Diamonds Athuruga Beach & Water Villas All Inclusive
What We Love
- A great reef for snorkeling and a perfect lagoon for water sports
- The neutral white and sand decor keeps the focus on the stunning views
- The beach bungalows are right on the beach; nothing but sand between your room and the lagoon
What To Know
- All meals, snacks, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, laundry service and non-motorized water sports are included in the Jetsetter price
- Set in the middle of the Ari Atoll, the resort is a 25-minute seaplane flight from Male International Airport
- Free WiFi
Island Zen. Light streams through billowy white curtains and bounces off the sand-colored floor in the open-sided common spaces. The modern, minimalist furniture and decor allow nature to flow through interiors framed by some of the few remaining coral walls in the country.
Bed and Bath
Glass doors open the simple interiors of the bungalows to the veranda and the beach. The rooms, built in pairs, share a wooden deck divided by back-to-back long benches. There is no TV or bulky furniture to clutter these standard rooms. The Water Villas, on the other hand, are newly built and radiate a startling white elegance, with four-poster beds, lacquered writing desks and polished herringbone floors. The lack of a balustrade on the deck opens out the vista over the lagoon, while reasonable privacy is maintained by the distance between rooms.
All guests are on a generous all-inclusive package that includes water sports, laundry, one island-hopping excursion and, of course, all meals, snacks and drinks. The buffets are built around daily themes of national or regional cuisine, but with a regular outlet for fresh-caught fish, pasta and pizza (the resort attracts a large Italian clientele). Water Villa guests have their own fabulous new restaurant on stilts. During the day, though, everyone comes and goes through the delightful, relaxed beach bar.
In the Area
The essence of a Maldives holiday is filling the day with very little more than sun, sand and a nap or two. Lying on the beach, strolling in the shallows and snorkeling around the resort’s reef is interspersed with canoe trips and sunset beach volleyball. You can arrange snorkeling excursions if that’s your jam. Otherwise, the only reason to leave the resort is to visit the nearest island to glimpse Maldivian daily life or perhaps to try your hand at big game fishing.
How to Get There
Due to Sandies Bathala not opening in time we were sent to one of the sister resorts Diamonds Athuruga.
We have been here once before following a tour of Sri Lanka and didn't initially want to return as we've never been to any holiday destination twice. However, as soon as the launch from the float plane headed towards the water villas I knew we had made the right choice to come back.
Athuruga is one of the top two places we have ever stayed, the other being Viroths Hotek, Siem Reap.
We met and spoke with people who had been to other Islands, and although I believe there is a general theme that people full in love with their first Maldives Island, Athuruga was highly rated by all for style, fixtures, and quality of services.
We stayed in a water villa. The pics in the brochures and on this site are an accurate reflection of the accommodation. The food in the Water Restaurant was of a very high quality. We downsized the 5 course lunch and dinner menus to 3 and 4 courses. We ate breakfast on the veranda of the water villa everyday. On day 1 we had 4 dolphins swim by as we ate.
Special thanks again on this visit to Farooq who looked after us in the restaurant and Hassan for taking care of us in our villa. Nothing was too much trouble and it was great to see them again.
I'd recommend going on the managers behind the scenes tour. We previously did the Manta Safari which was great.
On this visit we went on the Turtle and Dolphin trip, we saw three Turtles and no dolphins to return to hear there were 3 turtles in Athurugas lagoon that afternoon.
I wasn't impressed with the Fisherman's Island trip. We learnt nothing of the fishing and it felt like our guides were forced to send us through the souvenir shops which lacked locally made goods.
The sand bank and Kula Ghiri reef visit were excellent with lots of colours on the reef, but maybe not as many or variety of fish as the Athuruga House reef.
The coral on the house reef was pretty much all killed following El Ninio in 2016. There were no colours in 2017. This year we have seen more colours emerging and learned that coral from Thudufushi is being farmed in the lagoon to help reinstate the reef. However, there are loads of fish of all shapes and colours on the house reef. Almost daily we saw sharks, Moray Eels, Eagle Rays, puffer fish etc. One day we saw a large Sting Ray as we left our water villa. Turtles and small sharks would occaissionally swim by as we ate in the water restaurant.
A question asked is Thudufushi or Athuruga. The accommodation and service is meant to be on a par. Thudu has more colours on their reef, some bigger buut fewer fish. Athu has more fish, but less live coral.
We did not regret going back, we were very sad to leave and we'll probably go back again.
If booking in the UK you can get a 5% discount using the blue light card which is available to current and ex emergency service personnel, NHS staff and military personnel. It's only £5 for a card to get hundreds off.
We've been home for five weeks and the benefits of such a perfect holiday are still felt. We desperately needed rest and relaxation, which is often how you feel before a holiday but then it's like you've never been away soon after you get back. But the happiness we felt is sustaining us still.
We were met from the sea plane by the speedboat and arrived at sunset feeling like superstars. The lovely Silvia met us at the jetty and took us to the villa that I'd set my heart on (no. 20). We were straight into the delicious water to watch the sunset, then off to an equally superb dinner at the overwater restaurant, feeling lighter than air and incredibly comfortable. From the deck we could watch sharks and jack fish feeding, squid of all sizes, turtles and stingrays.
The water was like a soft, warm swimming pool.
