Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa

Dhigufinolhu Island, South Male Atoll, Kaafu Atoll, 2014, Maldives | 4 star resort
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Location

This 4 star resort is located on Dhigufinolhu Island, South Male Atoll.
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    TravelPod Member ReviewsAnantara Dhigu Resort & Spa South Male Atoll

    Reviewed by leehutch

    Peaceful and Perfect

    Reviewed Jun 2, 2013
    by (3 reviews) Calgary, AB , Canada Flag of Canada

    We had a great 4 days at the resort, were able to rest and relax as we had been traveling so much up to this point. The staff were incredibly friendly and informative in my opinion, were always prepared to help with a smile.

    The breakfast was included for us and had enough variety it was always a great way to start our day. We stayed on the beach as opposed to the water suites and found them to be comfortable and quiet. The staff cleaned them each day and very respectful of our privacy, yet always managed to get the job done.

    My only complaint, would be that one night we decided to visit the spa for a massage and were given a choice of massage oils each. My girl chose one and I chose another, now I am 42 yrs old and have never had an allergic reaction once in my life until this visit! I chose some muscle relaxation oil and had a great massage, unfortunately in the morning my whole body was covered in red bumps / rash. I took us a while to figure it out but this was the issue - my complaint is I asked several times to find out what that was I used but still was not told - not really for the fault of anyone in particular but it would have been nice to know for future reference.

    The worst part is it made me stay out of the crystal clear waters and the sun....so for three days I stayed in the shade or in our room....and as far as it was to travel to and as expensive as it is to get there I was disappointed not being able to dive, jetski or even walk on the beach without itching like a madman! Otherwise 5 stars!

    This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.

    Reviewed by dolceananya

    Wonderful View

    Reviewed Mar 3, 2012
    by (1 review) , United States Flag of United States

    Wonderful view
    Great scuba diving class
    Food is so so

    This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.

    Historical Traveler Reviews Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa South Male Atoll

    Good but can be improved

    from

    Stayed at Anantara in mid-Nov, 4N at water villa and 1N at beach villa. Our request for sunset view water villa (sent direct to the resort) was not met. Luckily our sun deck does not face the island under construction and we managed to see magnificient sunrise in our villa on our 1st morning.

    Didnt managed to catch any sunset as it was cloudy during our stay.

    The villas in general were big and comfy. But we spotted some young croackaches in both the water and beach villa. So be warned!.

    Food wise, the menu is rather limited. Aqua Bar (by the pool) has the most economical menu (i.e. a pizza at USD22) and is most frequented by us. The Italian restaurant was good. But please make advanced reservations as its seating area is very limited (less than 50 seats i think).

    For excursions, we tried the sunset fishing and the Full Day Island Discovery. Both trips were superb and fun.

    BUT, please ensure that you double confirm with the front desk on the excursions (as min. pax were required). When we booked the Full Day Island Tour, we were told the trip was confirmed, and only on the day itself, then we found out the trip was cancelled (as we realised the boat we were on was going somewhere else). Only upon our insistence, did they allow us to go on the next day with another couple (usually, min. is 6 pax).

    Also, we experienced power failure during our stay, the recovery was not handled well. It took them 3-4 hrs to recover. And bcuz of the power failure, water pressure was near zero, and we cant even flush the toilets.

    Overall, i think it's a resort good for families esp with small kids as the water at the water villas is quite shallow and there's a pool for the kids to play in. But if I'm going back to Maldives, I'll try other resorts instead.

    Anantara Review...

    from

    We have just returned from 10 days in Anantara in a beach villa. We relied on the information we gleaned from this site, so thought it only fair to make a review!

    We really enjoyed our stay, the beach villa's were lovely, cool and airy , complete with the view that's on the photograph!( straight out of your french doors!)

    We stayed on the sunset side in villa 77, right next to the Fudan grill.We were never disturbed by anything, but wouldn't have been happy to be on the otherside of the island, as the view isn't exactly very pretty !( of the construction island) Being the end villa, we only had neighbours on one side, but never saw them as the villa's are slightly staggered, so you have privacy on the patio area.

    We found that we spent an awful lot less than we had expected to on food. We went B&B and saved money on full board. We averaged a cost for lunch and dinner at $170 a day on average including soft drinks. We found the portions large and the manager of the Terrazo and the Fudan grill was more than happy to create vegetarian meals! (vegetarian choice was limited).

