12 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
" After a 10 hour flight the site of the boats and the blue water was a great relief.We soon got to terms with the heat 36dg [great] and before we knew it were parting water at speed. Is that our island, no,is that it,no, after 25min of this we got the first view of Chaaya Dhonveli big grins on everyone's face's. The welcome was gratefully received but within minutes we were in our superior room it was freezing thankfully.
The rest you can find out for yourselves ...... Totally FAB.
the Chinese youngsters have no respect or manners . Steve & Caz "
- Travel date: Sun 6th of November 2011
fantastic place, food great, island beau...
"fantastic place, food great, island beautiful, staff friendly, all inc great value, rooms clean and spacious. Amazing views all round, cannot say anything bad about this place it was by far the best holiday weve been on and we have been to some nice places. If your lucky enough to have the oppotunity to go here dont waste it. We met some great people from all over and sat watching the sun go down with a cocktail. The snorkelling was good and there was lots to do from canoeing to vollyball and for those less active the spa is perfect a massage was $80 approx Â£40.00 and so worth it. At nightime they have crab racing nights and disco but you mainly have to make your own entertainment, we arranged pool games, cards, darts anything for fun. would definatley go back again in my eyes it was perfect. "
- Travel date: Tue 15th of July 2008
"after reading a lot of negative reviews about this resort,i thought i'd better stick up for it.me and my girlfriend stayed there in nov 2005(we were going to mexico but the hurricane put pay to that)and had an absolutely fantastic time.we and about 50 other english people were the first ever brits on the island,and the maldivian people loved it.the italians are loud and ignorant but who wants to speak to men who wear bright pink thongs on the beach anyway.the sand is quite harsh but this is due to the tsunami so why people are moaning about it is beyond me,but it isn't that bad anyway.the food is great and loads to choose from our favourite was the curry(which was every night)and the waiters were brill.the co bar is were we spent most of our time as it was out of the way and there is a pool table and dart board in there.we stayed in the sunrise villa which is on the lagoon side and they were amazing the room boy used to make swans and other things with the bedding which were cool.it does pay to tip barmen and the roomboy(you get a few cheap cocktails if you do this)our roomboy (mohammed)gave us a really nice ashtray which was a nice touch.the pool is were we spent most of our days as it was clean and massive and NO PINK THONGS.the water bungalows were being built when we were there but there wasn't any noise at all.you must do the dinner on the beach it's ace and very romantic,i asked claire to marry me there(she said yes thankfully)under a full moon.all in all we had a fantastic time and met some brilliant people so don't be put off its brill........"
- Travel date: Wed 13th of September 2006
"We have just returned from a fortnight at the Dhonveli Beach and Spa we are a couple in our early twenties. The resort is amazing although this was our first trip to the Maldives but we canât wait to go back.
Check-in was really quick and they were waiting with cool towels and juice when you got off the speed boy. The porters were quite pushy for tips and we were told it is customary to give $1.
We stayed in a sunrise cottage and the room was fantastic our room was 212 which was close to the beach, pool and sunrise bar. We paid Â£1100 each for All Inclusive which we thought was fantastic value, soft drinks were $3 each and water which adds up over two weeks considering how much you need to drink while there, you also get a fishing trip included.
The room was fantastic there was one massive bed, plenty of storage, mini bar was not included in all inclusive but we used it and then replaced them from the bar the next time we went. The outdoor bathroom was gorgeous the bath was massive and there was always hot water. Mohammed was fantastic really fun and friendly he worked so hard such long hours.
We did get really bad mosquito bites and we took plug-ins and sprays and Mohammed (our room boy) used to spray the room twice a day.
The beach was lovely the clarity of the water was amazing and you could often see fish in the shallow water, my boyfriend ventured over the drop-off for snorkeling and he said the fish were amazing. The beach is really sandy in parts but then crushed coral in others, the sandy parts are towards the end of the beach by the water sports station. The only bad aspect was the sun-loungers were a nightmare but you can fetch the loungers from your room over.
The pool is lovely, big and never crowded always felt like you were the only ones there, with plenty of sun loungers you never had to worry about not getting one, you were also left beach towels in your room but we still took some of our own, probably not a good idea because nothing dries.
The main bar is the Sunset bar but we preferred the Co-Bar because my boyfriend met some other surfers and they stayed around there. You can get food from both bars such as burgers and sandwiches.
Food was amazing there was a different soup everyday and you hardly ever had the same thing twice apart from the pastas. Our waiter Shann was fantastic he even give us a few language lessons. If you donât fancy eating in the main restaurant there is the A La Carte restaurant and you can book a lobster meal on the beach for $50 each.
