Independent
Maldives resort reviews

Banyan Tree Maldives Vabbinfaru

59%
Overall Rating
from 1 ratings
Rating criteria
Rooms
5
50%
Service
7
70%
Beach
7
70%
Activities
4
40%
Dining
7
70%
Bar experience
7
70%
House reef
5
50%
Environment
7
70%
Look and feel
6
60%
Value
4
40%

Our Review

Honeymoons and wedding vow renewals are understandably popular here. However it is also a resort that has gained respect and popularity for its green credentials, particularly its work with turtles, sharks and coral regeneration.

Honeymoons and wedding vow renewals are understandably popular here. However it is also a resort that has gained respect and popularity for its green credentials, particularly its work with turtles, sharks and coral regeneration.

The island is conveniently located near enough to the airport for quick transfers yet far enough to be well away from any traffic and so undisturbed by sight or sound. Like many islands inside the atolls, including its neighbour and sister resort Angsana, it is small, roughly circular, has a close house reef and very good beaches.
 
The best beach faces west and as that is also the direction of the afternoon sun and sunset this is where most of the more expensive rooms are. Aside from the top Vabbinfaru Villa, the 48 rooms are divided between Beach Front Villas and Deluxe Beach Front Villas, which are on the beach, and Ocean View Villas and Deluxe Ocean View Villas, which are tucked behind those rooms. Some of the deluxe rooms of both categories face the sunrise, while the regular rooms face north.
 
All the rooms are the same size but the deluxe rooms use some finer materials. All electricity goes off when the card key is removed from its slot and the air conditioning must be separately restarted. The best plan is probably to throw the doors open and enjoy the inside/outside life for which the rooms are well designed. The relatively small rooms then spill out onto a fair sized deck and then a garden for the Ocean View Villas or the beach for the Beach Front Villas. Each room has a jacuzzi and also a 'sala' or pavilion, which is inside the attractive, private gardens or, for the beach villas, at the end of a covered walkway out over the beach.
 
The beach salas tend to reduce the amount of walking around the outside of the island and that increases the privacy although, for a 5-star resort, the relatively large number of rooms to island size means being sometimes aware of your sunbathing neighbours on the beach.
 
Banyan Tree brings a Southeast Asian look and feel to the resort that works very well. All the buildings are made from Indonesian materials, down to the thatch on the roofs. The spa is where it works best of all. Its reception is a little straight-edged and formal but the treatment rooms are large and lovely. And the highly trained Thai and Balinese therapists are so good that the spa often becomes a major part of the guests' holiday even if that wasn't their original intention.
 
Beyond the traditional massages, the spa offers seductive combinations of treatments, including facials, scrubs, rainmist showers, acupressure and much more that build into 2 and 3-hour sessions. There is even a 7-hour full day session that works through your body from top to toe.
 
Sited next to the dive base, the spa offers special treatments discounted for divers. Diving is set at one double tank dive a day, which is less active than most dive centres but, having said that, the attached Marine Centre is constantly active in a range of valuable projects. Having begun with tracking coral regrowth after the 1998 bleaching event, it moved on to studying methods of encouraging that regrowth. It then began research on sharks, both purely scientific and around their economic value. But its most visible and popular work has been with the endangered Green Sea Turtles. A small number of eggs are raised on the island for 12-18 months and then released with a tag and, in a few instances, a satellite transmitter. Turtles are probably second only to dolphins in the affections of visitors to Maldives, so seeing them in all sizes swimming happily around the lagoon is a real bonus for visitors to this resort.
 
The final highlight of the resort is the food. Lunch is a quite wonderful selection spread out in the shade beside the beach. Dinner is an excellent set menu with enough choice to make everyone happy. Alternative dinner venues include a sandbank for two, with water lapping around your feet.
 
Reviewed by Adrian Neville.
 

Reader Reviews

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Advice Forum Posts

January 27, 2012 - 18:53 - Neil Merrett
December 17, 2011 - 19:26 - Neil Merrett
1 Replies
November 16, 2011 - 17:45 - Neil Merrett
November 12, 2011 - 17:16 - Neil Merrett
October 27, 2011 - 16:32 - Volunteer Maldives
Transfer time
Speedboat
25
Resort prices
1.5L water
$6
Beer
$6
Juice
$7
Activities
Sunset fishing
$25
Half day island excursion
$35
Diving
Dive centre
Banyan Tree Dive
Single dive
$90
Multiple dives (6)
$530
Contact information
Tel
+(960) 664 3147
Fax
+(960) 664 3843
Email
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Inhouse reviews by guidebook author Adrian Neville