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“Bandos is GREAT + beware of Qatar Airways and just stay away from Virgin Holidays” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Bandos Maldives

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Bandos Maldives
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Bandos
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
209 reviews
136 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 170 helpful votes
“Bandos is GREAT + beware of Qatar Airways and just stay away from Virgin Holidays”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 February 2012

I have just come back from a week on Bandos and I wanted to give my review of what I think is a very good value for money Maldives experience

This was my first trip to Maldives and after reading hundreds of reviews in any price range I was really worried about what I could find, going from bad beach, ugly sea, rude staff to unedible/expensive food.

I have to say none of these holidaymakers nightmares haunted me in Bandos:

- Beach: there is a good beach all around the island, although it’s quite clear the erosion is having its effects, especially on the eastern side, so the beach is not very deep, anyway is big enough for the chairs and some space before you enter the sea. Moreover they have created a lot of openings among the plants that surround the island and you will not have problems to find shades to recover from the sun
- Sea: I didn’t dive, anyway you can get fish close to the shore and an experienced diver that we met on the island told us Bandos has got one of the best house reefs in Maldives. Of course the sea is beautiful and we didn’t have any problems with rubbish coming from the sea
- Rooms: we had a Deluxe Villa (#289), which is very convenient for the Gallery (the restaurant where you have your plan meals) and for the spa, anyway I recon beah villas are better located, in front of the “afternoon” beach and very close to the sunset bar where you most likely will end your day (they have a happy hour offer on cocktails between 5.30 and 6.30 pm btw). A part for that, our bathroom was huge (including a bidet!!) and the room was cleaned twice a day
- Food: we were on a half board plan and we had very diverse food every night, always with more than one option of barbecue (fish or meat), with a very rich and fresh salad bar and a number of other options in terms of westerns and eastern cuisine. We have also tried the snacks at one of the bar/restaurants of the island and they were good and reasonably priced (e.g. 8USD for a pizza)
- Weather: not the fault of the resort, but it rained 1.5 days and was cloudy another one. February apparently has stopped being the month when you will be safely outside rainy season, so I would avoid paying up if you can go in another season

Wishing to share my whole experience, I want to describe my unpleasant experience with Qatar Airways, the airline company we booked through Virgin Holidays to reach Male:
1. our original flight was meant to leave London in the early pm and get us to Male first thing in the morning
2. when we got to the check-in desk, we were refused check-in on the basis that our connection from Doha to Malé had been cancelled
3. we then went through a number of discussions with Qatar, which ended up with both our outbound and inbound flights being moved of about 8 hours to avoid spoling days of holidays
4. we lately discovered that the flight from Doha to Malé had never been cancelled, so the feeling is that we were tricked into changing our booking as a solution of their overbooking problems, rather than as a solution to a problem of ours (the cancellation of the flight)

So beware of what Qatar Airways tells you, don’t believe them and if they tell you a story similar to the above, tell them you know the trick and you are going to sue them if they try to leave you off the plane without respecting the right you have in case of overbooking. This is what we should have done but we didn’t see the con before it was over

As a side comment: I really don’t understand how they were awarded best airline company in 2011 and they were given 5 stars. They are not bad, but next time I will think twice before paying a premium to fly with them rather that a 3 star company

Now, on Virgin Holidays – which you are probably considering as an agency if you are looking at Bandos reviews from London – just avoid them. In the situation described above, all the support I got from them was a) “so sorry mam” b) a request for 1,600£ to change my flight to a later one (which at least Qatar did for free) and c) a promise that their local representative in Male would be able to help with any issues we had with Qatar once landed (and of course he didn’t even ask about it when we met him: he just told us that the Bandos transfer boot was number xx, gave us a piece of paper with his telephone number and disappeared). As they just won’t take responsibility for what they book on your behalf, my recommendation is to book your flight and accommodation by yourself, you may even strike a better deal as you won’t have agency fees

Room Tip: go for a Beach Villa, second Deluxe room and standard rooms last unless you are ok to walk in the sa...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank silviaaroundtheworld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (304)
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Hong Kong
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 February 2012

Best luxury resort in Maldives? Fine Gourmet dining? Not really and not really what we were expecting from everything we had read. But what Bandos did offer for our family of four (one 8 year old one 3 year old) was an excellent value and family friendly resort that was just about perfectly suited to our needs.

The best part of the experience was probably the island itself. Being just a short boat ride from the airport, it is an ideal to jump start your beach holiday right away without an additional, lengthy sea transfer. Once there, the greeting process and check in was somewhat slow, but the staff pleasant. Then off to the best part of the resort: the fine white sand beaches, crystal clear water and house reef that really is just off the fringes of the sand.

Another nice feature of the resort is its size. We did not realize this until we were there but everything is really within walking distance, which is great for bumping around the island with a small family. Our room was spacious, clean and appropriate for its setting with some well thought out features including faucets to rinse out sand and a large shower area which, although not really appealing design wise, worked out great for dealing with your swimming, beach, diving and other equipment. We stayed in a deluxe room, primarily because a family of four can stay there quite comfortably with real beds (not cots) for all. This would not be possible in the standard rooms. Have read in other reviews that the standard rooms are in a better location – but we don’t really think this is significant since everything is within walking distance and the beach is just a bit farther (as in 20 seconds to walk there) than the standard rooms. The massage services were excellent – well appointed facilities, friendly staff, reasonable prices and quality treatments – highly recommended! The dive shop was excellent: knowledgeable staff, friendly divemaster and good equipment. The dives can be at the deeper depths of the house reef, which was great for us since one of us is not a certified diver and yet the reef offers plenty of marine life to be seen. Entertainment offerings (night fishing, crab racing for the kids, sunset cruises and island hopping tours) were also generally good, with plenty to do with both kids and without. All of this for a very reasonable rate relative to other resorts in the Maldives.

