We stayed in this hotel during November and we were there in the jetpool beach villa followed by IOV. There have been many good things written by others on this which we agree are all very true and will not repeat again but maybe let me comment on some things that I would expect more from a hotel of Banyan Tree group.
1) Safes! What is the point of having a safe deposit box when the whole box is not secured to the hotel and can be taken away? The safe in the first room was just put inside the wardrobe (no, I don't mean the screws are loosened or anything but the whole safe was not screwed in at the first place)... I mentioned this to the reception and obviously they were not too surprised and even though they immediately send someone to fix it but they also assured us it will be safe?! even if the safe is lying around like this. (Are they thinking that I have been expecting too much)? The fix was very simple. Just open the safety box and screw back the screws... all the holes were in place inside the wardrobe, not sure why they couldn't finish this off in the first place..
2) Jetpool - The pump/hot water did not work properly, again I mentioned that to the same receptionist and she also sort of mentioned it was a known and common problem. Only after I insisted that the whole point of booking a jetpool villa was to enjoy the jetpool did she ask the engineering dept to check that out and at the end had to have the pump replaced. My point is, if they know it is a known issue why do we have to inform or to complain to them before they take action? This is not what I expect from the Banyan Tree group.
3) Interesting breakfast treats - For all the days we had our breakfasts in the restaurant on the island side, only on the last day we were asked whether we would like tea or coffee... not sure if this was mere coincidences or because we did not give any tipping after our meals previously. Ironically, when we moved to IOV, we gave some tips after our evening meal and on the 2nd day, when we ordered our waffle, it came with fresh cream&extra sauce as an extra but no one else around us had the same treatment.
4) Mystery on the disappearance of my notebook cable wire - I had brought a steel cable wire w/ combo lock to lock my notebook as it wouldn't fit inside the safe. I tied it to the clothes-hanging bar inside the wardrobe in the beach villa. After I have moved into IOV (only a couple of hours after checked out from the beach villa) I realized I forgot to collect back the cable and asked the IOV receptionist to ask the staff in the island to get it back for me. After a while they told me they could not find it despite the fact that I have told them the exact location and I was 100% sure that I did not bring it with me to IOV. As that day was raining heavily and I would not want to waste 2 hours to go back to check it out myself (the ferry schedule is once per hour) I dropped the matter but to now I am still not sure if it was because they could not understand me or whether they could really not find it or whether someone else has taken it. I would not comment anything here (except to blame myself on forgetting to pack it) but usually I would expect forgotten items to stay where it was or being handed back in the reception.
Despite these minor points, overall we are very impressed about the services and the hotel as a whole. The usual services overall are very good and staff are very well trained on what they do. The hotel rooms are nicely decorated though some parts are obviously a bit run down (hinges start to rust in some areas) For the land villas, the "bedroom" is well designed to separate from the basin/wardrobe and the toilet/shower are outside. The food was much better than I expect from Maldives, yes, there is pork and alcohol (especially for tourists). The spa too was top-notched!
A few advice to those who plan to stay here:
1) If you can afford it, stay in both the IOV and beach villa. The IOVs are definitely luxurious, spacious and classy (and not to mention you have a private pool for every villa). You will not regret in staying there despite the price differences. Having said that, even if you can afford the entire stay in IOV, I would also recommend you to stay on the island side as you get to have the beach, and also the chance to shower outdoor under a rainshower. It was quite an experience to shower under the stars!
2) The IOV and the island are not accessible other than by ferries. They are usually once per hour, so plan properly. There are restaurants/bars on both sides. The restaurant over the IOV is usually for fine-dining. There are also SPAs on both sides but the one at the IOV is usually more fully-booked than the island's one.
3) If you want to go to the housereef to snorkel, you have to join their free snorkelling tour. But be warned, you will be tested for your ability to swim/float first before they let you in.
4) Same treatment if you want to use their kayaks.
5) If you don't know how to swim or you can't pass their test, there are still corals and fishes around the island where you can snorkel yourself off the beach or off the IOV (they will lend you free snorkeling equipments+life jacket) Ask the guy at the marine centre where to find the reef.
6) If you stay in the beach villa there will be plenty of giant black ants. Usually you can find them when you visit the toilet or shower outdoor. They are natural inhabitants of the island (I presume they will be on other islands too)... I will say they don't look poisonous as I was bitten once by them, a bit painful but no swollen nor any side-effects. But if they bother you then you can spray insecticides on them (included inside the room). For the period we stayed we did not encounter any mosquitoes (probably it was too windy then)
7) Weather is your worst enemy in Maldives. For the time we stayed (near end Nov) it was almost raining everyday, and when not raining the current/waves in the sea were quite strong that make it hard for you to snorkel. So if you want a "flawless" holiday, then you probably have to go later of the year (maybe from Dec to Apr), but then it would be most expensive.
8) Most hotels work with other tour operators to run a Male tour on the last day if your flight is a late night flight. As the seaplane will probably take you back to the airport at around 4pm, there are a few hours when someone could take you around Male. The tour was free but you are expecting to give them some tips afterwards (Someone told me later you have to buy the tour guide dinner) This way of travel to Male is probably safer than to wander around in Male after dark alone (as I have been told it could not be very safe)
9) If you want to take aerial photos from the seaplane (actually because of the window you won't get good quality anyway), make sure you get the window seat on the LEFT side from Male to Angsana Velavaru and RIGHT side when you are back. The other side has not much to see. I know because I was on this side both ways.
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- Also Known As:
- Angsana Velavaru Hotel Haa Dhaalu Atoll
- Angsana Hotel Dhaalu Atoll
- Angsana Hotel Maldives Velavaru
- Angsana Velavaru Maldives/Haa Dhaalu Atoll