Paradise on Earth
I never really paid attention to the different qualities of beaches until we went to Maldives in 2014. I didn’t do that much research before I came, our key words were mainly private beach villas, and put a financial cap on it as it soon became obvious that the prices for their well known resorts were stratospheric. Maldives exposed us to the Angsana hotel brand, which one can say is the younger sister to the Banyan Tree outfit. There are 2 Angsana hotels in Maldives, and we selected Angsana Velavaru which is located in Dhalu Atoll. It took us about 45 minutes to get there on a seaplane (which is a spectacular experience). We stayed for four nights and at 2 different types of accommodation – the Deluxe Pool Villa and the In Ocean Villa, and we detailed our experience extensively on Tripadvisor (shared below). For now, these photos can give a better visual anecdote to the Maldives experience.
The good and bad of Angsana Velavaru
Indeed the whole Maldives experience was spectacular – nature has endowed the islands with supernatural beauty! Sea was turquoise, reefs were stunning, and we had the chance to swim alongside fish that came in so many different colours and sizes: pink and electric blue, black and white, silver white, yellow and blue, small as your little finger or as large as a frying pan! Sunsets and sunrises were so breathtaking it just becomes carved in your memory and the seclusion of the resort gives you the sensation of being alone.
The resort was if in any other place in the world, considered heavenly. It still was heavenly, but a resort set in Maldives does come with it a high bar.
The few minor issues included a lack of finesse by the staff at the reception desk – There were some challenges relating to our booking for one night at the In OceanVilla resort which was already handled by another colleague in the morning but which was dealt with a little clumsily by staff in the evening (he initially stated that all the rooms were booked despite the fact that we had already paid for it in the morning, then couldn’t properly explain the check in and check out time). At final check out, we were charged two nights at the Villa but in fact we were there for one night, we pointed it out and while she naturally rectified it, she didn’t apologise for it which was just appalling manners. Secondly, our seaplane for the flight taking us back to Male Airport for our flight out of Maldives was terribly delayed. I think in this situation there could have been more assurance or explanations from staff that when issues like this crop up, the seaplane company would usually deal with the airline company at the airport to ensure that they are aware of passengers coming late and to hold the flight for us. In this instance we were just informed not to worry but not explained of these details despite expressing our concerns, so we had to live with some uncertainty for about half hour. Again a small issue but these small things can interrupt the whole luxury holiday enjoyment.
The fantastic side of course is just how beautiful the whole resort was and offered maximum privacy. The deluxe pool villa particularly, really gave you a sense of tranquil – the pool in the back is surrounded by high walls and shaded by trees so swimming/sunbathing there in peace was guaranteed. The beach on the other hand is only a few steps away from the front and the whole path to the beach is also shrouded by trees so again privacy was secured. Once you get inside the water won’t take you long to witness the miracle of sealife with your snorkelling gear. The In Ocean Pool villa, which the hotel kindly upgraded us to upon request for any vacancies at a discounted rate was nothing short of sensational. It was like an out-of-body experience! A bungalow over the water with floor to ceiling glass walls, bathtub by the wall so you can bathe as you look at the sea, a big, infinity swimming pool, a jetty that takes you to the sunbathing deck, a deck where you can get down into the sea and swim and snorkel, and an upstairs terrace with surreal views of sunrise and sunset and where you can also have your spa treatment. We could hear the azan from the nearby island and this enhanced the spiritual dimension to the island’s divine beauty.
The team at the restaurant were also very good, friendly, courteous and always smiling. One of the hotel managers, Amjad was great – very professional, knowledgeable about the company product and ever willing to help us have a better experience.
The spa too was super – we had a couples treatment in an outdoor pavillion which was enclosed by a wooden fence and still feel rested because of the gorgeous massage. There is also much to offer in terms of sea activity – we watched stingrays being fed up close and the marine life representative was very knowledgeable about the natural sealife living in the resort who clearly invested alot of effort in understanding and respecting their lives and privacy. The whole hotel’s policy was indeed geared to ensure that marine life retains its protected status in the resort. There was deep sea snorkelling, sea diving, banana boat – endless options!
Overall, the Angsana Velavaru is a fantastic resort. I would definitely recommend it to those seeking for a romantic, private and luxurious time away from the city and close to beautiful nature though maybe best to come in the monsoon season (apparently June to September/October) where there will be less chaos. For us, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.