If you can accept the fact that there is no real housereef, this is my favourite resort in The Maldives so far! Please read my review if you are interested:
“Seven Nights in Paradise”
We stayed 7 wonderful nights in April. What an amazing experience!
When we came home I wanted to wait with the review to see if we felt the same way after some time. But time flies and it has now already been 6 weeks, so it’s time to write while memory is still fresh.
The island is beautiful with its wide beaches, tall mature palms and the outstanding lagoon. It truly has a many shades of turquoise and blue..
The sand is mostly fine, but there are some coral rubble washed up in a line where the waves reach.
The beach in front of our villa had no rubble in front of it most of the holiday, until some rough weather washed up some new rubble. But the landscaping team removes new rubble that is washed up.
It really didn’t bother us and the beach was great. We have also never seen so many different types of beautiful shells anywhere (but remember that it is illegal to bring out of the country)
The resort is still fresh as it’s just a few years old, and is not a rebranded former resort. It was done by the same company that has constructed Jumeirah Dhevanafushi and Island Hideaway.
We had a Jr. Suite (220) which was really nice. Spacious (132 m2), tastefully furnished with a good layout. It had almost uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean, but still very private; due to planted vegetation between the villas.
I saw some villas with less vegetation between them, but I guess it will grow up in time.
The outdoor bathroom was beautiful, and I enjoyed the freestanding jacuzzi daily. It was well equipped with a lot of amenities: sun lotion (spf 30), mosquito lotion, shaver, toothbrush & paste etc. along with regular stuff like shampoo, conditioner, bodylotion and similar. So no crisis if you forgot it at home.
The all inclusive is really extensive, so you do not have to worry about the final bill at all.
We had one mini bar plus a small wine fridge. Everything was included and restocked twice daily. We could also have 2 bottles of wine + 2 large bottles of spirits chosen from the UAI menu (Jr. suite feature). You can also ask them to switch the chosen soft drinks/ beer (8-10 brands of beer to choose from) in your minibar.
The food in the restaurants is very good! All the restaurants are a la carte, except Spice, Just Veg is actually #1 on Tripadvisor in the country, and it was also the first pure vegetarian restaurant.
I had high expectations about the food in the resort in the a la carte restaurants, and were surely not were disappointed. But what was actually the greatest surprise was Spice the buffet restaurant.
We would normally choose the a la carte restaurants for lunch and dinner over buffet; and planned to try Spice once. But premium stuff like lobster canapes (or whole lobsters laying there ready to be grilled on site), wonderful cheese etc. made us go back. But we ate most in the a la carte restaurants.
I normally do not eat desserts, but had “Basil & Berries” at Just Veg twice. Berries with island grown basil, crumble crunch and rose water-litchi sorbet. I still get water in my mouth thinking about it..
Our favourite restaurant was The Teppanyaki Grill. The atmosphere in the outdoor dining deck, next to the water was magical. It was somewhat similar to the deck at Just Veg, but less guests. The food was great.
The Teppanyaki Grill
The beverages were also great in the entire resort, real Champagne cocktails and extensive wine list with premium wines included in the meal plan (Bourgogne 1er cru wines as an example) This is the best all inclusive we have experienced anywhere.
There are 2 bars, The Sunset bar and Liquid, the latter is open longest.
Restaurants included in the AI plan is:
Lunch: Spice, Just Veg and The Sunset bar
Dinner: Spice (buffet), Just Veg and 1x week The Sunset (fine dining, in the house next to the Sunset bar, so lunch and dinner are not in the same area)
The Teppanyaki grill is extra, but beverages are included.
Beverages are now included in all outlets (earlier the beverages was extra in The Teppanyaki Grill).
In addition there is also a Moroccan café with shisha pipes, but only open in afternoon (in another building next to the Sunset bar).
I even think cigarettes were included in the AI, but I have no idea which brands they are offering.
The pools are great, the smallest is adult only.
The service level is high. Nothing really seems to be any trouble.
The staff are the best trained I have seen in the country so far. They are all polite and they all greet you with a smile, and it also feels genuine. They are real Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen, a phrase I like to use.
There is no real house reef, except of some coral outcrops and boulders (But if you like Picasso triggers; then they are everywhere). If it’s your first time snorkelling in the tropics, you are going to see some nice corals and fish here and there, and can be real fun for a first timer.
But they offer 2 daily snorkelling trips for free by a Dhoni to the nearby sites.
The best snorkelling we encountered on this trip was at Kudadhoo. We hired a private speedboat for 3 hours to take us there. But it will probably not be open for snorkelling in the future, as soon as the new resort there takes form (Champa group)
Dresscode: It’s barefoot chic in the entire resort. Shorts and t-shirts is the minimum, but personally I use smart shorts and polo shirts. Up to you, whatever makes you comfortable.
Same for women, but you can dress up if you wish. Heavy makeup in the humidity and high heels in the sand is not recommended though!
Even if the resort was almost fully booked, they managed to provide us late check out.
There is always room for making improvements; the resort was not totally up to date regarding menus online, so I would replace the PDF files more often. Also the Liquid, could have been open for another hour.
First, special thanks to Abhilash Cherian and Amit Banan, the managers of the F&B team. The resort is lucky to have you! Your job keeping the high standards up in all the outlets, and time spent to ensure all your guests are having a great experience, is simply outstanding.
Fazeel, you made our dinner very special at The Teppanyaki Grill, I am sure we are going to remember that dinner for a very long time. Also your painting will make us remember our fantastic holiday at Kanifushi every time we are looking at it.
The GM, (Bendtsen) was not on the island during our stay. But Atila the new GM at Ozen, the latest resort in the Atmosphere portfolio, was there to replace him to keep things on track. Well done.
Good luck with Ozen, our new friends we met at Kanifushi have already booked it for 2017.
And to the rest of the crew, I can’t recall all your names!
To anyone who can live without a house reef, don’t think twice and book! We can’t praise it high enough.