Vilamendhoo Island Resort Review – affordable luxury in the Maldives

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Have you ever dreamed of going to the Maldives?  This Vilamendhoo Island Resort Review promises luxury and amazing adventure without the hefty price tag that so many Maldives resorts have. Set against white sandy beaches, crystal blue water and lush tropical surrounds, Vilamendhoo Island Resort and Spa delivers an affordable experience. 

Money saving must reads;

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With hundreds of resorts to choose from, Vilamendhoo Island Maldives is one you should consider. It is perfect for couples planning a romantic getaway but also is known for a killer house reef, a top notch dive centre and is also within the whale shark region of the Maldives, a wonderful bonus. 

Other reading: First time to the Maldives – Read this first

vilamendhoo island resort review standing in the water looking back on the island

Vilamendhoo Island Resort Review

This Vilamendhoo Island Resort review is completely unbiased and true to my experience.

Being the first island I ever visited in the Maldives I was typically blown away. But now having been to the Maldives on several occasions, I can honestly say I still have incredibly fond memories of Vilamendhoo Resort and Spa.

So organise you Maldives Packing list and get ready to stay in paradise.

Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa

Read more / see prices here

Where is Vilamendhoo Island?

Vilamendhoo Island is located in the beautiful South Ari Atoll. It is approximately 100 km from Male International airport.

It is 900 mts in length and 250 mts wide.

South Ari Atoll is the chosen place for those who want to swim with whale sharks.

You can read about my whale shark experience from Vilamendhoo Island including prices and days available below.

Further Reading: Swim with Whale Sharks Maldives – which resorts & prices

How to get to Vilamendhoo Island

sea plane landing on water at vilamendhoo island resort maldives

vilamendhoo island resort review

I’m sure to want to know more about getting to Vilamendhoo so I have included this in my Vilamendhoo island resort review.

Vilamendhoo Island Resort and Spa is an easy 25 minutes by seaplane.

My husband and I Ianded at Male International Airport late in the evening, and so for that reason could not get to the island as it was after dark. Sea planes only fly in day light hours.

We decided to stay in Male, the capital of the Maldives and meet back at the airport the next morning for our trip out to the Vilamendhoo Island. The hotel we stayed at was Somerset Inn which was a great little place. The rooms were modern, clean and it included breakfast. They even picked us up from the airport and arranged the transfer back the next morning.

For all subsequent trips to the Maldives, we have always stayed at Somerset inn as we love the rooms and friendly service.

Once back at Male International Airport, we were taken to the lounge and waited for our call to board Trans Madivian Airways. The seaplane can accommodate 15 passengers with no more than 20 kg checked bagged and 5 kg carry on.

The flight was smooth, providing a stunning aerial of the surrounding islands. Peering down at the turquoise water and those magnificent overwater villas, I was slowly taking in the fact we had finally made it to the Maldives.

Check out this Male Walking Tour while staying in the capital and learn more about the local culture and many attractions.

male city with many motorbikes and colored buildings
vilamendhoo island resort review
Male City

Contact the resort to arrange transfers

Be sure to contact your resort at least 3 days prior to leaving to arrange the seaplane transfer. I even recommend doing this as soon as you know you are going so you can get on the first available fight.

Meeting your representative at the airport

Once you have cleared customs and collected your luggage you will either be met be a representative for Vilamendhoo Island or it not, you can simply walk straight up to the area where all the resort desks are. Just look for Vilamendhoo Island and someone will help you from there. It is so easy.

vilamendhoo island resort review  seaplane inside
Taking the short flight to Vilamendhoo Island.

Is Vilamendhoo Island Expensive?

This beautiful resort has become very popular with travelers who are looking for that luxury that the Maldives is famous for but at an affordable price. The accommodation, the beach and inclusions tick all the boxes as a 5 star resort and it also gets outstanding reviews as seen on tripadvisor. While there is certainly more luxurious resorts , the price tag they carry is out of many peoples budget. With Vilamendhoo Island you’ll get great value for your money. 

Of course there are seasons so be sure to take advantage of cheaper months if your budget is tight. We went in May which can be a very rainy month but it was actually very nice weather and we had one rain shower in our 10 days there. The temperature was hot and sometimes humid.

If you are keen to save some money, be sure to read my post on: Maldives on a Budget

Vilamendhoo Islands Rooms

vilamendhoo island resort review.
Picture of beach villas taken from the water
beach front villas

You will find:

23 Garden Rooms

111 Beach front Villas

30 Jacuzzi Beach Front Villas

30 Jacuzzi Over water villas

This Vilamendhoo Island resort review is for the stand alone beach front villas as that is where we stayed.

