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Reviewed 4 April 2018

Bandos….. so many things to share. In a nutshell…. An amazing resort!

We are a family of 4 (children aged 16 and 10 years old) and have specific requirements to stay together in 1 water villa type of room. We’ve researched a lot and learned that most of the resorts have a strict policy on room occupancy (maximum of 3). Water villa is the most expensive type. We’ve inquired to accommodate us in 1 room but instead most resorts recommend 2 rooms for a family of 4, which is not ideal for a family with 2 kids. It makes us think that resorts go for maximizing profit above all else. Bandos is one of the few that allows 4 people in a water villa big and spacious enough while reasonably priced compared to other water villa type of resorts. Based on Tripadvisor reviews and from recommendation from friends, we decided to stay at Bandos.

LOCATION/TRANSPORT:

Transportation is charged on top of your accommodations. Pick up is right in front of the Male Airport, Kiosk 2. Once you exit the arrival hall you proceed to the kiosk of Bandos. You will then be transported by speed boat and it takes only 15 minutes (one of the advantages of the resort is the proximity to the airport). Other resorts we looked at would entail you to ride a seaplane costing USD350 – 400 per person. Usually, resorts far from Male will require seaplane + speed boat or a domestic flight + speed boat. If you have a specific resort location in mind or an atoll in mind, suggest to check the mode of transportation and schedule to the resort before booking your air tickets. This is a big consideration. Not only is the seaplane more expensive but also would entail you to have another lay over since these are scheduled. This adds up to your transport time. Coming from a long flight, it’s so much more convenient to hop on the speedboat and be in Bandos in 15 minutes.

You’ll also have to consider your flight schedule. Bandos did not offer exclusive speed boat transfer. You’ll be travelling with other guests so they will schedule the pick up and return according to the common time convenient for your batch. Our flight was 11am and had to leave at 8:15 because there were others leaving with an earlier flight.

ROOMS:

We stayed 4 nights total (2 nights in a Jacuzzi Beach Villa and 2 nights in a Water Villa). We initially booked a Deluxe room but were upgraded to a Jacuzzi Beach Villa since the resort was 100% booked. Thankful we were upgraded.

Lucky us as the Jacuzzi Beach Villa was big, had a big Jacuzzi and 2 separate showers. It had a second floor where the parents can stay (while the 2 kids stayed at the ground floor). Only complaint here was that our Villa was located far away from the Beach (Room 337). The advantage of this though is the nearness to the Gallery Restaurant where the buffet for all inclusive/full board/half board meal plans take place.

The Water Villa we next stayed in was absolutely amazing….. big villa with a huge living room, bedroom and bathroom. There’s a bit of a dining area (small table that accommodates 3) and an extra toilet apart from the huge toilet and bath. The bedroom is huge and spacious enough that we had 2 single beds for the kids and a king size bed for us parents. The bathroom had a great Jacuzzi with a view overlooking the ocean. The sundeck with lounge is spacious enough to just enjoy the exclusivity to the sea as you have your own staircase going directly to the sea. The view is fantastic for both sunrise and sunset. It also has another shower in the sun deck area and your own life vests (if your not in the water villa, you will need to go to the dive centre to borrow your life vests). It also came with complimentary bottle of champagne and fruits. It was luxurious but definitely worth every dollar paid. There were only 2 Water Villas in Bandos so make sure to book early to have it.

What’s good with Bandos is that they have several room types to choose from, depending on you preference and budget. If you want to splurge, definitely take the Water Villa. If you want really good value for money, take the Standard Rooms. These are the cheapest but are within a few steps from the best beach spot in the island. The limitation though is it only allows 3 persons. For 4 persons, definitely take the Jacuzzi Beach Villa (but not room 337 since it’s the furthest from the beach). If you’re looking for the cheapest rooms that can fit 4 persons, you can book the Deluxe room. However the nearest beach is small and rocky. It’s a way off from the better beach area and is quite a walk as well to the restaurants. If you don’t mind the walk, then this is friendly on the wallet. The Garden Villa can fit only 3 persons and is just across the swimming pool and nearby the beach. There is also 1 Jacuzzi Pool Villa (room 175) You have your own private pool facing the beach. There is a PRIVATE sign but it doesn’t really give you the privacy because of the open space in the beach where everyone can just see you. If you want privacy then this is not for you. It’s facing directly the beach where a lot of people stay or pass by. It would be better off if you take the Water Villa for privacy and exclusivity.

