10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Enjoyable but not fantastic
"We stayed in both Four Seasons Resorts in Maldives during the first week of April 2007. Just several days before our trip, we had to change our routing and arrival in the Maldives to one evening earlier than the original plan. An additional nightâs stay in a Male hotel was required as seaplanes only fly during the day. The Huhule Airport Hotel was already sold out, and nothing was available through Four Seasonsâ online booking or their worldwide phone-in reservation. But I was able to find a beach bungalow for the first night when I called the Kuda Huraa resort directly myself explaining to them our situation and our existing reservation with Landaa Giraavaru. Speedboat Transfer: We were promptly met by FS staff as we walked out of the airport. The boat dock was just a short walk away. It was a smooth 30 min ride shared with several other guests arriving on the same flight. Kuda Huraa: Our bungalow at Kuda Huraa was not spacious, but did fit a rollaway bed for our 11 year old son. The private garden with a gazebo and small plunge pool provided direct access to the beach on the jetty side. This side of the island had a lot of seaweed brought in by the waves, but the resort had a crew cleaning out debris on the beach diligently. Kuda Huraa is a small island. We walked from left to right easily a few times and did spot some fish from the deck near the water villas. Had breakfast and lunch (sandwiches and sashimi) at CafÃ© Kuda, and found the food to be okay. We had thought we would be transferred to Landaa Giraavaru earlier but ended up spending most of the day in Kuda Huraa. Their recreation center provided some water sports equipment like kayaks free of charge. We wanted to join the afternoon snorkeling tour to a reef 15 min away by boat but it was fully booked. Husband had a massage at the Spa but thought the therapist wasnât very accurate on the pressure points. Nonetheless, Kuda Huraa is a very fine resort with quality service demonstrating mature teamwork and management. With just one exception, everyone greeted us warmly with a smile and showed enthusiasm to help. However, we did have a bug problem in our villa. After a long journey, we were extremely tired on arrival and very ready for bed. I felt something funny on the bed, and turned the lights back on to see no less a dozen small brownish termite like creatures, some with wings and some not, on our sheets. My son was already asleep then. As I didnât want to cause more disturbances at that hour, husband and I just picked up the critters with tissue paper and let down the mosquito netting. I did not find any critters again until we were ready to check out the next afternoon. Seaplane transfer: From KH to LG is a 25-30 min flight by seaplane. The scenery of the lagoons and atolls below can be spectacular on a clear day. But these seaplane transfers are quite susceptible to schedule changes due to weather and other factors. And, the resort would only confirm flight time/schedule the evening before and ask you to go to the lobby to check in for the flight 15 minutes in advance of the scheduled departure. Though I requested for an early transfer to LG for a previously made spa appointment at 3pm, we still ended up with the 6:30p flight. None of our seaplane transfers departed on time, in good weather or not. Each time, we had to wait over an hour at the lobby or jetty, hearing explanations from apologetic staff or manager. Based on our conversations with the GM of LG later, Four Seasons has little control over how flights are scheduled. They are basically at the mercy of the Seaplane Company who would always try to group passengers together to fill up every seat (8 or 12) on each flight. Say for our flight from KH or LG, the plane was already half full with passengers theyâd just picked up from the Male airport when we and another guest boarded to fill it up. Landaa: LG has 10 more villas in total than KH on an island 4 times the size. I could see how efforts were put in to preserve the natural environment as much as possible in developing this resort. Most of the vegetation there pre-existed, including the tall palm trees next to the jetty. A rustic, jungle like feel was intended versus a Maldivian Village style at KH. A friend who went a couple of months ago thought it was too rustic for his taste. He advised me to go to One & Only Reehti Rah instead as he found Reehti Rah more enjoyable and more luxurious by 2 star levels. To him, the only advantage LG has over Reehti Rah is their lagoon that has more fish compared to none at Reehti Rah. For us, LG is well laid out in general. It has spacious restaurants and common areas, as well as more pristine water and a beach with finer, white sand than KH. The beach at KH can be rough for bare feet. LG also has a better, larger house reef teeming with fish of many kinds and colors. The corals are either bleached or dead though, just like in most resorts in Maldives from what I understand. The 1998 El Nino caused abrupt rise in water temperature around Maldives and bleached 90% of the coral reefs there. Using the gears provided by the Recreation Desk, we snorkeled in the house reef twice. The Villas at LG: I had booked and been confirmed via email for a beach villa with pool many months ago. However, we were given a water villa at check-in. They apologized for the mix-up but could not find a beach villa available for us until 2 days later. Therefore we stayed in a water villa for the first 2 days. The water villas on stilts are located on the northwestern end of the island. Almost identical in dÃ©cor and furnishings as the beach villa, somehow the water villa imparts a sleeker, more modern feel. Its layout provides more privacy since the front door opens to the sitting area which is separated in view from the bedroom by a wall. For our stay, they would convert the sofa in the sitting area into a comfortable bed for my son by adding a lined cot on top during turndown. Every morning, they would remove the cot and convert the bed back to a sofa when they made the room. It worked well for us. The water villa is well lit day and night with windows and glass doors lining the entire long side of the villa. There are a couple of loungers on the deck as well as a teak table with chairs. My favorite spot is the cozy loft with a day bed that can be reached via a wood spiral staircase on the deck. The sea around those villas can be rough. I got into the water from our private deck once on a calm, sunny day and the current was still quite