We stayed in a deluxe over-water villa for 10 days in December 2011. The villa was large, with a big comfortable bed and everything worked perfectly. The deck was totally private, so no worries about being seen by the neighbours. The spa pool on the deck is bigger than it looks in the web site photographs, and has powerful jets. The lagoon is about 4 feet deep, with direct access from the deck; the steps even have a hot shower. The house reef is only 15 yards away, but the lagoon has sharp bits of coral so take swim shoes if you’re not wearing fins.
The bathroom was huge; the inside/outside arrangement cleverly allows you to watch the fish whilst in the shower or toilet! The room was properly serviced twice daily and the minibar refilled, including wine, each morning. We watched fish, including rays, from the deck and through the amazing glass floor in the entrance hall.
The main restaurant Lily Maa had wide choices to a high standard and every night was themed. We thought the French and Indian Ocean nights particularly good. Every meal had chefs cooking different dishes from scratch as we watched, including desserts. This resort has a surprisingly good range of European cheeses, properly kept by the French Executive chef - who was always on hand to explain each dish. Service was just right - subtle but attentive. The all inclusive includes a choice of some 90 bottles of wines (not just white/red carafes) and they had every one we asked for.
Many of the other guests were young Chinese or Japanese on honeymoon, so the bars were quiet in the evenings and service very attentive, with waiters remembering drink orders from the previous night. There was a wide range of cocktails, although some were better mixed than others.
The water sports centre was helpful and had plenty of snorkelling gear. The coral is in excellent condition and of course there are endless types of fish including different types of rays and reef sharks. We saw turtles, including from a pedalo. Start snorkelling from the eastern end of the island and drift west with the current, snorkel at high tide to swim over the coral - water sports people were very good at explaining the tides and currents.
A highlight was the “coral garden” snorkelling trip where we were taken to pristine coral away from the islands, again to drift with the current with the boat drifting with us. Two trips are included in the package: we also went to the atoll’s capital island and saw dolphins and flying fish on the way there and back.
It does rain in the Maldives, but this resort has an endless supply of umbrellas and the restaurant tables move in and out of doors at speed as the weather changes. But bad weather leads to boat trip cancellations, so worth getting trips booked early.
We flew London to Male direct with BA on near empty (in economy, but packed in premium and club) planes. No point in paying to select seats - everyone laid out across three seats each, both ways.
Lily Beach is as close to perfection as it gets. We would not hesitate to recommend this island.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In the deep blue sea of the Indian Ocean, among the scattered small Islands known as the Garland of Flowers (Maldive Islands) of indescribable nature, Lily Beach Resort is the island - Huvahendhoo at the South East Ari-Atoll. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Lily Beach Resort And Spa
- Lily Beach Hotel South Ari Atoll
- Lily Beach Resort All Inclusive
- Lily Beach Maldives