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Chris W
Singapore, Singapore

Needs a sixth star

Review of Como Maalifushi
5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 26 Feb 2017
Wow. What a place. I would give it six stars if I could.

My experience is not going to apply to everyone, as it came about in unusual circumstances, but I'll tell you the story anyway. We had a lot of trouble with the seaplanes flying in: first it was delayed, then our flight was combined with another that would stop at another island first instead of being direct, then it was delayed again, then they couldn't open the door at the first island and we bobbed around like a cork for half an hour getting seasick until someone on the outside managed to crowbar it open, then that plane couldn't fly again so we were stuck there until they could get another plane... so we missed our first afternoon at the resort and were about four hours late and a bit worse for wear when we got there. But the thing is, none of this is the resort's fault: they are beholden to the seaplane company, Maldivian, for the transfers. Yet the manager met us at the arrival pier, all apologies, and promptly upgraded us to the Como Suite to make amends.

As long as I live, I will never again see luxury like that place. It was just extraordinary and we spent our first hour musing about which film stars and heads of state might have stayed here before us. To call it a two-bedroom suite would be accurate but massively underselling it: the walk-in wardrobes alone were the size of my master bedroom at home. There was a vast living room, an entrance hall with a window in the floor looking down into the sea, there was an enormous bathroom with a free-standing bath looking straight out into the Indian ocean, there was a pool, there were steps straight into the sea, there was so much decking the family of four could basically pick a deck each to lounge on, there was a kitchen, three toilets... it just went on forever.

Now, that's a hell of a lot better than the single-bedroom water suite we'd paid for, but even if we had just got what we had booked the time would have been exceptional. The staff are wonderful, endlessly helpful and friendly. We went half board, and am glad we didn't go full board as I was stuffed to capacity on just the two meals a day, which were of very high quality, with varied menus and a number of one-off buffet nights through the course of the week. Most meals are had at the centre of the resort, but there is also a fine Japanese/Thai restaurant over the water facing the sunset, where they feed fish (and, eventually, large sharks) from an interior balcony.

We were provided with bikes for the whole family without having asked for them, though you don't really need them; you couldn't walk for longer than 10 minutes without falling off the end. The spa section, also built over the water, is peaceful and the massages serene.

We spent most of the time when we weren't eating snorkelling in the water. There is a house reef, which like all reefs in the area has been blighted by El Nino and bleaching in recent years, but there is still plenty of it that is beautiful to swim around. You can swim with little effort to a neighbouring island - in fact, at low tide, you can wade over there - and on one day, my birthday, we arranged a barbecue on that island and were taken there by speedboat.

There is a marine centre with a qualified marine biologist, Lisa, who is extremely knowledgeable about sea life, reefs and diving. We went on a trip to see turtles - and saw dolphins on the way - beyond the reef and the atoll and into more open ocean. You can also put your name on a waiting list to swim with whale sharks. It works like this: they give you a mobile phone, and if whale sharks are seen, they phone you and tell you to get to the jetty within 15 minutes. This is always at night. You then take a speedboat out to a fishing trawler - an operational one, there are fishermen on board shining a light out in order to attract baitfish they will then use to catch tuna - and you can either stand on the side of the trawler looking out over the water where the light goes out and see whale sharks coming to the surface to eat, or you can snorkel around to see them.

I got my call on the fifth night. I must say snorkelling with them was a little nerve-wracking: the swell was high, you are next to a big trawler with diesels and pumps running, and you can't see very much in the water, you're just aware of a shape passing by and perhaps the outline of a massive tail. But from on board, you can see them exceptionally clearly: they break the surface just a couple of feet away, with black spotted colouration on their grey backs, surrounded by smaller fish hitching a ride to the food. They are beautiful and it is the sort of thing you might get to see once in a lifetime.

You are supplied with a snorkel, mask and fins for the duration of your stay.

What else can I tell you. I hear some people moaning about the quality of the waiting staff in the restaurants, and it is varied, but the best of them are wonderful, and so friendly. One, Boji, forged a great connection with my son, and even played pool with him in the play room during his time off. Adam, who hosted our day trip to the desert island, was friendly and capable. The managers were always around, checking in on people and making sure things were OK. I could name a dozen who impressed us with their nature and their warmth.