    If you are likely to eat a full three courses, then full board is probably a better option. We didn't need to use the dine by design experience, because we could eat anytime we liked on the beach or terrace.They started bringing candles with our room service after one request!

    We did have a go at scuba diving, but it wasn't really for us! very patient instructor ! But I felt a little " thrown in the deep end!"(excuse the pun!) after performing poorly in the initial scuba lesson, then later that afternoon jumping off a boat in the middle of the sea and diving down to seven metres.... I didn't feel competent enough really.

    We found marine life poor around the island, a few friendly fish around the Fudan grill! We eventually swam across the sea to the island where the scuba centre is located and found coral and lots of colourful fish.You must also take aqua shoes for the beach and in the sea, the dead coral is very sharp!

    The pool was lovely, the aqua bar served lovely smoothies and tea coolers, which were very cooling, when drank in the pool on the very hot days!

    If you plan to watch DVD's, take your own! The DVD library was a bit of a poor excuse! Most of the DVD's were in guests rooms, as they didn't expect to have them returned until the guests departed.

    The complaints we have are all minor and didn't detract from a lovely stay at a fantastic resort, but here goes!:

    The staff on room service didn't seem to understand english too well! Although they only got two orders slightly wrong during our stay. It was mildly annoying having to go through everything three times!

    If you plan to watch DVD's, take your own! The DVD library was a bit of a poor excuse! Most of the DVD's were in guests rooms, as they didn't expect to have them returned until the guests departed

    The outdoor bathroom was home to lot's of mosquito's! Who despite having plug in mosquito killers and wearing the repellant, insisted upon feasting on various bits of my body, then for good measure my face!

    That's about it really for complaints!

    The staff were fantastic, couldn't do enough for you.The speedboat ride made me extremely travel sick( despite the pills!) and we asked to have a sea plane transfer back, which they arranged without any problems, despite it never being used before at Anantara.

    Oh yes, before I forget, every evening they appeared to be smoking the island tree's out! We thought it might be to get rid of the bats, but apart from it being very unpleasant, does anyone know WHY they really did it!!?

    No Bargain....

    from

    Reality check - we had problems booking direct and they routed us to the web. We believed we successfully booked online. We turned up - no reservation - but luckily they did have space!

    Supposedly the best nightly deal available was $450... you want breakfast... thats another $40... oh and you need to add service tax... 10% on total... Brings the B&B rate to $539... be warned...

    They allocated us a villa on the sunset side - good for sunsets but busier than the other side, and a rougher sea !

    VILLAS - The villas are very good - the external bathrooms are large, well kitted and fun !

    FOOD is charged at NEW YORK PLUS rates ... Nothing under $30 ... dont forget the 10% service charge...

    If you find a decent half board deal - take it.. we thought we had but we did not ...

    So Dinner B&B runs up to about $700 a night

    SPA - seemed OK - I'm a guy, so one spa pretty much looks like any other one ..

    DIVING - pretty good - small transfer to the dive centre - good instructors - lots of local sites.

    BEACH - rough broken coral - bring good sandals...

    Would I come back? Unlikely at these prices ,,,

    Just like the pictures

    from

    I mention this only because I think some websites can oversell the property a bit, but Anantara was truly beautiful. We initially had a little sticker shock when looking into this destination, but once you get there and enjoy the views, it's all worth it.

    My husband and I went to the Maldives in early October and apparently just missed two weeks of bad weather...wheeeew! We stayed in beach villa #50 (on the sunset side). We were at the end, next to the spa which we thought was great because we only had someone on one side of us.

    Positives:

    Great location and easy to get to from Male. Room was wonderful. VERY large and open with direct beach view and access. Sunset at the infiniti pool (or your sunset side room) is absolutely amazing!!!! I think this is reason enough to go. Try one of the Sri Lankan tea drinks with sorbet scoops, very refreshing! Favorite restaurant was the seafood grill Fudan. The complimentary breakfast buffet was wonderful and offered something for everyone. Free bottled water was always stocked in the room and the twice-daily room service/turn-down was great. Snorkelling equipment was free and we used it every day. I think the best snorkelling is to rent a catamaran and skipper for an hour ($30) and have them take you just outside the hotel reef. It was like someone dumped us in an aquarium :) Being a member of the "Small Luxury Hotels", we've come to depend on this seal and have yet to be dissapointed by any of the hotels carrying this emblem.