We went on a night fishing trip which was quite an experience we caught massive fish which are all used by the resort or you can have it prepared for you to eat at dinner.
As many other people have stated the Italians are louder than most but there really friendly. We were there over the world cup so you can image what that night was like.
We did not notice any building work while we were there and where they were working was completely screen of so you couldnât see anyway.
If you did want to surf on this island it is possible but it is best you book because availability is sometimes limited, the staff there from Atoll Adventures were fantastic with loads of local knowledge. We were informed that the Atoll contract will expire soon so the surfing should be more reasonably priced.
One tip is to make sure you take enough toiletries because you canât buy it there especially conditioner.
Overall I would say Dhonveli is a fantastic resort and we are quite well traveled throughout the Caribbean and Europe. It did exceed my expectations after receiving numerous letters about building work and reading bad reviews.
If you have any questions e-mail me because we relied heavily on this site to get information."
- Travel date: Thu 27th of July 2006
"I too as the person bellow have been back in the UK for a couple of months,so here it goes.
The Italian's: yes they can be noisy but so can we all be at times, (we had a birthday for Geoff and that must have been noisy) the best thing to do is goto the sunset bar for a couple then on to the rhendi bar for sunset, peacfull and quiet, then as the sun has set walk to the banana resturant for your meal, if like us you then spend the next 2hours there when you goto the sunset bar again the Italians are at the theatre, then around 10.30ish your stroll back down to the rehindi bar and all is quiet.
Island feaver, yes it does happen myself and my wife found that be day 6/7 we were getting a little restricted but thats were our neighbours from Bolton came in to there eliment and took us both on a snorkling trip which we both loved, then there was the trip to Male which was great for stocking up on essentials like shampoo, etc.
Staff: They all do work for tips but if you tip your waiter and room boy every week (we tiped around $15-20 a week for room boy and $25-30 for waiter and $15 for barman). Note barmen getting tips works well when wanting drinks to goto room with (3Ltr bottle of red wine one night).
Payment: When we were there, we had forgotten to take our credit card for the bill, thinking that our switch card would be ok 'WRONG' luckily we had a bit of Sterling so exchanged with our nextdoor neighbours and paid bill in cash, Also it says that Maldives banks dont take our cash cards but the one in the shopping centre does, we also saw a HSBC so persume that they do too.
Allinclusive: Yes do it the money you save is great, we paid Â£1100 each and booked months in advance but it was well worth the money as the person bello me said Â£700-800 for the trip Â£800 on food and beer it just makes sence to go all inclusive, also when you get there and you have paid for half/full board ask at reception for the allinclusive upgrade you may be supprised at how cheap it is."
- Travel date: Sun 16th of July 2006
Better than the reviews would have you believe
"It's been a couple of months since I got back from Dhonveli but felt I had to write a review, esp since I relied so heavily on them in the run up to my holiday.
Firstly, to all of you complainers, look at the price of Dhonveli compared to other resorts in the Maldives..I paid Â£700ppn for 2 weeks half board during peak season most other resorts are double that for ONE week!
Stayed in the Sunset villas - beautiful room, high ceilings, big bed, view out to the channel (where you can see dolphins most days and nights, as well as the amazing sunset view). Large bathroom with seperate shower and bath. You can hear the Italians most nights, but didn't bother us - we aren't early sleepers. The room boy does an amazing job keeping the place tidy, clean, sprayed, mini bar well stocked, not to mention his creativity with the sheets and flowers! People who say these rooms are badly located are nothing short of lazy - you can walk round the whole resort in about 15mins! The walk to the lagoon beach is no longer than 2mins.Seen the Sunrise villas/cottages and they are TINY, I couldn't believe that I was trying to upgrade to one..esp after I seen the number of ants in the bathrooms! Stick to the Sunset, Vista suites or water villa.
Beaches are pretty small, but still nice. Snorkelling around the island could be better, I'd definately recommend a few snorkelling trips, as they go to different places every day. Make sure to walk around the watervillas, and their restaurant as there are rays and little sharks swimming around there.
Food and service was great, although did tire a little towards the end of going to the same place every night. Spent most nights at the Co-Bar..a little tip is to tip the barmen...you might find you're getting a little more for your money if you do.
Our total bill for two weeks was about $800..which sounds a lot but when you accound for water, juice, lunches, ice creams and snacks, at least 8 day trips for two, boat hire, fins hire, shop purchases plus a fair bit of alcohol it wasn't so bad, if you're watching your cash you would definately spend less!
