13 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
A friend and I stayed here for two weeks...
"A friend and I stayed here for two weeks all in, and it was the most amazing place ever!
The rooms, the surroundings, the restaurant, the staff - everything was 1st class!
We went in low season, so it was pretty quiet but as we are both sun worshippers, we were happy to lounge around the pool / sea during the day, enjoy a fabulous meal at night and make our own entertainment.
There is nothing like opening your cabin door onto the beach and walking into the crystal clear sea! The snorkeling was brilliant (for our standard anyway) and now I'm saving for me and my boyfriend to return hopefully next year!"
- Travel date: Sun 24th of December 2006
We went to the Royal Island for our hone...
"We went to the Royal Island for our honeymoon and had a fantastic time. The Island and accommodation are beautiful and the staff cannot do enough for you. We went during the British summer and the island was almost empty, so plenty of peace and quiet!
Tips that I would give are; to upgrade to scheduled flights (Emirates), we've done the Monarch flight before and never again! Also, definitely go for the all inclusive option as food and drinks are very expensive. Going when the Island was quiet was perfect for us, but if you are after entertainment and company, it's probably best to go between November to February. The food was gorgeous and plentiful and the A.I. package was much better than other Maldivian Islands (branded drinks, cocktails, snacks and non-motorized water sports all included).
The only criticisms that I could have were that the lack of tour rep contact/"welcome meeting" meant that we were not sure about certain things, such as tipping etiquette, as other Maldivian Islands operate a cash-free policy with tipping only expected at the end of your stay. We were unsure as to whether this was the case or not as other guests seemed to be tipping throughout their stay. Also, the sea was quite choppy with a strong current, making snorkeling difficult, but we put this down to the time of the year, probably better during peak season.
Overall, well recommended!"
- Travel date: Sun 13th of August 2006
Royal Island - Wow!!!
"As I'm sure everyone else does, when thinking about a trip to the Maldives, we worried if we'd closen the right resort, if it really would rain right through our holiday (we went in "rainy May"), if only going half board was crazy and we wouldn't be able to afford any extras whilst we were there... etc etc.
Our holiday was fantastic from start to end and we wouldn't have changed a thing about it.
From being met off the plane and escorted to an air conditioned private check-in lounge for the seaplane (that we hadn't actually paid for - so don't let the travel agent talk you in to it!), to the night fishing (where they then cook your catch for dinner that night), amazing snorkelling sights (turtles, reef sharks, sting rays - all right off the Island reef), the fantastic weather and beaches.
Drinks are similar in price to at home - and you won't get drunk cheaply (maybe you should be looking at going somewhere else?) but prices are not over-the-top. Food at the poolside bar is snacky-lunch time food, and then the buffet is for breakfast and dinner. Not a huge fan of buffets, but this one was good - with a few interesting things to tempt you to every night.
Advice: Watch out for the bites, skip the Island-Hopping trip, only do the snorkelling trip on a bright day, do everything you can whilst you're there and charge it all to the room - when you get your bill at the end of the week it won't be that bad!! Enjoy."
- Travel date: Wed 2nd of August 2006
"My husband and I spent the middle two weeks of May at the Royal Island Report and we both agreed that it was the best holiday that we have ever had (and Iâve been to Thailand 3 times, Bahamas, Hong Kong, Paris, Las Vegas to name but a fewâ¦â¦â¦â¦) Everything that has been written in the previous glowing reviews is all absolutely true so I wonât write more of the same.
The sea plane transfer is nothing to be nervous about and anyway the views are incredible. Its probably a good idea to change into something cool and comfortable before you land at Male, as its pretty hot and humid. Sea plane is air-conditioned, but its not great. The transfer through using the hotelâs VIP lounge is really efficient, and the fruit cocktail and cool towels are more than welcome. The girls that organised the transfer (they even took care of the luggage) made it all seem effortless.
Itâs a little unnerving as the seaplane drops you off on a pontoon in the middle of the water, but do not fear the hotel boat will be on its way to collect you!
