Thulhagiri Island Resort & Spa
Best Experience: Couples, Beaches, Value, Diving
Updated August, 2020
For a small quiet resort near Malé Airport, Thulhagiri Island Resort & Spa is a good choice at reasonable prices. Thulhagiri Island is one of the most affordable resorts in the Maldives with a very natural Maldivian feeling, incredible white sandy beaches and crystal clear, shallow lagoon ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
With adult-only policies, this medium priced, 55-room resort is a short (25 minute) boat ride from the capital of Malé. On one side of the island is a huge and wide beach, mostly filled with young couples. The hotel offers good value for money (in most cases), a constant buffet breakfast, a good spa, a fitness center, water sports and an impressive diving school that is great for beginners. Beach bungalows are rustic but cheaper; Some are closer to the beach than others. Meanwhile, more expensive water bungalows along the jetty have canopies and direct access to the lagoon. No one will find free drinking water in the rooms - practically standard everywhere - and quenching thirst will cost a penny. There is a small pool on the island, although it is rarely used, and the bar is open until midnight, is unlikely to see the crowd. The service is incompatible as a whole, although it may improve if you increase the tip.
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The arrival process here is a bit arrogant and disorganized compared to other resorts in Kaafu Atoll. The airport reception is shared with several hotels, so picking up for a boat trip can take extra time and patience - guests may be asked to wait and then wait a little more. When everyone gets a bottle of water on the boat during the cruise, guests are required to wear life jackets. After arriving on the island, the staff gives out cool towels and invites you to the spacious but cozy lounge. Prices here are often more affordable than in the neighboring resorts, which probably explains the lower level of service.
The main area includes a hall (this is the only place that connects to Wi-Fi, which costs money), a bar, a stadium and a dining room where food is served in a buffet style. The furniture is outdated and well worn, but at night the candles on the tables help to create an atmosphere. There is a small outdoor swimming pool around the wooden deck, and there is also a water sports center and a diving school. One jetty leads to water bungalows, and on the other side of the island there is the main beach area and a bar with white plastic sun loungers. During the day, guests usually drink beer at the beach bar, go for snorkeling, scuba diving, or just nap in the lounge chairs near their rooms. Due to erosion (depending on the season), the beach does not pass around the island, but the sandy areas do not disappoint. DOWNLOAD RESORT MAP
You can walk around the whole island in ten minutes, it’s only a five minute walk from one side of the island to other. There are cottages on each side of the island. There is a lovely sunset bar with tables and chairs on the main beach – but you could also take your drinks to the long chairs on the beach if you wanted to.
The staff is very friendly and helpful. As for guests, a mix of Germans, Swiss, Russians, Dutch and other nations seems to enjoy peace and quiet, a kind of rural atmosphere of Thulagiri. Dress is casual. Very easy going. Sand everywhere – no shoes. All beloved pets of the island are wavy parrots who happily chirp and breed in their natural environment ... everyone seems to love them here. The nests/homes are in various trees: they are empty coconuts! There is a large McCaw parrot at the staff quarters. Also curious herons and terns exploring the beaches.
During the high season, on the north-west side, where the villas with the first rooms are located, there is a big “wave” of a beautiful beach. It narrows slightly in the low season, when the sand moves around a roughly round island to the east side. The last 15 beach rooms or so have a permanent low wall in front, with two small steps down to the water's edge.
Again, a typical lagoon of these islands: a gentle descent from the sandy bottom, always deep enough for swimming and neither too close nor too far from the home reef. There are coral spots closer to drop off that will satisfy children and first time snorkelers, although the house reef itself is variable, with parts that are free of corals and other equally good areas where sharks, rays and skulls can be easily found.
North Malé also known as northern Kaafu is the main atoll in the Maldives, where in the first time in the country the tourism was launched. The capital of Maldives, Male City and Velana International Airport (MLE) are also located in the North Male Atoll. North Male Atoll is home to a great collection of luxury 5* star resorts and budget guest houses. Read More...
With pristine sands, Thulhagiri is situated in North Male' atoll approximately 13 km from the Male and takes only 25 minutes by speed boat from Male' international airport. Thulhagiri offers the perfect balance of an unspoiled tropical island with all the comforts. Thulhagiri with a nice beach is also called the bird island because hundreds of singing love birds fly around the island and you can also see famous Kanbili bird and Maakanaa (Grey heron).
