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Angsana Velavaru
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Reviewed April 10, 2007

We stayed at Angsana Velavaru and one of its sisters resorts, Banyan Tree Maldives, in March for our honeymoon.

Overall, Angsana V is a good resort, and it is a naturally beautiful island, but their service fell short of what we expected. Here are some examples:

- we emailed their reservation desk to get their activity list a week prior to arrival. Upon arrival, we were told the activity list we received was 2-3 months out of date;

- they didn't know we paid for full board until we showed them our agent's voucher;

- they didn't turn down our room for the first night. When the room was turned down the next night, there was no gift (the turn down and the gift were meant to be part of the honeymoon bonus which we reminded them on arrival);

- on the day following our first night, no one came to clean our room at all until about 5pm (that was after we called the reception twice);

- as part of the honeymoon bonus, we were meant to have champagne and canapé delivered to our room at sunset on the second night. After confirming the arrangement with the reception in the morning, and after a 2 and 1/2 hour wait at our room plus after calling the reception twice, champagne arrived after dark and there was no canapé. The next day, the receptionist was kind enough to offer to arrange it again for our last night (she was lovely and attentative), but only a very small fruit bowl arrived again after dark (and not canapé). The receptionist was very surprised when she checked with us the next day - she said she personally asked the kitchen to make sure everything would be fine;

- our safe didn't work one morning and the handy man promised he would be in our room at or before 10am after initially checking the problem earlier in the morning. We stressed to him there was something in the safe we needed for the snorkelling trip at 10.30am and so he couldn't be late (he said that is fine). At the end, he didn't arrive until 10.20am (after several calls to the reception), because he said, he had a meeting. At least we made it to the snorkelling trip but they had to make the rest wait for us.

These kind of things should not be hard to deliver (especially for a resort that charges so much) and really affected how we will remember the resort.

In no particular order, on other aspects of the resort:

- food: being on full board, it was buffet for all three meals at their main restaurant. The NZ chef mentioned in an earlier review had left and the food quality in our view was only average or just above average (though their BBQ is quite nice). It felt quite repetitive after a few days. We didn't try their over water restaurant because it was not included for full board and we would've only got about US$15 off;

- massages: we had the Angsana signature massage and it was absolutely superb! The surrounding was very serene and we felt very pampered afterwards;

- night fishing: it was a lot of fun - the crew was very helpful. We all caught fishes and they cook our catch on the next day;

- snorkelling: their house reef is not very close to the island but it is beautiful, so they have free daily trips to their house reef by boat. The downside to this arrangement was that we couldn't go snorkelling at any time of the day. We didn't really try snorkelling off the island because the sand was quite rough (with corals) and we didn't bring aqua shoes with us;

- waiting lounge: their waiting lounge at the seaplane terminal was beautiful - it was a great start to the trip. Our arrival on the island was also good - we were treated with a nice cold drink and cold towels and our luggage was seemlessly transported to our room;

- weather: the weather was perfect - not a drop of rain;

- water: the water surrounding the island was very calm and beautiful. The island is protected by a natural lagoon which made the water very calm;

- staff: their staff was very friendly, though a bit slow at times. Special mention to the Angsana rep at the airport, he was extremely helpful. The wait staff was very friendly and attentive, but at times, we felt like they were just doing it for the tips (it wasn't like this at Banyan Tree);

- room: we had the deluxe beachfront pool villa. The beachfront pool villas are detached whereas the beachfront jet pool villas and the beachfront villas are semi-detached. We loved our room which was beautiful, spacious and new, with his and her sink and we loved the pool. There was some erosion at the front of our room but it didn't really bother us. We noticed while walking around the island though that there are a number of rooms which aren't that well-positioned (either in the sense of position relative to the beach, vegatation or erosion) and we were glad that ours was relatively good in that respect. Nonetheless, with these other rooms, as some of them are still yet to be upgraded (they are going to do quite a bit of further work to the island apparently), perhaps it will be quite different once the upgrading is all complete.

We hope the "bads" that we mentioned were just initial teething problems given the new management (Banyan Tree) has only recently taken over last year. We had the time of our lives at Banyan Tree (see our review) and given Angsana and Banyan Tree have the same management, we don't doubt that Angsana Velavaru would be a much better resort in the future.

Overall, we still had a great time.

PS: Hi Rob and Jan - hope you see this, and hope you enjoyed the rest of your stay! Really hope to bump into you again one day in the future!

Tip: feed the fish just outside the overwater restaurant - best to feed with a whole piece of bread - great fun to watch!!

We will try to post some photos later.

  • Stayed: March 2007, travelled as a couple
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11  Thank Maldivian2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 9, 2007

I believe some of the reviews I read here and "Velavaru Island Resort" - old name of this property may have made my experience better as I did not have high expectations.

