It is hidden in the sense of feeling isolated, having only 2 islands on its horizon (Dhiffushi and Meeru). It is also hidden in the sense that the resort never advertises and doesn’t show up at trade fairs or join trade associations.
Word of mouth is the best advertising and Asdu continues to thrive on this alone. Italians are the majority guests, combining with a mix of other Europeans, and most of the guests book by writing directly to the very genial Ahmed Ismail or his son, Mikhail. Together with Ahmed's wife, they own and run the island, and also live there full time.
On this very small island there are just 30 rooms and a single reception, bar and restaurant building. There is no second restaurant or coffee shop, no karaoke lounge, no swimming pool or tennis court, but there is now a tv in the communal area. This is a place to come when you want to leave the modern world back in Europe and live the simple life for a while.
All the rooms, which have recently been refurbished, are just a few metres from the lagoon and all are similarly simple. Built in blocks of 2 or 3, they have a telephone but no hot water or air conditioning, although there are plans to introduce warm showers and just a few air-conditioned rooms in 2012. They are slightly higher and larger than most rooms, so enabling the slatted windows and latticed space below the roof to keep the sun out but let any breeze through. It is a practical and stylish design using local wood, coir rope and screw-pine matting. Unfortunately from the outside they are not attractive, as the rooms have corrugated sheet roofs.
The central building too has a painted corrugated sheet roof and painted concrete floors and patio. It is not a naturally beautiful island either, with scrubby vegetation and few large palms, but somehow the unusual magic of the place works its way into your bones and you remember only the enjoyment of simple pleasures.
The simplest pleasure of all is friendship and good conversation. With a small number of like-minded guests, often professionals, and a genial host family, there is plenty of easy interaction between the guests. The atmosphere is calm and sophisticated.
The other simple pleasures are the beach and the lagoon. Islands inside atolls tend to have smaller lagoons and better beaches than those on the outside, and this is no exception. The beaches from the west to the south are good to very good, though it must be said that the rooms on the north side of the island now have only intermittent beaches at best.
The lagoon, sandy and neither too deep nor too shallow, is ideal for swimming. The reef drop-off, extensive and never far away, is excellent for snorkeling. This is certainly one of the highlights and, in some ways, a reward for not undergoing reconstruction or pumping sand from the lagoon. So many resort reefs have suffered from this but not Asdu.
The dive base is small and not very busy but it is very reasonably priced. The diving in the region is first class, with a mix of local thilas and channels on the eastern rim of the atoll, above Meeru. There isn’t much in the way of watersports but the kayaks are free and the windsurfers are cheap (and often free too).
Drinks are very well priced and there is a limited-drinks-included package available. Any laundry is done for free. This just isn’t the sort of place that will sting you for extras, quite the opposite in fact.
All the meals are set. It is not gourmet stuff, but it is at least good, tasty fare based around a lot of fresh fish caught that day (usually by your waiter or another member of staff).
Asdu continues to live its own life, independent of the fashionable changes that all the other resorts undergo (whether successful or not). For a taste of the original Maldives, Asdu now has no competition. For many clients this is nothing to boast about, but for others there is a special magic that needs to be experienced to be understood.