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“Paradise found!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Maafushivaru

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Maafushivaru
Ranked #11 of 18 Hotels in Southern Ari Atoll
Certificate of Excellence
rutland
Level Contributor
32 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Paradise found!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2012

We stayed at Maaf for 1 week 7th - 14th July. This was our first visit to the Maldives (and definitely won't be our last!). Flew direct with BA. Not much good or bad to say about the flight - it got us from A to B but was not a particularly pleasurable experience. However on arrival at Male I have to commend the organisation on getting us from there to Maaf - it all went very smoothly through the airport with the Kuoni reps and before we knew it we were in the seaplane lounge and then onto the seaplane within 45 minutes. The seaplane ride was amazing! Such an experience and a fantastic introduction to the wonder that is the Maldives.
Arriving at the island we were met by the Dhoni and after a short ride we were at reception where a cold drink and towels were awaiting us. A short introduction from the Kuoni Rep Nicole and Iulia and then we were taken to our room. We had a beach villa (no 108) - it was lovely - very spacious and with everything we needed for a relaxing holiday - a fantastically comfortable and huge bed, tea/coffee making facilites, lovely toiletries, TV, Ipod docking station etc. Our patio opened out onto the beach and a short hop, skip and away we were in the Indian Ocean - bliss!
The purpose of our holiday was to have a truely relaxing 'get away from it all' break and that is what we got for the remainder of the week. I loved the 'no shoes' policy and the fact that you could walk around all day in just your cossie and a cover up with no need to worry what you looked like! The whole vibe of Maaf is relaxation so much so that you actually felt it was yoour 'home' for the week. The staff were very attentive but in a warm and relaxed way and they looked after you as though they actually really enjoyed doing so, not becasue it was their job, as is sometines the case in some resorts. Our house boy Nasser was great - very talkative and got us everything we needed whilst we were there.
The island itself is stunning and our daily constituionals around the island were always a delight - you will never get tired of just looking out to sea. We are not into snorkelling or diving so did not participate in any trips but we were able to see some amazing fish just be walking out to the end of the jetties.
We were on the All Inclusive package and had no complaints. The food we both thought was great, especially the curries. We are not big fans of buffets so weren't expecting much but the quality and flavour of the food we thought was fine. There was plenty of choice lunch and dinner, of particular note were the desserts, some of which were absoluely delicious. We esepcially liked the arrangement of having our own dedicated waiter (Sifan) throughout the week. As the resort was probably only half full we never had an issue of waiting for him, he was always in attendance and again was very friendly and helpful. Perhaps when the resort is busier this may be an issue.
We frequented the bar probably far too often but we just couldn't help ourselves! On the first night I opened up the bar menu to find pages and pages of coctails all included in the AI package so I obviously had to partake of as many of them as I could! The bar staff were great, often anticiapting what I would order before I did and making suggestions when I was stuck and always having our next drink ready before we had finished the first! The atmosphere was great - very friendly, relaxed and you felt you could stay all night and they wouldn't mind - not that we did, we need our beauty sleep! I would definately recommend the AI package - we are not big drinkers but it enable us to just chill out and enjoy some quality drinks - most branded drinks are included so we quite often ended our evenings with a glass of Baileys or Port.
We met some lovely people whilst there and so had some great conversations and laughter over several evenings in the bar. We even partook in some Maldivian dancing ( a bit like very bad 'Dad' dancing) which we were co-erced into by Nasser - rather reluctantly on my husband's part!
The only slight downside to our stay was the weather. We knew that booking in monsoon season was a risk but we were hoping not too big a one. We arrived to sunshine all that day and the next morning and I was thinking all was great until the rains came and they then stayed for 2 and a half days! Infact we had a mini tropical storm one night and when we woke the next morning the place was littered with branches and the thatched roofs of some of the water villas had been damaged. However midway through our week the weather changed and we had 3 solid days of sunshine, thank goodness! It is just pot luck really with the weather as I know some guests who were at the resort the week before us had had no sunshine all week.

Overall. looking back on our stay I cannot think of one negative thing to say about Maaf. Reading back some of the previous reviews I sometimes find it hard to understand people's issues (eg stale bread, nosiy boats, lazy staff) but each to their own. We have travelled to some lovely resorts in the Caribbean and Mauritius but for both of us this holiday outshines anywhere else we have been by a country mile.

