Banyan Tree Maldives Hotel

, Male, Maldives
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Banyan Tree Maldives Hotel

, Male
Vabbinfaru, North Male Atoll - Male - Maldives Hotel Website | 443147
375 Traveller

Reviews - Banyan Tree Maldives Hotel

Historical Traveller Reviews of Banyan Tree Maldives Hotel

No shoes required!

from forestgreen
My husband and I selected Banyan Tree after reading the reviews on this site and on the recommendation of friends who stayed at other Banyan Tree resorts. We were not disappointed! We were delighted by our villa which was outfitted with various unexpected luxuries (his & her toiletries kits, incense, oils) and was situated in a beautiful location. The air conditioning worked well, but was confined to the bedroom, as the bathroom was open-air. (I should note that we found ants regularly in the outdoor areas – as the man who showed us our room had told us we would – but the villa contained cans of bug spray to combat this issue.) The outdoor shower was like something out of Gilligan’s Island, but it worked well and was a fun feature. We slept with the doors to the beach open a few nights and enjoyed the sounds of the water lulling us to sleep.

The water was lovely – an unbelievable shade of blue – with sea cucumbers along the lagoon floor and schools of fish and some small black tip reef sharks (mostly at sunrise/sunset and not a concern … more fascinating). Previous comments regarding there being a rough and calm side of the island are quite accurate. I don't know if it changes with the seasons, but during our Feb. visit, we were happy to find our villa (#14) was on the calm side which offered easy snorkeling practice, and made it easy to relax on the floats stored by our beach deck. Outside the reef surrounding the island and lagoon offered more spectacular snorkeling (at least to us as beginners!). In addition to taking the snorkeling excursion (for a fee), you also have the option of taking the boat over to the sister resort island (Angsana) where the snorkeling was quality and offered different things to see.

In addition to the sea creatures, we were delighted to find that there was a heron that paced the coast in the morning and perched on the pier at night, and a chicken (!?!) that roamed the beach. A variety of crabs appeared on the beach at various times of day and it was fun to examine the rocks and coral around the perimeter of the island to see what other creatures we might find.

No guests wear shoes at the resort, and we wasted space packing pairs of shoes that we never wore.

The food offerings were wonderful, both in quality and variety. The breakfast choices were wide-ranging and fresh (we particularly enjoyed the fruit bar) and the lunch buffet had a revolving theme so it didn't get repetitive. The dinner choices were different each night and offered just the right quantity of food. (It should be noted that although we had a full board option, the drinks -- soda, beer, wine, champagne -- all came at a price (e.g., $4 for a glass of Coke).) We didn’t have much luck with the mixed drinks at the bar – we found them to be either too weak or too strong – but the wines and champagnes were very nice and the recommendations on the menu each night were spot on.

We enjoyed a sunset dinner on the sandbank for our anniversary dinner. A group of 3 staff (1 chef + 2 others to drive the boat) took us by motorboat (15 minute ride) to the sandbank (approx. 200 yards long) where a 4th person was already there setting up. Beach towels were laid out on bamboo blanket for us to lie back and enjoy the sunset. Dinner was served nearby at a table situated a distance from the cooking area. The food was delicious and it was truly a memorable occasion. The staff did not rush us at all. I would note that there is no bathroom on the beach, though there is a slope to the beach and I suppose you could figure something out in an emergency!

The spa offers some wonderful signature treatments, particularly the Rainmist Revival. The treatment rooms are open-air and we enjoyed the natural relaxing sounds of the island as a wonderful alternative to the CDs of the same noises that we’re accustomed to hearing at home. The lovely Thai women who provide the treatments are wonderfully professional and truly expert at what they do.

The gift shop was well stocked with certain things that may have been left behind and we enjoyed browsing the clothing and sarongs, pottery and other Banyan Tree items. Though they were “gift shop prices” we didn’t feel they were unreasonable.

We were treated very warmly by all who we encountered. The staff made good suggestions and accommodated our requests. We were delighted to find small gifts on our bed after dinner on some nights and are still enjoying some of the incense they left for us.

Although it didn’t take away from our enjoyment of this resort, I should mention the hospitality room that we were offered on our last day (our flight from Male was scheduled for 2am the next morning, but we had to leave our villa by 11am; the staff scheduled our boat ride back to Male for midnight). Not that we were expecting something comparable to our villa, but the room truly felt like an afterthought. We enjoyed the beach and the other Banyan Tree offerings to minimize our time in it. I would suggest booking a multi-hour treatment at the spa if you run into this situation, because the room is much less convenient to the beach and have fewer amenities than what you’ll be used to.

