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Velassaru Maldives
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Reviewed 23 May 2009

Just returned from a wonderful stay. Stayed in a water villa. Room was fabulous and definately had the wow factor. The bed was huge and very comfortable (the best I've ever slept in). Room was very light and airy and the photos just don't do it justice. It exceeded all expectations. We were lucky that our villa faced away from rubbish island. I would have been a little bit disappointed otherwise given that the rates are the same regardless of view. You can see it (and Male) in the distance from some villas. That said, it wouldn't have disuaded me from going, particularly at these current prices, so don't let it put you off. If you can afford to splurge, I think that the water villas are definately worth the extra money. Shampoo and conditioners etc were really good, so I needn't have bothered taking my own expensive stuff.

Some minor niggles though. The porch light shone through into the bedroom at night and it was not possible to turn it off. Strangly, there was no black out blind on the small window next to it. We had to use a towel to cover up the window. Take a sleep mask if you light to sleep in the pitch black! Our aircon also dripped slightly onto the floor, as did the sink. It didn't bother us that much, but was marking the floor which was a shame. We also discovered towards the end of the stay that our safe wasn't bolted down and could simply be lifted/carried out of the room. We only discovered this when they sent someone in to drill it in place. I think that we should have been informed of this as we would have left our valuables/passports etc at reception had we known. This is probably a minor teething problem, given the newness of the resort. I'm sure that they're now all fixed, but it may be worth checking when you get there if you have anything really valuable on you. These were minor issues though and wouldn't disuade me from going and didn't ruin our stay at all.

The island was clean and well manicured. Rubbish etc was not a problem and the landscaping was good. Lots of birds, fruitbats, fish and ....er...a white rabbit (brownie points if you spot him).

Service could be a little hap hazard at times as the room service was slow. Sometimes, despite having been out all morning/early aft, the room wasn't done until late afternoon. This wasn't a particular problem generally, but we sometimes ran out of tea/water/toilet rolls etc. When they did come to clean the room the staff did a very thorough job, although again, took their time. Personally I would have preferred a quick fix (i.e. just made the bed, swept up any sand and replenished water etc) rather than wait for a complete overhaul each day. When we did call housekeeping, they were very quick to respond and the staff were very professional.

Service could also be a little hit and miss at breakfast. We sometimes had to ask for tea/coffee etc and it was a bit slow to arrive. Only a minor point though. Generally was good as was food (esp eggs benedict). That said, the staff do seem to be fairly young and are learning. Things did run much more smoothly when the manager, Saurabh (who was very proficient ), was around. Alish was also superb and did an excellent job.

The snorkelling was fairly good on one side of the island. Lots of colourful fish, but currents were a little strong at times so was hard to get to outer reef as we just kept getting pushed back to shore. We also had a couple of huge stingrays outside our villa each day (410) which were great to look at. Do heed warnings about the trigger fish. There were quite a few around, particularly near the water villas. You will have to go about 50-100m off shore for most of the snorkelling, but we could generally stand up in the water. We also went on a snorkelling trip which I could not recommend highly enough. It was fantastic! It took us along the drop off edge of a reef. Saw lots of mantra rays and a small reef shark, plus huge shoals of fish. You generally can't stand up in the water though as it's too deep, in case you're not a reasonable swimmer, although the staff made me feel very safe and the boat is always close at hand. Would definately recommend it.

Hired the glass bottomed kayak and it wasn't worth it. You couldn't go near the coral/fish in it and there wasn't much to see. Definately worth skipping.

Also had a spa treatment (velassaru signature/experience) . Was good, but expensive ($255 for 2 hrs 15 mins). They didn't really cater much for couples (they only had one treatment on offer) and they weren't able to offer a slight discount or customise anything else for the two of us. It also seemed a bit strange that the most expensive treatment was for men ($425). I'm not sure that they have got their market and pricing right given that most people there were couples. We've had better spa sessions for couples elsewhere which have been much more romantic. That said, if using spa facililties you can show up 45 mins early and use the outdoor jacuzzi pool, sauna and steam room. If you are going for a treatment, then show up early and get the most out of it. In hindsight I would have skipped it and taken some nice salt scrubs, massage oils etc out there with me and had a good diy session in my own bathroom instead. The bathrooms are so nice in the water villas that I spent many an hour in the bath.

Originally we'd booked full board, but cancelled it following reviews on this site. We were glad that we did, (not to say that the food in Vela wasn't great - it was actually very nice), but because it didn't save us any money and would have been too restrictive. We often skipped lunch as breakfast was so big in any event. That said, there was a limited choice available during the day (only buffet at Vela, pizza or bar snacks). The in-dining menu was also very limited (comprising of a couple of sandwiches, a burger and breakfast (which was included anyway). I would have expected more choice.

