on their trips.
We wouldn't mind staying there again if we ever go back to the Maldives. This is a very comfortable place and fairly priced, and some good diving too. As long as you're not expecting paradise and 5-star everything, you won't be disappointed.
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- Also Known As:
- Embudu Village Hotel Emboodhu Finolhu
- Embudu Village Male
- Embudu Village Hotel Male