Let me start of by saying if you are looking for 5 star service all the way, you are not going to get it especially from housekeeping. If you get past that, I think you can have a good experience here.

Angsana Velavaru was not my first choice as most others got booked up.

Getting There - The 40 min (140 km) seaplane ride from Male was one the highlights of our trip. You get a fantastic view of a large number of islands and the view is breathtaking. See pics!
If you are staying close to Male, you will not be going by seaplane.

The Island - Beautiful, quiet island which you can walk around in about 15 minutes. The water is very clear - see fish right by the seafood restaurant. As this island is pushed away further from Male, it is less corwded. The 2 hammocks we saw here were hardly used.

The Beach - Quite nice, with clear views especially during low tide in the mornings. You can take your snorkel and find some neat areas especially by bar/water sports for snorkeling. If you do not have a snorkel set, its reasonable to rent ($6/day) including fins. Do carry water shoes as the area is full of corals.

Rooms - This was one I was worried about before getting there. We got a beach bangalow (78 sqm). There were 2 adults and 2 kids (8, 10) and the room had 1 king bed which accom 3 of us and they had setup a pull-away bed for us. The villa was overall clean and right on the beach (see pic) with outdoor space for chairs, etc. This seems to be one of the older villas as the bathroom could have been upgraded - separate toilet/shower - indoor - a little older. All around the island, there are bungalows. No water villas in this resort yet (they are planning). They do have jacuzzi villas which come with a small pool.

Food - We went full board. Besides the main buffet restaurant, there is a bar/coffee shop. We ate at the main restaurant. Overall average as they seem to repeat some of the dishes. Enough choices but would have preferred more variety. Drinks can get expensive (which I believe is the case all around Maldives - you are not allowed to carry your own). Mini bar prices are decent - $5-6 for a rum/vodka/scotch. At the restaurant, you do pay more. Fresh juice was $8. Wine depends on your choice with the cheapest being $8 for a glass.

Service - At the restaurant and around the island - the staff is quite friendly and attentive. The problem comes in when it gets to housekeeping. Quite slow to respond - had to call them several times to get our bathrobes and add'l towels to our room.

Make-up of Island - Mixture of couples and families. Most of the visitors are from Europe.

Activities - The daily snorkeling trip (free) at 10:30 is a must. Saw some fabulous sea life. The marine center also arranges longer trips for $50 or so. The night fishing is recommeded ($50). Took my 10 year old and we had a great time. Caught several red snappers and they cook your catch free the next day (see pics). There are other trips such as Robinson Crusoe day trip and dolphin watching (depends on your luck). The island also has other activities such as scuba diving and water sports.

Bottomline - If you have high expectations from a 5 star, you might be disappointed with housekeeping and maybe your room. If you have an open mind, you would have a good time as we did.

  • Stayed: April 2007, travelled with family
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4  Thank triphopper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 3, 2007

Stayed here for my honeymoon in 2004. Wanted a holiday of a lifetime and that's exactly what we got. The island was beautiful, despite a mix up over rooms when we arrived. However, I can imagine that if your room was near the more corally part of the beach, it could be disappointing. The food in the restaurant was out of this world and I can't fault the staff. A wonderful holiday.

  • Stayed: August 2004, travelled as a couple
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Thank Clarabell76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 2, 2007

Myself and my partner had booked to stay at the White Sands Resort with Kuoni. 3 days before we flew out Kuoni rang us to let us know that there is work on the island but it should not affect us. (Of course not) A battle ensued with a particular Kuoni member of staff and the day before we flew out they managed to offer us a deluxe villa with pool for a lot more money than we wanted to pay. We took it as I did not want to appear on Holidays from hell..
We arrived from Sri Lanka at the Angsana resort by seaplane which was quite exciting. We were greeted with a cold towel and cool iced tea. The surroundings and reception area was lovely and I was impressed. We arrived about 11am and was told that our deluxe villa with swimming pool was not ready and would be an hour. We were offered a basic day room. We could not freshen up as our luggage had not arrived.
After a wander around the island we returned to reception to be told it still was not ready and it would be another hour. I was very upset as we had paid a lot of money to stay here and it really was not a good start. We were offered a bar snack and drink which was good and helped me to chill slightly. 4 hours later and still with no luggage we finally got in our villa.
It was beautifully furnished, a view of the sea and a swimming pool enclosed at the rear of the villa with outdoor shower. I then went to see where our luggage was.
The staff did seem friendly in the main and someone checked our pool everyday and we had a nice chap make up our villa. Everyday he would do something different in the room such as putting in some flowers or lighting the oil burner and arrange our gowns and slippers.
The island was mainly clean although we did see a couple of dirty nappies on the beach one day and there were quite big ugly pipes going into the sea.
The food was our main problem. It was a buffet every day and night and all the salads, meat and bread were crawling with flies. The desserts were the texture of shaving foam and tasted awful.
It was curry every day and in the end we began ordering from the in house dining menu which meant paying extra (I recommend the cheese and tomato sandwich).
We tried the seafood restaurant one day and that too was very disappointing. It was a long stretch between lunch and dinner and I felt quite ill for most of the week. My partner was also ill all week with diarrhoea.
Weather was fantastic and so was the snorkelling. Spa treatments were too expensive. There is not much too do but relax on the island but after 4 days we were bored. It only took 10 minutes if that to walk around the island.
Check out time is 11am but we were booked on the seaplane at 7am. Our flight back to the uk was not till 2am the next morning so we had a lot of time to kill at the airport hotel which was a shame.
All in all we would not go back to this resort.

