Veligandu Island Resort And Spa
Historical Traveler Reviews Hotel Edera Sottomarina
Go go go!!!!
My wife and I have just returned from Honeymoon to Veligandu and i cannot speak highly enough of this place.
Firstly, i will say this was our first trip to the Maldives so we do not have any other islands as benchmarks, but of the people we spoke to who had been to other islands before, they said that this was by far and away the best they'd been to.
So what did we love about Veligandu:-
Well firstly the beauty of the island. Everywhere is sand sand sand. Ocassional wooden walkways, but unlike other islands where the restaurants/bars are marble/hard floored, the sand floors at Veligandu really do mean that once you've kicked off your shoes on arrival, you do not put them back on again until you leave.
The sandbank at the end of the island, and generally around the island as a whole were soft and perfectly white, and were adorned by lots of hermit crabs who became a kind of favourite "pet" of ours.
The water was a beautiful turquoise as you'd expect, and our water willa seemed to be surrounded by fish, including sharks. We also had a heron enjoy hunting from our sun deck, and crabs who liked to come up the steps to say "hello."
The rooms themselves, were tidy, and relatively basic, but for us it was perfection. No TV...so what? We weren't there to watch TV. We had a sun deck, steps into the sea, a massive and comfortable bed, and it was spotlessly clean. (Thanks Hassan!!) What more would we want? No need in paradise like this for the modern amenities you get in 5* hotels in places like Dubai.
The food provided was nothing short of incredible. Variety was huge (and so is my gut now!!) and buffet style meant that, the 3 courses at lunch and dinner do take their toll. Once a week there is an a la carte night, but never have i eaten so well in a holiday resort. 10/10 for the kitchen!
We then HAVE to mention the staff. TOP NOTCH! Hard working but nevertheless, extremely friendly, helpful and genuine.
They remember your names, room number and all inclusive package from day 1, and they aren't money grabbing either, always asking us as 2 minutes before midnight if we want a drink before all inclusive finishes.
You will not find better bar staff anywhere, than those you will find in Rohan, Raj, Mendis, Ranjiht and Pradeep at Veligandu.
The same goes for the personal waiters you will be assigned for your stay.
We paid the extra $20 per head to sit on our own in a separate type of annex, where we had the wonderful Sattah (Sato) as our waiter.
A really nice guy and United fan as well!!!!
To sum up this island is PERFECT for honeymooners/couples.
Quiet during the day, for lounging in the sun and snorkelling amongst fish (Dive school for the more active ones!), yet a friendly atmosphere in the evening when everyone congregates in the bar trying some of Mendis's recommended cocktails!
Don;t think about it.....just go!!!
A small and intimate island
I have the benefit of having visited many different Maldive islands and can provide some objective commentary. For those who have never been to the Maldives - all the islands (big and small) have the same 'peaceful' air as Veligandu. Where Veli serves best and certainly (I think) deserves first prize is that it is the prettiest island I have visited. The sandbank and beaches are the crowning glory. Equally, I have never come across an island which takes so much energy in remembering your name and you feel that you are on a very private and intimate island.
We flew out on 8th July for 16 nights with Emirates and were in a small party including my husband, daughter, parents and best friend. Emirates are the best airline - miles better than Monarch (which we went on - never again) and heaps better than Qatar. Emirates flight was extremely comfortable with loads on the TV screen to look at - camera on nose and belly of plane to look at, interactive quiz with other passengers, films, games, etc. Good food, too.
Once in Male, we flew by seaplane to Veligandu. Best way of arriving at an island - what a view! Flew into 3 unsettled days of weather - one of heavy rain most of the day then the wind calmed down and we had sun for the rest with the last few days seeing a beach with waves as small as you might see in a mill pond!
