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Reviewed 23 March 2018

We stayed for seven nights at Huvafen Fushi in December 2017 in an Ocean Pool Bungalow.

Even after three months of reflecting, we are not quite certain and still arguing on whether to rate the resort four (most likely) or five stars. Finally, we came to the decision to rate it as a (good) four star, since in comparison to other places we have already been to ( including Milaidhoo and Jumeirah Dhevanafushi), there are some minor downsides which we will discuss later on.

Let's start of with the positive:

+ The setting: HF is an abosuletely remote, quiet and peaceful island close to the western edge of North Male Atoll. Aside from the daily boat traffic in the lagoon, from our westward facing Ocean Pool Bungalow we hardly counted ten boats on the Ocean during one week and there was absolutely no plane and sea-plane traffic to be heard on the whole island.
+ The views: The views from the western side are truly amazing and unobstructed view lovers like us, really enjoyed every single moment of the day on our deck.
+ The sand & lagoon: Honestly, we never made up our mind too much about the quality of sand, but the sand on the Lagoon Side of Huvafen Fushi is the softest and most powdry we have experienced so far ( the reef-facing side is naturally different with more pieces of broken coral in between). The lagoon offers various shades of blue and although, there is some boat traffic, a nearly uninhabited island and CBH in the view, it is still idyllic.
+ The reef: After two days of intensive snorkeling, we labeled HF "shark island". Before the bleaching, the reef must have been really beautiful and especially the part between the Feeling Koi restaurant and the "Presidential Villas" must have been really amazing in terms of coral life. Still HF offers plenty of fish life, tons of sharks (black tips, nurse sharks up to 9 ft), octopus, turtles, moray eels, rays, dolphins on the horizon of the open sea and all the other more or less common usual suspects, you are likely to meet in the Maldives.
+ The atmosphere: Although we entered the island after midnight and a horrific seventy minutes boat ride through the cyclone influenced rough seas of Male Atoll, we were directly impressed and picked up by the island's dense and magical atmosphere. Lights in between the trees, flaming-torches guiding your way to the main restaurant and bar in the evenings, the very special setting of RAW deck and Feeling Koi. Impressive.

+ Our Takaru: During our stay, we have been attended by Shinan, who turned out to be a gem during the week of our stay and provided us with one of the best services, we have experienced so far during our vacations around the world. He did not only fulfill all of our requests, but after a few days, he was already aware of what we might demand and thus fulfilled our wishes, before we even thought of them.
+ The food at Feeling Koi and Fogliani ( a very friendly and very good Maldivian Chef at Feeling Koi). Service at Feeling Koi has been excellent, too. So it has been during all other meals and at all outlets most of the time.
+The private sunset cruise with perfect views and weather has been a very unique experience.
+ Excellent room cleaning
+ Very friendly staff and management
+ Laundry service of cleaning up to 5pcs p.p.d. is a very good idea and a very generous offer.

After all the positive aspects, there is still room for improvement and therefore, we would rate HF rather with (very good) four stars, than with five stars. Here's why:
- The breakfast: In advance of our booking, we were aware, that HF does not offer a buffet for breakfast, but serves continental. That's ok, but: Selection of a la carte dishes (despite the daily change of specials) was limited, pastry frequently not as fresh as it should be, poor selection of marmelades, hot dishes have not been hot (or even warm) when they arrived at our table. Quality was ok, but a shortfall compared to almost all other hotels of the same category we have stayed at. Selection of Juices and Champagne for breakfast was good.
- Food at the Main Restaurant was not convincing (other than at Feeling Koi and Fogliani)
- The prices for food and beverage are ambitioned (even for the Maldives) if not to say exaggerated. Compared to that, F&B prices at Dhevanafushi or Milaidhoo, which we would consider as comparable, are nearly "cheap".
- The villa we had, was very nice and offered an unobstructed view on the ocean and a close access, to the reef. Unfortunately, it lacked the wow factor, we experienced at other places ( not only in the Maldives) and for the price is not the best value for money. There is no sheltered area on the deck and during bad weather you are captured in your villa. The pool lacks a railing, which would be very helpful, for entering and exting, since the first step inside is 50cms high (danger of slipping). Further, the Villa is missing a table, where you can eat inside comfortably and it lacks a bar, with all the plugs for electrical devices, which is a standard at many resorts of the same category. Last point, the cupboard lacks some shelves (except the two small ones), where you can put your clothing, if you do not want to have it on hanger, but folded.
- The jetty urgently needs to be fixed at some points, since it is very noisy (even inside the villa), when buggies are passing by. Since we had good weather on all days but one (and we stayed outside), it was not that disturbing, but sometimes, we woke up from the noise in the morning.

