Villa Park, Sun Island – Hotel Review

We arrived at Villa Park with high hopes after having a great time at Royal Island, and initially, the island didn’t disappoint. Approaching Villa Park by boat, we were immediately drawn to the large sandbank, extensive white sandy beaches, and numerous palm trees reaching over the turquoise water.

Table of Contents

Friendly Welcome

The Transfer to Villa Park, Sun Island starts at the domestic Terminal at Malé Airport. The flight from Malé to Maamigili takes about 15 Minutes followed from a short 5 minute Boat ride. The transfer from Maamigili International Airport to the island was smooth, but the welcome at Villa Park was a bit rushed. The staff, though friendly, seemed a bit overwhelmed and ended up confusing us more regarding the our stay, activities and included services. The atmosphere on the island was absolutely relaxed, though and all the staff had a smile on their face. 

The open layout with the shade spending palm trees allowed a cool breeze to flow, which was especially refreshing amidst the warm and humid rainy season.

This initial experience had us looking forward to the adventures the Resort had in store for us, however with a small dose of uncertainty due to the initial confusion. 

The Lagoon Beach Villa

Our initial venture on the island was a golf cart ride to our freshly renovated villa, situated on the calmer side of Villa Park, with views towards the inner South Ari Atoll. The villa’s location offered a beautiful view down the wide beach straight to the lagoon, marking a serene start to our stay.

The modern Nordic style interiors, especially the tastefully designed bathroom with an outdoor shower, resonated with us instantly. After a sweaty day of exploring, nothing could beat a cool, stargazing shower. The bright ambiance of the villa was complemented by the comfortable bed, ensuring restful nights.

A humorous touch was the “Lorem Ipsum” printed breakfast menu, which gave us a good laugh.

Our Excursions

Our first planned tour was the whale shark trip starting at 9 am. We were out on the ocean for two hours, when the boatsman of another vessel pointed anywhere in between the lagoons indicating a whale shark. 

Being the only ones on the ocean early in the morning, at least ten other boats joined us in the meantime. Everyone jumped ito the water like crazy making the excurion more an underwater fight with tourists going nuts racing behind a solitary whale shark.

Seeing a whale shark again was a great finish to the adventure, though. 

The next morning, we started towards the watersports center, placed at the far end of the island by the sandbank beach. The atmosphere was light, the staff humorous and laid-back. Ali, one of the front office staff, tailored a private speedboat tour for us on request, to a picturesque sandbank we had spotted on Instagram and to Dhigurah, a local island nearby.

We started with 2 hours of time on the clock to the sandbank, so we need to hurry to get our tour done in time. Our captain Ahmad made the speed boat tour a fun roller coaster ride through the turqoise waters.

 Once there, the scene was just as beautiful as we knew it from the photos. The clouds rushing through made taking the photos a little challenging, so we there a little longer than we had originally planned.

Our next stop was the Dhigurah sandbank. Time was running up, so we did not reach the inhabited part of the island, which was three kilometers away from the more photogenic sandbank. So we took our time to enjoy the remote and less crowded Long Beach of Dhigurah.

We would definitely recommend a private tour like we had it at Villa Park, if you have 600$ left in your travel budget. The whale shark trip was exhilarating, but the personalized experience of the private tour, the breathtaking sandbank, and the dash to Dhigurah were the cherries on top of our Stay at the Villa Park.

The Main Restaurant

The main buffet restaurant had a lively vibe. Chefs were busy grilling fresh tuna and beef, and frying up crispy chicken, creating a variety of international foods that would change on a daily basis.

Besides the live cooking area, we found a variety of fresh potato, veggie and pasta dishes on the buffet, as well as various meat and fish dishes like casseroles and braised items.

A highlight was the fresh leafy greens like watercress and mustard leaves from the island’s hydroponic farm. The dessert station was inviting with farm-grown fruits, fresh cakes, puddings, tartes, and creamy desserts.

The place felt a bit like a big hall, somehow crowded, mostly with Russians who flocked near the buffet area. This allowed us to snag a quiet table by the beach side, where the view and the friendly, attentive service made our dining experience enjoyable.

Our á la carte Dinner

Our visit to the Thai á la carte restaurant didn’t live up to our expectations. The promising start with artisan looking prawn crackers and homemade sweet chili sauce soon dwindled as we received rubbery microwaved bread. 

While the beef salad with a nice dressing made of sugar, lime and fish sauce, was a good starter, the deep fried prawns and veggies were overly battered and barely seasoned.

The plum chicken was quite nicely fried together with the fresh veggies, but it lacked sweetness so it was a bit on the sour side. The Pad Thai significantly missed the mark, lacking almost all seasoning except for a faint hint of saltiness and oiliness. This was a major letdown as the essence of Pad Thai lies in a harmonious burst of sweetness, sourness, saltiness, umami, a light herbal bitterness, and a chili punch, all unified by a satisfying fatty mouthfeel.

The initially friendly service turned somehow distanced once we provided feedback, leaving us a little frustrated. Despite the dinner being part of our all-inclusive booking, it was a disappointing end to our culinary journey at Villa Park. 

Probably, we were just unlucky with our restaurant choice on our last evening. As this has only been a single á la carte dinner, this is probably not representative for the other á la Carte restaurants.

There is an italian restaurant and a teppanyaki restaurant on the island, as well as the vegan restaurant “Zero” which serves a farm-to-table concept right by the island’s little farm . 

Our overall Experience

Reflecting on our stay at Villa Park, we enjoyed the time in the beautiful maldives. Our typical travel style tends to be more spontaneous and unstructured, yet we found the break from decision-making about where to eat and stay rather pleasant.

The convenient all-inclusive still isn’t our preferred travel style as we don’t typically indulge in continuous eating and drinking. It often felt like a compulsion to consume to make the most of it. This sensation was amplified by the presence of a large crowd carousing at the buffet and bars.

Additionally, we had the feeling we had to fight to get our excursions running with the staff being not too supportive finding a solution. Luckily, we could count on Ali’s assistance who was keen to tailor a private tour for a good price.

The tour and the beautiful location and layout of the island added a unique flavor to our  Maldives vacation. The gardens with lush greens and colourful flowers on the island and the lush marine life around it was just what we have imagined when we booked our trip.


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