My husband and I and 2 other friends stayed at Anantara Veli in late November, and words (or pictures) cannot describe how beautiful this resort is! If you're a generally reasonable person, like myself, I imagine that you should not be disappointed at all by your stay at Anantara. I won't really spend much time reviewing the restaurants or our accommodations since there's lots of that already here.
For those wondering about the weather, for weeks before our trip we checked the weather forecast and to our chagrin - rain everyday! That worried us for a bit! However, when we got there, we found it would only rain for about 1 hour and then clear up during the day. We had sunshine everyday for at least half a day. Honestly, if we had pure sunshine everyday, we'd probably be more burned than we already were. The rain and clouds were actually sometimes a relief to us. So, don't worry about the weather! Even when it rains (which is not long), it's just beautiful!
We booked our stay back in March with Atoll Paradise, and I cannot say enough praiseworthy things about their customer service. From beginning to end, they were fabulous and made everything so easy for us. If you stay in the Maldives, I definitely recommend contacting Atoll Paradise (www.atollparadise.com). You will not be disappointed. Yvonne, Janese, Jennifer - they were all great! The day of our departure, I really appreciated that the Atoll Paradise rep stayed with us through our check-in process. I was also delighted to receive a pass to the VIP lounge. I didn't expect these things so it was all a nice surprise!
When we first arrived at the airport in Male, we were greeted by Atoll Paradise representative, Ismail, who took our luggage right away and gave us cold drinks and cold towels. Nice touch! Shortly, thereafter, we were on the speedboat, and in about 35 minutes at the Anantara Veli Resort greeted by a Maldivian drummer and again some cold towels. We took a brief tour of Veli and were escorted to our Deluxe Overwater Bungalow. To our surprise, we were the last bungalow on the strip, Bungalow 131. Thanks to a tip on Tripadvisor, I went ahead and contacted Atoll Paradise to see if we could get Bungalow 131 or anything close to the end of the strip. We were not guaranteed anything but it turned out we were the first to ask! So, while keeping your expectations low, it certainly doesn't hurt to ask!
The room is absolutely beautiful! I'm sure you've already seen the pictures. It is just like them but better when you're actually in the room. The toilet and shower were a treat because they have floor to ceiling windows that you can open and look at the fish below. I didn't see this in any pictures prior to our stay, so it was also a nice surprise!
Again, taking some tips from previous reviewers on TripAdvisor, we made sure to tip well. As a result, the staff went above and beyond the call of duty. Our room was always immaculate. Whenever dining at breakfast, lunch, dinner or sitting by the pool, we were always served and treated very well by the staff. We got our bed decorated with flowers by our room boy, and twice we had our table decorated by the waiters. We will always remember those little touches!
Anantara is comprised of two islands, Dhigu and Veli - Veli being the smaller of the two. Also, nearby is Naladhu which technically isn't part of Anantara but is managed and owned by the same company. Naladhu is a more exclusive, 6 star property, in fact, while we were there a very famous celebrity was staying there. Typically, I hear you can move throughout all 3 islands but during our week there we could not go to Naladhu.
Personally, we all liked Veli better than Dhigu. The infiniti pool at Dhigu is better than the one at Veli because of the overall size, but generally speaking we really preferred the quaintness and the charm of Veli. It seemed much more uncrowded and definitely more quiet than Dhigu. Nonetheless, Dhigu is still a beautiful resort but if you're looking for more quiet, I think Veli is the place to be. It seemed also that all the families with children were staying at Dhigu. It seemed to be more just couples at Veli. Not sure if that means anything to anyone but that was our observance during our stay.
As far as snorkeling on the resort, I cannot compare to other resorts in the Maldives. It did seem that there was a lack of fish in the Deluxe Overwater Bungalow area. However, there's pretty good snorkeling around the Standard Overwater Bungalows because of the coral growth in that area. "Lack of fish" is a relative term. We did see many stingrays, baby sharks, eels, squid, colorful fish, etc. swimming around the resort. It just didn't seem like it was "teeming" with schools of fish. I wouldn't say that I was so disappointed by this that I would give Anantara a low raiting. This would be quite unreasonable, I think. If you want to see an abundance of fish, take an excursion to snorkeling spots on other islands or do a diving excursion!
We did 2 excursions during our stay. Big Game Fishing and also the Full Day Island Hopping Excursion. We did Big Game Fishing early in the morning. We met the boat at 5:30 AM, and it ended at 9:30AM. I would HIGHLY recommend Big Game Fishing. For a halfday in the morning, it cost $800 for 4 people. I must say, probably if it was just my husband and myself, we would not have gone but we were glad our friends were interested in going. It was fabulous having the boat all to ourselves. We saw the sunrise while on the boat, it was so relaxing! My husband caught about a 20-30 pound Wahoo, and my other friend caught a Sailfish that probably weighed over 100 pounds. That was unbelievable! I wish I remember the name of 3 Aquafanatics guys on our crew. They were so great! Extremely knowledgable and very nice to talk to! For about $16 per person, we had the fish prepared for us the next day for lunch. A great treat!
The Full Day Island Hopping Excursion was spectacular! We enjoyed snorkeling at a reef in the middle of the ocean, and our guide Hussain was great! After snorkeling we stopped at a small uninhabited island for a picnic. That was fantastic! The views of the lagoon from this island were really breathtaking. It was like a dream. Lunch was great too! We tried to fit in some snorkeling for a couple of minutes before we left, and we wished we had more time because we actually saw quite a nice variety of fish while snorkeling on that beach. If you do this tour, definitely snorkel before lunch! We capped off our day by touring a local village on Maafushi. The tour was fascinating, and we enjoyed observing the people and children of the village. You also get to shop at a souvenir store there. Make sure you bring a sufficient amount of cash!
Both the Spa at Veli and the Overwater Spa at Dhigu were very nice. Since we were already staying in an Overwater Bungalow, we took a tip from a reviewer and did our spa treatments at Veli. Awesome! The spa suites on Veli are just gorgeous! I just don't understand how anyone could be disappointed. The services were also wonderful! I hear it's cheaper to do spa treatments at Veli rather than Dhigu since the overwater spa is always booked. Also, we were able to have the relaxation area all to ourselves for a whole afternoon at the Veli Spa. If you want 5 star service for cheaper and less crowds - use the Spa at Veli.
We just loved the staff at Anantara. We made some great friends there, which made leaving much harder than it would have been if the staff were less friendly. We also enjoyed talking to the Maldivian staff. Shout outs to Ashraf, Ahmed, Raul, Mohamed, Hisan, Bradman, Pankaj, Grace - at 73 Degrees, Abdullah at the Dhoni bar, Aiman our room boy! Natalie at Aquafanatics - thanks for taking care of getting a full scuba suit for our friend because of her sun poinsoning - we really appreciated the thought! If I forgot anyone, I apologize! You all are special to us!
One last tip - Get to know the staff - talk to them! It will definitely make your stay more memorable and much more than a trip to a beautiful island. You will be touched by the people!
Ask ahead of time for the bungalows at the end. That way you will have a sunrise/sunset view withou...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC