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"Choosing on which Maldives island to holiday, is not quite as easy as it might sound. Although each of those that have been designated by the government as 'Tourist Destinations' are, of course, islands within the atolls of the Indian Ocean. But there the similarity ends.
So, how do they differ? Let's start with size. Some are large enough to cater for many hundreds of guests at a time and many of those are managed by international hotel chains. A number classify themselves as 'medium' in size, where perhaps eighty or so Maldivian styled (two-three person) chalets are spaced around the resort's beaches. Then there are the more intimate islands, small enough to paddle around the perimeter in thirty minutes or so and where seeing another guest (other than at mealtimes) is anything but common.
Facility wise, every island differs even more. Some of the larger ones have tennis courts, football fields, choreographed entertainment every evening and even swimming pools – although this author has always been puzzled as to why the latter?
There are islands where the nearest reef over which to snorkel or scuba dive can only be reached by dhoni (local boat), others have wonderful house reefs only metres from the shore. Some offer all non-motorised water sports such as catamaran sailing and canoeing on a complimentary basis, while others charge.
Then there is always the cost to consider. This does vary widely between resorts. Choosing between, Room Only – B&B – Half Board - Full Board and All Inclusive, should be made with care if a pre-determined budget is a major factor. To look carefully at 'extras' is certainly my recommendation as these (like alcohol) can quickly turn into a sizeable sum of money by the end of a stay.
'Oh dear', readers might say at this point – 'it all sounds complicated'. In actual fact it isn't!.
While I concentrate on producing a detailed Travelogue of every place in the world I visit (like this one), there are other writers whose expertise lets them pen very differently. As regards to the Maldives, there is in fact a 'bible' – a book entitled, 'Resorts of the Maldives' written by Adrian Neville. His brilliant book lists, page by page - resort by resort - ALL the details a prospective tourist would need to know before selecting the island of choice. It really does make it easy to read (and look at the photographs) jot down any of the resorts that 'tick all your boxes' – narrow things down to one and THEN make your booking.
Having visited a number of very varied Maldives islands in recent years and reported on each in depth, I wanted to pick one that really did differ from the norm and my research (plus a good old scan through Mr Neville's book) I made my choice. Would 'small' be beautiful? It turned-out to be even more than that – a slice of paradise!
The tiny island of Makunudu, although within the Coco Collection Group and operated by Sunland, it sneaks under the radar of many UK tour operators. Because of that it almost borders on the unique. With less than forty villas and an average guest list throughout the season numbering seventy-five at any one time, the island offers the peace and tranquility so many discerning holidaymakers crave for.
From the moment one steps off the resort's powerful speedboat after a thrilling fifty-minute ride across the turquoise coloured ocean from Male and be greeted in person by the resident manager, Lakshman Chandrasekra (a Sri Lankan) before being guided to the thatched reception area where a cold, scented towel and an even colder fruit cocktail are presented, guests know instinctively that they have made the right choice.
By the time the simple booking-in procedure is completed and you're escorted along a sandy path shaded by the island's prolific flora to reach your selected villa, its air conditioning has been activated and your luggage already lying in wait. Every villa has the same amenities – quiet, efficient air-con – a huge (and wonderfully comfortable bed), ample storage space, a desk on which to write postcards (or not as the case may be) and a great half outdoor/indoor bathroom with loads of hot water. The front door opens onto a teak deck (with a low-sited water tap for rinsing one's sandy feet) which in turn lets you step down and walk the few metres along your own narrow, tree-covered path to emerge onto the beach, where lies a sun-bed.
I'd arrived in late February, which allowed me to enjoy the perfect weather – calm seas, azure skies, light, cooling breezes and a lusciously warm sea swarming with fish. The House Reef was amazing. Just a gentle couple of minutes snorkel and there it was – only a few metres deep – masses of colourful coral - the sun's rays highlighting colonies of anemones, which in turn sheltered red and white clown fish. The reef even had a pair of fully grown resident turtles, which let you hover over or swim alongside – a truly exciting experience. That I swam to the reef at least twice every day was a testament to its magnetic allure.
