This is the younger, more chic sibling to the Banyan Tree brand. The essential changes to the original resort are the refurbishment of the villas, the restaurants and the spa, plus the inclusion of a marine centre. The improvements are in just the right areas and we now have an even finer resort.
There's something in the air that makes the place a bit special. It doesn't try to do too much: either to continually entertain or to provide numerous options. It keeps it all very simple, as simple as the essential Maldives.
At the end of 2006, the resort was relaunched as a second Angsana in the country. This is the younger, more chic sibling to the Banyan Tree brand. The essential changes to the original resort are the refurbishment of the villas, the restaurants and the spa, plus the inclusion of a marine centre. The improvements are in just the right areas and we now have an even finer resort.
With trademark touches of lime green and tangerine, the villas now have a fresh, contemporary look and feel. The rounded shape opens up the space and is a welcome contrast to common rectangular design. The total number has been reduced to 79 and consists of 28 Beachfront Villas, 30 Superior Beachfront Villas with jet pools, 18 Deluxe Beachfront Pool Villas, two Velavaru Villas and one Angsana Villa. The more expensive rooms mostly, but not always, have the best combination of privacy and beach. In some parts of the island the intervening vegetation can be a bit on the thin side.
The thatched, dome-shaped roofs and natural materials used on all the buildings integrate the resort nicely into the landscape, making for an ideal setting. There is little in the way of evening entertainment and just a few local excursions. Guests slip quickly into the slow pace of things and seem to relish the art of pottering from the room to the beach to the restaurant to the bar to the spa to the room again. The Angsana Spa is award-winning and wonderful.
To raise the heartbeat there is some excellent diving to be had in this still untouched atoll (shared with just one other resort). The Dive School has an impressive set up with excellent information displays and a wide choice of diving options, to entice the guests to make this a part of their daily or weekly plan. The 32 sites are documented with laminated maps, descriptions, boat trip time and star system for corals, big fish, current and difficulty. Up to 3 dives a day are possible either from the resort or during their full day trips and a number of speciality courses are always available. The base is popular with experienced repeaters (Internet pre-booking is encouraged and some divers even leave their equipment behind for their return) while, for absolute beginners, the lagoon directly in front of the base is an ideal spot for courses.
Some snorkelling is to be had around the corals in the eastern lagoon, the ocean-facing side, but there is no access through to the drop-off. Consequently the resort sends out a free boat twice a day to this house reef and offers a paying trip three times a week to another local spot. The western, lagoon-facing side is good for trying out some windsurfing or swimming around, as it deepens quickly and the floor is clear and sandy.
The main restaurant and bar are next to each other on the lagoon side. With a wide beach here, they are beautifully positioned for drinks on the beach and candlelit dinners on the waterfront. Thatched over wood frames, open sided and with sand on the floor, they are both attractive and relaxed.
Now with top class cuisine, modern rooms and a fine spa, a great resort just got even better.
Review by Adrian Neville.