Anantara Dhigu is one of three hotels of the Thai-owned Anantara group. The three hotels are situated in a triangle and are linked via a jetty or via a small shuttle boat. Dhigu is where most of the action takes place, whereas Veli is the less expensive edition and Naladhu is entirely secluded and exclusive. Dhigu and Veli guests have access to the facilities on both islands. Naladhu is kept separate to give guests maximum privacy. Dhigu welcomes families but has quieter spots for couples seeking to get away from it all. The villas are all spacious and very pleasant with the added bonus of a beautiful exterior bathroom. The beach here is blessed with a fair stretch of sand and the lagoon is one of the most beautiful in the archipelago. Anantara Dhigu is ideal for families needing to spend some quality time together.
The Maldives consists of over a thousand islands arranged into what is commonly-known as atolls, or groups of islands, although the word ?atoll' actually denotes an island made of coral surrounded by a lagoon. Anantara Dhigu is located in the South Malé Atoll. The island of Dhigufinolhu is reached via a 40 minute speedboat ride from Malé airport.
Around 200 islands of the archipelago are inhabited (recorded at the time of our visit in April 2010). Each hotel is set on its own island (unless you stay in the capital or Hulhule, the airport island). Among the 200 or so inhabited islands, few are inhabited by locals only - hotels and locals rarely mix unless in a work environment within a hotel structure. By this, we mean that there are no local villages on the same island as a hotel and vice versa. Tourism and local life are kept separate. This means that there are no cultural activities on hotel islands, although most hotels tend to organise excursions to neighbouring local islands for the day.
Upon arrival at the airport, everything may seem very confusing, with people milling around all over the place looking lost - you will notice a row of hotel kiosks, and a row of Maldivian Air Taxi or Trans Maldivian Airline kiosks behind the kiosks. When you come out at the arrival doors, look out for your host who should be waving an Anantara Dhigu Resort placard. Go with him/her. Your host will then take you to the speedboat jetty where you will board a boat for 40 minutes before reaching the hotel.
The Thai-owned Anantara Group has three hotels in the Maldives; all three are linked to one another via a jetty/shuttle boat. Anantara Dhigu, opened in 2007, is Veli's sister hotel. Guests from can use the facilities at both hotels. However, the stunning Naladhu hotel, the third edition of the group, is kept separate to create as much intimacy as possible.
The Dhigu Hotel is the main resorts of the three - guests staying at Veli also check in here. Upon arrival all guests are given a warm welcome by happy smiling staff. The circular reception comprises of several check in desks and is built around discreet pools of water; the sound of running water has a soothing effect on tired guests. The décor has an Asian influence which is refreshing. The staff here is extremely friendly and genuine. You will also notice the stunning lagoon that surrounds the hotels - you will be mesmerised by its phosphorescence! 'Dhigu', meaning long, depicts the shape of the island. The island itself is very green and strolling around at your own leisure is a real pleasure.
Guests can make the most of Dhigu's various facilities, including the gym, restaurants, water sports/surf/diving centre which is well equipped. The Anantara spa looks like a real delight for guests in need of relaxation. With over water treatment rooms, the setting alone is enough to evoke instant repose. Dhigu welcomes all types of guests including families as it has a good kids' club with friendly staff - the kids' club itself is actually inside a converted dhoni (traditional Maldivian fishing boat) which is original and a lot more fun than the usual thatched roof pavilion. The hotel also has a decent pool looking out onto the Fuddan/Terrazo restaurants and of course, out onto the lagoon.
There are 110 rooms split into a whopping six categories, the main difference being whether the villas are sunrise or sunset facing. The villas all look very similar in their clean, simple décor and all have large flat screen televisions, outdoor bathrooms - especially enjoyable in the Beachfront villas where the décor is simple but highly aesthetically pleasing - rain showers and complimentary tea and coffee making facilities, as well as Anantara flip flops, slippers and bathrobes. Some of the accommodation has oversized bath tubs and others have private plunge pools; all amenities are refill own-brand products. The water villas are spacious and cosy although a little on the dark side when it isn't sunrise/sunset (depending on the chosen villa). The oriental style is fresh and has been finished to a high standard with lovely canopies of bright fabrics adorning the king size bed and sofa . The lagoon that surrounds the villas is perfect for swimming, which is not the case at all hotels where the sea can be too shallow to swim or where the floors are laden with coral.
Spread over Dhigu and Veli, there are six restaurants to choose from. The jewel in the crown is Baan Huraa, the Thai restaurant which is situated on a jetty linking Veli to Naladhu. Set over water, the round restaurant is an ideal setting for a special occasion (open for lunch and dinner). There is also 73 Degrees situated on the Veli lagoon and serves a large spread of fresh fruit and delicious pastries at breakfast and fresh seafood at dinner (open for breakfast and dinner). For something a bit different and colourful in the way of décor, the bright yellow 'Geckos' is a good choice. The menu comprises of Japanese-Italian fusion which is fairly original - if you ever craved sushi and pizza, Geckos will make your dream come true! For a more casual experience, there is the Fushi Café over at Dhigu which serves American breakfasts and the like (open for breakfast and dinner). For lunch and dinner guests can sample Fuddan's Fusion Grill options of seafood. Upstairs guests will find Terrazzo, the Italian restaurant which serves some truly authentic and delicious filling options that are far from bland pizza and Carbonara! Both Fuddan and Terrazzo are located on Dhigu Island in a huge triangular glass and wood structure and boast wonderful views of the ocean. You will also find the hotel cellar here is an all-glass room off the Terrazzo restaurant. In terms of bars, Veli has a pool bar as does Dhigu.
The beach is absolutely beautiful here at Dhigu, which is blessed with a shimmering turquoise lagoon, fine white sand and picture perfect palm trees. The beach has an open feeling meaning that there is little privacy here, especially with the main beach being close to the main cluster of activity near the infinity-edged pool.
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