Only, when chatting with the manager, did I learn that he employed five different nationalities of chefs. Up to then, I, like the other guests had been amazed at the variety and quality of the food offered at every mealtime. Dinner was mostly a cordon bleu type that defied any preconceived ideas of island resort standards. Five stars for sure. Twice during my stay that system changed to one of a barbecue nature, where a sumptuous buffet was laid out and a trio of chefs stood ready to grill whatever took your fancy.
I mentioned alcohol earlier. The resort (like all others) had a well-stocked bar and those clients who had opted for the 'All Inclusive' tariff were not disappointed. The 'pay as you go' guests (like myself) were pleasantly surprised to find, that the prices were only a little more than would be found in most UK hotels. Considering that every item consumed at the resort had to be ferried from Male – prices were more than acceptable.
Another, most welcome advantage of Makunudu, was the free use of a sleek catamaran (including a skipper). A couple of hours skimming across the ocean trying to compete with the accompanying dolphins, was certainly exhilarating. Snorkelling equipment was also freely available and even a complimentary scuba dive could be had for the asking. It was little wonder that all of these facilities were in constant use – and very much appreciated!
Two days before my time on the island would end, I signed-up (and paid around $12) for a half day boat trip to an area seemingly in the middle of the ocean - listed on seagoing maps as, Manta Point. Yours truly (having suffered a couple of heart attacks) could no longer scuba dive (definitely a no-no). Nevertheless, I decided that should the opportunity arise to at least see a giant Manta Ray from the surface by snorkelling, then I should take it. On reaching what appeared to be a point of nowhere, the boat stopped - the prepared scuba divers stepped off the gunwales and after a few splashes disappeared from view. The weathered-skinned captain gave me a nod, pointed in the opposite direction in which the divers had gone, treat me to a broad smile and proffered a 'hitch-hikers' thumb. I back-rolled off the side, repositioned my mask and flipped away without any real expectation of seeing a Manta. After all, the Indian Ocean was many thousands of square miles in size and I was limited to perhaps searching an area perhaps the size of a basketball court.
Less than a minute later, I almost froze. Coming toward me was a mouth! Not a human mouth but one more than a metre wide and gaping wide enough to swallow me without my elbows feeling its sides. What to do? I hadn't a clue because I'd not really believed that such a meeting would happen against all the odds. But it had! Like some underwater Golden Eagle, the Manta glided silently closer, that enormous mouth increasing in size. It skimmed under me with inches to spare. My first encounter. But it wasn't going to be the last!
For more than thirty minutes, it and I (and subsequently with four others) swam this way and that as if by some invisible magnetic cord. We twisted and turned – me like an awkward mammal, they like magical ballet dancers as they swooped, turned as graceful as a swans and allowed me to be as inquisitive as I wished. Keeping open their capacious mouths for the cleaner wrasse to pick at parasites was an endearing sight indeed – tiny things darting in and out with impunity. Then, without warning and as if by some instantaneous signal, all five turned as one and swam out of sight. I think I wore an idiotic and satisfied grin on my face for the rest of the day.
So, what else did Makunudu display that made it so very different? Well, the staff were a delight to be around. Everything worked. The villa was cleaned twice a day. There were 'freebees' galore and internet access was available (if that ubiquitous invention was an integral part of one's psyche). A well-stocked library let you swap books (assuming there was time to read). And – the resort was affordable.
Were there any downsides? Only one. Everyone can remember the devastating Tsunami that ravaged so much of south east Asia and parts of the Indian Ocean region. The Maldives did not escape its wrath. Some islands were affected more than others and in different ways. Makunudu was hit but suffered little or no damage to its infrastructure. What did suffer however, was the shoreline. Much coral was scoured from the ocean bed, smashed into small pieces and washed ashore in huge quantities. Some parts of the island's beautiful beaches were affected and have left bands of broken coral close to the waterline. Not a problem when wearing sand shoes or flippers but without that protection, guests should be wary. The resort's staff are working hard to improve matters and there are more than enough areas of soft, white sand to let squeeze between one's toes.
The last question has be be...'Would I return?' My answer is … 'YES'!
Written by Brian W Fisher 2010."