strong there. During high tide, the sea may level with the lowest deck and exceed 5 feet in depth. Families with young children should beware. Another not so positive feature of the water villas is the noise you would hear from the moving buggies. They would rumble their way through the plank topped bridge, which is the avenue to the water villas. Wireless internet access costs $25/day or $65 for 3 days. The more rustic beach villas sheltered by vegetation are located on the calm side of the island (the jetty side) with direct access to the beach and lagoon. Each has a large private patio with a good size lap pool 1.5m in depth through out as well as a covered sand-floored deck furnished for sitting and dining, and a loft with a daybed. But unlike at the water villa, I hardly spent any time in this loft which only provided a view of the vegetation in the area. It did not feel as clean also with occasional spotting of bugs and lizards. The interior of the beach villa is similarly furnished as the water villa. The sitting area and the bed are in one large common space without any wall separation. I found the beach villa to be not as well lit as the water villa. While Iâve had no bug encounter at the water villa, I have seen some ants and a few tiny red caterpillars crawling here and there inside. On the deck, we would see lizards and hermit crabs running around sometimes. Though Iâm not a huge fan of reptiles or insects and that we probably had the least favorable beach villa (more about that later), I was glad we got to stay in a beach villa. We loved the pool and the deck without which we would have been quite bored for the last 3 days when it was rainy and windy. The best beach villa in my opinion is #225, which is very well sheltered by vegetation for privacy and has a good stretch of beach in front. We had #228 which was on the end near Blu (the restaurant). This villa had no beach in front at all during high tide, which was most of the day from 11:30am or so till dark. There were stacks of sandbags a couple of feet away from the edge of our pool to prevent further erosion. In the afternoon we could practically jump from our pool deck into the lagoon. In the morning, we would have 3 to 4 feet of beach in front and people looking onto our deck when they walked by over the tiny stretch of sand. With every beach villa would come on the beach 2 private loungers and a numbered gazebo designated for the particular beach villa. Since we didnât have any beach in front most of the time, we did not use our loungers at all which were placed far away and the gazebo needed a good 4 ft climb to reach with the sand base all washed off and pier exposed. From conversations with a few resort staff and managers, hereâs what Iâve learned. They used to have a mosquito problem but have kind of solved it with daily spraying in the early morning (vs. biweekly for Kuda Huraa). Some would admit to the erosion problem and say they do refill the beach with new sand deposit periodically. One manager told me âGiraavaruâ literally means âshifting sandâ in Maldivian. Therefore, the shoreline is always changing, in accordance with seasonal changes like how the winds blow. Sometimes they would get more beach on the other side of the island. Regardless of how the sand shifts, I would advise anyone booking a beach villa to request for one in the middle stretch (like #220-226). Signs of erosion, though not as severe as #228, were also apparent at the beach villas on the other end near the jetty. Restaurants/Food: Food was generally good, though not outstanding, and made with fresh, quality ingredients. The menus could use some additions to give long stay guests more choices. Prices were not cheap but I didnât find them shockingly exorbitant either compared to those at other 5-star resorts elsewhere, considering its island location. Other than the restaurant by the jetty serving Middle Eastern cuisine, weâve tried all other dining options including Blu, CafÃ© Landaa, the barbeque place and room service. Since all restaurants are open air facilities, we did quite enjoy dining in the convenience and comfort of our own air-conditioned villa at times, especially with the resortâs efficient room service. Their Maldivian curry was a little too hot for my taste; KH had a milder curry. Weâve had delicious burgers, sandwiches, risotto, pastas, pizzas, Asian noodles, grilled meat including lamb chops, steak and chicken, as well as good seafood. Their sushiâs were just okay for me. Also, toasted and fried foods can get soggy easily because of the humid climate and should be ordered with that in mind and be consumed without delay. Their buffet breakfast was very good but lacked day to day variations except for fruits. Almost everything served remained identical during our entire stay. It would have been more appetizing and interesting to see eggs benedict or pancakes or waffles after several days of French toasts. The fresh fruit/juice station at breakfast was my favorite. There was a great variety and nothing was pre-cut. The fruit chef would cut and slice to your order. On Friday evenings, CafÃ© Landaa would host an event called Food and Wine Fun Fayre offering wine tasting and buffet dinner. At $99 per adult and $50 per child, we went. There were quite a few bottles of red, white and sparkling wines available for tasting at the cellar. As for food, there were a satay station, teppanyaki area, sushi station, Asian noodle/soup station, made to order stir fry area, Indian food area, made to order pasta and pizza bar, greens/salads, a little bit of seafood, and dessert station. I was not too impressed with the food or that no other beverage aside from the free wine was included in the price. Spa: I tried to pre-book appointments via email in advance, but did require last minute changes due to a late flight transfer. Due to high demand, I could not get same day booking when I needed to change. I had a Landaa massage done in the villa since all their treatment rooms were full. It was not bad, but Iâve had better ones in Bali and Thailand. I also had a 3-hour Ayurvedic treatment at the spa. It began with a 30 min consultation with their Ayurvedic physician to evaluate my dosha type to determine the most suitable oils to use for my treatment and to advise on beneficial food and other life style tips. After that, it was 30 min of yoga (just meditation and breathing exercises, no stretching) with the Yogi at an over water pavilion followed by 2 hours of massage by two therapists at another pavilion inland. The body massage was very well done. I was