FOOD:

Bandos offers 4 types of food packages that takes place in the Gallery Restaurant.

B&B - Breakfast buffet included.
Half Board – breakfast and with lunch or dinner buffet included (water only for drinks)
Full Board – breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet included (water only for drinks)
All Inclusive – Full Board (plus a selection of drinks which you can take in the swimming pool bar, the Huvan (restaurant near the dive centre), See Breeze (near the harbor) and the Karaoke Bar. There are 2 other restaurants – Thai and Japanese food but we were not able to check if all inclusive drinks are allowed).

We took the full board for 3 nights and the half board for the last night (we wanted to indulge and try something different before we left).

I would recommend taking either the Half or Full board, depending on your preference. Taking just the B&B is not advisable since the food and drinks are quite expensive and you may even end up spending the same as or more than having the half or full board. We just wanted something sure and simple and we didn’t want to worry about food budget or what to eat so we took the full board. For us, we find it the most cost effective since we are heavy eaters. The price difference of half and full board is around USD25 per head per day. If you eat ala-carte, you most probably would end up with that amount as well but with a single portion. If you include drinks then maybe you would spend even more.

If you are an alcoholic drinker, then its also best to take the all inclusive. But if you don’t really drink alcohol, you can forego this. Filtered water is served during the meals and you have water provided in the rooms. They usually provide 3 big water bottles in the Jacuzzi Beach Villa and 4 big water bottles in the Water Villa. I have seen from other reviews that for the cheaper rooms, they only provide 2 small bottles of water. I recommend though that you buy water from Male and bring it to the resort. Water costs USD3 per small bottle so it adds up.

For the Buffet, they serve a decent range of dishes every meal. They have most items that are a constant part of the buffet and rotate around 25% of the other food. They offer 4 main stations (appetizer/salads, mains, carving/cooking station and dessert). They would usually offer a couple of different dishes per station to have variety. If you are staying less than 5 days it should be fine. But if you’re staying more than that, then it may be repetitive. To balance it out, you may want to take full board for the first few days and switch to half board on the latter days.

For ala-carte options, they have Sundowners bar (perfect place to watch the sunset), Sea Breeze café (overlooking the ocean), Koon (Thai) and Sand Bar (drinks with live performances).


ACTIVITIES:

Bandos has 4 main activity Centre’s:

Water Sports Centre – This is where you have the water activities like kayaking, banana boat ride, catamaran, wind surfing, jet skiing, etc. Best to book ahead for the activities. We tried the snorkeling trip for 1 hour and tried to see the turtles. We did see a couple of turtles but the water was murky. We were told that the currents at that time contributed to the murkiness. But most of the time they say the waters are clear. To be honest, we wished we didn’t take this since there were lots of fishes in the nearby reefs in Bandos.

Riya – for the excursions like glass bottom boat, fishing, etc. We took the glass bottom boat ride and were disappointed since the waters were murky and we didn’t see that much fishes. We were told afterwards that the mornings are clearer than the afternoon (now we know).

Dive Bandos – We are not scuba divers but based from the reviews, they provided good services. We did try to take the intro dive but found out that you cannot dive less than 24 hours before riding a plane, and we were leaving the following day. Again, now we know better.

Clubhouse – They have a good gym, table tennis (free), soccer pitch, badminton, squash and tennis courts. Good to have these options available. They also have a place for the young kids playground as well. It would be best to bring water if your kids go to play. The table tennis area and the kids playground is not air conditioned and is quite hot.

SERVICE:

The staffs are excellent. It really makes a difference if the staffs are all on the same page and provide good customer service and are sensitive to the customers needs. Everyone was courteous and helpful. Their English was generally good. I was amazed by the staff’s efficiency. Everyone had their own task and they do it well. We appreciated the friendliness and take it easy attitude of the Maldivians.

