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Last 5 reviews
Anna, Marco and Bea would like to say that the experience at Athuruga was fantastic!! Everything was perfect: the gorgeous room near the see, the paradise island, the white sand, the perfect service and the food... ottimo! Every person we met was like an old friend (Adam from the Diving Center, Titu from the grill, the young waiter and Hussain)! Thanks! See you soon!!
Lovely island but you need to know what to expect
We spent 1 week on this island in January. It's approximately 250 meters by 250m (you can walk around the whole island in 5-10 minutes). This was my first Maldivian island resort experience. We booked the holiday through a travel agent in the UK. Turns out January is the peak season so it was very expensive. I wanted to share my experience and thoughts for other people to see. 1) Travelling to and from this island. Athuruga is one of the island’s furthest away from the capital Male. Travelling by Dhoni (Maldivian boat) takes about 7 hours. Therefore taking the seaplane is the only sensible option. You check in for the seaplane at the airport when you arrive. They weigh your check in luggage and give you boarding passes. One thing worth mentioning is luggage allowance is 20kg per passenger. You may be caught off guard if you arrived with a major airline such as Emirates and stuffed 32kgs in each bag as they allowed you to do so. Otherwise the journey to the hotel was only 30 minutes with some nice aerial view of the islands. The journey back took longer (50 minutes) because we stopped at another island to pick up some passengers. There are no set flight times so they make sure you don’t miss your flight. The seaplanes are only operated during the day time so if you have a 4 am flight back home you may have to leave your hotel the day before. 2) Time difference Athuruga is 1 hour ahead of Male which means if you have an early morning flight you can still easily catch your plane and have an extra hour of sleep 3) The island Small island with around 50-60 beach villas and around 20 water villas. about 250meters by 250 meters. I literally slow walked the whole perimeter within 10 minutes. Very quiet and tranquil. Mainly targeted at couples and singles. Great for honeymooning. There was only one kid on the whole island. I don’t think this would be the best place to bring small kids as there are islands with more children orientated activities, and Athuruga is not one of them. 4) Food and All inclusive We stayed at a Beach Bungalow which was all inclusive. There is literally one main buffet restaurant for beach villas and one main restaurant for water villas (although the website leads you to believe there are a number of restaurants that are part of the all inclusive deal). There is a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant which is NOT included in the all inclusive (and I wouldn’t call it a ‘restaurant’). The Teppanyaki was literally a bar with 12 seats and you have to book in advance (you can do it there on the day- it is not very popular) and if there are no bookings it simply won’t open. The food was very average and certainly not anything to write home about. You can also book a beach dinner for a romantic more isolated dinner with a different menu away from the restaurant at an extra cost and you can book the Maldivian experience with a separate Maldivian menu under a separate roof (again it’s only one table per night so not exactly a restaurant). We only tried the Maldivian experience as it was free of charge. Worth trying. Buffet food- every day there is a different theme Maldivian/Italian/Oriental etc. A few main dishes and desserts change according to the theme but there are always some stable menus. For example there is always a grill chef grilling whatever you want from chicken/beef/pork/fish no matter what the main theme is. I would always have some grilled beef as it tasted amazing. Cotellettas on Itialian day were especially great too. All in all it was a nice buffet restaurant. I never tried the restaurant special to the water villas as a Beach villa guest I had to pay extra for it. One peculiar thing was you did not have any freedom with seating. As they don’t want to move tables around they prepare a table for 2/4/6 or whatever you ask for (as you may wish to sit on the same table with your friends staying in other villas) and that’s it for the rest of the holiday - you are restricted to sitting at that spot for every single meal. My wife and I were given a table on day 1 which we particularly did not like, as we like sitting somewhere