In sum, we will definitely return to Banyan Tree in the near future. Our only dilemma is whether to return to the Maldives where we have fond memories, or whether we should try a different location!

Like no other place. Go if you possibly can.

from ChinaInnovator
I stayed at the Banyan Tree Maldives in November/December of 2005. If you are fortunate enough to make the journey, you will be very well rewarded.

The Basics: In the Maldives, each resort is developed on its own island. The result is that each hotel is provided with its own piece of ideal tropical island to work with. The result is that literally everything except the fish or lobster has to be brought in from elsewhere. The fact that you will suffer from a lack of nothing while there makes it all the more remarkable. The room opens up onto the beach, depending on where you are you can see either the sunset or the sunrise from your bed. Privacy is also well addressed, since even though space is limited care is taken with respect to the placement of outdoor showers. Everything is done from the perspective of comfort, and well thought out at that. The hotel website would be well served by larger pictures of the rooms, as they really are outstanding and the small photos don’t serve them as well as they should.

Food/drink: Excellent, local focus on seafood as well as European/Asian standards for those who don’t want to try something new. Very good bread is served at breakfast, and there is enough variety so that you don’t wind up with hotel ‘buffet fatigue’ which can happen elsewhere. One opportunity worth commending is the room service. Once you realize that the chances to have Maldivian lobster are few, ordering it for lunch doesn’t seem overly extravagant. Once you’ve had it once, then you start looking forward to it the next day. And the next. One note on value here, as the hotel really deserves praise on this point. It is a common practice in hotels today to use the incidentals as an opportunity to gouge the visitor. The Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego is a particularly unfortunate example of this mindset, where everything is used as an opportunity to separate the guest from whatever currency they happen to use. Strangely enough, a thousand dollar stay for me can be ruined by memories of a seven dollar diet Coca-Cola bill from the minibar, something that fortunately does not happen at the Banyan Tree. No matter how you pay your bill at the Banyan Tree the price will not come cheap, but there is value with price paid. Literally everything there has to be flown in from elsewhere, but the hotel to its credit is very fair with its pricing structure. When you raid the minibar (as I wound up doing often) you do so with the feeling of getting value for what you pay, rather than getting taken advantage of which is very common elsewhere. A small point, but one which actually made an exceptional place stand out even further. Instead of trying to do lunch on the cheap, the absence of price gouging (not cheap, but fair) made me happy to grab another beer and order in the lobster yet again. By the way, don’t even try to carry in any duty free bottles. Bags are x-rayed on the way in to the country (something I’ve never seen before) and it’s just not worth the trouble.

Service: In its own way and style, the hotel service is comparable other places I’ve been to like the Villa d’Este and Boyer Les Crayeres. That this is done on the other side of the world makes it all the more enjoyable. The management of the hotel, overseen by Bodo Klingenberg, is done with an ease reflective of great competency. He has a presence of someone who not only was educated at Oxford but is far too tactful to ever actually mention it. The ease and outstanding competency is carried on by Ali and others there. Everyone there seems genuinely willing to help while having a good time in doing so. This is a remarkable place, which is due to the hard work of the people there as much as it is owing to the location. The net effect is that an excellent vacation is made even better.

Location: It should be said that the hotel has an ecological program that is more than marketing. Interestingly enough, due to their caretaking the hotel reef was better than others outside of the atoll. The location is perfect, the water just outside your room is ideal for floating and doing nothing at all. If you want to go snorkeling, just keep swimming and you’ll see what you want to find.

Criticisms: Take a look at the other reviews and you may reach the same conclusion which I did. Any problems found at the Banyan Tree Maldives are those you bring with you. The absence of things like a television was an advantage, not a drawback.