REEF/MARINE LIFE:

The reefs surrounding Bandos, for our family, was acceptable. We are not scuba divers nor snorkelers and simply wanted to enjoy the marine life. There are lots of fishes nearby. The corals however are not as colorful as those seen in the ads and I am guessing the corals in the other resorts further off Maldives may be more colorful. That being said, the corals in Bandos are not dead (unlike other nearby resorts from what I heard). Bandos claims they have a good reef and is presently undergoing a reef restoration project. We cannot compare as we’ve never been to other islands in Maldives. However, we have observed that other boats dock in the Bandos reef for snorkeling and the staff said they are from other resorts. If you go further off the reefs the corals are colorful and alive. But we were fine with what Bandos has and marine life is bountiful enough for our tastes. Both our children thoroughly enjoyed snorkeling and seeing the fishes. We in fact saw a manta ray right on the beach near the sands, a school of fish (at least a hundred swimming and synchronized in one direction) near the reef, and a baby shark near the Huvan restaurant.

ONLY COMPLAINT:

The only complaint we had was that our room key was deactivated by 12noon on 2 successive days. It was found out that since we had 3 different bookings (2 nights Jacuzzi Beach Villa, 1 night Water Villa full board and 1 night Water Villa half board) the key card they gave us was deactivated at 12 noon automatically. We had to go all the way to the reception just to resolve this. The 1st time it happened it was fine, but the 2nd time was a disappointment. They failed to spot this and this could have been avoided as the staff told me they could have given us 1 key with all the 3 accesses and didn’t need to change keys. Or for that matter, at least they should have extended the checkout time from the standard 12 noon to at least 2pm and then we exchanged keys afterwards. It was simply overlooked.

Though this is not a big deal but just a minor inconvenience. Jawad, the front desk staff, handled it well and apologized for the mess up. He even sent us off to our speed boat upon check out and apologized again.

OTHERS:

1. All spending’s during your stay will be charged when you check out.
2. USD is the currency used here. Do note that they will charge you 24% (not sure of the exact amount) in taxes on top of the published rates.
3. Tipping is not expected but if you find someone who has delighted you, then it’s best to give them. You can give it at the end of your stay.
4. Best beach spot is between Sundowners bar and the Jacuzzi Pool Villa. When you see the hammock in the sea, that’s where the best spot for kids swimming and snorkeling. The lounge chairs in this area are filled up quickly after breakfast so it’s recommended to reserve your place early.
5. Life jackets for snorkeling are provided free of charge and you can return it upon check out. You can also rent or buy snorkeling equipment in Bandos but are quite expensive. You are better off brining your own equipment.
6. Make sure to double-check your final bill. Ours had a Heineken charged to us, which we did not consume.
7. Having a nice camera is a must as the sights/views are amazing! If you would want to have underwater photos, best to bring your own camera water pouch (if your camera/phone is not water proof). For the more serious people, make sure to bring your selfie stick, camera stabilizer and go pro. Make sure to back up all photos/videos daily just to be sure.

TIPS:

1. Try to buy water from Male and bring them to the resort. Water is only provided at meal times and a couple of bottles are provided in the room but this would be insufficient to last you the whole day. It costs USD3 per small water bottle. Quite a sum if you add it all up.
2. Standard Rooms have the best beach location.
3. Jacuzzi Beach Villa is the best value for money for 4 persons.
4. Take either the half board or full board plan depending on your appetite.
5. Inform the staff if you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary and they would provide you with a sweet surprise.
6. Bring your own snorkeling equipment.
7. Bring your own slippers. There are no slippers in the room.

PRO’S:

1. Relatively affordable and value for money resort
2. 15 minutes from the airport
3. Wonderful staff
4. Great marine life
5. Good beach
6. Lots of activities
7. Great Jacuzzi Beach Villa
8. Even greater Water Villa

EBI (Even Better If)
1. Boat trip transfer back to the airport could have more scheduled trips as the only boat ride available in the morning was at 815am which meant over 2.5 hours wait for our 11:10am flight.
2. Would have been better if there were more stretches of beach. The other side of the island (Deluxe rooms) doesn’t really have a good beach to speak of so most of the guests converged on the same stretch of beach.

Over all, Bandos is a wonderful resort with great staff, good beach, nice facilities and activities. Very much recommended especially for families. Truly a once in a lifetime experience that the whole family will remember!