    Negatives:

    Being that it is recently opened, I think they are still working out some of their kinks. Apparently "water sports" operates separate from the hotel and this initiated some confusion with a booked appointment. Once management was made aware however, this was immediately taken care of and we were compensated with more than we could have expected (at no charge). There were several items in the resort binder that didn't seem to be available at the time of our stay (beauty salon services such as manicure/pedicure, ipod music selections, etc). If they are not available, I would just take them out of the room brochure.

    Misc:

    While the idea of an "outdoor" bathroom is great, I think the reality is a little different and just expect to see a few unexpected visitors :)

    Overall:

    If you're looking for romance, solitude and gorgeous sunsets on a private island this place is perfect!

    Fantastic hoilday

    from

    My husband and I stayed at this wonderful hotel for a week at the end of September and really recommend it.

    Obviously like everyone who stayed in this 'soft opening' period - the hotel had only been receiving guests for just over 1 month - + there were some fantasic deals to stay over this time however even with the 'still finding their feet' factor, this was still a top notch resort.

    We stayed in a stunning beach villa,no 40 - the outside bathroom really does make you go wow when you first see it and the bedroom itself is very spacious - high ceiling and a huge bed. Due to the advice on the trip advisor forum we requested our villa to be on the sunset side of the island but on arrival early morning (after a speedboat trip which may leave you feeling a little green! ) we were given a villa on the sunrise side and informed that a sunset villa would be available for us later that afternoon. However after a few hours rest we then decided to explore the island and soon decided that we would prefer to stay in our villa on the sunrise side as the outside decking area was SO much more private than those on the sunset side where the foliage/trees have yet to grow. The garden around our villa was fully grown and we could not see our neighbours from our patio and due to clever garden design you can see the beach and sea from your sunlounger but anyone walking past on the beach can not see in.

    This turned out to be a great decision as each evening we settle in for cocktails (10 out of 10 for these) at happy hour at the aqua bar at the pool for a great view of the amazing sunsets .

    We ate at all the restaurants but by far our favourite was the Thai - the food was excellent but the whole journey there and back in a little boat always added to the evening. Additionally this restaurant is on stilts with floodlights over the reef so you can watch the sealife whilst eating. The food and drinks are quite pricey & this is rather typical of hotels in the Maldives but then they do have to get everything to an island in the middle of the Indian ocean! One good point is that you do get 8 bottles of small size mineral water complimentary in your room each day (4 in the bathroom and 4 in the bedroom).

    I visited the spa a few times.It was excellent and the treatment rooms themselves just have to be seen - they have great views both from the floor length windows and also through the glass viewing panels in the floors!

    We can also highly recommend the sunset dolphin boat cruise - not only did we have a whole dhoni boat to ourselves- we saw more dolphins at one time then we ever thought possible - it was an unforgettable experience.

    The restaurant, bar and housekeeping staff (we had some romantic petals in various patterns either on the bed or in the bath most days) were excellent - very attentive and always willing to help.

    There are a few areas this hotel still needs work on - yes as its a brand new resort the trees and foliage still needs to grow quite a bit in some areas and yes there is still ongoing contruction on one of the other islands (which will be their 6 star resort) but none of these things take away from the relaxing atmosphere here.

    Where this resort still has room to improve is:- 1) the front desk staff who although always very friendly don't really have the knowledge yet to answer your questions even basics ones 2) When the hotel starts selling at it's regular full price I think it may have to improve some aspects of the breakfast buffet ie offering fresh juices rather than sugery concentrated ones and i think they should offer a choice of teas (herbal etc) and coffees (with hot milk etc) at breakfast as anything other than your bog standard tea and coffee are chargeable.

    This was our 3rd visit to the Maldives and this was the most luxurious hotel we have stayed in here - we had a wonderful time.

    Amazing, relaxing holiday

    from

    There have been some very good reviews already posted on this site, so I won't write a very long one.

    My wife & I spent a week here in late September, and had a fabulous time. We got very luck with the weather, which has been a bit hit and miss last month.....6 days of glorious sunshine, and only one day of rain. We stayed in the beach villa for 5 nights and the water villa for 2 - definitely liked the water villa more, though both are great. The food at the resort was fantastic (we were on HB), especially at Fuddan and the Aqua Bar (try the Swiss Burger!).

