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Reviewed April 24, 2018

We did it……

We did what we vowed we would never do.

We returned to the same location, and not only that – we returned to the same hotel.

Returning to the same hotel where 2 years previously we had an amazing time is fraught with worry and anxiety: Is it as good as we remember? Are the staff as friendly and professional? Is the reef still struggling? Is the sea life still as good and is the food as good?

I could finish the review here and simply say – yes, yes and 100% yes on all fronts, but that will not help as you look for a review.

The island is as achingly beautiful as we remembered and still took our breath away as we approached by seaplane. On route we stopped to drop passengers at other islands, something we hadn’t done on our first trip and I can honestly say each we stopped at was underwhelming to say the least including some exceptionally expensive resorts. We were grinning like Cheshire cats as Drift came into view!

On arrival we were warmly welcomed, like returning family but were disappointed to find our request for our previous room had not been passed to the resort. Luckily the manager was to hand who swiftly sorting things and escorted us to our favourite room – no: 22. Playfully named the “Hawkins Suite” on our previous visit. I have to say the manger was courteous, friendly, helpful and professional at all times, both with us and with other guests I saw him interacting with. A real pleasure.

The managers approach echoed those of his staff who were helpful and friendly at all times. They were not without fault but they tried exceptionally hard and always with a smile.

The room (22) was stunning – exactly as we remembered and having the same room certainly gave the feeling of “coming home”. Room 22 has uninterrupted horizon to horizon views and enhanced privacy – you almost feel as if our on our own boat bobbing in the ocean. The resort has however cottoned onto this and now charge an extra $100 a night for the 2 end rooms on the pontoon. While in future we would likely pay a surcharge for guaranteed use of the room (see… already hinting of a return!!) for $100 a night we would expect a premium service as well: Premium mini-bar with full bottles of wine and premium snacks that’s are included in the all-inclusive package, maybe make the two end rooms all-inclusive only (?), turn down service and room service included in the all-inclusive package in room. That way guests could have the luxury of never leaving their rooms apart from to snorkel. But this may only suit us as we are monumentally antisocial!

The food has been totally transformed. In some ways for the better and in some not so. Quality and range of food on offer was exceptional (fillet steak, tasty currys with decent spicing and excellent deserts). This certainly improved on our previous stay where the food at times was bland.
However, I do miss the a la cart lunches with individually plated dishes as buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner is just too much, especially for a glutton like me!
But overall the food was exceptional.

Staff – well as before they “make” Drift as nothing is too much bother and they recognise you and always say hello. Sometimes the systems let the staff down. Cocktails before dinner took 30 mins to arrive as the bar staff are swamped with orders from the restaurant and speed of service after dinner want much better. Maybe a few more staff?
The ridiculous system of signing twice to have your mini-bar refilled (one to say what you have taken and one to say what’s been put back in later in the day) really needs addressing.
However, many of the staff from our first visit were still there – so its cant be too bad a place to be working!

The reef is still mostly bleached and dead. But… and this is a massive but ….. there are signs of regrowth EVERYWHERE. Little (and not so little) blobs of bright blue’s and greens are sprouting everywhere you look – both in in the lagoon and on the beautiful drop off.
This will pose a challenge to the resort over the years as to encourage the growth, maintain it and avoid damage from uneducated or uncaring tourists will require careful stewardship. It is quite a responsibility.

Fish life has changed dramatically. On our first visit the majority of fish were small juvenile and the lagoon was barren of all fish bar the odd passing cuttlefish. How things have changed. Fish in the lagoon and on the drop off are fully grown and in huge shoals. We saw so may it is impossible to list but the ones of note were : Dolphins right on the drop off by our room, sea turtles (lots), octopus, tuna, black and white tipped reef sharks. We snorkelled twice a day for 2-3 hours a time and were never bored, not once. We didn’t need the free snorkelling excursions – but thank you for the offer!

Overall :

Amazing, but still with a few things that need improving (PLEASE have reclining sunbeds on the decks!).

Will we return?

Most defiantly when we want some downtime from our normal hectic travelling and need some headspace to chill and relax, Drift will be our “go to place”

Room Tip: Room 22 but be aware of the new premium rate of + $100 a night above water villa rates
  • Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
2  Thank Gary H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 12, 2018

This was our second trip to the Maldives. The arrival at the airport was smooth and a nice guy has welcomed us. He took our luggage and arranged the further transportation via seaplane. We were very suprised as he told us about our upgrade from a beach to a watervilla for our 10d stay at Drift. We were very excited and couldn't wait to arrive. The seaplane takes about 35min to Drift.
As we arrived at Drift, we were welcomed by the staff and got our welcome drink. The welcoming to the island was nice but the communication was quite disappointing. Their english skills are bad and therefore we didn't get almost any information about trips, the villa, the use of our all-inclusive, etc. The most disappointing thing was the sudden change from the promised upgrade from the watervilla back to the beachvilla. As we tried to explain that we were told about the upgrade, they said that this is not what we have booked. Later we got to know that the staff have made a mistake. They never apologized for the missunderstanding. Sometimes it is very difficult to talk with the people at the receiption because they dont understand much.