Of course, it costs a fortune; it's the most expensive holiday I've ever taken and that was with an early bird discount for booking nine months ahead, and a pay five stay seven deal. Remember though that the seaplane transfers are factored in. It was a blissful, exotic stay.
Date of stay: February 2017
Trip type: Travelled with family
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
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Pietro A, General Manager at Como Maalifushi, responded to this review
Responded 19 Mar 2017
Dear Cwrightmedia,

Thank you your detailed review on COMO Maalifushi!

It is a real pleasure to read that you enjoyed the COMO Villa so much and that we managed to turn the negative of the seaplane arrival experience into such a positive.
We are delighted that you enjoyed our food and restaurants so much along with the bicycles, the COMO Shambhala Spa and snorkelling.

Also great to see that you enjoyed Lavadhoo (the neighbouring island which is owned by COMO) so much as well as the snorkelling with whale sharks – they are truly unique experiences.

We very much hope to welcome you to COMO Maalifushi again.

Best

Pietro
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 25 February 2017

After staying at around twenty five different five star hotels last ten years, we have been lucky and privileged to enjoy some of the worlds most luxurious resorts. This was our third time in Maldives, and our choice fell on COMO Maalifushi partly because of the many good reviews here on Tripadvisor, and partly because of the review from The Luxury Travel Expert.

From the booking prosess to the check out, Maalifushi delivered professional service and was highly accurate (this is not always the case, even for luxury resorts). The villas were very nice! Relatively new, pretty big and mostly, both materials and crafts were of high standards. We had requested a butler service, and the service provided by Mr Haroon was absolutely amazing. We have had butler service before, but Mr Haroon is a true star. The service provided by him was one of kind and strongly contributed to our well being for the eight days we spend at Maalifushi.

The single area where I was most impressed, apart from butler service, was the quality of the food. Our party of a total of eleven people, many of us genuin foodies, was actually stunned by the extremely good quality of the food. From pizza to the lobster. And food is of course an important ingredient for a happy vacation!

Five of us went for the beginners scuba diving course, and we were all very happy with the dive center. My wife went to the Spa and told me it was wonderful. The kids club was great and the staff both there and in general was absolutely lovely! They seemed to enjoy their work and really wanted us to have a memorable experience. Snorkeling was very nice, a lot to see directly from the resort jetty (unfortunately we had moderate and a bit rough sea while we were there, but enjoined the house reef nevertheless).

I do truly recommend Maalifushi and I fell in love with many aspects of this COMO resort, as outlined above, but I must admit that there is room for improvement on certain areas.

Even though there is a large number of staff available for you, they have a tendency to forget or mix up drink- and food orders. And when they do, they do not make it right as soon as possible, but it rather seemed your order went back in the line again, resulting in a 20 minutes wait for the second time. This should easily be fixed when addressed.

Things to be aware of: The sand on the beach is not the softest one. A lot of small corals fragments make the beach a little rough. The Beach Villas (number 201-209) is situated some 15-20 meters from the beach, surrounded by a tropical garden. Good for privacy, but not so good if you want the view of the beach and the ocean. The sea was not slight when we were there, so the ocean was not crystal clear the way we have experienced on our two previously trips to Maldives. I guess this was just an coincident, and that it has nothing to do with the area which Maalifushi is located, but this I do not know for sure.

Is COMO Maalifushi up there with the very best? Personally I would prefer Soneva and Four Seasons, but it comes with a price tag. If food and privacy are two highly appreciated aspects, and you do not need the rigid luxury that you may find at Four Seasons, Cheval Blanc and One & Only, then COMO may be your dream destination for your next Maldives vacation! I would highly recommend villas in the 200 or the 400-series, as they have the best views, the best beach and the shortest way to the best snorkeling.

Room tip: The Villas facing north west have the best beach.
Date of stay: February 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Erlend76
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Pietro A, General Manager at Como Maalifushi, responded to this reviewResponded 19 March 2017

Dear Erlend76,

Thank you your detailed review on COMO Maalifushi!

It is great to read that you enjoyed the rooms, Haroon’s butler service along with our food, spa, children’s club, snorkelling and diving.

We are delighted that you fell in love with certain aspects of the resort and have noted your constructive feedback on the restaurant service – we have reviewed and gone through with the team in order to improve.

The sea was indeed unusually choppy this year – January and February usually bring little wind and sea that is flat as a pancake whereas this year we had very strong wind and rougher sea than normal.

We very much hope to welcome you to COMO Maalifushi again.

