Chaaya Island Dhonveli
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Historical Traveler Reviews Chaaya Island Dhonveli North Male Atoll
Confused by reviews?
If you were thinking of visiting Dhonveli, and are relying on these reviews to confirm your decision, you probably are confused. We have just returned from a fortnight there, all inclusive, and these are our perceptions.
1. Italians - they are the majority of tourists on this island, currently. Italians want a very different Maldives holiday to most English, more typical of a Florida package with arranged entertainment, and there is an Italian on-site team of about 12 who provide that. The dominant language you will therefore hear until the end of March this year is Italian. After that, the number of non-Italian visitors will increase, and the animation team will not be in residence.
2. Building work - some water villas were near completion when we arrived, and some further water bungalows were under construction also. There was no 24 hour noise or disruption as a result of this, in fact, at the end of our stay, we upgraded into one of the newly completed villas (superb), with some completion work still on-going in the general area (planting up and lighting being completed). We found the construction quite interesting to watch and to see it progress, and it did not detract from our enjoyment, it was part of the island life while we were there.
3. Staff. All wonderful, as is usually the case with any Maldivian resort.
4. Food. Very good, again, typical of a resort providing international buffet style food. (And we are fairly picky eaters)
5. Rooms. We were in a sunrise cottage - these are semi-detached and face the lagoon, where the sand and the house reef are. Sunset apartments face the rocky, surf side of the island. Garden cottages are more internal, so a 2 minute walk to the lagoon side to be on the sand. Water Villas are outstanding, and if you can upgrade, do so. All accomodation does look like the pictures in the yachttoursmaldives.com website.
6. Beach - sand of varying softness on the lagoon side, coral and rocks on the surf side, so you can only watch that side of the island from the bars or from your balcony if in a sunset apartment. Consequently, the beach could get busy, relative to other Maldivian resorts. You are probably better off wearing sandals, as some areas of sand are more corally, and therefore sharp, than others.
7. Pool - mainly used by Brits while we were there, so quiet. No bar at the pool, a 30 second walk into the Sunset bar to get a drink. Would comment that the pool area was functional, but not as attractive as other islands we have visited.
8. Co Bar - a quieter bar on the surf side of the island. Not used by Italians as it is not included in their AI deals. Is included in First Choice AI deals, so largely used by Brits while we were there. There are plans to enlarge this, and we did hear that these were being started as we left, but do not know for sure.
9. Insects - some bites but not many, and none on the nights you remember to wear insect repellent if you are susceptible to them.
10. Shops - gift shop is useful for odd items like suntan lotion and underwater disposable cameras, although quite pricey for gifts. Body Glove clothes shop also useful but pricey. A tailor on the island is a nice touch. Spa looks quiet, and prices are typical of spas in Maldives.
11. New A La Carte restaurant - due to open end of Feb.
12. New Spa - also due to open soon, individual treatment rooms, looks like it will be wonderful
13. Trips - only went on a couple of snorkel safaris, but these were both to good, safe reefs, with a huge variety of wonderful sealife, including turtles, manta rays, reef sharks and colourful coral. We saw dolphins on the surf side of the island most afternoons we looked for them.
We really enjoyed our holiday there, as much as we have enjoyed our other holidays to the Maldives. Feel free to email if you want to ask specific questions.
Pay the extra and go All Inclusive
Italian animation team rude to waiters, noisy on beach, in dining room in fact anywhere. Management were aware of this and opened the Co bar especially for British visitors. Tranquility of the island was totally spoiled by them. More building work on island that we thought, but it has to be done I suppose. When building work finished this is going to be a very big resort. We stayed in a Sunrise Cottage which in our opinion was the best part of the island, beach, lagoon. Food and accomodation was excellent, waiters, bar staff, room boys, in fact all staff on the island were most helpful. We were left a bit concerned with the bill at the end of the holiday, a complaint with the bill had not been dealt with and we were told to take up with the First Choice rep again (3rd time) as we departed from Male. He was nowhere to be seen, much the same as our $115 dollars I suppose. (lesson learned sort out any problems before you leave the island with the manager) This was the first time we have stayed half board in the Maldives although we will go back to paying for All Inclusive holidays - moneywise the holiday cost us AI price at the end with drinks and lunches. This was our 4th visit to the Maldives and the excursions on Dhonveli were overpriced. I probably would not return to this island only on the fact that it is going to be a big resort when the building work has finished and we prefer the smaller more intimate islands. The animation team lose their contract 31st March 06 which is excellent. Surely tranquility will return.
