Maldives was not planned for this winter, however the covid-19 situation left us with not many safe travel choices. I desperately needed an escape to a tropical climate, even if just for a week, to warm up my bones and recover from all the stress in 2020. I have had my share of Maldives vacations, so I definitely know what to look for when choosing the right island. This time I decided to trust the photos and reviews of Veligandu Island Resort & Spa and go for the water villa. I couldn’t have made a better choice.
Veligandu Island Resort & Spa is located 20 minutes seaplane ride from Velana International Airport. It lies west of the capital Male which means that the best time to visit the island is from December to March (dry season with occasional showers). The only way to reach the island is by seaplane transfer which costs $ 340 USD per person. Yeah, it is a lot, but you have to take it as a package and calculate the total cost you will pay for your Maldives holiday. Usually resorts with seaplane transfers are a bit cheaper than the ones with speedboat access. If you are lucky with the weather, you will get a fantastic aerial view when approaching the island, and the cost for seaplane transfer will hurt a bit less. 😉
How to get there
After the customs clearance at Velana International Airport head towards seaplane transfers’ counter. Look for Veligandu representative who will help you with everything. After the check in the bus will take you to the Crown and Champa resorts lounge which is a common space for the islands owned by the same group. The lounge offers free Wi-Fi, soft drinks, tea and coffee. If the waiting time is longer (in our case it was over 2 hours), they also offer you a light snack. Fortunately, the boarding procedure is very quick; you just fasten your seat belt and you are up in the air in less than 10 minutes.
Veligandu island offers 91 units and most of them are overwater villas. The island itself is not very big, so the owners probably decided to put as many villas as possible off land, to achieve economies of scale. You can choose between “normal” water villas and water villas with jacuzzi, which are a bit more spacious. Beach villas also have very nice location around the island, each with open access to the sea. Beach villas are supposed to be reserved for families, while water villas can only accommodate children over 12. Veligandu used to be an adult only resort, but Covid-19 situation forced them to adapt to guests demand.
We tried both, water villa facing west (No. 124) and water villa with jacuzzi (No. 102) on the east side of the island. The first villa was nice and just about enough for what we needed. The biggest plus was a fantastic sunset view and watching baby reef sharks beneath our deck. Everything else was ok-ish, with special compliments to the pillow choice, good Wi-Fi connection and free bottled water refilled each day.
The jacuzzi villa was much more spacious. Besides the extra jacuzzi deck (which we didn’t use) it had bigger bathroom and bigger terrace, which meant more light to fill up the entire space. The sunrise view was also amazing (if you woke up at 6 am, like I did), the water was even more turquoise, but there were no sharkies around us.
Full board vs all inclusive
Veligandu Island Resort & Spa is the only resort I’ve been to where they don’t mark guests with all-inclusive bracelets. They offer two eating plan options: full board and all inclusive. While the full board includes all 3 meals with complimentary bottled water, all-inclusive also offers the majority of other drinks throughout the day. The price difference between both was around 100 USD per day, and this was the first time we didn’t pick the AI option. We simply cannot drink $ 100 per day, and we both mostly drink water anyway.
The food choice is plentiful for all types of eaters and of a very high quality. You really don’t need afternoon snacks to get through the day and you can always get some fruits to your room. As per drinks, we did have a bottle of wine from our minibar, it was South-African red cabernet sauvignon and it was very good. The cost of the bottle was 21 USD, which I thought was a really fair price compared to everything else. Other non-alcoholic drinks and cappuccino cost around 5 USD, while a small bottle of beer costs 6 USD. Now do your math and thank me later.
Sports, snorkeling and other things to do
Besides swimming in spotlessly clean lagoon (big thanks to Veligandu staff for continuously cleaning up the beaches and taking care of the environment) the most popular activities in Veligandu island are snorkeling and diving. House reef is not the best I have seen; however, this was the first time I saw reef sharks with over 1 meter in length, which is all that counts in my book. They were literally swimming below the villas and along the beach so you could see them all the time. Call me bias, but this is one of the main reasons I am giving Veligandu Island Resort & Spa one of the highest rates amongst my hotel reviews.
The island also has fitness with a nice ocean view, a volleyball and football court, as well as a playroom with table tennis, billiard, dart and table football. If you want to spend some extra money, you can always rent a kayak, SUP, catamaran and some other water sports equipment. The prices are quite decent and start at 20 USD per hour. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for SPA services, which are ridiculously expensive.
The staff was great and we could arrange everything via WhatsApp from our room. The weather was kind to us, we only had a couple of hours of rain, although it was mostly cloudy all the time (which is great because it gets too hot in direct sun anyway). Don’t bother with fancy clothes (unless you are on a honeymoon and want perfect wedding pictures), and don’t take extra shoes as this is a barefoot island (bars and restaurants included). You also don’t need sweaters because evenings are pleasantly warm. Check out my other photos in my Facebook album or in my Instagram account. Followers welcome. 😉
Anda’s rate: 9.5 from 10
Bottom line: Veligandu Island Resort & Spa is everything you can expect from a perfect Maldives holiday. It is also one of the cheapest options if you want to stay in a water villa with high standard 4-star services. The beach is fantastic throughout the island, food is great, staff is super kind and there are plenty activities to keep you busy. If you want a hassle-free Maldives vacation, you simply cannot miss with Veligandu.