This was our first visit to the Maldives so we can not compare to other islands. However a lot of guests were repeats and many had stayed on several islands previously. All Agreed Veli was the best.
This is a four star rated island and Hayes & Jarvis call centre did suggest this island and we are glad they did.
Flew Emirates and as usual excellent. The seaplane was an experience and for someone who does not like water or flying that much it was fun. We booked a water villa and then upgraded direct with the island to a deluxe water villa. On arriving the manager came and told us no water villa for the first night as overbooked. We did not complain because we had changed our booking with the island and they then let our original room. ...
We stayed in a basic beach bungalow and it was fine. Read More
The open air bathroom was strange and I described it as posh camping. I have never used an open air toilet before! The only down side was the basic rooms do not have a kettle, for what they cost they should have them. Each room had beach beds allocated which was lovely, no rush to find a bed. The upgrade to a deluxe water villa from a standard water villa is $45 per day per villa. We were not charged for the whole week due to the room not been ready on arrival/first night. We were more than happy with that, the manager also offered us a private BBQ dinner but we declined as we did not like the set menu.
The deluxe water villa was lovely. The bathroom had an inside toilet, shower and double sink and the bath was in the open with a canopy you could pull over, we had a dressing area with plenty of draws and the main room was large with 2 chairs and even with another bed for our child it was spacious. The floors were polished wood and you would not be disappointed. The sea level was low around the decking, only knee high. We felt fine having this type of accommodation with a child of 8. The only dangerous part was no rail around the decking but then an adult could fall off. We just told our son to stay away from the edge and he did. We also requested sunset side so the views early evening were nice. Only one comment about the water villa, it was noisy at night. I did not like the waves hitting the wood villa, we did not sleep that well. We will stay in a beach bungalow next time.
You do need sea shoes as lot of coral in the sea. Also I did not like walking bare foot round the island and wore flip flops. The sand was cool but the wood decks get very hot. If you stay in a water villa you can find white sunbeds on the sands at the end of the jetty, these are for anyone to use and lots of breeze here.
At the opposite end of the island they have a lovely sand bank and here too the beds are white plastic and for anyone. As you walk around the island you will see wood beds and these are allocated to each accommodation. Do take care by the sand bank as the sea has strong undercurrents to the side of the restaurant. We were not warned and my family got in difficulty, not nice experience for our young son, even with a float on, the sea could have taken him had my husband and another guest not grabbed him. They were only 6 foot from shore when they felt the currents, it took them 20 foot further out and then really struggled to get back holding our little boy and trying to swim with one arm. Both men are very good swimmers. We were not warned on arrival and I did complain to the manager and have asked him to do something, interested to know from anyone in the future if he has! Do not snorkel without wearing flippers as they do give you the swimming advantage should you get in difficulty.
We went AI and as we are not big drinkers we maybe broke even. We will return again and I would still go AI as you have no shock at the end of the holiday.
Only 1 grumble, it did not include mini bar. I think they should allow 1 bottle of water and maybe 2 soft drinks per person per day from mini bar. It is a long walk to the bar and in the heat you must drink. We eventually organised ourselves and stocked the mini bar with soft drinks as we asked at the bar not to open the bottles as we wanted to take them to the room, they were fine with this. Also every meal we ordered a bottle of water and took it to the room for coffee and teeth cleaning. Just a bit of hassle.
You sit at the same table in the dining room and so the waiter soon knows your drink preferences, no sweeteners only sugar for hot drinks so take your own. I left mine on the table for the whole stay to save forgetting them. The food was excellent, we are lucky our child loves soup fish, meats and pasta. Only saw chips and burgers 1 lunch. If you like junk you might struggle. My husband was worried as he can not eat fish and dislikes salad. He even said how much he enjoyed the meals and i tried to explain he really did not have to eat every dessert, it was a choice. The island has won awards for it\'s food and you can see why. The homemade pastas were our favourites. We always arrived late for meals and never once in the whole week did they run out of food. To-wards the end of the meal time they were still refilling the heated containers.
We went on the trip to the nearby local island of Rashdoo. You got a brief tour of how they live and you could buy cheaper gifts in the shops. If AI this is included plus either night fishing or snorkeling trip. Also lots other trips if you pay for them.
The dive school was Swiss owned and we were told by guests it was good. Hire kayaks etc but I did not agree you should have to pay for a life jacket. In the Caribbean we have been told we must wear for safety but in the Maldives they seem to be lacking in H&S.
Evening entertainment was very low key, highlight of our week was crab racing but we did not win. One guest told me he found one of the named crabs strolling up the beach the following morning. You do not go for entertainment, feeding the fish seemed good enough for our little boy.
All in all a wonderful holiday, we can not believe how you just do not see people during the day, then come meal times my husband described us as ants trekking off for food. Then we all disappear again. The week went so fast and we did not want to leave. Family have asked what did you do all day and we replied nothing but it was great.
Having travelled a lot in the Caribbean staying in large hotels we have decided we much prefer the laid back peace and quiet of the Maldives. Our 8 year also said he wants to go back, he never moaned once, too busy snorkeling. We did take his portable DVD player and he did use in an evening. Anyone with children who are thinking of going here I would not put you off. We know our son loves the beach all day and needs nothing else, if yours is the same then go. A tip from my little boy to any little boys or big boys, do not play football in the court without trainers, he tried in bare feet even though told not to and bust his toe very bad.
Our dilemma now is do we break our rule and go back to the same place twice or try another island but run the risk it is not as good. Several guests told us that is why they keep going back, one lady was 9 times. I think that says it all. Having looked at other islands I think Veli is modern and it certainly is not worn or tatty. The staff are excellent and they told another guest they were well looked after, maybe that then reflects on how happy they were.
You can not go far wrong at Veligandu
Tour Operator: Hayes & Jarvis