I wish I was in the ……….Maldives.
Recently I was fortunate enough to visit the Maldives through a work trip and the setting was just right to mix pleasure and business. Although I primarily enjoyed the former I was keen to share my experience. Naturally to get a true understanding of the Maldives and their luxury holiday appeal, we visited a few islands to see the benefits of each; my biggest surprise lay within the different island experiences, as each resort seemed to cater to the traveller’s needs.
We visited four islands, – Kuramathi, Kandholhu, Filitheyo and Medhufushi, they all presented a back to basics island holiday, take your shoes off when you arrive and don’t wear them till you depart. These islands focused on leaving your worries at home and immersing yourself in natural surroundings. The true Maldivian experience can be found here, time to enjoy the true peace and quiet with a book and a companion.
I was fortunate enough to travel with Emirates Airline via Dubai to the Maldives. The new flight from Dublin direct to Dubai is marvellous – great food and entertainment, a great start to my journey! Only seven hours from Dublin to Dubai then another four will take you to the Maldives. Don’t worry about your layover in Dubai Airport the shopping is amazing and I would definitely recommend a cup of frozen yogurt from Pinkberry!
Much has been said about the beauty of the Maldives and it’s true that by air, the islands offer a truly amazing sight, a seaplane transfer to get the most impressive views – possibly a little claustrophobic at times but definitely a worthwhile experience! You also have the choice of a speedboat transfer, early in the morning this is wonderfully quiet – you mite even witness some fishermen with their early morning catch.
My first visit was to Kuramathi Island (probably by favourite by far), we travelled by speedboat from the airport to be met by fruit cocktails and smiling faces. As soon as you step foot on the island there is an overwhelming feeling of serenity. Probably one of the largest islands in the Maldives, Kuramthai has everything from Beach villas to water villas – with private Jacuzzis, plunge pools – whatever your budget there is something for everyone!
There are three main restaurants plus six à la carte restaurants including a Thai and a Pizzeria, the ice cream desserts in the Palm are to die for. There are lots of board options from breakfast to a la carte all inclusive. I often hear people say they wouldn’t go the Maldives because they would be bored, believe me you would never be bored at Kuramathi – there are two swimming pools including a beachfront infinity pool, a floodlit tennis court, gym, table tennis, sauna, Jacuzzi, relaxing spa, a great range of watersports including excellent scuba diving, kids’ club (the Maldives are also a great family destination), shops, library and numerous excursions. Night time on the island can be as laid back as you like or can dance the night away or even try your hand at karaoke!
I had never been snorkelling before until I went to the Maldives; it was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. I never knew such fish existed, the most amazing colours, shapes and sizes! We also watched the amazing stingray feeding one evening. At the top end of the Island they have what is called a sandbar; I’ll never forget walking out on the sand bar– bright blue skies, and clear turquoise sea either side of a strip of white sand that stretched as far as the eye could see.
From Kuramathi we took a trip to Kandholhu Island – “the Real Robinson Crusoe Island” The whitest of sands and bluest of seas. I know it sounds corny but this place is stunning! Perfect for a one or two night stay or even a day trip, we were greeted by cold towels and watermelon sorbet followed by a guided tour of the island. The Spa here is wonderful, there are six plush treatment rooms looking out on the water. It’s a tiny, beautiful, romantic, secluded island, with fantastic service, food and a house reef that is out of this world.
I have never seen anything like the snorkelling here. Just a few metres from the shore, it was like something out of “Finding Nemo.” There were baby sharks, clown fish, beautiful colourful reef and hundreds of other types of fish too.
The third Island we visited was Filitheyo, we stepped off a seaplane onto a jetty floating above the Indian Ocean, only in my dreams had I thought things like this existed. The main pleasure of this resort was the laid back atmosphere and chilled feel. The staff was so pleasant and friendly. The food was excellent, the chefs were fantastic, with random delights thrown in – lemon curd ice cream, mint coconut rochers to mention just a few! Accommodation here is more rustic, but great big large rooms – you can choose from Beach Villas to Water Villas. The snorkelling here was also amazing – I got to see my first turtle! We rented an underwater camera for the day (bargain at €25) – it’s great looking back on the pictures. That evening we did the night fishing excursion; best part is definitely getting to eat what you catch.
Last on the list was Medhufushi – naturally quiet and serene! The staff are friendly and helpful and the food was good, offering a variety of choices from Middle Eastern, Indian and American cuisine. The accommodations are tidy and beautiful – again from beach villas to water villas. A very interesting fact about Medhufushi is that it was practically destroyed by the tsunami – not that you would know now. You can relax at the overwater spa, dine in the main restaurant overlooking the spectacular beachfront infinity-edge swimming-pool, or treat yourself to a meal at the overwater à la carte restaurant and bar with occasional evening entertainment. Hotel facilities also include a fitness centre, souvenir shop and diving school offering courses from basic beginners to advanced and windsurfing, snorkelling, canoeing and catamaran sailing.
What to expect
In reflection, the Maldives is the place for relaxation. Expect to lose all sense of time, what day it is and what’s going on elsewhere. This is the home of ‘no shoes, no news’ after all.
There is gourmet dining, spectacular diving/snorkelling and the most enchanting ocean sunsets. And if the stunning views aren’t enough or the soft sands beneath your feet the activities and experiences on offer range from spa treats to a plethora of watersports.
The Maldives just feels exclusive. Even the value resorts have an air of seclusion hard to find elsewhere in the world. Picture paradise and it’ll probably look a lot like the Maldives. Four different islands later and I’d still return in a heartbeat. Whether it’s a special occasion, a honeymoon or your next family holiday the Maldives offers something for everyone, each resort has something special. Please do not hesitate to call or email me to help you plan your Maldivian adventure.
If you would like to ask me any questions about this experience please do feel free to contact me on my direct number: 028 6632 1154 or email: [email protected]