Maldives Fam Trip 2011
Having heard my colleagues talking so passionately about the Maldives and not travelled there before, I was really looking forward to this trip! There was going to be so much to see and do, it wasn’t going to be a relaxing break but one which I knew both me and my clients would benefit from…
Sunday 15th May
After a very easy train journey down to London, I met up with the rest of the agents at Heathrow Terminal 4 ready for our Sri Lankan Airlines flight to Male. The flight was relatively quiet so as soon as the plane took off we were able to move seats and I had a row of 4 in the middle of the plane to myself. Add the fantastic Sri Lankan food to this and it amounted to a very pleasant overnight flight!
Monday 16th May
I arrived into Male at just gone midday after an uneventful but very comfortable flight. We were met in the arrivals hall by the rep and shown to the speedboat for our 90 minute transfer to Kuramathi.
What a place! After a look round the various Villas we walked up to the Sand Bar at the top end of the island for sunset.
Definitely a great way to spend the first evening in the Maldives! We walked back from the sandbank (via the jetty to watch the Stingray feeding) back down to the main part of the resort to enjoy a very relaxing meal in the Malaafaiy Restaurant. After dinner there was time to relax on the beach at one of the Islands 6 bars before well and truly breaking the peace and quiet on the Karaoke in the Havana Club.
Tuesday 17th May
A very early start today (with breakfast at 05:30) so we could get the speedboat from Kuramathi back to Male before getting another speedboat from there to the 5* Coco Palm Bodu Hithi. After looking around some of the most sumptuous Villas I’ve seen we were treated to a fantastic A La Carte meal at “Longitude” (a very good selection of local seafood, steak and vegetarian food was on offer) before another speedboat transfer (via Male Airport) to the Sheraton Full Moon. On arrival we checked in and had a look around the 3 room categories that were available before nipping down to the beach for a quick swim before dinner. The hosted meal was a great buffet (with many international style cuisines) and a couple of “Tiger” beers to wash the food down. Compared to the previous night’s activities, it was most definitely a quiet and peaceful night at Full Moon!
Wednesday 18th May
Without a doubt, this was the day that we were all looking forward to when the itinerary was published. After another early breakfast at the Sheraton Full Moon it was a quick 10 minute speedboat transfer back to Male before we boarded our Seaplane to the South Ari Atoll and our home for the next 2 nights.
We dropped down and landed close to the Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa which was the next property on our itinerary to visit. I knew the Centara chain from previous trips out to the Far East but was still surprised by the standards of accommodation on offer (even the entry level Beach Suites were duplex villas with huge living areas and an outdoor rain shower). All of the Villas were beautifully decorated and very well kitted out (for the gadget lovers amongst us). Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better the Executive Chef came out and presented us with the Thai menu that was to be our lunch, WHAT A TREAT!!!!! All of the food is sourced by the chef and the staff trained in the Centara Hotels in Thailand which is very evident, this was categorically the best meal that I experienced in the Maldives and a huge plus on top of fantastic service and great accommodation.
After the stunning lunch and site inspection of the Centara, it was a short boat trip over to Maafushivaru which was to be our home for that evening. Maafushivaru is an exclusive boutique retreat with only 50 villas on the island. The feel of the resort is fantastic; it provides wonderful levels of personal service and ultra modern accommodation that is the perfect destination for those of us looking for a Robinson Crusoe escape with 5* standards! A superb buffet style meal in the evening followed by a couple of ice-cold beers and a chat with friends capped off a really enjoyable day.
Thursday 19th May
If there was ever a day to kick back and relax, today was going to be it! After a late breakfast at Maafushivaru it was a 9am departure by speedboat to Moofushi. After 40 short minutes we’d arrived and after the Sales Manager had checked us into our Water Villa were told that we should go and “experience the resort” and we were able to disappear for the day and use the beaches, restaurants and bars of the Island before our escorted tour at 4pm. An outstanding resort! Maybe because it was the first day of the week where we had some down-time to experience a resort, maybe it was because the Island was so beautiful and to such high standards, but this became my favourite property (a very tough decision) of the ones we visited. Again 5* buffet style food was on offer in the evening but I was (yet again) impressed with the standards of the freshly prepared food that was on offer.