We stayed in a beach bungalow as we also have a teenage daughter which effectively wipes out the delightful option of upgrading to the much more luxurious deluxe bungalows and sea villas, as it has already cost a small ransom to take out three adults on a luxury holiday. Whilst the views and privacy served the same as any other Maldive island (sublime!), I was very disappointed in the accommodation. For the same money, I have been accostomed on other islands to have polished wood floors, beautifully laid out bathrooms with full gardens, separate furniture (such as wooden desks and lamps). Instead, we had cold tile floors (which were lethal when wet), plastic wastebins (NHS style), concrete furniture, ie side tables, spare bed, drawers and desk built as part of the bungalow. Very plain side lamps (round balls) and decor badly in need of a good painting - peeling paint, etc. Having said that, the spare (3rd) bed was a good size for a teen - some are no more than settees. These bungalows are clean and a good size with a brilliantly strong shower. The houseboy turns the sheets down before dinner and are very unintrusive.
Turning to the island - it has resident bats, a heron and crows (similar to magpies) but no birds (such as parrots as seen on Bandos) and very little in the way of flowering plants which I suppose are not natural maldivian plants, anyway. There are plenty of crabs and small hermit crabs. We were not allowed to feed the fish and this was a great pity. I can understand it isn't natural but surely a set time prepared by the hotel (maybe at the end of the jetty) would have allowed those visitors who didn't snorkel to see the fish more closely. Most islands arrange this with underwater lighting etc and use raw fish from the dining room - so no unnatural bread, etc is used. Having said that - they have a small baby turtles cage at the end of the 'boat jetty' which you wouldn't have known unless you were told by another guest. The sand flooring in the bar and restaurant is over a concrete base - I would have prefered a natural floor - not one which you can see concrete through. However, even in that, the sandflies bit so use plenty of mozzie spray before meals. They do spray the island (fogging) once a week or so which does help keep the mozzies down considerably.
The house reef is quite far out and you would need some courage to swim that distance away from the island. The best place to reach the reef is via the steps down from the jetty you come in on from the sea plane. The island have thoughtfully put out fresh water hand held showers for when you come out of the water on the jetty. Sitting on the steps, the reef is approximately 30ft away, direction about 10 - 11o'clock. It is a pretty reef and we saw plenty of turtles, moray, sharks, one manta ray, sting rays and thousands of beautiful fish. It is worth swimming out towards the pole in the sea which seems to mark the edge - lots to see. Equally, there is a huge circle of fish under the floating jetty together with beautiful lion fish that just look at butterflies that have dropped in the water. Don't touch them though - even though they seem so approachable!
The rest of the house reef I was v. disappointed with and felt quite devastated - I have never seen so much broken coral. I can only think it must have been the effect of the tsunami and el nino.
One of the bits of advice I missed when we arrived which I would have expected in the welcome pack was a map of the house reef - such as where to go and more importantly, where not to go due to piped effluent, currents etc. This was thrown into stark reality in the case of a young 17 yr old lad who went off snorkelling one morning on his own (never go on your own) in our second week and got caught up in a current which took him away from the island. Fortunately, his mother noticed he was missing later on in the day and the excellent boat crew knew exactly where to go and pick him up (approx a mile from the island).
We had a go at the floating cycles (pedalloes?). Great fun and within 20 yrds from the beach, we were extremely saddle-sore but committed to going around the island. Do pick a time to hire these when it is full tide as we saw a couple catch this on top of the reef and they were stuck there for a good half an hour, probably creating more untold damage to the reef. We went out at 2.30 p.m being full tide - (Note this - guests of water bungalows!!!) As we came around the corner of the water bungalows, we realised that there were quite a few guests who had chosen to have afternoon siestas lying in the nuddies on their beds/sunbeds, etc .....quite naturally assuming 100% privacy. I nearly died with the shock and we were desperately trying to cycle past as quietly as possible before we were spotted and accused of being peeping toms. Trouble was that the tide kept pushing us closer to the bungalows.....