Beachvilla:
We (people of 4) stayed at the beachvillas number 1 and 2. The staff came with us and wanted to show us around. The sightseeing of our villa took literally 60sec and we wouldn't have gotten more information if we wouldn't have asked more. All in all the villa is very nice and the interior is beautiful. Everything is kept very natural but also modern. The bathroom is a bit disappointing because it is dark and made with no feeling. The sink is behind the bed and looks really nice. Our bed was really comfy and is covered by the mosquito net from above. The view in the mornings with a cup of coffee is just magic. You look right into the turquoise water! The minibar is filled with lots of things. Although we have booked the all-inclusive package, we were not allowed to use every drink. Two beers and few soft drinks per day were included. For all other drinks you have to pay. The nespresso machine is free to use and capsules are filled up every day. The cleaning service was really good and the roomboys are so nice.
According to the location, villas number 1 and 2 have the best and nicest spot on the island (especially if you're lucky and travelling with 4 people). It is a very silent place and almost no people walk there! The view is just stunning.
The other beachvillas seemed to be not as private and intimate as ours.
The little garden is very nice and the sunbeds are comfy.


Food/Drinks:
That was the most suprising part of our stay at Drift. The food is amazing and really good. At every breakfast you get fresh pressed juice (apples, oranges, watermelon, etc.) and the choice is kept small but the quality is great! The chef brings your omelette to your table. The mini negative aspect (which wasn't really negative) is the small variety of breads in the morning. The lunch was also very good. Everything is fresh and very tasty. The small salads and tuna-steaks are delicious. Dinner is also very good and we really enjoyed every single meal. Once a week there is a beach bbq which was excellent. Fresh seafood from the bbq, different salads and other things.
The desserts were fresh and homemade. We really enjoyed the food every single day! It is fantastic.
About the drinks: The drink menu is quite big and you can pick from a lot of different things. Sometimes they didn't have ingredients for several days and therefore some drinks were not available. Anyway, all drinks were incredibly good and it couldn't be made more fresh. They use fresh fruits (passion fruit, strawberries, pineapple, etc) and label alcohols. We enjoyed our all-inclusive package and tried out almost every single drink. The bartenders are really nice and doing a great job in serving and mixing drinks.

Location/Island/Diving/Snorkeling:
We loved the small size of the island. The beach is beautiful and looks exactly how you imagine a maledivian beach with blue water.
Besides your private sunbeds you can also use the sunbeds next to the bar.
BTW, dont bring any shoes. This island is made for barefoot (including restaurant and bar)!!
We read that the Drift reef is dead and there is nothing to see, but that's not true. We had a very nice snorkeling experience and have seen many fish, sharks, turtles and mantas. Indeed, the reef is bleeched and not as colorful as in other places, but it is still a nice place to explore.
The diving crew consists of several guys who are nice and professional. They introduced us to our first dive ever which we really loved.


Service:
Some of the staff is not good in english and it is difficult to communicate with them. But all of them are very nice, helpful and positive.


All in all it is a very special Island with no TV's and swimming pools. A couple has told me before our depature that Drift reminds them about Maldives 20-30 years ago where everything was based on natural and intimate things. I can totally agree on that because Drift defines a typical Robinson Crusoe character on a lonely island. You feel in peace and almost alone which is a very special and unique feeling.

Room Tip: Beach Villa number 1 and 2
  • Stayed: April 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2  Thank Philross123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 24, 2018

Just back from 10 days at this fabulous little island. Bit of unusual prob with Emirates flight out that resulted in overnight in Dubai. All taken care of though with Angelfish sorting seaplane change etc with island. Having been to a number of other islands in the Maldives over the years we can honestly say Thelu ticked all the boxes for us! We loved it being small, lovely food eaten outside / almost outside in the restaurant, great all inclusive drink choice (including Hendricks and Bombay gin!), lovely beach villa 4 with open beach and sea view and some peaceful but great diving with Extra Divers! Staff were all excellent. Def one we will return to next year. Thanks to Angelfish for telling us about it!

Stayed: March 2018, travelled as a couple
3  Thank Minnie503982
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 18, 2018

We had a wonderful and unforgettable holiday in Drift Thelu Veliga Retreat!!!
The resort is unique, the staff is great and the food is superb!!!
The reef is bigger than the island itself, and the variety of fish is huge!!!

Thank you for everything!!!

See you soon!!!

Room Tip: Water villa
  • Stayed: March 2018, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank vdishkov
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 5, 2018

My husband and I just returned from a 4 day vacation on your island. We were staying in one of your water villas(20) where we felt really comfortable. The villas are nicely furnished, very clean and have a great aircon you don't even notice working. The food is varied and very tasty. The island itself is extremely small and quiet which gives you a lot of privacy. On the top of that all of the staff was very friendly during our stay especially the receptionist. I also have to praise foot massage in the SPA center which is exceptional. Altogether, we have been to Maldives eight times and I can guarantee this was our best vacation at this destination so far.

Stayed: February 2018
1  Thank tatyani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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