I have just been very fortunate to be able to spend a 10 days holiday on the Maldives and in this article I will tell you a bit about the Maldives and the resort I stayed in.
The Maldives is a country consisting of about 1200 islands in 26 atolls and it has a population of 300.000 people. A third of the population live on the tiny capital island of Male which is just a couple of kilometres across. The rest of the population are spread out on the atolls and there are basically no other towns in the entire country.
The Maldives has three industries of which the country live and in which most Maldivians work: fishing, ships and tourism.
The Maldives has a ”one island – one resort” policy. This means every resort always has an island to itself. The guest house business (for cheaper accommodation) is also developing slowly, but it lacks public transportation and the places in which you can currently find cheaper accommodation (say 50 – 100$ per night for a basic room with/without breakfast) are ”public islands”. This means it is the home of Maldivians and wearing a bikini or shorts is strictly forbidden. A modest/Muslim dress code is required.
The Maldives receives about 600.000 visitors every year (the majority spend minimum one week). Most of them come on a fairly expensive package tour which includes full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner included).
North and South Male atolls are reachable by speedboat, whereas the atolls further away requires you to pay for a seaplane. For this reason I choose to stay in North Male atoll. This saved me about 500$ for a seaplane ticket. Instead I paid 95$ for a return 20 minutes speedboat ride.
I chose to stay at Adaaran Select Hudhuran Fushi Maldives because it seemed like a nice place from the reviews I read on agoda. Room prices are about: single: 256$, double: 320$ and triple:432$. These are the prices given by the Lonely planet. I paid about 190$ per night for a single room with half board (on top came the flight ticket). Mind you that half board in this place is not like other places. It doesn’t include any drinks (except coffee and tea at dinner time). No water or soft drinks. So be prepared to pay 7 $ for a bottle of water.
Besides this difference to normal resorts, the place has some serious downsides:
1. A huge (not sound proof installation) generator in one end of the island which makes it impossible to rest or sleep in many rooms.
The generator makes a constant, loud noise and this makes a lot of rooms very unattractive…well impossible to sleep in. So if you chose to stay at this resort, make sure you get a ”good” room. Below is a list with room numbers and a brief review:
Beach front villa 100-111: Not great. You have the Sunset restaurant and the habour right in front of your balcony.
Beach front villa 112-163: Excellent (beach front, no noise).
Beach front villa 164-172: Okay (only view of trees in front of the sea).
Beach front villa 173-176: Not great (loud sounds from the car driving to and from the Ocean villas all the time).
Beach front villa 177-192: Excellent.
Beach front villa 193-207: Okay (some noise outside from generator, I suspect you cannot hear it from the inside).
Beach front villa 208-220: Unacceptable level of noise outside.
Beach front villa 221-227: Bad! (loud noise from the generator, sitting outside will not be nice and it will not be quiet inside).
Beach front villa 228-237: Good (no sea view, but sound of the sea and close to surf spot, good for surfers)
Beach front villa 301-308: Good (Garden villa in the opposite end of the island-away from the generator)
Beach front villa 309-312: Horrible!! (the generator is right behind these rooms and the sound is extremely loud inside the room…you will not be able to sleep or rest!)
Beach front villa 314-317: Okay – not great (close to the restaurant and reception, far from the beach, not very romantic, but not so close to the generator)
Beach front villa 319-321: No sea view, but sound of sea (good for surfers)
In my booking I had asked for a quiet room. I hadn’t thought about noise from a massive generator – I just usually ask for this because I like to sleep in a quiet place. I was sure that a high-end resort would have a sound-proof installation given that people pay quite a lot of money to go there – you imagine state-of-the-art everything. That was unfortunately not the case at all.
I got garden villa 310. I didn’t sleep the first night because of the massive noise from the generator (I had not slept the night before either because I was travelling). At 6 in the morning I went to the reception and made a request. Please change my room, I can’t sleep and have not slept at all. I was told that it couldn’t happen that day (my second day) but that I could possibly change the third day). During the day I went several times to the reception explaining that I was very tired, haven’t slept at all and underlined that I really need to move room. I was told I can move to room 303 the day after in the morning. Apparently the current guests would leave at 06.30 – so I should be able to move in at 9. Great. I was happy. At least I would be able to sleep on my third night at the resort.
I took a walk that night in the evening and happened to come by room 303 and hear the manager confirm with the guests that they were leaving the day after. So I went for another sleepless night in my extremely noisy room. At 22.30 that night the reception called me to tell me that ”sorry you can’t move anyway”. On top of this I was told that it was because someone else had moved into the room that night (which no. 1 was a lie and no. 2 I asked how that was possible when I was promised that room???). Then I was told that they were overbooked. Needless to say I did not accept this. At 23.00 at night I had to go in person to the reception to argue with them. And let me assure you that they were not in any way apologetic or trying to solve the issue. I was very angry and tired.
Can you imagine…you pay a minor fortune for a needed holiday – 10 nights in the Maldives. You get a room where you can’t sleep or rest and you are lied to, disrespected and haven’t slept for 3 nights???
In the end they said that I can move the day after, but they can’t tell me the room. At 9.00 in the morning I stood in the reception with all my stuff and gave them back the key to room 310. At 10 they moved me to room 307. This was a good room, but the whole hut fuss and hugely impolite service ruined the first part of my holiday. As you can imagine a lot of guests try to move room (I spoke with several). If they don’t continue to insist and get very angry – nothing happens…and honestly how fun is it to go on a honeymoon with your sweetheart and having to fight continuously with impolite staff just to have the peace and quiet you paid for?!?