I'd recommenf Dhonveli to all, esp travellers on their first visit to the Maldives/people on a bit of a budget. I had a great time, but be warned 2 weeks on a tiny island can get a bit boring at times so make sure you know how to amuse yourself!"
- Travel date: Fri 26th of May 2006
"Just got back from Dhonveli and thought I'd post an update.
As from last week the resort is under a new Sri Lankan management team, who own a chain of hotels (close links with Thomas Cook). However, apart from changing the buffet layout in the Banana Garden restaurant and offering a larger selection of cooked foods at breakfast, all seems much the same.
They do have plans to reduce the Italian animation team from the current 21 down to 6 persons, which can only be a good thing (0 would be better)
With regard to the Italians, they can be noisy around the lagoon area at times, but generally there seemed to be less of them than the animation team.
This was our first trip to the Maldives and we found the island to be lovely. Here are our opinions.
1. The lagoon beach is not totally soft sand but finely crushed white coral, we wore sandles for walking around and had no complaints with the beach, which is raked every morning. Lovely
2. Don't stay in the 2 storey Sunset rooms, if at all possible. As discussed elsewhere they are on the rocky and windy/surf side of the island. Also they suffer from the Italian entertainment system during daytime rehearsals and evening shows. We met a few people who had requested a move to the Sunrise rooms, because of this.
3. We had a Sunrise room on the south side of the lagoon, where most of the English seemed to be. This was lovely and at high tide the waves came right up to our patio steps. Bad points was the lack of storage (no drawers, only a double wardrobe) and sound insulation between rooms (none existant). We had real problems with next door who played their TV really loud until the early hours. Other people could hear the couple next door making out. So be quiet, if you don't want everyone to know! Good points were the rooms are large and the bed is huge. the semi outdoor bathroom was very clean and again spacious. Air Con was on 24/7 and needed. We sat in the shade(34 - 37C) in the the sun it was 45 - 48C.
4. As most people say, the food and service was fantastic. You will not be dissapointed. My wife is vegetarian and had no problems with the food whatsoever.
5. Building work is going on (allegedly), but you would be hard pushed to find it. Seemed like they would knock one nail in per day! We didn't meet ayone who had a problem with it.
6. We met a couple who had been upgraded from a Sunset to a water bungalow on arrival, as they were on honeymoon. I think this depends on availability. It wouldn't do any harm in e-mailing the resort directly ([email protected]) to let them know, if you are on honeymoon. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
7. Snorkelling was great. We went round the lagoon every day and saw an octopus, small stingray, large titan triggerfish, moray eels and plenty of fish (nothing in the water to worry about). However the water was becoming very cloudy when we left. The best snorkelling we did was just outside the harbour wall, to the right, on the house reef. Visability was good and the fish were huge. we even snorkelled here with a turtle, one day. Went on a snorkelling trip one day ($10), but thought the free house reef was just as good if not better.
8. Diving was fantastic, if not a bit expensive. If you dive, the must sees are Manta Point (went twice and saw 10ft mantas each time) and H.P. Reef (just the best coral and thousands of fish).
9. We stayed half board and wouldn't have really benefited from A.I. as my wife doesn't drink and we don't eat much during the daytime. Filled our boots at breakfast (8 -10 am) and dinner at night (7.30 - 9.30). Took some snacks with us(or borrowed from the breakfast buffet) for during the day, if we got the munchies. Best tip is to meet someone on A.I. We met some lovely people and they supplied us with free water all holiday ($3 - 1.5litres). The AI is not fully AI. You have to pay for food and drinks at the Co Bar/Pasta Point which is the surfing place. A.I. ends at midnight and it doesn't include cocktails or fresh fruit juices. But most people recommend going A.I. It just wasn't for us.
10. 10% service is added to everything apart from the dive shop. You have to sign for everything whether you are AI or not.Check your bill regularly as we had one small problem when someone put our room number down on a bill, by mistake. Pay by Nationwide credit card. If you haven't got one, then get one! No commission charges and the official bank rate is given. Shame on you travellers for not having one already!!
11. Surfing has been discussed elsewhere. But be sure if you want to surf that you have booked via Atoll Adventures. Some English people we met had been sold the holiday as a surfing package, with the surfing paid locally. When they arrived, they were told it was $150 per day but they couldn't surf anyway as they were full ( 30 people max). They did get around it, just, by hiring a local boat to take them. But the management found out and at one point threatened to throw them and their family off the island. Not ideal.
12. The place we loved the best was the Rehindi Bar and restaurant. We spent most evenings up there with the breeze and watched the sun setting. Seemed like it was a secret place as nobody else was there. Also a must do is go there in the morning after breakfast and watch the small black tip sharks swimming at the edge of the terrace. The most we saw were 15. All about 2 foot and harmless, so don't worry.
