JA Manafaru

Maldives, Indian Ocean

The hotel

Fancy a trip to paradise? JA Manafaru, set in the Haa Alif Atoll on a private island, more than delivers. Offering luxurious beach and over-water villas, all with private outdoor pools and dedicated villa host, it’s nothing less than heavenly. Days can be as active or as lazy as you like — soaking up the sun by one of delightful swimming pools or visiting the Calm Spa, a hidden oasis of pure relaxation. Choose between Shirodhara or Ayurvedic treatments or experience a traditional Maldivian massage or healing ritual – bliss! A haven for couples, it’s also perfect for families too. There are water sports galore to get stuck into, including diving in the depths of the house reef if you’re a novice, or heading out to more challenging sites further afield. The kids also have their own Cool Zone — a place to play to their heart’s content! When it comes to dining, you’ve several options to choose from, including the award-winning White Orchid for special occasions and the Ocean Grill, situated right by the water’s edge, with its laid-back atmosphere. For stunning sunsets, head to the Horizon Lounge, grab a cocktail, sit back and enjoy!

Amenities

  • Bar
  • Spa
  • Swimming Pool
  • Kids Club
  • Fitness Centre/Gym
  • Laundry Service
  • Internet Access
  • Beachfront location
  • Tennis
  • Water Skiing
  • Restaurant
  • Sailing

Where is it

On a 35-acre tropical island situation on the northern tip of the stunning Haa Alif Atoll in the Maldives. On arrival, you will be met and escorted to the resort's guest lounge or directly to the seaplane dock. Transfer from Malé International Airport: 1 hour 15 minutes by chartered seaplane. Please note: Seaplane transfers to/from your resort will only operate in daylight hours. Please ensure your international flights into and out of Malé allow for this schedule.

Hotel information

84 bungalows, villas and suites. All with air-conditioning, private wooden deck with outdoor seating, flat-screen TV, telephone, complimentary WiFi Internet access, complimentary daily fruit and water, mini fridge, coffee maker, tea-making facilities, safe, hairdryer, iron and board, bathrobes and slippers. Beach Bungalows with plunge pool, open-air bathroom, and 1 king-size bed, sleeping maximum 2 adults and 1 child.

All Inclusive option: includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, beach bar and snacks, all on a dine-around basis in six food & beverage outlets (Kakuni Restaurant, Andiamo Bistro & Pool, Infinity Bar & Pool, Ocean Grill Restaurant, White Orchid Restaurant and Horizon Lounge. A wide selection of drinks in the 6 outlets, including soft drinks, hot drinks, mineral water, milkshakes, chilled and selected fresh juices, mocktails, cocktails, a selection of wines (red, white, rosé and sparkling, beer and spirits. Fruit basket and bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne on arrival. In-villa mini-bar including soft drinks, selected spirits, beers and snacks, such as crisps and chocolate (all replenished once per day). Unlimited non-motorised water sports (windsurfing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, catamaran sailing, canoeing). Use of fitness centre, tennis, badminton and other land sports, table tennis, games room. Scheduled yoga and wellness classes. Indoor & outdoor cinema. Daily fish feeding. Kids’ clubs. Scheduled snorkelling trip (once per person during stay)

Please note: Guests are entitled to choose up to a 3-course meal in all à la carte restaurants (reservations are recommended, seating is subject to availability). A 50% discount applies to Chef’s specialities on à la carte menus. Guests may dine at The Cellar or the Teppanyaki experience for a supplement (a minimum order of one bottle of wine is required per couple at The Cellar). At certain speciality restaurants a special menu may be applicable. The All Inclusive option excludes in-villa dining, premium brand beverages, champagne, energy drinks, fresh juices (except for orange, watermelon and pineapple juices), room service, selected special events, and excursions. Alcohol will be served as per the hotel’s license, to guests aged 18 years and above.

Half Board option: includes buffet breakfast and either 3-course lunch or dinner, either à la carte or buffet, on a dine around basis in all restaurants (excluding The Cellar, in-villa dining, private dinners/excursions and chef specials). Drinks will be charged separately.