lathered with lots and lots of oil and later pressed with a bag of hot herbs. The last part of the massage was pouring warm oil on my forehead for 20 min or so, and that seemed a little too long for me. A lady at the spaâs reception said their Ayurvedic program is very authentic and renowned. Very few places are comparable and one might have to go to India find similar quality. During the consultation, the Ayurvedic physician said he would send a copy of the evaluation results with his written advice to my villa for my records. Nothing came for a day and so I called the spa to remind. The physician was out but I was told they would send it to the front desk for me to retrieve at check-out. On the day of check-out, the weather turned quite stormy and I was more worried about not able to leave than anything else. I forgot to ask about it, and the front desk did not mention or give me anything other than the resort folio. Activities: The resort offers many guided activities like scuba diving lessons, island visits, fishing tour, dolphin watch etc. We went on the guided snorkeling tour at $35pp. Though the tour was described as a guided adventure with a marine biologist onboard for a 30 min lecture on sea life, we never got that lecture. Anyway, the site was a remote island half an hour away by boat. It was about 45 min of snorkeling and a lot of fun. They took us to the edge of the reef where the seawall bordered the shallow reef and the deep sea. The reef had all kinds of fish and corals. For people not comfortable with swimming in deep water, they had life vests available. However, I think those who have not snorkeled before may wish to familiarize themselves with using the gear first in the house lagoon which is calmer. Bringing a reef shirt along for sun protection is also recommended. Otherwise you could also buy at the resort dive shop. The fishing tour that we signed up for got cancelled because of rain. Actually most if not all excursions from the resort were cancelled for our last 3 days when the weather was wet and finicky. My son spent a good part of his vacation at the small Teen Center where a TV, 2 computers with internet access, video games, pool and ping pong tables were available. Although they call it the Teen Center, younger kids like 9-12 would also hang out there. My son enjoyed his time socializing with children from different countries. Many European families were vacationing there at the time. On Friday evenings, there is the managerâs cocktail reception at the Lounge above the lobby. There are complimentary cocktails and canapÃ©s, and managers of the resort walking around to greet and socialize with guests. According to one manager, about half of their staff is Maldivian, but they do try hard to recruit more locals by holding seminars regularly at Kuda Huraa. It is not easy to convince Maldivian parents to allow their daughters to work at a resort and be exposed to foreign culture. The common opinion is it might impact the girlâs chance to marry well in the future. Other difficulties include language skills. Learning English well is generally not popular among Maldivian students as English proficiency may lead to an automatic draft by the police. Then the GM said theyâre also facing tough competition against other Asian resorts for experienced human resources. It is particularly keen against those in Macau where a number of new casinos are set to open soon. Macau has already surpassed Las Vegas as the number one gaming center in the world in terms of revenue. All in all, it was a good vacation. However, it was somewhat disappointing that we ran into rainy weather for a good part of our stay in spite of going in the so-called dry season. One resort staff said it has been raining a lot more in the Maldives recently. Prior to last year, their wet season would normally span from May or even June to October. In 2006, it rained daily from November to Christmas Eve. I guess I can only blame it on global warming. In good weather, the place was like a paradise; otherwise, one would have to rely on a good book brought along to pass time. Evenings appeared even more sedate when daytime activities have been limited by weather to begin with. I donât think the resort has an extensive collection of CDs or DVDs to lend to guests. Landaa Giraavaru is a beautiful resort. Yet Iâve encountered too many glitches during our stay to rank it above âgoodâ based on my experience. It still needs work to piece the loose ends together. While most staff were friendly, helpful and greeted guests with smile and hospitality the conventional Four Seasons way, there were also a few who looked bored and indifferent. Service was not always attentive. At times, I thought the service level was disproportionate to the resortâs rating and the rates they charge. More follow-up by ourselves was needed than expected to get things done. It required our third request to get someone to fix a jammed patio door. When I mentioned the problem to two different staff previously, both said they could contact engineering for me but apparently none did. At dinner one night, we had to wait 20 min to get anything including the menu after being seated when tables that arrived after us and served by other waiters had already ordered. After my spa treatment, I walked back to my villa after 20 or 25 minutes of wait for a buggy and 2 phone calls by the spa receptionist to the dispatcher. We walked to breakfast on another day also for the same reason. I donât think they have enough buggy or buggy drivers to meet the demand at full occupancy or perhaps on a rainy day when many would require the service. Also, the beach villa was not set up for our need or a child in tow when we first moved in. We had to call Housekeeping to bring in additional items like an extra glass, more bottled water, towels and a cot for the night when they did not do so at turndown. Their ability in responding to special requests did not score well either in my book. While they did confirm promptly by email to acknowledge my requests, their failure to follow them was another letdown. Itâs always the small, seemingly trivial things that separate the great from the good. The current GM is very experienced in resort management with a resume citing a few top notch Four Seasons in Asia including the FS Sayan in Bali. In fact, he now oversees all Four Seasons operations in the Maldives including the Explorer and Kuda Huraa. The resort, while blessed with potential, is still quite new and may not have fully broken in. With some tweaking, it may become a great destination resort."