Room Tip: Standard Rooms have the best beach location.
  • Stayed: April 2018, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
9  Thank Moks1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bandosmv, General Manager at Bandos Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 5 April 2018

Dear Moks1,

Thank you for taking your valuable time to jot down all the beautiful details on our resort. We had a great time reading into the highlights of your stay.

We are glad to hear after a lot of research you decides to visit Bandos. We are located only 15 minutes from the airport, making it even more convenient for families travelling together, saving you time and cost on transportation.
Our departures are scheduled to leave to airport with 3 hours ahead of flight time as it is the standard time advised by the Airports company, to ensure guests have enough time to check in.

Our water Villas are the resorts most luxurious accommodation of which we have only two, we ensure the services provided are of value to our customers. The villa ensures privacy and exclusivity as mentioned.

We have Meal packages suitable for all our guests. Meal packages are entitled to the main restaurant only. If you would like to experience the ala carte restaurants you may either opt to Half Board or Bed and Breakfast. If you purchase All Inclusive and would like to experience ala carte restaurants, a discount of 20% will be given except at the Japanese Restaurant.

All our restaurants offer uniqueness and a beautiful view to enjoy your food.

The visibility of the water changes according to the wind and weather. We have a beautiful house reef where you can explore an abundance of marine life only a few meters away. Our reefs were damages by the El Nino current in 2016 and we are working towards a restorations project that is showing amazing results.

We are glad our associates were of excellent service to you during your stay, we aim to ensure our guests are happy and comfortable during their holiday and would help them with any assistance they require.


All the remarks and your feedback is truly appreciated. We will be looking into the mentioned area's and improving our services for future guests.

We will be extending your gratitude to Jawad for handling the situation effectively.

Our taxes include a service charge of 10% and TGST of 12%.

Thank you for staying with us and writing this wonderful review, I am sure it would be of a lot of help to our fellow travellers. We hope your family had a great time with us! We would love to see you again in the near future.

Best regards,
Ismail Rasheed.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 April 2018

We enjoy our holiday over all. Roger was always very kind and helpful during meal times. Thank you very much! We recommend to choose all inclusive as missing lunch would be a shame. We enjoyed having a drink at Huvan Bar watching the sunset. Best was the hammock in the sea!

Stayed: March 2018, traveled as a couple
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank k0chhh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bandosmv, General Manager at Bandos Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 5 April 2018

Dear k0chhh,

Thank you for taking your time to review our island for our fellow travelers. We are glad to hear your stay with us has been indeed wonderful.

We will convey your gratitude to Roger for being of excellent service to to you. All Inclusive option is very convenient as it includes all your meals and selected beverages at all the bars.

Thank you for staying with us, we would love to see you again in the near future.

Best regards,
Ismail Rasheed.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 2 April 2018

We had a wonderfull time at Bandos Maldives - just cant get over it. Myself & my wife stayed at the Resort for 7 days in Feb 2018 and can say we were very pleased and recommend this place to anyone. We arranged the Airport Speedboat Transfers with Bandos Team and all went seamless. The Island offers excellent facilities and the staff is very welcoming and friendly. Most importantly the entire staff is professional, polite and always ready to go extra mile to help.

A big thankyou to some wonderful staff who really looked after us expecially Abdullah (John) at the Sea Breeze restaurant, Lisa at the Excursion centre and cannot forget Amar & Jawadd for all their help at the reception area. All these people were so down to earth and provided exceptional service every time we approached.

Island had various Restaurants to choose from with all types of world cuisine. We only booked a Standard Room with Breakfast. Room was big enough and had good facilities. We decided not to go for All inclusive as we wanted to try different restaurants and order our food of choice after reading the previous reviews here at Tripadvisor and can say that was the best decision we made. Our favourite place were the Sea Breeze Restaurant although all other restaurant were good too including Thai Restaurant and the Huwan Restaurant.

I found the Island big enough for walking around in 25 mins or so and has white lush and clean sand flagship beaches with blue lagoon waters in most stretches so plenty of places to tan, snorkel and relax. My favourite place was the "Hammock in the beach".

We aslso booked some excursions like Island Hopping and Dolphin spotting into deep Indian Ocean waters and had superb experience - all arranged very well by the Bandos Resort. Resort also had different night events throught each day during our 7 days of stay at the Bar Lounge including, Disco night, Karoake night, Cultural Event, Movie Night, DJ night and more.