Thoroughly recommend some of the trips. The night fishing, as always, is recommended. You nearly always catch quite a few fish of different types (I caught a shark). It is a simple and extremely pleasurable experience and one which we always go on in the Maldives. Just brilliant.
The snorkelling trip is another ace trip. Plenty to see, with three reefs visited and we spotted five turtles in just one site. Very good value.
We also attended the Robinson Crusoe island trip. The idea of this is that you can spend some time on a deserted island. Pretty disappointing really, as when we got there, there were some local guys there from the local island, Rashdoo having a bar-b-q - or certainly clearing up from one. The fire in the oil drum was still hot. As a result of their presence, my mother felt completely uncomfortable about taking her shirt off to sunbathe and just sat on the bench seat in the shade. They said they were cleaners and left after half an hour but I found this dubious as there were plastic bottles on the beach and in the shrubbery. Nothing much to explore - small beach - would be a bit awkward with another couple, I suspect. The back of the island (no bigger than a 5-a side pitch) was reinforced with concrete and jetty - I suspect to help keep it there. You can also walk/swim across to another smaller sandbank which we did. We had approx 3 or 4 hrs to kill so spent the time amusing ourselves with the crabs (crab racing, etc) and were glad to leave when the boat arrived. No doubt leaving behind a traumatised population of hermits.
There are plenty of other trips, deep sea diving, canoeing, sailing, etc. The island also has the most beautiful sailing ship which is constantly moored at the end of the island - this provides a beautiful backdrop. It is used when they do the dolphin trip and sunset cruise.
A major part of these islands is the food. The bar and barmen are brilliant. How these guys ever rested, I don't know. Extremely attentive and made a very proud point of knowing your names, your room number and your tariff - all inclusive, etc. The drinks are good home brands and are always doubles. We made a point of having a drink before dinner and we also had a sandwich in the afternoon with some soft drinks. The all inclusive option also includes two trips as well as your water. However, I feel we only just broke even. The entertainment was just about right but these islands (and the sun) have a soporific effect on you and I felt the entertainment was a bit late (ie 9.45pm - 10pm). We were usually ready for bed by then at the latest! Recommend you watch the dive night video - just lovely and presented well by the dive team. Not sure it is the ideal island for small kids. There were a couple when we were there - for just a night or so and unless they are really really well behaved can be a bit of a nuisance for honeymoon couples and adult parties. Even teenagers can struggle (the island has no pool) and luckily for my daughter, there were a few her age, who she spent the rest of the time with. There is a TV in the bar as well as a pool table, ping-pong table and hand-football table (not sure of its name). Plus a few board games. Fortunately my daughter also loves snorkelling so it was OK.
The food was lovely and in particular, the food they did fresh on the grill in the evening - everything from pork, fish, lamb, beef and chicken. Plenty of vegetarian food, too. I have to say I have experienced better food at similar star islands however. Chefs take note - home made ice-cream will always go down well - far more so than sickly sweet mousses! Check out the Nepal chef who does the eggs table (such as fried eggs, omelettes, etc) Had originally wanted to join the gurkhas! Great guy. The waiters are magnificent and the best of all the staff from my point of view. Our waiter, Shaheem, was discreet, kind, thoughtful and extremely attentive. They would all knock the socks off any London-training top class hotel waiter. We were left with a wonderful memory of gentle and dignified folk. I could have brought him home with me. The view from the restaurant also takes in the view of the sandbank and takes your breath away each morning.
Equally, the staff and management deserve a huge acknowledgement and mention. They were efficient and very approachable. We had some good conversations with them and all seem very happy and proud of the island - particularly the manager, Fathuhulla. He runs a very good 'ship'. Whilst we were there, the staff on the island had a party to celebrate the fact that they had come tops in the 'most bookings/maximum occupancy' in the Maldives - think that's right. Sorry about the English but you get my meaning!
