“ Bandos Island / Male Atoll / Maldives „
I visited the resort of Bandos for 2 weeks in June 2007 and I have to say, it was probably the best 2 weeks of my life. I won't talk too much about the flight/airport etc as I have included all of that information in my review of the Maldives... I'm just going to concentrate on the actual resort. We paid £750 each for 2 weeks B & B including flights, which was an amazing deal.
We were met at the airport by two members of staff from the resort who were really helpful. They looked after our bags while we went to get a drink and helped us on to the speedboat (which was our method of transfer to the resort!). The speedboat was quite large and sturdy and it only took about 15 minutes to get to the resort.
When we arrived, we were sat in reception with a cold cocktail and a cold towel to cool us down. We were then given a few leaflets with everything we needed to know on and were collected when our rooms were ready. We weren't waiting long, about 15 minutes and when we were collected, a guy on a little golf buggy thing came and picked up our bags for us.
For the first week, we stayed in a deluxe room which is one up from the standard room. It was beautiful inside although fairly simple. There was a small sitting area, a huge bed, a TV, wardrobe and drawers, bedside tables and a lovely tiled floor. The bathroom was also great, all tiled, with a walk in shower/wet room and a bath. All in all, we were very pleased with the room and thought we had made a good choice. The room joined onto another room of the same standard, and even though there was a door between them (which you could lock) we never heard any noise from our neighbours.
The second week we stayed in a Jacuzzi Beach Villa. This was spectacular!! There were two floors, upstairs was the king size bed and a balcony, downstairs was a sitting area with TV and the bathroom which was real luxury. There were twin sinks, an indoor shower, an outdoor shower, a toilet seperated into a little glass cubicle and... the JACUZZI! The jacuzzi was under a little hut so that if it rained you wouldn't get wet, but it was basically out in the open air. It worked perfectly well, was easy to use and was great to wind down in (not that you get particularly wound up from sunbathing all day!).
The rooms were only a few metres away from the beach and the beach was great. Although there was a fairly big stretch of beach on one side of the resort, there were mainly little pockets of beach spread about. This was perfect as it meant you had your own little private patch of beach all to yourself. It was so relaxing, and so great to have that privacy while you sunbathed or went snorkelling. There were plenty of sun loungers which were fine although you need to take a towel to put down on them as they were quite hard.
The snorkelling around Bandos was great, it has a very good house reef and we saw all sorts of fish and sharks on our snorkelling sessions, and once a stingray! Other people saw turtles and dolphins when they were snorkelling so you can rest assured there are plenty of things out there to go find!
The pool at the resort was lovely, it had a pool bar with jacuzzi seats around it so you could sit in a jacuzzi, drinking a cocktail and just generally relaxing. The pool wasn't huge but more than adequate and there was a smaller pool for kids. The loungers around the pool were very comfy, wooden with cushions on and there were tables to put your food/drinks. It was never very busy around the pool although we were there in low season, but we always found a seat.
The food on the island was gorgeous and there was a variety of restaurants. There was a main buffet restaurant where you went if you were half board. We were B & B but went a couple of nights when they had a gorgeous BBQ on - huge fish and steaks cooked to perfection. There was a normal restaurant called Sea Breezes which served a wide variety of things - pizza, pasta, fajitas, chicken dishes, soup and everything was reasonably priced. Then there was Sun downers which was mainly a bar but served light bites, and finally, our favourite restaurant was the posh one, called The Harbour. Although slightly more expensive than the others, we thought it was worth it. We had rack of lamb, fillet steaks and king prawns and all were absolutely fabulous.
The staff at the resort were all great, very friendly and very attentive. The roomboy came and cleaned the room twice a day, the bed was always nicely made no matter how many midday naps you had in it! The mini bar was stocked up and the hotel manager always had time to stop and chat.
There was an internet "cafe", more like a room really, but don't expect much as it's pretty slow! It's more than adequate if you just want to send a couple of emails home though and it's very cheap, around $2 for an hour I think.
The resort ran various trips and activities, you could do watersports but I'm not a big fan myself so I don't know exactly what was on offer. We did do some kayaking though which was great. You could also go on excursions to the capital city, to different resorts, to snorkel or to watch dolphins. We did the dolphin watching and went to Male, the capital city and both excursions were wonderful, would recommend them!
The island does offer diving too and has it's own dive school. Again, I don't know too much about this as I don't dive but I heard nothing but positive comments about it while we were there and it seemed to be very professionally run.
One thing I wouldn't recommend at Bandos is walking through the centre of the island. All of the staff live in the centre and it is like being transported to a third world country. There are little shacks with corregated iron roofs, and it smells of rubbish and is just generally awful. In contrast to the rest of the island, it is crazy how the staff live and it makes you feel quite sad (and a little guilty). Having said that, I think working at a resort is a pretty good job in the maldives and they did all seem to have the latest mobile phones and things! Make sure you take plenty of dollars to tip the staff, as a couple of dollars might not be much to you but makes a big difference to them.
I think that is everything covered! Bandos is a gorgeous resort which I would go back to in a heart beat. When I left, I really felt like crying. Normally after 2 weeks holiday, I am ready to return home but after 2 weeks at Bandos, I was ready to move there forever! I would recommend this island to anyone, do not be put off by any negative reviews you read, nobody can please everyone. You won't regret going to this island... it's perfect in every way.
This is one of Maldives largest resort.