- Holiday details: Mar 2010, FB, Booked Independently
- Advice: Take sand shoes
- Good For: Beach
7 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"Holiday brochure pictures are pre tsunami, there is hardly any sand on west facing beach, tree roots, broken wire sticking out of the sand, broken concrete and lots of dead coral. Villa 17 very noisey as there is a generator right beside it and men working with power saws. Villa's had major problem with termites.
flight was ok, as was food.
But would not recommend it."
- Holiday details: Mar 2010, All Inclusive, booked with First Choice
- Advice: Do not go
1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"We visited Makunudu on the second leg of our honeymoon. This was the relaxing week after a week of action touring round Sri Lanka. That is exactly what we got!
A very small island with just 36 (or so) rooms. The staff were very friendly and became very familiar. We had the same waiter for each and every meal time, which was a lovely touch.
The rooms were beautiful, comfy and very clean. We got sand in it constantly, so the benefit of having them cleaned twice a day was great. We were lucky with out hut position that our part of the beach was very secluded and private.
The diving was fantastic, especially the trip to Shark Point. The name says it all.... Loads of white and black tip sharks, a few Reef sharks, and a large shoal of eagle rays.
The only thing I would say is...... Get a different CD for the bar. Other than that, it was the most amazing weeks of our lives."
4 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"I've just returned from spending 7 amazing days on Makunudu (Jan 6 - 13). The island is very small yet intimate and is an ideal escape if you are after a quiet, relaxing and peaceful holiday. The staff are amazing and very friendly and the island's house reef is fantastic for both snorkelling and scuba diving.
The resort organizes many excursions and trips so there is always something to do, however apart from the 'Very special snorkel trip' we pretty much just chose to lay on the beach and go for the occasional snorkel! The food is also very good and the Sand Bar is an excellent place to just relax and unwind after a long day at the beach :) The Ocean Dive School offers all sorts of Scuba courses (I did a Scuba Diver Course in 3 days) and the resort also offers snorkel equipment, windsailing and catamaran sailing for no extra cost.
The accommodation on the island is in the form of thatched huts which are very cute, although nothing luxurious, they are complimentary to the atmosphere of the island. The only thing is that sand falls from the roof onto the floor throughout the day, however the house-boys do an excellent job at cleaning the room twice a day (Thanks Mohamed!!!). We stayed on the side of the island facing the jetty and pier, which I would highly recommend to everyone (huts numbered 18 – 36). Because you are facing the lagoon, you'll find that that the island blocks the wind, which you would most certainly encounter if you stayed on the other side of the island. The benefit is also that you can pretty much just walk out of your hut and straight into the lagoon and house reef! Although, if you do happen to be staying on the other side, the island is quite small and therefore in less than 3 minutes you can find yourself at any side of the island.
Please note, that if you are not familiar with the Republic of the Maldives you may need to know that a) you cannot bring alcohol into the country (but you can purchase it at the resorts); b) tipping is generally expected; and c) the currency mostly used is USD.
As we were after a location with a good beach, clear blue water, a good house reef and a resort which came across as traditional and NOT a commercial large-style resort, we were very pleased with what we found at Makunudu.
Overall, Makunudu Island is a beautiful island and with the treatment we received from the staff and facilities available we loved every minute we spent there - I highly recommend it to everyone looking for a similar experience."
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"My husband and I had a wonderful stay at Makunudu - Oct 2-9. We booked air independently through Emirates Airlines from JFK-DXO-MLE. $1480usd pp. Main cabin. The air service was good as well as the food. The seats were very cramped though.
We had a 6 hour layover at Dubai Airport. However, we went to the Dubai Int'l Hotel, located inside the secured area, 2nd floor, and used their Health Club ("G-Force"). We both used the sauna, pool, gym, steam room, jacuzzi, and showers (no time limit on any of this--you can also buy packages of any of the services alone or together), my husband had a 45 min massage. For both of us it was around $103usd. There are lockers (large enough to store a small carryone) with locks, and don't forget to bring your swimsuit or workout gear.
When we arrived at MLE at 0830, we found a person holding a Mukunudu sign outside of baggage claim, gave them our luggage and were told to wait at an adjacent outdoor rest/bar while we waited for some other guests to arrive. The boat ride was about 45 min or so. The water was NOT rough at all.
