Vivanta by Taj Coral Reef, Maldives
What We Love
- This hip hotel brings together stylish accommodations, a buzzy vibe and top-notch service
- The spa offers traditional Indian wellness treatments
- You’ll find woven slippers in your bedroom — a small but delightful perk
What To Know
- Three restaurants to choose from
- Kids are welcome at this family-friendly resort
- The resort is about 20 miles from Malé; round-trip speedboat transfers are about $150 (including taxes) per person
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Room Service
In the North Malé Atoll, the Vivanta is the sister resort to the uber-luxe (and uber-pricey) Taj Exotica. In fact, the resorts share staff members, which means you can expect the same high level of service, but with a more relaxed vibe. Spread out over Hembadhu Island, the 62 thatch-roofed villas dot the tranquil lagoon. So far, so Maldives. But this resort represents a younger, more affordable take on textbook tropical luxury, which translates into stylish and hip accommodations, a buzzy vibe and top-notch service.
Bed and Bath
The 62 beach and overwater villas are decorated in a natural palette and come equipped with the requisite outdoor shower. Wall hangings and lamps made from reclaimed wood add a nice dose of style, as do such high-tech touches as iPod docks and 32-inch flat-screen TVs. But who wants to watch TV when there’s some serious eye candy just outside the sliding glass doors?
There are plenty of ways to enjoy the water, including a diving outfitter, a full-on water sports setup and a lovely stretch of beach. Elsewhere there’s a Jiva Spa, which taps into India’s ancient ayurvedic science with treatments such as champi, a traditional Indian head massage using spice-infused oil. The alfresco restaurant, Open, serves seafood from the teppanyaki grill, as well as sushi, wood oven pizza and a few more innovative options (spicy crab cakes with a popcorn froth and passion fruit emulsion, anyone?). Latitude is a pan-Asian restaurant done up in shades of white and red coral. Its menu features tasty Maldivian and Indian curries, along with some top-notch naan — an homage to the Taj brand’s roots.
How to Get There
I may not even do justice by writing this review for an amazing experience my wife and I had at this paradise. This is what I would call a Taj Experience. Now let me get into details:
This was my first trip to Maldives and it was just me and my wife. We are vegetarian (no eggs as well) and that was an important criteria for us to select the right resort. Food does play an important role for us at least :) . I spent hours and hours researching on tripadvisor to zero in on Taj Coral Reef resort. Taj Exotica was beyond my budget and compared to other resorts, I am more comfortable with going to a Taj property.
So I had tons and tons of questions before my travel and I was pleasantly surprised with prompt responses I would get from this place as soon as I send an email. They were very specific and helpful. I had booked for 3 nights/4 days. 2 nights I opted for Beach Villa and 1 night for Water Villa. The hotel gave clear instructions on whom/where to meet once we land at Airport. We had taken a package which includes breakfast and dinner.
Once we landed at Male Airport, the person from waiting with all our baggage tags as well right at airport. He guided us to the speed boat (shared with other guests going to same hotel). This was included in our package. It took us about 35-40 minutes. The speed boat was well maintained and pretty fast. It was a very smooth travel. As soon as we reached the resort, a dedicated person: Mr Zaki was waiting for us and directly escorted us to our Beach Villa room. All checkin procedure was done inside the room itself which was so nice.
A beautiful place and you need to be there to experience it. It is on top of natural island with corals all around. You get a unique feeling as they have tried to preserve it. Every day at around 5pm, stingrays along with reef sharks come by for feeding along with reef shark and its an experience you should not miss. They have high tea during that time which was all vegetarian and nicely made. It’s a very peaceful place and those swings by the beach is just perfect. We used to do snorkeling every day (they provide the gear) and what an experience it was….looking at corals, fishes around it. We used to do in an area where they had put a barrier so it felt really safe. Water is so clear here :). The infinity swimming pool is also really nice.
Beach Villa: So we stayed here for 2 nights. It was a very well-done room. The room might feel a bit small if you have kids. The bathroom was huge with tub and open shower area. Just few steps from patio, the beach would be there. They had loungers and hammock there. Everything felt so personalized. They provide enough water in the room
Water Villa: This is like heaven on earth. The Villa is huge and so well done. The whole experience of getting into water right from Villa is something you should not miss. Massive room/bathroom/patio. It has the wow factor and if budget permits, I highly recommend staying in Water Villa
I found both the Beach/Water Villa well maintained. They had these small water bowls outside your room/balcony to clean your feet which was a nice touch.