If you are looking for a small, quiet, intimate, friendly resort then this is the one for you. We hope to return one day soon!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
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3 Thank RutlandKatie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 July 2012

We are writing this review on the last day of our 7 day stay in Maafushivaru. This is a long review so don’t feel the need to read all of this. This was our first trip to the Maldives and therefore we can’t really compare to other islands. In terms of our expectations, we had used the Kuoni brochure as guidance, read a lot on trip advisor, and our expectations varied between expecting a luxury experience through to a 4* hotel experience. As background, we arrived with Emirates at 08.30 in the morning into Male having taken a two day stopover in Dubai (but meaning we had to leave Dubai at 03.35 in the morning – not great). This review doesn’t cover our travel experience with Emirates or our stay in Dubai (both were fine) but focuses on our experiences from landing in Male and our stay on the island.
We arrived in Male to find a man with a Kuoni sign post immigration and they redirected us to another desk. They then gave us our seaplane tickets and redirected us to the check in counter for the flight. This was a simple enough process allowing us to leave our luggage with the seaplane operator and take a short bus ride (5min) to the seaplane terminal where we were redirected to the Maafushivaru lounge. The lounge was fine (nothing special) but had basic refreshments and snacks. We were in the lounge for about 35 minutes before being told to go to our gate for boarding. The boarding and flight were smooth and we were the first stop on a two sector flight.
We were left off at the floating pontoon and collected by a Dhoni by the island representatives – Nicole and Iulia – both very pleasant. From here on in I have divided the review into various categories:
First impressions
On arrival we found the Island to be beautiful, the communal areas were as expected (white wicker furniture everywhere), the pool was smaller than it looked on photos (but adequate) and our water villa (room 222) just about how it looked on the photos. We were All Inclusive and were disappointed to see that special coffees (i.e. Latte etc) and fruit juices were not included (as my wife does not drink) however noted that the cocktail menu was exhaustive for those who like to drink. We were also a bit disappointed that the best seats in the restaurant (overlooking the sea) were reserved for couples only which as a family of 3 (with a 17 year old) meant we were banned unless we wanted to sit as a couple with our son on a separate table. We were informed this was hotel policy so nothing could be changed. That said, apart from the seating, we were able to arrange something with the island so were happy by the end of the first day.
Having spent 6 days here, here are our thoughts:
Island
The island is stunning – it is small, as mentioned by other reviews, but as far as we were concerned just the right size. Having come in the ‘off season’ i.e. both outside normal school holidays and in the monsoon period the island was around 50% occupied which meant it was even more relaxed than others have mentioned in their reviews. It seems that as we leave this week the European school holidays have started and therefore there has been an increase in children (from what was a predominantly couple based island with 3-4 families). Not that this is an issue but just to let you know. Throughout the day you can often find a spot for yourself to relax on the beach and the twice daily trips to the sister island Lonobo are great for those in need for a different island (albeit tiny) experience.
Accommodation
We stayed in a Water Villa and in room 222 (which is the last villa at the end and was very private with amazing sunset views). We asked to look at a beach villa whilst we were there and whilst the furnishing was very similar it wasn’t to our taste as you are still off the beach surrounded by trees and we really wanted to be close to the water. So don’t be alarmed if staying in a beach villa as they are very nice but if I were staying in one of these I would request staying away from those between the water bar and water villas as they see a lot of traffic and aren’t as private as those on the other side of the island.
Back to the water villa, it was amazing to be able to swim through direct access to the sea and whilst we snorkelled around the villa we saw at least five reef sharks, sting ray, loads of different fish and only a 5 min snorkel from the house reef as well. As noted above, we also had a third person in our villa which we were worried would make the place cramped – but not at all – it worked perfectly (so if in a family with large enough children, don’t let that put you off booking). Everything worked fine, from ipod dock, to flat screen tv, to rain shower, bath (over looking deck and ocean).
Service
Having just arrived from Dubai (where everyone seems to be super attentive and friendly) we were initially surprised by the relaxed service provided by the staff however we grew to love it by the end of the holiday. Of particular note was our waiter Shifaz who always had a smile on his face and provided us with great attention and the F&B manager, Rafeeu who was very friendly and did his level best to accommodate our requests (with success!). All in all fantastic service and very friendly in their own way – can’t really fault them on this.
Our house boy came to service our room at least twice a day and did a fabulous job.
Food
There have been mixed reviews on tripadvisor regarding the food. It is not 5* standards for sure, however it is very passable, there is a great selection, themed nights and all of us were able to find a dish we enjoyed at every meal so we have absolutely no complaints. You have to remember you’re on a small island with around 50 other guests so you can’t expect too much.
All inclusive
As mentioned before the all inclusive seemed definitely worth it and to not have to worry about every drink was a relief (bearing in mind the non-alcoholic drinks cost around $4 - $6 and alcoholic from $5-$12).
Excursions/activities
We are active people so we were concerned about spending 7 days on a small island that we would get bored and have nothing do it. It was quite the contrary – from snorkelling on the amazing reefs (two on the island and a superb one on Lonobo), to table tennis, chess in the bar area, to the intro to snorkelling trip organised by Niv (the amazing marine biologist), the sunset cruise with champagne and the amazing whale shark snorkelling – all of this was brilliant. The price for the whale shark experience was really good value in comparison to other resorts (i.e. $35 vs $200 in other resorts). Niv is also part of the Maldives Whaleshark Research Programme which is good to know that the resort is committed to responsible tourism surrounding these fish.
Spa
We were a bit dubious about using the spa as previous experiences in hotels abroad has generally been disappointing. Not so here. My wife was so pleased with her experience she booked in for a second one saying it was the best massage she has had ever. So it seems like a big thumbs up for the spa at Maaf.
Entertainment
It was great to have a variety of entertainment each night from movie night, to live bands, to a dj one night and Maldivian dancing. Very nice to have the change in programme and in all cases you could just chill at the bar and have a drink if that was more your thing.
Weather
As mentioned we were in monsoon or rainy season and we were concerned that it would rain throughout our stay. We checked the weather from 2 weeks before our arrival (you can only check Male even though Maafushivaru is about 100km away) and the forecast was for showers every day. We arrived to partly cloudy weather but primarily sun and at the resort everyone had said the week before had been quite rainy and overcast, however from our arrival through to our last day it has been 90% sunny with some very intermittent cloud cover so I would have no hesitation in coming back in July again.

