Perhaps Meeru can be best summed up with the phrase ‘affordable dreams’. The big, happy resort has a hundred ways to fulfil a hundred different wishes and expectations. From the fully active party couple to the privacy seeker and from the splurging couple to the careful couple, Meeru seems to deliver on so many people’s dreams.
The staff are extremely well looked after and the result is a friendly, happy service that guests frequently comment on. Friendships are made and cemented over years of returning.
There are 3 distinct zones with different feels. Each is based around a swimming pool, bar, lounge and food outlet. The original area is on the west side facing into the atoll, around the middle of the island. On the opposite side, facing east out to the deep water is the smart casual Pavilion bar and pool with the Hot Rock restaurant. Then at the northern tip is the Maalan restaurant and Uthuru bar and pool. Surrounded by the most expensive rooms this latter area has the most refined look and feel.
Children and families are encouraged to base themselves around the original centre, where you have the Dhoni bar and pool (with kids’ pool and daily water polo), Kakuni bar, coffee shop and main restaurant. This is the area that stays lively during the day and long into the evening. Couples or groups who prefer the adult spaces of the other two centres come here in the evenings for the entertainment and the atmosphere.
The room categories are straightforward: Beach, Jacuzzi Beach, Water, Jacuzzi Water and Honeymoon. The standard Beach Villas and Water Villas (which are half on and half off the shore) are on the open ocean side which faces sunrise rather than sunset and didn’t have a good beach. Now, however, successful sand pumping has ensured a very good beach all around the island.
The Jacuzzi Beach Villas run the length of the west side. The Jacuzzi Water Villas are on 2 jetties, 1 off the tip of the island and 1 going out from the middle of the island. You really want to get a west facing one for sunset or south facing for sun all day long. The rooms themselves are first class, unquestionably luxurious.
Trying an alternative room category is encouraged on this big and varied island, where a change of room or location can give a different holiday experience. Guests can seclude themselves away in a quiet corner or take a room near all the action by the swimming pool, bars, ‘front’ and dive centre. A bonus for the resort running full is the frequent offers of 2 nights ‘free’ on the safariboat. Many guests love this option and, upon return, they are more than likely to get an upgrade rather than their old room back.
Importantly, every room has a complete catalogue of what there is to do throughout the holiday. A long list of excursions includes a full day cruise on a sailing yacht (called the Love Boat), various fishing options, a sunset dolphin watch and a Male shopping and sightseeing trip. Loads of daytime resort activities include water polo, tennis, badminton, a first class gym and a great new pitch and putt to go with the driving range and classes from a golf pro. Your evenings might be filled with disco dancing, live bands, crab racing, Boduberu, a table tennis tournament or sipping cocktails and making new friends in one of the 5 bars on the island.
There are both natural and man-enhanced coral blocks in the lagoon that afford some snorkeling, but this is really one of the only areas where the resort is disappointing. A boat is put on every day to take guests to the housereef but you must pay for this and it’s not a great reef. The dive centre organises snorkeling trips to better reefs. The best is had on the full-day snorkeling trip, which includes the fascinating Kagi Island.
Diving is less important to the resort than it used to be but it is still a major draw for many guests. It is a great dive school, which is very welcoming and friendly while remaining 100% professional, with an emphasis on safety and no surprises.
Of all the improvements, one of the biggest and most obvious is the cuisine. What used to be regular fare lined up on long tables is now extraordinarily good cuisine for a resort of this level. The presentation, the variety and quality won’t disappoint anyone.