Arrival Jetty (All pics are my own and taken when we visited the island in in July 2017)
I usually visit the Maldives in the autumn and winter when Sweden (north part in particular) is dark almost 24/7. Over the years I have occasionally been during the low season months though this was my first experience during the month of July. For two weeks we had only 2 hours of rain and the rest sunshine with the odd cloud. Amazing! You just never know about the weather in these parts of the world. I would avoid June, since it is, in my experience, the least sunny month.
This time we started on the glistening pearl of Ihuru, managed by Thai company Angsana (also part of Banyan Tree) in north Male atoll, about 25 minutes from the airport, as the speedboat flies. Very nicely welcomed by Simaad. The island itself is a true Maldivian beauty, comparable even with pretty little Kandolhu. The beaches are snow white and soft without any water villas or wave breakers to spoil the view. The reef is close around most of the perimeter making for amazing nuances of turqoise and blue. The lush foliage and well managed interior is a credit to the resort. This is a very peaceful resort, we felt as if it was our private island most of the time. During high season there would be a few more guests, but still. Very private.
The villas come either with or without a jacuzzi backyard. It is a matter of taste of course, but since you can get great location anyway I would not pay extra for the jacuzzi. Maybe more of a honeymooners thing? The villas are nice and well equipped with really good amenities. I especially like that the shower gel, schampoo etc come in refillable bottles. Much better for the environment. Room for improvement? Well a bit more space for clothes and a colder minibar with more in it would be welcome, apart from that, not really. It is solid 4 star resort and room and it was kept absolutely spotless. Our room attendant must have hidden in the bushes waiting for us to go for breakfast, very discreet.
Lovely staff on Ihuru
Like mentioned above the interior is really pretty and very well maintained. The spa is in the middle of the island and really sweet with al fresco treatment rooms, although I was told there are 2 rooms with AC. The massage I got was heavenly and expertly done. The prices were reasonable and - this is a VERY important point - all prices were inclusive of taxes. I did not have to add 22% (as is common in most Maldivian resorts) to know what a treatment cost. Even better, this was true for all price lists on the island. Well done Angsana!
Ihuru is famous for its house reef and well deservedly so. This is possibly the best house reef I have seen. You could spend hours each day and see just about evereything you could wish for.
The food. Well, the food. We were on half board and had lunch in the bar every day which was absolutely fine. Simple, but tasty, food that went nicely with a cold beer. The bar staff was really helpful and kind, always ready for a chat. Another good point was the drinks and the wine. You can get a decent bottle on Ihuru for 40 $. In the main restaurant we had breakfast and dinner. Some dinners were buffet, some three course dinner with a few choices. Some dishes were delicious, some ...not. Very much hit and miss. Breakfast too a bit mixed impressions. Angsana Ihuru would, in my humble opinion, profit enormously by raising the food game. This is our only concern, the food just does not cut it at this level. Admittedly the resort has got an added challenge of trying to please a huge number of different nationalities. :-)
Room service worked perfectly. We had rooom 35 and adored sitting on the beach with a bottle of white watching the sunset. If pushed I would recommend room 22-35, but I think almost any room would be great on Ihuru. A suggestion for the resort would be to add some kind of sunset bar on the western side. Maybe just some deck chairs and soft music and bubbly? The sunset view is absolutely glorious and it seems a shame that the guests cannot see it from the bar deck.
View from room 35
Angsana Ihuru has got a 'sister island' - Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru - managed by the same company. We went (max 5 minutes by boat) to see the stingrays and baby turtles, but the boat takes you there free of charge every 2 hours if you wish, and you can get drinks and eat on your room number as usual. A really great selling point for both islands. Some wanted to see the other resort, some wanted to try snorkelling at the other resort and so forth. Since both islands are tiny it is a nice little change.
Turtle babies in the turtle sanctuary on Banyan Tree
We would love to come back to this island again. Most aspects are so good that even if the food did not become better, we would love to return anyway. I fervently pray that they do not build water villas ...... IF Angsana feels compelled to change anything I would suggest making the rooms bigger (there is a lot of space towards the beach to build on) and maybe adding private pools to some of the rooms.
Jet lagged husband on our first day on Ihuru.
If you like snorkelling and perfect beaches, you will adore this paradise pearl! Top marks (5/5) on Tripadvisor is well deserved.