10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"just got back and wish we had gone for 2 weeks. This place is lovely, the food is excellent, the beach bungalows clean and spacious and the snorkeling fantastic. Ideal for an "away from it all" holiday. Didn't wear shoes all week, don't need to dress up unless you want to, Saw lots of dolphins on the Sunset Cruise (free), unfortunately no sunset cos it rained! Got a great last minute deal on a Cosmos holiday through Hays Travel. Go soon cos they are going to build lots of water bungalows and probably spoil it, it's only a small island and typically Maldivian now, perfect. Go there!!"
- Travel date: 6th June 2010
Calling it paradise doesn't do it justice!
"It's hard to even describe how fantastic the island is, any review simply won't even begin to explain just how perfect it is. If you want somewhere with lots do then this probably isn't for you. If you want somewhere where you feel welcome, relaxed and rested then you can't find anywhere better. The island is tiny! Just 65 metres in width, we kayak'd around the entire island in about 30 minutes! But despite it's size, it still feels empty. We were amazed every day at meal times just where all the people had come from, they appear for food and then vanish again. Lots of times you would not even know there were more than four couples on the entire island. The food is varied and tasty. Every single meal impressed me, the food was plentiful and the flavours sublime, this in my opinion should be shouted about by the hotel as the combination of great service and good food made us look forward to meal times everyday. If you love your food, you'll love Gasfinolhu. The service would not have been out of place in a 5 star resort and if the food was not buffet style, you would have believed it was 5 star. The buffett only serves to give you more choice, there is no compromise on the quality of the food. My partner is a very fussy eater, yet every day found something to eat and enjoyed it. Believe me, this is very rare for us! They are also very generous with what you get in your all inclusive, plenty of alcohol, bottles of water, but also free excursions and a massage. You could have turned up with no spending money at all and still had a great time. I'm suprised there are not more reviews here, it seems to be one of the best kept secrets of the Maldives, many other guests we met had been to the Maldives many times and declared this their best island by far. Everything about it is well thought out and the staff are constantly trying to please, the staff are very well chosen and have a natural friendliness, they come across very genuine, that they want to be nice not because they have to, not for tips, but because they actually enjoy being there and enjoy your company. The staff completed what was a perfect holiday. When we booked, this was actually one of the cheapest resorts so you expect things to be slightly on the poor side, but everything was perfect. The rooms might not be as new and as snazzy as higher star resorts, but each is located perfectly next to the beach, giving privacy but still being four steps from the sea. The rooms are basic, but with the coral walls it just felt natural. Who wants something so modern on a quaint island? Like a country cottage, modern features would have ruined the rustic feel. This is a true Maldivian holiday and one that I think we will struggle to ever beat, I have recomended this place to anyone who will listen as the island deserves all the praise it gets for going above and beyond my expectations."
- Travel date: 22nd May 2010
Truly heaven on earth!
"Absolutely stunning; the island, the views, the acommodation and the staff. Cannot find fault with anything associated with this island except....... we had to leave eventually. Very quiet, calming, the best place ever to relax and unwind. Can't wait to return in a couple of years time. Simply the best, and original."
- Travel date: 17th March 2010
gasfinolhu laid back relaxed with excellent service
"just returned from gasfinolhu having previously been to meeru we had no hesitation in booking this island .We were not dissapointed the food was absolutely top class and varied everyday breakfast was the standard ready cooked bacon eggs sausage etc with a few extrs like curry ,also cooking station with waffles eggs etc ,lunch had a lot of choice ,and cooking station did fresh cooked pastas and always fish and meats ,dinner was also well varied cooking station did alternate between noodle and fried rice of various types , with fresh fish and meats also. staff were excellent and very friendly especially in the bar with cyril from dolphin bar at meeru in charge, 2 indian boys Sumesh and Francis are lovely funny and efficient waiters in reseraunt are also great room boys are brilliant reception could not do enough to satisfy your needs and latheef the front manager is a great guy and really goes that extra step to make your holiday the best possible experience,he even arranged a half day visit so we could check out the changes at meeru .the snorkelling isnt as good as meeru but you can still find lots of fisn in the lagoon if you ask the staff where to look the main jetty has all kind of fish to see.rooms are spacious but in need of upgrading this said they are better than alot I have stayed in ,evrything works and there is all you need we will definatly visit again when refub is done in2011 please check it out it is becoming very popular and was full all the time we were ther for 2 weeks ."