- Travel date: 30th April 2007
Good but not great unfortunately
"This was our first visit to this resort ,although our 4th to Maldives. Firstly the positives- the resort is large and well laid out. Our Beach Villa was superb -the pool and outside space also made the overall stay very enjoyable. However being on the better south side has problems too- the seaplanes land ridiculously close to the shore and the noise disturbance is significant. The reef is nothing special either and need time to establish. Over this though there is some work to be done - our main concern is the quality of the food. We are by no means "foodies" but it really wasnt up to scratch for the price and general FS standards either. The service was fairly polished but felt somewhat impersonal- more like a FS city hotel than a Maldives resort perhaps. There seemed to be a surprising amount of staff not from the Maldives and I think that the charm and grace of local staff was missing to a degree. Whilst any 5 star property in the Maldives will on the surface appear beautiful, it's the little details that differentiate good from great and make people return. I'm not sure that this new FS has got what it takes yet. Perhaps another year will iron out the problems but I'm not convinced. The property is on its 2nd GM in 6 months and I think that this may be a reflection on the overall issues that this resort has. We made this stay in conjunction with a week at Soneva Fushi and the difference in quality is significant. Our third stay there only reinforced the feeling that FSLG has some way to go before reaching Soneva Fushi standards of excellence."
- Travel date: 8th April 2007
Not quite there yet.
"We have just returned from an amazing trip that included two nights at the Landaa Four Seasons, three nights on the Explorer and two nights at Kudaa Huraa. Landaa. The sea plane journey to arrive at this resort is fantastic, a real experience that sets the tone of the holiday. We stayed in an over water vill on the sunset side and the accomadation did not disappoint. The room was very large with a seperate seating area, enormous bath, outside shower and wonderful, vast bed with direct lagoon view. In addition there is an excellent wide screen tv and entertainment system. Our 11 year old son was with us, the sofa turned into a very comfortable bed for him at night. The sun deck was roomy and a second floor level shaded platform was wonderful for afternoon naps. We watched a very relaxed Eagle Ray glide past our room every morning! The resort has a marine conservation centre, which is facsinating, with at least one marine biologist always on hand to explain the breeding programme they are running, manta ray survey or just to answer general questions. We took a guided snorkel trip and it was excellent , lots of turtles and wonderful fish. Breakfasts were very good, with enough choice to satisfy a league of nations, and very high quality. Dinner at the middle eastern restaurant was good, however the dinning area doesn't really take advantage of its position right by the lagoon and the lighting was so poor that we needed a torch to read the menu by, and could not really see what we were eating. We met the chef and what he does he does very well, but I just wonder how many times in a week you would want to eat a tangine which is quite heavy for such a hot climate. The Blu restaurant is stunning and the food was good but not fantastic. The people at the next table sent their pasta back and said the fish main course was over cooked. Having said that our food was ok but not special. The spa is excellent with some wonderful treatments. They did get the time of our booking slightly wrong and gave me a male therapist when I had prebooked a female one, however they rectified both problems quickly. My therapist, Mary Ann, gave me one of the best massages I have ever had!! Overall we had a wonderful stay. It is always difficult to judge on such a short visit, but it was the little details that were not quite up to Four seasons standards. When we arrived there were some lovely nutty confections in our room. The next day I requested some more. When they did not arrive I asked again and was told they were $14 and they had not sent them without my agreement to the charge. Fair enough. However with the nutty confections had also come some coconut balls that we had not liked, so I requested that these were not sent with the order. When the sweets arrived they contained both types, 3 pieces of each. When I called to say I didn't want the balls, I was told that was how they came and that was that! This is I know so silly as to be hardly woth mentioning but I do feel in a resort of this calibre you should be able to have what you want, when the request was so simple to sort out. Explorer. The most wonderful three nights and days of our vacation. Scott the entertainments director was fantastic. No request was ever met with a negative, in Scott's world the customer always came first and must be kept happy. Ahrieef, the food and beverages director knew what you wanted before you knew yourself. He seemed to be everywhere, organising the serving staff, sorting out picnics, hot spiced tea for returning divers, etc, etc. A real character and a wonderful, integral part of the Explorer. Guy and Stephanie the Marine Biologists were an inspiration, and may have influenced our sons career path. In addition the dive masters were also extremely good and the equipment fantastic. The room was very spacious for a ship of this size and the shower always had lots of hot water. We were so busy everyday with diving, snorkelling, island visits and marine talks that we were quite exhausted at the end of the day. My only criticism would be that divers were not buddied up for each dive, which always has the potential to be a problem as the whole PADI system relies on responsibility for your partner. Kudaa Huraa. We had stayed on this island twice before, both times prior to the Tsunami. The beach villas have been totally rebuilt and the water villas refurbished. We stayed in a water villa, which athough not as big as at Landaa are still very comfortable and well appointed. We have always loved this island, it has a real desert island feeling, perhapes because it is a smaller island. The breakfasts are again wonderful and dinner in the indian restaurant is fantastic, with views out to sea and the water lapping just below the deck. The attention to detail at this resort is definantly better than at Landaa. Homemade banana cake and champagne, greeted our arrival, with special sweets and drinks especially for our son. Each morning fresh fruit appeared and each evening little cinnamon cakes or confectionary delights would appear in our room. The dive shop is very well equiped and David took our son on a Discover Scuba adventure, always making sure he fully understood each and every instruction before proceeding to the next stage. The only complaint was that the dive boat returned back to the jetty once it had dropped our son off for his first ever reef dive. I do believe this to be a dengerous practice as a very new diver , particularly a child could panic or not follow insructions, requiring first aid and the boat should be on hand to return them to shore at a moments notice. When my husband pointed this out to the recreations director the boat was sent back out, but this should be standard policy. This is a lovely resort and the service level very high."