Conclusion: Before leaving, I spent many hours researching the comparable hotels in the Soneva/Gili category on Tripadvisor and elsewhere, and spent many hours more concerned over which was the right choice. My first contact with the Banyan Tree Maldives took away any doubt, by the middle I didn’t even know why I had been concerned in the first place. When I returned, a friend I have sailed with in Tahiti, the Seychelles and Hawaii gave me a calendar with twelve months of photos of ‘tropical paradise’ and mentioned that I had just finished visiting them. Half of the photos were from the Banyan Tree Maldives, and included the place I was married there. As tropical paradise goes, I think they got the proportion just right, as there is no place else like the Banyan Tree Maldives. If you can find a way to afford the price, go. There is great value there, as well as a setting for experiences that will last for a lifetime. Today my wife and I will begin the process to book our return.

Magical!

from A TripAdvisor Member
I thought that as I had scoured this section before my visit to the Maldives and lapped up all the tips, I would have to repay the favour for others by posting my review of the Banyan Tree Maldives. So here goes…

We knew this was going to be a special holiday when we came out of the airport to get the boat to the island. All the tourists to other resorts seemed to be packed onto the traditional wooden boats, but we were ushered onto our own spangly speed boat, given cool towels and water and whisked away by the friendly and efficient staff. The first views of the island are breathtaking and we arrived with big smiles of anticipation that were not erased for the entire week.

The villa was wonderful, there were fresh flowers and incense and little gifts from time to time, big four poster bed, lovely relaxing music on the stereo and all in all a very comfortable room. The bathroom was great too, open air with outdoor and indoor shower and lots of beautiful Banyan Tree Spa products to use, so we smelt delicious all week! Outside we had our own front garden with gazebo overlooking the beach and at the back there was our sun deck and Jacuzzi. We had an Oceanview Villa, so not on the beach but with a view of the beach. I can see the pros and cons to both types of villa. Beachfront Villas are literally that, right on the beach which means you get a great view and sound of the sea from your windows, but the negative is that as people walk along the beach they tend to look in, therefore it’s not as private as it could be. Oceanview Villas are set back from the beach, so the view of the sea is not as good but it’s much more private and advisable especially if you have a tendancy to float around partially clothed! Again I think there are pros and cons to which side of the island is best, the South side has the bigger beach, but the North side is more private, at this level, these are minor details.

The staff were wonderful and attentive, and they all seemed to know your programme of events, asking how our sandbank breakfast was and if we’d enjoyed our in villa dining experience the previous night. Nothing seemed too much trouble. They even brought me Frangipani incense after I mentioned that I loved the smell.

We found the food wonderful, there was a lot to eat and we weren’t always able to sample everything but we loved the fresh fruit in the mornings, fresh fish and tiger prawns at lunch times and the great desserts in the evenings. There are great cocktails in the bar, and we found it too warm for wine, apart from champagne on the sunset pier one evening. We looked forward to our meals with great anticipation!

We snorkelled quite a lot, and did our first scuba dive, which was great. There were amazing fish, eels, lobsters, small sharks, rays but not being a diving expert I don’t know how it compares to other dive sites. It was cool just to watch the sharks and rays from the shore, they normally hang around the main pier in late afternoon, and if you go down to the end of the main pier after dinner you will see loads of fish, rays and can spot the bigger sharks.

I would recommend the In Villa Dining; where you have your own chef and waiter on your own stretch of beach, we had a lovely romantic evening under the stars. Our Sandbank Dinner was cancelled as it was too windy (I would recommend booking in advance as it gets booked up) so we had Sandbank Breakfast instead which was lovely and a fraction of the price, again I would recommend it. We also had the Intimate Moments where our villa was decorated with flowers, candles and incense, inside and out, magical!

Highlights: Champagne on the sunset pier watching the sun set, wallowing in the clear waters with the fish, private dining on our beach, Sandbank breakfast watching the sun rise, Caiprinhas and backgammon in the bar before dinner and star gazing on the beach. All in all it was a magical holiday, just pure relaxation and pampering, and although it seems kind of expensive, I think it was definitely worth it. I would totally recommend this place. I am currently auctioning off my right leg to fund our next trip back there!

Paradise discovered hidden on Earth.

from melwood
WARNING; This is a fairly comprehensive report. If you want everything to be a surprise on your trip don’t read it or ask somebody to read it and select what you want to know.

