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Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 3 July 2010

We travelled to Chaaya Reef for our honeymoon and stayed in one of the water bungalows, absolutely fabulous. The restaurant and bar are great Donald looks after you so very well. Twice our bed was decorated with individually placed flowers to make a pattern it must have taken an age. The beach is good and the snorkelling out of this world, didn't try the scuba diving but plenty of people did. One of the highlights was the sundown fishing trip where my wife caught a huge Red Snapper which we ate the next night. One lady on the boat caught a sail fish which needed all 3 of the crew to land.

To sum up an excellent resort for a honeymoon as long as all you want to do is lie on the beach with an occasional dip in the ocean.

One word of advice take the sea plane and not the speed boat as we had a 2 hour transfer in very rough weather that was hoorendous.

Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
2  Thank MikeDorset
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 June 2010

My husband, 17 month old son and I visited here in June 2010. We were looked after by the staff extremely well, and our son was the centre of attention with all the staff, they couldn't do enough for him.

I researched this holiday and hotel in quite some detail, my husband keeps marine fish, so he wanted to make sure that the island had a good house reef. I wanted to make sure that the room had a bath for the baby and that the transfer wasn't too long. Thomson advertise Beach Bunglows as having a bath, they don't. However, the hotel were fantastic and upgraded us to a water villa for the duration of our stay as these were the only rooms with a bath. This meant that we were entitled to eat in the restaurant for the water villas. This does have a smaller choice of food as other reviews state, but the food is cooked fresh for you (you pick your meat from the buffet and they cook it to order). We benefited from the chef's cooking our son chips...although he hadn't had chips before, he became funny with food and wouldn't eat much at the meal times, and we had to give him food in our room. The chef's brought him ice cream, apples and crackers with big grins on their faces. Other reviews mention Donald, the restaurant manager. He is a legend...he makes sure that you have everything you need, and also runs the bingo and crab racing evenings once a week. Donald's 'winners crab dance' is one not to miss! The main restaurant was hotter than the smaller one, but Donald tells me that they are planning on making some changes to the main restaurant to make it cooler, and they are probably taking place as I type.

The rooms were lovely, we looked in a beach bungalow and obviously the water villa. They were both similar, except the beach bungalows bathroom is fully outside. As other people mention, you can't get into the water directly from the water villa, but a lot of the time it is quite shallow and it isn't too much of a hassle to walk to the beach. The best bit of the island for beach is between the jetty / dive school to the water villas (our original room would have been 308 and this was the right side) but apparently the other side was better for snorkelling.

We were there in June, the highest rainfall month. We had about 1 day which rained all day and a couple of days where it rained late afternoon (a bit) and a lot in the evening, so don't let the weather charts put you off June. It is lovely all year round.

Make sure you take some good mosquito spray. You can't avoid being bitten, I would also say put it on in the day, as I think you get bitten from the sand. You can't avoid the sand since the paths are brushed sand rather than concrete, but the island staff (which I think wouldn't be far off saying there is one member of staff per guest) keep the baths swept and clear of leaves religously.

The daily event was the ray feeding at 5.30pm. This is one not to be missed. The rays come in each day just before they are due to be fed, and come right up waiting for the food. You also get a good selection of fish, sharks and herons also attending. Our son loved seeing the fish race to get the fish heads thrown in.

If you are coming to this island I would seriously suggest making sure that you are travelling by seaplane. This journey is 25 mins Vs the 90 mins by speedboat (on a fine day, much longer in bad weather). We were under the impression that Thomson were upgrading transfers to a seaplane, along with the rest of our boat, but we had a terrible journey on choppy waters which took getting on for 3 hours. I was sick all the way, along with most of the other women on the boat...the blokes were made of stronger stuff and seemed to survive the journey better. Don't rely on just booking make sure that you upgrade to seaplane if you are at all seasick, it is definitely worth the money. As it happens Thomson did send us back by seaplane and the rest of the people flying back the same week and the previous week to us...it wasn't just us making a mistake.