- Travel date: 24th February 2010
"My 11th visit to the Maldives and I wasn't sure what to expect as not many reviews on this island. However, it was great.. The food was fantastic, so much to choose from and the waiters (especially Sobhee and Ato) were great fun and very attentive. No sooner were you half way down a glass of wine when another one appeared! We were there 3 weeks and never tired of the choice available. The rooms were typical Maldivian, a bit dated but spotlessly clean and we found them comfortable. There were tea and coffee making facilities in the room. The beach was lovely, plenty of nice white sand to lounge around on. Lovely sandy lagoon perfect for paddling in. You could walk across to the neighbouring island at low tide. Watersports were available and the kayaks seemed to be popular. It took about half an hour to paddle round the island. Lots of marine life to be seen even just alongside the jetty, lion fish, porcupine fish, a moray eel - we even saw an eagle ray swim past just off the end of the jetty! Snorkle boat to the house reef went twice most days, we went a couple of times and saw lots. The bar staff were great, especially Francis, Sumesh and Cyril - see you in Jan 2011 guys! Have already booked to go back next year for another 3 weeks with some friends we met this year. Can't wait! If you are looking for a small, friendly, relaxing island you would struggle to find one better than this."
- Travel date: 23rd February 2010
Small Trees on a Sandbank
"The name âGasfinolhuâ means âsmall trees on a sandbankâ and the name fits perfectly, here are our thoughts from our recent visit. From the moment we arrived at Male airport, the staff from Gasfinolhu looked after us, we were quickly taken to the awaiting speedboat and were on our way. On arrival at Gasfinolhu, you walk down the jetty to the Ihaa bar where you are welcomed with a refreshing cold towel and a mocktail. Check in was very efficient and we were soon strolling down through the centre of the island to our bungalow. Gasfinolhu Island is small, but perfectly formed. All the bungalows are set around the edge of the island with sea views, as you walk through the island you feel that you could stretch your arms out and touch both sides, it really is something very special, with the coral and thatch bungalows dotted each side of you. Gasfinolhu island is split in two. The staff accommodation is on one half and guest accommodation on the other, so at present it is not possible to walk all the way around the Island. The bungalows are beautiful, and are traditional Maldivian, made from coral with thatched roofs, yes they could do with a little bit of upgrading (bathroom & air con), but that's half their charm, they were always kept spotlessly clean and lets be honest, unless your are on honeymoon, how much time do you spend in your room. We do not think that any of the bungalows are in a bad position. 1 - 17 are on the east coast, with a lovely cooling breeze. 18 â 25 on the south coast and 26 â 40 on the west coast. 1 & 40 being the closest to bar/restaurant. The beauty of this Island is that it has not been touched in the past 30 years, which is its saving grace. This was our third visit to the Maldives and by far 'the best' this was 'Our Maldivian Dream' Unlike the other two Islands that we had visited, Gasfinolhu WAS NOT constantly trying to make money from you, (advertising trips, meals etc.,) at every available opportunity. Excursions and trips are only advertised on the wall next to reception. We only found out a couple of days before we left that if you wanted lobster but did not want the full 'romantic dinner' this was available, yet it was not advertised anywhere, you only need to ask and they will do what ever they can to help. They very kindly placed and decorated a table on the south coast, so that we could enjoy a bottle of champagne while watching the sunset to toast our friends Honeymoon â thanks JJ. Considering that Gasfinolhu is a small island, even though all 40 bungalows were fully booked we never really saw any one until meal times. The Ibaa restaurant is set on the east coast and is informal with tables both inside and outside on the beach, serving a mix of buffet and freshly cooked food from the two cooking stations. Breakfast consisting of: cereal, yoghurt, fruit, toast, bacon, curry, rice etc., and eggs cooked to your liking from one of the two cooking stations, always plenty and a good choice. Lunch/Dinner: well were do I start, always an amazing choice and the quality well it was second to none, my favourites were: soups, salads, freshly cooked egg fried rice, chinese