The reef was always busy and the marine biologists on site aid coral regeneration. You'd be unlucky not to meet turtles.
The swim with a 7m whale shark was the fulfilment of a dream.
What really made this holiday so much better than other Maldives trips were the comfort and the staff. There's a good distance between the water villas, which are well laid out and comfortable. The beds are very great, with 1st class linens and enormous pillows. Breakfast on the deck was such a treat.
The staff are terrific fun and all very good at their jobs.
Our top tip is to grab a lovely white sofa at the sunset bar & order a cocktail from the fabulous barman to sip as the sun goes down.
Firstly I cannot believe the silly review the person below gave due to a bar person - very weird.
Everything about this place is 100% fabulous - rooms, food choices, beach bar, cleanliness, excellent friendly staff, beautiful clean beach, abundance of fish.
You will see Eagle rays, turtles, black tip reef sharks plus moray and octopus. Plus many other colourful fish.
You won’t see a great coral reef as this suffered badly from el-Nino
Internet in bar and reception can be slow. Plenty of excursions but a little expensive was a comment made.
There is a free trip to local fisherman island Himandhoo. This is a Maldivian island around 800 population. It’s very poor, it’s not a fishing island at all and very different from the luxury you will have at Athuruga. What was sad was that they do not care for their own island and there was rubbish everywhere. plastic bottles.
Athuruga is a great island and a beautiful place to relax and snorkel - a truly wonderful island paradise.
What a wonderful resort, people, destination, absolutely amazing from moment we arrived to day we left could not of asked for anything more. From the bbq each day on the beach to the drinks at bar the cleanliness of rooms, didn’t want for nothing and will look at returning in future
We stayed 8 nights in a beach villa followed by 6 in a sunrise water villa. We are therefore in a reasonable position to offer a comparative review.
The island is tiny and the simple but comfortable beach villas are tightly packed. They open directly on to the mainly very narrow beach meaning that there is in places limited privacy. Walkers on the well trodden short stroll around the island are forced to pass close to many of the villas frontage, picking their way between private sun beds.
Athuruga does not have any artificial breakwaters that can commonly be seen in lagoons elsewhere in the Maldives. This greatly improves aesthetic views of and from the island but leaves some parts open to beach erosion from wave action. A change in wind direction during our visit caused alarming under cutting of some parts of the beach exposing a mass of tree roots. Resort staff were urgently moving sand in wheel barrows to restore protection to one particular villa.
As we approached an end to our time in the beach villa we discovered cockroaches living in the tea and coffee cupboard having eaten through several sugar sachets and leaving a mass of droppings. We are realistic and don’t expect a tropical island to be free from wildlife. On the contrary we consider exotic wildlife to enhance the overall experience. However we draw the line at cockroaches mixing with the food and feel that this represented a (hopefully isolated) failure of housekeeping. Anyway, we complained to the Manager and were promptly moved to a water villa a day early.
The water villa accommodation was vastly superior. More comfortable, larger, cleaner, much more private and had wifi. Together the water villas probably take up more space than the island itself. We were in a sunrise villa so we had full sun on our decking until just after midday. From then on it was in full shade. In front of the beach villa it had been possible to find spots of dappled shade under the trees at any time. These spots were reserved for beach villas and there was no corresponding area for water villa guests. A few fixed umbrellas were located on the "Public" beach area but partial shade was not catered for and in any case you had to be quick off the mark to reserve one of the nicer sun beds.
We visited in February and over the two weeks it became progressively more busy. There were many families with children who obviously knew one another from previous years and formed large, and at times, noisy groups. This detracted a little from the idylic and peaceful surroundings.
Food in the buffet style main restaurant was excellent. Choice and quality was such that it was unthinkable that anyone but the fussiest guest would fail to find something of delight. There is an al-a-carte restaurant mainly for water villa guests but after a couple of samplings we returned to the main restaurant.
Wifi is advertised as being available in the bar area. In practice this was mainly not the case with the error message ....Access point full. Please try later... whenever there were more than a handful of people present. This caused some frustration when trying to catch up with family at home. Given the cost of this resort, it does not seem unreasonable to expect decent wifi for those who want it.
Diamonds Athuruga advertises its ecological and sustainable credentials. They purify their own water and supply it in re-usable glass bottles. Projects are under way to repopulate the bleached coral reef. The Kuoni literature supplied on arrival asks visitors not to buy any products containing shells or coral. Interesting, since every room and public space in the resort is adorned with coral ornaments and the shop is brimming with products made from shells. This undoubtedly sets a bad example although I suppose realistically no holiday to the Maldives can be particularly green or sustainable.
The main activity we were looking forward to was snorkelling the house reef and this was spectacular. We were at first dismayed on arrival to be told that the coral was largely dead. We should not have been unduly worried. The fish have stayed, and in huge numbers and variety. We swam with Hawksbill and Green turtles, Moray eels, Eagle and Cow Tail Rays, white tip, black tip, nurse sharks and fish far too numerous to list. The Marine Biologist, Inga, was ever on hand to answer questions and to identify the latest sighting.
Reluctantly we returned to the UK after two weeks. Despite some of the observations above it is important to maintain a sense of proportion. This is a paradise island, all be it a highly populated one. Its slight imperfections were greatly outweighed by the spectacular. When all is said and done we had a wonderful holiday worthy of 5 stars.