Sunrise Water Villas allow views of the colourful dawn breaking and views of the marine life through the glass floor panel, with private infinity pool, partially open-air bathroom and 1 king-size bed, sleeping maximum 3 adults.

Sunset Water Villas with private pool and views to the west and the sun setting into the sea, with glass floor panel, private infinity pool, partially open-air bathroom and 1 king-size bed, sleeping maximum 3 adults.

One Bedroom Beach Suites with private infinity pool, large living room with DVD player, and separate en-suite bedroom, open-air bathroom, private sundeck and beach cabana with 1 king-size bed, sleeping maximum 4 adults or 2 adults and 2 children.

Two Bedroom Grand Water Suite with private infinity pool, master en-suite bedroom with 1 king-size bed, and additional twin bedroom, sleeping maximum 5 adults.

Two Bedroom Royal Island Suites are on two storeys, with private pool, sauna, steam room and spa pavilion and treatment area, dining and living area, master en-suite bedroom with one king-size bed, and additional twin bedroom, sleeping maximum 6 adults or 4 adults and 2 children.

7 restaurants and bars: Kakuni (buffet restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner), White Orchid (award-winning Asian fusion cuisine), Ocean Grill (meat and seafood, open for dinner), The Cellar (haute cuisine and award-winning 'wine cave', open for dinner), Andiamo Bistro (pizzas, pasta and salads by the main pool, open for lunch and dinner), Infinity Pool Bar (drinks and light snacks by the infinity pool), Horizon Lounge. 3 swimming pools. Calm Spa* and Wellness Pavilion, with indoor and outdoor relaxation areas, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms. Fitness centre (open 24 hours). PADI Dive Centre*. Water sports* including windsurfing, kayaking, catamaran sailing, wake-boarding and water-skiing. Tennis court, volleyball, table tennis, pool table and beach games. Cool Zone Kids Club (3-12 years) with pool and mini-daybeds, games room, mini-climbing wall, herb garden and bungee trampoline. Chill Zone for teens (simulators, XBOX, library, board games, open 24 hours). Babysitting service* (on request). Complimentary WiFi. Laundry/dry cleaning service*. 24-hour room service*. Excursions* and experiences*, including cooking classes, dolphin watching, fishing trips, boat cruises and speed boat rides to a private island for sundowners or picnic lunch. Boutique store.

5 nights between 27 Dec–2 Jan. 

No checkouts permitted 31 Dec or 1 Jan. 

*Denotes local charge. 

Rating summary

  • Sleep Quality Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Location Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Rooms Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Service Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Value Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Cleanliness Image of the Tripadvisor rating

Traveller rating

  • Excellent (1225)
  • Very good (89)
  • Average (14)
  • Poor (2)
  • Terrible (1)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Taste of paradise - where divers are welcome

