June 21, 2018 • 0 Comments
WHERE TO STAY: Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, Maldives
Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, Maldives
It took awhile for me to draft this post because I felt like I would run out of words to describe this vacation. It has always been a dream destination of mine to go to Maldives – it’s been on my bucketlist forever! Aside from the fabulous experience and the beautiful tan I went home with – I got something better: A fiance.
Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, North Male Atoll, Maldives | Quick Facts
How to get there (from the Philippines):
Flight Itinerary: MNL – SG – MLE (Maldives) – SG – MNL
Name of Airport: Malé/Velana International Airport
Length of Stay: 4 Days & 3 Nights
Distance of Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru from Male Airport: 30-35 minute journey via speedboat
Mode of Transportation To Resort and Estimated Cost: From Male airport, we arranged a boat transfer to Banyan Tree which cost around 400 USD for transfers
Currency: USD / Maldivian Rufiyaa (but we brought and used USD)
Highlights: Being in the middle of the Indian Ocean (!!!), superb service and stingray feeding
Insider Tip: No visa required!
How did this trip even begin? Well, it was Nick’s birthday surprise for me. I had no clue where he’d take me and I only found out THE NIGHT before our flight!!! All he told me was to book a flight to Singapore and this “surprise destination” did not need a visa. Phew! So without knowing where I’d spend my birthday, I booked a flight to Singapore. The evening before my flight I found out we were flying to Maldives (waah!!!) so I asked Nick to show me where we were going to stay so I could re-evaluate the clothes I was going to bring (lol!) – and this was one of them: Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru!
How To Get There | Flight Itinerary
Unfortunately, there is no direct flight (yet!!!) from the Philippines to Maldives. For our trip, I flew to Singapore via Scoot (The budget traveller in me!) then from Singapore, we flew to Maldives (MLE) via Singapore Airlines – same route going back. It took approximately 4 hours to fly from SG to Maldives so imagine my excitement as we slowly approached the beautiful island! As soon as we arrived in Male Airport, we were immediately greeted by the sight of the Indian Ocean and the clarity of the water is insane – like liquid glass.
Swimwear and bag from Style Cat | Sunnies from Sunglass LA
All of the sunnies I wore on my Maldives trip are from Sunglass LA! I love how it fits and the pairs are so sturdy. You can shop yours over at https://sunglass.la/ :)
Dress from Soakswimwear | Gorgeous jetty with the island view of Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru is actually the second resort we stayed in in our Maldives getaway – I will write about the first one in my next post because that is another story. As soon as our speedboat approached the resort, you will immediately be greeted by this beautiful view of a long jetty – leading to the island. Even better – upon arriving on the island, we were greeted by the General Manager of Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru – Axel Jarosch for a warm welcome, complete with his team and the sound of drums in the background. Wow! It immediately gave a feel of unpretentious luxury with an equal measure of friendliness.
Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru Beachfront Pool Villa
After the warm welcome of the resort hosts, our luggage was immediately taken to our beachfront villa so we were free to roam around the resort and settle in the reception area. On the left side of the resort is a view of Angsana Island and what’s so cool is they provide free transfers to their sister resort for you to enjoy its facilities as well. How cool! After settling in, we had an escorted orientation of the resort layout and our villa. My initial impression upon arriving in Banyan Tree was pure awe – as if stepping into a different world.
Take all my money!!! I mean Nick’s money!!! Lol!
Relaxed unpretentious luxury
If you’re wondering which beach villa to get, Nick and I walked around the island and honestly? Any of them would be acceptable. I was so happy with ours – looking straight out to the sea. You can also request a resort map PDF from them via email to help you understand more where your villa is located.
There are 48 villas on the island | Choose from beachfront and sea view villas
Our lovely villa had this pretty pool! Upon entering, we were greeted by a lovely bottle of red wine and fresh fruits. I loved how they’d clean our rooms twice a day (when we head out during the day and upon returning from dinner) – even adding touches of petals on the bed!
Outdoor Bathroom with a cool shower
Something I found so relaxing was our villa was with an outdoor bathroom containing two basins – his and hers (yes to two basins!!!) plus a conventional shower plus an additional outside shower where the water flows out of a bamboo pipe. Very cool!
Length of stay
For the trip, Nick and I spent 4 days and 3 nights in this lovely villa. For first timers, I strongly suggest you stay at least for 4-5 nights – the other 2-3 nights perhaps to try another resort? That’s what we did and I’ll share you info about our second resort in my next blog post!
Dining at Ilaafathi
The food on the island was fantastic – imagine well-cooked yummy fresh ingredients. We enjoyed every single meal! I mean EVERY meal! Considering where you are in the world, the prices seemed OK – around 100 to 150 USD per head. Nick seemed to enjoy the wine list too! If you had remaining wine, they were happy to put it aside for the next day. The staff was great – especially Lily who we will never forget! She was so kind and sharing some island tips. We genuinely hope to see her again when we return! Hats off to the F&B team of this resort!
Super sweet personalized service
Our “butler” at the resort felt like such a sneaky person because he was leaving personal touches in the room without us knowing it!!! It was so cute. We were surprised to receive these embroidered congratulatory scarves upon getting home and one time at dinner, they arranged “Congratulations!” on our table. How sweet!
In terms of the sand, I have been to plenty of beautiful beaches and I love how its a mix of powdery sand mixed with a slight coarse shell-feeling sand. A beautiful contrast against the Indian Ocean!
A Tip on Transfers and Budget
For a smooth vacation, ensure that all transfers are pre-booked. Send your hotel the flight details and the resort will take care of all your island transfers for you. You have three options when it comes to travelling to a resort island: speedboat, seaplane or domestic flight (sometimes!). Usually, the resort will assist on which best transfer to take and will arrange everything so be sure to inform your resort of your arrival time to Maldives to avoid delays and unwanted expenses. The last thing you want is to overspend or worse, spend a night in transit because nothing else was available. In terms of the budget (dun dun dun!!!), the villa rates range 500 USD++. For more a more precise number on the rates, I linked their website below – the trip was very worth it!
Stingray feeding with their resident Marine Biologist!
Each day there is a demonstration of feeding the sting rays at 5pm – my favorite activity!
Barefoot Walks on the Island With The Fiance
My last words of course will go to my fiance! It was lovely to just relax with Nick – spending the first days of our newly engaged life here in Banyan Tree. Walking everywhere barefoot and marvel at the incredible colours of the Indian Ocean. One of our best vacations yet! Thank you, Nicholas. :)
For more information, visit the official website of Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru or follow them on Instagram via @banyantreevabbinfaruofficial.
(Photos by Nick Higson)