Length Of Stay one week (felt just right)
Opened March 2001
Ownership-Management Royal Island is the premier property of Villa Hotel, a Maldivian owned company.
Restaurants Good food and reasonable prices for a property of this size, caliber, and location. In the main dining room especially we found excellent and pleasant service. Each bungalow is assigned a table and a server for the duration of their stay. This means the server has an opportunity to get to know your taste. Ours was always helpful and even anticipated our refreshment choices when he saw us arrive. The main dining room meals are buffet style. Though they were not gourmet meals by any extent of the imagination we were always able to find one or more dishes and left the dining room satisfied. A second waterside dining room (by reservations only) offered an a la carte menu. This restaurant provided our catered beach dinner for two.
We did enjoy a delightful catered beach dinner for two with champagne. Not only was the setting beautiful, the barbeque dinner was delicious. A bevy of staff brought all the trimmings including a table and chairs, a cloth tablecloth and napkins, silverware, dinnerware, etc. Then the chef and a server prepared and served the candlelit feast to the sound of the waves and the feel of our sand covered bare feet. All of this right in front of our bungalow. I can not remember a more memorable birthday.
Size 148 bungalows and two presidential suites
Rooms Lovely wood waterfront bungalows offer the feeling of privacy though they are close to each other (five to six feet). They include many of the comforts of home: satellite TV (did not find much time to watch it), a small private porch, safe, ceiling fans (too hot when we visited for just the fans), umbrellas (it rained in brief spurts during our visit), two full size lounge chairs in the back of the bungalow by the water. All rooms face the beach. They also offer email access (using the TV was very convenient when we did not want to walk to the computer room), adjustable air conditioning, safe, and wet bar. This was the only property we found that offered email access from the rooms for a fee, reasonable by local standards. The hotel offers cheaper Internet access in a separate computer room. Ask the front desk for the keys.
Facilities An Ayurvedic spa, small exercise room (never got to use it in spite of best intentions), house reef (means you can snorkel steps away from the island without the need for a boat ride to a reef), swimming pool, two restaurants, three bars, a disco/pool room, tennis, badminton, squash, volleyball, and ping-pong. If you need souvenirs or get the munchies there are several shops: jewelry, photo, and souvenirs (sells bathing suits, t-shirts, sun tan lotion, chocolates, arts and crafts, etc.).
Pool And-Or Beach The pool area was very nicely designed with an invisible horizon that makes it appear to flow into the ocean. There were lounge chairs and umbrellas and the usual excellent service to bring drinks and food. The beach was pretty nice, considering the type of island and offered watersports and some beach sports. The entire island is surrounded by coral, and some terrascaping has been done by the beach to make it accessible and allow swimming without the normal risks on the rock formations. Coral sand beach is all the way around the island, but the coral and rocks make the water and some of the sandy areas hard to walk in.
Of those, we only tried the jet skiing and diving.
First class PADI dive center with excellent instructors. Dives are fairly deep – averaging about 80 to 90 feet and a checkout dive is performed on all participants for free with the local instructors. There are two dives per day, with qualified dive masters escorting each group. Large variety of wildlife – sharks, giant mantas, huge coral formations, many smaller fish and interesting features. Computers and full equipment rental available and charged to room at the end of the stay. European PADI instructors offer most courses from open water to advanced all the way to dive master if you have the time. Dive shop can be contacted at www.delphisdiving.com
Other After much research and some failed reservation attempts for a water bungalow at another hotel, we selected Royal Island with some trepidation. We were quite relieved when we arrived to find it was better by far than we had expected. The island and the hotel are one and the same. The only inhabitants of the island are the hotel staff (300).
The entire Maldives country is made up of many tiny islands, most of them uninhabited. The Maldivian government restricts the access of tourists to the many atoll islands. If spending a week or two on a small island (8,000 feet by 2,200 feet) makes you feel claustrophobic, the Maldives may not be for you. Though there are larger island hotels, they are all similar in size and design. We enjoyed the Maldives and the hotel.
We had a birthday while at the resort and once the staff were aware, the bungalow was decorated with flowers on the bedspread and our table was decorated specifically with Birthday wishes that morning. Also a special goodbye decoration on the day of departure. Having an assigned service person in the restaurant made it a little more special, as they got to know our habits and decorated the table, etc.
Date Of Review September 2002
Ease Of Reserving A Room We booked online without any difficulties.
Overall Service Excellent service in the hotel and all its facilities. Except for the spa experience, we found the staff helpful, pleasant, respectful of our privacy and a genuine pleasure to be around
Would You Stay There Again Yes