myself and my husband visited this resort for our honeymoon from 24th jan til 8th feb. two words to say NEVER AGAIN. only good thing about this resort where the english and maldivian people we met and the food. this was meant to be a peaceful and romantic get away NO CHANCE when there is building work ongoing from 10am til 1am EVERY DAY. this building work was nothing to do with the tsunarmi that happened, we asked the maldivian people they said that the resort had hardly been affected by this. it felt like the whole of italy had decended on the resort, dont their children go to school in jan? constant noise from them even during meal times we where beseached by noisy children getting pulled up for the conga, not what you want when your having a romantic meal. the beach is nothing to write home about, coral dragged up and rubbish strewn about its like crush and run, amazingly if you can put up with the italians they had a much better beach however as it was the side that they had the 18-30's group there was not much chance that being a relaxing and romantic. the people that rated this resort as a 4* have never been to a 4* this was more like a 2* even thats being generous. we have travelled all over the world and we will never return to this resort. people who we met there have also stated this one couple has even been to 10 different islands and they also state its the worst and they wont be returning even if its for free.if you wish to see photos you will need to e-mail us however we will be putting another review on at a later date with the photos (having problems at moment getting them onto the computer!)
just got back from dhonveli,what a great holiday.the rooms are great really clean,ours had a canopied bed and a lovely outdoor bathroom,we stepped straight out of our room on to the beach which had a nice lagoon for snorkling.when the tide is out you can walk to a small deserted island,but you will need shoes for this,the staff are the best we have had in the maldives,the food is excellent ,but do get to the resturant early (before the noisey italians)we have been to about 8 differant islands and have enjoyed them all. this island has got real maldivian charm about it and all in our party (eight people)had a fabulous time.great value for money!
We travelled to Dhonveli on 11th January for our 2 week all inclusive holiday. The flight with First Choice was excellent - even in economy you get 33" legroom. To start our holiday, the speedboad transfer had engine problems and on arrival at the island, we were asked to get off the boat over a broken concrete slab - rather than the nice wooden jetty. We then had to trek to the Sunset bar to receive our cold flannels & welcome drink. We stayed in a Sunset Villa which was basically a first floor flat. The room was extremely dark & the lights had to be put on at all times of the day but was it also very spacious & clean. The hotel consisted of 200 Italians and 40 British. The Italian travel company have their own animation team on the island who were extremely noisy - shouting across the beach, singing at the top of their voices, even playing noisy games right next to people sleeping when other parts of the beach were derelict! We weren't informed of any building work when we booked this holiday so were very annoyed to hear the drone of diggers on the beach all through the day & night. The diggers would come across the beach during the evening transporting building material - not what you expect for a peaceful holiday. The black netting around the building work looked awful. There was no soft white sand on the beach - only rough coral & shells. The beach smelt of rotten eggs during our 2nd week and there was a collection of black sludge in the one corner of the shore. Rubbish & building material were also washed up on the beach. On a handful of occasions, we had no water supply to our room which is understandable for a remote island but when asking other people, they hadn't suffered any problems. When leaving the island the engine of our boat caught on fire which resulted in us 'crash landing' at the jetty at Male airport. What an end to a disappointing holiday! Overall, this hotel is definately not 4-star and it is certainly not the typical idyllic resort that is advertised. I previously stayed at Meedhupparu island for the same money and had a much better holiday.
On a more positive note, the food & staff at Dhonveli were amazing. Dolphin watching every night and we met some really lovely friends.
Before booking the holiday there was only one review of Dhonveli on trip advisor which sounded very positive but I really wouldn't recommend this island to anyone looking for paradise - there are many more maldivian islands to choose from that fit the bill.