The gym facilities are absolutely brilliant. Nice and cold a/c with modern machines. Recommend a visit to the spa as well. Charming ladies who are again, very approachable and no way intimidating for anyone who hasn't had a massage before. Only think I did have a smile about was, whilst waiting to go in, I was sitting on a lovely seat, with beautiful far eastern chimes and music and suddenly heard one of the island staff trying to repeatedly empty their throat in the shower (the spa backs onto what seems to be the staff quarters!!!). Anyway, nothing could beat the experience of the massage - top notch.
Definitely upgrade if you can but you do get a lot of privacy amongst the shrubs with the beach bungalows which you inevitably lose on the more exposed water bungalows.
Veligandu has more repeat visitors than any other island I know and it doesn't surprise me.
The friendly intimacy and pride in the island creeps over you and you only notice it when you have left and suddenly realise that you regard that pretty little island as 'home' instead of the one in the UK. That is its legacy and it will happen to all of you who have yet to visit it!
Paradise on earth ... it does exist!!
The paradise on earth!
My husband and I went to Veligandu for our honeymoon at the end of May. It was the best time ever! The island was not very big which was nice because we could simply walk or swim around (it takes only 30 mins max to walk around or about one hour to swim). Note that the west side of the island tends to be breezier and of course gets sun all afternoon. The sand bar at the other end of the island was extremely picturesque (actually, I found that it was the most beautiful spot on this island). The good thing was there was hardly anybody at the sand bar. Most of the guests were likely to stay in front of their bungalow or on their balcony for WV guests. Snorkeling was fantastic too. There were LOADS of fish like trigger fish, parrot fish, porcupine, stingrays and nice corals to see under the sea (the best place is around the jetty on the west side of the island). It was very nice indeed with these baby black tip sharks swimming in the shallow water by the beach with groups of fish. We saw their mother one day when we swam to the end of the lagoon (but don't worry; they do not attack if you don't hurt them). We didn't dive here but already it was very nice just to snorkel. In fact, we saw more fish here than when we dived at other country.
We booked over-water villa with the tour operator but upgraded through hotel to deluxe over-water villa. It was worth upgrading. The deluxe one is out of the world! The different between DWV and standard WV is this to-dream-for open-air bathroom which has a big window overlooking at the end of the sky and the sea. One thing that we loved about WV was that we could just jump into the sea without getting annoyed about having sand everywhere on our sun bed! And in the night, we just chilled on our balcony looking at some fish. In terms of other room type, for me personally, I found all of those beach bungalows rather looked like backpacker bungalows. Anyway, I think the island is already special enough and surely you don't need those "wow" rooms to make it more special!
Food was great although I didn't really fancy the a la carte menu. Overall, I would rate it as being excellent. Before we went there, I read some reviews of the island from some website and saw people mentioned about their wonderful service. I thought to myself how nice it could be as my expectation was rather high after living in Thailand where the quality of service is famous. After my trip, I have to agree with all of the reviews. I found the service was outstanding, especially in the restaurant and the bar.
There are just some little things that we could find fault with. Firstly, those noisy neighbours! It was great to have a CD player in the room but it was quite annoying sometimes when you can hear the music from your neighbours when you are sunbathing on your own balcony. And that when the next door tried to make a private disco in their room at 1am, it wasn't very pleasant either! Also for a holiday hotel, it is a bit too early to finish breakfast at 9.30. They provide some pastry for late breakfast but the choices are limited. Lastly, the entertainment was poor. However, we didn't really bother (and neither did most of the other guests). We knew since we booked for the Maldives that it was not a place for a night life!
Sand bank means great snorkelling is just a few feet from the shore. Food great, staff friendly & there really isn't any reason not to have a fantastic time on this island! Clearly fewer rooms means a quiet island designed for relaxing, chilling out, and just enjoying the natural environment. If you want more entertainment or lively evenings this isn't the right choice.
Sun sand and food food food!
Returned on 25th April 2005 from excellent chill out holiday. I would like to thank all staff for making my 60th birthday so very special.