We had a great holiday and would go back again"
- Travel date: Fri 19th of May 2006
Disappointed at Dhonveli
"The resort is good value for money if you paid about Â£900 AI. Food fairly good and staff very friendly. But the island is not a paradise one and not for couples unless you like a childrens club still in action at 9.30pm and Italians shouting all day long. It seems they can't speak unless they shout at each other. The island is about 80% italians and very much family orientated.
If you are booked into a sunset villa, try to change as there is no real beach here. The sunrise ones are right on the beach, although this is not very sandy.
The sunset bar is OK but noisy - use the Rhendhi bar which is very quiet.
The diving is excellent as were the dive centre staff.
The ongoing building work did not effect the holiday at all - very lttile going on at all while we were there from April 18 - May 3.
If you want peace and quite this is not for you."
- Travel date: Wed 3rd of May 2006
Great value for money
"Weather - Very hot
Beach - Not bad. Too many bloody Italians
Bars - Very nice. Reihindi is the Brit Bar if you want peace and quiet. Ashraf and Llim are always available.
Azeem - Nice lad in the Sunsat Bar
Co bar - My favourite, but don't pay for the drinks. Get someone to walk to the sunset bar and back. A bit naughty for it not to be AI in my opinion.
Service - Fantastic. Hazeem in the restaurant is top notch, and speaks the best English of all the Maldivians on the Island. He will tell you everything you want to know.
Food - I ate like a pig, and drank like a Fish.
Board - Go AI. Unless you are boring and want to spend no money, then HB would be your option, but believe me, I have travelled to quite a few hot Countries, and for it to be 100 degrees for over 7 hours in the day is enough !!
Ratio - 25% Brits - 75% Italian. The island is now mainly opened to more British holiday makers, but don't let other reviews fool you. This will remain the same until at least October this year.
Water Bungalows - Very nice
Sunrise cottage/villa - small but well situated. Can be noisy, but outside showers are fabulous.
Sunrise Villa - Larger but not very well situated.
Fab time and great value for money. Ignore the Italians. Building work is now very minimal !!
- Travel date: Tue 11th of April 2006
GREAT HOLIDAY and some useful facts
"There seems to be a lot of mixed reviews on this island
Here are my views
The food and the service (everyone seems to agree) are excellent.
There is a lot of coral around most of the island but the main beach is sandy and not overcrowded.
There does seem to have been a shortage of plant life (the Indian Ocean did wash over the island during the tsunami) but they seem to have a major planting programme going on, the island was noticeably greener in just the two weeks we where there.
There is a pretty good reef to swim at the front of the island (in front of the sea wall as you come in on the boat) the best time to swim it seems to be in the morning when the tide is low it looks a fair way out but you can walk most of this and it seems safe even for beginners. There is also a small reef just in front of the beach; also a snorkelling trip costs only $10 and if you are not a confident snorkeller they will provide you with a jacket to swim in.
The majority of the heavy building work seems to be finished but there is still work going on the main being to the water suites, which are at the rear of the island and look close to completion. I would agree with the people who had major construction work taking place, on an island this size there is no way guests should have been present. Thankfully this seems to have come to an end, the work that we saw was discreet and at reasonable times of the day and was in some instances quite interesting.
There are three bars and two restaurants
The Co bar not AI
The Rehendhi bar AI (this doubles as the al a carte restaurant but is quite expensive not AI)
The Sunset bar AI
The Banana Garden restaurant AI(the food was of a high standard)
The electricity supply/plugs are the same as England
Dual band mobile phones seem to work ok(the call charges are quite high but MMS seems quite reasonable but keep your picture file size low or they wont go)
The bars all serve in proper glasses and they have fruit juices if you ask they will make you a fresh squeezed fruit juice but there is a charge for this
The picture in the first choice brochure seems to be an artists impression of what the final design is to be but it is correct in the shape and positioning of most items and the sea really is that blue!
Would definitely go all in as the prices are really high. Also if you take a shopping trip the prices on the islands are a fraction of the local shop, would also commend the airport as it is very clean the shops are reasonable and there is a cafÃ© and internet access ,you can also upgrade to the executive lounge for only $16 and there are free drinks snacks and internet access there.
Would recommend that you invest in a pair of swimming shoes (Sports World had them for dirt cheap) or a pair of sandals that you donât mind swimming in as the coral is sharp on the way to the reef
Here are some sayings: thank you =shukuriya---your welcome=marhaba----how are you=koba kihine----good=rangalhu
Would recommend taking some basic medicines as there is no chemist i.e. anti-histamine, painkillers, antiseptic/plasters, diarrhoea/constipation.
