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  • Maldives
  • Maldives Islands
  • JA Manafaru

JA Manafaru

TripAdvisor Review
Maldives, Indian Ocean
Maldives Islands

JA Manafaru is the only resort on Manafaru island in the Maldives northernmost Haa Alif atoll. From Velana International Airport MLE it is a 75 minute seaplane transfer to JA Manafaru.

JA Manafaru is a luxury beach resort on a 35 acre tropical island situated on northern tip of the stunning Haa Alif atoll in Maldives. Lush vegetation grows between beach bungalows beachfront suites and multi bedroom family suites while walkways to striking water villas stretch into sparkling Indian Ocean. All feature private plunge pools and many have partially open air bathrooms that invite the sea breeze.

Seven atmospheric restaurants and bars serve exceptional cuisine created from locally produced ingredients. Beachfront dining breezy sunset bars over water verandas and even haute cuisine in the underground lava stone cellar can be experienced along with personalised dining excursions to nearby uninhabited islands.

Traditional Maldivian massages healing rituals indigenous herbalism Ayurveda and aromatherapy treatments are offered at De Spa amidst the banyan trees. In the Mind and Body Movement Pavilion yoga and meditation sessions take place. Along with a gymnasium the resort also features weekly wellness classes.

Choose to relax at private beach cabanas swim in one of three main swimming pools or engage in one of numerous water sport options. A PADI dive centre offers instruction for novices and excursions to some of the areas stunning dive site sites.

Guests can take advantage of entertainment facilities at PLAY. The Turtle Kids Club with its own childrens pool organises exciting activities for children from 3 to 12 years. Babysitting baby equipment and childrens menu are available.

Due to the surrounding area and the number of steps around the hotel, it may not be suitable for those with mobility difficulties.

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7 nights
Bed and Breakfast
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Facilities

  • Lounge
  • Bars
  • Restaurants
  • Kids club and kids zone
  • Motorised and non-motorised watersports*
  • Diving*
  • Spa and massage*
  • Fitness facilities
  • Please note some facilities may incur an addition fee
  • * at a fee

The Local Area

Trip Advisor Reviews

TripAdvisor Review

Forgettable experience

Review by carlocious Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The booking process was horrible. Many missed and incorrect information, unreturned calls, and a lot of delays in getting confirmation with the booking. I booked 3 weeks in advance and only got the confirmation of booking less than 4 days before the trip, this included the confirmation for the domestic flight...

I have fully documented all my correspondence in emails to show as proof. I can provide the names of all the reservation staff that I was communicating with.

When we arrived at the resort, the host informed us that it was a bed and breakfast deal we booked, although in my booking (and I HAD TO SHOW proof) we booked an all-inclusive package!. This clearly showed another miscommunication between staff/ booking team of JA Manafaru. The worst mess-up was we were informed that they couldnt get us in a domestic flight to Male on our supposed departure date from the resort. The reason was the flights were full and we should have had provided our domestic flight schedule 7 days before according to the staff. But we were not be able to do that simply because the JA Manafaru team only confirmed our domestic flight less than 4 days before the trip! (again I have full documentation and email to prove this). This resulted in us having to cancel our Emirates flight going Male-Dubai and had to buy a new one with another airline just so we could get home to Dubai on time. We stayed an extra night and spent USD 2k extra on the flights.

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TripAdvisor Review

Absolute paradise

Where do I start?! We visited as a family of 3 on our long awaited honeymoon. The sunset water villa was incredible. The views were breathtaking and the villa had everything you would want. We did request an iron which was left in the room for us to use as we needed for the rest of the stay, which was appreciated.

Food: absolutely fabulous...

Everything was so fresh and fantastically cooked. My daughter, age 9 with a milk allergy, was well catered for. In fact, she was asked daily what she preferred and was always accommodated for.

Everything is so well thought through. The games room is well equipped and spotless. There was so many extra little touches that made the holiday even more special. My daughter particularly loved scouring for hours trying to find hidden bottles hidden by the resort.

Bikes are provided in your villa, in which we loved to use. Snorkelling equipment was free to hire and immaculate.

The staff are just the most caring, professional and fun people we have met. We genuinely are missing them whilst back at home.

We are hoping to be back for Easter 2023 and hopefully everything will be just as perfect as it was this year.

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TripAdvisor Review

Incredible Holiday

JA Manafaru is beautiful island with an incredible house reef. The snorkelling was fabulous and equipment all complimentary. We took a Scuba Diving excursion which was such a great experience...

The service was second to none with all staff really making a genuine effort to please. The food was also delicious with a buffet style breakfast and different options to eat for lunch and dinner. We particularly enjoyed the Easter journey event put on by Karen and her team which was great fun for all. We stayed in a overwater villa which was of a good size and clean with great housekeeping, the infinity pool was great and the snorkelling from the villa was also great. Our host Imran was fabulous, available via WhatsApp and booked all our dining and trips for us. He was an excellent host and his impeccable service really made the holiday stand out. A real nice touch was to meet all of the team when we arrived in the resort and have a tour of the island. All of the management team made a great effort to chat with us about there journeys & were in no rush to move on. The bikes were also a great idea and a great to see the reduced use of buggy’s.