The room was very comfortable and the room boy is an angel â naturally, we tipped him well, but I reckon that small gifts of sunglasses, baseball caps etc. are also a good idea. They donât earn very much and only get off the island once a month.
On to the all-inclusive option: if youâve paid to stay at this hotel, then you might as well go the whole hog. Yes, they leave a large bottle of water in your room every day, but to have cocktails, fresh fruit juices, tea, coffee, cappuchino, and proper labelled spirits and liquers HAS to be worth it. The quality and variety of food is second to none. For breakfast smoothies made to order, delicious buttery croissants and a chef that will prepare your eggs to order. Lunch had a great sandwich bar for those feeling a little peckish, with a salad buffet and hot meals for larger appetites. I heard from other AI guests that they had also eaten from the Pool Bar menu and not been charged, so I guess thatâs included also. We are both foodies, but honestly we really had to control ourselves â otherwise weâd come back the size of a house. Wine with dinner is by the glass, but there is a selection and its good and unlimited. After the first day, our waiter Shahid knew exactly what we wanted to drink and when!
For a special treat, book a private beach BBQ. Your own chef and waiter sets a table in front of your room at the waterâs edge, together with music system and electric lighting. They will then serve you seemingly endless supply of lobster, t-bone steak, lamb chops, salads etc. Costs 80US per head without wine, but itâs a memory of a lifetime.
If you stay more than 7 days, they give you 2 free excursions. Island hopping is not worth writing home about as the reality (poor children, mosquitoes, rubbish) will almost âburst the paradise bubbleâ â but go night-fishing, GREAT fun and we all caught something.
This hotel is 5 star without being pretentious or posy (perhaps this is why some reviewers feel that its more 4 star). The dÃ©cor may not be luxurious or gold-plated but it is extremely comfortable, the service is friendly and attentive, they have an incredible eye for detail, and the spa facilities are wonderful. We were there in low season and there was a real house party atmosphere. However we did hear of other brits complaining that it was too quiet. Take lots of books, monopoly, scrabble whateverâ¦.. and with a little socialising in the bar after dinner at night, believe me youâll return with your batteries fully charged. It goes without saying that this hotel is brilliant for honeymooners.
One small negative point (but I guess that this applies to all the Maldives at this time of year) are the biting midges. They're not mosquitoes, but tiny silver white flies that hang around the beach and they bite! Some guests weren't bitten at all, but those who were (including myself) were surprised at the severity of the bites. Take strong insect repellent, antihistamine tablets (it may be a good idea to start taking these a few days before arrival) and antihistamine cream. The hotel doctor is great (and not expensive), but prevention is always easier than cure.
There were passengers on our return flight to Gatwick that complained bitterly about their hotels, really bad food and droves of Japanese tourists. We felt like the two cats that got the cream and yes, we will definitely, definitely go back."
- Travel date: Sun 18th of June 2006
We visited the Royal Island for the 1st...
"We visited the Royal Island for the 1st centre of our 2 week honeymoon. As soon as you arrive into Male you are whisked away to a courtesy room owned by the hotel chain and provided with a drink towel and air conditioned room!
The transfer by seaplane is a must - fantastic views. The rooms are fab with inside and outside showers. You have your own sun beds which are laid out every morning with fresh beach towels. The food is excellent with a lot of variety. Would recommend All Inclusive as drinks and meals are quite expensive to but locally.
A visit to the a la carte restaurant is recommended (payable locally for all inclusive guests). The staff at the hotel are very friendly and nothing is to much trouble. There are beautiful garden areas and the sunsets are amazing. Watch out for the resident bats that live their! The spa is a fab with a range of treatments ranging from Â£20 upwards.
Would recommend a back neck and massage. There are lots of sporting facilities on offer but we were too lazy! Highly recommended saving to return!"