- Travel date: 5th March 2007
Best Four Seasons Experience!
"We stayed at the resort in February at the same time as the couple from Geneva. Like them we also were travelling with our 20 month old son, and would agree with their review from a family/ kid-friendly point of view. The resort was completely kid-friendly and at no point did we feel out of place there with a child. Nor was the resort crawling with children, there was simply a very nice family feel to the place. The Four Seasons has long been my favorite hotel chain but this most recent experience has firmly cemented my opinion of the chain. I also agree with the reviewer from Atlanta that the resort was probably the best we had ever seen. During this stay we spent the first night at the other Four Seasons resort because we landed at the airport after dark and as mentioned the seaplanes can only fly during daylight hours. We were immediately greeted by Four Seasons staff and whisked off to Kuda Hura, which is nice but cannot hold a candle to Landaa Giraavaru. We also stayed at another resort in the Maldives, Huvafen Fushi, 2 years ago, which impressed us at the time but absolutely pales in comparison to Landaa Giraavaru. I must point out that our arrival to the Maldives was delayed by one day when our Sri Lankan Airlines flight was delayed, delayed, delayed and ultimately cancelled out of Tokyo and we were forced to spend one night at an airport hotel in Narita. I called the Four Seasons to inform them of the delay and they were extremely sympathetic and helpful, rearranging our reservations and informing Landaa Giraavaru of our delay change in schedule. We had hoped to stay at a beach bungalow at Kuda Hura but with our delay we were lucky to get a room at all and were given a water bungalow for 1 night. Not ideal with a toddler but the villa was well-sealed and our time there was short. Despite their rigid cancellation policy, the Four Seasons did not charge us for the night we missed. I thought this was extremely compassionate of them, since it was an airline blunder and not their concern. From beginning to end we were treated courteously and considerately by all Four Seasons staff and made to feel like honoured guests. Like the family from Geneva, we also stayed in a beach villa, however we did not have the wooden fence around the pool, I assume this was special childproofing that they requested. The beach villa is what you see when you click on the hotel website's photo page. It was by far the nicest place we have ever stayed and we have been fortunate enough to stay in some very fine places. The villa was huge- particularly the outdoor area. There were so many different areas to spend time in (outdoor living room, pool side, beach, loft) that we could have easily spent our whole trip in our villa. This is what many of the guests must do, as the resort looked and felt nearly empty for the most part and in our photos the public areas appear deserted despite the fact that the hotel was quite full during our stay. One reviewer commented that the beach was often crowded but while we were there it was absolutely deserted. The only place which seemed busy was BLU bar, right next to the lagoon, which seemed like a favourite hang-out for a large group of boisterous Russian guests. They were there every afternoon, all afternoon, and their boisterousness seemed out of step with the tranquility of the resort but one can hardly knock them for being merry and having a good time. A note on the guests of the resort: it was definitely not all couples (which was the case at Huvafen Fushii). In addition to families with children there were clearly groups of friends traveling together and people on the whole seemed quite friendly. At Huvafen Fushii tables were only ever for two and there was no chitchat amongst the guests at all. I also agree that the restaurant choice seemed limited after a week, but that was because we did not thoroughly exercise all dining options: there was a steak restaurant which was not well advertised that we didn't know about until our last evening there (was a very good meal) and there are also many private dining options (you can have picnics packed for you for example). The food was expensive but when you take into account that everything has to be transported to the island the price is justifiable. The kids menus were always varied, and there were always high chairs available. My experience with food in the Maldives (this was my 3rd trip) is that best bets are usually hot weather foods (curries, Mediterranean dishes, etc). The air is so humid that one pizza I had delivered to the room for dinner was a soggy mess by the time it arrived- however all the curries we had were excellent. Given the chance we would return to the resort in a heartbeat. With kids in tow. It was a wonderful week which passed all too quickly. A final word on price: while the rooms were very expensive, the value for money was excellent. We stayed at the Four Seasons in Mauii for our honeymoon a few years ago and paid nearly 800$ for a simple room with only a partial ocean view and a mediocre holiday at a crowded resort. By comparison, the villa we stayed at was absolutely palatial and worth every cent."
