SIMON & KATE, UK, JULY 2013.
Myself and Kate have been to the Maldives before. It’s a wonderful place full of stunning resorts, but you probably already know that. However there is so much more to enjoy in the Maldives than just a luxury room with a powder soft white beach directly outside your door.
Let me tell you about our holiday. I received a questionnaire about our preferences for food, drink, activities, in fact just about everything that I might want to give my opinion on. This was a nice touch. Once on board, a quick look around the boat confirmed that it is exactly as described and in fact bigger than the photos suggest.
The food was fantastic and varied - Maldivian, Italian, English - a lot of fresh fish, fresh fruit, beautiful curries. It is quite remarkable what can be produced from such a small kitchen in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The service from the steward was exemplary, he really did make a difference. From serving breakfast in the morning, to ensuring the air conditioning in the bedroom was on at night, his attention to detail was faultless.
The boat itself has a rustic charm not found on modern super yachts. Solid and homely, it’s deceptively large compared to the photos. The bedrooms (there are two) are 5 metres x 3 metres with a small en-suite shower room that is perfectly sufficient. The dining area, which is at the front of the boat, is open, cool and features a large solid table that can seat six. At the back of the boat there is a platform that is used for diving and fishing. There is also a small dingy that is used for visiting islands and fishing in the evening. In the evening the crew tend to stay at the back of the boat giving guests complete privacy, just in case you were wondering!
So is Dhoni Stella for you? If you want freedom, excitement, adventure and a small amount of indulgence, then yes, it probably is. I’ll put it like this. After spending 10 fantastic days on Dhoni Stella, I really don’t think I would want to be trapped on an island for a full holiday again. Would I go back? Yes, tomorrow if I could and almost certainly next year to sample the delights of what the Ari Atoll has to offer.