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Stopyourhavering64 Sun 02-Dec-18 22:42:03

Planning holiday to Maldives next September with dh ...have previously been to Seychelles, Thailand, Antigua, Cuba, don't want a big busy resort
Have a healthy budget ( will also be flying business class) and want a 5* resort with potential for AI and over water villa and spa
Want to go snorkelling, so a house reef would be good, or at least within easy reach of some good sites ( not planning on scuba diving)
Think S Ari Atoll May be where we need to head ( for whale sharks, turtles, dolphins) , but would welcome any ideas

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ZombieHunter Mon 03-Dec-18 09:36:23

Oblu on Helengeli Island ticks all your boxes.

It is/has:
Quiet, small island
AI (excellent food and drink choices)
Over water villas
Adult only pool if you want it super quiet
Amazing house reef with daily sightings of sharks, turtles, rays and sometimes dolphins
Fantastic staff who will make you feel like royalty

We absolutely loved it when we were there and can't fault it.

christravelwizard Tue 04-Dec-18 12:14:45

Hi @stopyourhavering64,
Septemeber's a great time ot go to the Maldives! Temperatures are around 30C, 7-8 hours of sunshine but ave rainfall is c.200mm, so you may get 1 or 2 semi cloudy, cooler or even rain showers.
Along with Mexico east coast, the Maldives has excellent diving with some areas having underwater visibility of around 50m.
If you'd like to stay on islands that are surrounded by marine rich house reefs where you can literally snorkel directly from the beach in dedicated snorkelling channels, the best islands are Lion's Head and Wattare Kandu in the North Male Atoll.
As @Zombiehunter rightly says, OBLU by Atmosphere at Helengeli has over 20 top dive sites nearby and Lankanfinoku has this amazing place called Manta Point, where you'll be startled and ovewhelmed by the sheer numbers of Manta rays stopping at the equivalent of a marine "car wash" to be cleaned by hundreds of cleaner fish!
If you wnat to go to South Male Atoll, one of my suppliers showed me pictures of Maaya Thila island, where you can get close (but not too close!!) to zebra morays, mantas, white tip sharks and occasionally, whale sharks.
The South Ari atoll is one of the best areas to see whale sharks between August and November.
But personally, for me, the Baa Atoll is the finest place for any underwater experience (I think it's an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve) - Hanirafu Bay is extraordinary and although you can't dive here, you can snorkel amongs whale sharks and manta rays from June to around September, depending on volume of plankton in the area. If you're interested in doing this, I'd recommend Milaidhoo Island or Dhigali to get close to Hanifaru Bay.
As with most of the upmarket Maldivian resorts, select an All Inclusive option.
Let me know what's on your wish list and I'll suggest options that tick most of your boxes. Wish I was going with you!! smile

sulflower Fri 07-Dec-18 07:08:23

Lily Beach in the south ari atoll, it's fabulous, fantastic AI which includes Taittinger Champagne and a choice of over 80 wines. Good house reef.

rubisco Fri 07-Dec-18 07:17:27

Lily Beach is great! The house reef is amazing, and very easy to access. I've swum round the island a few times (it's quite small!) and seen octopuses, rays, and reef sharks as well as the usual profusion of colourful reef fish.

It's also 100% all-inclusive, so you don't have the two-tier thing of AI guests getting inferior products / service.

It's child-friendly, but the kids club, kids pool, and family villas are all at one end, and the over-water villas at the other (with the spa, an adult pool, a bar, and other facilities) so it works well for adults too.

Bluntness100 Fri 07-Dec-18 07:20:09

Some big resorts being mentioned here.

Diamond athuruga, it's got one of the best house reefs in the Maldives, is tiny and very intimate, the water villas are fab.

rubisco Fri 07-Dec-18 07:22:08

I forgot to mention the turtles, mantas, dolphins, and whale sharks! Not on the house reef, but a boat ride away (a short one for turtles and mantas, a longer one for dolphins and whales sharks - no guarantees!)

Bluntness100 Fri 07-Dec-18 08:46:25

Lilly beach is a big resort and not one of the highly rated ones, I'm sorry. It's more middle of the road and it's not famed for its house reef. Most resorts have whale sharks etc a boat ride away.

Op why don't you go to the Maldives forum on trip advisor and ask there.

bunnyup Fri 07-Dec-18 09:10:11

Omg @Stopyourhavering64 please come on that holiday swap programme with me, that sounds just bloody fabulous!