bright and this table was in a darker/dimmer part of the restaurant. On day 2 we tried sitting somewhere else and they were really upset they just would not let us sit anywhere else even though we were the first ones for the breakfast and all the tables were available!! It was really awkward and uncomfortable for us - not something you would like to feel on holiday. We made a huge fuss and at lunchtime they gave us a different table as the room using that table checked out (which we were allowed to use for the rest of our holiday). So it didn’t end so badly and you have the same table neighbours all the time and get to form friendships with them. 5) Villas Beach villas are on the beach only a few meters away from the water, and then there are the famous water villas. They were all great. Cleaned twice a day. Water villas were bigger and they had wifi. Beach villas did not have any wifi. In my opinion it is not worth staying in water villas for more than a couple of nights. If you are staying for a week, split it as 2 nights in water villas and 5 nights in beach villas. It will be cheaper and you still get to experience water villas. 6) Excursions There are daily entertainments such as going for fishing, going to see turtles, dolphins, mantra rays and whale sharks. Most excursions are half day trips and you pay around 70-120 dollars per person. Obviously you can’t control the nature so seeing the sea creatures is not guaranteed. In January we went to see the turtles/dolphins and mantarays and we came back not seeing either (despite it being a popular season for mantarays). It was a bit frustrating. We also went for a boat fishing trip and ended up going around for 5 hours only catching one single tuna. So it definitely was not worth the money. It’s a shame that the watersports team were not more informative. 7) Diving and House reef Athuruga has one of the best house reefs, we paid money for an excursion to see turtles and did not see any however we went for snorkelling on our house reef the next day and we saw 2 right outside our villa!. We saw some vibrant coral life, eagle rays and reef sharks in our first few days while snorkelling. There is a diving center on the island. We dove right outside the house reef and enjoyed it a lot. It was great. So if you want to experience scuba diving as a first timer and still want to see lots of underwater life, this is the place for you. The instructor was excellent. 8) Night time entertainment and wifi There is some sort of entertainment on most nights, on Friday there was Maldivian song and dance, one night there was a presentation from a marine biologist about the Manta rays and one night there was a David Attenborough documentary on the screen. Each night event ended around 10pm. So do not expect much of a night life. Athuruga is an island for peace and quiet. Wifi is available in all water villas, the bar and the reception. The signal does not reach some parts of the restaurant and there is no wifi in the beach villas. This may be a deal breaker for some but great for those who are looking to isolate themselves from the world. 9) Manager and staff The hotel manager Stefano was a great man. He eats with the guests and checks up on them. On our first day we had a few logistic issues, he talked to us for an hour and sorted them all out. We were very pleased with how everything was handled in the end. Staff members are very friendly. You are served by one waiter throughout the whole holiday 3 times a day. They get to know you and you can form a rapport. There is continuity and you feel looked after. This may be important for some but not so necessary for others. The watersports team were a little amateur and not as informed as one would expect about the marine life and excursions. 10) Summary In summary, this is a luxurious resort island. If you like some romantic calm holiday, this is the place for you. It is not very family friendly and it lacks for entertainment for kids and nightlife. Food is average. Excursions can be expensive and hit and miss due to nature. However this island has one of the best house reefs, we saw some vibrant coral life, turtles, eagle rays and reef sharks in our first few days while snorkelling. Scuba diving in the house reef was also more than enough to see the underwater life for us. The staff and manager were great. We had some issues that were very important for us on the first day and they were all fixed. Depending on what you expect from your Maldivian holiday, Athuruga may be the place for you. We personally found it overpriced for what it was during January.