- Travel date: Fri 26th of May 2006
"First of all - just got to say it is just as you see it in the brochures - no touching up of photos required (unfortunately I can't show you the evidence of our own pictures as the above water ones are all more than 2Mb limit!). We were well looked after from landing at Male airport to being dropped off there again all too soon. Sea plane flights to and from Male were great fun. We stayed 11 nights in March 2006, half-board which suited us just fine - good buffet-style breakfast and dinner (excellent variety, loved the salad / hors d'ouvres corner) and paid for the drinks we wanted (including beer, wine, cocktails (gotta try the Horubadhoo Lizard), Perrier water) which weren't cheap but it wouldn't have been worth us paying for all-inclusive by a long way. (By the way, having seen how remote these islands are and how they have to import absolutely everything I don't think, although expensive, that the prices are a rip-off either.) We went because I wanted to snorkel and boy was that amazing, the house reef was only yards from the beach - like swimming in an aquarium with colourful fish all around - before I went I thought I might see one or two fish if I looked hard (see photos - we have literally thousands like the ones I have posted and underwater movie clips as well). Our beach bungalow was number 197 on the opposite side of the island to the motorised water sports (I saw one jet ski go out), quite near to a channel through from the lagoon to the reef. Our accommodation suited us too - bigger than we thought, cleaned twice a day and comfortable with all we needed - tea/coffee and kettle, bottle of drinking water in room, beach towels supplied (clean and rolled on your sunlounger with hisbiscus flower decoration each day) , bath robes, beach bag to use. Only needed the beach bag once - when we went on an extra snorkelling trip to another reef by boat ($18 each and good value) - otherwise it was just padding down to our bit of beach with our sunloungers on it about five yards from our villa - there was a pool but the sea was warm and clear so personally I could have done without the pool - went in it once to say I'd tried it! If we had been there longer and got bored with the snorkelling we might have gone on a fishing trip and had a spa treatment or two. Quite a mix of nationalities when we went - Italian, German, Russian, Japanese as well as Brits. I would go back like a shot but my husband thinks he has probably 'done' that island for a few years and would like to try somewhere new :( (That's a bit unfair - I'd love to go back but there is a whole world out there we've not yet seen - the husband) I haven't said much about the resort but all the staff (and there were a lot) we met were friendly and helpful but well-trained and professional - the service was definitely there but so 'behind the scenes' we could just take it for granted that things would be as we wanted, when we wanted - I don't think we were demanding but if we wanted something it was done/provided straight away without fuss but most things were anticipated before we thought of them! Even to working out what time we had to get up to go home! I think other reviewers have said this resort is 4* and maybe if I wanted a holiday to dress up and parade my jewellery I would have been disappointed, but I think the owners have got the balance right between providing all that is needed for an extremely comfortable yet casual and very relaxing holiday, while obviously caring for the environment."
- Travel date: Sun 16th of April 2006
"We spent 11 relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable days at the Royal Island Resort from 3rd April. We weren't expecting 5 star - British brochures describe the resort as a good 4 star and I think that is accurate. It certainly rates as probably one of the best we have stayed at. Friendly and extremely accommodating staff, good food (yes if you are half/full board, it is a buffet choice but an excellent selection) We went for the half board option. Drinks were pretty expensive $12 dollars for a cocktail (20% off during happy hour) and $7.50 for a glass of house wine but we're not big drinkers so the all inclusive would not have been worth our while. We found that we seldom needed lunch after the substantial breakfast. The complimentary basket of fruit in the room when we arrived was enough for the first couple of days. After that we were so chilled out lying on our sunbeds on the beach interspersed with the dips in the sea and the fantastic snorkelling that we couldn't summon up the energy to head for food! This is truly a place to unwind.
Like a previous reviewer, we would recommend asking for a room on the south side and agree that anything from 132-155 is definitely best. Many thanks to the Trip Advisor reviewer who alerted us to this. The beach on the north side is in some parts virtually non existent at high tide and there are sand bags to keep the water at bay.
Our only gripe was also the lack of a non smoking section in the restaurant. It is pretty unpleasant when someone lights up when you're in the middle of a meal. Yes, the staff are happy to relocate you but it doesn't solve the problem. I mentioned this in my feedback to the hotel.
There was a mix of nationalities, honeymooners and a surprising number of families but we hardly saw anyone during the day. Young children tended to stay in the pool area.