Best

Pietro

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Reviewed 20 February 2017

We visited Como Maalfushi for 14 nights, returned 2 days ago, with our 2 children 6 and 8 years, we are very lucky to have travelled many places including most Indian Ocean islands at the top resorts and with the kids, if you want to experience quality and at every level, then Como Maalfsuhi has to be on your list. The simple high taste levels of the rooms, privacy and staff full care and attention has been the best we have ever experienced, in a very natural and honest way, we never saw our Villa being serviced excellently,morning and night! how did they do that?!
The kids club is sensational with the care and time given to our children, they did not want to come out! even with not many kids in attendance, the staff here are the best! a very unique educational and exiting schedule every day. Our kids do not usually do kids clubs, so thank you COMO for a rest!! The food was the best we have ever had in a resort, 2 restaurants where the menu has got you captured every night - incredible! Tai was amazing, your kids are feeding the sharks and sting rays whilst you tuck into sashimi! Madi, amazing curry's and special evenings, the seafood BBQ was another level!
Its the staff who made our holiday so special, Izzy at the sports centre, Lisa the Marine biologist, Lucky, Nimss & Vicky in Kids club - thankyou and thankyou to everyone.
Surly life is not this good! at COMO Maalifushi it sure is.

Room tip: Stayed in Water Villa 320, end Villa, not interrupted views at all!
Date of stay: February 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank MrandMrsCleary
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Pietro A, General Manager at Como Maalifushi, responded to this reviewResponded 19 March 2017

Dear MrandMrs Cleary,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a positive review on COMO Maalifushi.

We are delighted that you and your family liked the resort so much especially the room service, children’s club and food.

I hear time and time again from parents that their child who does not normally do children’s clubs love ours and can’t be gotten out of there!

It is extremely heart warming for Vicky and the team to hear this and keep doing what they are doing.

Likewise, thank you for the kind comments on the food which I have passed onto Chef Taylor and the team as well as on the Marine Sports Centre – again I have passed onto Lisa and Izzy.

Please do come and see us again one day.

Warm regards

Pietro

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Reviewed 18 February 2017

I did not expect to love this island as much as I did. We have stayed more than ten times in the Maldives at many of the top, top resorts, each have their own character and charm. We had been to Como Cocoa twice previously and decided to split this trip between there and the newer sister hotel Maalifushi. Because we loved Cocoa so much we did not expect to fall in love all over again. Best to compare the two as the much loved first wife ( Cocoa) and the sexy, younger version (Maalifushi). Harsh but each has their own charm.
The rooms at this new addition to the Como group (3 years old) are beautiful. The over water villa was the size of a 3 bedroom flat in London. The deck had an infinity pool and best of all a wonderful shady sala with direct views over the turquoise lagoon and the private deserted island also owned by Como.
The island is quiet large by Maldivian standards so bikes are provided which is fun and feels very retro. Their can be no better way of staying your day cycling through lush vegetation to the gym before breakfast.
For me an excellent housewife is vital and the one at Maalafushi does not disappoint. Turtles, sharks, large shoals of Jack fish await in crystal clear water.
The food at Cocoa island had always been a highlight and Maalafushi sets a new standard. The kitchen is run by executive chef Taylor, a young Australian woman with a real understanding of flavours and spices. Both the a la carte menu and the Shambala clean eating menu were fantastic. Of particular note was the mutton curry and the short rib Vindaloo, although western dishes were equally good. The Japanese restaurant, Tai, is set with a perfect position to watch the sunset and enjoy some lovely Japanese inspired food.
Shark feeding takes place here most nights and it is a little disconcerting to see the size of some of the chaps who turn up for some free food. Although I am not sure it is great to encourage this behaviour it is incredible to see stingrays and sharks in such shallow water, with a birds eye view.
I am a very nervous diver and an enormous thank you has to go to Andy, who runs the dive team. He has the patience of a saint, was incredibly kind and understanding of my nerves. We had two fantastic dives together, fantastic for me, probably a nightmare for Andy, but he smiled throughout.
The dive centre offer the chance to snorkel with Whale Sharks, season permitting, max 6 people per night. The most incredible experience, a once in a life time privilege.
The most important part of any service industry is its staff and this is what really made us love this resort so much. The staff are truly incredible from the executive manager, Pietro to the dive staff, massage staff, cleaners, wait staff. All went above and beyond.
Truly a special, special place.
A little slice of heaven filled with angels.