Water bungalow excellent also the deluxe water edge bungalow, we were fortunate enough to spend a week on the sunset and a week on the sunrise side of the Island.
We do not (at present) snorkle, however enjoyed watching the fish from our decking and from the lilos we took withus. The water was extremely clear during the first week, unfortunately became unpleasant and dirty (around our bungalow area) for the last few afternoons.
Absolutely wonderful hotel. Staff couldn't do enough for you and we're courteous and polite throughout. Food was fantastic with an excellent choice every day. If you go for a fortnight, you won't eat the same thing twice! Only a 20 minute seaplane ride from the airport which means no long speedboat transfers. Plenty of excursions to go on, otherwise take plenty of books as there is not much else to do aside from the wonderful snorkelling and diving. Don't think twice about this island, just go!
Returned on Monday from a week on Veligandu.
The island is beautiful, the staff are very friendly and efficient, the food is great and the accomodation is lovely. We stayed in a Deluxe Water Villa - lots of space and a fab bathroom. Watching the parrot fish swim under the huge balcony is wonderful. The snorkelling is the best i have ever seen, we saw turtles almost every time.
Upgrade to all-inclusive - it's well worth it.
If you don't chill out here, you never will!
Cannot find anything bad to say about this place. It was wonderful from start to finish. We upgraded to a deluxe water villa (this option isn't offered by a lot of the tour operators but you can do it through the resort), and it was extremely comfortable and private. Food and service were superb. The Spa is well worth a visit too....the honey and cucumber facial was sublime! Flew with FCA and upgraded and it was fine, although the 12 hour flight back was a bit of a trek. Think we will do emirates next time. Will be going back for sure.
A gem of a resort
Just returned from a week in paradise. From the time that the seaplane docks at the island jetty to the time you leave you are cosseted in luxury. We stayed in a deluxe over-water villa. Very spacious and a real experience. There are no bad rooms at the resort whether a water villa or a beach bungalow. Those on the jetty side get the evening sunsets. The friendliness and helpfulness of the staff just can't be bettered. The food is superb and there is sufficient choice to cater for all tastes. The quality of the snorkelling off the beach is brilliant. In my experience far better than Grand Cayman in Caribbean The range of fish and numbers has to be seen to be believed. If you do not see dozens of fish types and turtles on your first snorkel trip you will be very unlucky. Resort never crowded.
We flew to Male by Emirates. Super airline and the legroom and service means you arrive in great shape. The seaplane trip to the island is an experience in itself.
Not a place for young kids. They will get bored pretty quickly but if you want to chill out in great surroundings take the all inclusive option and go for it. You will not be disappointed.
Fabulous Chilled Out Holiday
The most beautiful place we have ever seen. After a tough year my fiancée and I splashed out on a luxury holiday.
Long flight to Male from London via Air tours wasn't to be recommended. No Movie going out and I'm 6'1 and couldn't fit in my chair it was that cramped. Go Emirates if you go.
Once there, Sea Plane to Veligandu which was fascinating. Flying over several islands giving us a superb view.
On arrival, we took off shoes and didn't put them back on till we left 2 weeks later. Sand floored restaurant and bar meant you never wore shoes. We just couldnt belive how beautiful it was.
Staff were very friendly without being obviously after tips and the island was just beautiful. At night the beach was raked for any stones or sharp coral so that each morning it was pristine.
We had a beach villa with an outdoor bathroom. Villa had aircon, mini bar etc and came with our own room boy who always tried to decorate the room with fresh flowers differently each day.
Be aware that there is nothing to do except read, swim in the sea and eat and drink. We went prepared and took professional snorkelling equipment with us. There was so much to see in the water with the sheltered lagoon making for perfect conditions for water sports.
We rarely saw other guests apart from at the bar or in the restaurant.
We would definitely go again and left feeling very chilled out.
Our pictures are online at www.ddlolsutions.net/hols.htm
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