Rooms and Bungalows
Wonderful little thatched accommodation, the 55 Beach Villas are located fairly close to each other and take about three quarters of a circle, with a bar, restaurant and reception building, a water sports center and a diving school occupying the rest of the perimeter. Water bungalows lie in two arcs of 17 villas each leading from the reception and growing to the south. It seems that the guests spend a lot of time in and around their rooms, because despite having a lot of accommodation for this size island, Thulhagiri does not feel crowded or busy at all.
About half of the beach rooms are interconnected by blocks of 3, and the others are individual, but you don’t feel ‘attached’ to neighbours . Built in an irregular pattern with some in front, and some behind will be preferences, but there is always the beach and the ocean view, and this is just a matter of a few steps. This irregularity and the absence of certain concrete paths through the shady interior gives the place a less resort and more rustic feeling, which certainly adds to its charm. Very clean, nice finish, bright rooms, all done out with bamboo. The amenities are the same as in the Water Bungalows. Behind the door is a small porch with new soft sun loungers and a line for drying clothes. White plastic chaise lounges in the shade of trees are scattered on the sand. Some villas are closer to the beach than others (ask the villa on the west side of the island to be closer to the best beach and beach bar). Inside the thatched rooms are spacious, clean living spaces. Decorated in greento light yellow tones with the addition of wicker inserts and thick bamboo furniture, they do not reflect the high design, but are very good for the decor. Plenty of wardrobe space, bedside cabinet, TV, AC, fridge, tea and coffee maker, kettle, dressing table. Plenty of room. Big bed! The bathroom is neatly tiled and has a good-sized shower with a powerful atomizer. Great shower – like a wet room – not an enclosed shower cubicle. Lovely sink area etc. Shower gel, shampoo and conditioner all provided, and topped up when empty. Bathrooms are inside, but have vents to outside. There is a back door for entry after beach, with tap to wash feet, goggles, flippers etc. Bathrobes and beach towels are still included. Plenty of towels, bath mat, flannels. Change of towels each day if you want.
Over-Water Bungalows are almost completely wooden with thatched roofs and are a bit more upscale and more expensive than beach bungalows. These houses sit on stilts along the jetty above the lagoon with direct access via the steps to the house reef. The room has a flat-screen TV, two easy chairs, beach towels, bathrobes and bathrooms with double sinks, separate bathtubs and showers with rain showers. Mini-fridges are empty and there are no items for a mini-bar for sale. There is a coffee maker and free tea in the room, but free bottled water is not offered (it can be purchased in the lounge). New soft lounge chairs have appeared on the deck, which are more modern than everywhere else in the resort and with a large umbrella for the shade. The interior of the Water Bungalows is more compact, with space occupied by large bamboo chairs and a four-poster bed. French windows surround the room from 3 sides, letting in a lot of light (although they can, of course, be curtained). A wide veranda runs on 2 sides, providing great views and privacy. Facing either south or west, guests will find plenty of private sunbathing.
Of course, great food always helps, and Thulhagiri has long earned a reputation as a top-class buffet. The island is jointly owned by the largest supplier of fresh food to the resorts, so you just need to add good chefs, and high-quality and delicious food is guaranteed. The resort's only restaurant has a beautiful thatched roof outside, sandy floors and bamboo inside. The dining area is nicely divided into different areas. The queues are long if you'll come by the opening time. Quite a spicy buffet each evening: difficult to find plainer food sometimes. Most meals either use garlic or chilli, or both. However, no one leaves hungry and there is always plenty of food selections.
They offer an international nights, a Maldivian one, a barbeque one, a continental one, a European one… but they are all pretty mixed, despite the titles! A great salad buffet not as much fish on offer as other some islands. Plenty of fruit, freshly cut, each evening. The chef is Austrian, so patisseries are delicious, especially meringues, and biscuits. Many home-made gateaux: much choice.
The main bar adjoins the restaurant (there is also a good bar on the side of the sunset). The bar is also nicely divided into sections on two different levels. Low comfortable chairs on the sandy floor under a high thatched roof give the place an laid back atmosphere that matches the style of the resort. Every evening there is some kind of soft entertainment, and then go to bed early, with the possible exception of a night of live music. Usual things each evening: crab race, diving video and watersports talk.