There is a spa on the island. It is quite expensive $61 for a 30 minute massage (mine actually only lasted 20 mins so I was a bit disappointed) but for those in need of some pampering there was an offer which I didn't see advertised which was 5 hours of treatments, over 5 days for $300 which in effect gets you 2 free hours. If you are interested, ask, as they don't seem to tell everyone about it.

The island itself is small, you can walk round it in 15 minutes, but if you just want to relax and unwind, this isn't a problem. There is a dive school for dive and snorkelling trips, my husband did a resort dive (accompanied dive on the house reef as he isn't PADI qualified) for $95 and also a night snorkel for $22. There are other hotel organised trips such as trip to Male, night fishing, island hopping.

The pool area is one area we wished we'd made more use of. There was a gorgeous infinity pool which was warm like a bath, and comfy sun loungers. We spent too longer getting bitten on the beach, but my son did like paddling and building sandcastles.

Don't rely on getting anything from the island shop. There isn't much in there other than postcards and souvenirs. I would have expected a better stock of toileteries in case you run out, but they did stock suncream but it was quite pricey. However, there is a 'library' in the main bar which does have a range of books to borrow in case you run out (like me).

All in all, if you want a relaxing holiday in beautiful surroundings, book away. If you like a bit more going on, this isn't the place for you.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled with family
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4  Thank warringtonadam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 June 2010

There are lots of reviews on this island and most are reasonably accurate. This is an island with lots to offer but in the typical low key Maldivian style.
The staff are excellent and the resort is well managed. It is a small island and most of the island is well used with beach bungalows around most of the island perimeter.
These bungalows are really comfortable and would be my choice if returning to the island. The reasoning is that the garden rooms are perfectly adequate but are in the interior of the island and are semi-detached. Beach space is limited on the island so finding a spot to park your body can cause some upset to the people in the beach bungalows who protect their bit of sand. The garden bungalows are also very dark and a torch is advised to see in the wardrobe and safe. Noise from the neighbours can be a problem and we had one morning when our neighbours were leaving the island early and decided to watch TV at what sounded like a loudish level and the opening and closing of doors etc lost us a couple of hours sleep!
A move to a beach bungalow sorted that out and I can say that the change is worth the upgrade charge. The additional little touches add to the experience.
The water bungalows are very nice and very light with lovely views out to open sea (this will vary depending on which bungalow you are in). There are no steps into the water so guest are obliged to walk back to the beach to get into the water. Very nice if you want to splash out a bit but I'd question the additionla cost/value.
Water bungalow guest are fed and watered in their own restaurant and although I personally didn't experience the food here friends and others chose to use the main restaurant for the evening meal as the selection from the international buffet was wider.

Extras are expensive so I would recommend an all inclusive package. Bingo and Crab racing was expensive. We were charged $15 for 4 bingo cards and the prizes were a bottle of wine for each winner of 3.
The wall around the island is a (necessary) obstacle, At low tide getting out does mean there is a temptation to some to walk on the reef and made me despair when I saw it. Wait for sufficient water and the rewards are there with one of the best snorkelling reefs I've seen. Get the tide right and you don't even need to swim much - simply get out to the reef and drift along viewing the spectacle. At the ends of the island the tide can be difficult but we avoided these but many people circuited the island with no great problem.
In summary I'd say this is a very well run typical low key island. If you are going then book a seaplane transfer as in poor weather the boat transfer can be a challenge and is a drag even in good weather at 1 1/2 hours of wind/wave buffeting.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Kalamaki-Rob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2010

Both my Dad and I had never been to the Maldives before but after our holiday to Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo we would go back in the future.

Firstly if you are thinking of going to this island then I would strongly recommend taking the sea plane. On the way out we had to drop another couple off but on the way back we went straight to Male airport. The journey only took about 25 minutes which compared to a 2.5hrs jet boat after a 10hrs 45 minutes flight it is definitely worth every penny, plus the view of the Maldives from the sky is brilliant.

