We spent a week here over Christmas. It is important to point out that we got a good deal and had read previous reviews. Therefore, weren't expecting a super luxurious, five-star hotel. We booked an overwater bungalow and were on half-board. So now the details…
FOOD: I would NOT recommend this hotel unless you book a water bungalow. The guests staying in the water bungalows have their own restaurant which is more intimate and civilized, especially for those on meal plans. There were a few occasions (Christmas Eve Gala, Maldivian Gala Night) where we were forced to eat at the massive main restaurant with the entire resort (1,000 people) and it was a mad house. The buffet opened at 8pm, and by 8:10 half the food was gone. People were grabbing multiple plates and stacking them sky-high with food. Not my style. This never occurred at the smaller restaurant and there was always plenty no matter what time you showed up for dinner. As for food quality, my husband and I found the food to be quite good. Based on past reviews, we had very low expectations going in to it and instead were pleasantly surprised. Was it fancy? Nope. Did it taste good? Yep. We especially enjoyed the Indian food. I ate curry almost every night and was in heaven. We did try both the Italian restaurant and Thai which were also quite good.
ROOM: While not fancy or modern, it was sufficient and always clean. We did get ants in the bathroom after sunset, but it didn't bother us too much. Once again, absolutely splurge for the water bungalow. It is the only way.
SPA: A must! We loved the spa and spoiled ourselves with twice-a-day treatments. If you keep the same therapist you get 15% off future treatments, so we stuck with the same two women (which we were happy to do since they were awesome) and basically tried everything on the menu.
SERVICE: Everyone was friendly. High praise goes to our spa therapists (Kadet and another woman from Bali -perhaps Andray?) and the gentleman from Bangladesh who runs the Golf Bar/Cafe. There were a few occasion where you got the sense that the employees are trained to do only their tasks and if something pops up they are unable to handle the situation. For instance, we were waiting to see if the Whale Shark trip would be canceled due to poor weather and in the meantime tried to eat breakfast at the larger restaurant since it is closer to the lobby. They said no. In most other hotels, it wouldn't be problem (it is the exact same food at both locations).
ISLAND: The island is quite big for the Maldives, but we didn't think that bikes were necessary. We happily walked everywhere. There are sandbags on the north side of the island as the water there can be choppy due to the wind and erodes the beach. The south side, where the water bungalows are, is definitely the nicest part of the island. There is good snorkeling near the Italian restaurant. Bring your own snorkel gear and water shoes!
Would we go back? Probably not. There are simply too many places in the world to see. However, it was a nice week and we enjoyed ourselves.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sun Island measuring about 1.6 km in length and around 380 meters in width has 350 elegantly furnished guestrooms, including 72 water bungalows, out of which, 4 are Presidential Suites, 218 Super Deluxe Beach Bungalows and 60 Deluxe Beach Bungalows. All Deluxe and Super Deluxe Beach Bungalows are built on the beach ensuring a direct view of the shore and sea. All Water Bungalows are built on stilts in the lagoon overlooking the vast horizon of either the sunrise or sunset view, from your private deck. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sun Island Hotel South Ari Atoll
- Sun Island Resort Maldives
- Sun Island Maldives
- Hotel Sun Island