noodles, beef, chicken, fish, curries, fruit, oh well why don't I just say everything was my favourite. Friday night is Maldivian night and what a feast that was. I normally only eat once a day, and there I was having breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food in the Ibaa restaurant really was of a very high standard, always a good variety for both the meat eater and vegetarians and the quality, well that was the best we have ever had in the Maldives. Unlike other Islands, you are not allocated a table, you can sit either inside or outside and your waiter will always find you. A big thanks to all of the waiting staff but especially Hussain. The Ihaa bar, is set on the west coast, a small bar with table and chairs inside and out on the decking over looking the beautiful lagoon. There is a pool table and a table football game, plus lots of different board games available. This is were the evening entertainment happens, don't miss Friday nights Bodu Beru, night, and to all the band and staff, a very big thank you, we have never had so much fun , especially with Howard, now being an honorary member of staff, I'll expect him to take the lead dancing in August. The staff in the Ihaa bar (like all of the staff on Gasfinolhu) were very efficient and help full and another big thanks to Cyril, Francis, Nafees and Sumesh, we really enjoyed our time with you, and don't forget we'll be back to finish the pool tournament. The Island itself is set in a large lagoon, that when the tide is out allows you to walk over to another island if you wanted to, but why be on a 'real maldivian island' and go to a 'commercialised one'. On the east coast there is a reef that acts as a water break, and the roar of the waves breaking is amazing, (anyone having watched 'Castaway' with Tom Hanks will know what I mean). You will need aqua shoes, but you can also walk out to this at low tide, but don't forget your camera as there is loads to see in the rock pools, plus you can get some good photos looking back at the Island. On the west coast, at low tide you can walk out to the sand bank. Just off the south coast there are some coral gardens, which are good for snokeling, but the current is very strong, so make sure you've got fins, (these can be hired for $4 a day) as even though it is shallow, you would not want to put your feet down and stand on the coral and break it, remember coral only grows 2.5cm a year. For the more adventurous snorkelers there is a dhoni that takes you to the house reef twice a day. Look out for 'George' the resident Heron he loves having his photo taken and is always happy to pose for a picture when he's sunbathing, he quite often comes and sits on the side at dinner time, just keeping an eye on everything. A big must is the spa, these women are brilliant, we had the 'His & Hers' which was very relaxing and included Â½ bottle of champagne and also had their 'Signature Massage', where they find the strength from is beyond me, but a big thank you, we both were so refreshed afterwards. The nicest thing about Gasfinolhu was it's calm, relaxed, family atmosphere. Every evening just after 4.30pm the staff that are not on duty would play beach volleyball just by the Ihaa bar, guests can join in, but beware these guys are very fit and are used to the afternoon heat, me I found sitting and watching with a cool drink, as the sun went down, more suitable to me, but my husband did join in on several nights and loved every moment. While we were there, there was talk of the Island closing down and all sorts of works being done, so we asked to see Mr Thoha Rasheed â The General Manager, to ask if this was true and was there anything that we could do to maybe change the owners mind, his reply was: The Island will indeed close in April 2011 for some very much needed updating â to the staff accommodation, this is where most of the work will be done. They will also be upgrading the bathrooms in the bungalows, the good news is, the new owner does like and appreciate that this is one of the last remaining true 'Maldivian Islands' and I think wishes to preserve, rather than destroy, lets hope that he does. To all the staff a big thank you and to everyone we met, Thomas & Mara, Oliver & Mina, Les & Trish and Peter & Angela, thank you for being part of our 'Maldivian Dream' hope you can make August 4th!!!!! To those looking to go, if you are wanting 5* luxury, go to a commercialised Island ...................â¦......................... But if you want something that little bit special with the true feeling of the Maldives, then 'Gasfinolhu Island' is for you."
- Travel date: 14th February 2010
Lose the shoes and enjoy!