    Only knock I have is that privacy in the water villa bathrooms needs to be addressed - especially when the neighbors decide to paddle around the villa in their sea kayak!

    My main reason for posting this review is to put lots of pix up, so enjoy...

    A special place - do not hesitate - Book it!

    from

    My husband and I have just got back from a week at Anantara celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary and had the most fabulous break. The scene was set on the speedboat transfer to the resort where we stopped to watch 2 local fisherman land a sailfish and it just got better and better, despite the weather being a little hit and miss.

    Due to a small mix up over our booking (that was very professionally rectified) we had the advantage of experiencing 3 types of their rooms, a beach bungalow for half a day, a water villa with pool for 4 nights and a water villa for 3 nights.

    Accommodation

    All of the rooms are fantastic and the bathrooms are definitely the wow factor. The beach bungalows offer excellent value and are ideal for those who want to walk straight our of bed onto their own terrace, then a few steps onto the beach and then into the sea. The outdoor bathrooms are fabulous and you can shower and have a view right through the room to the sea if you so wish.

    The water villas are different in style, shaped like the local boats, and are suited for those who would prefer to give up the beach for the opportunity to step off their own private terrace into the sea. The bathroom is again stunning and has an infinity edge sunken bath next to doors that can be fully opened to let you feel you are bathing over the Indian Ocean and are the only people on the planet - truly romantic. There is also a glass panel in the bathroom that lets you watch the fish whilst you are using the facilities!

    The top rooms are the overwater villas with pool. There are two of these and they are ideal if you really don't want to walk down to the pool but are not a great lover of salt water either. The other extras that the pool water villas have are a larger LCD TV and a Bose surround sound system. It is personal preference whether the pool is worth the extra price your agent can get it for you. For us, it wasn't worth paying the extra for the pool mainly due to the poor weather.

    If you are an evening person ask for a sunset side villa or bungalow. If you are a morning person, ask for a sunrise one.

    Dining

    The food was excellent at each of the restaurants. We had buffet style breakfast at the Fushi Cafe (excellent freshly made to order omelettes); you can then have lunch at the Thai restaurant Baan Huraa or at the Aqua Bar around the Pool (the club sandwich is recommended). For dinner the Thai is open, as Is Terazzo for traditional Italian fare and Fushi for an amazing array of buffet food ($55 when we were there and we could never really understand why more people did not seem to know about this option). The top dining experience for us however was the Fuddan Grill where you choose you own meat or fish, then choose how you would like it cooked (grilled, Tandoor, baked in foil, etc,) and then choose the marinade or sauce and then the accompaniments. The result was that you could never get bored of trying different combinations. (I thoroughly recommend the Sri Lankan crab with the creamy peppercorn sauce). Half board and full board options were very good value when we were there however, we chose to go BB purely because I have no will power whatsoever with food and would have insisted on having the full 3 courses at every meal if it had already been paid for and would have come back twice the size I arrived.

    Some things to do

    Gym - this is air conditioned with all new machines and a very helpful on site trainer to give you useful tips or book for private training if you want. There is also yoga instruction and a yoga mat in the villas.

    Entertainment - a resident duo played music a couple of times at the Aqua bar in the evening (which is also a great place to start the evening with cocktails and then go back to for coffee after dinner). Alternatively, you can borrow a DVD or CD from reception for your in room home theatre system and just chill there.

    Diving - my husband managed to pack 7 dives in (including taking his Advanced Over Water course) whilst we were there and couldn't find the diving centre staff more helpful. Each dive was different and the range of Speciality dives that are on offer allow something for everyone.

    Snorkelling - we went snorkelling off the water villa and saw fish and a couple of large Stingrays. There were also small black-tipped sharks under the jetty by the Thai restaurant and also by the Spa at lunchtimes. We were also lucky enough to see an Octopus and some squid in the waters around the Thai restaurant whilst dining there.

    Excursions - there are plenty on offer - we were going to do the sunset fishing but just enjoyed the Spa and diving so much it didn't leave us the time!