Just come back from Dhonveli we had a wonderful holiday. The food and staff were outstanding, visit the Co bar meet Preddy & Azeem and watch the dolphins as the sun goes down. This bar has been opened for the british and is at pasta point. We stayed in the sunrise villas which opened on to the sandy beach, although the rooms were a little dark it all added to the maldivian charm of the island. There was some building work going on but this didn't disturb us although it did effect the quality of the snorkling. I have read one of the other reviews and have to disagree the few boats that did come past slowed right down and were looking out for snorklers. At the lagoon side you could walk in to the water and snorkel safely in calm waters. We were AI and although the mini bar was not included it was a short walk to the bar and they were happy to give you drinks to take back to your room. My husband visited the shop several times and found the staff very helpful and friendly. Our group have stayed at 8 different Islands and found Dhonveli excellent value for money and would recommend it to any one.
What a dissappointment
We have been home only one day and I must advise people who have been sold this holiday as a 4 star that they will be very disappointed.
We travelled with First Choice and as far as the flight, service etc, I cannot fault this. However, after arriving by speedboat (25 mins) we arrived at Dhonveli to see what I thought could only be the staff accommodation but I was wrong. Not a very appealing start. Thankfully our accommodation was situated on the opposite side of the island, sunrise cottage. We upgraded prior to arrival rather than have a standard room. It was a very large clean room with a lovely canopied double bed with an outside bathroom, but the room itself was so dark it was like living in a cave for a fortnight. The lighting was so discrete that I had to read by torch in the night. The room boys did a god job but needed to be advised that when a 'do not disturb'sign is placed outside on the door handle it really does mean what it says. On two separate occasions we were disturbed by them needing to come in and change the cover on the seating area in the bedroom and then to top it all, they arrived at the door again wanting to change the coral that they use as ground coverage in the bathroom - we were not amused! We had large ants half an inch long and a couple of cockroaches, but I suppose you have to expect this sort of thing in the tropics. The rooms were sprayed twice daily.
The staff were very polite and were helpful.
The food was buffet style and it was of a very good standard 8/10 with lots of choice such as pasta, curries, fish, meats, salads. Our waiter 'Moosa' was lovely and would do anything he could for you, even stirring your cup of tea.
All inclusive drinks were locally produced spirits (vodka, gin, scotch) beer and soft drinks.If you require branded spirits then there was a charge. Also not included are cocktails and freshly squeezed orange. They ask you to sign for each and every drink you have, even though you are AI, but when we checked our bill later in the week all was well. Please note that if you use the mini bar in your room you will be charged for water ($3), but you can ask for bottled water to take away at the bars or in the restaurant.
Mini bar charges: Softy fizzy drinks ($3) Red Bull ($4), Beer ($5), miniture bottles of spirit ($6) - beware!
None of the bars had sofy comfy chairs where you could sit and lazy around and read. The seats were like our garden benches, most without any padding at all, so you got very sore legs sitting on them after a days sunbathing when your skin needs some TLC.
The beach: well that was so disappointing, not a sign of white soft powdery sand, only lumpy coral which had been dug from the sea and deposited on shore to make a beach. Also gaining entry into the water was not pleasant due to more coral in the shallows as well as in the deep. You must have rubber shoes to stand any chance of getting in the water. Snorkelling was difficult as you had to swim out behind the jetty to get to the reef, but to get to the reef you had to swim out behind the jetty to get there. This is where the supply and passenger boats come in and they do this at a very high speed. I'm surprised there hasn't been an accident. They tell you that you are not allowed to swim in the area were the boats come in but do not give you any alternative ways to reach the coral reef so you have no choice. Once you have taken your life in your hands and reach the reef there is a good selection of different marine life, but the water was very poor visibility which we can only put down to the nature of the building work being carried out very near the reef. The water bungalows on both sides of the island are still being built and there are diggers, dump trucks going up and down the beach late in the evening when most people were in bed and considering that our room was only 50 feet from the beach this was not good.