Where to start? ……Arriving at the airport we were met by a member of staff holding up a wooden sign with Banyan Tree and Angsana etched on it. This was already miles (or kilometres) better than ALL the other hotel signs which were either plastic or just modern. Then our trolley was taken over by another member of staff and we were led to the hotel stand a short 10 metres away where again we were happy to see it was a stand made out of wood and just looked superior to all around. Once the other couple who were checking in (to Angsana) arrived a few minutes later we were led to the pier a further 50 yards away. It had started raining when the plane landed and was quite windy. Fortunately it had stopped raining by the time we walked onto the pier or despite some cover we would have got wet. The Banyan Tree launch swung into the dock as we walked out on to the pier, clearly a pre-arranged signal. We were loaded onboard and led to white leather covered seats and given water and told how long the journey would be (25 minutes). The launch had seating for only 8 passengers plus tighter space for staff up front. If the launch had seating cinema style it could have taken 20-30 people comfortably. So you can imagine the comfort level.

The launch, charged out of the dock and straight out of the harbour sheltered by a wall and in a straight line headed for the Banyan Tree. TIP, if the sea is calm and you can stand up. You will see Baros, Angsana and Banyan Tree in a line in the distance after about 3-4 minutes travel and thereafter you head straight for them. As promised just under 25 minutes later we arrived at the jetty of the Banyan Tree. Staff already there to pick up our luggage and we were handed over to a receptionist on the pier. No chance or need to worry, everything was being dealt with on the film-star scale of service with no bags to carry.

A short walk to the open reception area, which by the way was always so well staffed that people asking about excursions/paying etc never seemed to have to wait at all. If you think about a maximum of 48 rooms when full and 2-3 receptionists pretty much day and night. Its not surprising they were so slick.

Led to our Jacuzzi beachfront villa, a two minute walk from reception we were shown the function of our villa. Three highlights which for me show attention to detail were that the very sexy and sophisticated looking CD player was already on with a hotel disk playing soft background music when we walked in the villa. The air-con also on, but interestingly enough controlled by a remote control. This meant when we were in bed and maybe got too hot or cold we were able to switch the air-con on or off from the gloriously comfortable bed with superb large fluffy pillows. Thirdly a letter from the head honcho welcoming us with a bottle of wine and fruit.

The room was magnificent. The layout just perfect and the bathroom with twin showers and twin glass bowl sinks just perfect. Outside our back garden/patio was surrounded by a high enough bamboo fence/wall - so nice was it I have photographed it and will be installing something similar in my garden back home. This fence/wall is a feature throughout the island and not only means more privacy, but is also attractive on the eye.

At the front of our villa there was a good size terrace with table and two chairs. The terrace walkway continued for 10 yards out to our cabana with its two loungers and small table. Just in front sat 2 more sun loungers and behind them sat a further 2 water rafts to sun yourself in the sea.

The cabana was surrounded by lush vegetation and faced due west with Angsana framed as the view a half mile away, with the most beautiful turquoise water separating the two islands and a white powder beach anywhere between 20 and 30 yards wide. Truly heaven on Earth.

The island in November is broadly speaking shaped like a fried egg with most of the beach on the East side and South side where the jetty/bar/diving locations lie. Interestingly enough I chatted most days with one of the two permanent “sand-shifters” who spend their time keeping the sand on the island. He explained that the normal shape of the island is “C” shaped where the points of the C point West and in fact we could see that the reef extended out beyond the Sunset pier almost as far as Angsana. Within my binocular range I could see work being carried out on Baros. Baros had huge sheds which looked industrial. If they stay after the work is completed it wont feel very tropical on that island.

It’s worth mentioning the wind direction. Again speaking to the very helpful “sand-shifter” who is clearly a weather expert with the job he does. He explained how the wind direction changes depending on the season. So in November the wind came from the West and made the waves (most days) higher on the West. By January the wind will be coming from the other side of the island. We had days when it was very calm and that was wonderful and we had days when it was quite windy and that was wonderful. The only time I would suggest you might prefer to be on the less windy side is when it’s raining and heavily overcast.

In November the villa’s close to the sunset pier have very little beach and made walking round the outside of the island difficult as you had to either walk across peoples paths or go into the sea.

The view from the villa’s from the Diving Centre to just before the sunset pier is to Angsana just half a mile away. The villas after the pier can see an island approx 5-10 miles away and nothing else. On the East you can see a few islands in the distance. When you get round to the landing pier side you can see in the distance Male. With my binoculars you could make out the skyscrapers. I don’t find a view of uninterrupted sea as appealing as one with islands.