    The Spa - I really cannot rate this highly enough. I went there on our first full day to book a couple of treatments for the week and ended up booking the full 5 day package plus some extras (and even a couple more over at the sister island - Bodu Huraa!) and didn't regret one dollar of it. It made me come away a different person and also meant that my husband didn't feel so guilty leaving me whilst he was off diving. The best thing about the Spa is it s very personal. You can have the same therapist for all of your treatments so she gets to know your skin type, how firm you like your massage, etc. (I had Pui and, sadly, doubt I will find anyone else to match her skills again.) Also, discuss your requirements with Naina at the Spa reception as, with enough notice, she is very flexible on moving treatments to a different order or swapping some, as long as they are for the same time and value. Again this all added to that special personal touch. The treatment rooms are over water and have glass panels under the massage tables so you can watch the fish whilst having a massage.

    Staff

    We booked Anantara for a number of reasons but the decider was the prompt and efficient response we got to emails from the Reservations Manager - Siyad. We also met and spoke with the Resort Manager - Brice who was very approachable and was often seen "mucking in". He was also quick to accredit his team with any positive feedback. I cannot say enough good things about the staff and to single any of them out seems unfair when they were ALL excellent. We came away feeling that they were all there just to look after the two of us, despite the resort being 70% full. From always being greeted by name, to anticipating our breakfast requirements, to tailoring a specific Spa or diving programme for us, to almost instant rectificaiton of any problem plus a follow up call to ensure it had been done to our satisfaction, we felt that everyone was not only proud of their job and the resort, but also that they genuinely wanted to ensure we had the best time that we could. We became so looked after that, on leaving I had to admit to shedding a tear once on the boat after Brice, Siyad and the team had waved us off, it had become that personal and special to me. (soppy woman that I am!).

    So - in essence, I would not hesitate to recommend Anantara Maldives to anyone. Any reservations I had about the newness of the resort or comments regarding the building of the 6 star resort on a neighbouring island were completed eradicated within a short period of time after arrival. The standards of service are so high, it will be a challenge for the team to keep this up once the resort has been running for 12 months plus but I have very faith that they will and wish them every success - we will be back!

    Amazing Time

    from

    I don't want to spoil the adventure for anyone going to this amazing resort, but Anantara is top notch. The resort really is 5+ stars and the service, the food and the rooms are wonderful. The only complaint that I can make is about the beaches, which have lots of coral and are not so fun to walk along at low tide. However they are aware of this and have crews cleaning every day.

    Make sure that you book with full or half board, because the food can get a bit pricy, but well worth it.

    Anantara is fantastic and can only get better!

    Top place that can only get better!

    from

    We were there from the 12th to the 19th of September. The place is amazing. Its like a picture postcard.

    Everything from the speedboat that transfers you to the rooms and the facilities are new and impressive.

    Lovely outdoor bathrooms (stayed in the beach room), amazing beds, and lovely outdoor terrace to lounge on, only 10 steps from the beach. Water was lovely, although not powdery sand, theres bits of coral and pebbles around the place, still very nice.

    Free snorkelling gear and kayaking. 25 dollars to visit house reef (never went) which you woul dneed to go to see marine life. theres not much to see in the lagoon.

    Restaurants and food amazing. Had room service and ate lunch often in the aqua bar. Was on half board lunch, breakfast obviously all free... juices, tea coffee, fresj eggs cooked to your liking, curries, pastries, cereals, fruits, and similar brekky stuff.

    Lunch at the Aqua bar was very good. you can pick anything from the menu, starteds, mains, and desserts... food so good and plentiful that never got to dessert. Paid about 8-9 dollars a day for lunch drinks (cokes and iced teas, ocassionaly a few bucks more if we had a cocktail). Can also have lunch at Baan Hura (thai seafood). Again almost everything included except drinks (8-9 bucks again), top location (need to take a free speedboat to get there) and top food if you like seafood.

    Had dinner in the other two restaurants, Terrazo (Italian) and Fudan (Grill). Both were a dining experience. Again didn't have wine or lots of drinks, just soft drinks and the occasional cocktail. Terrazo was two starters, two mains and a dessert. Total with drinks and tips came to about $150. At Fudan had soft drinks and steaks, came to just over $100. Both were great dining experiences which should be tried atleast once while you're there. Rest of the time we had room service because you were so full by the end of the day (came to about 55 bucks per meal).