On arrival at the resort, we were greeted with cold cloths and a welcome drink. Very refreshing. The island was just as we expected! Beautiful and natural!! We had spent a number of months researching all the resort possibilities and kept coming back to this one, because of its size and quietness!! We were not dissappointed at all.
We stayed in bungalow #12 (facing north). It was nice, comfortable bed, A/C worked good. We like the outdoorish bathroom too. We always had hot water and good pressure, but did have problems with the toilet also, as noted in another review. We had our own little dock with 2 sun loungers and pads as well as 2 chairs and a table on our very small patch of sand outside our door. I do think if you want a little more privacy, ask for a bungalow at the end, they had an actual beach instead of the dock. We had to step across other guests docks to reach the walkable beach, although no one seemed to mind.
The staff was excellent and attentive to everyone!!!! We had the same waiter the entire stay. He was wonderful! The food was great! Some dinners were buffet and some nights were ordered from the menu. All of it was REALLY GOOD!!!! We did have breakfast delivered to our room once, (you can have it delivered every morning if you choose) however, there is not alot of choices, so we opted for the buffet every morning instead. The only real disapointment I had, was there was no coffee/tea maker in the bungalow!
We went diving 3 times and it was like swiming in a fish tank!!!Amazingly beautiful!!! The dive staff were great!! Our biggest disapointment was our disposable underwater camera photos didn't turn out at all!!!!!!!!!! If you can, invest in an underwater camera or cover for your camera!!! If our Canada friends on honeymoon read this---PLEASE E-MAIL us your underwater photos from our dive!!!!
We did the private sunset dinner on a secluded beach!!! Very romantic and worth the $180. Also, went night fishing--fun! And went on the snorkeling trip to Kagi Island. Snorkeling was good there, however, the snorkeling was just as good or better around Makunudu Island, without the 1 1/2 hour boat ride.
We stayed All-Inclusive and glad we did. The prices for drinks are very expensive, however, being AI meant you had to look at a seperate drink menu---and there were VERY FEW choices!!! As far as the dress code---very casual---my husband and I each brought 1 pair of flip flops each, and only wore them SOME of the time!!! For dinner I wore tank tops and wrap skirts/sundresses, and my husband wore shorts and tropical style shirts.
There was a mix of guests from everywhere around the world, lots of honeymooners and a couple of people travelling by themselves and as far as children, only one.
All in all, we had a wonderful time during our stay!!! And no rain the entire time!!!!!! Please email if you have any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org"
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"My husband and I arrived at Makunudu on a late flight from Singapore and were promptly located at the airport by the travel agent representative and were shown to the cafe to wait for other passengers for the boat trip to Maknunudu. The boat trip was fast. We were very tired when we got to the resort as it was after mid night and after filling in the necessary paperwork were shown to our room (number 15).
The room was in typical Maldivian style and was quite cute but the furntiure and fittings are dated so don't expect luxury. Our bed was larger than a typical King size bed which was great but it was definately on the firm side! It took us a little while to work out how to get the toilet to flush properly (you have to pump the handle three times) Water pressure in the shower was not fabulous but did the job. We had a nice patch of beach which we shared with one villa beside us.
We were there mid october for 10 days and we had great weather, it just rained for one day.
The food really was great. We had full board and have to go on a diet...Buffet for breakfast and lunch and a la carte for most dinners. Lots of curries and pasta plus salad, fruit, soups, fish, steak, lamb and pork. Desserts were always lovely (creme caramel, chocolate brownies....). Dinner is served at 8 or 8:30 at night which after a day or diving or snorkelling meant we were usually falling asleep at the table but we still enjoyed the food!
It is recommended that you purchase bottles of water to drink, these cost around US$3.50 for 1.5 litre bottle (we drank around one each a day).
The bar staff are really friendly and the bar is a lovely spot to sit and look at the view and watch the fish. There is also a sunset bar where they set up chairs and tables on the beach and serve coctails as the sun goes down. Drinks range in price from beer at around US$3 up and coctails are usually around US$10.
