Small, pretty and attractively designed in the original Maldives style, Dhiggiri is a place for people who don't want high style and fancy facilities. Here there is sand on the floor, thatch on the roofs and dhonis in the lagoon.
The rooms do not have televisions or telephones. The internet and international calls are available but expensive. Don't plan on using them. Pack a few books and sit on your verandah or on the beach and chill out like everybody else.
Italians make up around 85% of the guests, with British and Germans mostly taking the remaining rooms. There is some entertainment every evening and activities during the day, but the promotion is very soft - a matter of the guest relations team going around the tables at dinner informing guests of the next days' program. There is more of a party feel during the high season, when Italians predominate but it is much quieter during the low season, when honeymooners make up a large portion of the guests.
Everyone on all-inclusive
Everyone comes on the same all-inclusive package, which is decent but not overly generous. Drinks are free by the glass but not by the bottle (wine or water). Windsurfers and canoes are free but not catamarans. There are no free excursions. As for the food, it is plentiful, fresh, simple and very good. It is mostly meditteranean with an emphasis on fish and pasta. The wine on tap, it must be said, is dire but the beer is fine and so are the cocktails.
With just two resorts in this atoll (Dhiggiri's sister resort Alimatha is the other one), guests enjoy uninterrupted views, no boat traffic and no other tourists on their excursions. They can really feel a beautiful Maldives isolation. The resort's desert island is one of the best. Vashugiri is very small, with a huge beach and good snorkeling. There is a daytime snorkel and relax excursion and a 'Night under the Stars', where guests watch sunset from the island, have dinner, a bodu beru show and then sleep on campbeds under the stars.
Snorkeling around the island
Snokeling around Dhiggiri itself is a bit disappointing. The reef is close by all the way around, which is ideal, but for some reasons the coral has not grown back well. Nevertheless, the fish numbers are good, as the island sits in the middle of a fast moving channel. Expect to see schools of huge jacks, sharks, barracuda, tuna and turtles (indeed, green turtles nest on the island). There are guided snorkeling trips every morning and afternoon.
There are just 45 rooms here - 20 waterbungalows and 25 beach bungalows. Both room interiors are essentially the same, with their weathered, antique look, four-poster bed and curvy lines. The facilities are basic (hand-pump soap dispenser) but that is the simple style of the place. The first few waterbungalows can see both sunrise and sunset, while the last few are just a few metres away from the reef drop-off. They don't stretch out into the lagoon but encircle one end of the island, so the access for most of them is directly from the land. The beach bungalows are still the beautiful old, thatched, coral rondavels, right on, or next to, the beach.
The western tip has a fine tongue of sand snaking into the lagoon that attracts more guests, while the quiet south side has a series of large groynes with rounded ends doubling as sunbathing spots. All the rooms have at least some beach in front of them (except the waterbungalows of course) and the view is unimpeded by bushes or trees.
Altogether this is a delightful, barefoot resort of the old style.
Reviewed by Adrian Neville