"We (my wife and I) spent two weeks all inclusive at the Gasfinolhu Island Resort during January 2010. Transfer from the airport to the resort was by a fast speedboat which took 35 minutes. We were greeted at reception with a refreshing cold towel and drink, check in was courteous, fast and efficient. Each of the beach bungalows are detached and very close to the sea. The bedroom was spacious but could have done with a bit more storage space. Having read previous reports we would have to agree that the rooms are tired and need of updating, but was not a major problem it soon becomes home. The T.V in your room receives several English channels including Sky news. There is a mini bar in your room and also a safe in the wardrobe. Electric sockets are same type as the British 3 pin plug. Each of the rooms has a kettle with daily supply of tea, Nescafe instant coffee and coffee mate available (you may want to bring your own additional supply as only enough for a couple of cups each day). The buffet (Ilaa) restaurant is excellent; there is a free seating policy so you can sit wherever you fancy. The quality of food was of a high standard, fresh and varied, there is a separate grill area cooking different fresh food daily at each meal time and fresh pasta cooked to order. The variety of food on offer at each meal was extensive and very tasty; my particular favourites were the freshly cooked stir fries, fish, salads and the sweets (especially the coconut tarts). Each afternoon from 4pm in the Ihaa bar you can order sandwiches (toasties) and cake which were delicious. There are several board games available as well as darts, pool and bar football. All the staff were very pleasant and helpful, special thanks to Sumesh, Francis and Cyril for keeping us hydrated in the Ilhaa bar. We didnât find any problem with the all inclusive drinks and the draught beer (Tiger and Carlsberg) were very refreshing! Wine is available by the glass, the white and red were O.K although we found that the rosÃ© had a sweet Madeira style taste. Do try the Ceylon tea (Dilmah) which I found to be much better tasting than the coffee. Each evening there was entertainment (participation optional); consisting of Maldivian dancers, crab racing, disco night, film night, games night and a dive show. All of which we enjoyed. There is a gift shop with a limited range of expensive souvenirs and an internet cafÃ©. A massage at The Duniye Spa was wonderful and relaxing, discounts available if you book your massage after receiving your complimentary 15 minute massage (must be taken within the first two days). For those feeling energetic there is beach volleyball and bowls (petanque) available as well as windsurfing and kayaks (all part of your AI). Lots of trips available, some of which are part of your AI. We really enjoyed the sunset cruise and were fortunate to see the dolphins while enjoying the sunset and punch (see uploaded video). For snorkelers the house reef is reached via the free twice daily Dhoni although this can be cancelled if sea is too rough. Very few fish in the lagoon (which can be very shallow when the tide is out) but some can be observed alongside the jetty including reef sharks. Temperature often in the mid thirties, take plenty of high factor sun screen (very expensive here) and drink plenty of water as dehydration is a real worry in the heat. George, the resident grey heron is a hoot and quite friendly not shy at all (unlike the many hermit crabs). This island is in high demand and we were offered the opportunity to move to another island for five nights (Helengeli) which was also lovely (see separate review) but were very happy to return to Gasfinolhu to complete a very memorable holiday. This was our fourth time to The Maldives; although Gasfinolhu is small, only forty beach bungalows made from coral; but the island is lovely and has a charm of its own. There are plans to demolish the existing bungalows and replace with their modern equivalent next year along with water bungalows. We were fortunate to experience this island in its present (affordable) traditional state, as we found it charming and ideal for a chill getaway type of holiday, dress is casual, lose the shoes and enjoy."
- Travel date: 6th February 2010
Gasfinolhu = I loved it !
"Having just spent a couple of weeks there, Christmas and New year, this is what I found. First and foremost the island is def. not Italian although there were a lot of Italians there, I guess they booked it before Crown and Champa took it over although the first week we were there the Island was only half full due to a holiday cancellation in Italy because of the weather (I'm led to believe). I believe that because the Island is small you get a superior and friendly service from the staff, (special mentions to - Lateeth, Bro', Cyril, Francis and Shefaq) the food is excellent. True, there is no 'house reef' but for amatuers like me and my o/h there was still plenty to see however there is a snorkelling boat that goes out twice every day and I would recommend using it. I also went on a 'intro to diving course' (again !) and loved it. At this point I should mention the Dive Team, Renee, Anya and Sammy, lovely people and very proffesional. The accomadation is tired but functional, I guess the previous Company, coming to the end of their lease let it go. We also went on a 3 day cruise on the yaucht 'Kamana', this was just unbelievable, the Captain and crew went out of their way to ensure you had a great time. We also had a night on Meeru, the companies sister island, after 'Gas.' we found it very big and busy but some 'friends' of ours have been at least twice and they love it. Contrary to another review I found the snorkeling at Meeru to be excellent, I 'swam' with rays and (largeish - 3-4 ft) sharks! I will admit that our first week we had rain (all Christmas Day!) and there's not an awful lot to do when it does rain but we were lucky that the second week the sun shone everyday (circa 33 d/gs) and due to the bad weather back here we had an extra day and night f.o.c. !!! Finally, I am led to believe that next year all the bungalows will be bulldozed and new ones put up in their place, this may be good because the accomadation does need a refurb. but I am also led to believe that there will be 3 times the current amount (40), personally I think the island is too small for that many but the company have to make (more !) money I guess. Finally, finally we made many, many great friends, way too many to mention and if any of them haven't heard from us soon, please e-mail as we've probably lost your addy (typical me !!). Please remember this is my 'ohpo' but if I can be of any help to anyone do not hesitate to ask or 'pm' me."