May 19, 2019 OandP_nomads Singapore, Singapore

To begin with, JA Manafaru is a wonderfully beautiful place - wherever you look, it is a pleasure to the eye. Villas and bungalows are spacious, comfortable, stylish, and very clean. All amenities are in perfect working condition. In water villas, sunset views are amazing. Reception building, spa, restaurants, and other areas are kept in a… Read more
To begin with, JA Manafaru is a wonderfully beautiful place - wherever you look, it is a pleasure to the eye. Villas and bungalows are spacious, comfortable, stylish, and very clean. All amenities are in perfect working condition. In water villas, sunset views are amazing. Reception building, spa, restaurants, and other areas are kept in a consistent style, and easily accessible on foot, by 24/7 buggy service, or by bikes. Everything is made to make you feel comfortable, happy and relaxed. Experience managers take care of your needs, restaurant and spa bookings, buggies, and so on. Even with 80-90% occupancy rate, the service is personalised butler-style, and up to 5-star standard. We have seen places where this didn't work well - at JA Manafaru it works perfect. Now to the restaurants and bars - there are a few, with great food variety, and superb wine and and drink selection. White Orchid stands out - with delicious Asian dishes, and an amazing view on the sea. We also loved the Italian Andiamo - perfect for lunches, and the Cellar - for a more wine-oriented dining experience. Restaurant service was commendable - staff were polite, attentive but not intrusive, and overall very experienced. Only a single time, at our first dinner at Ocean Grill, we waited for food a bit longer than expected; after that, everything went smoothly. For a couple, we found the half-board option just right - paying for a salad/ soup + bread lunch with a glass of beer/ wine worked better than paying for an all-inclusive option. And now to what really made our holiday great - the diving centre. After a few years break, we were looking for a place where we could comfortably go back to diving (PADI AOWD/ MSD level). And here, JA Manfaru and Best Dives Maldives - their diving partner since recently, made it work for us. A couple of things divers will be interested in: - Rental equipment is brand new, good quality, European sizes (important in Asia!), - If you are Enriched Air Diver, Nitrox is standard, tanks in perfect condition, - Dive masters are attentive, client-focused, environmentally aware/ marine biologists, they know the underwater life and diving sites well, - Boat is in excellent condition, with toilet and sun-deck, staff make sure to take a lot of water and towels on board, - We highly recommend night dives - at house reef, we had a wonderful night dive with a stingray and a shark for company, and a myriad of colourful fish. Hard core divers go to live-aboards. Relaxed divers come to JA Manafaru:) Anything less than perfect? Two points to note: - Shade on the beach: If you stay in a water villa, you may be looking for a shaded place to stay on the beach, and outside Infinity Bar - it is not easy to find. A bit more of shaded space would help guests enjoy the pristine sandy beach and the infinity pool (which is quite fun). - Getting there: The place is in Maldives' far north, 70-80min by seaplane from Male. Unless you are captivated by the views, the seaplane journey is not really a comfortable one and times are not flexible - perhaps JA should invest in their own seaplanes. That said, the airport lounge and service are absolutely great - without it, waiting a few hours for the return flight would be a pain; with it, it was manageable. Last but not least - we would like to thank all those who made our holiday so wonderful - for their dedication, expert advice, positive attitude, and patience: Malika - our experience manager, Hussein - the dive master, Rojina at White Orchid/ Kakuni, Nizam at Andiamo, and Sathish at Infinity (is we did not spell correctly - our fault, apologies). You guys are doing a fantastic job, and we wish you many happy guests. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Very good experience!!!

May 13, 2019 Odyssey56241849944

The service on the island is second to none the atmosphere is amazing definitely a getaway experience from the busy lifestyle that we’re accustomed to . You will particularly enjoy the infinity pools in the water Vilas the ocean is very cool you can see for miles through the crystal clear water . We particularly enjoyed the water sports… Read more
The service on the island is second to none the atmosphere is amazing definitely a getaway experience from the busy lifestyle that we’re accustomed to . You will particularly enjoy the infinity pools in the water Vilas the ocean is very cool you can see for miles through the crystal clear water . We particularly enjoyed the water sports the JetSki in the snorkel boat was amazing . Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating A wonderful stay.

May 5, 2019 Shaikha_alk Bahrain

My friends and I have an annual trip to the Maldives, and this year we had the pleasure of staying at Ja Manafaru. There were so many things that I loved about this hotel. 1. The check in at our room was amazing. I loved that I didn’t have to waste any time at the reception. I only went there once, when my friends and I locked ourselves out at 2… Read more
My friends and I have an annual trip to the Maldives, and this year we had the pleasure of staying at Ja Manafaru. There were so many things that I loved about this hotel. 1. The check in at our room was amazing. I loved that I didn’t have to waste any time at the reception. I only went there once, when my friends and I locked ourselves out at 2 am. 2. The service is good, sometimes even great! Some of their members of staff grunt when you call but we choose to not focus too much on that. Our experience host, I’m not sure if that’s what they called him, his name was Jameel, was excellent. He really made sure that our stay was very comfortable. There was an issue about the seaplane, leaving at 6 am, but I was told by the hotel that our travel agent (OV Holiday, do not seek their services they are very incompetent!) failed to tell us about the flight schedule, so it wasn’t even their fault. 3. Nonetheless they bent over backwards to try to get us another way out of there. 5. The food was great, the white orchid in particular. 6. The beach was of course picturesque. 7. The island isn’t very big, but utilized very well. They have a fun zone where you can play pool, table tennis, and many other forms of entertainment a chill zone which is a library, I love this idea! I wish they had a wider variety of books. A football pitch, a tennis court. Also one of my friends tells me their spa is great. I wish they had more seaplanes scheduled to and from this gem! I will definitely be coming back to this little paradise. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Wonderful stay with some hiccups