Friday 20th May
After a leisurely breakfast on Moofushi it was time for another speedboat transfer to Maafushivaru where we’d pick up the Seaplane back to Male. From Male Airport (which was rapidly becoming our second home) it was a 30 minute Luxury Motor Launch transfer to Huvafen Fushi where we would spend the morning touring the resort (where we would experience the incomparable Ocean Pavilion) before a stunning lunch on the beach in the company of the Resort Manager and the Island’s 3 resident Herons.
From Huvafen Fushi, it was a mid-afternoon speedboat transfer across to Baros for another site inspection and (at long last) a look at their famous “Lighthouse Restaurant” which is one of the landmarks in the Maldives. I was not disappointed! Stunning Asian influences were evident in the architecture of the resort and the layout and style of the resort led to a very high standard but relaxed atmosphere, great standards but understated!
It was late afternoon by now and time for our final speedboat transfer of the day with a short trip over to Velassaru. It was here that we were going to spend the night and have an evening meal… After getting to know the resort and looking through the different (and very modern) villas, it was time to make our way down to the Beach for a special Barbeque that the team of Chefs had organised for us. With typical English luck and timing it was now that the Maldives decided to show us why May is deemed to be Monsoon Season! At around 8:30 the heavens opened and for about 10 minutes (to our credit/stupidity) we braved it out… figuring it wasn’t the first Friday night Barbeque we’d been to that had seen a bit of rain. As time wore on though, it became clear that the rain wasn’t letting up, so it was all under the 3 huge parasols that the Chefs had taken refuge under to finish the meal in an “informal” (but much drier) setting! As we had been warned though, after nipping back to the Villa for a change of clothes the rain had dried up and it was back to the beach bar to while away the evening recounting the trip so far.
Saturday 21st May
After breakfast on Velassaru we took a speedboat (via Male airport) to Kandooma which has been recently taken over by Holiday Inn. Without fear of reprisal, this was the one property that completely stunned me. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I arrived, but what greeted me at Kandooma certainly wasn’t it! My (completely unfounded) pre-conception of the resort couldn’t have been further off the mark; what greeted us was a fresh, modern, family friendly resort with accommodation that was all well furnished from top to bottom. For families looking for a Maldivian Holiday at a sensible cost, LOOK NO FURTHER! The Villas were fresh and bright, the food was again buffet style, but freshly prepared and really good quality. It’s an unassuming, friendly property that constantly exceeds your expectations!
From Kandooma it was once again back to the Airport before a quick 10 minute speedboat to Kurumba, which was to be the last property on our Maldives adventure. Kurumba is only a short trip away from Male, which is perfect after a long international flight and the small island hosts a large selection of restaurants and bars to choose from. Again the accommodation was very Eastern (almost Balinese) in style and are all being refurbished to a standard befitting the “original” Maldives property. After a great hosted dinner on Kurumba the late evenings and early starts were beginning to take their toll on me, so at 10:30 I called it a day and retired back to my Villa.
Sunday 22nd May
An easy breakfast on Kurumba this morning before our last speedboat across to visit The Atoll Explorer en-route to our “Second Home” to check-in for our flight back to the UK.
The Atoll Explorer was a great informal way of seeing the Maldives without having to route back to Male Airport! There are 2 different weekly itineraries, one taking the guests through the Northern Atolls and the second visiting the Southern Atolls, so it’s possible to spend 14 nights onboard and see almost as much of the Maldives as I did! After a very busy week, a longing to get back to my own bed kept me company on the long flight back to Heathrow. I have brought back some great memories with me and I will certainly be going back out there again (maybe even taking Liz next time).
It just didn’t seem right not having to go via the airport when I came to work this morning…
Keep an eye out for more of these beautiful hotels coming soon to Tropical Warehouse.