- Travel date: 17th February 2007
Fantastic holiday in superb resort!
"I just finished my 14 days stay at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru. The hotel is exceptional and most people agree about this with the reviews below. I seriously disagree with one of the previous review (MrsTate from Feb 3). That is my 4th trip to Maldives and this is my 4th Atoll overall and my 5th 5-star hotel there. Iâve been to One & Only Kanuhura, Lhaviyani Atoll; Hilton Maldives at South Ari Atoll, Banyan Tree and Angsana Resort and Spa at the North Male Atoll. I did not like so much the North Male Atoll, which is the most populated and overbuild and all the traffic of the ships and boats is much bigger than any of the other âfurtherâ atolls and resorts. I found both Hilton and Kanuhura extremely good for location, accommodation, food, service AND ESPECIALLY DIVING (I was diving with 200 grey reef sharks in Fushivaru Kandu protected marine zone in Lhaviyani Atoll in January 2002) and I saw 20 Manta rays (at Madivaru) and 4 whale sharks very close to Hilton in Ari atoll in January 2004. Amazing. Now for Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru VILLAâS We stayed in at the bigger Beach villa (villa 225) with 12m plunge pool (one of the highlight of the villa). I have to say that our choice of villa is the best in the resort. We were on the best stretch of the beach near the HUGE, HUGE LAGOON, and the Water sports center and the BLU restaurant. It is on fantastic white sand beach (especially on the south side of the island), lovely lagoon - one of the best in Maldives. The beach villa was magnificent. The villa has really comfortable bed, BOSE sound system with CD/DVD player, 42â High Definition Plasma Screen, digital TV. The bathroom is like 50sq.meters! It is astonishing- have inside more than 2 meters in length lavish bath, huge rain shower, outside shower with hi-tech temperature controls. The wardrobe area consists of 4 huge wardrobes, where you can put luggage for 6 suitcases easily. The villa is so huge that sometimes I thought that is it too big for just 2 people. The garden around the pool and the whole villa is so lavish and rich that you are in TOTAL PRIVACY. Nobody will see you or disturb you! It is extremely private. Perfect for romantic couples, but also very nice if you have children. In the open air area around the 12 meter plunge pool, there is an open-air bale (thatched hut) on 2 floors and that was a great place to relax after youâd had some sun or have an afternoon nap on the double bed on the second floor of the hut. Beach villas are on the better south side of the island where you have the good beach (note that on the North side some of the beach have eroded and it have special stones installed to prevent it from further erosion. From the south side also you can see the sunset and sunrise. The wind on the island is coming from the North. All the villas (water, beach villaâs and pavilions) are nice inside and are made by identical materials and have similar features. The smaller âbeach pavilionsâ are logically located on the north side and are quite secluded in vegetation as well, but their minus is the poorer beach. My recommendations for the BEST VILLASâS ON THE ISLAND â Beach villaâs numbers 220 to 230 they are located on the best beach, have very lush vegetation, ultimate privacy and are close to the water sports center and the BLU restraint. Some previous reviewers also said the same about the water villas that they are better with the sunset side view (south side view) SERVICE Service is always the best with Four Seasons as they are willing to do whatever for the guests. Very accommodating. Room service is prompt and efficient. Landaa is a very large island you need the buggy service, and when you call for buggy you normally do not wait more than 5-10 minutes max to get one. Even in the resort currently working on 90-95% occupancy rate there is no delays on anything. There is large multinational team and the personnel of more than 300 people is doing fantastic job. Service personnel seriously outnumber the guests. DIVING Diving equipment is top notch. Great dive team, really friendly and helpful. One of them Mr. Musto who is one of the best dive masters in the Maldives - he can see Frogfish from 20 meters, I think he have eyes in the back as well! The dive team really tries to accommodate requests from the divers and go to the according dive site. If you want to see sharks they go to shark sites, we requested dive safari to the remote Lhaviyani atoll and we got one. Fantastic snorkeling right from the beach itself. We saw baby reef sharks from the deck of BLU restaurant every lunch. Scubazoo divers filmed and provided an excellent DVD of the diving. They are really good professionals. ENVIRONMENT CARE AND DIVE CENTER EFFORTS Four Seasons deserve applauds for what they have done. For 12 months, during the construction of Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, team of divers have worked every single day from 8am to 6pm to remove all the corals from the places where there was construction of overwater villas and spa. The team has constructed special new iron beds and has removed the corals to safer place on other locations in the lagoon. I can report that the corals are alive and fish is thriving in the new locations. Bravo! The resort has a resident marine naturalist who is doing great job of educating people of the marine life and marine life protection in the Maldives. SPA Spa is excellent. 