Well, here we are. Post vacation and just letting the past week marinade a bit before jumping headfirst back into life. We just spent a week at Reethi Faru Resort in Raa Atol Maldives. Bottom line, it was pretty killer. Good food, great scenery, awesome mommy/daddy time together. But lets dive in a little deeper and start from the beginning so you have a good understanding how all this came to be.
First things, first. Thank you COVID for the amazing prices on travel. I once heard an old saying, “There is profit in chaos”. That holds true for there is money to be saved in chaos. Hard times call for tough measures and the resorts around the world have bills to pay. In one of my upcoming books pertaining to world travel, I spend some time on finding deals. To get started, you have to be a “Yes” person. You have to be down for whatever and be willing to just go for it. My wife and I saw a deal on Travel Zoo July 2020 for this resort. The deal was 7 nights for 2 in a Garden Villa with added excursions and other discounts for the wonderful price of $875!!! That did not include flights. Flights were normally around $2000 per person but we got our flights for $1050 a person. That set us up for the week on the island and travel to and from for $2975 for the both of us. Since this trip was going to be for our 15-year anniversary, we knew we’d upgrade a few things. Fast forward to April 19th, 2021. We decided to upgrade to Business Class for our flight from Dallas to Doha, Qatar. That was a 15-hour flight so we thought we’d shoot the moon. It’s hard to say it was worth it because that’s subjective. However, it was pretty awesome and made the time go by much faster and left us more refreshed for our arrival to the resort. We had a 6-hour layover in Qatar then another 4-hour flight to Male, Maldives. After that, a 45-minute flight to Dharavandhoo (Darawondoo in case you’re trying to sound it out). After the last flight we took a 45-minute boat ride to the island. WHEW!!!! We’re there. In all, it took us about 40 hours of travel time.
When we arrived, they had a small contingent of staff to greet us and walk us to Reception. Everyone was so courteous and helpful. They packed our bags onto a motorized cart and delivered them to the room for us while we checked in. The tasty drinks they handed to us at check in were might fine. Most everyone walks around barefoot and being barefoot is actually encouraged. The forecast called for high 84 and low 82 degrees just about everyday we were there. It actually felt more like 110 or so due to the high humidity. Whatever. That’s why you’re surrounded by water. Safety note. The equator is much closer to the earth in that location so you will burn MUCH easier. I knew this and played it smart but still burned a bit. Our room was pretty amazing all tucked away in the jungle canopy. Lots of lizards, some butterflies, some bumblebees and BATS!!! Yep, huge bats! They don’t bother anyone, though. The week went very smoothly and we actually upgraded to a Water Villa the last night there just for the experience. Oh, we also upgraded to the All-Inclusive package because the Half Board package that came with the deal would’ve had us counting our pennies. We didn’t want to worry about what we ate or drank. Drinks, food, excursions all have their set rates. Then they add a Service Tax and a Goods Tax. Those really add up if you’re not careful. We weren’t upset when we settled our bill at the end of the week. We knew what we were getting into. It was all worth it to us. Now on to the finer details of my notes and observations.
Good food! One thing I’ve learned over my almost 30 years of world travel is to be open minded. Being an American, not everything is going to taste like it does in America. Beef is a bit different some places overseas as well as the spices used and the ethnic dishes that are prepared. I’m not a fan of Indian food and the night we ate at the Reethi Grill we got our fill of the spices used in Indian food. We also realized that the food at the pool wasn’t very good either. I ordered chicken wings and they almost made me sick. My wife ordered a pizza and I had some fish. Both were good, but that’s about it. We weren’t impressed. The main restaurant is the buffet. That gave us options to choose from, which was nice. The pancakes and crepes were really good! I have always enjoyed meat and cheese plates from Europe and these reminded me of that. Our favorite place to eat was the restaurant over the water. The burger was really good, which is why I ate it twice on two separate occasions. I also really enjoyed the stir fry noodles cause they had seafood, beef and chicken in it. All-in-all, the food did not disappoint and we ate to our hearts content. The dinners began at 8pm unless you had a reservation at another restaurant. That was a little late for us due to jet lag and just being out in the sun all day. We ended up eating dinner earlier, most nights, at the over the water restaurant.