All in all – the place met all of our expectations and exceeded in some places. This is not a luxury resort (for those who want that go to the One & Only or something similar and be prepared to pay the price) but it is a chic place with great staff and a super island – it doesn’t get much better than this without having to remortgage the house! Thank you to all at Maafushivaru for making our stay special – we will return one day (not soon though, as there are more places we want to discover in the world).

Room Tip: Water villa room 222 is private
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
11 Thank Kpfromuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warboys
Level Contributor
27 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 July 2012

This was our first trip to the Maldives and although we had some idea of what to expect due to the comments on tripadviser we were blown away by how fantastic this experience was. Arriving at Male we found the Kuoni desk no problem and were given our paperwork and shown where to check our baggage at the sea plane desk. The Maafushivaru lounge is great and after a short wait we were on a sea plane on our way. We arrived at the island and taken by boat from the plane to the main jetty and the view up to reception was the first of many fantastic sights that we had during our stay. Check in was quick and easy and the Kuoni rep was very pleasant and efficient. We chose this island as we wanted a small, quiet, and beautiful place to relax and chill out and the very short walk to our water villa proved we had made the right choice. As soon as we arrived we took our shoes off. you don’t need to wear them any where. If the wooden jetties get hot in the sun there are water containers and hand held showers to cool your feet. Sand floors are in reception and the bar. There is only one restaurant and Bar which we thought was great as there are not any No Go areas as there appears to be on other resort islands depending on accommodation.
The water villa was fantastic! Huge room with fantastic bathroom with great view from the bath and the shower out over the sea. We had our own private deck with sofa and 2 sun loungers and steps down to the sea. Within 10 mtrs of our steps the coral starts and there are hundreds of fish of many different types and colours. I have no other bench mark as I have never been to any other islands but we saw 3 reef sharks, 2 giant Moray eels, Lobster Turtles Lion fish parrot fish etc. during our stay. This was as far as I am concerned Brilliant. The Resident Marine Biologist was great and on the whale shark and Manta trips we went on we swam with both creatures which was a fantastic experience!
As to the food and service I have never been to a place before where service was so good. We were AI and the bar staff were so good I had a cocktail delivered to my table as I just finished the one I had without even asking for it! Considering we are on a desert island I cannot fault the food at all. When we go abroad we steer clear of the International offering and try the local fare. The Curries were out of this world. The best being the Pumpkin Curry. If you wanted a change the fresh pasta cooked as you wanted was also excellent. The Buffet had a huge variety of choice and all of it was quality. The drinks and cocktails were also great. The AI had drinks like Bombay Sapphire, Drambuie, Martell, Bacardi etc. with draft Carlsberg lager.
Our waiter for the week Simau could not have been mor attentive.
The Spa treatment we had was also superb. Even though there was some refurb going on to the spa it had no effect on the tranquility that the island provides.
We would have no hesitation in recommending this Island for a couple who want to have a tranquil and relaxing experience and we will be going back as soon as we can!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank BigPhilWarboys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cumbria
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 July 2012

This was our fifth visit to the Maldives and our forth island. We stayed from 10th - 17th June 2012.