House Reef Snorkeling
Once the reef could boast of coral gardens, but today it does not shine with colors however there are plenty of fish, and lots to see. All the reef fish, but also blacktip sharks, eagle rays, octopus, lion fish, stonefish, and different kinds of rays. Turtles are usually on the part of reef between the Dhoni boat dock and the water bungalows. There are two boat docks – the Dhoni diving dock, and a dock which brings people in from Male. Reef's drop off is about 200m from the beach.
The currents can be unpredictable and change a lot, and could be very strong to swim against. Also, you really had to watch the tide times, too. It will affect both the direction of the snorkelling, and the availability of getting out to the reef, and the areas you could get to. At low tide it's hard to get over the top of some of the reef, especially on the large beach side of the island. Should say that if you watch the currents and the tides properly, then the houe reef snorkelling could be very calm indeed and a fun, especially on the main beach side in the afternoons.
Beautiful reef scenery and a convenient geographic location, in relative close proximity to the international airport of Male, means North Male Atoll is a popular area for diving. North Male dive sites also have some of the best coral reefs in Maldives. The islands themselves are not known for amazing coral coverage but you don't have to go far from Thulhagiri island to find dive spots as colourful and healthy as any other top dive spot in the world.
Thulhagiri's famous SubAqua 5-star dive center PADI with experienced German, English, Japanese and Chinese speaking Instructors. The dive center is right next to the jetty and there is easy access to the lagoon and house reef. An extensive range of daily dive trips, full range of PADI diving courses and a house reef that is also superb for snorkeling as well as diving. Small diving groups guaranteed for less experienced divers or for those divers that prefer to dive with a dive guide. The island is surrounded by many world class dive locations nearby most of them are within maximum 40 minutes of the island.
Dive sites around Thulhagiri Island provide some of the best diving in Maldives. You can expect fantastic underwater scenery. It is also home to the famous, Manta Point (best dived May to September). Dive sites accessible from Thulhagiri Island are characterised by numerous reefs, caves and magnificent walls that are fairly easy dives and very simple to reach from the Island. The diving sites such a Aquarium, Barracuda Giri, Maa Giri, Jenkins Point and Paradise Rock are must dive.
There are guided exursions for the Maldives on offer, but they are not in demand, and the watersports center is large and well equipped, but still mostly quiet. Island Hopping, Half-Day, Full Day, Sunset dolphin and Fishing Trips are just a few of many excursions we can arrange for you in order to maximize your holiday experience.
On the land expect a table tennis, volleyball, darts, badminton, gym and an occasional disco, live band and regular light entertainment.
Coconu Spa is combining French touch with Asian skills, and offering clients exceptional tailor made experiences. The Balinese therapists are intensively trained at Coconut Spa School in Bali.
There is a souvenir Shop on the island. You can buy a variety of souvenirs, garments and postcards to send back to your loved ones as a memory of your holiday.
Thulhagiri Island Resort's reviews are clearly mixed. Most of the past guests praise the island as a non-commercial and remote place, and the crystal clear lagoon also receives high marks from the majority. The food in the restaurant has quite a few fans, which is not always the case in all-inclusive restaurants, so this is a great sign. Quite a few guests say that the service from the staff does not correspond to the level of a 4-star resort or even a 3-star resort. It seems that some had unpleasant experiences, so if you are a type that has special requests, then this may not be ideal.
... Exceptional, will be back, Wonderful, beautiful Island and nice staff, overall stay was quite relaxing, The beauty is in the location but stops there, Fantastic resort !! But not good for cleanliness, Heaven on earth!, exceeds my expectation, Disappointing, Good place to stay if you want to relax on a beach, read a book and do nothing ...
Pros: What Guests Like
- Great Location close to Male airport
- Lower rates than many nearby Male atoll's resorts
- A beautiful and expansive beach facing sunset
- An Outdoor swimming pool
- Buffet restaurant
- Both Water Bungalows and Beach Bungalows
- Water bungalows with direct lagoon access
- Great scuba dive center and water sports
- A good spa
- Happy hour specials; some evening entertainment
What You Need to Know
- Thulhagiri Island Resort is located in Northern Male Atoll (Kaafu Atoll) and is 20 minutes by speedboat from Velana airport (VIA)
- Check-in from 12:30 - 14:00, Check-out to 12:00
- Children cannot be accommodated at the hotel.
- Do not expect service to wow and delight
- The entire resorts shows signs of wear and tear
- Only one restaurant, serving buffet fare for all three meals
- Expensive bottled water
- Fee for airport transfers
- Wi-Fi is not free and only works in the lobby
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