Reethi Faru Resort is a recently opened Maldivian resort, located in the Raa Atoll, northeast of Malé. This 150-villa resort is a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts and is a sister resort to Reethi Beach Resort, where I had a great experience in 2013. I found Reethi Beach Resort to be excellent value for money and based on excellent reviews, I thought Reethi Faru would be a great idea.
Transfers by FlyMe
My experience with Reethi Faru did not have a good beginning. Their representative wasn’t there when I arrived at the arrival hall with LUX’s representative. Instead, I waited for some time in the heat for a bus to take me back to the seaplane area so I could stay at LUX’s lounge for some time. At around 3, LUX took me back to the international arrivals hall where I met the representative, but instead of taking me to a lounge, I was asked to wait for other passengers. I waited a long time in the heat before letting him know he could find me at the pharmacy when he was ready. After some time he finally took me to the domestic terminal, but I was told that they don’t provide lounge access. It was a huge disappointment to sit in an uncomfortable, crowded terminal where I had to wait for security to open. I eventually got on a flight with FlyMe, the same company that owns Villa Hotels, a connection of five low-quality resorts in the Maldives. I remembered the airline very well. In 2013 I had one of the scariest flights in my life with this airline. This time it was scary again with sudden unexpected turbulence and acceleration, giving me a flashback to 2013.
I arrived on the local island of Dharavandhoo and kept waiting to get on a bus to take me to the harbour. I was told the first bus would be for guests of Royal Island, so I finally got on the second bus. Got to the harbour and in the boat only to be asked if I could wait until 6:25 as some or someone needed to pray. I agreed and took a walk. I came back but they were not ready at 6:25. Instead one of the staff had a cigarette. So I took another walk away not being affected by the smoke. I got back later and another staff was finishing his cigarette. So horrible. Later I was told that the staff were actually of FlyMe, not of Reethi Faru which made it a little less unacceptable. Reethi Faru’s website says the journey takes approximately 30 minutes, but my journey, unfortunately, took around 75 minutes. Uncomfortable and with no water provided. It took me approximately 8 hours getting from LUX to Reethi Faru which I had expected to be a lot less.
I finally arrived at the resort but none of the management was there to greet me. As I wasn’t feeling well, I requested to get fast to the room. I stayed in one of their water villas which is an exciting experience if you haven’t tried it before. Especially as it’s limited to a few destinations. There are 150 villas total at Reethi Faru with 46 being water villas. My villa had a beautiful design, a comfortable bed, a flat-screen TV, a separate sitting area, a bathroom with an outdoor shower and a freestanding bathtub. I like it when resorts offer excellent welcome amenities like fruits, chocolates and a bottle with ice cubes surrounding it. At Reethi Faru there were just four cookies. The resort only opened last year, and you can’t expect them to get everything right from the beginning. I also saw a standard room of Reethi Faru and it had the same lovely design and also an outdoor shower.
One of the things I like about exploring different Maldivian islands is the great complimentary internet connections. It makes it possible for me to do my work and as it often rains, it’s nice to have the possibility to watch videos. Unfortunately, the free internet at Reethi Faru is slow. I tried multiple times to load the list of my Instagram following, but I couldn’t. Instead, I got upgraded to the paid internet with speed similar to some of the other islands that give it away for free. Even the low-cost resort of Holiday Inn doesn’t charge, so it’s fair to say I would recommend them to change their policy. At the moment the charge for paid WiFi is 6 dollars a day or 26 dollars for your entire stay. It’s cheap compared to some of the hotels around the world charging for internet, but can still be an annoying thing to accept for many travellers that are expecting it to be fast and free.
So I have made some points about what could be improved, but I ended up liking Reethi Faru in parts. The service here is great compared to some of the competitors in this price range. In fact, it’s better than some of the more expensive resorts I’ve stayed in the Maldives. The South African General Manager, the Polish Front Office Manager, Zayan, the head of PR and marketing and Haleem, the Operations Manager handled my criticism well. Reethi Faru is just a few months old, and it’s fair to give them time to fix some of the issues I experienced. On the other hand, Reethi Faru did a lot of great things. I would like to compliment them on the staff, the service on the phone and the general friendliness of the team. There is approximately 300 staff total on the island with around half of them being locals. Their eco-friendly bio concept is a big plus and despite having 150 rooms, the resort still feels exclusive, mainly because of the size. Their spa is beautiful and of a high standard which is not always the case at the private island resorts in the Maldives. I had a good spa treatment by a friendly Balinese therapist.
One of the problems I’ve faced at some of the cheaper Maldivian island resorts has been the lack of good food. Fortunately, it wasn’t an issue on Reethi Faru. Until now I’ve had fresh fish and good Italian food. However, I did have a problem as I entered their all-day a la carte restaurant. Every table had an ashtray. I don’t recall having seen that at any restaurant on any other Maldivian resort I have been. Passive smoking kills 600,000 a year according to a WHO study, and although there is no smoking law in the Maldives preventing it, I personally find it unacceptable to allow smoking in restaurants. It might not be a problem for a lot of people, but it is for me and many others. The resort didn’t agree with me, and I don’t think those ashtrays will be gone anytime soon. If you are a smoker you will probably enjoy it, but thankfully the vast majority of Europeans don’t smoke, and some might find the risk of passive smoke while enjoying a meal as annoying as I did.
Reethi Faru has six restaurants total including a daily catch-restaurant near the reception. I must give Reethi Faru credit for not making the food way overpriced like some of the other Maldivian islands. It’s actually great value for money. A margarita pizza would cost almost double the price at Holiday Inn in direct comparison. It’s something to be aware of before booking a resort in the Maldives. It’s not only the room rate that is great value at Reethi Faru, it’s also the food prices.
The facilities include a water sports centre, a sports & health centre, a spa, a diving school and boutiques. Not all Maldivian private island resorts have a swimming pool, but you have that option here which is great for days with strong winds.
To sum up, Reethi Faru has potential. Great accommodation and staff, good food and a stunning island. It can be truly excellent value for money to stay here. Actually some of the best in the Maldives. I’m sure the transfer procedure will improve after my stay, but I would still highly recommend arranging seaplane transfers with the resort. Also, you can ask if you can get complimentary high-speed internet included in your room rate if you like me have a problem paying for it in 2018. If you don’t like passive smoke or the risk of it, the buffet restaurant doesn’t’ have ashtrays or you can order room service. I did that a few times and they do that very well at Reethi Faru.
With the above tips in mind, Reethi Faru can be one of the best value resorts in the Maldives. They do many things right, and if your stay is well after June 2018, they might have improved a lot on the issues I experienced. It’s such a stunning island with a great level of accommodation, service and value for money. Highly recommended.