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Reviewed 17 November 2017

At the end of our 10 night stay at Bandos, I was left with mixed emotions about the resort.
We had opted to go for a reduced cost trip this time compared with our other three trips to the Maldives. I had read up on the resort and was happy to hear that they had a great house reef (love to snorkel and scuba dive) On my first snorkel outing I found this to be very wrong. Whilst there are a few fish and the occasional turtle and sharks, the reef itself is all but dead. There was very little live coral left and all you see are lumps of coral rock and algae covered dead remains. I tried various parts of the island and this seemed to be the case for most of it. This wasn't helped by the silty water conditions due to the time of the year. Bandos really needs to do something about this if they want the fish to remain.
As I'm on the subject reefs and the water, I'll cover the dive shop next. At my first encounter with them, I was a little put out that you are made to pay for a "orientation dive" or as all other divers call them, a refresher dive. This is the cast regardless of when you last dived or if you had only just done one a couple of weeks prior to arriving, which was the case with me. So you pay the full price of a normal dive to do basic skills in the shallows just off the beach then swim up and down the all but dead house reef, which you could do for free snorkeling. The instructor we had on this dive however was very professional and took time with everyone. I decided to try a couple of dives off the boat so booked them. The first dive we did at Kuda Haa Thila, which was very close to big shipping traffic it seemed to me. The reef itself wasn't up to much either and a pretty poor experience, again not helped by the water conditions due to the time of year. The second dive was better at Feydhoo caves. We saw a good few turtles and a moral eel or two. My main issue with the dive however, was the different instructor. He seemed to be in rush to get down and would shoot off and be way ahead of everyone else. This isn't my normal experience with dives in the Maldives or any other country I have dived and I found it very unprofessional. I did not do any other dives after this with them.
On the subject of food at Bandos, we opted for B&B rate as after looking at the cost of the food in all the restaurants verses the cost of all inc it seemed the better option to us as we like to mix it up a bit and change where we eat. We were so glad we did. When we booked the holiday I had the travel agent go through the cost of all the various options. It worked out that going from B&B would cost us around £2000 more for our 10 nights. At the end of our time there and we paid our bill we paid around £1850. For that we paid for lunch and dinner plus a good few drinks. We also did the Umi Yaki twice, which isn't cheap plus the BBQ grill night. When you see how packed the all inc restaurant is every night as well compared to how all the other restaurants are, it really is no brainer, for us anyway.
We went for a jacuzzi beach villa, which was spacious but a little tired. The sofa in the "lounge" area was very uncomfortable and felt like a park bench with a couple of cushions thrown on it, which would slid off when you sat on it (we found ourselves using our villa a lot more than we planned to as we had some bad weather whilst we were there) The lay out was a bit crazy as well. The bed is up stairs but nothing else, so you have to brave the very slippy floor and stairs in the night if you needed the toilet. The clothes wardrobe is in the outside area with the outside jacuzzi and shower/bathroom. This seemed to be a favourite haunt for the mozzies as they soon flew out at you when you opened the doors to get your clothes out (we got bitten a lot on this holiday, far more than anywhere else we have stayed). There were a few fairly warn out small cupboards in the lounge area but not much use really.
I feel I have moaned a lot so far and this is where the mixed emotions comes in as there were some great parts of Bandos, these are all in the form of the other restaurants. The Koon Thai, Sea Breeze, Huvan and of course Umi Yaki. The food in all of these was always great and the staff were all fantastic, especially Nafiz who we saw on a regular basis in both the Sea breeze and Koon Thai. Unfortunately he was injured the night before our last day so was unable to thank him personally for his very professional and courteous service.
In closing, we did have a nice holiday with some great times. Out of the four islands we have visited however, we wouldn't rush back to Bandos as we would the others. I think if you are looking for a lower cost Maldives holiday with a Spanish holiday feel and you want to bring the kids, this is the place for you. If you are looking for a tranquil, romantic and intimate holiday with great snorkeling then I would look else where.

Oh and GO B&B!! not all inc!! if you do go

  • Stayed: November 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank n0rf0lk_lad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BandosM, General Manager at Bandos Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 18 November 2017

Dear n0rf0lk_lad,

Thank you for taking the time to write us such a detailed review. We will look into the areas you have highlighted, as we are strive to improve the quality of our products and services.