We arrived at the island and felt very welcomed. Receiving a cold towel and a cup of iced tea on arrival was very welcoming and refreshing. I had booked a twin room with going with my dad so when we walked into our room to find a double bed we went to reception and the problem was solved straight away. They did say we could move but we liked the location of the room being so close to the pool and sea so were more than happy with an additional single bed.

The room was comfortable for the amount of time that we spent in it. There was a safe, the wardrobe was big enough with enough hanging space and the air conditioning was very efficient. I liked the ‘outdoor bathroom’. The rooms were cleaned every day and if you so wished you could have clean bed linen and towels every day. Also every night someone would come round and give you clean towels for the pool. There was a mini bar in the room but even if you are on all inclusive, this wasn’t included.

There are two restaurants. One was for the water bungalows only and there was another one for everyone else. Depending on what the purpose of your trip is, I would criticise the restaurant if you are after romance and intimacy. Even the restaurant for the water bungalows didn’t really have much more ambiance. However, for us it was fine. You are assigned a table and a waiter for the week. The waiters were very attentive and efficient. I wouldn’t criticise the food and say it was bad because it was far from it but a lot of the food was spicy. Even the dishes that were supposedly mild weren’t! We were only there for a week so there was plenty of choice with there being different dishes every night. There was always two different flavours of soup for lunch and dinner and someone cooking fresh pasta. Curry was served for EVERY meal of the day! Was never a big issue but meal times were a bit restricting with meals only being on for two hours. Breakfast - 7.30am - 9.30am (considering we were on holiday we found breakfast finishing at 9.30am was rather early!) Lunch was 12.30pm - 2.30pm and dinner was 7.30pm - 9.30pm, again like breakfast it would have been nice had dinner gone on for a bit longer. However on a few nights my dad and I were still in the restaurant after 9.30pm and although everything had been cleared and we were just finishing off we weren’t felt pressured into rushing and leaving.

There isn’t really any evening entertainment. The first night we were asked to join in with crab racing but we politely turned it down, with it being the first night we weren’t sure if we could handle such excitement! A few nights there was a man playing the piano and singing. I don’t know whether it was because the hotel was relatively quiet so nothing was put on or that is the norm.

The pool area was very pleasant with a bar 10 steps away. This is where the snack between 10.30am -11.30am and the afternoon snack was served. On the first day we had the 10.30am snack because we missed breakfast. The snack is a choice of three sandwiches - tuna, cheese and tomato and ham and comes with chips. Plenty of it and again freshly made. The afternoon snack was ok. The cake was a bit dry. We were ok because the hotel was quiet so there wasn’t any problem getting a sun lounger but the area around the pool isn’t massive. There are plenty of loungers along the beach though. Having travelled all round the world I have never been in a pool that was so warm. It was very well designed in terns of depth because I spent hours in it at a time.

We had one wet day and during this time there really isn’t anything to do. I had an hours massage at the spa which was very pleasant and wasn't that bad value for money. They did a deal so I got 30mins back massage and 30mins Indian head massage for $71.

Over all we had a really good week and I would recommend the hotel. My top tips would be;
Take the sea plane to and from Male airport.
Go all inclusive because looking at the prices of drinks it could turn out quite costly otherwise.
Don’t take any fancy clothes or shoes for that matter. I wore sandals on the first night for dinner then saw others weren’t wearing any so didn’t bother for the rest of the week!
Take insect repellent. On a daily basis they did fumigate the place but we were still getting bitten.
Don’t bother taking your laptop. There is a a cyper café which was very good value. There were different tariffs but we got a two hour one, valid for 5 days and it was only $3. The computers are modern and quick etc.