The pricing of the restaurants was also strange. It was the same price to have a pizza by the pool (which by the way, were delicious) as to go to Etesian and have a bowl of pasta, a free cheese and wine tasting session and a huge bowl of complimentary homemade breads and dips etc. We went to the teppanyaki bar which was also the same price as a big meal at Etesian, but was not nearly as good and overpriced. As a result we went to Etesian most nights and could not speak highly enough about it. The food was truely amazing. The chef is very talented, (particularly given his age) and has trained with the best in the world. The squid ink tanglioni and fish stew were superb, as was his lemongrass creme brulee (quite possibly the best desert that I've ever had!). We were also given complementary deserts on our final night by the chef. In fact, all the staff at Etesian went out of their way to make our experience special. Lei, in particular, provided the best service that I have had in a restaurant and was so attentive and provided a personal touch, going out of our way to remember our names and preferences etc. Saurabh and Gen were also very good. It was because of this service and the excellent food that we kept going back. Don't be put off by the initial formality of the place. It really is possible to dine there for the same price as elsewhere and was definately worth going back to. Am so glad that we stumbled across it on our first night and not out last!

All in all, a great stay. Would have given it 5/5 if not for those minor niggles (but then this is a new resort, so to be expected, and the prices currently reflect this!). There is evidence that the resort is listening to feedback as some previous niggles made by others had been corrected. Would definately consider going back and would recommend it. Special thanks to Lei, Saurabh, Alish, Gen and the chef at Etesian.

Tips:
Take lots of suncream. We got through loads (4 bottles in a week) and it's extortionate to buy in the shop.
Splash out on some lovely aromatherapy scrubs/bath oils etc to take with you (Aromatherpay Essentials do excellent travel sizes).
Take lots of underwater cameras.
Go on a snorkelling trip.
Ladies - flat shoes are best, but you could sling on a pair of heels once inside restaurants (esp Etesian).
Take some nuts/snacks for those inbetween times (esp in the afternoons if you're not up to having a big lunch).
If you fancy an early dinner, then bar snacks from Fen as starters and a pizza (open until 6) makes for a fairly substantial meal.
Definately go to Etesian!!
Don't fly Monach, or upgrade to Premium (see below).


Word of warning re flying with Monach. It is definately not worth it. Initially we decided to go with them as we were going to save about £300 if we went on a Sunday, rather than fly out on the Saturday with Sri Lanka. However, they changed our flight times 3 times, with the result that we had to pay for a hotel at the airport (cost £150) and also lost an additional day off work. Despite showing up 3 hrs before departure, there were no seats left for us to sit together. I am a very nervous flyer, so really did need to sit next to my husband. It turned out that check in opened at 9am (for a 10pm flight) and that many people showed up early or payed premium to secure seats. As a result, I very nearly didn't get on the flight due to nerves, although we were able to get seats together at the last min due to a no show. Whilst some staff were nice, the manager was very abrupt/rude when I tried to explain that I was a nervous flyer. The same happened on the way back. The seats were cramped, no personal tv's/film choice etc, no complimentary water, meals were served very late on the night flight as staff tryed to sell sandwiches etc first to make money. Both on the way and back, the seat in front wouldn't stay in the upright position, so I was particularly cramped. If you don't fancy spending 10 1/2 hrs sat next to a stranger on a really budget airline, then don't fly Monach or at least try and upgrade (I think that this needs to be done at least 5 days before you fly, but do check this with your travel agent).

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank V_M_CBristol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 May 2009

We stayed in a water villa, the speed boat transfer certainly gets you in the mood and the reception, resort is wonderfull.

This is an idyllic resort a certainly a slice of heaven, you definately get the wow factor. Be prepared to chill out big style. The water villa was everything we had imagined wonderful views, the most comfy bed ever, and just perfect for chilling with great loungers & settees for sunbathing.

The service is very laid back and there can be problems with language, a lot of the employees are not very fluent with English, we found this to be difficult at times and slightly stresfull especially at meal times when trying to order, not particularly acceptable considering this is a luxury 5* hotel.

Would not recommend this resort for children, it is a resort for couples/honeymooner's

There is a wide variety of water sports available anything from fishing to wind surfing etc, snorkelling equipment is available and free.

Be prepared to pay a minimum of $40 for a bottle of wine and the water is $5.50, coffee $6 and the cheapest drink at the bar is $8 even beer is $9. The food is very good and there are 4 restaraunts to choose from. Would recomment half board although this only entitles you to eat at the boffet, if dining in the other restaurants you get a 30% discount. average meal cost including 1 bottle of wine is about $150. Pizza $20. There is a 10% service charge on everything.

Not happy at having to pay for the nipresso coffee in the room $6 although sachet tea & coffee are free and you are provided with about 4 small bottles of water in your room daily.

Spa treatments are super but a massage will set you back $130.

This resort is very casual and the only things you need to take are flip flops/sandals, very light weight clothing as it is so warm 24/7 a lot of people dine in shorts & t-shirts and there is no point in taking high heels as it is sand sand sand even in the bar area.

  • Stayed: May 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Teresa_B00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile
Google Translation

Stayed: May 2018, travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago
Google Translation

Room Tip: Выбирайте водную виллу подальше от берега. Мы жили на вилле 420 – это уже достаточно далеко и уединенно.
  • Stayed: May 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago
Google Translation

Room Tip: Все зависит от финансов!
  • Stayed: May 2018, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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