So we had our breakfast/dinner at Bokaru. The food was just outstanding. I don’t want to exaggerate but I found it better than the food I’ve had at some of premium hotels in India as well. The best part was that it was more of ala carte then buffet so food tastes much better. We used to ask for small portions so as to not waste food and try more things. They had a full vegetarian menu along with tons of eggless deserts. We had mix of Indian/Chinese/Italian and everything was just perfect. The deserts were delicious and getting some of them eggless was very surprising. Lot of folks told me that you’ll get vegetarian in Maldives but it may not be that great. Having food here, I never felt deprived of ‘awesome’ food.
The staff was just amazing. They are always smiling and welcoming. Again, this is a typical Taj culture. Entire staff wants to go beyond to ensure you have perfect experience. However, let me call out few names here:
Mr Samir Khanna (GM): He is gem of a person. Very grounded and I feel for him, the entire staff is live family. You’ll see him walking around resort, ensuring everything is perfect and talking to guests. His approach towards conserving environment/not wasting things was amazing. He was also so particular about everything including food and that easily shows up. Having right person makes lot of difference and I could easily see the way he has ensured the experience is unique
Mr Zaki: He received us when we arrived at resort. A very helpful person and even when we had to shift rooms (moving between Beach Villa Water Villa), he would co-ordinate so efficiently.
Mr Mibsaam: He was part of Bokaru restaurant and taking care of food we used to order. He was helpful in helping us decide what to order everyday and very jovial person.
Mr Arun (Head Chef): He should be really proud of the way the food quality / flavor has come along. Each dish had unique flavor and right amount of spices. He seems to have paid attention to minute details/combinations and ensured guest enjoy the variety/menu changes every day/flavor.
A day before your departure, they will send you a letter which tells you about your speed boat departure time to ensure you don’t miss the flight. Once we reached the airport, the Taj help desk person at airport escorted us all the way through the check in counter. We did not have to carry our luggage/push trolley all the way till check in counter where he only dropped the bags. Once we got our boarding pass, he then left. I did not see any other resort providing this service (in the brief amount of time I was there). These are the small things Taj will do for guests.
That was a long review but I was really looking forward to write this and thank entire team for unforgettable experience me and my wife had. Its one of those vacations that you would remember throughout your life. Thank You !!!!
4 nights at the TAj Coral Reef was a dream . The service food and facilities were all excellent. The dive center thanks to Ryan looked after my diving and snorkelling very well, with complimentary Snorkel goggles and flippers. Service at the restaurants and pool deck etc was excellent nothing was ever to difficult Santini and Mustapha ecpecially took good care of us at the pool and Pizzeria. The 40 minute speed boat transfer was quick and efficient. Arrival and check out was seamless and easy. The room facilities, we stayed in A beach Villa the cheapest option was excellent. A beautifully well fitted room with a private bit of white sand beach with hammock and lounges . Plus a beautiful sunset from our patio , what more could one ask for. Sure the water villas have the added gimmick of the water below you , but give me that bit of soft white sand any day.
Alcohol as mentioned is expensive especially when you add on the plus plus taxes. A six carona beer package costin 36 US$ and 6 miniature gins 30 US$ a bottle of wine on there specials list 35 US$ . The hotel was excellent in how they looked after the bottles and brought it out when we requested it.
Facilities were good however plan on US $100 per person for almost any activity (Snorkel trips, Jig Fishing,Sunset Cruise etc) , however the one hour free Kayak was a waste of time as you are only allowed to kayak within 100m of the beach, it would have been fun to Kayak around the small island .The Stingray feeding and high tea was a daily high light and not to be missed with rays , Sharks and Giant trevally competing for and afternoon snack, with the added bonus of delicious iced teas and light snacks.
Overall an excellent stay which we would not hesitate to recommend to others and hope to be able to repeat some time in the future.
Beautiful property, very well maintained and staff are excellent! Rooms are well-appointed supported with great housekeeping staff!! A great get away ..enjoyed every bit of our stay! Thank you Samir and team! Kudos and keep up the great work!!