- Travel date: 15th January 2010
"Gasfinolhu Island is an ideal island for those who are looking for a small and quite island. beautful soft sandy beach and island is very natural and concept is very traditional Maldivian style."
- Travel date: 14th January 2010
Gasfinolhu a Review !!!
"So - I have just returned from a week in Gasfinohlu (Dec 9th to 16th 2009), and as there are no reviews I thought I would get one up there so everybody would know what to expect! I will try a keep this short and sweet and succinct. To put you in the picture I am in my mid thirties have travelled the world from both backpacking perspective and also top staying @ 5 Star resorts. I have twice been to the Maldives before to Meeru and Kuredu. As you may already know on 1st December 2009 Gasfinohlu Island Resort was taken back from an Italian Company âVaultarâ back into the hands of Crown & Champa Resort who also own Meeru and Veligandu, this can only be a good thing as Meeru is a good Island! The island in my opinion is pretty good (we had a great week) as long as you are aware that at the moment it is really at the budget end of the Maldives and is 3*, itâs a very small island with quite limited facilities, so if you are looking for a good budget Maldives holiday with a âRobison Crusoeâ feel, excellent food and just want to relax, read books on the beach, eat and be with you loved one(s) it will suit. I would not really recommend for kids or really active people. Also as the Island is really small I would only take a week there, two weeks may become a bit boring ! FYI we paid just over Â£700 each for the holiday on an all inclusive basis. So first of all the good bits: 1. The Transfer is quick from Male 30 mins by Speedboat. 2. The food is Top Class, you will not have any worries there â each day there is an excellent buffet choice - Steak, Chicken, Roast Dinners, Freshly caught fish, Curry Nights, Fresh Salads and vegetables , Fried Noodle/Rice and Pasta Station + Deserts to die for !! The variety is good and plentiful â if you have been to Meeru itâs very much the same menu. 3. The dive school is excellent with Rene, Anya and Samier, with a good location to some excellent reefs and diving. 4. The island is very small + friendly only 40 x Bungalows, all staff are great and it is easy to meet people and talk in the Ihaa bar. 5. All rooms are currently beach bungalows and nearly all face the beach â rooms from about 19 â 24 are probably best as they are at the end of the island with the best bit of beech. 6. The beaches are beautiful powder white sand 7. Water sports are great Kayaking , Windsurfing etc 8. All inclusive is fine â if you want UK spirits etc you will have to pay, we drank tiger beer and house wine on the AI all week and it was great. The Possible drawbacks to consider: 1. There is not a House reef accessible from the Beach or Jetty; you will need to get a daily boat to the house reef 10:00 am and 14:00 pm to snorkel. The house reef is about 400m from the end of the Jetty 2. If you are not a fan of swimming in the sea there is not a swimming pool on the island 3. The water around the Island are very very shallow if the tide is out it can be hard to swim at all, so be ware there may be times that you cannot really swim at all. 4. The bungalow rooms are fairly tired at the moment, although I think there is a plan of action underway to renovate â to be fair you donât spend long in them and they are adequate. 5. Facilities â This can be a plus or a negative depending on your view, but the facilities are much more limited than other larger islands â only one buffet restaurant, no swimming pool , no Gym etc 6. You canât really walk around the island â it is split into two halves the top end for staff and the other end for residents, so you only really get to see one half of the island and that takes about 2 minutes ! Hopefully this will help you make your minds up. To sum up we had a great relaxing week with lovely sun, great food, great diving, and a beach bungalow that opened up on to a white powdery beach. If you want a bit more than this I would think about looking at a larger island possibly. Hope this helps!"
- Travel date: 17th December 2009