The beach front villa included a king size bed, open air bathroom and free WiFi. The room had air-conditioning, a sitting area and outdoor furniture. You will also be given free water in your room each day. We had cleaning service twice a day also. I particularly loved the open air bathroom which felt so tropical and added to the island vibe. I have since realized that this feature is not automatic at many other resorts so was a nice touch to staying in the Maldives.

But the best part, I counted 15 steps from my room to the water. It felt like true paradise and was incredibly quiet. Many times I was the only person in the water enjoying the tranquility. The rest of my day was spent lying in a hammock or sun lounge reading a book.

Other room types at Vilamendhoo island include;

Garden Room

The garden rooms are set among palm trees and while they don’t include beach side views, they are mere steps from the ocean. To save money you might decide on a garden room but if you can afford an upgrade it is totally worth it. The rooms include all the same amenities as the beach side villas and also come with open air bathrooms.

592-sq-foot room

Adjoining Beach Villas

Set ocean side, the double adjoining villas offer prime beach front access for those who want the exclusiveness of having a view but are still looking to save some money. All the above amenities included.

592-sq-foot room

Stand alone Beach Villas – our room

The stand alone beach villa offers a bit more privacy than an adjoining villa. Sit out front your villa and enjoy the beautiful view of the ocean just steps away.

592-sq-foot room

Jacuzzi Beach Villas

Enjoy all the same amenities as a beach villa with the benefit of a private jacuzzi for you and your loved one. The outdoor jacuzzi is part of your open air bathroom and are situated in the “adults only” section of the island.

699-sq-foot room

Jacuzzi Water Villa

Enjoy true solitude in a Jacuzzi Water Villa. An adults only room set right on the water and includes a jacuzzi, sun beds and assigned day beds on the adults only beach. Swim in the brilliant blue water straight off your villa for a true Maldivian romantic stay.

699-sq-foot room

vilamendhoo island resort review
Vilamendhoo Island Overwater bungalows

You will also find overwater bungalows which are located in the adult only section of Vilamendhoo island.

If staying in an overwater bungalow is something you have always wanted to do then I highly recommend this place.

You can read my article on : 11 cheapest Overwater Bungalows in the Maldives which includes Vilamendhoo Island Resort.

Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa

Read more / see prices here

Vilamendhoo Island Full Board versus All inclusive

Firstly, Vilamendhoo Island Resort incudes full board in all its room rates, so all meals are included. When comparing resort prices you need to consider what meals are actually included because many only offer a free breakfast and some no meals at all. So while one resort might look much cheaper than the other, the meal plan needs to be factored because you could end up paying much more than you realized.

There is a new theme of cuisine every night and the food from the buffet is outstanding. It is by far the best buffet food I have ever eaten with quality produce and plenty of selection.

The desert bar was also exceptional with a wide range of ever changing deserts each night.

Juice is also served during dining times though water will have to be purchased.

Should you upgrade to ‘all inclusive”?

An all inclusive rate is not cheap so unless you plan to use every single inclusion every single day, it might not be worth it. Personally, I couldn’t justify the cost or the amount of alcohol I’d have to drink to benefit, even though this is not the only thing offered. I certainly didn’t want to feel obliged to drink all day and night and chose to enjoy only 1 or 2 drinks each evening while watching another glorious sunset.

An all inclusive rate includes the following;

  • All meals
  • 24 hour snack menu – pizza, ice-cream, burgers
  • Unlimited all you can drink alcohol and non alcoholic drinks
  • 1 x lunch or dinner at the Asian Wok restaurant
  • 20% off selected spa treatments
  • sunset cruise
  • 30 minute group snorkel and windsurf lesson
  • water sports included kayaks and wind surfers

Alcoholic drinks

If you choose not to upgrade to an all inclusive rate you will need to purchase your alcohol.

Alcoholic drinks average $7 US for a beer or up to $12 US for spirits. Cocktails are approximately $10.50 US dollars but dependent on what you order.

vilamendhoo island resort review  sunset

Amenities on Vilamendhoo Island

Vilamendhoo Island Resort Restaurants

There are 3 restaurants on Vilamendhoo island. The first is the buffet restaurant which is where we ate each night. The other two restaurants are Asian Wok which offers Asian cuisine and Japanese teppanyaki, and Hot Rock where chefs prepare your meal on hot volcanic rocks.

You can also get snacks at Bonthi or Sunset bar.

Vilamendhoo Island Resort Bars

There are 4 bars on Vilamendhoo island, but the place to be is Sunset Bar each evening.