  • Stayed: February 2007, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank odpshaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 1, 2007

Just returned from a week here. We went with Kuoni and Monarch and can't fault either of them. We travel with our two teenage daughter's and we had three seats each on the outward journey! The sea plane was delayed an hour and a half due to the late arrival of a big charter flight, but it was a great experience, if you only do it once - do it!
The reception area is absolutely stunning, sand floors, wooden decks with comfy seating, great lighting. Normally some-one is assigned to you to go through the registering in process, explain a bit about the resort etc. Here we were just left on our own and various people arrived with cold towels, welcome drink, etc.. all rather disjointed. After about half an hour a guy arrived to ask if we'd like lunch - it was now 2.30pm. We explained that we'd prefer to go to our rooms, shower, maybe a light meal from room service. We were then told that one of our rooms wasn't ready. Previous guests were still occupying one! So, we had a leisurely lunch, wandered back into reception at about 3.45pm - room still not ready. We were offered another room until ours was available but declined. The hotel information in the room clearly stated a 12pm check out. Finally got the second room at about 4.30pm. Not good enough by far.
We had two semi detached jacuzzi villas. The rooms themselves are beautifully furnished, very modern, very stylish, but also very small. Nice wooden decking at the front with stylish chairs and table. Walled, private garden at the back with decking at the rear with loungers and a small jacuzzi. Fabulous outdoor shower. All very nice but who wants to sit in a walled back garden in the Maldives! I was not happy with either of the rooms. The sea view to my daughter's was completely obscured by old, far from pretty, gnarled bushes. Also a load of rubble and concrete blocks running out to the sea. Even worse, a large black pipe ran the full length of their room, ours and about three other's, ending up being hauled a couple of foot in the air by wooden plinths and rope! Spewing out what looked like a mixture of sea and sand. No beach to the front of either of the rooms. We were really tired at this stage so decided to sleep on it. Next morning I asked to change rooms. Later that day a very nice guy arrived and told us that he could give us two other's which we arranged to view. They were really lovely, huge soft sand beach at the front, and sea views! We moved the following morning. They started to remove the pipe and rubble whilst we were there and there's apparently plans to level out the beach.
The bar is absolutely beautiful. Sand floors, sumptuous seating, fabulous lighting. Alcohol prices were OK, a good bottle of sauvignon blanc at $25. Cocktails about $10. No complaints there. The main restaurant is equally lovely, and the food is absolutely amazing. We all agreed it was the best we've ever had. They have a New Zealand chef and he is an absolute star! Lunch time was buffet style, but not the norm! Always a soup of the day which was consistently brilliant, plus a huge array of salads and appetizers. Main course was a dish of the day, mainly curry, and a large selection of meat and fish freshly BBQ'd for you. Deserts were a large selection of tiny, exquisite puddings plus fruit and cheese. Evening meal was a la carte, a selection of three for each course, usually one meat, one fish and one vegetarian. Excellent! We didn't go to the other over-the-sea restaurant, but it looked superb and was seafood only. Apparently it will be a pizza place for lunch time.
I would guess that only half the rooms have been refurbished. I wandered around the island many times and I wasn't particularly impressed with the positioning of many of the villas. I would say only half have any sort of sea view. Many are so obscured by bushes that they looked positively dingy! There's also a distinct lack of sun loungers. I think only the detached villas have loungers on the front deck. We had the one's from the back gardens taken to the beach at the front of our rooms, but they're very heavy wooden things, I certainly wouldn't have moved them ourselves. They could do with having some light, easily movable one's scattered around.
On the whole the staff were great, very happy and very attentive. Front desk are a bit slow and the guy who did our mini bar's was grumpy!
We've got mixed feelings about this place. The "good's" aren't just good, they're excellent. We had a great holiday but I certainly wouldn't be prepared to pay the new rates. The semi detached rooms are too small and a lot of work needs to be done to improve the villas surroundings.

  • Stayed: December 2006, travelled with family
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15  Thank 08kate02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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