We were advised by First Choice that there was still some work being carried out on the walkways of the water bungalows but this was an understatement. Work carried on 24 hours a day 7 days a week, there was unsightly black netting everywhere to identify where the work was being carried out. Loads of building materials, i.e. cement bags, builders gloves, broken pieces of bathroom tiles, planks of wood and lots of plastic water bottles were discarded on the beach near the building work, in the sea floating on the top and also on the bottom of the sea. It does somewhat spoil the snorkelling experience.
The island is popular amongst the Italians and they out numbered the British. I do not have a problem with any nationality but they were so loud, shouting, their children running and crying everywhere (even in January - don't they have schools to go to!).
There were at least 6 Italian entertainment staff who made even more noise organising beach events whilst we Brits were trying to get some peace. The evening entertainment was so loud that people were complaining that they couldn't get to sleep until well after 1am.
The Spar: well to be honest we didn't go in so I cannot comment but it looked like a shabby hut - nothing that you feel would draw you in to have a treatment.
There were two shops near the bar, one selling clothing and the other a gift shop but the shop owner/keeper followed around at a distance watching us as though we were going to steal some of his tacky souvenirs - that put us off and we didn't go back in again.
To sum in up - this island is only suitable for surfers who don't expect much comfort and the owners of the island haven't grasped the concept of luxury/comfort. The island is not a pretty one and we have visited a few namely Kureudo, Paradise Island, Louhofusi and Kura Bandos and all of these were gorgeous with fine powder white sands, flowers, lovely reefs etc.
We are well travelled and would only give this resort a 3 star rating at the very best.
We will not be going back to Dhonveli Beach and Spar. If you get the chance to change to another island before departure then we would strongly recommend that you do.
Fantastic friendly little island
We have just returned from Dhonveli Beach & Spa.
We travelled with First Choice on the 27th Dec and returned on the 11th Jan
The Premium flights in the new Star class were excellent. Both flights being on time.
The transfers to the island took approx 25 mins by speed boat.
We were greeted with cold towels and a fruit cocktail.
Our room was a Sunrise Villa right on the beach.
The room was enormous with a very large indoor full bathroom and also an outdoor bathroom with 2 showers and a bath.
We have stayed at many hotels around the world and the staff at Dhonveli are the most friendly and helpful I have ever come across
They really want to please
I could praise the island in many ways but it would take too long so a quick list :
Food : Excellent a good choice lots of fresh fish Lamb Beef Pasta and local curries fantastic salads
All Inclusive : All beer Spirits and local wines (which were excellent
Room : Excellent and cleaned twice a day with turn down service and fresh towels for the beach and bathroom.
Tea coffee mini bar Tv Air con( remote control )
Beach : Sunrise beautiful sandy beach with lagoon good snorkeling just 30 feet out
Pasta point rocky good for surfing and dolphin watching at sunset( we only failed to see dolphins on 2 days)
Approx 140 Italians and 50 from the UK plus 1 or 2 others
Finally considering the island was hit by the Tsunami
the management and staff (who all pulled together to repair the damage )have done a remarkable job in a short space of time.The friendliness attitude and hard work to look after the guests is a breath of fresh air.
This really is a beautiful island.
A special mention for Naseem, Azeem,Baskar,Ady,Mohammed.(Hope the spelling is correct)
What can you say but this should be named paradise island, we took a last minute booking with first choice excellent new planes just to start. Dispite the fact we could find very little in the way of reviews for this island we took a chance and booked, just everything about this place was first class. Top of the list has to be the people, so friendly, nothing too much trouble always a smile and working so hard, very honest. Accommodation, we stayed in a sunset villa which is not top of the price range, but absolutely amazing anyway, we had the most incredible views of the sunset, which were breathtaking. Food, was excellent. The island is so beautiful, with thatched type roofs, sand footpaths, incredible. We stayed on another island called paradise Island for two days before Dhonveli , this island was graded as 5 star and dhonveli as 4 star, in my opinion Dhonveli outshone Paradise in every way.
wE TRAVELLED IN dEC 2005
TripAdvisor Reviews Chaaya Island Dhonveli North Male Atoll
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