Resort has various other facilities such swimming pool, Gym, Table Tennis, Sauna, Steam, Squash, badminton out of which we used most swimming pool area in the sunshine and drinks at the swiminng pool bar, gym and table tennis.

We also booked the 90 mins Signature Massage all in one (Indian, Swedish & Thai Massage Therapy) at the Orchid Spa at the end of our visit and it was the most relaxing experience worth every penny. I totally recommend the Signature Massage at the Orchid Spa.

Resort also offered various water adventure sport activities such as Scuba Diving, Snorkelling, JetSki, ParaSailing and various tour excursions available at extra charges but well worth trying some if you are going all the way to Maldives.

Also just a tip no need to carry much cash like US Dollars etc as everthing gets billed to your room number from Airport Transfers via Speed Boat, Food, Excursions, Drinks, Spa, Massage, Sports Activities etc. I carried some cash just for convinience but found at the end of the stay using the credit card is much easier. Just carry some USD's for tips or shopping if you want to go on Island Hopping tour excursion outside the resort Island.

I definitely recommend this place and a Big Thankyou again to the entire Bandos Team.

  • Stayed: February 2018, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank JSG111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bandosmv, General Manager at Bandos Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 3 April 2018

Dear JSG111,

Thank you for taking your valuable time to jot down this detailed review from your stay in Bandos Maldives! This review has been delightful.

We are located only 15 minutes from the airport, a hassle free transfer brings you to the island for your holiday to start immediately. We aim to provide exemplary hospitality to all of our guests.

We will convey your gratitude to Lisa, Amar, Jawad and John for making your stay even more wonderful.

Standard rooms are our most popular rooms due to its location and simplicity. Offering a great view right by the ocean with an easy access to our house reef. Sea Breeze restaurant is a great location to enjoy your food, the restaurant is also open for 24 hrs which means you can walk in anytime and place your order.

We are glad you enjoyed the landscaping of our island as we have many spots around the beach perfect for relaxing. We also have a Club House complex providing a lot of recreational activities to ensure our guests find enjoyment in them. Through out the week we have nightly entertainment at Sand Bar from DJ, Live Musics, Karaoke, Cultural Show and Movie Nights as well.

Our Spa is heavenly and has variety of treatments to choose from to enhance your relaxation during your holiday.

We also have a water-sports center with a lot of adventure water activities and even a fantastic diving center for a professional diving experience.

You will have the convenience of signing your bills and charging to your room so you need not carry cash with you all the time.

We hope your time with us has been indeed as wonderful as you have described. Thank you for staying with us, we would love to see you again in the near future!

Best regards,
Ismail Rasheed.

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Reviewed 2 April 2018

My friends and I were celebrating our milestone birthdays and wanted to have a relaxing vacation. From the time we arrived to the time we left, all of the staff made sure we were taken care of. We stayed at the beach, went on excursions (island hopping and the sunset dolphin cruise are must), and enjoyed all of the food the buffet had to offer.

Stayed: March 2018, traveled with friends
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank JJazz2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bandosmv, General Manager at Bandos Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 3 April 2018

Dear JJazz2018,

We are delighted to hear you had an wonderful celebration at our resort. Our associates ensure all our guests are taken good care of and are extended pleasant hospitality. We hope all the activities were fun filled experiences. Our chefs would be happy to hear the food offerings were enjoyed.

Thank you for staying with us. We would love to see you again in the near future!

Best regards,
Ismail Rasheed.

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Reviewed 2 April 2018

Overal a good Hotel in a great location. The Food in Gallary Restaurant was always the same (for lunch at dinner). For this reason we went to other restaurants, even tough we had booked Full Board. We would appreciate if there is a variation of Food such as implementing theme nights (e.g. Italian, Mexican, Thai...)

Stayed: March 2018, traveled as a couple
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Silvan L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bandosmv, General Manager at Bandos Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 3 April 2018

Dear Silvan L.

Thank you for taking your time to share your feedback from your recent stay with us. We value all your feedback to ensure further improvements in our services and products.

Your remarks will be passed on to our Chefs and will ensure for more varied food offerings.

We hope the rest of your experience have been wonderful.

Thank you for staying with us, we hope to see you again in the near future.

Best regards,
Ismail Rasheed.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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