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Sun Aqua Vilu Reef: An Intimate Maldivian Island Retreat

This beautiful island retreat opened in 1998 and has over the years, become a firm favourite amongst loyal ‘Vilu Family,’ and repeat guests continue to grow year after year. KM was lucky enough to be invited to visit the resort and to enjoy this intimate island setting first-hand.

Offering an inviting intimate island experience to its guests, Vilu Reef is a beautiful bite-sized jewel in the Maldives’ South Nilandhe Atoll. A spectacular 35-minute seaplane flight from Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, this little slice of bliss boasts white sandy beaches, translucent turquoise waters, colourful coral reefs and a welcoming team of staff at your service 24/7. With those familiar with the unparalleled service synonymous with the Sun Siyam brand, you will not be disappointed. From the moment you arrive on the island to the regrettable time of departure, Vilu Reef will be a home away from home and nothing is too much trouble for the warm friendly staff, who take great pride in ensuring that your every need is met.


With Male’s Ibrahim Nasir International Airport only a little over 4 hours’ flight from either Dubai or Abu Dhabi, the Maldives really does provide a convenient destination for a luxurious escape for GCC residents. Our flight departed Abu Dhabi at the civilised time of 09:20 and we arrived at 14:45 local time. For such a small international airport, it never ceases to impress me how smoothly one passes through and is whisked on to the airport transfer, which is in this case, was the Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) sea plane.

It is not difficult to understand why TMA has won several accolades at the World Travel Awards including World’s Leading Seaplane Operator 2015 and Indian Ocean’ Leading Seaplane Operator 2015. Servicing over 60 resorts with 960,000 passengers a year on 120,000 flights annually, there is no better word to describe TMA and how it’s run, but ‘clockwork.’ The Sun Siyam team greets us with a warm welcome as they take our bags and swiftly check them in for the TMA flight. We are then taken for a short car ride to the TMA terminal to relax and unwind as we wait for our flight in the Sun Siyam lounge.

In the lounge, we are treated to a light buffet, comfortable day beds, a children’s play area and a much-welcomed ten minute massage from the Sun Siyam spa team. When our flight is called, we are taken down to the small departure lounge overlooking the seaplane jetty. There are several seaplanes ahead of ours, but the operation is so seamless that in no time at all, we are airborne much to the delight of my five-year-old daughter, who shrieks with delight as we take off!

The flight is beautifully scenic allowing us a bird’s eye view of hundreds of stunning natural islands surrounded by turquoise waters. The highlight for us all is the dramatic sea landing, watching our island resort come into sight as the ocean sprays up outside the window as we come into contact with the water. The friendly TMA team help us all down to the arrival jetty where we are warmly greeted by the Vilu Reef team and helped onto a boat for the 5 minute ‘hop’ across to the island. It feels like we are a million miles from home and excitement builds as we kick off our shoes to enjoy the soft white sand underfoot and make ourselves comfortable for the welcome induction at The Nautilus – the resort’s main bar.

As our children play happily in the sand around our feet and we sip on fresh coconuts, the infectiously relaxed atmosphere washes over us. In the fading light of the beautiful evening sky, we are warmly introduced to key members of the Vilu Reef team before being escorted to our lovely beach villas. We are pleasantly surprised with the brightly lit spacious accommodation central to which, is a king sized bed overlooking double doors that open onto our own private beach garden complete with pool. There is a generously sized day bed for our daughter, a baby cot for our son and a walk-in wardrobe for me! But the highlight of the accommodation is the outdoor bathroom with ‘his and hers’ showers and bathtub. Our rooms are conveniently located opposite the Kids Club – a consideration that is indicative of the attention to detail that can be expected from the staff. We are clearly in great hands on Vilu Reef and we now can’t wait to get unpacked and start our holiday!


Charm, style and serenity – that’s the unique blend of island hospitality at the heart of the accommodation’s design. There are 62 shell-shaped bungalows amongst the lush foliage of the island, and 41 water villas floating atop the aquamarine sea, some complete with inviting over-water hammocks.

Options include whirlpool bathtubs, personal lava-stone pools and private salas. All feature fresh contemporary décor with a pinch of quirky colour.


The Beach Villas have gone through a complete revival whilst retaining the local charm, comfort and intimacy that Vilu Reef is renowned for. There are now five different categories for guests’ ultimate comfort.


14 Beach Villas – 76 sqm
18 Deluxe Beach Villas – 76 sqm
10 Jacuzzi Deluxe Beach Villas – 76 sqm
05 Deluxe Beach Villas with Pool – 108 sqm
15 Sun Aqua Pool Villas – 108 sqm

Deluxe Beach Villas and Jacuzzi Deluxe Beach Villas offer the same amenities as Beach Villa and additionally feature a Maldivian style swing and luxurious iSpa bath in the open air bathroom courtyard respectively.

For the ultimate indulgence, the exclusive Deluxe Beach Villas with Pool boast a large private pool hewn from stone. Situated on prime beach front, our signature Sun Aqua Pool Villas, afford the added luxury of a direct sunset view. They also come with a private sala / swing on the beach for the romantics to enjoy the glorious Maldivian sunset.


20 Reef Villas – 78 sqm
9 Sunset Reef Villas – 78 sqm

Bask in the warm embrace of the sun as the gentle lapping of the waves lulls you into blissful oblivion. With your very own jet tub and chaise lounge on the extended deck overlooking the lagoon, as well as a swim-up platform with private stair access to the lagoon.

6 Aqua Villas – 90 sqm

For added relaxation the Aqua Villa comprises an extended sun deck, infinity plunge pool, chaise lounges for private sunbathing and a large hammock suspended over the lagoon for those long lazy days in the sunshine.

