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“Beautiful Island”

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Royal Island Resort & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 December 2013

I have been to several islands in the Maldives and this is one of the better ones. In fact, this was our second visit to Royal Island and it didn't let us down.

We booked through Angelfish Travel, who gave us good advice before we booked, were very efficient and helpful and and made it all go like clockwork. They also arranged non-stop BA flights. I picked them because they gave us good service some years ago.

My only grumble about the travel arrangements is the long and convoluted transfer. The security arrangements were ridiculous for an internal flight, the bureaucracy excessive and the delays long. Previously, we transferred by seaplane, which was much better.

This is one of the few remaining islands not blighted by having to look out at water bungalows. I much prefer beach bungalows and want an unobstructed view, not just from the bungalow, but around the island. The rooms are nice and not as basic as on many other islands and there are few rooms which are not in a good position. We have stayed in one around number 200 and this time in 153.

Weather was beautiful, unlike a year ago in Holiday Island when we caught a tropical storm and had a week of unrelenting storm clouds and rain. Snorkelling was up to standard for the Maldives and the beach access was good sand with little broken coral. We found that the best access to the outer side of the reef was over the south pier.

We stayed half-board and the food was generally good with a good choice. However, the Boli-bar by the pool is to be avoided - it serves poor food at high prices. Staff were friendly and helpful and the service good.

Most of the visitors were Russian with a few Italians. There appeared to be no other English for most of our stay. All in all, a good time was had and I would seriously consider returning to Royal Island.

Room Tip: In Winter, the south side is bit more sunny and seems to have more breeze, a nice combination. The...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank John F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 4 December 2013

The overall service was excellent. It is a clean resort and the people were very nice during our stay. My friend went diving and it was great. The food in the main restaurant was not as great but they have a la carte restaurant "Raabondhi Restaurant" that had amazing seafood dishes.

Room Tip: Choose a room with a sea-view
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  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Omadwar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 December 2013

My wife and I have just came back from a 7 days stay at the Royal Island Resort & Spa. We had perfect sunny 7 days and tried to enjoy every bit of them!
Below is my review of this hotel. Overall, I loved the island beaches and rainforest but was deeply disappointed by the customer service (or lack of thereof).

Transportation:
Getting to the Maldives may be a daunting trip. My wife and I flew from JFK to Dubai (12 hours) then to Malé (4hours). When we arrived to the airport, we looked for the kiosk as requested by the hotel staff. The fellow that was attending the kiosk just took our names and asked us to wait for a few minutes. He did not offer any greetings or explanations on what to do next. 15' later, another dude, walked us to the domestic airport terminal were we had another flight awaiting for us. I was under the impression that we would be taken to the island by hydroplane but we were surprised that we were put in another aircraft. The 20' flight was to the Atoll capital. From there we were greeted by the hotel staff and taken by boat to the hotel. It's a 30' nice boat ride.
This whole part of the trip was not previously clearly illustrated when we made our reservations.
Note that the airplane transporting the guests was also owned by the Villa Hotels. Villa Hotels own a few islands there and now they have their own airline!
I compared the arrival reception we received to tourists that were going to the Four Seasons or Anantara and there was no comparison.

The Island:
Gorgeous and stunning! You'd forget the long flight hours as soon as you land on this location. The island is well preserved with a decent balance between beach and lush rainforest.
The beaches around the island are all amazing. You are protected by digs or by the reef, so the depth of the water does not exceed 6' unless you venture in behind the protections. You will love snorkeling or kayaking here as the surroundings are so rich in various fish and coral species.
You will enjoy watching the fruit bats: totally harmless by the way. Mosquitos are a downer so make sure you bring in your anti-mosquitoes spray.
The sunrise and sunset views are stunning and the fact that he island is not crowded by tourists, you'll enjoy the peace and quiet during these moments.

Room:
The reviews about the hotel are correct. The rooms are basic and quite rustic. The location and proximity to the beach make up for the lack of amenities and luxury decor that you'd find in standard 5 star hotels. The AC is not well-positioned since it's right above the bed. I had to clean the filters of the AC because they were full of dust and other stuff.
The best rooms are #180 and above, western view, larger beach, quitter than the rooms placed next to the lobby or restaurants.
The rooms were cleaned twice a day and the service was OK. there were still some dirty spots in non common areas.


Restaurants:
My wife and I paid for half-board, the self serve buffet offers excellent breakfast. A mixture of western and local delicacies. At Diner, the dishes were not worth of a 3 Michelin star but there was enough variety and freshness that it was worth the price.
The main restaurant has an open-air huge aquarium. It was super fun watching the fish play around whilst eating.
The other island restaurant is not bad either. The location is stunning and makes for a perfect sunset dinner. It's an à la carte menu, we tried a few dishes at lunch and we were happily surprised.
The hotel offers in room dine in. Cheaper option that the restaurants wight he same quality. We ordered wraps and sandwiches a few times. Always perfect taste, temperature and fast delivery.
The service at the restaurant is excellent. I think this is the only portion of the review where i'd give a 5 star feedback! I want to thank Zubair and his team for the dedication and help throughout our stay.