Summarizing our thoughts on Huvafen Fushi, we found a really beautiful, well maintained (not modern) property with a very dense atmosphere in a perfect location with a world-class Takaru, friendly staff and excellent house-keeping. Nevertheless, compared to other resorts of the same category (and pricing), we found some slight weaknesses at HF, which prevented us to rate it 5/5, but a good 4/5.

Would we return to Huvafen Fushi and recommend it to family and friends?
Yes, we would, since we think that (after doing a lot of research on other places) within speedboat distance, Huvafen Fushi is definitely the best "allrounder" in the luxury section and offers one of the best settings in the whole country.

Room Tip: For BB 7,8 are more remote w/ nicer stretch of beach, Deluxe BB 9,10. OW: LB 25-28, OPB 33-37 for views and privacy.
  • Stayed: December 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
16  Thank SR679
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 March 2018

We have stayed in many resorts in the Maldives and Huvafen remains our favourite. To us it is like coming home. We have stayed in almost all room types and the rooms are the most comfortable for us.

A couple of caveats - make sure you get your room attendant to turn off the pool filter at night.

If you are lying on the bed you can hear buggies on the jetty. However most people walk so this only happens a couple of times a day. During our last stay one young asian couple seemed to be ferried up and down to their bungalow in the buggie a few times a day. Please note these comments are only for the noise sensitive amongst us.

The dining is all ALC. We (like a previous reviewer) were also disappointed to see SALT go. We loved it as one of our favourite restaurants anywhere. We may have chosen badly at Feeling Koi but it had none of the finesse that Salt had. Maybe on our next visit we will understand it. I think perhaps a tasting menu would be a good idea.

My other complaint has not changed since the first time we arrived at Huvafen. Drinks prices are significantly higher than compared to other 5 star resorts.

Having said that we still love Huvafen and will continue to return but now it is adults only, people like to have a couple of drinks for lunch and a few cocktails pre dinner. Hopefully they will have more dining options when we return in September

The staff are all totally magnificent and treat you like royalty. We have noticed some of the younger ones are a bit slick/professional. We actually prefer a bit of Maldivian charm. Having said that they all have an excellent grasp of English

As it is our favourite island which we recommend often we want to ensure that we give a true and honest opinion.

Although we were saddened by the devastation of the house reef in the previously designated snorkelling area we were pleased to still find some great snorkelling from Feeling Koi to the Ocean Pavilions .

We still have lots of other areas to rediscover next trip. First trip we did not sea a turtle.

Also we need to thank Michael from Float for an amazing trip to the Manta cleaning station. We would not have visited at this time except that Michael almost guaranteed we would see Mantas. And we certainly did. One of our highlights of a dozen trips.

Thanks all and see you in September

  • Stayed: March 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank AussieAnge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 March 2018

Having living in Maldives ,this place was amazing ,its a unique paradise ... I was there with my wife and we both loved it ...We want to visit again in future .
They place is perfect for a couples ...

  • Stayed: March 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank pdeoja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jean-Christophe N, General Manager at Huvafen Fushi Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 18 April 2018

Dear pdeoja,

Greetings from Huvafen Fushi.

Thank you very much for posting your review of your recent stay with us. We are happy that you have enjoyed your stay at our Dream Island, your little patch of paradise.

We are looking forward to welcoming you back one day and create another lasting memories for your and your lovely wife.

With best regards,

JC Nager
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2018

We come to Maldives 1-2 times per year and we never have been back to the same resort yet only because we want to try and see all different places. I must say it will be painful not to come back to Huvafen Fushi.

Things that we loved:

1. Feeling Koi Restaurant and chef Jameel. "Feeling Koi" is Japanese fusion restaurant, think Nobu. Chef Jameel (former Nobu) is one of the best chefs I have ever met, he is so incredibly talented, attentive and considerate, that besides having full board package (where dinner at the main restaurant was included) we had all of our 9 dinners on the island at Feeling Koi (2 private). I am vegan, my husband is not, but we both are very very picky with the food, Jameel even created special menu for both of us for Teppanyaki dinner. Bear in mind that Feeling Koi was previously Salt, managed by another chef, so don't be confused with old reviews.

2. Other food. Breakfast was nice, I especially loved açai bowl, chia pudding and selection of juices. The only thing i can suggest for the resort is to add fresh fruit buffet. I think its great that resorts avoids open buffet breakfast and dinner to reduce food waste, but small fruit bar would be nice. Same goes for the special Indian or Italian nights in the main restaurant, it would be nice to have at least few stations where you can pick the foods and watch them be prepared in front of you (it doesn't have to be huge buffet).