Second stay on this stunning island, sunset side water villa with views to the horizon. Large, clean room with sun deck area and steps into the sea fringing the reef. Amazing snorkeling with an extraordinary range of sealife, we went every day - often twice - so just watch the sunburn. Food is high quality; breakfast delivered to your deck so you can eat as informally as you like, lunch and dinner in the over water restaurant with four course a la carte choices. If you like seafood and Italian themed cuisine it's perfect, also good vegetarian and vegan options with decent wine too. The staff here and throughout the resort are charming and attentive. Props to Ziyadh, Ali and Claudia whose attitudes made our stay even more relaxing. Also worth mentioning the manager Stefano who personally reassured and refunded us after a shambolic (third party) excursion. It's the kind of resort where you just hang out, soak up some rays, gaze at fish and eat good food. If you want loud music, animation teams and constant distractions (those days are behind me now..) then this probably isn't your place. There are organised events on the island in the evenings but we didn't sign up so I can't really comment. Also there's no pool, this shouldn't be a thing with the Indian ocean all around you but some people look for a pool on their holidays. The island itself is small but it does have a bar, a buffet, a spa and a really good dive centre with quality staff. Go for the manta ray or shark dives to see some of the most beautiful creatures in their natural environment. I would highly recommend this resort and, yes, the water villas are expensive but you get seclusion and privacy with the option to pad down the boardwalk to the beautiful beach any time. Final thought: sunsets from the water restaurant bar (open to all) are not to be missed with a cocktail in your hand :)
Gorgeous honeymoon destination
Travelled here in October for a week for our honeymoon. Stayed most of the week in a beach villa but then had 1 night in an ocean villa. Over all: The island is stunning. Very small - you can do a circuit of the shore all the way round in about 10 mins- but importantly you still manage to have a lot of privacy whether you're staying in a beach or ocean villa. A general point about the Maldives and not specific to Diamonds Athuruga: Be aware that nearly all the resorts in the Maldives require a seaplane transfer which you have to book separately and is US$1000 for a round trip for a couple. You need to budget this in on top of the cost of the resort. It's a nice ride but is kind of like a bus in that one plane will visit about 3 resorts so there are several take offs and landings (unless you're their first drop off) and lots of people getting on and off. It's also not hugely pleasant if the weather is bad- If you are a very nervous flier then you should consider one of the resorts that you can reach by speedboat. Food & drink: The food in the mAin restaurant is buffet style, with some foods available every day while others are rotated daily according to a theme. The food is absolutely delicious, especially the barbecued fish and meat. Loads of options: local cuisine, Indian style, pizza and pasta, plus rotating themed meals. You would be fine if you're fussy, a vegetarian or trying to be healthy because of all the options. We ate in the over water restaurant for one meal and decided not to return as it had a lot less choice and was basically serving the same food as you would get in the buffet, just a lot less of it! And you couldn't keep going back for more like you can in the buffet :-) The drinks were great, much better quality than most all inclusive resorts I've been to. They also serve Aperol Spritz which is my favourite drink. Beach villa verdict: Lovely room, authentic feeling decor. Not the biggest room in the world but perfectly adequate. Was lovely to be able to sit outside and have a view of the sea and beach. There are only one row for villas around the shore so you have an unobstructed view and other people rarely come near your villa or where you are sat on the beach. Plus points vs ocean villa are they are easier to walk to and from the bar and restaurant if you're here, as the walk is quite long from the ocean villas. Also, you get to sunbathe on the beach much more easily and can sit in the shallow part of the sea and read or have a drink which you can't do in the ocean villa. Personally, I felt these are much better value for money than the ocean villas. Ocean villa: The room is huge and feels very special. And the terrace/balcony area is very big too and far more luxurious than most of the terraces we saw in other resorts (that were like tiny shelves that only just fitted sun beds on and didn't always have steps into the sea). Access to the sea was easy, via steps and the sea was deep but still a gorgeous turquoise colour here. The terrace was covered on all sides by plastic canopies to protect you from wind and rain but there was a small section that could be retracted to allow sun in to allow you to sunbathe. If you are a sun tan junkie you might need to sit on the beach for part of the day as the beds here wouldn't be in full sun the whole time. One negative was that the canopies banged in the wind a lot at night. It didn't bother us but if you are affected by noise then it might trouble you when trying to sleep. The mini bar was free but wasn't great as it only contained a couple of beers (a few bottles of wine too but I'm not a wine drinker) so really we still had to go to the bar for a drink which isn't ideal if you want to relax on your terrace. Lastly... wifi! It was terrible! But this made me happy as it meant my husband couldn't spend hours watching TV or sport. For once we really managed to switch off from the outside world and just enjoy where we were, which really is as it should be when you are in the Maldives :)
Wonderful place! Best holiday in my life.
Wonderful place! Best holiday in my life. The nature it's beyond amazing. Staff is so friendly. The quality food is extraordinary. Whole resort is so clean. We were so relaxed and as we have visited many places in the world, we all together decided this was the best place we have ever been too. Thank you everyone!
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