TRAVEL: Velassaru Resort - Maldives*

My family chose Velassaru resort in the Maldives for a number of reasons. There were numerous good reviews on travel sites, a good choice of restaurants even though the resort is relatively small resort, individual bungalows for each room and wide variety of activities available. We wanted a resort that was a relatively short speedboat transfer because there’s nothing more annoying than arriving at your holiday destination and having to travel for another good couple of hours. The resort was also quite secluded, it quite often seemed busy at breakfast times but during the daytime it was very easy to find a nice quiet piece of sand on the beach and relax on the sun loungers.

We were greeted, upon arrival at the airport, by a very polite and happy Velassaru staff member and taken to the speed boat for transfer. The boat ride is where it really begins. You even get a bottle of water and a cold wet flannel as you cruise the Indian Ocean on route to your destination. As you approach the Island there are staff waiting to greet you with a refreshing fruit cocktail and lots of love. Your bags are taken straight your room for you and the check in is hassle free. Then you’re whisked away to your room and given a quick tour.

On our first morning we were all astounded as the sun came up and revealed the beauty of the Maldives Islands which was concealed by the dark night. The beautiful sun, the clear water and the exciting marine life all made for a darn good experience. It was such a pleasure to be snorkelling in the pristine water or even reading a book on the deck of the water villa. There was really nothing I could complain about, save for perhaps the cost.

The diving was fantastic; it's all that it’s hyped up to be! The sea life was amazing and even though in the low season, the views was still pretty good. Even better for me was that on most days I dived I was the only guest on the boat so it was like a private underwater adventure!

The room was spacious, clean and well equipped. We opted for a beach villa this holiday and were pleased to find that the hotel photos accurately depict it as a well-furnished, spacious room opening directly onto the beach and the beautiful Indian Ocean. The king-size bed was the most comfortable I have slept in. The indoor/outdoor bathroom was incredible and the outdoor shower was a completely new experience for me. There was nothing the hotel hadn't thought of - they provided flip flops, umbrellas, a bag to transport your towels to the beach, big bottles of water provided free each day along with a Nespresso machine and tea-making set in your room. Although the room was spacious it was also surprisingly cosy.

There are five restaurants on offer, plus room service, and all of them are at a very high standard ranging from fine dining to casual dining. You will be extremely satisfied with food, it’s not cheap but it’s relative to its location on the planet. Be prepared to pay $25-$40 for a main in three of the restaurants and upwards of $40 at the two fine dining restaurants. Remember that you will still have to add drinks, desert, a tip and starters which for two could quite easily come up to around $150+. It’s worth every penny so prepare yourself for this prior to heading out so you don’t have to worry about money. It will be like this on the other decent islands too.

The choice of food was excellent and the spread over a variety of restaurants, unlike a number of resorts we looked at that seemed to only have a single buffet restaurant. We paid for the Indulgence package, which is buffet breakfast, a la carte lunch with drinks in the only restaurant open at lunch, and then a la carte dinner with drinks in any restaurant. The price is $115 ++ (ie + 10% service + 6% tax) per person. A nice three course dinner with wine at the a la carte prices could easily cost you that - so if you want anything at lunch (just a salad or some fruit or an ice cream) it is worth it. Plus the package includes free snorkel gear, a sunset cruise and a kayaking session (in a clear-bottom kayak - amazing).
The a la carte dinners were great! The modern European cooking at the seafood Sand restaurant was great - the friendly head chef came over to talk to us after our meal. The buffet food at Vela was also great - we had dinner there when we arrived late, and breakfast there if we were awake - and it was certainly among the best hotel buffet food we have had.

The infinity pool is amazing with great poolside service and spectacular views. Pimms by the pool is the perfect way to relax, plus it only costs around $8+. I’d definitely recommend that you make use of ‘Happy Hour’. It’s absolutely fantastic at the Fen Bar from 9-10pm. It’s a great bar and the cocktails are half price cocktails! You'd be silly not to make the most of it as the drinks are great and the bar staff are excellent.

I would give the service a 10/10 and there’s no need to say any more. The staff are extremely helpful, from those at the reception, to the restaurant to those at the diving store. They are attentive, polite, helpful, go the extra mile all the time so you will be made to feel you are the only people on the island.

All in all, Velassaru was fabulous. The room we had was spacious, attractive and comfortable, the food was really notably good, and the service was impeccable: polite and friendly, attentive but discrete. I would highly recommend this Maldives resort for any sort of summer holiday. The location is amazing and on most parts of the island you will see pure uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean. You even have the island wildlife - a few Cranes, little cute black birds that don’t really like flying, BATS and very cute lizards. Plus the swimming and snorkelling are amazing- I saw dolphins, stingrays, sand sharks, and many fish of course. I would definitely go back – it’s plush, unpretentious, boutique, classy and well-priced with a decent reef, great food, and perfect staff.

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