As far as the drinks go, we were a little disappointed, but we still partook in the tasty beverages. I’m not sure if it wasn’t cause they really didn’t know how to mix them or what the issue was. I was better off to order a double or triple shot of Johnny Walker Red and ask for a can of Coke to mix myself. They have a pretty extensive menu of drinks to order, that we try each of, and we really didn’t fall in love with any in particular. I did enjoy the Indian beer called Lion. I drank quite a few of those.
Many languages spoken, even by the staff. I’m not sure why but there was a massive amount of Russians at the resort while we were there. It didn’t bother us and we thought it was kinda cool to hear all that Russian being spoken because it made us definitely feel that we were far from home. Other languages we recognized was German and one couple spoke Spanish. There was also a couple different dialects of Indian/Sri Lankan languages spoken.
The place had a Caribbean but different feel. In Central America the beaches aren’t as amazing as the beaches in the Caribbean. However, the jungles in Central America are fascinating! We’ve been to quite a few islands in the Caribbean and none of them have triple canopy jungles. They’re more barren and the trees and foliage are sparse. On Reethi Faru the vegetation is very thick and, truth be told, that’s probably the most gorgeous beaches we’ve ever been to. Turks and Caicos is very nice, as well as Puerto Rico and Bahamas, but the beaches in Maldives are one of a kind. The water has a bluish/emerald color to it. Very unique. That’s the main reason we wanted to go is because we wanted to experience the beaches. Very impressive and just pure eye candy.
There was a young fella named “Robin” who we called “Jobi” at the pool bar and also the Vakaru bar who was very helpful with everything. We really enjoyed visiting with him and if we did have a bad drink, he was our guy to fix it. The rest of the staff was so extremely courteous and willing to help with just about anything. Of course, we don’t usually ask for much, but if we needed something they were more than willing to help. The girls at the spa were a real hoot to visit with. They’re all from Bali and made my wife and I feel like giants cause they were these cute little ladies who, not one of them, was over 4ft 10in. We visited with them for a while. The folks at the dive shop were very helpful and courteous as well. I enjoyed visiting with Theo, Saamil and Yana.
Snorkeling around the island was almost overwhelming with awesomeness!! There was so much to see and the coral was so nice compared to many other places who have been dealing with the worldwide coral die-off. My wife and I snorkeled a few times all around the island. The diving was the best we’ve experienced next to Rincon, Puerto Rico. We watched many sharks, thousands of fish, rays, octopus, turtles and other creatures of the sea. The video I was able to catch just doesn’t do it justice but I’m still glad I was able to capture what I could. Again, the dive staff was amazingly helpful and professional. I can say with confidence that the dive brief was thorough and the staff was very knowledgeable of the sites we dove. After our 2-tank boat dive, I went back the next day and did a reef dive with one of the staff. I could dive there every day.
There really isn’t a lot to do on the island so don’t expect to be busy unless you schedule excursions and activities. It was fine for us because our intent was to have a lazy vacation. We usually rent a car everywhere we go but this island has no cars, golf carts or even roads. It’s just walking trails. We did go on the sunset cruise which was nice and romantic. We also went out on the clear canoe and paddled around for about 15 minutes. Since we both went on a dive and kayak at home, the canoe experience didn’t really do much for us. Like I said, there are plenty activities to do, we just wasn’t into renting a jet ski, sail boarding or anything else like that.
Lastly, we preferred the Garden Villa vs. the Water (over the water) Villa. The Garden Villa is much more private and secluded. I would actually go out on the front porch naked knowing no one could see me. I appreciated the shade from the trees which we didn’t have when we were in the Water Villa. The Water Villa just seemed hotter in general. The Water Villa room, however, was larger and nicer than the Garden Villa. Also, being able to literally walk out the back door, walk down the steps and into the water was a very cool experience. If we had to do it again, we’d spend the whole time in the Garden Villa. Also, the Garden Villa was closer to everything we utilized in general.
Thank you for reading this review. I hope it was helpful. I also highly encourage you to TRAVEL!!! It’s the best investment a person can make for the relationship and personal wellness.