Stopyourhavering64 Fri 07-Dec-18 09:17:14

bunnyhop grin....we never went on any mega holidays before kids or when they were little...all dcs have now either left home and doing their own traveling or at uni so we thought we'd join them in ticking off our bucket list....My dB is currently terminally ill with bowel cancer, so thought's too short!
Ive joined a trip advisor forum and got some ideas...I think I've narrowed it down to these resorts, so if anyone has any experience of The I'd be very grateful!
Constance Halaveli
Lux S Ari Atoll
W Retreat
Huvafen Fushi

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Stopyourhavering64 Fri 07-Dec-18 09:19:09

Oops sorry swap sounds like a good concept!...but I'm not swopping the Maldives with anyone grin

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bunnyup Fri 07-Dec-18 09:58:20

@Stopyourhavering64 I totally agree, life is too short and I'd rather have the memories of a fantastic holiday than little treats along the way like takeaways and Sunday carverys! Currently saving for a big holiday in 2020 and can't bloody wait already grin

LCHF2018 Fri 07-Dec-18 10:04:13

Ive stayed at Huvafen Fushi. The villas are really lovely but there is no AI option. Its a reasonably quiet intimate resort and def 5 star. House reef was decent and we say mantas on a snorkelling tour from there.

sulflower Sat 08-Dec-18 22:51:28

Lilly beach is a big resort

Lily Beach is in fact a small resort, no way could it be called big in any shape or form.

KirstyAllsoppsFatterTwin Sat 29-Dec-18 20:26:05

Lily Beach. Cannot recommend it highly enough. AMAZING food.

KirstyAllsoppsFatterTwin Sat 29-Dec-18 20:26:41

and it's not a big resort, it's a nice size. Not tiny, just about right.

KirstyAllsoppsFatterTwin Sat 29-Dec-18 20:27:10

It's split into two halves though and you could spend all your time in one half without realising the other half if there.

KirstyAllsoppsFatterTwin Sat 29-Dec-18 20:29:16

A friend of mine swears by Lux, she's been several times. But they don't have a house reef. If we ever went back we'd have a really hard time choosing whether to try Lux on strong recommendation or just head straight back to Lily Beach which we could not fault in any way.

KirstyAllsoppsFatterTwin Sat 29-Dec-18 20:35:58

Lilly beach is a big resort and not one of the highly rated ones, I'm sorry. It's more middle of the road and it's not famed for its house reef.

shock Have you actually been there? confused

I've had some pretty luxurious holidays in my time and am pretty used to 5* hotels and I'd say it's most definitely a high end place. We take our food VERY seriously and the food and wine selection was incredible. The rooms were amazing, the staff were amazing, the landscaping of the gardens was amazing, we had an over water villa with an outdoor jacuzzi...the beach was beautiful, the house reef was great. No idea whether it was one of the best but it was certainly good enough.

I'm struggling to understand your comment to be honest.

Ourmaud Sat 29-Dec-18 20:39:49

Villamendhoo island is beautiful and the house reef is second to none.

Alabasterangel6 Sat 29-Dec-18 20:45:38

Been many times. Have family on Male. For your ask I’d recommend komandoo.

Babypug Sat 29-Dec-18 20:55:27

I wouldn't recommend going September - same seasons as the Caribbean... you'll be risking shorter days with lots of cloud with plenty of showers 🤷🏼‍♀️ if you've got the budget wait till peak season where you can guarantee the weather. Otherwise why go and not make most of all it has to offer.

minipie Sat 29-Dec-18 21:00:30

Mirihi looks amazing. I’ve never been but would have chosen it if we had the budget. Small, luxurious, amazing food and house reef. South Ari Atoll I believe.

Things change quickly out there and islands are always being refurbished so older reviews of places may be out of date, and there may be new options not mentioned on threads like this.

Bear in mind September is the rainy season. There will still be sunshine but also may be cloudy days and downpours and the water will be less clear.

Also bear in mind the top level of Maldives coral was sadly bleached by high sea temperatures in 2015 so many house reefs are not what they were.

Personally I prefer beach villas as I love lying on a beach under a palm tree and being able to go for a paddle - over water villas have outside decks but often limited shade and although you can get in the water from the villa, you have to go in fully. Sometimes they can be a bit cheek by jowl too. If choosing over water look very carefully at the deck area, is the seating comfy, is there shade and privacy, is it miles from your room to the island (the walkways get really hot!).

Sorry to hear about your brother.

mando12345 Mon 31-Dec-18 21:59:12

I've been to the W very nice, but I preferred mirihi.

Stopyourhavering64 Tue 01-Jan-19 06:49:14

Gosh, thanks for all the recommendations!....just caught up with them as sadly my dB died just before Christmas , so had funeral just after Boxing Day and had a 7hr drive there and back, so feeling knackered and emotionally drained , Christmas passed us by this year
However to try to look forward to something nice, I've been doing more research and been on trip advisor forums, still deciding , but narrowing it down, Kandolhu, Hurawalhii ,Baros , Halaveli and Naladhu ( +Anantara Veli) and maybe Lux and Lily...anyone been to these resorts?
Not too worried about AI resorts as buffets all the time get repetitive
Thinking of splitting time with 1 week on beach villa and the other on over water villa as we stayed on a fabulous beach villa ( with plunge pool) on Koh Phangan last year and loved that!
It's our 32nd wedding anniversary in September, hence why we're going then ( and dh is able to take time off then) .We've been to Thailand and Caribbean at that time ,and realise it's not high season, but we prefer that as it's out of school holiday season ! ( preferably adult only resort would be fab!) ..we have freedom now to holiday when we like as dcs are all grown up/ at uni!
Cheer me up with some of your Maldives experiences

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