We are not divers and in the case of her indoors she can’t swim. The hotel has good snorkelling equipment and life vest which you get for free. Don’t bother taking your own. We tended to walk out for about 50 yards in front of the dive centre to the entrance to the reef and stay in about 4 feet of water and feed the fish right there. The variety and numbers were incredible. On one occasion they got into such a feeding frenzy one bit my finger thinking it was bread. Sharp tiny teeth and it hurt. On one occasion in the 4 feet of water of the lagoon a 4-5 foot shark came wandering past me. I was surprised, OK scared witless to see one so big in the lagoon, but there it was. It looked at me then headed away. There were loads of small baby sharks about 2 feet long swimming by the beach every day, but this was a big one and the only time I saw such a big fish in the lagoon. From the pier we did see large sharks swimming in the deep water most days amongst the shoals of reef fish that congregate there. The hotel feed huge stingrays every day 5pm. TIP go at 4:30 before the staff and guests arrive and the stingrays are already there. If you have the nerve, go into the water and see if they get their nerve rays out and sting you. We didn’t dare.

Over the 14 nights we spent there we saw a quite a number of nationalities amongst the guests. No single country was over represented. The language tho’ was either English or English and if that didn’t work try English. Heaven help those that can’t read a menu in English as I saw some Orientals with no English skills having a hard time.

Breakfast and lunch were always a buffet. The choice and quality was truly superb. There was great variety of salads etc at lunch, but breakfast was same every day, but the choice covered pretty much all the needs of such a cosmopolitan group of guests. The lunch buffet varied between the in door area and the barbecue area closer to the beach.
Evening meals were fully table service and included choices for Entre and main dishes that changed every evening and were not repeated in our stay. There was also a complete menu choice which didn’t change all the time we were there as backup in case people didn’t like the various choices offered on the menu of the day, so pretty much everybody’s need would be covered. There was a vegetarian option which also changed every day. The servings at dinner were more haute cuisine, but we never left the table less than content.

The restaurant is split into 3 parts. The part undercover but open to the elements is in case it rains, but also benefits from a sandy floor as if outside. On a couple of occasions it started to rain (umbrellas available in stands at reception, every villa, entrance to restaurant and on the arrival jetty, so no problems). Guests were already seated at outside tables when rain started and everybody had to rush to the undercover section. At a time like that I expected there to be a shortage of available seating, but it didn’t happen. I counted 33 2 seater tables under cover. They did drag some tables together on the rare occasion a family or group dined together. Otherwise it was all couple dining. One of the outdoor areas close to the beach was used most lunchtimes and occasionally for a change for dinner as well. The other outdoor area was mainly used in the evening, but sometimes for breakfast and lunch. You never felt as if you were only eating in one place and we chose to sit at a different table almost every meal. The only complaint I have is that smoke from the smoking section wafted over to the non-smokers. I suggested to the manager they should move the smoking section based on the seasonal wind direction. The non smoking section was downwind and so smoke was blown my way. The staff noted me telling a smoker who had chosen to sit in the non smoking side who then lit up to put their cigarette out and they made sure on two occasions after that when smokers tried to sit near our table that they moved them back to “smokers alley”. I hate smoking.

The wine menu is expensive. The house white and red at $30 are plonk. You really need to spend $65 to get a decent wine. To give you a clue of where we are on wine. We drink £4.99 bottles from Tesco, so I don’t imagine we are connoisseurs!
A glass at the hotel was $5.50 and Tiger beer was $5.5 for a half.

The dress code for breakfast and lunch was T-shirts and shorts. I was surprised by the number of people, mostly oriental who arrived for dinner in shorts, T-shirts and occasionally with sideways facing baseball cap (OK one guy). Many also wearing the so-called Jesus sandals as well. On the other hand many guests wore designer summer wear including long dresses (on the women) and smart casual trousers and summer shirts on the men. Nearly all of the well dressed also sported no footwear. I assume the reason for those guests not wearing good clothes suitable for warm evenings on the Equator is because they don’t have them. It was noticeable that the poorly dressed were all the under 30’s who probably haven’t built up a large wardrobe and bank chest.

Surprisingly there was a 3 year old child when we arrived with her rich (not sure if famous) French parents. The little angel enjoyed sitting watching me fly my kite which was another advantage of being on the windy side as it was too calm on the other side to fly the kite. Later a major Maldivian family stayed for 3 nights with a baby and 2 boys under 10. The rooms really don’t suit having children to stay. The Maldivian family used the one family villa which has a more than one bedroom and a different configuration to the rest of the island accommodation.