There are no tea or coffee making facilities in the rooms which was a bit dissapointing at first, but there serve complimentry tea and coffee in the afternoon at the bar and we get biscuites or cake with it.
We did the Scuba Diver course which consisted on 3 dives, some video watching and a short multi choice exam. Well worth doing as you get to go deeper on the house reef and that is where we saw turtles, moray eels, octupus (very cool), eagle rays and a shark. The fish are everywhere, it is like swimming in an aquarium! The clown fish (nemos) were very cute and a group of them can be found on the reef just out of the logoon where the boats come in and out.
We went on an excurision to Kagi Island. The island is not pretty but the snorelling was very good. We saw a large sting ray and dolphins. Unfotunately we were attacked by a Trigger Fish which while quite scarry at the time was very funny looking back on it! The staff do warn you about them, just make sure you take a good look at the picture they show you before you leave for the excurision.
There is an interesting mixture of guests, while we were there guests included Aussies, Brits, Germans, Dutch, Japanese, French, Italian.
The staff are very friendly and helpfull. Communication could be a little better though. For example we were a little disapointed to find out however on the last day from the people staying in the villa beside us that there had been a snorkeling trip to "Turtle Point" (obvioulsy where you see lots of turtles) which we had not been told about and was not shown on the list on excursions on offer so make sure you ask.
In summary we had a wonderful honeymoon with just the right mix of stuff to do, relaxing and lots of eating and drinking!"
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"We have just returned from this beautiful island having stayed in Sept 2003. Nothing changed - service is excellent, staff friendly and food of a very high standard (and plenty of it we were AI and it seemed virtually non-stop!)
First week sunny, second week couple of rainy days but hot and humid. We went diving every day and also a couple of night dives.
Diving excellent and varied dive sites. Not much else here to do if you don't dive but in the morning usually there was only us two and a guide on the boat! Cost $720 for 16 dives.
Most people happy to relax and there are other trips organised such as BBQ on another island, snorkelling and night fishing.
Very popular island with the Dutch, Germans, and Japanese as well as a few Brits.
Would definitely return."
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"Makunudu Island is about 1 hour speedboat ride from Male Airport. The Island is very small and has approximately 36 roms, which are all semi-detached (attached by the bathroom). You can walk around the Island in around 10 minutes.
The staff were brilliant, and nothing was too much trouble for any of them. The Island was kept very clean as were the rooms, which were cleaned twice a day. The rooms were extremely spacious and had everything that you would need including an umbrella (we didn't need that thank god).
The food was fantastic, buffet breakfast and lunch and waiter service evening meal. There was lots of variety and we did not find anything repetitive at all. You could even have breakfast in bed if you wanted at no extra charge.
There was only entertainment on twice during our stay, which included a group on the first night that sang and played the guitar, and also a Maldivian night which was the waiters singing and dancing. We did not find this a problem whatsoever, as we went for a relaxing holiday, and that is waht we got. There was always background music being played aswell.
The only thing that didn't make the holiday 100% was the beach. There was alot of dead coral being washed onto the beach, but this did not spoil our holiday at all.
There is a watersports centre, where you can go sailing on the catamaran, windsurfing or canoeing and you also get snorkelling equipment for the week. There is also a dive school and you get a free introductory dive which is in the sea as there is no swimming pool, and you are out for about 30 minutes. The instructors all speak English and are extremely helpful. I found the snorkelling fine, I hadn't been snorkelling before so cannot compare, but saw lots of lovely fish and even swam with a turtle, which was amazing!
We had a fantastic holiday and would definitely return in the future, we only wish we had gone for longer than a week!"
3 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"My husband and I spent our honeymoon for two weeks here at Makunudu.
In one word: AWESOME!!!!
This was a true honeymoon, a hideaway; not a huge resort which is only commercial. This place is unique and very special.
Some other guests stayed another week at another resort and then booked this hotel. They immediately said that this was different, staff was nicer and not too touristic or commercial oriented. Another couple did a retreat to a spa resort and also confirmed that once you are back on the island the true bounty island feeling is coming back again.
Due to the small size of this island we first had our doubts if two weeks was not too long at this island, but...we would have added another week if we had the change.