I knew that the island would be small because it only has 50 rooms, but I was not prepared for how small! We could walk round in five to ten minutes no problems.

When we first arrived, we walked up the jetty and sat in reception where we filled out our registration forms whilst we had a lovely nice cool fruit cocktail. We were than taken to our room by Nicole the Kuoni rep. (She was lovely!) On the way to our room Nicole showed us the coffee shop, restaurant and bar along the way.

We stayed in room 21 which was near the tepenyaki restaurant. This in our opinion was the best room on the island. We had a lovely bit of beach which we shared with only one other room. It was lovely and private and we really enjoyed the secluded feel.

When we walked into our room we were pleasantly surprised. It was luxury with the out door shower and the huge bed - which was very, very comfortable. The shampoo and shower gel were lovely and had a gorgeous smell!

We had tea and coffee making facilities but we never used them. The mini bar contained soft drinks and beer which was great - just nice to help yourself and sit on your deck watching the world go by.

The bar was lovely and had a great atmosphere and a very extensive cocktail list! I have pictures if anyone would like to read it, just pm me!

We went snorkelling a couple of times out side our room, just up towards the sea wall and aroung the dive school, but didn't see much there. We went round by the main jetty and that was amazing but we found the current all over the place and constantly changing as we snorkelled along.

We also snorkelled over at Lonubo which was excellent. We spent 2.5 hours on the island and had a walk about but got attacked by the nesting birds! It really was a lovely island. Make sure you take some water with you!

The restaurant was lovely and you could choose to eat inside or on the deck overlooking the ocean. We mainly ate inside as it was much quieter. We ate breakfast and evening meal in the restaurant and usually went to the coffee shop for an afternoon snack. This was sufficient for us as otherwise we would have overeaten!

We did not think the food was as good as we have had on other islands. The live cooking station produced some excellent pasta dishes but the buffet just wasn't as good. I feel awful saying this as I know this is a small island so they are catering for less people than where we have been before.

The bread was never fresh - only really good for toast and the rolls were the same. The cheese on the salad counter was not as good as other places we have been - I know that is picky - but it was something I really enjoyed having with my salads on our other island! I can't put my finger on what exactly wasn't as good about the food but it just didn't live up to our previous island nor of our expectations considering the cost difference between the two islands.

On the other hand I must recommend the hot chocolate cake - Mouth wateringly gorgeous!

We tried the Tepenyaki restaurant on our second last night and had it all to ourselves. Adam looked after us - the service was superb. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and the show they put on. In my opinion it was well worth the money!

We would definately return to Maafushivaru for a totally relaxing experience but would probably do what we did this time and pair it with another island.

Room Tip: Room 21 was peaceful with only one other room sharing that bit of beach :-)
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank FreyaCumbria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
38 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 July 2012

We are nearing the end of our week in Maafushivaru and I think I might cry when we have to leave! We chose this island based on the reviews we read here on Tripadvisor and it certainly didn't let us down. This place is gorgeous.

We flew BA direct to Male and frankly, that was pretty horrible. A long, uncomfortable flight with disinterested and rude flight attendants who seemed offended to have to tend to cattle class passengers. But once in Male, everything became much easier. At the Kuoni desk a lovely lady introduced herself to us and led us to the check in desk for the hydroplane. From there, another lady took us to the Maafushivaru waiting room, which was really nicely furnished, had free drinks and a deck overlooking the water. When it was time for us to board, we were collected and yet again accompanied. The hydroplane made a short stop at another island before Maafushivaru, but the whole trip took only about half an hour.

We are staying in one of the water villas, which I highly recommend above the beach villas (although having never stayed in the beach villas, this recommendation is clearly biased). Our villa is nice and spacious and clearly designed for maximum privacy: when you are on the deck, people in other villas can't see you. Same with the big windows overlooking the water. I guess swimmers could look up into them, but being at a height, peeking would be difficult. Most people stayed closed to their villa when in the water or they snorkelled away into the reef.

