Well here we go. Third trip to the Maldives first to this Island. We stayed in room 341 which was brilliant. Nice breeze and quiet. The room was clean, and the room boy did a great job keeping it that way, although it was dark but not an issue for us. Only had one cockroach visit us on our 2 week stay and no other big issues with bugs in our room as the room has a plug in insect repellent with tablets supplied. We did encounter some really nasty bites on the first couple of evenings whilst at the bar regardless of the jungle formula spray we used. I think there were a few people with the same problem as the next few days the island was fogged with insect killer by staff and after at regular intervals. This did work and we had no problems afterwards.
Food was plentiful and varied and we were there for 2 weeks and lunch and dinner menus were never completely repeated. Breakfast was always the same menu but there was so much to choose from, cereal, fresh ,pastries and cooked breakfast with one person making omelettes or fried eggs to order. There was scrambled and boiled eggs in food warmers ready. If you chat to the chef he will make you a traditional Maldivian curry for dinner. There is a pasta station at the lunch and dinner sittings and I really wanted to opt for this as I am not a meat or fish person but the chef was always covered in sweat and his jacket soaked so this personally put me off. Saying that I did not go hungry as the vegetable, salad and rice options were plenty and varied. The waiters do this island proud. My waiter was attentive and tried very hard to have a conversation with us although his English was limited 10 /10 for trying.
The reef is all that other reviews have pointed out and the wall is there for a reason and if you can't see past it then don't go to this island. Personally I think it gives a chance for non confident snorkelers or first timers to see some of the marine life that otherwise they wouldn't because of not wanting to go onto the reef. A few people we met said that having the lagoon helped them to venture out onto the reef later. The wall has water inlet gaps many people think that these are the entry/ exit points and there are problems with getting in and out to the reef when the water level is low.
The bar staff are all great although we only used the main bar as it was more convenient to our room and restaurant, we did not use the pool bar. The entertainment is what it is. One thing the island needs to do is replace that blown speaker as it may make the sound a bit more acceptable.
One point that I think lets this island down and that is the money spinning nights considering that this is predominately an all inclusive island. Beach party 2 hours for $5, for a fire pit and cans of Carlsberg lager the same entertainment as you will get at the bar on other evenings. $5 a ticket for bingo with a prize of a bottle of wine 3 prizes in total if there is enough players or just one if not. $5 per crab for the crab racing again a bottle of wine for the 1st 2nd and 3rd prize. There were other evenings that were pay to do but they were not very well attended and not surprising considering the prices. I just think that they should be just for fun and not charged or prizes given. Just my opinion considering the price you pay for the holiday in the first place.
Another problem is the excursions. This island does not have particular days for particular excursions. You just put your name on the list and if and when there is the required minimum for the trip it will go ahead if not then your name will go forward for the next day and so on. You do not always get notified one way or another so you could be either waiting in your room for confirmation or cancellation that never comes or having to chase the trip up yourself on a daily basis. I think that if trips had designated days then people could plan their excursions and more chance of getting the required minimum numbers. I could go into the farce that happened to us . I will be happy to share the experience if you message me.
We were offered a room upgrade with 5 nights left on our holiday to a water villa. We went to have a look and I don't think they are worth the extra $50 per night reduced rate that we were offered. I preferred our beach villa room 341and would have refused even if it was a free upgrade. The water bungalows although are very much lighter and brighter they are only semi detached, have small shower cubicle and small separate toilet rather than the open plan beach villas. They have a bath nota jaccuzi just a plain very scratched and slightly stained. They have a small balcony with table and chairs that over look the sea but no access to the water direct. They have no numbered/ allocated sun loungers and no personal outside space as the beach villa had. Most of the people from the water bungalows seemed to stay alongside the pool area and they used the pool bar and had a small eating area. My personal preference would be the beach bungalows with the decked porch.
THERE IS A WONDERFUL REP ON THE ISLAND CALLED GERRARD. THIS PERSON IS A BRILLIANT REP AND WHEN FIRST CHOICE AND THOMPSON PULL OUT OF THE MALDIVES NEXT YEAR THIS WONDERFUL MAN WILL BE A GREAT LOSS NOT ONLY TO THE TRAVEL COMPANIES HE REPRESENTS AT THE MOMENT BUT TO THE ALL THE MALDIVIAN ISLANDS HE COVERS. HE IS A GEM THAT SHOULD BE RETAINED INDEPENDANTLY BY THE ISLANDS TO BE A VISITORS CONCIEGE WHEN TRAVELLERS HAVE ISSUES.
I would recommend this island for the great snorkelling and the friendly laid back atmosphere. Not having to dress up for dinner is what I call a holiday although some did, having the choice is what I personally liked.
I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have as you can't put everything down in a review.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon, like all nature's wonders, is blessed with a spectacular offering for marine enthusiasts, is known the world over as the dive island in the Maldives.In the shade. Under the palms. On the Beach. Over the water. There are plenty of stylish types of living spaces to choose from at Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon. The 112 rooms are delightfully designed to blend in with the tropical backdrop and its natural environment.A stunning location combined with star-class facilities and outstanding levels of service. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo Hotel North Ari Atoll
- Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo Resort