The Maldives – Celebrating The Sunny Side Of Life.
The Maldives, scattered upon the Indian Ocean and comprised of 26 islands, is the image you see when you shut your eyes and dream of the perfect beach-side escape. Promising crystal clear waters with vibrant marine life beneath, pristine white sands, exotic coral reefs, the finest in luxury resorts residing upon each island and world-class cuisine at every turn, these are the most beautiful small islands on Earth.
The 26 coral atolls that make up The Maldives are positioned in a chain reaching down to cross the equator. Within those 26 atolls are roughly 1,200 islands and of these around 200 are inhabited and 100 are resorts. The biggest question you need to ask yourself before visiting this utopian holiday spot is ‘Which is the right island for me?’You may be a keen diver ready to plunge in to the depths of those iconic turquoise waters, you may be desperately seeking solace as you sip upon a sundowner at the waters edge, or perhaps you are looking for that that ultimate family trip of a lifetime, brimming with adventures, activities and memory-making. It could be that dolphin watching is on your bucket list or a spa retreat is on the cards; each island is unique in its own magical way, collectively offering something for everyone.
Set in the relatively unexplored Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll in the south of the country, and just a few kilometres above the equator, Ayada Maldives is a private island resort offering a truly luxurious retreat with a genuine Maldivian style. Voted the‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Luxury Resort’ and the ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Villa Resort & Spa’ at the 2014 World Travel Awards, this uber-luxury resort is noted for its gardens and tropical greenery and is ringed by a pristine coral reef where dolphins are frequent visitors.
Scattered throughout the resort are 122 spacious villas and suites, with private pools, butler service and impeccable five-star detailing. Showcasing the majesty of the natural surroundings, Ayada Maldives offers nine different luxury accommodation types, all of which bring together contemporary with traditional Maldivian and Turkish design elements. The stilted water villas have each been carefully placed on the uniquely shaped jetty to capture magnificent views of the endless horizon whilst the beach villas offer an enclave of absolute privacy and serenity less than 30 steps from the Indian Ocean. No matter which villa you choose, all have been designed, planned and constructed exclusively keeping in mind the need to provide a luxurious yet simple, modern yet authentic experience for guests. All exterior and interior elements have been especially commissioned to use the most durable natural elements and as such there is an abundance of teak, marble and terrazzo finishing’s on display. The resort pays special tribute to its Turkish influence by introducing subtle Ottoman style decorative elements in both the guest villas and the many dining venues.
It is perhaps the dining and unparalleled culinary experiences at Ayada Maldives that adds the jewel to the resort’s crown. Each of the eight outlets strive to offer authenticity and variety, with its own unique influence, ranging from exotic Asian flavours to tantalising Mediterranean specialities, as well as a vibrant Ottoman Lounge complete with specialty coffees, teas, and shisha. Your dining experience is complete with impeccable service and breathtaking views of the ocean and the horizon.
A particular highlight has to be the over water restaurant and bar, ‘Ocean Breeze’. Named after its beautiful over-water location where the warmth of the sun is tempered by a refreshing breeze, this stylish restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and offers gourmets a tempting menu of modern European dishes. With regular seasonal changes to the menu, items such as grilled seafood, home-made pasta and fine steaks are perennial favourites.
‘Magu’, set on the beach, is the main restaurant, offering a diverse buffet noted for its emphasis on choice and quality: heaps of vegetables, salads and tropical fruits are set alongside steaming dishes, hot and fresh from the kitchen while a team of chefs are ready to conjure up a choice of dishes a la minute in the central show kitchen. Set on the beach, this elegant restaurant has a peaceful central reflecting pool and is surrounded by lush tropical greenery. Diners have the options of sitting outside under the palm trees and wonderful Maldivian sky, or in an air-conditioned pavilion.
Leisure time comes easy at the Ayada Maldives. The active can explore the area on a host of excursions (especially recommended are the sunset cruise and fishing trips), while at the resort they can play tennis or badminton, take up water sports, learn yoga, Pilates or Zumba or simply hit the modern gym. Outstanding diving and snorkelling opportunities surround the island on reefs that have barely been visited by humans while some of the Maldives’ best surfing breaks are just a quick speedboat journey away.
A simply elegant and unique Maldives resort, Maafushivaru is an island that epitomises all that one dreams of when dreaming of the Maldives. Just over 350 metres in length and walkable in just over 10 minutes, this is a resort oozing with small island charm, lush vegetation surrounded by powder-white soft sand, and a house reef that a myriad of tropical fish call home.
Aimed at couples seeking to rekindle their romance or for families looking to spend quality time together, the team at Maafushivaru embrace a collective aim to ensure guests make memories that will be forever cherished. The resort offers an experience that respectively combines a Maldives from times-gone-by with the contemporary luxuries of the present, distinguishing it from other Maldives all inclusive resorts.
As one of the premier Maldives Island resorts, 48 individual thatch-roofed villas, inspired by local architecture, are set amidst verdant gardens or poised over the turquoise lagoon. There is a choice of three different styles, with all villas well-appointed yet simple in design and build, assuring complete privacy and boasting clear views of the turquoise blue ocean or the colourful reef. The Beach Villas and Water Villas can accommodate up to 3 adults, whilst the Pool Villas with its two bedrooms are perfect for friends holidaying together or for a couple, wanting some extra space, and can accommodate up to 6 adults.