We did a bit of snorkelling, which I highly recommend. Staying at a water villa is a bit like being inside an aquarium: the fish free link swim around and nib at the coral and algae on the stairs and the stilts. And when you snorkel to the coral, it is amazing the number of different fish that you can see. Truly astonishing,

Moving on to the food: I am not sure what people expect, but I find it really nice. The resort makes a huge effort to have some diversity, and I always found something to eat that I really, really liked. My one piece of advice would be to not expect American/European fare and instead embrace the Asian food: the curries are amazing and I sometimes chose dahl and rice for breakfast instead of bacon and sausages, which frankly in this heat are quite unappetising (I don't eat those anyway so might be biased). The desserts are out of this world and quite light so we aren't worried about piling weight on.

We didn't choose the all inclusive option because we are not drinkers, so we pay for every coffee we have in the coffee area and also we pay for our drinks with our meals. This last bit is a bit annoying: I would expect a full board option to cover water and/or soft drinks with your meals but this is not the case. It won't add to a huge tab but it seems a bit incongruent.

The staff at Maafushivaru are wonderful, always polite and smiling and nothing seems too much effort from them. A really nice detail was that when Nicole, the wonderful Kuoni rep, found out that we got engaged on our first night there, she arranged for congratulation cards and a bottle of champagne to be delivered to our villa. Such a nice touch!

As for the weather, this is rainy season so there has been some of that. We quite often get storms at night and some days the weather has been cloudy, but since we are both pale of the kind that burns and never tans, that has worked out in our favour by allowing us to sit on the deck and read our books without having to be worrying about looking like cooked prawns. If you are a sun worshipper, though, you might want to visit outside the rainy season.

Another thing that we really enjoyed is that the island never feels crowded; we often walk around it on our way to meals or back and we see maybe one or two people. At meal time, there are enough guests (mostly couples) to make it look busy but not too busy.

All in all, we are truly happy to have chosen Maafushivaru - it has been a perfect holiday for us!

Room Tip: We stayed in room 205 which is one of the sunrise rooms. But we kept sleeping through it!
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank MysoreBound
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Maafushivaru

Property: Maafushivaru
Address:
Region: Maldives > Alifu Atoll > Southern Ari Atoll
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#7 Top resorts Hotel in Southern Ari Atoll
#10 Spa Hotel in Southern Ari Atoll
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Southern Ari Atoll
#11 Luxury Hotel in Southern Ari Atoll
Price range (per night): ₹ 40,974 - ₹ 1,00,275
Hotel Class:5 star — Maafushivaru 5*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Reached by a picturesque flight over the mysterious atolls of the Maldives, Maafushivaru is a quiet island knitted with lush flora surrounded by pure white sandy beaches and incredible turquoise lagoon. Next to the resort is the tiny desert island of Lonubo, exclusive to Maafushivaru guests. A visit to this beautiful island is a must. You can choose from daily visits for basking in the sun and snorkeling the beautiful reef, or ultimately book to stay overnight, an island just for you and your beloved, even if only for a night. Slumber at your choice of three distinct villas. Beach Villas are sited on postcard perfect beaches whilst the Water Villas are built on stilts over the Indian Ocean providing sunset and sunrise vistas that will be forever etched in your memory. For a fun filled holiday, the Pool Villa is the right pick for families or friends travelling together, featuring two separate villas with a shared pool. Summon the bon vivant inside of you with the delectable fare. Cuisine Gallery showcases a potpourri of dishes from all over the world. While 135° East is your key for an authentic Japanese cuisine displaying the art of teppanyaki and the hibachi steakhouse. Sip favourite sunset cocktails at Water Bar with eclectic evening entertainment ranging from Maldivian evenings, to laser shows and disco nights under the starlit sky. Located on the water’s edge, instill a sense of calm and quietude at the Spa with signature product line Voya focusing on healing therapies and rituals. Explore rich underwater life on the house reefs of Maafushivaru and Lonubo, where fish teem and corals bloom colourfully. Dive with whale sharks and mantas in famed spots down south. Discover the epitome of Maldives – Maafushivaru. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Maafushivaru Hotel South Ari Atoll
Maafushivaru Tclub Hotel
Maafushivaru Maldives/Southern Ari Atoll

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