The sea was very calm for the first 6 days and then the wind picked up so there was a slight swell. Snorkelling was still ok though and a definite highlight. We saw an amazing diversity of fish, reef sharks (harmless - we still have all our limbs!) and rays. Weather was glorious - 30 degrees and sun from 6am until 6pm! We were there to chill out and certainly succeeded in that aim. We didn't partake of any of the excursions, spa treatments or entertainment so can't comment.
The seaplane transfers were fantastic! We flew to Male with Emirates and rate the entertainment and comfort highly. Better leg room than BA. If you're vegetarian, don't expect much from the airline food. Veggies get a raw deal with no substitutes for some of the courses - why no cheese and biscuits, dried mango slices and a chocolate? Will be emailing the airline!
All in all, I would certainly recommend Royal Island. If you do go, try to get up at 6am for sunrise and a gentle stroll around the island. You'll see the reef sharks on the prowl, fish jumping out at sea and yours will be the first footprints on the sand. Paradise found!"
- Travel date: Sat 15th of April 2006
"Date: 20th March 2006 - 30th March 2006
We have just returned from the Royal Island resort and can only describe it as 'paradise'. The villas & the beach outside the villas were exactly as described and more. The 'south side' or 'sunset side' is definitely the best side to be - i would recommend anywhere from room no 135 - 155. All these rooms were in a great position. The villas on the other side were in the shade a lot of the time, and did not have so much sand to sunbathe on. The outside shower was fabulous - you could shower each time you came out of the water if you wanted to as our villa was so close to the sea ( I found this useful as the sea was very salty and it irritated my skin). The towels were changed as often as you wanted and the room was cleaned twice a day and kept immaculate. Our boy was called Ahmed - he was very friendly and couldnt do enough for us.
On that note i would say that the service and the friendliness of all staff is what makes this resort a cut above the rest. All the staff speak to you - from a friendly good morning - to chatting about football, or the weather, or asking about your home country.
One day, we remarked that we hadnt seen any fresh coconut in the restaurant. With that, one of the gardeners went away, and returned 2 minutes later with a coconut for us, cut in two, and the coconut cut. Nothing was never too much trouble.
The food was fantastic - there was so much choice - and chefs preparing fresh pasta meals every day.My husband loved the giant prawns and crab halves especially.
The restaurant didnt have areas for smokers and non smokers. We sat next to a table of 4 smokers - but having said that we asked our waiter if we could move - and he was more than happy to oblige.
We went all inclusive which was a bonus as drinks were dear - cocktails around $12 each. However, im not sure that we drank that much - we preferred to stay aroung our villa during the day and make do with the bottle of water that was provided each day.
There is an a la carte restaurant on the beach - but all inclusive didnt include drinks there - you had to pay. i think the drinks should be free here too - it is a lovely place to sit and watch the sun go down.
There is a magnificent spa - well worth giving a try.
We went on a night fishing trip - it was great fun - we all caught a fish. Our all inclusive package also included a half day excursion to 2 other islands - to see how they compared - we didnt do this as it was from 1 - 5 pm and too hot to be wandering around other islands. We would have preferred a half price spa treatment - perhaps this may be an option in the future.
All in all - it was a truly magical holiday - and the staff at this resort have a lot to do with it. We would definitely go again."
- Travel date: Sat 1st of April 2006
Not a fice stars by any stretch of imagination
"I spent a week at the Royal Island last month.
It's not the five stars it pretends to be.
At the very best, I would rate it as "Club Med improved". In other words, to be honest, the Royal Island should advertise itself as a four stars.
On example : the first time you get to the dining room they "assign" you table and inform you that you'll have to stay at this very same table for the duration of your stay. To make the point clear, the waiter puts a ridiculous green card with your name on top of the table... Not a single "true five stars" hotel in the world would dare doing something like that..."
