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Ian and Jo's return 5th April-17th April 2015 
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:24 pm Reply with quote
Ian & Jo
Joined: 31 Jan 2008
Posts: 332
Ian and I have recently returned from yet another wonderful holiday on Meeru and Iím pleased to say that everything we remembered Meeru for and everything we hoped our holiday would be was met and more often exceeded thanks to the hard work and dedication of everyone who works there.

We flew from Birmingham with Emirates. We travelled out on Easter Saturday and were amazed to find both flights were quite empty. As school holiday tourists (my job Iím afraid), this is highly unusual for us and it was clear to see how the good service we have always received from Emirates is much improved when they have less travellers to serve. Many of us who booked a while a go will remember our flights changing. This is because Emirates now have more flights from Dubai to Male. They are obviously trying to grab the floating trade before the charter flights start up again.

This photo shows one of the first views you get of the Maldives as you reach the end of your journey. We never stop tiring of the beauty of it all.

view of Maldives from the plane:


Once on Meeru, we were quickly checked in and into our room and able to get started on our holiday proper. The first change we experienced was our waiter in The Maalan. For many years, Hassan has served us well but he is now promoted to a roll similar to maitre dí. Zahir served us this year and a good job he did too. Other changes included Yovan who has served in The Uthuru for a long time; he now works in The Dhoni Bar. The Uthuru has many busy periods but it is clear that compared with previous years, it is often much quieter in the evenings and some nights, it was almost empty by 10.30.

We arrived on Meeru the morning after the full moon dinner which was a pity but we thought this photo of the moon from the comfort of our toilet would make a suitable alternative.

Moon from the toilet:



Highlights of our trip are many but here are a few worth mentioning.

We managed to meet up with Rob and Lorna, other forum members. Due to the high costs of holidaying on Meeru during school holidays, it is rare that other forum members are there for us to meet. We often read about the great time others have when they meet up and Iíve often looked at the calendar hoping to see others there. We had a few failed attempts to meet Rob and Lorna but eventually we met at The Asian Wok Ė dangling Ė where else and what else?? (of course).

The Asian Wok has experienced some considerable change recently due to natural/manmade changes going on in the environment. The Asian Wokís USP is that it is an Ďover the waterí restaurant. Sand movement means that the restaurant is now not over water, even at high tide. These pictures show me walking around the front of the Wok at high tide and standing in front of the dangle window.

distant shot of Asian Wok showing sand build up


Jo walking around the front of The Asian Wok


shot of Jo in front of Asian Wok


It can be quite strange to be dangling and find someone walking past you with their head level with your feet. The reason for this is apparently due to the harbour area on the neighbouring local island. The new harbour has caused a change in the water movements through the deep channel that runs between the two islands and subsequently the channel has narrowed. As a consequence, sand has built up in the corner of Meeru. Fear not though, The Wok is still a must do stop off for sunset drinks and a fabulous restaurant to eat at. Ian described it as his favourite restaurant in the whole world! We dined twice at The Wok and here are two of the starters we sampled:
dining at the Asian Wok

sashimi (tuna, salmon, red snapper, tiger prawns)

Rainbow Maki (salmon, crab, tuna, prawns, avocado, herring fish roe, spicy mayo)



We also visited the Hot Rock for a meal once during our stay. If you have only ever visited the infinity pool during the day, then take a moment to visit it after dark. The whole area is transformed by lights and the dining tables are positioned around the pool. The kitchen also has a new chef who has made some changes to our favourite dishes. Basically, theyíre bigger! Here is a picture of the scampi and bacon starter and the chicken and avocado salad starter. Compare these dishes with the photos in Pamís Hot Rock Meal review sticky near the top of the trip reports page. The same starters but different.
scampi wrapped in bacon starter

chicken and avocado salad starter



We also sampled the Ostrich main course. These are offered in gentlemanís and ladies portions Ė again, big portions.. We had a fabulous time here. Itís often very quiet and we have always been lucky with the weather in that we have been able to sit outside.

ostrich at The Hot Rock

dinner at The Hot Rock

infinity pool by night




Those of you who are due to return to Meeru should make time to visit the new museum. The owner of the island has kindly made this facility available for us and I think itís a great improvement on the old museum. Itís light and cool thanks to clever design and effective air conditioning. The museum isnít heavy going. The information boards are light hearted and clear and it was a good way to pass an hour.
inside the Museum



We were offered a cruise on the new Hagern on arrival which we declined as Iím not a great fan of being on water. We did decide that we would like to see what the boat was like so we were taken for a look around. It was seriously good. All rooms have their own toilets, showers and mini bar fridges. The air-conditioning is super efficient and the general style of the boat was almost art deco with its wood panelling and fixtures. Ian has recently posted pictures we took whilst on board (see General discussion ĎHagerní). Guests we spoke to on the island who have sailed on other boats were keen to tell us what a very special boat the new Hagern is and an opportunity not to miss. We visited on quite a choppy day and many of the other boats were bobbing about but this boat stood still and solid. So impressed was I that despite refusing cruises for many years, I think I would seriously consider taking up the offer if available next time.

