So I am beaming and have that golden tan which talks of the fun I have had past few days. With guests visiting us in Maldives, it was time to look for a new property where we could celebrate the 25th anniversary of the wonderful couple while having some great family time. We had heard quite a bit about Meeru Island resort, part of Crown & Champa resorts and so decided to give it a go. So here is the complete review of the property and story behind that tan I wear quite proudly!
Stayed at: Jacuzzi Beach Villa (Room 102 & 103)
Dates: 30th April AM to 2nd May PM
Package: All Inclusive (All meals plus snacks and drinks and non motorized water activities)
Pax: 5 Adults and 1 child
It was the glorious morning of 30th April when we were still thanking our stars that the famous Maldivian rains had still not decided to show their face. All the six of us reached Airport all excited about the next couple of days where we had hosts of activities lined up at Meeru. Just like the usual routine here in Maldives, we reported to the reception desk of Meeru at Velana International Airport. Our boat was scheduled at 10 AM and we boarded it bang on time. It was a big boat to accommodate the big group of people that was headed to Meeru that morning. After a short security briefing, the 45 minutes boat ride covering 22 miles to Meeru began.
The Surprise on the Way
Frankly it was a usual dull boat ride until we all witnessed a happily jumping dolphin accompanied by a flock of flying fish right in the middle of our boat’s path. The otherwise sleepy boat came alive with excitement! Rest of the time was passed talking about this sudden event which marked beginning of our adventure. The island arrived and the first thing that struck me was the size of this island. Compared to most of the other Maldivian islands and resorts I have been to, Meeru was really large. Lush green palm trees lined on white sandy beaches lapped up by the crystal clear blue water was a sight everyone in the boat was hooked to. We were in a tropical paradise and could not wait to get off the boat and jump onto the enchanting island!
As soon as we made our way on the jetty, the wonderful sound of drums creating a local symphony caught our attention. Well at Meeru, when you hear drums it means new group of guests has just arrived. We noticed a placard with our family name on it. A polite hostess received us and took us Kakuni bar where our check-in procedure was taken care of. We had to fill some form with our details and following this an overview of our package was given to us over some refreshing coconut water. The very polite and friendly General Manager of the resort- Mr. Walter Kauffman paid us a visit and patiently answered our queries about the island. We had arrived early to the island and it was still half an hour to go for our rooms to be ready. But that it did not obstruct any fun time of ours as we were given temporary wi-fi password and access to pool along with drinks. Some chilled beers under the hot sun was just what we were craving for and got!
The room we were in was quite spacious with a King size Balinese bed, a single bed and a couch. They were sparkly white with some tropical flower decoration but that was our room. Our guests who were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary had an adorable special decoration of towels, flowers and sheets on their bed. In the night champagne was delivered to their room and did we have a toast!
The entire cottage was made of wood with wooden verandah which made it quite cozy. A well stocked minibar and fresh fruit basket welcomed us in our cottge. A small lobby behind had wardrobes where three bathrobes hung and packed slippers were neatly kept on the floor. The dressing table had the hair dryer on it. The bathroom was partially open with a huge Jacuzzi. There were sun loungers and outdoor umbrella. The covered side of the bathroom housed twin washbasins, WC and shower area complete with general amenities like shampoo, body lotion, conditioner and loads of towels. There are spate towels for bathroom and beach, white for bath and blue for beach. Their beds are super comfy- not extremely soft and Air conditioning is quite effective which improved sleep quality and our time in the room was really comfortable. Frankly more of our time was spent outdoors or at the Jacuzzi deck!
The housekeeping in Meeru is proactive and cleaning is done promptly. They were also mindful of the contents of minibar and replaced them before we even placed a request. Since we were in all-inclusive package, some of the drinks in mini bar were complimentary and were clearly labeled in the menu.
The Bubblies and Downers
Meeru has a big swimming pool with a kid’s pool on one side. In fact there are two swimming pools on this property but the other one is “adults only” infinity pool on the sunrise side of the island. We were on the sunset side which has two bars- Kakuni and Dhoni. Dhoni bar is by the side of pool so it goes without saying that all day there is a celebratory air around here. We were also given the option of having our complimentary drinks at Pavilion Bar which is located almost on the azure waters with full size window door that are always open and you can savor the breathtaking view of sea from there.
The bars have some of the most amazing mocktails and cocktails like Maldivian Punch, Island sunset, Banana Daiquiri and more! Apart from the drinks, they have a decent snack menu which covers both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian starters. Since we were a group that had vegetarians, it was a relief! The samosas were surprisingly good, so were the vegetable spring rolls and I am a non-vegetarian commending veg food! Well it was really good. They also have sandwiches though I like mine creamier and richer.
In all there are about three restaurants- 2 buffet and one Ala Carte. The buffet restaurants- Firavalhu and Hot Rock restaurant bar are allotted depending on which part of the island you are staying in, to manage the service rush during mealtimes. If Ala Carte is what you want then head to Asian Wokbut here you have to pay here even if your meals are included in the package.
The buffet at Meeru is quite extensive. They have enough options for vegetarians which I have not really seen at other places in Maldives. The main course and desserts bring you flavors from around the world, be it Indian, continental, oriental, Italian so on and so forth, so we ended up overeating every single time!