As with all the accommodation on the island, the Beach villas are surrounded by abundant vegetation and located right beside the beach with sun loungers on a private deck facing the sea. Inside each spacious beach villa you will find all the mod cons, plus a semi-open air bathroom complete with shower, as well as an outdoor garden area with a rainfall shower made of stone.
The Pool Villas come with two separate villas, each with their own open air bathroom with rainfall shower. They have the same features as the Beach Villas with the addition of a private pool and separate dining pavilion shared between the two villas. The magnificent Water villas are built out over the utopian water and offer modern comforts along with stunning views of the lagoon. Each villas is completely private, being accessed by its own walkway from the main jetty. Once inside you can enjoy luxuries which include a bathroom featuring a rainfall shower, plus a bath that offers views of the ocean.
Outside is your own wooden deck with a seating area and sun loungers from where you can watch a myriad of different coloured tropical fish swimming by whilst you enjoy a relaxing drink from the mini-bar. Alternatively, you may wish to join them via the steps which lead down directly into the sea.
Although most guests are inclined to explore and island hop, Maafushivaru has ensured that everything you could possibly need is available right there on your doorstep. An infinity edged fibre-optic lit swimming pool is available for guests who prefer a dip in the cool fresh water and for those who fancy curling up with a book, a library lounge is available. A complimentary Wi-Fi internet service is available in certain public areas And for those who enjoy a spot of retail therapy or just need a few essentials, ‘The Boutique’ offers a wide selection of souvenirs, local items, toiletries and beach wear.
For the daring and raring to go, a whole range of diving and snorkelling trips are available to guests, as well as fishing, visits to local islands and romantic cruises at sunset. Come the end of the day, be sure to visit the Maafushivaru Spa; the truly natural well-being experience. Situated on a quiet corner of the island on its own jetty, the spa is the place where inner beauty is blended with the beauty of the landscape. Each treatment on offer is individually designed to help you realise your ultimate state of well-being.
Capturing the true flavour of The Maldives, Maafushivaru brings fine-dining to this paradise setting at the ‘Cuisine Gallery’ buffet restaurant, as well a coffee shop, the ‘Wine Chiller’ (featuring a walk-in room with a wide selection of wines which you can browse and make your special choice to compliment your dinner), and the ‘Water Bar’ open from 9am till late.
For evening dining, in addition to the buffet, Maafushivaru offer an à la carte selection or a choice of private dining experiences for that ‘special occasion’, plus the highly-acclaimed ‘135° East’ a Teppanyaki and Sushi restaurant. Relishing a whole new degree of Oriental flavours, this contemporary style restaurant is located on its own sunset pavilion over the turquoise lagoon, offering the perfect location to enjoy the tastes of the Far East from the teppan grill and sushi counter.
Kurumba Maldives’ is a private island resort offering a 5 star blend of luxury and tranquillity that tempts many a visitor to its sandy shores time and time again. Kurumba is conveniently located just 10 minutes from Male International Airport and offers weary travellers a heavenly blend of powder soft sands, the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, lush gardens ablaze with frangipani, hibiscus and bougainvillea stretch across the island and shady coconut groves that loom over 180 luxury bungalows and villas.
Luxury comes in many shapes and sizes with no less than nine categories of accommodation. What they all have in common is a fresh and modern design, plus plush state-of-the-art facilities. Whilst the introductory Superior and Deluxe rooms have a graceful contemporary Maldivian style with open air showers and sunny ocean-side balconies, the resort’s signature Deluxe Bungalows and Deluxe Beachfront Bungalows each feature their very own private garden containing an outside shower and spacious decking veranda for sunset tipples. The bungalows themselves are hidden amongst the lush fragrant tropic flora just yards from the pure white beaches corralling the island. Each boasts a giant free-standing bathtub, a luxurious dual-basin bathroom, a glass-walled shower and king-sized beds.
Guests seeking ultimate opulence and privacy can opt for Kurumba villa rooms, starting with the Private Villa with Jacuzzi, and the Garden Pool Villas that offer plunge pools within your private open-plan courtyard with rain shower to cool off. Kurumba’s Deluxe Pool Villas are even more sumptuous with the additional luxuries of a large private pool with a waterfall, day bed and wooden terrace.
If you want a slice of celebrity lifestyle, the largest and most extravagant villa on the island is the Royal Kurumba Residence. Measuring a whopping 768 square metres in diameter and housing two bedrooms, two private pools, a huge living area and veranda, this opulent suite has played host to celebrities, local dignitaries and even heads of state.
With a total of 8 restaurants based within the resort, each offering an eclectic selection of the world’s finest cuisines, thoroughly spoilt guests are well catered for. Deciding whether to visit the main restaurant for unhurried all-day dining, to savour far-eastern sushi and teppenyaki at the over-water Hamakaze or to feast within the palatial Lebanese décor of Al Qasr is not an easy decision to make. Making a choice between the delicious Indian, Chinese and Italian menus of Mahal, East and Duo, respectively, is equally as difficult.