In a 5* hotel wherever it’s situated you can expect and in my experience you usually get excellent service. But it’s also fair to say that there are levels of service within 5*. Having experienced Bali, Seychelles and the Caribbean a few times we feel justified in considering ourselves experts in island service.
Compared to the more cosmopolitan environments in places like Thailand and Hong Kong where the level of service is most exquisite. The service on the Banyan Tree wasn’t quite there, but it was close as it gets and superior to every island resort we have ever visited. Compliments to the Banyan Tree management are justified. For example running classes in English for every level of employee and an enlightened approach to employee relations was reflected in the friendly and helpful attitude of all levels of employee. A mosque in the middle of the island also seemed well looked after. Again the “sand-shifter” had a grasp of English which was well beyond that required to dam the dykes so-to-speak.

You can walk round the island at a slow pace in about 10 minutes or with a video camera in 16 minutes and 08 seconds approx. While we had aqua-shoes we could have survived without them as we only walked out to the edge of the reef and the water is so clear you could see sea cucumbers and the small islands of coral wherever we walked. Its fair to say the villa’s to the East of Sunset pier have the most coral close to shore, but walking a few yards further brought guests to clear sandy water.

The Spa is completely manned by Thai nationals. So the level of service was truly world class. The environment and layout of the outdoor Spa treatment rooms was wonderful. We were treated in 3 different rooms, all on the West side. On one occasion we were disturbed by the noise of people walking by on one of the pathways and having the audacity to be laughing and enjoying themselves in paradise. It’s a minor issue, but I noticed somebody else had made the same point. The 3 East side treatment rooms were closer to the Restaurant and staff areas and could be better or worse depending on time of day.

There was some very minor (to guests) work being done on the staff area in the middle of the island behind the kitchens. I was told this was to give staff an outside eatery and rest area. The noise and disruption was non existent. Work to repair one of the villa’s on the East side of the island Villa 34 was also being carried out over a few days and again the staff made as little noise as possible doing repairs.

The gym is upstairs above the dive centre with a full picture glass window area out over the beach to the jetty. Good quality equipment including free weights and 4 machines. TIP: If you’re thirsty and don’t want buy a bottle of water go up to the gym and drink there!

The bar layout is fabulous and like the rest of the resort has sand floors. A telescope is provided for astronomy or if you manhandle the equipment you can look through the windows at Angsana villa’s……. The bar had a half price on booze pretty much all the time. There was no discount on water. So it was $5 for a big bottle. There was a projector TV screen. I never saw it used as a TV, but it was there anyway. There were also laptops for the saddo’s, sorry the guests who needed to surf the net. I didn’t check if they had wireless.

The shop next to the bar had some great presents. Fairly expensive and sadly very little of it was of local origin. Most stuff came from Thailand, but it was great quality.

We had planned to do some trips, but we chilled and ended up only making the trip to Angsana the sister island once, just to compare hotel and island. The hotel run a shuttle every two hours from 8:30. So we headed over after breakfast at 10:30 and came back at 12:30. We were glad we stayed at the Banyan Tree.

Finally its worth mentioning that we were bitten quite frequently by mosquito’s. Although by the second week we seemed to be becoming immune to the bites. Bizarrely I forgot to put “Autan” on one evening and didn’t get bit! The hotel did provide a good insect spray in the room. Most of the bites occurred in the restaurant area rather than in our room or garden.

On departure we were taken out to the pier by a team of front desk staff and handed over to the launch crew. The three of them waved us off and when we got to Male our luggage was unloaded and taken for us to the gate where we said our final goodbyes.

A truly magical experience.

Amazing

from traveller06London
We stayed at the Banyan Tree during October 2005. Generally I am a fussy traveller and I must say that almost everything at the Banyan Tree was outstanding. We have stayed at the Banyan Tree in Phuket before and in my opinion the Maldives resort beat the Phuket resort in almost every respect.

The service is very efficient but carried out in an discreet and low key way. The attitude of the staff is very humble, quite the opposite of the usual in your face style most upper end hotels seem to be tending to in recent years. A refreshing change.