    Spa was also very good, did a 2 1/2 hour 'Asian Ritual', about $160 (inc. 20% discount) and was a great experience.

    Did Male Excursion ($60 per person) - worth doing, although you only need 2 to 3 hours max! Went Souvenir shopping which was obviously a rip off but make sure you bargain to get atleast 35-40% off the listed price.

    Now the rooms...very very nice... daily service and nightly turn down service. They provide bottled water free every day for drinking and brushing teeth. Fresh fruit basket on arrival (although thought it was wax fruits for the first day, very different fruits). Large LCD telly and DVD player with surround sound. You can borrow music cd's or dvd's for free, or bring your own. Channels were your standard news ones, 3-4 movie ones, 3-4 sports ones showing premiership football all the time and 6-7 others.

    Bathroom was the most amazing thing ever. All outdoor, two showers, one uncovered, amazing bathtub, his and her sinks and toilet. You have like garden plants growing in the back and its all very very nice.... just like the pictures show.

    I think its all covered here... i guess there are a few downpoints to mention but nothing that over upset me. First was that beach wasn't powdery sand, still very beautiful but required sandals at times. Secondly we were on honeymoon and should have had extra things like candelit dinner and departure memento, and flower bath or something. Thing is I never really chased them on any of the stuff but i'm sure if you did they would provide, i just don't think i should need to but no big deal...:-)

    Also, the staff are very friendly and want to help but they get confused if you request anything that isn't standard. A few times i was told i would be called back and wasn't and they forgot small things (and tried over charging us by $300 for Male excursion as it was only us and we needed to hire a private boat - obviously after some discussion they backed down and admitted their error). Finally, check your bill throughly before you leave, I was undercharged by about $500 and had to tell them about three times before they got it right...

    Right, I've written alot and could write alot more... if you're booked, you'll be fine... if you're thinking of going... it is amazing, just bear in mind you can maybe get better sand in marine life in other places... the rooms and facilities are really really good...

    ANANTARA MALDIVES - FIRST REVIEW!

    from

    My girlfriend and I stayed at Anantara Maldives from 2nd to 16th September '06.

    ACCOMMODATION

    We stayed in beach Villa Number 63. Beach villa numbers 53-ish to 66-ish are without doubt on the favourable side of the island, situated between the spa and pool, with virtually uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean, and only a short walk from the water sports centre, spa, pool and bar. Beach villas on the other side of the island look out to an island that is currently undergoing construction work - hardly the view you'd want but I guess when it's all finished it wouldn't be too much of a problem. 53 to 66 also means that you're on the 'sunset' side of the island; truly breathtaking.

    A quick rundown of the accommodation itself:

    Beautiful villa; generously proportioned and absolutely immaculate throughout. Enormous, comfortable bed; plenty of storage space (his 'n' hers wardrobes), a lovely minibar area, decent-sized TV and also a DVD player. French doors leading out to a decked/tiled area with two sunbeds, parasol and a table and two chairs. Walk twenty paces forward on golden sand and you're in the Indian Ocean. Fantastic. Probably the best thing about the accommodation though is the bathroom; definitely got the 'Wow' factor! Two showers (one indoors, one outdoors), a huge marble bath, lovely plants, his n hers sinks; nice toiletries - truly gorgeous. All in all, very nice accommodation indeed, and beautifully maintained by our housekeeping guy.

    We also had a look at one of the over-water suites (we got 'upgraded' after a few days due to a major -- over our original booking, I won't bore you with all the details). The over-water suites are also very good, and a top tip if you're booking one of these would be to ensure you get an even-numbered one rather than an odd number, as the even-numbered ones have an uninterrupted view of the ocean (and the sunset) rather than the island-under-construction.

    For a number of reasons, we actually turned down the offer of an upgrade to an over-water suite and hurried straight back to beach villa 63! A number of factors contributed to this decision:

    1. We were given suite number 114 and the immediate first impression was that the overall standard of decor simply wasn't up to the same high standard of our beach villa.

    2. Bathroom had a functional feel rather than a luxurious one.

    3. Fixtures and fittings weren't as nice as our beach villa. In fact, the room looked rather tired and in need of a spruce up. Almost every single item of furniture showed signs of wear and tear.

    4. Great views of the ocean of course, but no greenery whatsoever - not even a plant or two inside the suite. Had the feel of a hotel room (albeit one in an incredible setting) rather than a home-from-home.