3. Marine life around resort is absolutely amazing: variety of fish, stingrays, sharks including huge 2-3 meters nurse sharks and we even spotted turtles. Manta rays snorkelling tour was mind-blowing, we have seen mantas in Maldives before but never this close. They were literally swimming within hand-reach distance. Be aware though that there are lots of corals around the resort and with low tides you may need to be careful swimming through them. Fins or diving socks come handy!

4. Yoga and spa. Another praise goes to yoga teacher Selina, she is yoga teacher and Reiki master (such a rear treatment to be offered). She is such a geniually nice person and great yoga teacher with strong focus on mindfulness and meditation, not just asanas. It is truly valuable when resorts brings in proper yoga teacher instead of outsourcing this to spa staff. Selina is there only until end of April but hope she will come back!

5. We stayed in lagoon side water villa and it was really nice, with some minor repair works to be done (stairs down to the ocean), but resort is currently working on it.

6. Service was unintrusive which I loved. Service staff were there when you needed them but you didn't feel that they were chasing you all day long.

7. There is gorgeous cat named Chocolate that lives on the island for 14 years :)

Big thank you to Huvafen Sushi family and we hope to be back sometime!

Room Tip: water villas (both sides)
  • Stayed: March 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank LekaH001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jean-Christophe N, General Manager at Huvafen Fushi Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 18 April 2018

Dear LekaH001,

Wow! What a very comprehensive review of your stay at our Dream Island. Thank you very much for taking the kind time to share your thoughts to our TripAdvisor readers.

We could not be more delighted to know that you have had an amazing time during your stay with us whilst enjoying Feeling Koi with Chef Jameel, the marine life, Yoga with our resident practitioner, Selina and of course your lagoon villa and the discreet service.

We are looking forward to welcoming you back on your 2nd visit and to be a part of our growing family of Repeat Guests.

With best regards,

JC Nager
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2018

Having travelled extensively in the Maldives over the years we have always returned - for the seventh time this year - to Huvafen Fushi. It's the tropical island of everyone's dreams - white sand beaches, warm blue sea, waving palms and a perfect, small hotel staffed mainly, but not exclusively, by charming Maldivians. There are many like it in the archipelago but, for us, the discriminator which has brought us back here so often is the sheer quality of it's restaurants.

Salt, over the water, was perhaps one of the best restaurants - if not the best - in the Maldives, serving delicious grilled meat and fish. Imagine our consternation, therefore, to discover that it had been supplanted by a Japanese restaurant called Feeling Koi serving "modern Izakaya style cuisine with a playful Latin influence" whatever that means. We battled unsuccessfully with a large and complicated menu until Jameel, the helpful and extremely talented chef, guided us to dishes we enjoyed eating - Wagyu beef striploin (real Japanese Wagyu, not fake Australian) served on hot stone, Atlantic black cod and, of course, the tasty local yellow fin tuna.

Raw, also over the water, used to serve, as the name suggests, raw food so delicately prepared and subtly flavoured that the end product almost seemed more art than cuisine. Alas, a heavier Japanese hand results in an altogether less nuanced product - and I'm told that it is destined soon to become a sushi bar.

Elsewhere the over water villas have been extensively renovated. The rooms are large, light and airy; the seating area has a glass floor through which one may observe the occasional nurse shark gliding past, the modern bathroom is cool, slick and dominated by a large jacuzzi which occupies much of the floor space. There is an acute shortage of shade on the large deck, and the small infinity plunge pool might benefit from more frequent cleaning.

Huvafen Fushi is a wonderful destination and not for a moment would I discourage anyone from spending time there; it will certainly be a rewarding experience. But will we return for an eighth time? I'm not sure; we just might prefer to remember the good old days of Salt and Raw.

Thank you Billy and Mafik.

Room Tip: Over water pool villa
  • Stayed: March 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank cherrypicker53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jean-Christophe N, General Manager at Huvafen Fushi Maldives, responded to this reviewResponded 18 April 2018

Dear cherrypicker53,

Greetings from your Huvafen Fushi family.

We could not be more happier than to have welcomed you back on your 7th visit to our Dream Island, your home away from home! Your detailed review of your recent stay is much appreciated.

Chef Jameel is very much delighted that he has made your dining experience at Feeling Koi enjoyable and tried a few of his culinary creations.

The entire Dream Team is looking forward for your return someday.

With best regards,

JC Nager
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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