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Chaaya Island Dhonveli Hotel

9 of 9 hotels in Male

4 out of 5 from 1 review
4 stars
Kanuoiy Huraa

1 Review

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Review Overview

  • Cleanliness
  • Entertainment
  • Food
  • Service
  • Location
11 years 4 months ago
DH, I and 2 of our teenaged children went to Dhonveli for a week at Xmas for some much needed R&R. DH and I have been to the Maldives before (to Meeru before it was extended to the size resort it is now).

The island itself is disappointing but only by Maldivian standards - there is not a great deal of greenery (Meeru was very lush and green and "jungly") and the beach is not very big and also the sand is not the finest. BUT you ARE in the Maldives and anywhere in the Maldives is beautiful and has the same beautiful sky and wonderful Indian Ocean.

The staff couldn't really be faulted - they were exceptionally friendly and eager to please; the food and drinks service was excellent and if anything, I would say that Dhonveli was better than Meeru in this area.

The rooms are fine - not luxurious and quite dark (as many seem to be in the Maldives) but clean, spacious and adequate. We had a beach villa and then moved to a beach cottage. These were both on the beach side of the island (the other side of the island is great for the sunsets but has no real beach or sandy area plus the waves and currents are quite strong on the opposite side). The beach villa we originally had was right on a rocky area with no sand so was a little disapppojnting in that respect but the rooms were extremely spacious. The beach cottages are smaller but have the nice 4 poster beds (we were moved as we had requested interconnecting rooms) and the beach cottages that we were in were on the sandy area of the beach so a very nice location. We were also very near to the bar and the restaurant which was convenient and we were not troubled by any noise from these areas.

Both rooms had partial outdoor bathrooms which were nice although water pressure was so low and the water usually only tepid so taking a bath was not really possible but nothing beats showering in the open air under that beautiful sky and you wouldn't want anything warmer than tepid!

No real problems with bugs - a couple of cockroaches as you would expect but they sprayed (rooms and outside) every day so when we had them in the rooms/bathrooms they were usually dead. And a few of the tiny ants that you always get. No problems with mossies when we were there.

Room boys were good and always did a good job and rooms kept spotlessly clean.

When we were there the Sunset Bar and the Rehendi Bar were both all inclusive and the Ko Bar appears to have shut down. The drinks were good and bar tenders great. the Rehendi Bar was our favourite place - very quiet and relaxing and was always great sat by the waters edge with a drink watching the black tipped sharks, manta and sting rays and dolphins etc.

They do need to get their all inclusive deal sorted out - the staff were not all clear on what was and what wasn't included and this led to a few unnecessary and embarassing exchanges. the problem is that they appear to currently have different all inclusive deals for different nationalities e.g. it is only all inclusive at the Rehendi Bar for Brits and I also believe that it is only Brits that get brandy and selected cocktails included. The best bet is to ask for the all inclusive menu - they have them at both bars and that clearly states what is and what is not included. Note that they have a laminated poster at the Sunset Bar with what is included on it but this is not correct - there is a bi-fold proper all inclusive menu which includes several alcoholic and non alcoholic cocktails, campari, tia maria, martini etc and the usual local spirits.

We booked (not all inclusive) a lobster meal at the Rehendi Bar for Xmas Day (a very pleasant change to turkey). This was nice, service was good but we made the mistake of letting them seat us inside, right in the centre of the restaurant and the lack of air made it so unbearably hot.. By dessert I couldn't stand it any more and asked if we could sit outside. We then just picked up our drinks and occupied a bar table outside and was then really embarassed when two of the staff proceeded to carry our entire table outside for us - what service!

The snorkelling was good and our children thoroughly enjoyed it but there isn't really a house reef and we didn't think that the snorkelling was as good as elsewhere in the Maldives. We were much too busy relaxing to take the snorkelling trip so I can't comment on that!

The ocean around Dhonveli is not as still as we are used to in the Maldives even the lagoon had currents and slight waves and tidal movement etc - it was still beautiful though.

There was a problem with a large group of other guests in the resort who arrived and were very rude, disruptive, loud and had appalling manners - even using their fingers to help themselves to salads etc at the buffet. However, the management were aware of these issues and did what they could and ultimately this particular group only stayed a day or so.

There was plenty of entertainment in the evening - of dubious quality (but did make us laugh) - but that's not what we went for. We did participate on Xmas Eve though when they had a gala dinner and lots of entertainment and we all had a really good time.

Was very disappointed though about the building work. We had been informed that there was still some going on but had been told that this was just internal cosmetic finishing etc. This is not the case. They are still building water bungalows and all day, every day, we could hear angle grinders, hammers and drills etc. Fortunately, the sound of the sea was loud enough to take the edge off the noise. However, the work did not stop there. One day we were asked by housekeeping if it was ok if they did some work on the roof of our rooms which we obviously agreed to. We were told that this would be completed by about 2pm. This was about 9.30/10am. What they failed to tell us is that they were removing and replacing the entire roof. We therefore had not removed any of our belongings from the patio areas or the outdoor bathroom and everything got covered in rotten thatch. We were also unable to use the rooms to change or use the bathrooms etc. That evening we also had booked onto the sunset fishing trip and by the time we left at 5pm, we were still unable to access our rooms for showers etc....this was really disappointing.

Then on our last night, we were telephoned and warned that there would be some building work going on near our room up until about 10pm that evening..... this was our last night and we had planned an early night so we could make the most use of our last morning. The work was actually a JCB going down the beach to try to flatten the ridge caused by the tide. The work went on well past 10pm and they didn't finish it either so I suspect it would have continued again the following night.

The other small disappointment was that there are a fair few islands around Dhonveli, many of which are using bright halogen type lighting. Dhonveli also have halogen lighting down where they JCB works at night where the water bungalows are being built (it looks as though they are building another restaurant). One of the things that I love about the Maldives is the lack of light pollution means that the night sky and stars etc are a joy - unfortunately, not as much of a joy at Dhonveli.

I also have a slight concern about how the Island will cope with all the additional guests once the water bunglows are complete as during our last couple of days, the resort was very busy (was very quiet when we arrived) and, as the beach was so small and most people used the beach, the beach got quite busy.

In summary though I have to stay that we achieved what we wanted - chilling out for a week at Xmas - great food and drink and beautiful surroundings and at a reasonable price. Just not as beautiful as other Maldivian resorts but then again, the price is also not as high as some other resorts and Xmas here beats Xmas in Blighty any day!
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