Ask for a villa at the front of the island, the beach is larger and the waves are more gentle. Having said that we were at the back of the island and it was not much of a problem. In fact the plus side of having a villa at the back of the island is that it is more secluded ;-)

I would advise to splash out and spend the extra on a beachfront villa it is well worth the extra money. The only difference between the deluxe and normal villa's are the upgraded bathrooms, not a huge difference in my opinion.

For those of you worried about eating a the same restaurant 3 times a day for the whole of your stay don't worry. The food is very good and they provide an changing menu each day. What I would say is that in the evening people to tend to get dressed up which is nice, don't be the idiot who turns up in shorts!

As Agnsana is the sister hotel to the Banyan Tree you are welcome to visit the hotel and use it's facilities. We spent part of an afternoon there we found the island less appealing, (if you are considering Agnsana vs Banyan Tree choose the Banyan Tree). However I must say that the manager at Agnsana was very welcoming and friendly.

Only downside to the resort is that it is full of honeymooners and older couples and hence the bar is very quiet in the evenings. This is a very minor point overall our holiday was very good.

Ruined all future vacations

from A TripAdvisor Member
Our experience at the Banyan Tree Resort was absolutely perfect. We arrived in Male at night and were shuttled via speedboat to the resort where we were warmly greeted and immediately escorted to our marvelous private thatch-roofed "hut" down a flower strewn path. The hut was a magnificently decorated room (think tropical paradise with a canopied bed meets state of the art comfort and luxury) with a beautiful bathroom that opened to a private yard complete with an outdoor shower and a jacuzzi. A wooden walkway extended from the front of the hut over the beach to a private cabana sitting on the azure ocean. We had been advised that all the meals would be served at the restuarant in the middle of the tiny island. Needless to say, the restaurant exceeded all our expectations. All the meals, including breakfast, were outstanding (some dishes seriously rivaled those served at the best 4 star restaurants) and were served under the watchful eye of the startlingly attentive servers. Breakfast included a huge buffet with omlette stations and a fruit station where the server would decoratively cut and serve whatever fruit you chose. After breakfast we would retire to our rooms to enjoy the beach and around 11:00 or so, a server would walk through the beach (and the public areas) with a huge ice chest serving fresh (and exquisite) ice cream. From noon onward we were served a great buffet lunch with a staggering variety of desserts under the palm trees on the beach. Dinner usually consisted of a 5 or 6 course gourmet (delicous) meal for which we (I) loved getting dressed up. At times, during dinner, the friendly (and apparently world renowned) chef would come out from the kitchen and mingle with the guests. The sumptous dinner, laid out in an elaborate menu, was usually followed by music or dancing or some social event at the lounge across from the restuarant. Since we were on our honeymoon, my husband and I socialized very little and with the privacy and level of service, it honestly felt as though were the only guests on the island. The island itself is very small, very private and not crowded at all. During the day, we would eat, enjoy the warm sandy beaches, swim, kayak, snorkle or watch the fish (and small harmless sharks) swim up to us. At night, we would lie on the beach, looking at the multitude of sparking stars overhead. (Being a small island on the vast Indian Ocean really lent to great views of the Milky Way). For the more adventureous, the resort offers diving lessons, wind surfing, trips to Male and trips to the neighboring islands. The resort also offers a top notch spa for those seeking relaxation or a great manicure. We had the honeymoon package which among other things included a private dinner on the beach, trips to the blissful spa, and a surprise 'romantic evening' where, unbeknownst to us (me at least), our room and the jacuzzi was fully decorated with flowers, flower petals and candels. We stayed at the resort for 10 days and loved every single second of it. We were surprised at the fact that the staff always courteously addressed us by our names and were constantly providing us with things which, in passing, we had complimented (i.e., banana dumplings and fresh pinapple juice) -- we later found out that the staff actually had pictures of the guests staying at the resort and kept track of what you liked so as to make your stay more enjoyable. We would, and do, highly recommend this 5 star resort. It has been more than 2 years (and several vacations) since our trip and we are still constantly comparing our vacations to our stay at the Banyan Tree. We are very much looking forward to going back!!

Wooo.. Fantastic

from Earthy_Li
No wonder Banyan Tree Maldives is a place for relaxing and snorkling! I have been here for several days already and so far everything is fine, except the price is a little bit high for the activities.