10 huge pavilions, 4 of which are with lovely setting over the water. The spa is 2-3 time larger than the normal spaâs you normally have in the Maldives. There are very wide range of treatments and big in Ayurveda with specialist from Kerala, India. We had excellent treatments, very professional therapists from all over Asia (the best massage is from Mr. Sanath Senarathna â gentleman from Sri Lanka with fantast hands who is also the massage trainer for FS). SEAPLANE RIDE The seaplane ride from Male was incredible as always. I love that part of my holiday as you see these beautiful atolls from the air and the breathtaking views are stunning. WEATHER We had excellent weather, bright sun, blue skies and a breeze each day. It rained only one night, and in the morning it was back to perfection. FOOD, RESTRAUNTS AND DRINKS Although some of the first other reviews have commented on not so high quality of the food and the high prices in the FS Landaa. The prices are really quite high, BUT I CAN NOT AGREE FOR THE QUALITY. Probably you should know what to order in Maldives. The fish and seafood is one of the best in the world there, as your catch of the day have been few hoursâ earlier swimming in the unspoiled waters of the Indian Ocean. The BLU restaurant was our favorite, and the Italian chef Stefano Andreoli was fantastic. We had different catch of the day every single lunch and it was better and better. Seafood â prawns, lobsters, fresh tuna, even pizza with freshly marinated tuna was superb, and eating there was like eating in Parma or Napoli! No fault here. Stefano was doing every little step further, even making dishes outside of the menu, just to make you happier! The pasta is home made âpasta frescaâ, as well as the ice cream and the sorbet. We had fantastic dinners in the restaurant BLU one evening, as I said Stefano was doing everything to make us happy! Al Barakat serves very nice Lebanese food; the chef was very good and is from Egypt. We also liked this restaurant a lot. Other highlight of the dining is the Friday night CafÃ© Landaa Food and Wine Fun Fayre with amazing variety of food - live cooking stations â seafood grills, barbecue, Italian, Indian, Japanese (both sushi and tepanyaki)and many more different foods. There was fine wine tasting and after you like the wine you take it to your table. On the Valentineâs day we had also special menus at the BLU restraint and some nice gestures by the resort management to have provided free roses for the ladies, Tatinger Brut Rose champagne, and nice huge chocolate Happy Valentineâs cake, waiting for you in the room after dinner. Our rate included daily breakfast in the CafÃ© Landaa, which is excellent buffet breakfast, we did not miss anything. Expect to pay minimum $55-$60 per bottle of wine, but in the Maldives all top hotels charge very high prices for drinks. Maldives is a Muslim country where alcohol cannot be brought into the country, alcohol is only allowed in resort islands. Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru is SUPERB resort and only going to get better and better."
- Travel date: 17th February 2007
Paardise..also for babies
"My wife and I have two young kids aged 5 months and 2.5 years and we were somewhat anxious about this holiday. We have to say we cannot be more pleased and will be back. As soon as possible. First, some generalities on the hotel and island. 1) The island is magnificent. Vegetation is beautiful and the reefs are nice. The lagoon is gorgeous. Overall I would recommend the south side. The islands around are great too and there are quantities of great diving sites around. Also a 300$ mastercraft is available for a half day which can bring you to isolated islands, great snorkeling sites and you can do water ski at the same time. 2) The hotel is exceptional and we mostly agree about this with the reviews below. The previous review on the other hand sounds somewhat dubious. We have been to some of the best hotels in the world and this resort compares mostly favorably on many things. 3) The beach around the hotel is perfect. Cleaned daily (including divers that go and clean the water). Not that there is much to clean in the first place anyway. Importantly we want to give more information for parents like us looking for a paradise island but want to bring the kids along. In our opinion there is no better choice. We chose a beach villa with pool. Overall it was 1) Ultra safe. The pool was protected by a hard wood fence (photo included) and we could leave the 2.5 years old walk around the huge garden with no worries. 2) The Island is foamed twice daily and as a result we did not see any mosquito. 3) the open air protected space is huge (as big as the room) and provides an open lounge and dining table. This is great for kids to play around in open air but protected from the sun. 4) The pool alongside is great to take the sun whilst the kids are sleeping for a siesta. 5) the hotel is ultra kid friendly: complementary beds and anything you need for kids (sterilzators, baby bottles, diapers, food, laundry and kids club for kids from 4 years). And complementary does not mean low quality. The baby menu for instance is just about you asking what you want: some rice, a steamed fish, pineapple juice, apple compote, mashed vegetables, you ask for it you get it. Still, there is room for improvements. 1) The food is very good but the choice of restaurant (3 for all the guests) is somewhat limited if you plan to stay for more than a week. Also there is no reasonably priced good wine. 2) Service is not always absolutely perfect. Whilst it is always pleasant (a four seasons standard) and there was always a willingness to help, we found that many were on their first assignment and as a result we thought the service was not always very quick. We believe these 2 points are somewhat linked to how new this hotel is and they should both improve. As stated before we will surely know, as we will get back."