The most significant piece of news for me Ė a message that seemed to be consistent from every member of staff that we spoke to- is that the honeymoon suites will cease service in November and eventually be removed. Below is a classic image of one of these from the Hot Rock Bar.
daytime view of honeymoon suite from infinity pool


It will be sad to see these iconic landmarks go but over the many years I have visited Meeru, I know that whatever happens next, it will be good. The island owner is keen not to change the atmosphere and feel of Meeru and this will be a strong guide in whatever happens next.

Finally, we would like to publically thank everyone on Meeru who made our holiday so special. We met with Shihab from the senior management near the end of our stay and he asked us what keeps us coming back. Whilst the weather is an obvious reason and the views are better than the photos in the brochures, it is the friendly, polite and professional service we receive day after day, year after year from staff that are as loyal to Meeru as we are. Itís sad when we observe some guests speak to members of staff in a rude and abrupt manner but the staff always remain professional. Iím a firm believer in treating others as you would wish to be treated yourself and I really feel that when we leave Meeru we are saying good bye to genuine friends.

Now, all that remains is starting the big save for our next trip.

Jo (and Ian)


Last edited by Ian & Jo on Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:46 pm; edited 1 time in total

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:55 pm Reply with quote
Casey Jones
Joined: 30 May 2008
Posts: 1468
Location: Cumbria
Thank you for the great synopsis of your recent trip.
The Honeymoon suites have probably had their day as they have not been refurbished in many years so withdrawal in November probably for the best (always seemed a bit of a pain getting the little boat to and fro to these villas).
Not sure about the charter flights being reintroduced from the the likes of Thomsonfly in fact probably not going to happen soon as per airline route info on the web.

Overall nice read and equally nice photos.

Casey Cool

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:46 pm Reply with quote
Kath
Joined: 26 Mar 2012
Posts: 92
Location: Scotland
Thanks for a great report Jo.
We haven't been on Meeru since 2012 but are returning on the 1st June this year. I was shocked to see your pics of the Asian Wok! Can't believe the water has 'gone'! still looks beautiful but is the dangling still the same?
Your pictures have accelerated my excitement. Thank you for sharing.
Kath

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:30 pm Reply with quote
Janster
Joined: 10 Dec 2010
Posts: 273
What a wonderful review and I especially loved all the pictures. How odd to see the Asian Wok without water. Although it may just mean that I get to eat my meal without keeping getting up to watch the sealife pass by!

The Uthuru bar will seem strange without Yovan. Great news about Hassanid it's the one I'm thinking of he's a really friendly smiley guy (Mmm that narrows it down not!)

I am getting more excited by the day to return.

Jan x
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:29 am Reply with quote
JoanneLorna
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
Posts: 535
Location: stafford
Hi everyone
thanks for the replies
Don't worry Kath, dangles are still fab. We tried it out several times just to make sure! The sunset across the sea with the boats out to the right still transfix you into believing that all is well with the world.
Jan - yes Hassan is the smiley one. Likes Man U, makes paper flowers and always offers to find you a table upstairs. He's still there, stood at the podium. He now has to wear trousers and in the evenings, shoes.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 8:04 pm Reply with quote
Shanksy
Joined: 28 Jun 2007
Posts: 1442
Location: GLASGOW
Thanks for posting there haven't been any trip reports for days so it was lovely to read yours I don't do boats very well either so was interested to nite your comments that the new one didn't seem to bounce as much as the others think I might wait for a few more reviews of it first though lol found myself reading some reports on trip advisor earlier as I needed a fix I even read the negative ones for a laugh - meeru is apparently full of rude and unhelpful staff - god you just can't please some people

Thanks again for a lovely report and thanks again for all your beautiful pictures especially the African Rambos which are now my screen saver so I can gaze longingly at them each day

We went in 2007 and finally returned this year we will NOT be leaving it that long to go back again......

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:29 am Reply with quote
karyn
Joined: 13 Apr 2011
Posts: 398
Location: Derbyshire
Thanks for a great trip report!

It's funny how things can change so quickly - when we were there in February, the Asian Wok was still over water when the tide was in.