    It's worth stating I guess that we spoke to a few other couples that were staying in the over water suites and all seemed delighted with them. Maybe 114 is/was one bad apple; it looked like a fairly shabby room that had seen a lot of traffic, not a room in a brand new 5 star resort.

    EATING & DRINKING

    On arrival we learned that one of the restaurants, the Fushi Cafe, was not yet open, however this still left us with a choice of 4 eateries (which actually increased to 5, as Fushi Cafe opened during our stay).

    Here's my thoughts on all 5:

    Fushi Cafe

    Situated close to the reception, this is the venue for breakfast. Breakfast is a buffet affair and no matter what your choice, you'll be catered for. Huge selection, and all is very good indeed. If you want something that doesn't appear to be available, say the word and they'll do it for you. A great start to the day. Fushi Cafe also opens for dinner; again a buffet (this is the only buffet choice available in the evening, all the other restaurants are a la carte). We had dinner at Fushi on it's first night of opening and the buffet was amazing. Apparently the plan is to have occasional 'themed' buffet evenings (e.g. Maldivian) which I've no doubt would be excellent.

    Fuddan

    The Fuddan Grill is billed as the resort's signature restaurant and in our opinion is the best. Various starters on offer, then for mains you make your choice of fish or meat (plenty of options) and select the style of cooking to be used - loads of choices. Excellent! My recommendation would be the Indian Jumbo prawns cooked in the Tandoor oven; absolutely historic.

    Terrazo

    Terrazo is situated above Fuddan and is the resort's Italian restaurant. Usual fayre of pastas and pizzas available, together with some more unique dishes cooked with an Italian flavour. Again worth noting here that if you fancy something that doesn't appear on the menu, they'll go out of their way to provide it for you (this is true in all the restaurants actually).

    Aqua Bar (and swimming pool area)

    Open from early morning until the last guest calls it a night. This is a combination of bar/pool bar/snack bar. The pool is an enormous infinity pool with a swim-up bar and lots of sun loungers. Never very busy, great place to soak up the sun on lazy days. Popular for lunch, serving various snacks, sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, salads. Ciabatta steak sandwiches are a winner! Bar staff are excellent, very knowledgeable, can mix you any cocktail you've ever heard of (and several you've never heard of). Happy hour is 5.30 til 6.30 each evening. Toss a coin against the barman and if you're right, you get your next drink free. Not that it's a boozy affair at all - the bar was rarely more than a quarter full. Quite often my girlfiend and I were the only guests enjoying a nightcap or post-dinner coffee.

    Ban Huraa

    Thai restaurant, open for lunch and dinner. Need to get a boat to this (free, and only takes a couple of minutes). Not a massive fan of Thai food personally, but visited this place three times during the 2 weeks. Great service, a beautiful location right over the reef and excellent food.

    ACTIVITIES

    Water sports

    The hire of Windsurfers and kayaks is available free of charge. Snorkelling equipment also available to hire free of charge. Regarding snorkelling, you've a number of options. We went on a 2 hour snorkelling trip which we were told the previous day was free of charge but we were charged $25 each for it. (I think this was a communication breakdown actually - I think there IS a free snorkelling trip each morning. Can't be 100% sure about this though). In any event, there's actually some great snorkelling to be had if you walk/swim/kayak out to a small pontoon that's moored about a quarter of a mile out to sea from the sunset side of the island anyway. You can haul your kayak up onto the pontoon and away you go. Also note that at least one of the excursions includes scope for spending some time snorkelling.

    Diving

    I'm not the person to ask about diving unfortunately; snorkelling is as adventurous as I got! Speaking to other guests who did dive though, they all spoke positively about it, all seemed impressed by the facilities and all mentioned the high levels of professionalism of the guides/instructors. One guy reckoned that he saw a greater variety of fish when he was snorkelling from the pontoon (mentioned above) than when he'd been diving earlier in the day!

    Excursions

    We went on two of the excursions:

    Firstly the evening dolphin safari which was fantastic. We got really lucky; literally hundreds of dolphins all around the boat, sometimes swimming along with the boat so close you could almost touch them; jumping up out of the ocean and flipping/somersalting like crazy; a trip we'll never forget, absolutely amazing.