We spent every night here enjoying the cool sea breeze and watching the sunset in true Maldivian spirit. From here it was onto Bonthi bar for a night of entertainment, though most times I was truly happy just sitting on my outdoor patio and enjoying the sounds of the ocean.

sitting on lounge chairs outdoors with the beach in front on Vilamendhoo island resort and spa maldives
The pool area bar

Vilamendhoo Island Resort Pool side

The pool area at Vilemendhoo is right on the ocean. It overlooks the overwater bungalows and there is a bar here too. 

I have to say I much rather be in the ocean at a steady 29 degrees but is was nice to have the option if the seas were a bit choppy. 

vilamendhoo island resort review spa room over water
Vilamendhoo Spa on the water

Vilamendhoo Island Spa

I don’t normally worry too much about spas as they tend to be a little overpriced for my liking, but as part of our stay we were given a free massage so of course I obliged. 

The spa is actually over the water and you even have a see through floor to view the marine life as you get pampered. I have to say I really enjoyed how luxurious it was and I felt amazing afterwards. 

The absolutely incredible House Reef at Vilamendhoo Island

vilamendhoo island resort review turtle in ocean
Vilamendhoo House Reef

I can’t possible do a Vilamendhoo island Resort review without talking about the house reef.

Vilamendhoo Island has its very own house reef, and it is insanely good.

Imagine a coral reef encircling the entire island and teeming with marine life and coral formations that await you every morning. For this reason, snorkeling and diving are very popular activities as there is no need to jump on a boat to go to another site.

You can choose to go snorkeling on the inner or outer side of the reef with clear entry points along the beach. We took advantage of a free guided tour where you will see so many tropical fish as well as an octopus that I’m sure we would have missed otherwise. Those things are hard to spot.

vilamendhoo island resort review
Harmless juvenile Reef Sharks

Other marine life included plenty of turtles gracefully moving through the water. Also if you head up toward the water villas you can swim with juvenile reef sharks in their dozens. It’s pretty cool.

You can choose to bring your own snorkel gear or hire it form the dive shop.

Diving the South Ari Atoll Region

One of the reasons we chose to stay on Vilamendhoo Island Resort and Spa was because of the dive opportunities.

My husband is a very keen diver, having done the Red Sea in Egypt, The Carribean, Hawaiian Islands and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. After much research we found a great dive package here with Euro Divers on the island.

He took a multi day package which proved to be quite affordable compared to other resorts we looked at. This included dive around the outer wall of the house reef, boat dives and night time dives. He concluded by saying the Maldives is by far the best place he has ever dived for the scale of marine life.

Related artricle : Dive Fulidhoo Island – a true shark haven

Swim with Whale Sharks

Did you know that the South Ari Atoll is the place to swim or dive with Whale Sharks. 

If you do choose to stay in another atoll region, swimming with a whale shark will probably not be an option, and if by chance they offer one trip per week, expect a long and expensive boat ride to do so. 

So if swimming with whale sharks is something you really would like to do, then Viamendhoo Island is a great choice. They have up to 4 tours a week and it is one of the best prices I have seen.

You can read more about my experience here: Swim with Whale Sharks Maldives

Other activities and excursions

You will find a range of great activities and excursions while staying on Vilamendhoo island. As I inly did the Wale Shark tour i cannot comment on the others but here are a list below of what is possible.

Activities include:

  • Snorkel the house reef – FREE
  • Scuba Dive – Euro Divers offer single or multi dive packages at a range of amazing dive sites
  • SUPs, kayaks, Catamaran sailing & Windsurfing
  • tennis, badminton, putting green
  • Fitness Centre
  • live music, movies, DJ nights and presentations

Excursions include;

  • 8 Ocean Discovery – full day sailing the atolls
  • Whale Shark excursion
  • Manta Ray & Turtle excursion
  • Turtle only excursion
  • Full day snorkel boat excursion
  • Sunset cruising and Dhoni cruising
  • Fishing excursions
  • local island tour

Vilamendhoo Island Resort and Spa Review Conclusion

Of all the islands I have stayed on in the Maldives, Vilamendhoo will always be a special place. It appeals to honeymooners, dive & snorkel enthusiasts and adventure travelers.

For those looking to stay at Vilamendhoo on a budget, I suggest the following;

Stay in a garden or beach front villa

Don’t upgrade to all inclusive but rather only purchase what you really want to experience such as an excursion and limited alcoholic drinks.

Go in the off season of May to November for cheapest rates.

For those wanting to stay in the Maldives for longer than a week consider splitting your stay up with a local island such as Fulidhoo Island.

Still looking for your next Maldives itinerary? See 3 Maldives itineraries that you can afford

Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa

Read more / see prices here