This gets me to no. 2 nuisance:
2. Extremely poor service
This ”resort” has the worst service ever! Funny enough I read before I came here that the service level in the Maldives was above the rest of the world. Well definitely not at Adaaran selected hut fuss. From the minute I arrived they acted like they really couldn’t care less about the guests. We arrived in the lobby, got a fake-orange sugar drink and a piece of paper to fill in and was told that the manager would pick it up. He never did. Eventually we all went to the reception desk and there we were each given a 20 second briefing. Mine was something like ”Here is the main restaurant, here is sunset restaurant-you have to pay for, here is Dhodi bar and here is beach bar”…circles drawn on a piece for black-white printed A4 paper. Your room is down that way”. So off I went to find my room alone and 1 hour later arrived my suitcase.
No guest where told the highlights of the island – like the huge crowds of dolphins that pass the resort every morning between 9-11 at the boat pier (I guess that would make the resort trip redundant) and that they feed the sharks at 21.00 at the boat pier every night. This is quite a site…although I don’t think it is environmentally good and it does increase the risk of swimmers getting bitten/attacked later on since the sharks get used to feeding. It would also have been nice to be told the time the swimming pool was open, how the internet works (it didn’t!), where the best surfing and snorkelling is etc etc. A 20 second briefing is just plain poor service.
Since then I struggled with the service. My room didn’t get cleaned, beach towel that didn’t get changed for 4 days, room appliances that didn’t work (see 3. Run-down resort), waiting 25 minutes while getting savaged by mosquitoes for someone to come and open my door with the master key because the cleaner locked me out of my own room (it would have taken 2 minutes to drive there on a bike) etc etc
I have met several other people in the resort who has complained about several things and just been ignored or told that they were probably wrong. E.g. A German honeymoon couple I met on my trip. They asked for a wake up call four times. The first time the reception forgot about it, the second time they called, the third time they called late and also the fourth time. The 4th time the reception was suppose to call at 8.00 (the couple had a trip to go on at 9). Instead the reception called at 08.15 and says ”it’s 08.00”. They were wearing wrist watches and realised they were really late and got stressed. When the lady goes to complain at the reception, the receptionist says that probably her watch is wrong.
3. Run-down ”resort”
This place is old…or more correctly started – for a supposedly 4. star resort, it’s not up to standard. A massive generator that ruins the holiday for 25% of the rooms, old fridge in all the rooms (also making lot of noise), air-conditioning that needs to be fixed all the time, no hot water in room 310, writing on the wall in room 310, pillow and bed that smells like puke in 310, a whole day with toilets that didn’t work in the entire resort, rats on the roof…
4. Table setting to benefit employees – not customers (holiday makers)
The Banyan main restaurant serves all the meals. I suppose honeymooners will envision a romantic setting…forget it!! This is a massive dinning hall and you don’t get to chose where you sit. The captain of the restaurant will decide which table you sit at and you are not allowed to move your entire holiday. You get a number and a table and that’s it. Now that’s not all. You also don’t pick who you sit with. The German honeymoon couple I met, were placed together with an old German couple…so the four of them at a small table…how romantic is that?!? I witnessed a group of 10 East Europeans arriving and wanting to sit together. No – not possible. They don’t move tables together or move people. So they were spread out at three tables, three different places in the dinning hall. The older German sitting next to me (two couples) had obviously not decided to sit together. They arrived at different hours to eat and never spoke a word to each other and when the first couple would leave the other ones would talk with the next door table about how annoying they were to sit with…what kind of holiday is that???
I sat alone for 10 days which was okay, but if I had been able to chose I would have sat with people I was spending time with during the day on the beach. The arrangement makes it impossible for people to meet new people and socialise, but on the other hand forces lots of people to sit with people they don’t know (or like).
I have tried every day to get an explanation about this (for customers) absurd system, but no-one would tell me. It definitely doesn’t help the holiday feeling…you can’t meet people and decide to eat together, you can’t chose who you sit with and you can’t chose where you sit. The only ones it may benefit are the waiters who may hope for a tip after serving the same table for one week. So just like the extremely poor service – this place seems to give no value to customer satisfaction or needs at all!
On the bright side – it is the Maldives and the island is very beautiful. If you dream of a bounty island with coconut palms, very white sand and warm, turquoise water…this is it! You will have plenty of time to look your sweetheart in the eyes for endless amounts of time. You will share it with 350-450 other guests and 280 staff members, but it doesn’t feel crowded. The activities here are limited: sleep, eat, read, swim, sunbath, snorkel and dive, trips to other islands or Male, spa treatment, surfing, and other water sports.
I believe the Maldives is attractive to people who are looking for complete relaxation with no decisions needed to be made (usually there are only one or two restaurants in the resort). Hence you see a lot of old couples here and honeymooners and if they get a decent room from the beginning, get your own table (and are not forced to sit with someone you don’t like) and otherwise don’t need any service from the staff (which will not be available unless you scream or pay) – I bet you have a nice holiday here.
Adaaran Select Hudhuran Fushi Maldives or Adaaran Selected Hut Fuss Maldives? To me this place will always be the last and due to this, the extremely poor service level and the run-down state of things I will not recommend this ”resort” to anyone. I will, however, recommend the Maldives if you are looking for a beautiful place with complete relaxation.