What’s not to like? The kids club was just ok. It’s looking a bit tired and needs a bit of a spruce job. Also, it is really not much more than a baby sitting service. That’s great by itself, but the club would be better if it had more activities to offer the kids. The food, however, was the biggest disappointment and sub-par at best. We understand that food needs to be brought into the islands and likely won’t be cheap relative to your home country’s standards, but the offerings were just plain poor. The breakfast buffet offered relatively few choices and uninspired food (baked beans? raisins?). As we were on a bed and breakfast (BB) basis, we thought we’d try this buffet before “upgrading” to half board (HB), full board (FB) or all inclusive (AI). Based on our experiences at the restaurants and the margins charged for HB, FB, and AI, we were glad we did not box ourselves into going to the ONLY restaurant you’d be able to choose by selecting the higher meal plans. Unless you are into massive quantity over quality, we’d recommend just going to the other restaurants and ordering a la carte, which was better and turned out to be much cheaper.

The service was okay, but it could use some improvement as well. Reception services were generally friendly and efficient, but at one point, we did need to call housekeeping many times over the course of several hours before they finally made up our room. We hope that is an isolated incident.

A brief summary:

When: we went in January, when the weather was perfect, no rain, no monsoons and plenty of sunshine. Perfect!

The good: house reef (perfect for lazing away the days, swimming, snorkeling, diving and sleeping), location, value, pool and massage facilities.

The bad: the food, really needs work.

The could be better: kid’s club.

And some tips: Bring your own snorkel and mask. Bring some food, seriously, and maybe some extra bottles of water. Book your massage treatments early (it’s busy during the day when the sun is hottest!). Consider whether it’s worthwhile to stay BB, HB, FB or AI. You can ask about the differences in prices directly from the resort.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank HK_Adventure_Boy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cebu, Cebu City, Philippines
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 February 2012

Bandos Resort and Spa is everything my wife and I wanted and more. First, they have regular shuttles from the Male' jetty to the island and back. Second, the island and it's facilities are so awesome I believe when God wants to rest, He spends his time there. The white sand beach is pristine and the sea water is crystal clear. Best of all, when we went there in April, there were very few tourists and guests that the beaches were almost all to ourselves. If you wait for the sunset on the west side beach of the resort, the view is mesmerizing. Not only that, under water the view of the fishes and the corals and the reef and all the underwater landscape is even more awesome. Their very helpful staff lent us all the snorkeling and swimming gears we needed for free. The diving gears though must be paid for. They also have a small gym and a spa. And after we've satisfied our eyes with the above water and underwater views, and our skin with all the sun and sea, the dinner buffet was an excellent touch to end the day. All in all, the Bandos experience was an unforgettable one for me and my wife. And we even come from the Philippines where we have a lot of great beaches, too.

Room Tip: If you can afford it, try the isolated nipa huts standing on the beach (look at the picture).
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  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Ray N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
France
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 February 2012

We chose Bandos having seen the reviews on Trip Advisor as although we wanted a relaxing break on the Maldives we didn't want a honeymoon seclusion type of holiday and Bandos didn't disappoint.
It was lively enough to not get bored, but was very relaxing too. If you wanted to enjoy cocktails at the bar you could but likewise you could laze on the secluded white-sand beaches without seeing a soul (quite a feat given the resort's size).
The buffet-style food was of a generally very high standard - we always ate from the action corner where the chefs cook in front of you, including fresh omelettes at breakfast. Having just spent a week touring Sri Lanka before arriving at Bandos, the food did seem a little bland after lots of curries and spicy food, but we soon adapted.
We too all inclusive and it did work out to be the best deal.
Ok there are some Swiss and Russian flight crew here as other reviews stated - but I don't see a problem. In fact the atmosphere at the bar just wasn't the same when the crews of various luxury boats moored close by stopped visiting the resort in the evenings.

Room Tip: Having seen the advice of other travellers we opted for a standard room and were more than happy wit...
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jomarty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
893 reviews
108 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 812 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 January 2012

I spent four days at the Bandos Island Resort, one of the larger islands and close in to the airport island and the capital city of Male. For me, a harried business traveler, it was a joy to have peace, quiet, beauty and an opportunity to relax. I rented a beach deluxe villa, which is a bungalow with an upstairs bedroom and a connected hot tub only steps away from the beach in one direction and the pool in the other. It was heavenly.

In observing those staying there, I noticed a large number of young married couples with babies and toddlers. This was an ideal vacation for them as they could combine relaxation, activity, romance while their young one or ones could feast their senses.

Room Tip: Beach deluxe are the best value with an ideal location.
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Anthony-Susan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bandos Maldives

Property: Bandos Maldives
Address: (Formerly Bandos Island Resort & Spa)
Phone Number:
Region: Maldives > Kaafu Atoll > North Male Atoll > Bandos
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Bandos
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): €€€
Hotel Class:5 star — Bandos Maldives 5*
Number of rooms: 215
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Not wishing to rest on the laurels of our existing achievements, Bandos Maldives had in the past year undertaken a major refurbishment project with the intention of transforming ourselves into a hotel that is truly reflective of the times. Careful consideration however, was given at all times to ensure that the old-world refinement for which the island has a reputation remained uncompromised. Under the project, major facelifts have been given to the front desk, lobby areas, shops, restaurants and bars and have furthermore commissioned a new swimming pool and additional accommodation facilities all of which perfectly blend with the island's tropical splendour and give visitors a taste of the Maldivian aesthetic. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bandos Island Hotel Bandos
Bandos Island Resort Maldives
Bandos Island Maldives
Bandos Maldives

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