One comment for now is that you MUST try the sandbank dinner. It's really fantastic and romantic. Imagine that there is only you and your love in the sandbank and you can watch the sunset and also numerous stars in the sky! The food is a bit too heavy but it tasted nice. We have the romantic set dinner which cost $190 US per person. It's expensive but we had a memorable experience.

So relaxing

from Xantia56
We have recently enjoyed a truly relaxing five nights at the Banyan Tree. We opted for a beach front villa and this is definitely the one to go for. Don’t worry about the cost (I imagine most of us can’t afford to go too often) I really think you would be disappointed to travel that far, at that expense to see others walking from their villa down their private jetty to the sea.

All the villas are a reasonable size and well appointed, at the back they have at least an open air shower and are very private. The fronts are much less private and whilst we had our own bit of beach, staff and other guests did wander across it. Our villa was on the west side of the island meaning a smaller beach area but the most glorious sunsets.

Having limited experience of snorkelling we cannot comment on the quality of the reef other than to say it impressed us. You are literally a couple of minutes swim from the reef and a huge array of fish. Do go for the (guided) night snorkel, it is fantastic. Also remember to wear a tee-shirt in the water, I didn’t and found out how unforgiving the sun is!

The food was excellent though it seems we left on the Australian chefs last day (I think he had overseen the menu for the previous two years). Similarly staff were friendly and attentive. Neither of us used the spa so cannot comment on this. We were lucky enough to have the sandbank dinner; romantic? The word doesn’t do it justice, as with the beach front villa, hang the cost and do it!

Am pleased to say there were no biting bugs, though the ants are very big and try to get everywhere. Keep an eye out for the fruit bats! They are there but seem quite shy.

Gripes? Just a couple, in my opinion the 50 villas on the island are 10 too many, though in fairness guests do not fall over each other. Also the aircon in the villa was pretty damn noisy.

Stand out moment? For me it was reclining on a warm beach around 11pm, the sound of waves and the rustle of palm trees around me, a sky awash with unfamiliar stars and meteors, all of this and a cold beer at my side.

PS If like me you fancy flying a kite, take one with you. Neither the shop nor marine centre has them. I took a cheap one and before it died got to watch the local birds mob it.

Nice place

from A TripAdvisor Member
Food was good but I found dinner menu too heavy. Our waiter who took care of us during our stay was very moody. Sometimes he was over friendly but very often he did not even say hello when we arrived at our table. Also he did not tell us that we could have egg dishes for the breakfast, we only realized this very end of our stay.
I found french guy (manager??) very annoying. I guess it was his job to chat with guests but I did not think he had a good manner and etiquette to interact with people who came to this 5 stars resort from all over the world. And once or twice, when we were eating a dinner, he pulled a chair and sat....without asking or being offered a seat. We felt very uncomfortable being forced to have a conversation while we were having dinner. Thankfuly he left us after 10min or so and moved to another table.

I thought this resort was for 'adult only' but I saw many families with kids during our stay. One family with three boys was very keen to play football next to the diving center where was only decent beach in the island.

We booked two differnt packages one after another during our 10 days stay. But secound half of our stay they started to forget putting daily fruits basket, so I needed to go to recepetion to ask.

Spa was good, snorkelling in house reef was just OK. This is certtainly nice place becuase after all this is Maldives. But I found the service was too patchy as 5 star resort.

Sheer bliss...

from holidaygirl1
This was our fourth trip to the Maldives (previously Hilton, Rangali), but our first to the Banyan Tree. It would be hard to imagine staying anywhere else now that we have found the BT. It is the perfect mix of beautiful island, great accomodation, delicious food and fantastic staff. Excellent snorkelling and lovely spa. Can't wait to go back.

Top Local Tips for Male

Internet access Wi-fi is avable in your villa but is expensive. There is free wireless access in the bar, which we saw quite a few people using. Our UK mobiles worked fine in the Maldives!

At the airport The Banyan Tree experience begins and ends at the airport. Once we were through arrivals, we were met by a member of staff who took us directly to our boat transfer. On our return to the airport we were met by another member of staff who took us through the security checks and straight to our check in desk. It couldn't have been simpler!

Pack light You do not need to dress for anything but stylish tops and smart shorts respect the ambience. Think rock star hide away to recharge your batteries.

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Other names for Banyan Tree Maldives Hotel

  • banyan tree maldives hotel
  • banyan tree maldives
  • Address: Vabbinfaru, North Male Atoll - Male - Maldives
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