Room tip: Water villa sunset side
Date of stay: February 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank fleetoffoot
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Pietro A, General Manager at Como Maalifushi, responded to this reviewResponded 19 March 2017

Dear fleetoffoot,

Thank you for your review on COMO Maalifushi.

Reading that someone who has visited so many other resorts in the Maldives including Cocoa Island has fallen in love with COMO Maalifushi means so much, thank you!
It is great to read that you enjoyed our big rooms, private pools and gardens so much along with the bikes and magical house reef.

Thank you also for the feedback on the food – as you say Taylor and team do a fabulous job.

I have passed on your kind comments to Andy and we are both delighted to hear that you enjoyed the diving so much and of course the night time snorkelling with whale sharks is a once in a lifetime experience.

And thank you, thank you, thank you for saying that the staff are incredible, it means so much and makes all the hard work worth it.

We very much hope to see you in our little piece of paradise again.

Warm wishes

Pietro

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Reviewed 17 February 2017

We just spent a week in Maalifushi and it was exactly as expected: the perfect winter break. The weather helped (no one single cloud spotted in 7 days).
The water suite we occupied (410) is absolutely one of the best choices, facing sunset and the ocean. The house reef is not one of the best I have seen in my life, but it is definitely compensated by the pleasantness of the atmosphere on the island. Staff is very efficient, restaurants and bar are also very good (Tai our favourite), the breakfast buffet is absolutely rich and yummy. Yoga classes are top level. BIkes are supplied to move on island and this also another very appreciated plus.
What else to say? Hope to have the chance to come back soon!!

Date of stay: February 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
4  Thank cristefi
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mohamed Sobah, General Manager at Como Maalifushi, responded to this reviewResponded 11 June 2022

Dear cristefi,

Thank you for such a great review and for coming to see us - we loved having you all!

Thank you for your comments on the resort, service and accommodation - seeing comments like this encourages us to keep doing what we are doing.

It is also very nice to see your comments on Play by COMO - Vicky and her team at Play are doing a great job and I hear time and time and again from parents that their children (who did not want to leave Play) do not normally visit children's clubs.

Thank you also for your kind comments on our food and for the team members that you recognised by name - I will ensure that these are passed on to them and the rest of the team.

We very much hope to welcome you back to COMO Maalifushi in the future.

Warm wishes

Pietro Addis

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Reviewed 12 February 2017

This was our second trip to the Maldives, last year we stayed here for ten nights and loved it so much we had to come back, this year we stayed at both the Como properties and I have to say this was the best choice, you get the best of both worlds, as both properties are so different, its not a case of one is better than the other, Cocoa is just a little smaller and more rustic, but Maalifushi is more luxurious with a wider range of food.
this year we had a ocean suite, its a great room, with great views and if you book in the 400 series facing sunset side you can look out for weeks without seeing anything pass you by, it really is the most magical spot in the world. we love the food here, breakfast is an incredibly high quality, as is lunch and dinner and the Japanese restaurant is on par if not better than eating at Nobu in London. The head of F and B Maria could not be more helpful, in fact she makes you feel like you are returning to your own special island, the staff are beyond friendly and make you feel special and wanted, our favourites were Boji who seems to have amassed his very own fan club among the guests and Hittu is always smiling, the staff always look happy and really can't do enough for the guests. in fact i think the staff here are one of the best assets, the whole atmosphere feels like a home away from home, its not pretentious or snooty just a magical island, with magical food, and magical energy, we can not wait to return, we can't even contemplate going to any other island, for us it was the most memorable trip yet. I must also mention the managers Pietro and Ricco who are doing a brilliant job ( you can really see their presence over the hotel ) which makes a nice difference form some hotels where you never even see management - overall we are missing it and just can't wait to return

Room tip: choose the 400 series sunset view
Date of stay: January 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank lukehV3122NG
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Pietro A, General Manager at Como Maalifushi, responded to this reviewResponded 19 February 2017

Dear luke h,

Thank you so much for the review and I am so happy to read that you both returning to COMO Maalifushi again as well as trying COMO Cocoa Island.

Agreed the two properties are different and compliment each other to make a fabulous combination.

Thank you for your comments on the food and for recognising Maria, Boji and Hittu and for the team and service in general and a particular thank you for describing COMO Maalifushi as magical – what an apt way to describe our atoll!

Finally, thank you for the personal mention of myself and Rico, much appreciated.

We are all very much looking forward to having you back next year.

Warm wishes

Pietro

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