Ellaidhoo Resort, Ari Atoll
Ellaidhoo Resort (located in the Ari Atoll) is about 25 mins from Male by airtaxi, including one stop.
Due to the wavebreakers around the resort island, the air taxi won't be able to land at the island's jetty. Instead, it will land on a pontoon in the middle of the sea. The pontoon is kind of rocky, so leave those heels at home.
A dhoni boat will be waiting for you when you arrive. It will then take another 15 mins to reach the resort. Crew will hold your hand as you get off the plane and get onto the boat. Luggage will be handled by crew.
Chivalry meter: Excellent
You will be given welcome drinks upon arrival at the resort. Resort staff will bring you to your rooms (leave your luggage at the lobby - porters will carry your luggage to your room shortly), show you the room's bathroom, and give you tips like using the side entrance with the tap to clean your sandy feet, bolting the doors, etc. Have tips handy for both the guide and the porter.
Chivalry meter: Standard
The resort is small (you can walk around the whole island in less than half an hour).
The landscaping is idyllic, with the obligatory sand and coconut trees. There are some weird elements though, like the toadstools and ducks that light up the pathways at night, and a very Victorian garden complete with fountain and cupid statues in the middle of the island.
The night lighting is quirky but not terribly effective, so bring your backup torches when you go around the resort at night (eg at dinner time). You'll want your torch to make sure you don't step on millipedes or rats. Yes, there are rats. But they stay out of your way.
If you're a diver, they'll give you a room near the dive centre.
There is one souvenir shop in the resort. The shop stocks loads of t-shirts - it's best to get one which says Ellaidhoo on it, especially the hand-painted ones which are painted by a guy who works in front of the shop. The other t-shirts you can get at lower prices in the capital.
The shop also has plenty of souvenirs - again, the ones worth getting are those which say Ellaidhoo on them because chances are, you won't find them anywhere else.
The shop sells basic toiletries. In July (low season), it stocked:
The pontoon is a 10-min dhoni ride to the resort
Your welcome drink is fresh coconut juice in a real coconut
Palm trees and sand - the default features of any Maldives resort
A toadstool lights up your path at night ...
... while Cupid and his friends cavort in the garden
The resort's jetty
The more affordable rooms in this resort are the Standard or Superior Rooms. The superior rooms are on the beachfront, and a few metres from the water. The standard rooms are in a row behind the superior rooms. We stayed in the superior rooms.
The front door tends to slam shut because of the wind. There aren't any door stoppers so you have to be careful. Don't leave your fingers on the doorway!
The front door automatically locks once closed. It can only be opened from the outside with the key. So ALWAYS ALWAYS make sure you're holding on to the room key before you close the door.
I was very happy with the semi-open-air bathrooms. Spacious, airy, plenty of space to hang up your swimsuits, TWO white floor mats, fluffy towels and a hairdryer. THIS is what I call a nice bathroom.
The flow of hot water was a little erratic. You'd be standing there having a wonderful hot shower and the next minute the water turns cold. There was one day when we were merrily showering and the water just stopped flowing. But all we had to do was call the front desk, and they had the water running again within 15 minutes. The water flow was much better from then on.
Tap to rinse sandy feet