The only downside is the timing of our inbound flight (EK658) which meant it took 8 hours from leaving Male arrivals to arriving to JA Manafaru. 8 hours to travel 320km is something which would put us off coming again although we soon forgot about this when we started our holiday at the resort. The outbound flight tied up a lot better (EK657). If the seaplanes were used again we would definitely be a lot more eager to come back.

All in all a fabulous holiday.

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TripAdvisor Review

An amazing stay

This is an incredible island. The villas are beautiful, the food is out of this world and the staff were so helpful particularly with our children. Whilst there is no kids club, you can still use all the kids club facilities...

There is a games room, lots of swimming pools and the snorkelling is excellent even with young kids. It was an amazing holiday.

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TripAdvisor Review

A little attention to service, and would be 5* rating

Review by Jockette Norwich, United Kingdom

We so wanted to give this hotel a 5* rating, as had been really looking forward to it based on the amazing reviews on TA. However…… we’re hovering between 3 and 4* having experienced the reality.

Firstly - the positives, and they are many! The island is beautiful - as expected with soft white sand and beautiful azure seas...

Lots of vegetation giving shade (although more humid as the wind doesn’t penetrate so much). Lots of interesting little areas in the trees - can imagine kids having a great time looking for the island chickens in the undergrowth!

Our villa was amazing - and a huge thanks to the resort for upgrading us to a water villa from our original booking. Having once tried it, it will be water villas all the way for us in the future. Amazing breeze to keep me cool, and could spend hours watching for the many varieties of marine life (dolphins, fish, rays, sharks, turtles etc) despite neither of us being swimmers/snorkellers. The service in the villa was excellent - everything kept beautifully clean, mini-bar topped up promptly and they adjusted the contents to suit our preference a little more. Nice environmentally friendly touches too (a big thing for the hotel, which was great to see).

The food is mostly excellent - the couple of items which didn’t land well probably more to do with personal taste than anything. Good selection at breakfast - no buffet, which we really preferred! Loved the breakfast ‘shooters’ - a healthy little shot of juice and spices. We ate lunch at Andiamo most days - again a good selection, plus tasty new paninis. Evenings were split across Kakuni and the Ocean Grill. As I don’t like fish (I know…. In the Maldives too!), the selections were slightly less and esp. at the grill, I did go back to the same item multiple times. Cooking and presentation all good. Good selection of wine too. Yummy deserts, including cake of the day in Kakuni.

On the not-so-good side….. it really comes down to the standard of service offered. Don’t get me wrong, the staff are lovely. So friendly and wanting to do the right thing. But we couldn’t really see that anyone was ‘in charge’ in the restaurants, and many staff didn’t seem too experienced. We felt that everyone was responsible for doing everything, which sometimes meant that nothing was the outcome. A couple of breakfasts we waited a loooong time for someone to take the order, needing me to eventually go and ask a waiter to take our order. Also most days saw a waiter turn up at random tables with a breakfast order which wasn’t theirs. It appeared that something as basic as table-numbering was not in place?

We did speak with one of the (?)managers late in our holiday (only junior staff seemed to wear name badges routinely - those who seemed to be resort management didn’t?). They had just introduced a hostess who would check that reservations had been made, and direct the staff a bit more (sadly, our villa host hadn’t actually booked our table that evening - despite telling us on WApp that he had). The manager said they were starting to assign staff to specific areas and/or roles in the restaurants, as guest feedback indicated this was an area for improvement - we said we agreed with this. Hopefully these early steps will lead to overall quality improvement.

And so to the villa host - in the past, we find we don’t really use one except for restaurant bookings (which we’d honestly be happy to do ourselves with the venue or via reception/guest relations). JAM hosts are available by WhatsApp which suits us well. However unlike other venues we’ve been too, that seemed to be the only way our host communicated. We saw other guests chatting with their hosts at e.g. breakfast, but we only saw ours by chance occasionally when he was on his buggy going out to the villas. On the last day, he was late for the designated pickup time for us, leading us to start walking as we didn’t want to miss the departure. He also hadn’t confirmed our booking at the clinic for departure checks (despite saying he had), and gave wrong advice on whether there would be a charge for a (resort-led) change in departure method. These little issues just left a poor impression of what should be a 5* service offering for the resort.

The negatives are all relatively small things - hence I’ve given a 4* rating. But at a resort like JAM which is (let’s face it) not inexpensive, and brands itself as a luxury resort - service needs to be tip-top. And for us, it wasn’t up to the standard of the other luxury resort & hotels we’ve been lucky enough to visit around the world. However - it shouldn’t take much to improve to the next level. We did see Karen early on in our stay, but not again before we left, otherwise would have been happy to share our views in-person.

A huge thanks to all the resort staff who made our visit memorable. We didn’t manage to get all names, but Nafil, Mors, Isse, Shaad, Upul, Oscar, Vasli and Putu were frequently in the frame with their smiles and jokes!

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