Reethi Beach and Kuda Huraa scoop awards from reader rating publications

The Maldives’ Reethi Beach resort has been rated as one of the world’s top beach holiday destinations by users of the Switzerland-based travel ratings website

The site awarded the top 99 reader-recommended hotels across several categories, drawing on 530,000 reviews received in 2011.

Other winners in the beach holiday category included Hotel Royal Dragon in Turkey, Hotel Iberostar Varadero in Cuba and Hotel Ramada Resort Khao Lak in Thailand.

Meanwhile Four Seasons’ Kuda Huraa resort was named ‘Best Overseas Leisure Hotel’ in the Condé Nast Traveller India Readers’ Travel Awards 2011.

The award, which canvased Indian readers of the upmarket travel magazine, follows the publication’s awarding of ‘Best of the Best’ Award and ‘Best Overseas Leisure Hotel in the Middle East, Africa & Indian Ocean’ to the resort at its UK event.

Reethi Beach currently has a 76 percent rating on Minivan News’ resort review website, Dhonisaurus, which calculates ratings from 10 Maldives-specific categories. The resort currently scores a very high 90 percent rating for its beach, and similarly high ratings for service, house reef, and value. It scored lowest (60 percent) for its rooms.

Kuda Huraa scores 73 percent overall with an exceptional 100 percent for service, and high ratings for its environmental commitment, rooms and its overall look and feel. It scored lower for its house reef.


Introducing ‘Dhonisaurus’: Minivan’s new independent travel review and ratings site

Minivan News is proud to introduce our new subsidiary travel site, offering the first independent, comprehensive, reader reviews and ratings for the Maldives tourism industry.

A ‘dhoni’ is a traditional Maldivian vessel with a distinctly curved prow, while a thesaurus helps you choose exactly the right word for the occasion. Stick the words together: Dhonisaurus. The dinosaur is just a bonus.

The Maldives is world famous for its beaches and clear blue waters.

But what really makes one resort different from another? It’s surprisingly hard to tell from a glossy tourism brochure, or an article written by a well-pampered travel journalist.

Opinion sites such as TripAdvisor powerfully influence the decision of tourists to visit a destination, but these large, international travel review sites do not have the luxury of detail as they must be able to objectively measure a rented château in Paris alongside a backpacker hostel in Yemen.

Moreover, rather than staying a few nights, the average visitor to the Maldives spends US$10,000-12,000 and stays on a single island for several weeks, so we figure they could use a bit more detail before making the big decision.

We pick up where TripAdvisor leaves off, asking visitors to rate resorts for Rooms, Service, Beach, Activities, Dining, Bar Experience, House Reef, Environmental Responsibility, Value and ‘Look and Feel’. We average these scores and all submitted reviews to automatically generate an overall rating out of 100. This way the more ratings submitted the more accurate the reviews become.

The ratings on Dhonisaurus reflect readers’ opinions, not our own, and the site pays its way through banner advertising rather than being sponsored by a consortium of resorts and tour operators, or by taking a cut from bookings. We have a vested interest in giving useful, impartial information, as this makes readers come back, review their experience and help make us even more accurate and credible.

Because we take an average from 10 categories, our ratings may seem harsher than those of other Maldives review websites, but the advantage of doing things this way is that you can get an honest, overall picture of what a resort is really like behind the brochures and press junkets. It’s also the first time resorts in the Maldives have been reviewed and contrasted for qualities such as their environmental responsibility.

The in-house reviews on Dhonisaurus are written by Maldives experts, including guidebook author Adrian Neville, who has reviewed almost every resort in the country over 20 years writing about the Maldives.

Adrian and the Dhonisaurus team will also be answering questions posted by travellers in the new site’s Advice Forum, on topics as diverse as diving, expat living and marine biology.

As Dhonisaurus grows we intend to add local guest houses on inhabited islands, include useful tools and forum posts for independent travellers in the Maldives, develop a separate rating system for safari boats, and hold award ceremonies for the winners of each category.

We’re very excited about the launch of Dhonisaurus as it greatly expands Minivan News’ presence in the travel sector and the advertising opportunities we can offer, and gives us an additional revenue stream to reinvest in growing independent journalism in the Maldives.

For a limited time only we are offering discounted introductory rates on for businesses keen to capture a high-conversion audience right in the act of planning their trip to the Maldives.

We want Dhonisaurus to be comprehensive. If a resort is not listed or has just opened (or closed!), contact us and we will ensure it is amended. Listed resorts must be open and receiving guests.