  • Stayed: June 2010
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Thank whichdestinationnext
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 June 2010

it is really a wonderful place. i enjoyed sea plane route between male and ellaidhoo, sea huts are excellent. we went for scuba diving!! it is a aquarium of ocean.
i enjoyed crab race.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Mac024
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2010

It was the most important occasion of our lives, our wedding and the trip to Chaaya was the icing on the cake!
It was recommended to us by our trip advisor, and I must say it was all that they promised and much more.
We had booked for a land bungalow and transfer by speedboat. But after they found out we were honeymooners, they upgraded us to the water suites and transfer by sea plane at no extra cost.
We were also given a welcome drink, a plate of fruits and a bottle of wine. The food was just excellent, and we ate to our heart's content. The room was excellent and the staff extremely cooperative and professional.
One must try the snorkeling and other sea sports as they have excellent facilities. They also have a great spa and we tried the Balinese spa which was quite relaxing.
All in all, I don't know where the days disappeared. Such beautiful sunrises and romantic sunsets, the colorful fishes...
We would want to keep going back!

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Anindita D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2010

We have been back a few weeks now from our holiday in the Maldives and it has taken some time for us to think about what to put in our review. We booked it 9 months prior to going and had so many high expectations but in some instances feel that both the resort and the Maldives didn't live up to our expectations. Maybe this was our own fault but here's our review - we hope you find it useful.

Flights and First Choice:

We were due to travel out from Manchester airport on 12th May. Unfortuntaley due to 'unscheduled maintenance' Thomsons/First Choice delayed our flight by 24 hrs. This wasn't a good start to a holiday which we'd paid a lot of money for and meant we lost out on a whole day of our holiday but we had to get on with it.

Weather in May:

Like some of the other reviews on here we also sufferred from some bad weather to which although we knew it was the start of the rainy season we never expected the extreme rain that went on for two full days at one stage - but you cannot control the weather and this was no fault of the island. There is not a lot to do on the resort to begin with (which is why we went) but when it rains there is really NOTHING to do. The sheltered bar is not big enough to house all guests. We did have some good days but throughout the whole stay it was overcast and windy - please just be warned if you are considering going from May onwards.

Beach Bungalows:

We had previoulsy researched the different types of accommodation and finally settled on a beach bungalow as they are the only ones that are detached. We had beach bungalow 309 which was in one of the best locations of all the beach bungalows - highly recommended. We came out of the veranda and we were straight through a passage in the bushes onto the gorgeous beach. The room itself had a really big bed, plenty of other places to sit, tv, aircon and fan and a great big outside bathroom. Our room was kept immaculate and was cleaned morning and evening which meant sand was kept to a minimum inside!

Beach and Pool:

We often sat outside the bungalow on beds or on the veranda and although we were near one of the passage ways we were never particlulary affected by lots of people walking by. There were plenty of sunbeds and although the beach is small it never felt overcrowded. The lagoon was lovely and we did try some snorkelling although the sea was very choppy which meant getting past the wall was not the nicest experience. I've never snorkelled before and i appreciate that the sealife around the island was fantastic - although i will not begin to be an expert! One thing i did notice was that there was quite a few broken sunbeds and there wasn't enough mattresses for all the beds so it was first come first served for comfort! In fairnesss we managed to get one everyday but others weren't so fortunate. Also i would have expected the beds to be cleared away and set out ready for the next day but this never happened so it made the beach look a little untidy.

We never sat around the pool but i did use the pool once or twice. Hardly anyone went in which meant it was very relaxing. The beds around the pool looked in much better condition but i can't comment as nver used them.

Restaurant:

We had use of the main restaurant and being on all inclusive meant we had breakfast, lunch and dinner there. This was the first time we had experienced an all inclusive holiday as we often like to have the variety but being on a small island doesn't give you that. I would recommend all inclusive as the other option would only entail a heavy cost to you - prices were ridculously high. There was an abundance of food to choose from and my partner loved the curry (which if you want you can even have for breakfast).There was always a choice of curry, pasta, beef, pork, chicken, fish, salad, rice, noodles and vegetables. The desserts were hit and miss but always a lot to choose from. I particularly liked the banana crumble! Our main issue with the restaurant was the fact we had to share our table with another couple for the length of our stay. The hotel was at full capacity and so we had no other choice. It was the little things like this that let the resort down. We had the same waiter throughout the stay who was pleasant enough.

