Canopus Retreat, Thulusdhoo Island, Maldives
This is an honest review of Canopus Retreat, on the local island of Thulusdhoo in the Maldives. I didn’t love our stay. Although, I still need to pinch myself that we actually have been to the Maldives! The Maldives! Come on!!
We planned an epic adventure in Sri Lanka and really wanted to continue the adventure in the Maldives. I love a 5 star resort stay as much as the next person but I felt differently about this trip. I wanted to experience the real Maldives. The Maldives that not everyone gets to see. You can read all about what we thought about Thulusdhoo here.
Staying on a local island in the Maldives is a budget option. It is not dirt cheap like you can find in Asia but it is still budget compared to the resort islands. Tourism is also something that is growing in popularity on these local islands. I know this and I understand that our accommodation was not expensive and the islands are learning all about tourism. This is my honest review of Canopus Retreats and we have been in touch with the management team (who we are still waiting to hear from mind you) about these issues.
I had great communication over email with the staff at Canopus Retreat before our stay. I had many questions on the ferry timetable and things to do etc. All our questions were answered quickly and with great detail.
The issues started on our arrival to Thulusdhoo. Once we arrived at the dock there was nobody to meet us. A local man called Canopus to let them know we were waiting. We waited and waited for almost 30 minutes (with tired and cranky kids). We had just started walking there ourselves when a staff member arrived on foot apologising as there were no transport vehicles.
We booked the family room at Canopus Retreats. We had a double bed and 1 single bed. I was actually assuming that we would have a room with 4 beds. I was under the impression that the sea view rooms were smaller as we were told we would only fit in these if either Ned or Olive shared a bed with us (which we ended up doing in our family room anyway).
I knew in advance that our family room was to the side of the building and we would need to go onto the balcony to see the beach. I had no issues with this, but the balcony is tiny! Once we put the kids to bed we tried to sit out there but we had to sit on the ground (as there is no room for furniture) sideways which was very uncomfortable (the other nights we lay on the bed in the dark while the kids went to sleep as there was nowhere else to sit).
I had a reply to my trip advisor review and apparently, the sea view rooms are bigger than our family room. I was quite surprised by this as I was under the impression that we had a larger ‘family’ room!
I do love a comfortable bed when travelling and unfortunately the beds at Canopus were not comfortable. I think I nearly broke my back when we arrived and I sat on the beds. They are like rock, really you could put a sheet on the ground and lie down and it will be just as comfortable!
The bathroom smelled really disgusting. We used other bathrooms on the island and they didn’t smell like this (although I have read other reviews of other properties who mention the smell). Poor Olive almost vomited every time she had to go in there. It was that bad. I think it was coming up from the sinkhole. I do realise that this may be an issue for the whole island but maybe some smelling candles for the bathrooms to try and mask the smell would be a good idea.
The bathroom is also tiny and is not big enough for a ‘family bathroom’. I would call it a “bathroom cupboard”! Again, I am now wondering if our ‘family’ room was not a family room at all and whether the sea view rooms are not only bigger in living space, they might also have bigger bathrooms.
We had to have maintenance come and look at our shower as the water was dribbling out and I didn’t have a shower for the first 2 days. Apparently, this was “just how it is and it is the strongest shower in the hotel”. The shower hose does have a ‘kink’ in it (a bend) so it needs to be replaced. If the shower hose is bent in that particular spot then absolutely no water comes out.
We also had to have maintenance come and look at our safe. It couldn’t be fixed so we were given the master keys to use during our stay.
Our TV didn’t work. I questioned this at reception and was told that “the boss is in Italy and hasn’t paid the TV bill”? We were not planning on watching the TV at all but sometimes you just need a distraction for the kids.
I asked for a room change for the final 2 nights as we were just not happy in our room. I was told the hotel was full. There was no offer of an alternative. I was a bit bummed out by this. I am not one for a confrontation so I just let it go but part of me wishes I just pushed more to get us a room we were happy with.
The wifi is terrible. I was told that “we have fantastic wifi, it’s the internet and weathers fault”. The wifi bearly worked in reception and didn’t work at all upstairs. I would 100% recommend buying a sim card at the airport to use during your stay in the Maldives.
Breakfast was included in our room rate which consisted of 2 fried eggs, fruit, toast, pancakes and slice of cake. There was ample to keep you going for most of the day. Although, there was too much food, for me, and especially the kids. It would have been nice to be given options so we could have cut down on the amount of food wastage. I think it would have been great to have the option of a local breakfast of tuna and roti also.
There is so much rubbish on this little island. One tiny thing how Canopus Retreats could do to help this would be to not use the tiny individual butter packets. Unnecessary rubbish!
In saying that, Canopus should be commended for using glass water bottles for all water. I know a lot of the resort islands are plastic free but it is probably a long way off before Thulusdhoo Island could totally become plastic bottle free.
We did not have a ‘do not disturb’ sign for the door, which, to be honest, we rarely use but we would have on this stay. Every night housekeeping knocked on the door to fill up our water. We left the bottles outside the door so they could be filled up and left but they always knocked and woke the kids.
The water bottles were always left on top of the fridge, which was warm. It would be great if the water could be left on the side table. Having 4 glasses if there are 4 people in the room would also be a nice thought, perhaps!!
It would also be fantastic to have a little ‘island guide’ in each room which talks about the activities on offer in more detail. We had no idea of what we could do (apart from one sign at reception which lists some activities but there was no further information). A guide to what is offered in the spa would also be advisable.
There is one beach towel per person available during your stay. This is no issue but there was nowhere for us to hang out the towels. I don’t want to create extra washing but perhaps being able to collect clean dry towels each morning as needed would make for a better experience.
I am so bummed. A combination of not loving Canopus Retreat, the high tides and a couple of rainy days has given me a slightly negative view of the Maldives as a whole. But, on the other hand I have to pinch myself. We went to the Maldives, we had a completely different experience off the main tourist path compared to the majority of people. I am sure in 10 years time we will be able to say ‘oh yes, Thulusdhoo, we were there 10 years ago before anyone knew about it’.
Canopus was in an epic location, right on the beach and that’s the main reason we ended up booking there. But, the island is so small that you are not far from the beach even if you are a street back.
I don’t think I have written such a negative review before. But, I have to share the good and the bad of our adventures and I wanted to be honest about this experience.
Let me know if you have had a negative accommodation experience before. What did you do? Kick up a fuss or just deal with it?
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