Food Prices: It's a bit pricey but understandably so. Overall the half board, à la carte menu or in room service were priced decently. That said the prices of the drinks are exorbitant! $3 to $5 for a 100ml bottle of Coke! Seriously guys! that's a pure abuse. Juices are at $6 a pop. There are no local shops to buy any drinks. My wife and I do not drink alcohol but the prices of the cocktails and wine are more expensive than Manhattan were we live.

Management:
This is the weakest link! First let me preface this by stating that my wife and I are world travelers and we've been in locations as remote as Tanzania, Amazon or small villages in SE Asia.
I would easily state that because of the poor management, lack of training and lack of basic hospitality skills of the staff, I would not put my feet again at this hotel!
From our arrival day, it was obvious that the lack of fluency in English or any other language for the that matter caused a huge communication problem. I speak 6 languages and I definitely tried but it didn't work.
For instance, we specifically asked to be put in a room around #180 (6 weeks before our arrival). When we arrived, the reception had no idea about this request. Fortunately we had a decent room though.
Another example: I had to remind the front desk twice of our arrival time by email. The dude that was responding to me did not bother searching for my initial email and kept asking me to resend the arrival info again.
When we arrived, I was asked to forward to them my email with my flight information again! I sent it twice to the address provided to me but they kept telling me that they never received it. I started questioning my faith in Gmail! but a few days later, we discovered that the email address given to me was wrong! Go figure!
The next day I asked the reception to help me recharge a SIM card that I bought in Malé. Before I asked for help, it was confirmed to me that the folks at the reception would be able to help me. unfortunately when I tried to use my phone, the money was not properly charged as I requested. I lost $25 but that's not the problem. The issue was that I lost 1 hour debating with the hotel staff to finally see the pseudo-manager telling me that the "transaction" of recharging the phone was done on a personal level between the receptionist and myself!!!
So basically, the same dude who sold me 2 excursions and then refilled my phone wrongly is acting at times on behalf of the hotel and other times working for his own account as telecom rep!
When we were leaving the hotel room, we got a very cold phone call: "You're late for check in"!!! No hi, no can we help you, etc... My wife was having stomach problems and we were delayed by 10'!
Very poor service! This is totally unacceptable for whatever price a customer would pay for a hotel room.
When I tried to check out (and not check in as the receptionists keep referring to this), 2 US credit cards did not work! The system keeps giving them the error that the card is not honored! After calling my bank, it was confirmed that their system was malfunctioning while everyone oat the reception was looking at me as if I couldn't pay! Fortunately my 3rd card worked and I was able to leave on the next boat to the airport.

Overall, the single point of failure of this hotel it's his management staff. Really poor. I traveled to more than 50 countries but I have never experienced such lack of basic hospitality skills. The owners should take a serious look at this as with the growing competition, this behavior will cost them a lot.

Excursions:

We booked the private island excursion and we loved every minute of it. You are basically dropped on this small desert island 15' by speedboat from the hotel. Paradis on earth! Serenity, privacy and romance.
One piece of advice to the hotel management is to clean the beaches every now and then. It's so sad to be in a such spectacular place and encounter countless empty plastic bottles, plastic bags, etc... I could not manage myself from collecting some of the trash myself.
The second excursion we took was to two local islands in the Atoll. The islands had nothing to offer. Very basic and filthy islands. Plenty of mosquitos, no cultural stuff, not local articrafts center, no interesting shopping. The vistas were great but were ruined by the dirty streets and beaches! I would highly recommend not losing your time with this excursion.

Spa:
My wife use the Spa services for a 90 mms deep massage with local oils. According to her, the service was perfect and was really happy with the way she was treated. The masseuses are mainly from Malaysia or Nepal. High quality customer service and quite fluent in English. The Spa local is also beautiful with a Japanese Koi garden and open air massage tables. The prices were comparable to those practiced in large Western cities.

Delphis Dive Center:
My wife and I are avid divers. Delphis has fulfilled many of our dreams: diving with dolphins, Mantas, Napoleon fish, etc... The service is excellent and professional. No compromise on safety.
The dive sites are close by and the dive masters knew what they were doing. The ratio of dive masters per divers was not more than 1:5. Special thanks to Vincent & Francesca!
A couple of downers though: We could not go and dive at Hanifaru. The dive center does not offer this service anymore because the Maldivian government is making people pay additional fees to go and snorkel at this location. Hanifaru being the Mecca of manta rays.
The prices practiced by the dive center were on par with those we visited at the Carribean. Note that you will have to pay a separate fee to the hotel for the boat ride! It's a bit weird!
One small remark, the service was a bit too mechanical at times. Junko one of the dive masters/manager was bit like a military general! Hey relax, we're all on vacation :) We'll be careful, but let's keep the smile on.
It is noticeable that some of the staff were not happy with the way she was giving them orders.