There are so many things to do beside chilling and reading a book. We focused on the diving part but other couples indeed went to a Spa resort for massages. (the pricelist for this can be asked at the front desk. They don't promote that they supply this service.)
The food was amazing...the fruit buffet in the morning (and my hubby helped himself with the omelets and bacon, etc...), the lunch buffet..for everybody something to eat. and dinner....wow...amazing.
However the desserts were the best ;-) Home cooked pies, chocolate etc...
The room was great as well. We stayed in room no. 22 and really had our own deck and privacy. However due to the period (rainy season) the first week we did have rain and high waves which caused that all the coral came on our deck and we were unable to sit there. But no biggy as we were able to move it on the sand next door.
The deck is not in the sun...so if you want the sunbath request a roomnumber such as 37, 31, etc...
However the room itself was amazing. Twice it was cleaned (during lunch and dinner) and you might think that there is sand in your bed afterwards..but this comes from the roof. So don't blame the cleaning boy. The shower is amazing with the half open shower, however there is hardly pressure on the tab....but you still need a reason to go home right :-p...
For everybody that is in love, has an anniversary or a honeymoon...this is the place to be!
You will be pampered like you wished that would last forever!
We got from our friends a 'Intimate Sunset Cruise' with champagne and canapé (small bites). We first felt a bit uncomfortable as we were the only two persons on the boat with 3 boatman and our waiter. But...they leave you alone and we were able to enjoy the sunset, a bottle of champagne and each other. I can recommend this!!!
Oh well... I can talk forever...
If you want to be entertained every night or looking for people to talk to...this is not really your place. Most of the guests mind their own business and there is no pub/club or anything....but this is what we love...afterall we can do all that stuff at home, not?
ps...The dive staff...funny and awesome. They showed us the magic of Maldives under water!"
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"We have just returned from two wonderful weeks on Makunudu. Everything - and I do mean everything was absolutely wonderful. The island is small, idyllic, intimate, and sympathetically developed (unlike some!).
The staff were superb, the food was wonderful, and there was a good range of excursions, activities etc, considering the isolated nature of the holiday.
If this is your type of holiday, and you are looking for a small intimate slice of heaven - this is the place. And it's not just for honeymooners!"
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"My husband and I visited Makunudu at the start of January for our honeymoon. We stayed for a week and could easily have stayed a few days longer as we had such a great time.
The island is beautiful and although it is small we found that there was plenty to do. We were on an all inclusive package and we had snorkelling equipment provided to us for the week; a free mini diving experience and wind surfing lessons. There is also a badminton court, table tennis and numerous board games for entertainment as well. There are also excursions that were included in the price as well such as a snorkelling trip and a day trip to a small island (Kagi island), which was absolutely beautiful. Being all-inclusive we felt was really the way to enjoy the holiday as drinks are expensive (cocktails around $10 each) and so the price could add up. The bar staff were fabulous and extremely friendly. The bar has an outside decking over the water with stunning views and was a great place to sit and relax and also see the sunset.
The rooms on the island are lovely. They are not luxurious but built with materials from the island and are in keeping with the island. Our room was kept beautifully clean by Naseem who was great at looking after us. Our room had a 'private-ish' garden with table and chairs and sun loungers outside on the beach. We were in room 2 which was a room set back slightly from the beach and the beach outside the room was virtually empty and had clear blue sea which was perfect for swimming and snorkelling.
The snorkelling is great fun and there is loads to see (I was slightly worried about the little sharks but they are quite friendly and swim away from you!) An underwater camera is a must! We also paid for a couple of excursions - one a diving trip which was well worth the money and the other was a private dinner for two on a sand bank which we can't recommend highly enough. Although this is quite expensive ($88pp) you are taken to a private sand bank for 2 people in a speedboat with your own waiter and chef and provided with amazing views, gorgeous food and an experience unlike any we've had before. The sunset was amazing and we are so pleased that we went.
The main disappointment for us on this trip was the food (with the exception of the sand bank dinner). We had heard amazing reviews about the food and a French chef however the week we went the French chef was not there (we didn't find out whether he'd left or was on leave) and although the food was pleasant it was nothing extraordinary or memorable. There is plenty of food however throughout the day - breakfast, lunch, dinner and two lots of snacks to keep you going! Breakfast can also be served in your room free of charge on the all-inclusive package if you fancy a lazy morning.
