Reethi Beach is a value for money Maldives Classic.
Small island (we could circum-perambulate, which is one of our favourite arrival rituals), excellent food strongly featuring on local produce and local cuisine (including a wood fired grill and a tandoori oven that produced the best, freshly baked naan bread I have ever eaten, despite years of trawling premiere UK curry houses). Sincere hospitality. A relaxed atmosphere with the staff, who freely intermingle with the guests in the bar and restaurants.
I was not surprised when Denise Schmidt (the acting manager) told me that 30% of their residents are repeat visitors. It is a classy enough place to fall in love with and relaxed enough to feel at home.
Stopping in at Reethi Beach Resort (RBR) was a real gear shift from the top of the line resorts we had been visiting earlier in the week. RBR is not a glitzy posh place. It maintains a deliberately laissez-faire, organic approach to the landscape without lots of fussy gardening. Leaves are periodically collected and shredded and then re-spread to allow the nutrients to return to the grounds naturally. The experience is much closer to being dropped off on a deserted tropical island that happens to have some dwellings on it. Much to my bias and delight, RBR has maximised the ‘no shoes’ experience. Sand paths wind everywhere including all the restaurants and even the games room.
But after its October revamp, it has upgraded in many areas. Its greatest strength is value for money. We are not very stingy people when we travel, but sometimes the super-premium prices prevalent in the Maldives do leave a bit of a sour after-taste, as you can’t help but choke a bit on the numbers. RBR boosts satisfaction because you pay very reasonable and even bargain prices. We ate a la carte at the Grill restaurant and I had a lobster bisque with a proper roux and brandy base that I struggle to find in the best restaurants in London – for less than the price of a Starbucks (menu price = $5).
Much as the super 5 stars blew us away in many respects, RBR did bring us down to earth. It reminded us that many distinctions are truly hair-splitting in this stunning destination. Nicely grilled fish caught that day is nicely grilled fish caught that day. It’s a rare massage or spa treatment that doesn’t make someone feel great and how great is really hard to argue. And of course, Maldives paradise is Maldives paradise even if you were just plopped down on one of the deserted islands. For people a bit more constrained on their budget, I can assure you that going to a strong, but lower priced resort like RBR, is going to deliver a stunning and memorable experience.