Independent
Maldives resort reviews

Diamonds Athuruga Beach and Water Villas

78%
Overall Rating
from 1 ratings
Rating criteria
Rooms
8
80%
Service
8
80%
Beach
7
70%
Activities
8
80%
Dining
8
80%
Bar experience
8
80%
House reef
8
80%
Environment
6
60%
Look and feel
9
90%
Value
8
80%

Our Review

Athuruga is unquestionably a cosmopolitan resort, yet it would certainly be fair to say that it has ‘Italian characteristics’. Many of the staff members are Italians and most of the Maldivian staff speak Italian. The entertainments are usually bi or tri-lingual. Italians would be in the majority during the high season, with Germans and British perhaps a majority at other times of year. The resort is very much open to all nationalities and its pleasures are such that appeal to all Maldives lovers.

It is only when you see the startlingly fresh, light and modern Athuruga that you think, yes, well, perhaps it was beginning to look a bit dated (having been built in 1990). A leading Italian architect has redesigned every aspect of the old resort and newly designed 25 water villas. The public area has been opened out to the beach and the views, and the colour white has been used extensively to give a wonderfully airy and uplifting feel. Panels of the original coral walls are kept visible around the resort, giving an authentic Maldives touch.

The old main bar is now a pizzeria. The new bar, new restaurant and new reception have white sand floors, white cotton drapes and furniture in light brown wood. All very attractive, quite literally: they make you want to go there and hang out a while. The new boutique and dive shop can also be included in this.
 
The lounge by the reception has the only tv, as well as computer and wifi but, it should be said, the price of that is discouragingly high. For guests in the Over Water Villas, there is complimentary wifi in each room. Those guests also get iPod stands and can borrow the iPods if needs be.
 
Over Water Villas are long established in the Maldives but these on Athuruga have raised the bar once again. Not for their size or facilities but for their startling white simplicity and design elegance. The lack of balustrade on the deck opens out the lagoon and vista, while reasonable privacy is maintained by the distance between the rooms and their positioning. Many a beach bungalow resident will upgrade to the over water villa at least for a few days of their stay.
 
Not that the beach bungalows are far inferior. For beach lovers, these are a dream as they are not behind a barrier of greenery but right on the sand. And the beach on Athuruga is still excellent, going all the way around the small, round island. Seasonal erosion is counteracted by some pumping and a couple of groynes on the west and northwest corners (around room 26). 
 
Rooms 1,2 and 3 used to be the most popular rooms on the island as they are on the big beach by the main buildings and faced sunset. Now they face out to the water villa jetty and the sun actually sets behind the jetty, so they are some of the least popular. Rooms 9-13 would be the best now. Each room has double glass doors that ask to be kept open so the simple interior joins with the wooden verandah and spills on to the beach. The rooms are unfussy, without tv or bulky furniture. They are built in pairs, sharing a wooden deck and divided by back to back long benches. 
 
All guests arrive on a generous all-inclusive package that includes free watersports, laundry, one island hopping excursion and, of course, all meals, snacks and drinks, except for champagne and premium brands of brandy and whiskey. The special lounge at the Maldivian Air Taxi terminal is also a good bonus. Water Villa guests can avail of their own new and fabulous over-water restaurant. There is light entertainment every day, with music before and after meals and some sort of show or quiet game in the evenings.
 
Athuruga is unquestionably a cosmopolitan resort, yet it would certainly be fair to say that it has ‘Italian characteristics’. Many of the staff members are Italians and most of the Maldivian staff speak Italian. The entertainments are usually bi or tri-lingual. Italians would be in the majority during the high season, with Germans and British perhaps a majority at other times of year. The resort is very much open to all nationalities and its pleasures are such that appeal to all Maldives lovers.
 
The snorkeling is ideal as the reef runs close to the beach around two-thirds of the island. Guests would usually go off on either side of the short jetty and come in at one of the three buoys indicating a narrow cut through the reef. Snorkelling trips to nearby thilas and a sandbank are arranged with the water sports centre, which run all the excursions in a personalised way. Otherwise the marine biologist takes guests out to the housereef two times a day.
 
Diving is fairly popular here but however popular it couldn’t more convenient. Once guests have signed up for a dive, their equipment is taken to the boat for them. After the dive they just walk away, while the equipment is returned, rinsed and shelved by the dive base staff. Having said that, the level of information on the dive sites (location, topography, fish) is not so impressive. And being in the middle of the atoll means longer journeys to the outside channels. On the other hand, great thilas such as Orimas and Fish Head are all regular dives.
 
Athuruga is a top resort that blends the modern with the traditional, the good life with the simple things. It has taken a winning recipe and made it even better.
 
Review 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
Seaplane
75
Activities
Sunset fishing
$15
Half day island excursion
$30
Diving
Dive centre
The Crab
Single dive
$86
Multiple dives (6)
$445
Contact information
Tel
+(960) 668 0508
Fax
+(960) 668 0574
Email
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Inhouse reviews by guidebook author Adrian Neville