It looks like you had a fabulous time. Cool

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:12 pm Reply with quote
swordfishradio
Joined: 30 Jul 2009
Posts: 208
Location: England
Thanks for the very detailed report with photos!

Just goes to prove why we all go back again time and time again.

Looking forward to our next trip back "home" in 2016. Wonder if the iconic honeymoon suites will be gone by then?

Cheers all,

Martin and Lyndsy.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 4:35 pm Reply with quote
JoanneLorna
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
Posts: 535
Location: stafford
Hi
Shanksy- you're right. You do read some strange stuff on trip advisor. I was reading a review of Vilamendhoo this week. The island is 3/4 the length of Meeru. The report said that they didn't visit the Asian Wok because it was quite a walk away....really? I bet they had to walk much further in the airport from the departure lounge to the gate than any distance on Vila.

Martin - a future without the honeymoon suites will be interesting. I estimate they are over 20 years old and a senior manager on Meeru once told me that they were the first proper over the water rooms in the Maldives. They are old but still beautiful. Whilst the insides could easily be refurbed, I suspect the external structure being permanantly under water is showing signs of its age. We have travelled out to the rooms during day light - I'm note sure I'd like to do it late at night after a few glasses of wine. Getting from the boat to the steps is tricky at the best of times.


Last edited by JoanneLorna on Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:29 pm Reply with quote
Ann & Forbes
Joined: 01 Jan 2010
Posts: 271
Location: Jersey
Really enjoyed your report and some stunning pics Ian & Jo...........so sad about the Asian Wok though...........still a very special place but now without the fun of being able to see the reef sharks doing there thing whilst dangling.
You must have seen many changes over the many years that you have been going to Meeru and seem to have taken it all in your stride.
Thank you so much for posting.
Ann Smile

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 9:25 pm Reply with quote
sams
Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 1632
Location: Scotland
Great report and pics thanks for taking the time to post.
It's been a few years now since we visited Meeru but still love to keep up with what is going on on the island. Smile

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 2:38 pm Reply with quote
JoanneLorna
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
Posts: 535
Location: stafford
One thing I forgot to mention in our main report is that meal times have changed slightly. Breakfast is now open later which will be good news to those who like a lie in. Lunch remains the same with the slightly later start on Friday. The tricky one for us is that evening meals now finish a little earlier. After sunset, we like to shower, change and then go for a drink before dinner. This turn around was a little tight for us on a few occasions and in an ideal world, we would have liked evening meal to remain open until 9.30 as it used to rather than 9. Its just a small thing really and it has happened because evening meal now opens earlier - at 7 rather than 730. I can imagine that for those that travel further to eat or have young families, it means that after sunset you can go straight into dinner. Just something to watch out for if, like us, you are normally a late diner. Whilst sitting down for the start of dinner isn't a problem, the staff are pretty prompt at clearing away at the end of service. Wouldn't want to miss out on the chance to sample a good sponge pud...
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:31 pm Reply with quote
CornishJon
Joined: 01 Mar 2014
Posts: 23
Aw lovely report

The Asian Wok is not over water anymore!!! what!!!

noooooooooo!

Highlight of my trip was watching the whale sharks eat their dinner Sad

Interesting you mentioned about meal times, my only slight niggle while there, we're not early risers so wanted breakfast to be later.

Can you tell me how much later breakfast is?
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:14 pm Reply with quote
Ian & Jo
Joined: 31 Jan 2008
Posts: 332
They serve breakfast till 10am now, dinner is now 7pm till 9pm and they clear the food away promptly at closing time.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:23 pm Reply with quote
debandmark
Joined: 27 Dec 2010
Posts: 613
Hi,

I really loved reading this, and the photo of the bathroom with the moon did actually bring a lump...I felt like I was actually there!!! (only 3weeks to go!!) I've never been in the honeymoon suites, but sad that they are not going to be there, in many ways, they do symbolise Meeru and the Maldives.
On the buffet time front, we found that although breakfast being served later to be quite handy sometimes, we were finding that by the time we had got back to he room after breakfast, got down to the beach, creamed up etc, it was nearly time to go back to the room and change for lunch!!! We too found the evenings tight and would end up in a mad dash to get to the buffet for 8.30pm. We too love to dangle, watch the sun go down, and generally chill...our children too seem to love dusk, and would be content building sandcastles in the fading light, or splashing in the pool if we were at the Dhoni Bar. It was always a shame to have to tear ourselves away to get ready for dinner.
Thank you for posting such a lovely trip report, I will look at the photo's frequently on the countdown to our forthcoming trip.
Deb

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