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Maldives, January 2006

All prices in the Maldives were in US$
Gallery to Maldives Photos

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!



We 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 didn’t 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. Very annoying… 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 didn’t like the fact that you didn’t 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.

Arrival at Meeru

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 Helengeli’s concrete ‘sterile’ rooms. The outside veranda/platform was a nice touch too]

After 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 don’t have to worry about sitting with someone else anymore (as I’ve 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 didn’t 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 didn’t 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, it’s 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!! That’s 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!).
The Maalan restaurant and Uthuru Bar are very tastefully decorated; we couldn’t 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… aaaahhhh…

Apart from spending 2 nights on Helengeli; we went only on one other excursion to the Meeru coral reef, but weren’t 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 time! ;-)


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 didn’t do me any good! I didn’t 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 isn’t 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 I’m 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 didn’t 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 wasn’t for our honeymoon and for such a great deal on JWV that we couldn’t really refuse! ;-)

Negatives; there aren’t 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 did…

I 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 than later.