I stayed at the chaaya reef Ellaidhoo with my wife for 2 weeks on an all-inclusive basis during June 2014.
With so much to say about this wonderful hotel I will try to do breakdown of the different areas of the holiday.
Speedboat Transfer & Arrival:
After a long trip from Manchester we arrived at Male airport. The airport was really warm and I just wanted to get my luggage and head to our boat. Luckily they were efficient at the airport and we were on our way pretty quickly. It is important to note that if you buy alcohol before arriving at Male, they will take it off you at the airport and you will have to pick it up when you leave the island on your way home.
Outside we found our Virgin rep. The holiday reps sit at desks just outside the airport. Everyone seemed polite and nice enough to point us in the right direction.
We were shown to where our boat was going to pick us up and waited for it to arrive. There was an issue with the boat so they had to wait on another one. We didn’t wait too long, perhaps 30 minutes but once on the boat we were given a bottle of water and a cold towel to freshen up.
The journey was a little bumpy but mostly it was just tedious. About 1.30 hours with nothing but horizon to look at. Finally though the island came into view and the mood of all the passengers picked up.
Our tip would be that if you can afford to, upgrade to the sea plane: The last thing you want after a 12+ hour trip is to have to sit on a boat for another hour and a half.
The check-in was really smooth. A few forms to sign whilst drinking a very nice welcome drink and then we were shown to our garden room.
The garden room was very nice and we could have been more than happy to stay in it. It was spacious and quiet. However as we were staying during my wife’s birthday and our second anniversary, we decided to ask about an upgrade to a water bungalow.
Upgrading to the water bungalow was a decision we were very glad to have made. The room was light, clean and stepping on the veranda, looking through the clear water at the baby sharks and reef fish was an amazing experience.
The amenities in the water bungalow were similar to the garden room. It had a large bed, outside shower and toilet with screen doors and a large bathroom. I laughed when I saw there were rain coats and umbrellas but we did need them during our last 2 days when it rained pretty much all the time. The rain didn’t spoil anything though.
The guy who cleaned our room was fantastic. On our anniversary he made the room up with flowers and balloons. It is the little things which really make a difference and this really made our time more special.
Some of the features in the room could have done with a little TLC but a faulty ironing board was not even a minor annoyance in the large scheme of things.
I thought that not having direct access into the sea from the room would be an annoyance but it wasn’t. The water levels are too low at times to get out and the entrance is only a few meters away.
Being a resident of the water bungalows, you get to use the Malamathi restaurant. I much preferred this as the main restaurant seemed too busy coupled with the fact that most of the people in the water bungalows were adults meant that meal times were peaceful without the sound of kids crying.
Every meal we had was well cooked using fresh, quality ingredients and there was plenty of choice. The curries in particular were amazing. The chefs were always happy and chatty with the guests and the waiters did a great job in providing a good service whilst showing a genuine interest in the guests.
On our anniversary the waiters set our table up with happy anniversary messages and brought out personalised cakes for me and my wife. Again these are the things which show the passion everyone working on the island has for providing a great guest experience.
I liked the fact that once you had your table, it was reserved for you during the entirety of your stay. This meant that you could turn up for your meal and not have to worry about where to sit. Instead you could head straight to whatever culinary delight had been prepared that day.
Being in the water bungalows and eating at the Malamathi restaurant meant that when we did go to the bar we choose the Malamathi Bar. We had some nice times chatting to Manjula and Naranthra and the guys at the bar. A real good bunch who were happy to chat and were very accommodating.
They all work so hard and our experiences of the hotel wouldn’t have been as good as they are without the staff who work tirelessly to ensure all guests are left happy.
As an all-inclusive guest local beer, spirits and house cocktails are included but premium spirits and cocktails are not included. There is a happy hour which for $20 you can get unlimited premium cocktails for the hour. The premium cocktails were well worth the money.
We had the occasional drink at the main bar normally whilst we had a game of table tennis or watched the stingray feeding which happens at 5pm daily and is definitely worth a watch.
The area which the main bar is in is sheltered from the wind so can feel warmer but it nicer in the evening as the Malamathi bar area can get quite windy at times.
The service at the main bar was up to the high standard seen throughout all areas on the island.
Pool, Beach and Snorkelling:
The pool area was very clean and there was never an issue getting a bed. I am not someone who is ever really relaxed but lying by the pool and the guys at the bar bringing the drinks over to the sun lounger meant that I was able to totally relax.
The pool itself is really nice to take a dip in after a hot walk around the grounds or after a snorkelling session. It overlooks the beach bungalows and is in the perfect position to watch the sun set.
The beach isn’t the biggest but it is pristine. The perfect combination of soft white sand and clear blue waters. Absolutely beautiful.
Both my wife and I are keen fans of snorkelling having snorkelled in the red sea quite a few times. In fact the reefs around the island is what made us choose chaaya reef Ellaidhoo in the first place. We were not disappointed in the quality of the snorkelling.
Our tip would be to go outside the wall preferably as close to the water bungalows as possible and then follow the island round to where the main bar is. You will see so much marine life and hopefully you will take away some amazing memories.
Unfortunately we didn’t see any manta rays but we were told it was the wrong season and there are still plenty of fish to see.
There are plenty of other activities to do on the island away from the beach and the pool. We didn’t try them all but we did use the tennis court. It was pretty cool playing tennis in the evening whilst fruit bats flew overhead. Again even playing a sport was somehow relaxing.
The fitness centre is decent enough for a pre breakfast workout. There are a few cardio machines and both machine and free weights. The gym was kept very clean and had towels and water available.
Each evening whilst on our walk around the island my wife and I had a game or 2 of table tennis and then a game of table football.
The hotel does put a few events on during the week. Unfortunately due to low occupancy the crab racing was cancelled as was the beach party. It was a shame as they started the beach party. We had both purchased a drink and then they cancelled it. Again though it didn’t take anything away from a great holiday.
From the guy who cleaned our room to the hotel management, everyone we met at chaaya reef Ellaidhoo were amazing. They were always happy to chat and it is clear that they really care about the hotel and the guests.
Thanks to everyone at the island who made our stay so memorable.
One thing I haven’t seen mentioned in the other blogs is the night sky. Whilst at the hotel. Find a nice dark part of the island and just look up. The stars are amazing. Each evening my wife and I would sit on our veranda and take a few minutes winding down with the amazingly clear night sky above our heads.
- 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