May 2, 2019 happyxix

Ja Manafaru is a lovely resort but it is still a little rough around the edges. The Great: 1. Staff are really nice. Special shout out to our host Mangal, and our favorite dining staff Rosie and Alim. 2. Food is actually really good and was probably the primary reason we choose Ja Manafaru over some other resorts. The variety is excellent and… Read more
Ja Manafaru is a lovely resort but it is still a little rough around the edges. The Great: 1. Staff are really nice. Special shout out to our host Mangal, and our favorite dining staff Rosie and Alim. 2. Food is actually really good and was probably the primary reason we choose Ja Manafaru over some other resorts. The variety is excellent and with the all-inclusive plan, you had more than enough options to choose from. We added a supplement for the Lobster night and that was definitely worth the extra cost. 3. Property is nicely maintained and is really quite beautiful. The resort was 92%+ full, but you don't really see too many people unless at meals or events. The So-So: 1. We also supplemented the Teppanyaki which is not worth it. The show was pretty basic, the food was no better than the normal menu, and the chef had some questionable not LGBTQ friendly jokes. 2. Snorkeling for the most part is pretty mediocre. We did get to see some turtles, nurse sharks, eels, and rays, but the coral abundance was really quite poor and spread out. Overall, don't choose this place if snorkeling is your number 1 priority. 3. The dive center and watersports changed ownerships a few weeks before we arrived. They are now run by Best Dives Maldives The scheduling and prices we saw online are not the same as what they are actually (and unfortunately for the more expensive). The timetables that are given in the rooms for the week are also not consistent with the actual times. Scheduling can change on a last minute basis so much so our host didn't even know what time the excursion was until the night before. The bad: 1. For how nice the staff was, the service is, to be honest, terrible. From sitting down at a table for food, it can sometimes take up to 10 minutes before we get a menu, then 10 more minutes before they come and take our order, then another 3-20 minutes (yes this was the range of time we waited), before we would get our first drink. After that the timing is usually smooth for food to come out, but the waiters rarely ever ask if I wanted a refill, or if I wanted sometime else to drink when the glass is clearly empty. At the pools, they do not make rounds to see if you needed anything else to drink (which is a basic for 5* beachside or poolside resorts), and you will have to walk to the bar to order. Definitely first world problems, but this is something that is really lacking during the service. 2. Checking out on the last night was frustrating. The main desk didn't know what is covered under the all inclusive plan and had to argue with us even when their own promotional material stated otherwise. Definitely ruined our last night of a rather wonderful vacation. 3. Seaplane times sucks. There is 2 scheduled seaplanes a day and they leave at 7am (or earlier if a guest needs to get to MLE earlier) or at 2pm. My flight, was at 3:40pm. I guess moving the 2pm flight earlier was not an option or getting us a boat transfer and a local flight not an option either because we had to take the 7am flight and wait at the MLE airport for 8 hours. Pretty much wasted an entire morning due to the seaplane and if we had known this ahead of time, we would not have booked JA Manafaru. It is that big of a deal breaker. The strange: The general manger (due with grey hair) is just strange. Kind of just leaves you hanging after an awkward conversation. This happened twice when we were there during a meal GM: Ni Hao US: Hello (we are Americans and my wife isn't even Chinese) GM: Are you with XXXX's group? US: No we booked ourselves GM: *stares at us for 3 seconds and walks away without saying anything* In summery, I highly enjoyed our stay at Ja Manafaru. I am being nitpicky because this is a review. I would go back to JA but only when they iron out the drawbacks. In a place where there are so many competition, the small stuff really does matter. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Perfect and excellent all round

May 2, 2019 Climber58692957435

Good all round service, with plenty of activities, very friendly and helpful staff, excellent food prepared by skilled and gifted cooks, lively wild life, well kept grounds, a resort for all, singles, couples, families and retired.