Anantara Dhigu Maldives Hotel Review

Recently I had the absolute pleasure of visiting Dhigu Island in the Maldives, one of Anantara’s 5 current properties, for three days. I was absolutely blown away by my experience and hopefully this review will help you learn a little more about this tropical paradise.

Getting there

Our first impression of the Maldives was our flight over from Dubai, as we got closer to landing we were flying over clusters of atolls, surrounded by picture perfect beaches with a verdant interior. This is where our excitement really grew.

Velana International Airport in Male is where tourists fly into, it is fairly small and a little disorganised. There is no air con (just fans) so you are best off leaving your winter-wear at home. It was fairly slow to get through passport control but once we were through our bags were ready for us and we were met by an Anantara representative.

Anantara guests benefit from the use of the Anantara lounge at the airport whilst they wait for their speedboat transfer. The lounge is air conditioned, there is fast Wi-Fi and refreshments which was a big bonus. We were in the lounge for 15/20 minutes before being taken to our speed boat (it is right across from the exit of the airport and our bags were taken for us and loaded onto the boat).

The boat was nice, staff were instantly welcoming so first impressions were 10/10. Again there was Wi-Fi available on the boat and water and cold towels were served to us. It took 30 minutes to arrive and as we pulled up to the jetty at Dhigu there was staff waving and ready to welcome us all.

The benefit of the lounge at the airport is this is where we checked in, so when we disembarked the boat we were taken straight to our room, you can take an orientation tour of the island if you wish.

The island

There are three Anantara islands within close proximity to each other, Dhigu (where we stayed) is a family friendly resort, although still ideal for couples and adults. There is Veli which is just about to reopen after a huge refurbishment which is adult only,. There is also Naladhu which is a private island with just 20 villas, so all islands will offer a completely different experience. When staying at Dhigu you can also dine at Veli.

We were met by Mohammed, our Thakura, who was assigned to us for the duration of our stay. We connected on Whatsapp so could contact him if we needed anything. Mohammed was incredible, so warm, friendly and approachable, he was always on hand if we needed anything, nothing was too much and just having conversations with him was great.

Our Villa

We were taken by buggy to our Sunset Overwater Villa with Pool, an absolutely incredible villa with an entranceway, spacious bedroom, dressing area, vanity area with double sinks and a huge bathroom with a free standing bath overlooking the ocean and a beautiful shower.

We also had an incredible deck area with an infinity pool and stairs giving us direct access into the crystal clear Indian Ocean! Did I mention the outdoor shower on the deck? Heaven!

We arrived just in time for sunset so after appreciating this we got ready for dinner at Baan Huraa, the Thai Restaurant that sits in the middle of the sea, connected to two islands by boat but from Dhigu you get a small boat to it, it takes just a few minutes.

Baan Huraa, Thai Restaurant

Our server, Nang, was wonderful. Something Dhigu nails is being so personal with service whilst maintaining the utmost professionalism and remaining completely discreet. The menu was full of Thai classics alongside some more unique options. I saw my favourite, the Panang curry was served with prawns but they were more than happy to serve it with chicken instead, small things like this are very appreciated.

Breakfast

The next day we woke up to beautiful sunshine. We travelled in November which is a changeover season from the wet season to dry weather can remain unpredictable and it seems you can get multiple weather systems all within a few hours.

We walked to breakfast, Dhigu island is not huge so despite being provided with bikes and the option of calling a buggy, we were happy to walk everywhere. Breakfast was great, served in the Fushi Restaurant overlooking the sand there were so many options. There was an entire wall of all different types of yoghurt including dairy free options which is great for me as I have a dairy intolerance!

Relaxation and the Spa

We then went back to our villa and spent some time on our deck relaxing, sunbathing and taking a dip in the pool, it was great to just slow down after a very busy work period. After sunbathing we headed to the spa, an amazing wellness retreat with six treatment rooms that sit over the water, offering incredible ocean views. I had a full body massage and was delighted to notice a square of glass right below me when I was face down on the massage table, meaning I could spot some tropical fish before drifting off as my massage continued.

Anantara is a Thai brand and this can be seen throughout the resort and service, including the spa. There are two open-air salas where guests can enjoy Thai massages. There is a beautiful relaxation area with two plunge pools for when your treatments are over, this is a great place to sit and appreciate the view for a while, leaving you in a complete tranquil state.

Aqua, Italian restaurant

We had an afternoon of relaxing and that evening we dined at Aqua, a lovely Italian Restaurant next to the main pool. During the day the restaurant offers almost a cafe vibe, serving light lunches poolside, and in the evening the atmosphere and menu changes for a relaxing dinner of Italian specialities.