We tried the snacks out a few times and really enjoyed them - especially the little desserts. The chef was really pleasant who did these and was very interested in learning about where you had come from. It didn't overly bother us the restrictions on when food was available but at times when you were hungry the snack options were expensive so you'd prefer not to bother and wait!

We never ate in the smaller restaurant but did go to the bar a few times. We were glad we weren't in there as it felt like everyone was on top of each other. Having paid more money to stay in a water villa you'd hope to be able to have a bit of space between the tables. The other problem was that when the weather was bad they had the white sheeting down to protect from the wind and rain. It made it look a bit sad really but understand it was down for a reason

Bar:

We mainly went to the main (bigger). It was lovely when you could sit outside looking out to the sea or the lagoon. Inside was ok (which we had to use when the weather was bad) but like i said before it wasn't big enough to house everyone. We have mixed reviews about the bars and the service in the bars. A part of me feels that it was under staffed. Often we were pounced on by staff and at other times we'd put our order in and would be waiting ages! The staff were pleasant and friendly but i think they needed a bit more order to ensure everyone was dealt with in a timely and fair manner. Sometimes people would be served before those that had been waiting ages. The other bug bear was that you would order the same drink but it would never be the same. I mainly drank the vodka and orange (screwdriver) cocktail off the all inclusive list. Sometimes the amount of vodka would knock your head off and other times i wondered if there was even any in! The alcohol on the all inclusive was ok but the cocktails were quite lame. We bought some off the main list ($10 a cocktail) which were good but not worth the money.

Entertainment and excursions:

We didn't expect much from the evening entertrainment and so we weren't overly disappointed that it wasn't much! We unfortunatley didn't get chance to experience the crab racing as we missed it the first evening due to our 24 hr delay and the following week t never went ahead due to the bad weather. We did the bingo once which was fun especially as we won! Mind you $10 per person was a tad expensive i thought.

We never did any of the excursions or special meals. The excursions were cancelled quite a bit throughout our stay due to the weather so in the end we decided not to chance it. We felt the cost of the 'special' meals were expensive and mainly fish based so decided not to chance it. Again as the weather was bad these meals either had to be consumed in the same restaurant as everyone else or under cover somewhere so didn't really have the effect they were aiming to get! Some people we knew did have them and said they were good but i cannot comment.

We did feel that they were constantly trying to sell the meals which was a little off putting at times. It felt like things were extermely pricey and as you are stuck on the island you have no other choice so they will get you. Go all inclusive!

I did use the spa which i really enjoyed. The girls in there were really nice and friendly and the swedish massage was great! Highly recommended.

The things that let this island down are the little things. We booked the maldives as an 'extra special' holiday. We often do city breaks but felt ready for two weeks of relaxation and luxury. We definitely relaxed - there is nothing to do and this was bliss - be warned if this isn't you. The luxury element wasn't there - i wasn't expecting over the top but things like having our own table in the restaurant, consistency at the bar and general ability to take a drink where you like were just not there. Also it just didn't feel that the staff went that extra mile. This did take the relaxation element away at times!

We both feel that next time (if we do return) we would go between Jan - march but it will unlikely that we will return to Ellaidhoo. It wasn't the best experience for our first time in the maldives - the weather may be a little to blame for this but the resort didn't make it up either. I've tried to be as fair as possible with this review and hope that people will see it that way.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Paula083
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon

Address: Ellaidhoo Island (Formerly Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo)
Region: Maldives > Alifu Atoll > North Ari Atoll > Ellaidhoo Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Ellaidhoo Island
Price Range: £173 - £581 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon 4*
Number of rooms: 112
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

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