Guests at the Hotel:
Mainly Russians, Italians and Germans. Apparently not a lot of Americans make it to this resort. Overall folks were quite courteous and enjoying the nice vistas like us.

Conclusion:
Loved the island, the diving center and the two restaurants. The place is decent to have a great relaxing vacation away from the hectic big cities life. There are not a lot of entertainment, cultural or shopping options.
I would never go again to this hotel because of the poor management. If it weren't to the dice center or the restaurants, I would give this hotel a 2*. I do not think the price/quality is worth it. I would definitely go back to the Maldives but will try a better place.

Room Tip: Rooms #180 and up are great, Mini bar drink prices are cheaper than restaurants, Dine in menu is wor...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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21  Thank YBYKD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2013

Very nice Resort where you want to come back again!

In this place where are created all facilities to make you feel relaxed and far from urbanization.
The first impression was very positive and I am glad that until the end of our stay it didn't change. We were greeted and invited to the lobby bar for the check in procedure, refreshing welcome drink /coconut juice/ was served while we were filling in the check in forms.
Then the receptionist showed us our villa and introduced all the facilities. We have stayed in the Double Deluxe Room # 119, very comfortable villa with the great sea view and private beach side.
The Resort has quite a wide range of facilities to keep the guests occupied based on their interests: billiard, tennis court, table tennis, gym, pool, football field, spa facilities.
The Restaurants are serving quite wide range of food which is fresh; everyone can find something based on their taste. You can find there the BEST papaya and other fruits as well, which is available on buffet. The staff is friendly, smiling and fast.
The Spa has a selection of massages which are worth to experience. The open air environment of Spa rooms is very relaxing.
The beach is clean, with nice sand and amazing view to the sea.

All in all it is very nice, comfortable, relaxing resort/island with good value for money.

Room Tip: We stayed in Room 119. very comfortable double deluxe villa with amazing view to the sea.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Gayané G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 November 2013

I have returned recently from a 7 day stay on this resort, and was fortunate to have brilliant weather. The accommodations consist of wooden bungalows on the beach front on the surrounds of the island. I stayed in two different bungalows due to an extended stay. Both accommodations were in excellent condition and cleaned daily. Housekeeping were attentive and ensured that sunbeds and towels were laid out each morning ready for use on the beach (outside the front door).
The pool area is good and less crowded as most preferred to use their private beaches.
This is a beautiful island and the staff are fantastic, it is peaceful and the waters are perfect blue in colour.
Food is well presented with Maldivian selections and european. Ensure that you check out what the chefs are cooking each day. Food on offer is not of the highest standard but toursts must remember that all food products in the Maldives are imported - there are no fresh diary, meats or fruits. So the chefs and staff do well with what is available.
I had a wonderful stay on this island - no it is not 5 star but it is nearly - staff were fantastic and the location is heaven.
Exercusions here are not as expensive as other resorts and the spa was also excellent (look out for the different offers available).

Wonderful relaxing stay - Thank-you to all the staff

Room Tip: 160 and up
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled solo
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4  Thank Jake S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 October 2013

RI is a beautiful island resort with a great spa, and more than enough 5 star facilities to keep anyone busy. It is not a super lux secluded island, but a very casual, relaxed, 5 star resort. I have stayed in many more luxurious hotels around the world, but have never had such a relaxing and positive holiday. The staff are excellent, food is good although largely buffet style, and facilities are generally good. The beach (sunrise side) is beautiful and the lagoon great for beginner snorkelling although experienced people will want to venture to other islands on trips to get a better range. I thoroughly recommend this hotel as a value for money get away.

Room Tip: Book villas on sunrise side of island as this is best beach and lagoon, approximately room numbers 2...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BrianE300
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 October 2013

Nice accommodation in large wooden cabins on the beach, cleaned twice per day. Good selection of food in a buffet style breakfast and dinner. Only down was no non smoking area in other bar and restaurant.

Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
Thank ragalbraith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Royal Island Resort & Spa

Address:
Region: Maldives > Baa Atoll > Horubadhoo Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Horubadhoo Island
Price Range: £140 - £601 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Royal Island Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 150
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Come experience the Maldives you’ve always dreamt of at Royal Island Resort & Spa. Amidst the sparkling jewels of the Indian Ocean, our exquisite Maldives luxury hotel shines and dazzles above all. Indulge and immerse yourself in a colorful journey of discovery, where shores lined with luxuriant banyans and lush palms yield to a majestic underwater world that will render you speechless. Enjoy unmatched services and facilities, including the lavish Araamu Spa and a fabulous selection of restaurants and bars. Relax and unwind with a vast selection of resort activities , including a fully equipped gymnasium, tennis, and squash to scuba diving and water skiing. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Royal Island Resort And Spa
Royal Island Hotel Baa Atoll
Royal Island Resort Maldives

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