Built on an almost perfectly round island, with its forty-eight villas and unpretentious barefoot luxury, Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru remains a favourite spot for romantic couples and eco-aficionados.
“Vabbinfaru” in the local Divehi language means “a round island surrounded by coral reef”. The simplicity of the name embodies the philosophy of the hotel.
Those looking for an underwater spa or a swimming pool may be disappointed. The hotel did not see fit to build a swimming pool, since the surrounding ocean is just perfect. Neither there are any TVs on the island: Vabbinfaru is the place to escape from civilization.
Maldivian nature clearly upstages trendy gadgetry. One of the residents is a shy heron, and in the afternoons manta rays swim up to the beach, fed daily by the hotel staff. Banyan Tree runs a marine laboratory, where team of a full-time biologists works on reef rebuilding and monitors turtle populations.
The staff here also runs a diving school—and snorkelling and diving around the reef of Vabbinfaru is great, and even better around the sister island of Ihuru (home to Angsana resort), where guests can dive directly from the beach. Reef is very close and after just few meters the sea bed collapses sharply down, revealing a fascinating depth.
Part of the island’s charm is that the hotel villas are round, with conical thatched roofs. Below, the room is simply decorated and comfortable, with a large canopied bed taking the center stage.
Bathrooms, generously equipped with top products by Banyan Tree Spa, follow the curvature of walls. From here a pair of doors opens onto a private garden and terrace with outdoor jacuzzi.
The terraces of a Beachfront Villas are connected to a walkway, leading to a private beach veranda (called “sala”), built on the beach.
Something for the body
Ilaafathi, the island’s only restaurant, serves delicious Maldivian food: with plenty of chili, coconuts, citrus fruits and fresh seafood. Menu is frequently changed, and a barbecue is often organized on the beach. Banyan Tree guests can also dine at the sister hotel Angsana Ihuru, a 5 minutes free boat ride from Vabbinfaru. For a very special dining experience there is the romantic dinner for two, organized on a lonely island, not much larger than a sandy shallow.
For other bodily senses there is spa. The Banyan Tree brand has an established reputation amongst the spa lovers, and the spa on Vabbinfaru is one of the oldest and the best among all the Banyan hotels.
After a day of relaxation and swimming, the perfect place to say goodnights is the Naiboli Bar. Laptops are provided for those desperate for contact with civilization—and for everybody else there is… a telescope!