Day 2, Stormy Seas

On day 2 we woke up to fairly stormy weather. Clouds were thick and grey and it was extremely windy. This is something you just have to take when you are in the tropics, no matter where you go, the weather can change so quickly. The rain is what creates such a beautiful, green interior to each island so it can get annoying, but should also be appreciated.

We were supposed to have a floating breakfast but cancelled it due to stormy conditions, they were more than happy to cancel free of charge and rearrange for the next day despite having already made it!

Things to do

We had booked a transparent kayak for 10am. So after breakfast we walked towards aquafanatics to pick it up. The rain has stopped, the sky was fairly cloudy but looked a lot less threatening, it was still fairly windy. They said we could change the time of our kayak but we went ahead with it anyway and loved the experience.

The sea immediately around the island is very shallow due to the coral reef, there were buoy markers so we knew where we could kayak. There was definitely a windy side of the island and a calm side, so of course we stayed in the calmer waters!

There are plenty of water activities on the island including kayaking , waterskiing, wakeboarding, jet skiing, parasailing, flyboarding and sailing.

Other island activities include sunset cruises, dolphin cruises, snorkelling excursions, fishing, picnics on snorkel island, snorkelling, scuba diving and PADI diving certifications.

As I mentioned, the island is family friendly and great for kids and teenagers. There is a kids club with both an indoor and outdoor playing space, complimentary cinema nights twice a week with snacks, and kids cooking classes.

Veli

In the afternoon we decided to pop over to Veli which will be opening December 1st. We were invited to the island on a PR stay which is why we could have a look around the progess and share with you guys. The island has a pretty different vibe, definitely more mature and a little more chic than rustic (but don’t get me wrong,  when I suggest Dhigu is rustic, I mean in a very luxurious way!).

They were just putting the finishing touches on the dining areas which include the Dhoni Bar which serves drinks and poolside snacks, Origami which is a Japanese themed restaurant, and Cumin which serves Indian Ocean inspired food. Those staying at Veli can also access the dining on Dhigu island.

Snorkel Island

In the late afternoon we went to snorkel island. This island is a short distance from Dhigu but a fraction of the size with toilet facilities and a Tiki bar. Sun beds are spread around the beach for those wanting a change in scenery.

The island is accessible via the sandbank to Dhigu at low tide, or you can head to reception and ask for the boat which takes you straight there within a couple of minutes (free of charge).

The island is surrounded by the most turquoise sea and you can even enjoy the swings that are set in the ocean. We relaxed on the beach for a while before another storm rolled in and we took shelter in the Tiki Bar before heading ‘home’.

Sea Fire Salt

Sadly this was our last night, we ate at Sea Fire Salt, an overwater grill and seafood restaurant. Just when I thought the service couldn’t get much better we entered the premises. Wow. Firstly I want to give a shoutout to the manager and our waiters, Razin, Hatim and Dipak who once again, were so personable and friendly.

The restaurant has a really relaxed but sophisticated atmosphere. Children are more than welcome but were no bother to adult couples or friends, they were all very well behaved and quiet, this was a theme throughout the holiday if I am honest which is why I don’t want to just call it a family island as it is perfect for both.

The food was *chef’s kiss* amazing, I had beef which was cooked to perfection and something you would find in a top London Restaurant. Then I had what I will call a heavenly chocolate pudding (sorry I forgot the name). I’m not usually a pudding gal but this was amazing!!

Our last day

On our last day we woke up to beautiful sunshine, we spent the morning doing some cycling around the island before enjoying a beautiful floating breakfast. If you want the floating breakfast you need to book it in advance as they have limited trays that work on water and they can be in high demand! The presentation was absolutely superb with so much effort from room service who brought it to us, they set it all up and launched it into the pool for us.

I would definitely say the floating breakfast is an incredible experience. The privacy of the over water villas are brilliant and it is just a fun and unique thing to do that isn’t available everywhere you go.

Transferring to another island

Unfortunately, after breakfast time, it was time to leave. the good news is we weren’t leaving the Maldives. Instead we were heading to Niyama, another island in Anatara’s portfolio and totally different to Dhigu, more on that later.

Our boat was at 10:30am and was organised to seamlessly fit with our seaplane from Male. Our bags were collected from our room and we were taken to reception on a separate buggy.

Checkout was easy, we were sad to say goodbye, hugging the incredible staff that made our trip even more memorable. I can truly say, in all the travelling I have done over the years, this was 100% the best service I have ever received and it will take a lot to top it!

We were escorted onto our boat and we waved goodbye. We took the 30 minute trip back to Male where we were collected from the boat and driven to the seaplane terminal where our next adventure was about to begin…

 

You can find rates and more information on Dhigu Island here.

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