I apologize on behalf of our team for not being able to provide the best experience during your stay. Please accept our sincere apologies for not meeting your expectations. Particularly the inconvenience you faced during diving, surely we will look into the incident in detail. The refresher dive is compulsory as it would build the convenience in reassuring our divers safety and potential. The coral reef around the resort and across the entire Maldives has been indeed affected by the temperature rise during the early months of 2016 and is now in full recovery mode, however we are still rated among the Islands with the most remarkable house reefs in Male’ atoll. Moreover we have been working on coral restoration project for over one year to restore coral around our house reef. Also your observations on the room’s interior are well received and will be considered while for future refinements, rest assured we remain committed to constantly improving to provide nothing but the best for our guests.

On a positive note we are truly glad that you appreciated the services and food offerings at the resort, mainly your experience at Koon Thai, Sea Breeze, Huvan and UmiYaki which was the highlight of your stay. Your compliment to Nafiz is greatly appreciated and will definitely be shared with him as surely he will be glad that his efforts have been recognized.

Once again thank you for your feedback and we hope you will give us the opportunity to make it up to you on your next visit to the Maldives.

Best Regards,
Ismail Rasheed

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Reviewed 16 November 2017 via mobile

Positives:-
A 10 minute speedboat away from Male meant we were able to get here quickly maximising our time on the island. This also lowered the cost of our holiday overall when compared to a seaplane or domestic flight needed to get to other atolls.
The Jacuzzi Beach Villas are spacious and really beautiful with comfortable beds, two sinks in the bathroom and National Geographic as an English TV Channel option for rainy days.
The snorkelling off the beach is fantastic, such a vast array of marine life some of the best we've seen. Often we'd see day trips come to the reef from other resorts to snorkel locally.
Food options were decent in Sand Bar and Koon Thai restaurants with recognisable western options and tasty curry options including chicken and fish rendang.
Buffet for board options covered most bases with good selection but not sure if they cater well for restricted non diary, gluten free diets.
Wine selection fair starting at 45 USD ++ and cocktails are well made and cost 14 USD ++.
Dive Center on site with a range of water sport activities. Option to do full open water PADI course for 500 USD ++.
Plenty of sun loungers around the island which were comfortable and clean.
Decent gym allowing for a good workout with tennis and badminton courts.
Staff keep the whole island clean and tidy.

Constructive feedback:-
No decaf coffee or tea in the villas or herbal alternative.
Two litres of water a day complimentary which is not a lot by anyone's standards given the heat.
No conditioner in the bathroom which I would expect in a high end resort like this.
Limited amenities like razor, comb and the like again expected in a resort of this standing.
No mosquito spray at the restaurants on request, small things like this make a difference. We were bitten quite badly here which is unusual for us given we wear a lot of mosquito repellant.
Staff need health and safety training as spillages at breakfast and dinner were left and those that cut coconuts down from very high up do not clear the area or give a warning to passers by. Twice we were caught out by this so we mentioned it to management that they take more care.
Wifi drops in and out but given where we are this is hardly surprising. Maybe a problem if you wanted to work here given the connectivity issues.
Would prefer daily spin and yoga classes given they have the bikes and mats. In other resorts around the world this is not necessarily charged for either. Given the unpredictable weather these activities would have been appreciated.

Overall a convenient location and good resort with great snorkelling. Room for improvement could step up as a five star resort in a few places.

Stayed: November 2017, travelled as a couple
3  Thank Rachelle L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BandosM, General Manager at Bandos Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 17 November 2017

Dear Rachelle L,

Thank you very much for taking a moment of your valuable time to share your experience here on your recent stay with us.

We are grateful for your kind words about resort location, house reef, accommodation and our food offerings; likewise, for your feedback about the things we could improve. Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused and know that we endlessly strive to provide a better experience for all our guests and your comments will prove helpful to achieve this.

In addition, we are most delighted to hear that you considered your stay “Good option for a holiday in the Maldives” and we hope to continue providing you and our future guests with consistently excellent service.

Thank you again for your kind recommendation and feedback. We look forward to welcoming you back to a much more pleasant stay.

Best regards,

Ismail Rasheed

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Reviewed 15 November 2017

The snorkeling is amazing here, we swam with lots of different schools of fish, even a school of box fish, along with adult reef sharks, eels, turtles and my favourite, a large porcupine puffer fish! The reef does seem to have alot of algae on it which can make the water a little green and murky in areas but in turn this attracts alot more fish. In the shallower lagoon area the water is clear and is great for beginners who dont like deep water but still want to see lots of colourful reef fish.