Breakfast usually covered assortment of cheeses, sausages, bacon, mashed potatoes, herbed vegetables, salads, eggs to order, pancakes, rice dish, assortment of breads, oats, homemade jams, compotes, choice of cereals, dry fruits and cold cuts. We noticed that every day they had some Indian dish in the breakfast like Upma, Dosa etc.
Lunch and dinner on two days had Pasta, grilled lamb, baked or grilled fish, grilled beef, naan bread, kebabs, corn fritters, cauliflower fritters, salads, dal, sautéed vegetables, Lebanese pickles, tortillas chips and dips, fish curry, pork cutlets, steaks, fried rice, yellow rice, Au gratins and a sea of desserts with usually 8-10 varieties including tarts, cakes, ice cream, pastries and fresh cut fruits.
They had live counters making Pastas, omelettes, fried noodles, naans, dosa, grilled lamb, pancakes and kebabs.
The staff at restaurant was extremely friendly, polite and ever happy to help. Our waiter Hissanu knew our drinks order by the second time, even the one that we created and ordered! Chefs at the counters were chatty and really efficient. I just kept wondering how they could work with so many hungry people lining up and eyeing them continuously! I met wonderful Chef Mahesh at the restaurant who made friends with my five year old son and gave him chocolates when we departed. That was really sweet!
Meeru is one place where you cannot go out of things to do. If you are on all-inclusive package you get 100 golf balls to try your hands on. Try driving or putting range! At the end of it, I came to know I completely sucked at golf! But golf was not all, we went Kayaking around the island which is over one and half mile in length and four hundred meters in breadth. I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome the experience was and how tired I felt after completing the marathon! Meeru also has two tennis courts, a badminton court and a mini football field where staff versus guests match take place in the evening. Then there are water activities like water scooter, water boarding, wind surfing, diving trips etc. In fact there is a full fledged diving center here to organize diving and other trips.
On the second day of our arrival we went for snorkeling organized by the resort. They take you to a reef nearby on a boat. We snorkeled like crazies and fun jumped from the boat when we were finally tired of snorkeling! That day evening was the dolphin sunset cruise where the boats take you to spots where dolphins can be seen. We saw over 9-10 dolphins at different points in time. With the setting sun and brilliant evening colors splashed across the sky we came back to resort. There are snorkeling points around the island too that can be explored by guests but they have depth and it is advisable to wear life jacket when doing so.
Meeru also has a superbly colorful Kids Activity room where they have nice collection of board games, blocks, crafts and coloring. There is a mini slide, washrooms and a care taker. However, we were told by the caretaker not to leave our son unattended. There was a small kids play area right between pool and kids Activity room too. Basically even our son remained busy and we could eat our meals in peace as he would rush to the kids activity room as soon as he finished his food!
Did I tell you they have this huge whale skeleton in the resort….just take a look!
Every night is happening in Meeru, they have some or the other event planned. One day there were these lovely singers weaving the magic of their voice with the sound of sea, on the other we were blaring on the mike singing in karaoke night! There was this contest where guests had to drive the golf ball into a tub propped in the pool…that was fun and the host was quite witty! If you still looking to do more then Kakuni bar has a games room that has pool tables, dart board, Football board, chess etc. So sip and play!
They have a Spa too with a nice menu of services but unfortunately, we could not avail the services as we did not have time otherwise I really was looking at couples’ spa service quite seriously!
Tips to take home
In two days that we were there, we tried to cover as much as possible. Here are some tips that can help you.
Book your activities even if they are complimentary beforehand especially if you are at Meeru for limited days. Same day bookings are difficult. With the huge influx of guests, their activities are usually overbooked. The moment we entered Meeru we booked snorkeling and dolphin cruise. We even booked Kayaks in advance. If you are in Meeru only for a day then send a mail beforehand so that you get to enjoy the complimentary activities.
Under all inclusive Package Snorkeling trip is free but not the gear. So carry your own if you have otherwise you can rent it for $9 a day at the dive center.
If you are with kids then sunset side of rooms would be ideal as the swimming pool, play area and activity rooms are nearby. On the sunrise side, there is one pool- infinity pool which is only for adults.
Do note that snorkeling trip is only for persons above 12 years of age. You may want to find out about nanny services in the resort (I did not check on this point as we had someone in the family to take care of our son).
If you are in Meeru for long duration like 10 days, then changing rooms and side of the island would be a great idea to enjoy the entire island.
Frankly there were no complaints and nothing serious really bothered us. Well we would have liked option of some bright lights in the room. The room had only dim lamps which made it difficult to find things in our luggage in the night. The bathroom has connected open Jacuzzi as well as main bathroom area. Since we were with family and one door to Jacuzzi area cannot be locked from inside we did feel the need for it. There was always this possibility on someone walking on to you! In the living room there were scratches from dragging furniture on the floor, nothing major but since the room was so pretty it just showed!
Our experience at Meeru was really great. For people who find Maldives to be a very expensive destination, this property surely is value for money as it packs a punch in its packages without compromising on quality. The staff is excellent and very organized. Every one right from the housekeeping to the guy at the bar knows when you have checked in and when you are checking out. You will always find someone on the cleaning job. The minute anybody would drop their towels on the swimming pool deck instead of dropping it in the designated bin, someone would promptly appear and dispose it off. Stay here for a week or a month, as I said you would not run out of things to do. If chilling with a dose of water adventure is your definition of a holiday, we assure you Meeru would not disappoint!
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