We booked our holiday with Kuoni after seeing a very good deal on-line
back in September. This was going to be our first trip to Maldives; and
after 4 months of looking forward to our honeymoon, the time finally arrived!
arrived at the airport 3 hours ahead of our departure yet apparently we
were the last people checking in for our Monarch flight from Gatwick.
Warning: the leg room is tiny! Uneventful flight, food was ok better than
expected actually; we didnt watch TV so cannot comment on the programme.
We got the very last seats on the plane near the kitchen and toilets,
so the entire flight we had people queuing up for toilets or just to chat.
apart from the unlucky seats overall the flight was
much better than I thought it would be especially after reading the reviews
on tripadvisor and meeru.co.uk.
We arrived safely in Male, half an hour ahead of the schedule time,
customs checks very smooth, got to our boat and left the airport. How
glad we were to see that our island was far enough from the airport. We
were passing some islands we were thinking of going to for our holiday
initially but we didnt like the fact that you didnt have the
feeling of isolation that you got on Meeru, and that you could see so
many islands around and also the planes from Male airport.
I am sorry to say this but we did have the WOW factor! And a big one!
We loved the view that we got on our arrival to Meeru, the colour of the
sea, the glorious sunshine, the jetty area and the restaurant with the
pool, it all looked fantastic.
Our rep from Kuoni welcomed us and the next time we saw her was on our
departure, even though we asked her if she could find out few things,
she never even bothered to get back to us, in the end we just sorted everything
out ourselves, I am not sure why travel companies bother with reps on
the island when the Meeru staff are just so helpful
Anyway we were put up in Land Villa (LV) No. 242, which is slightly set
back from the path. We were hoping to get an upgrade so before we arrived
we emailed Meeru if we could upgrade our accommodation directly via the
hotel as it was our honeymoon but no one got back to us L no one really
noticed that we were on our honeymoon! I sincerely hope the fruit basket
that was in our villa when we arrived (which was rotten and being eaten
by some insects!) was just left there by accident and it was not for us
however in spite of that I have to say the Land Villa was very
pretty, spacious and very clean. [Some travel guides were disappointed
by this accommodation, which is almost entirely wooden except for the
outside bathroom, but we found it to be much nicer than for example Helengelis
concrete sterile rooms. The outside veranda/platform was a
nice touch too]
getting our villa we managed to walk around the whole island. The island
itself is very beautiful especially Meeru Village and the area around
Asian Wok. I am not sure why some people are complaining about the interior
of the island, it gave us the real feel, they are growing
their own vegetables and fruit there and at least we felt that we were
not staying at some sort of man-made aquarium.
The Farivalhu restaurant that has been renovated is very nice and you
dont have to worry about sitting with someone else anymore (as Ive
read on this forum) as you get a table assigned and you will always sit
there. The water feature is very nice.
In the evening we went for a walk again and went to reception to ask if
there is any upgrade available and they told us that the island is in
fact overbooked. This was very hard to believe as we hardly saw any people
when we walked around the island apart from dinner time, again some people
called Meeru summer camp??? Well we certainly didnt
feel that way
We took up a free offer to transfer and upgrade (HB to
Al) to Helengeli Island for 2 nights.
Just a quick description of Helengeli:
The island has only 50 bungalows and has a very intimate feel. At the
southern tip of the island there was something almost like a sand bank
which runs out for about 100 metres (by 15 metres wide) which we had to
ourselves for the entire duration of our stay! The water around it was
very shallow and we could see manta rays and sharks and all sorts of different
fish. The bungalows are very basic but adequate with a very nice outdoor
bathroom. Everything is kept immaculate. There is only one restaurant
and one bar with a terrace overlooking the beach and sea. The restaurant
has rather limited selection of food but the food we found to be quite
nice. There is an excellent house reef all around the island which is
much better than on Meeru Island. We saw lots of fish and turtles which
was our highlight! However the water gets very shallow at low tide and
there are quite strong currents.The island didnt have the wow factor
we experienced when we arrived at Meeru, however it was interesting to
experience a different island in the Maldives. Overall the island is nice,
its a good place to chill out and relax but we think we would get
bored if we spent a whole week there so we were very happy to return to
Meeru after the two nights! In my opinion Meeru is much more picturesque.
Jacuzzi Water Villa (JWV) 721
Anyway back to Meeru; on our return we were given the same LV, we tried
to upgrade again but without success. We were waiting so long for our
luggage and were becoming a bit irritated when the phone rang and
we were offered an upgrade to JWV at a very good rate!! Thats why
they held our luggage
we were taken to the Meeru Village by buggy
and shown our villa. WOW! Now that felt like honeymoon! ;-) What can I
say, the villas are just amazing. The wood floors, the furniture, the
balcony over the sea, everything (well just see the pics!).
Maalan restaurant and Uthuru Bar are very tastefully decorated; we couldnt
believe the décor in the bathrooms! We spent many hours sitting
outside of Uthuru Bar on those very comfy armchairs sipping cocktails
and watching the world go by
Apart from spending 2 nights on Helengeli; we went only on one other
excursion to the Meeru coral reef, but werent very lucky, the sea
was very rough and the visibility was very pour. We wanted to do the Love
Boat tour but somehow run out of time so maybe next
We tried the Him & Her massage and although my husband
was a bit apprehensive about being massaged by a bloke, I think he thoroughly
enjoyed it in the end, especially the champagne afterwards! ;-) I took
advantage of a discount being offered for spa treatments and had another
massage Foot Massage & Indian Head Massage with neck and shoulders.
It was very nice but sometimes very painful, makes you wonder how come
such fragile looking girls have such powerful fingers
As we were on HB we mostly ate at Maalan restaurant, for lunch time
we usually went to Dhoni Bar, we really liked it there. For our last dinner
we arranged to eat at the Hagern Boat, we wanted to have the lobster dinner.
We were really looking forward to it, but when we got there, we sat down
and after a little while I thought I was going to be sick! The sea was
quite rough that day and the movements of the boat didnt do me any
good! I didnt see that coming at all
;-( I was so disappointed,
I was trying to overcome it but in the end we had to excuse ourselves
and leave. The waiter was laughing and said it happens quite a lot when
the sea isnt so calm. We went to the Asian Wok but it was full and
the lobster dinner would have had to be booked in advance anyway
so we ended up in Maalan as usual!
Transfer and flight back was quite smooth; we had just a minor half
an hour delay in Male. The flight felt worse coming back home, the seats
are extremely uncomfortable! Very bumpy when flying over India. Since
Im not a great flyer I prefer direct flights but maybe next time
we would definitely opt for a flight with First Choice.
The weather; very sunny and hot the whole time apart from the last two
days when it got overcast in the afternoon but quite frankly we were relieved,
it was soooo hot.
Just wanted to comment on the Us & them feeling as mentioned
here many times. We didnt feel it at all, although we spent only
1 night on the other side we liked it there as well as the
Meeru Village. We would have been happy to stay in our LV if it wasnt
for our honeymoon and for such a great deal on JWV that we couldnt
really refuse! ;-)
Negatives; there arent any! Maybe just maybe the only thing would
be to add some sun-loungers for the JWV area. And get rid of the Kuoni
Rep please!! Absolutely useless, I knew more about the island than she
am quite curious what Meeru will look like after the building work planned
for the east side of the island. I think this might prevent from some
people having the Us & them feeling.
We absolutely fell in love with this island; we loved the kick
off your shoes and chill mood and are hoping to go back sooner rather