The island is beautiful and if its your first time to the maldives you wont be disappointed.
However we stayed in a classic room and it was very basic and dated, the shower was a bit of a dribbler, something you would find in a 2* hotel in greece! When you're paying 1000's of pounds to come here you expect higher quality.

We went half board and the food is good, with 2 chef stations frying fresh fish and meat every night. The buffet did get a bit repetitive though, i was a bit disappointed at the lack of Asian inspired food, the food was aimed more at the tourists rather than staying native to the Maldives.

My biggest problem with this island is the ridiculous cost for food and drinks. There is a 10% service charge and a 12% tax added to everything you buy. My wife bought a fresh orange juice and a can of coke at the beach bar and it was nearly £15!!!
Most evenings my wife and i would have a gin & tonic after dinner which came to and eye watering £20 for 2 drinks!
Halfway through the week we received a letter under the door asking us to pay the bill as the maximum $500 allowance had been used. All we had bought were soft drinks through the day and lunch (usually a pizza to share) and this had come to $500 in 4 days!!!
On final checkout the island had milked us £750 on lunches, drinks and one snorkel hire for the week. We wanted to do the whale shark trip but it was £150 each and you had to set off at 5am.

We went to Vilamendhoo 2 years ago for a similar price and that island is far more luxurious and we only spent £300 for the week which included a manta ray boat trip! If you are honeymooners then I would definitely recommend going to Vilamendhoo instead.

We have enjoyed Bandos but have left feeling ripped off and wont be going back. For the amount of money they are making on all the guests surely they can update the bathrooms.

Room Tip: Wouldnt advise a classic room (cheapest), you get what you pay for, very tired and dated
  • Stayed: November 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
7  Thank darren h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BandosM, General Manager at Bandos Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 17 November 2017

Dear darren h,

Thank you for taking the time to write us such a detailed review reflecting your experience in Bandos Maldives. We will look into the areas you have highlighted, as our focus is on constant improvements of our product.

It is indeed a joy you found our island and the marine life surrounding up to your expectations. It is truly a pity to hear that the price tag would prevent you from returning to us.

We appreciate the time you have taken to share with us your feedback and we will evaluate the shortcomings stated for improvement in terms of accommodation, amenities provided menu rotation in our main restaurant and on the pricing of our food and beverage items. As we work on pricing our menus competitively amongst the resorts in the Maldives, we also will be reviewing your feedback to ensure customer satisfaction.

We thank you for your feedback once again and if there is an opportunity that you would visit us again, we are confident that you will see how much we value our customer feedback.

Best regards,

Ismail Rasheed

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Reviewed 15 November 2017 via mobile

It was our dream destination for ages and Bandos did not disappoint us. From the moment we arrived till the last minute they treated us as royals. This was the reason why it was so special to us. The Manager and reception staffs were so accommodating and helpful. As the weather was not so nice during our we enjoyed chatting with them.

The choice of restaurants made the stay more enjoyable as we love to try something different everyday. Waiters were so friendly and nice

Definitely we will come back and we highly recommend this beautiful Island.

Stayed: November 2017, travelled as a couple
2  Thank Klaus P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BandosM, General Manager at Bandos Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 17 November 2017

Dear Klaus P,

Thank you for taking time to share your beautiful experience at Bandos Maldives. We are glad to know that we managed to exceed your expectations on your dream holiday.

It is a great pleasure to receive your commendation of the exemplary hospitality extended by our associates as well as your positive insights on the island and our facilities. Here at the resort, our aim is to treat our guests as ‘royals’ and ensure we enhance their stay with excellent and memorable experiences – we are glad you felt this!

Once again, thank you for the kind words and recommendation. It was a great pleasure to have you at the resort, and we are all looking forward to welcoming you back in the Island of Hospitality!

Best regards,

Ismail Rasheed

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Reviewed 15 November 2017 via mobile

We want to thank the friendly staff from Bandos Maldives to make a Dream come true! All the Facilities are in very good condition the service is perfect the Food awesome and the Rooms to feel Home. Thank you!

Stayed: November 2017, travelled as a couple
3  Thank bandos_71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BandosM, General Manager at Bandos Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 17 November 2017

Dear bandos_71,

Thank you for sharing your short and sweet review. We are delighted to read that you had a relaxing time at Bandos Maldives.

It is very rewarding to know that you enjoyed every moment of your stay with us particularly the friendliness of the associates, food offerings and most importantly the homely touch you felt in your room.

Once again, thank you for the kind words. We look forward to extending our warm hospitality to you again.

Best regards,

Ismail Rasheed

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