We had the most amazing honeymoon on this island and would thoroughly recommend it. The island is beautiful, the staff are incredibly helpful and the island is small enough to be intimate but with enough to do so that you won't get bored. We'd certainly return here."
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"My husband and I went to Makunudu with Tradewinds. We were very quickly transferred from the airport to the island which was great after a long journey, and when we got there we were met by Anna (the guest relations lady). We were checked in quickly and given refreshments.
Our room was 16. It was lovely and airy and though not luxurious, it was charming and very clean. The shower was great and we always had plenty of hot water for the shower.
Directly outside we had a section of beach which we shared with one other bungalow and we had lovely big wooden sun beds with leather matresses and towels provided for comfort. We were also given deck chairs that you could relax in. I would say that I was munched by mossies every time I sat in the shade, so I spent my time either in the full sun or in the room if it got too hot. Daily we saw baby sharks swimming past, as well as rays and loads of fish.
Our room was kept clean by Naseem who was a lovely man and really took care of us. If we needed anything he would always arrange it for us.
Meals were wonderful. The breakfast buffet consisted of cerials, fruits, eggs any way you wanted them (including omelettes), danish pastries, croissants, toast, cheeses etc... The lunch was lovely with a huge salad bar, a choice of a couple of curries usually a gratin of some sort, potatoes of some sort, veg and a BBQ every other day weather premitting. There was also a large selection of desserts. The dinners were table service and you were presented with a menu with a selection of 2 starters, 3 main courses and 2 desserts. The standard of the food was very high and much better than I had expected from an all inclusive deal. My husband and I are both now on diets!!!
The snorkelling was lovely but I would recommed that you set off from outside the restaurant area as the other areas are very shallow. The area by the restaurant is deeper and I felt it reduced the risk of brushing against something you shouldn't. A man we got to know was stung by a jelly fish in the shallows while we were there and he had to go to hospital but the island padi team looked after him very well and he was fine and back snorkelling within 2 days. Please also note that I heard there were a couple of rather large moray eels near the jetty so stay away from the walls where they hide!!!! I loved the snorkelling and saw turtles and rays and so many beautiful fish. I tended to spend about 2 hours every day out there and I really miss it know I am home.
We did not do many of the excursions as they are on average $50pp and you could end up spending a fortune. We did the complimentary snorkelling, which is when we saw 4 turtles and I would recommend this. They do tend to just drop you off in the deep blue with no life jackets though. If you are not a confident swimmer you may wasnt to ask if one can be provided for you. Dpon't worry about this though as the boat is always near and if you want to get out they will get you straight away. There will also be a guest relations officer in the water with you making sure you are OK.
We also visisted Kagi Isla. This is a fishing island and whilst it has fridges and workl related bits and bobs al over the middle of the island the beach is spectacular and the snorkelling is again great. We had an amazing BBQ on the beach and again the staff were brilliat. The boat trip there is about 1Hr 30 mins max. It is very refreshing and you might get to see dolphins if you are lucky.
The island offers a sand bank trip, which we did not do, but having talked about this with a number of other couples I wish we had. They said it was fantactic. The staff set up tables and deck chairs and sun cover for shade and again provided an amazing BBQ. The snorkelling is supposed to be great and many felt this was a real highlight of the holiday so I would certainly do that if we go back.
I have to mention our waiter Hafiz who was fantastic. He and my husband were always discussing the football and Hafiz kindly kept him updated on the scores! The bar staff, in particular Habib and Shah are lovely. They make sure you are never without a drink and are a really good laugh. I have to say that the staff at the hotel were amazing and you will struggle to find better.
Overall a great holiday. The only disappointing part for us was caused by our tour operator who stuffed up our return journey and we ended up being awake for about 40 hours! But this was not the fault of Makunudu and I would highly recommend this island for a holiday."
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Explore areaClosest airport: Male (MLE) 25.7 miles
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Address: Makunudu Island, Male Atoll, Maldives