- Travel date: 12th February 2007
"My husband & i spent 6 days at the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru for our 2nd honeymoon in the beg of Jan07. This is not our first trip to the maldives but it is our first time at the resort. What we enjoyed about the resort:- 1. The outdoor shower concept which we thought was excellent! 2. The food @ the Landaa Cafe 3. The ambience at BLU restaurant 4. The deep sea fishing trip, the staff onboard were really helpful & warm which made our experience superb! 5. The beautiful sandbank 6. The lagoon was shallow, however somehow the currents were rather strong at the period we went. What we didn't enjoy about the resort:- 1. The staff at the resort were all still quite unsure about certain things we requested for. 2. I suffered food poisoning after a meal at the cafe. 3. The beach was crowded & there was no privacy as there were too many deck chairs been placed there. 4. The service can be improved. 5. Some of the things at the villa were not fixed i.e. the ladder leading to the lagoon, which was rather dangerous. 6. The vegetation at the resort was not grown well, many plants were dying."
- Travel date: 3rd February 2007
Our perfect honeymoon
"Landaa Giraavaru is simply a combination of natural beauty and world class service. We are happy that we picked the resort for our honeymoon. The lagoon was the most beautiful one in the Maldives, untouched and very rich of underwater beauty. We had a water villa at the sunset side. The room was spacious and well appointed. It may be a bit noisy when the water level is high. Every morning, we just open the door on the water side and jumped into the lagoon and had a wonderful swim. The sunset was sensational when the weather was nice. I agreed with the previous review, the Four Seasons service played a siginficant part of the success of the resort. For us, the food was great. We travel around a lot, our expectation on food is not high when it comes to resort in remote location. However, Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru surprised us. We stayed there for a week and we enjoyed every single meal. Good selection of wine as well. The spa experience was second to none, especially the room on the water side. Fantastic treatment. We ended up going there every day. Overall, we are very happy with the resort, its service and offerings."
- Travel date: 21st January 2007
... with potential
"we stayed in the water villas, december 2006. (for those wanting to stay at water villas, request for ones facing west.) this is the second time that i deviated from my "rule of thumb" of not staying at a hotel within 6 months of opening (the first time was at four seasons chiang rai) ... and i hope that this will be the last time that i do so ... although im sure this resort will be much better in several months time. what's wonderful? although it rained for most of our stay, you can tell that the lagoon is absolutely beautiful ... with a long extended arm of sand that reaches into the sea ... this lagoon beats the lagoons at other beautiful maldivian resorts where we have stayed or have seen (old four seasons, soneva gili, taj exotica, banyan tree). the resort also seems to be well equipped with lots of fun water equipment, even water motor sports. the spa is also great with amazing therapists. service: you will definitely receive the pleasant, professional and proactive service that you would find at any other four seasons. four seasons has an unique ability to roll out amazing management teams. whatever 'disappointments' that you may experience are quickly addressed by their management/staff ... and in the event that they can't rectify the hiccup, you still feel that they have tried. what's not hot? the physical property is really nothing special. the water villas have a large plasma which was great ... and the Blu restaurant is beautiful ... otherwise, nothing else is special. i did an indoor yoga session in a dingy, cement room that resembles some sort of general function room that you would find in an ordinary school gym. i agree with the previous reviewer: the food is really not great / not consistent. after spending sometimes US$100 per head each meal during our stay, we actually had an even better meal sitting in austrian airlines business class from male-vienna (the most pleasant surprise from our recent trip ... their food is great). that probably says it all ... but i must give credit to the lebanese restaurant ... their food was not bad ... in all: four seasons resorts are always well run and this one is worth going to, perhaps in a couple months time. i'm sure it's also great for families as well."
- Travel date: 16th January 2007
"Well, we are just about to leave the new Four Seasons in the Maldives and I am happy to post the first review. Overall..very good. In fact, with one exception, outstanding. Let's start with the outstanding. The property is beautiful. Glorious vegatation, fantastic white sand beaches, lovely public spaces. The rooms are magnificent. We stayed in an over water villa. Comfortable beds. High tech goodies. Lavish baths. Very comfortable. Oh..Did I mention the views??? Great views from the room of the Indian Ocean. What you would expect from the Four Seasons. Service also very good. They are still learning but knew our name after 48 hours. Willing to do whatever. Very accomodating. Room Service prompt and efficient. Hot food hot. Cold food cold. Great water sports. Equipment all top notch with great instructors. Fantastic snorkeling right from the room itself. Saw reef sharks and stingrays from our deck. Great Scuba. Everyone friendly and accomodating. The highlight!! Spa excellent. Wide range of treatments and lovely setting over the water. OK...the bad. The food was poor. Overpriced and of poor quality. No choice. Breakfast buffet was OK but one day ordered pancakes and waffles which were literally unedible. Dinner in the Italian restaurant was fair but that is as far as I can go. The main restaurant food was fair. Fish dry one night. Lobster overcooked another. Chicken bloody. It's sad when the highlight of the dining experience was the strawberry ice cream for dessert and the pizza from Room Service. I was very dissappointed overall with the entire "food thing". Well that's about it. This is my first time in the Maldives, so I have nothing to compare. Hopefully they will improve their food to "Four Seasons" quality to coincide with the rest of the property."
- Travel date: 18th November 2006
Four Seasons Resort Maldives At Landaa Giraavaru is also called
- four seasons resort maldives
- four seasons maldives
- four seasons baa atoll