- Travel date: Sat 4th of March 2006
Travel agents opinion
"Having seen the last two very contrasting reviews, I feel the need to add my two penny's worth. I am a travel executive (glorified travel agent really!), and as such I get to go to a lot of resorts including Royal Island and a couple of others that were mentioned in the first review like the Banyan Tree and the One & Only Kanuhura. I must agree with the 'father and daughter' reviewer in that this is a beautiful Island with excellent facilities but I do understand the first reviewer saying that this isn't a real 5* resort. The food is good but not restaurant quality which nowadays seems to be a prerequisite, think of most of the great restaurants in cities Like London and New York, they belong to the best 5* hotels. This is clear to see if you go to hotels like the Banyan Tree or the Kanuhura. The food at these places goes the extra mile but you do pay through the nose for a 3 course meal and a bottle of wine (Â£150-Â£200 per couple). I do think it is unfair to compare hotels like this as I believe you get what you pay for. I haven't been to the Reethi Rah which the first reviewer raves on about but I have been told it is the only 6* hotel in the Maldives which only opened last May/June, I also know that they are a part of the Kerzner group of Hotels which are known as celeb hangouts, for example Tara Palmer-Tomkinson frequently goes to the One & Only resorts in Mauritius and I think it is the Sultan of Brunei that sent a scout to find him a resort in the Maldives and he choose the Kanuhura. So what I would like to say is that the first reviewer should focus on the quibbles between the so called true 5* resorts, for example the constant work being done on the Hilton Maldives, and the second reviewer should focus on his lot and not get sucked into titfortat conversations. I think if you compare like for like then Royal Island is good honest value for money but does not set the world alit with Luxury and hence should be considered a good 4* hotel."
- Travel date: Thu 9th of February 2006
I feel the need to tell the truth! Royal Island is wonderful.
"Having just read the last review of Royal I feel compelled to put holiday makers minds at rest.
Having been to Soneva Gilli, Taj Exotica and many more islands I rate Royal Island at the top. The service, accomodation and facilities are second to none. It is a relief to not be sitting with pretengious people drinking Don perignon at $500 a bottle as we have done at other resorts. As other reviewers agree the food at Royal is excellent, far better than I experienced at Soneva Gilli or Taj Exotica. There is all inclusive but so what, most people are usually half board.
We are returning to Royal in April, for the first time going back to an island for a 2nd visit.
I am also confused about the last reviewers comments about ladies cleaning rooms, there are only Male Room Boys working at Royal.
Are you sure we went to the same place???????
Please see the wonderful pictures Above"
- Travel date: Fri 3rd of February 2006
Not the 5 star it is sold as
"I must advise people who have been sold this holiday as a 5 star that disappointment awaits them.
We travelled with Sky Travel and as far as the flight, service etc, no problem. However, after arriving by seaplane we arrived at Royal Island to see what I thought could only be the staff/service buildings but I was wrong. Not the best start. Thankfully our accommodation was a suite which we upgraded prior to arrival rather than have a standard room. It was a very large clean room with a lovely kingsized bed, but the room itself was so dark it was like living in a badly built wood cabin. The over use of tacky wood pannelling had driven me crazy by the time we had to leave and it meant I spent as much time away from the room as possible, wereas usually I like to come back to the room for a quick snooze after sunset before going for the evening meal. The general finish of the rooms are not what I expect from a 5 star hotel and to be honest the resort as a whole left me feeling a bit cheated. The ladies that clean the rooms did a good job but needed to be advised that when a 'do not disturb' sign is placed outside on the door handle it really does mean what it says. I will also never go to a maldivian resort that offers all inclusive as the food quality is adequate at best and beer swilling brits ruin the tranquility of the place. The staff throughout the resort were of a very good standard and were probably, along with the dive centre, the only things that justify the 5 stars. I must add at this point the I have stayed at several other resort in the Maldives including the Hilton, Banyan Tree, One & Only Reethi Rah and Kanahura and Soneva Fushi, all of which I regards a true 5 star resorts. Luxury is an overused word when it comes to hotels and the conparison between the reethi Rah and Royal Island proves this point. In conclusion, if you have the money don't go here go to any of the others I listed, and if you are looking for the experience of a lifetime look no further than the Reethi Rah, don't take my word for it just compare some photos of the two resorts and you will see."
- Travel date: Wed 1st of February 2006