    We also went on a full-day 'islands discovery' tour. Included an hour snorkelling from the boat, a couple of hours lounging around on a deserted island while a sumptuous barbecue lunch was prepared for us, a visit to an inhabited island for a brief taste of local life (and a chance to do some bartering for tourist tat!), and a visit to another resort island. Only 8 guests on the trip - 4 couples. Accompanied by five resort staff, including a chef to prepare and cook lunch! I'd definitely recommend going on this excursion, a very enjoyable day. Cost was $105 pp.

    SPA

    The resort spa opened a few days after we arrived. I was a 'spa virgin' on arrival, but my girlfried talked me into joining her for a 3-day program of treatments. I'm hooked! Brilliant. Top tip though fellas, if you tick the box that says you're happy to have 'firm pressure' during your massage, brace yourself! The girls may look petite but by hell they've got some power! It's an Elemis spa; lovely products.

    OTHER FACILITIES

    GYM

    I was determined not to become a tub of lard during my 2 week holiday, and with that in mind I used the gym regularly. Reasonably Well equipped with a good range of cardio machines and a multi-gym. All brand spanking new kit. They were still waiting for their dumb-bells to arrive when I was there so no free weights unfortunately. Guy that mans the gym is really friendly, speaks pretty good English and is always on hand with tips and advice. Gym is nicely air conditioned too so a good refuge from the blazing mid-day sun!

    LIBRARY

    Situated behind the reception area is an air-conditioned library containing a fair selection of reading material and two PCs with internet connection.

    GENERAL

    On a general level, I've got to say that even though I read lots of reports about the warmth and friendliness of the Maldivian people, I was still bowled over by it! All the resort staff almost fell over themselves to help, and even when just passing by we would always get a smile and a friendly greeting.

    The island itself is truly stunning, and this will only improve when the vegetation matures. The journey from Male to the resort takes 35 minutes by speedboat. Blows away the cobwebs of the long flight from the UK!

    The main man at Anantara Maldives is called Manish. Can't remember his exact job title, but I don't think that any title could adequately describe the seemingly huge scope of his duties! Very visible, always checking on the well-being of the guests, sorting out any problems. A really nice fella too, genuinely friendly. Any problem, any question, no matter how big or small, see Manish. Basically, the guy runs the place.

    Whilst it's true to say that there were obvious signs of developing the resort (e.g. we occasionally would see workmen going about their business), I wouldn't let the 'newness' of the resort put you off booking here. For the most part, the ongoing work was barely visible or noticeable; we certainly weren't ever disturbed by sounds of hammering, sawing, drilling etc. I think that the location of our villa was a big plus point here - everything close by was obviously completely finished. Had I been in an odd-numbered water suite close to the shore I may have had a different view.

    Having read reports from other areas of the Maldives, I took a few hundred dollars to use as tips, although it's worth noting that everything - and I mean EVERYTHING, that you buy in resort is subject to a 10% service charge automatically. Not sure if this is standard in the Maldives, but I thought it was a bit cheeky, and hardly encourages guests to tip good service (and it was extremely good, always).

    If you're on a halfboard or fullboard package you're able to eat in any of the restaurants, with only a very small number of restrictions (e.g. lobster, fillet steak). Note that even if you're on fullboard (which we were), if you order food from the room service menu, you pay for it in full. We decided on a lazy night in and ended up paying over a hundred dollars for the privilege of eating in our room the exact same food that we could have eaten thirty yards away in the aqua bar for nothing! Doh! Halfboard and fullboard options do NOT include any drinks apart from coffee/tea and juice with breakfast. A bottle of water with lunch will cost you five dollars (even more for sparkling water), what a rip off! A bottle of beer will cost you five dollars, wine costs anything from 25 dollars a bottle upwards. The house wine is lovely, particularly the red which is a cracking Aussie Pinot Noir. It's only available by the glass on the menu but if you ask nicely they'll sell you a bottle for under 30 dollars.

    In summary, despite one or two early teething problems, and some unusally poor weather for a few days, we had an absolutely fantastic holiday at Anantara Resort Maldives, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. If there's anything here that I haven't covered, or you'd like more information and/or pictures (I've got loads) then don't hesitate to email me.

    Cheers

    PC

    TripAdvisor Reviews Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa South Male Atoll

    4.50 of 5 stars Outstanding
     

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