In summary I would recommend this resort as we had a great time at a reasonable price its listed in the brochure as 3*plus but I am certain it will be 4* next brochure as I would have given it that now.the new owner (one of the members of the Moldavian cabinet)seems to be investing a lot of money in this project and the resort visibly improved in the two weeks we where there.
It also has the advantage of proximity to male (so no long transfers)
A decent house reef
And a popular surfing location (apparently with a contest to be held there shortly?)
Hope this is of some help and hope you enjoy wherever you decide to go
P.S.say hello to Azeem (ask him if heâs been promoted yet?) and shappee(excuse the spelling which is probably wrong)at the Sunset bar from Kenny and Jenny.
Useless bit of info (but amusing) the bar managers name is Mohammed Ali??"
- Travel date: Thu 6th of April 2006
a water baby's perspective
"We arrived on the 7th March 06 to this island.
This was our third visit to the maldives and i have to say we were not that impressed on arrival with the overall appearance of the island.
There is nothing wrong with this island but there is something just not quite right with it. If you have never been to the maldives before i am sure you would think it was very nice and would not be too dissapointed. If you want good food, service, nice weather and are not a water baby/keen snorkler/diver then you will be fine.
If however you have been to maldives before i think you would be expecting more. The island is not very lush with vegetation and is fairly rocky around 2/3rds of the island. The waves on this side are huge, great if you are a surfer and nice to look at but not the lagoon like maldives. There is a lagoon on one side with a beach but the beach is not powder white sand. It is sand but fine coral peices not powder. Because of the waves in the distance the vis is very poor. There is no such house reef to speak of and there were very few fish unlike other islands we have visited.Again if you have never been then you will still enjoy the water but you are missing out on true maldives.
On arrival we were put in a water suite as they had over booked. These are fantastic, brand new and really plush. Jacuzzi bath with lights and radio!, large double shower etc. Huge lounge with tv and large bedroom with 4 poster. All rooms had doors onto a large private deck with sun loungers, table and chairs and steps to the sea. Unfortunately even this free perk which would have been $150 per night was not enough to do it for us.
We asked our tour rep to move and $1000 later we were on Vilamendoo which is true maldives. Small round island, very lush with a house reef all the way round. In all we stayed two nights at Dhonveli, the food was good, service good and the bars very nice with great views of the ocean. Drinks more expensive than our second island if not AI. $5.00 for a half of beer.
The pool was nice but not much shade. The beach was busy and full of all the italians again not much shade. We were not there long enough to make any judgement on the italians and the entertainment but long enough to know it was not the island for us.
The reviews just go to show that everyone likes different things. If you are a water baby who loves to snorkell i would suggest a different island."
- Travel date: Fri 24th of March 2006
excellent holiday - truly enjoyed it
"we have just returned from the dhonveli beach and spa (8th March). we flew with first choice who were excellent. we like many others were worried about the reviews and once booked were concerned that we had maybe not made the right decision. this was not the case! we started our stay in a sunrise cottage - roomy and cool. for the second week we upgraded to a water villa suite - absolutely amazing. panormaic views of the ocean from all areas - with lots of privacy and steps into the ocean from the villa. worth the upgrade if you can do it when you get there. not as expensive as if you book in the UK but thats beacuse they have just been finished - definately worth a try when you get there.it was incredibly hot and would recommend lots of high factor sun cream - there is a doctor on the island who came in very handy when some brits had a mild case of dicky tummy - too much rich food and wine!
the italians were a pain in the bum - very arrogant, rude and loud!. the animation team would be well suited to wearing red coats at butlins - the team lose the contract in April so things will be much quieter. the staff at the resort are fed up with the italians and were very apologetic (and embarrased)
the food was excellent - wondefully cooked and lots of choice - our waiter was brill, in fact all the staff were great and very helpful - fresh towels every day and the rooms cleaned morning and evening by the room boys.
definately upgrade to all inclusive - we drank the difference in bottled water alone!
had a wonderful massage in the spa - very relaxing and invigorating. well worth the money
definately hope to return to the maldives soon - it captured our hearts - Dhonveli is going to be a big resort but the facilities are ample and the reef and snorkelling brilliant - look forward to trying another island but would return if we managed a similar deal. it really is not as bad as some of the reviews have said - after all it is what you make of it and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves from start to finish. we are choosy about our holidays and would say that this one deserved a good rating. fantastic holiday well worth the money."
- Travel date: Thu 9th of March 2006