05 Aqua Suites – 110 Sqm

Vilu Reef’s five Aqua Suites offer an exclusive haven nestled within this island paradise. As a special treat, a separate living room with floor-to-ceiling glass panels brings the splendour of nature right to your doorstep, which can also be used as a separate bedroom for children. Admire the unobstructed sunset while taking a dip in your private infinity pool (30sqm).

01 Grand Reef Suite – 220 sqm

An exquisite balance of modern design and traditional Maldivian architecture, this suite will transform your stay into something quite spectacular. Features: private pool on the double-levelled timber deck; glass-walled living room; two king-sized bedrooms with en-suite; a kitchenette; and a generously appointed dining area.


The highlight of travelling for me is exploring the culinary offerings of local cuisine and on Vilu Reef, the spice and warmth of home style Maldivian cuisine was an absolute treat. The choice of outlets may be limited due to the size of the island, but there is something for everyone and only the freshest of fare is served. Chef is also happy to go ‘off menu’ if there is something particular you have in mind that you can’t already find on offer.

The Aqua

A glorious buffet spread awaits you each morning at The Aqua, atop the lagoon. After an adventure of sun, sand and sea, it’s also the ideal place to recharge with an array of western and oriental selections. The spoiling choice of local dishes and curries available in the buffet spread allows food lovers to explore Maldivian food at its most authentic.

The Well Done

This outlet was a favourite for us – and with everyone else on the Island, so reservations at least 24 hours in advance are recommended.

Open for lunch and dinner, the al fresco beach setting serves up an abundance of romance for a long relaxed lunch or a cosy candlelit dinner. Sink your toes into the soft white sand whilst pouring over the tantalizing choice of fresh fish and seafood straight from the ocean. Not fresh enough? How about choosing your own from the live crab and lobster pools that are central to the restaurant’s interior?

Whilst seafood is very much the order of the day, there are plenty of options for meat lovers too – each dish as beautifully prepared and presented as the next. To enhance your experience further, allow the resident Sommelier to assist you in the perfect grape pairing for your meal, or enjoy a sophisticated degustation dinner in the exclusive glass enclosed wine cellar boasting an impressive collection from vineyards around the world.

Island Pizza

Select from a variety of flavourful pizza destined to impress your palate created on hand stretched pizza bases, which are then topped with authentic seasoning, using only the freshest of ingredients.

The Nautilus

In this rustic hideaway, time comes to an absolute standstill as you sip a freshly prepared cocktail and let the evening’s live entertainment unfold.

Positive Energy

This poolside outlet serves invigorating cocktails and light bites for you to enjoy by the pool whilst taking in the spectacular views of the lagoon and the ocean.

Destination Dining and Private Dining

Enjoy a sumptuous beach buffet as the Maldivian sunset transforms the evening sky into a magnificent kaleidoscope of hues, or choose from the special dinner menu featuring the fresh fish and crustacean from the day’s catch. For that special occasion, allow the team to arrange an intimate candlelight dinner for you and your loved one, anywhere on or off the island.


Nourish your senses and revitalize your spirit at Vilu Reef’s holistic Sun Aqua Spa. The spa boasts a lengthy menu of Ayurvedic wellness rituals, pampering beauty therapies and massage techniques from around the world in addition to some indulgent signature therapies to help renew body and mind. Feed your skin with a rich scrub of coconut or coffee, detox with a herbal Udavarthanam treatment, or just soak away your tensions in a fragrant flower bath.

An oasis of serenity awaits you within a setting of rustic ambience. The Sun Aqua Spa includes six massage pavilions each with open air flower baths, open showers, hydrotherapy area and double treatment beds. There is also a salon with manicure/pedicure treatments and a special relaxation area. Encompassing the Five Element Theory: Wood, Fire, Metal, Earth & Water and the healing practices of traditional Ayurveda, each spa experience takes you on a journey through the cycle of nature, a holistic approach to health and wellness derived from time tested and traditional treatments.



Vilu Reef’s SSI Diamond Dive Centre brings together an exciting array of diving and snorkelling programs, from discovery courses for complete beginners to specialist courses for the advanced enthusiast. On hand to guide you is a team of multilingual, professionally-certified instructors, whose passion for the sea and the sport will soon inspire you to dive right in and explore the fascinating world beneath.


Excursions are offered both on a traditional Maldivian Dhoni and speed boat, featuring cultural visits to local inhabited islands, as well as traditional Maldivian hand-line fishing, snorkelling trips and dolphin watching. Nearby private islands provide the perfect backdrop for the ultimate castaway experience.


The resort’s certified water sports centre offers non-motorised water sports, including windsurfing, canoeing and sailing on catamarans as well as motorised activities including jet ski, water skiing, banana riding and much more. Qualified instructors provide essential guidance and refresher courses.


Children are VIPs at Vilu Reef Kids’ Club. Their own little paradise has a private pool, games room and an array of children’s activities for their entertainment. Open for children from three to twelve, fun and discovery never end. Baby-sitting service is also available on request, for a fee.


Vilu Reef has a wide variety of evening entertainment to please just about every taste ranging from live music, discos with DJ, karaoke nights, cultural shows and movie nights on the beach.

In Short: KM can highly recommend Vilu Reef for couples and families alike – the team made us feel so at home, we didn’t want to leave and we felt that we still had so much we wanted to do. The multiple room category options together with the all-inclusive dining packages make it especially affordable for families and the flexibility of the staff is notably accommodating, which makes for a very relaxing break.

More Information
For More Information, Visit: www.sunaqua.com www.sunsiyam.com

For More Information on TMA Seaplane Transfers, visit: http://www.transmaldivian.com/trans-maldives/