For guests who want to season their meals with a pinch of Maldives romance, Thila offers a unique beachfront setting in which to dine; relish the finest grilled seafood by candlelight surrounded by a panoramic vista of the ocean. Finally, those wishing to make the most of their private garden, balcony or hired yacht can request an intimate dining experience for two.
The resort features three bars: Kalhu, for karaoke kings, Athiri, set on the beaches for the best sunsets and the lively Beach Bar, where guests can share a cocktail and convo in the company of live bands and local dance acts. Voted 2015 World Luxury Spa Awards as Best Luxury Resort Spa – Country Winner and surrounded by soothing reflection ponds, the resort’s Veli Spa is an oasis of serenity in the heart of the island. Here, guests can enjoy a dedicated yoga session, unwinding in the relaxation lounge, de-stressing in the single or couples treatment rooms or indulging in reflexology and exotic body wraps and polishes. For a more romantic experience “The Spa Under the Stars” offers couples a chance to watch the sunset whilst enjoying a unique cowrie shell massage using local hand-pressed Coconut oil.
Life at the Kurumba Resort isn’t just for the sun and spa-seekers – the sporting and adventurous amongst us have a whole smorgasbord of activities to entertain. The Sports Centre offers a fully-equipped gym, pool, and three floodlit tennis courts and if water sports are your passion the Dive School offers a full range of PADI diving courses. Explore the spectacular dive sites of The Maldives as dazzling shoals of iridescent tropical fish, (friendly!) reef sharks, manta ray and turtles wait to greet you.
Once you’ve met the fishy locals, try your hand at Kayaking, water-skiing, windsurfing and parasailing at the spectacular Water Sports Centre and keep the littl’uns entertained with the Fun Tubes and Banana Rodeos. This is all in addition to a wide-range of fascinating local excursions including a Sand Bank Picnic, the ever popular sunset cruises and even night-fishing under the stars.
Kuramathi Island Resort
Across the sky-blue waters of the Indian Ocean lies an island renowned for its natural beauty; Kuramathi Island Resort. From the 1 km long sandbank that extends from the tip of the resort to the stunning house reef with promising encounters and its wide sweeping beaches offering panoramic views of the ocean, this is a majestic paradise.
Upon arrival you will feel like you are on a remote island, however this resort is easily accessible as transfers from Male International Airport take just 20 minutes by seaplane and 90 minutes via speedboat. How you choose to spend your time on this magical island is up to you. Whether you want peace and quiet whiling away hours in the spa and lazing in the tropical sun, adventure exploring the natural majesty of the Indian Ocean or glamour socialising with fine food and good company or perhaps sipping a cocktail by the ocean’s edge or simply, Kuramathi Island Resort will undoubtedly be an unforgettable memory.
Villa accommodation on the island blends contemporary design and nature. Choose from Garden Villas and Beach Villas nestled in lush vegetation, Deluxe Beach Jacuzzi Villas that face the lagoon and new Sunset Pool Villas. The new Two Bedroom Beach Houses are expansive duplex-style villas with separate living spaces, located just a stone’s throw away from the water’s edge and able to accommodate up to 6 adults; ideal for a getaway with friends or a family holiday.
Alternatively, couples can find complete bliss in Deluxe Water Villas and Water Villas with Pool, both featuring spacious bathrooms with glass-paned doors leading out on to the expansive sundeck over turquoise waters. Mirrored on the west side of the island, the Sunset Water Villas with Pool are just steps away from the resort’s iconic sandbank, perfect for a romantic stroll. Sunset Pool Villas inhabit the beachfront, each boasting endless views direct from the bedroom to the azure sea, a luxurious bathroom with freestanding bath and outdoor rain shower, and a sundeck inset with 18sqm private infinity pool. For added pleasure, all of the new villas also include expanded mini bars with a winechiller housing over 30 hand-selected, international wines, perfect for total indulgence or a festive toast.
Dining options are diverse and All Inclusive guests are allocated a buffet restaurant determined by the location of their villa. If you book the Select All Inclusive package, you’ll have the option to eat at other restaurants offering a great choice of cuisine. The resort boasts an impressive 9 à la carte restaurants all offering diverse culinary experiences.
A firm favourite with visitors is the classic Reef restaurant, known for its seafood dishes and the fresh catch of the day concept showcasing reef fish such as grouper, mahi mahi, rainbow runner, red snapper and trevallies. It is located on the lagoon side of the island, set in splendid grandeur over water. The middle of the restaurant is truly unique story with teppanyaki grills on the left and right hand side; a new dining experience named Kobe offering authentic Japanese cuisine and finery of cooking meats and vegetables on an iron grill.
The al-Fresco terraced restaurant Inguru offers stunning views over the ocean and enticing light dining options during the day and Asian fusion cuisine at night. Perhaps the most exciting and majestic new addition to the resort is the Champagne Loft, overlooking the splendid Indian Ocean. Adding to the many bars located throughout Kuramathi Island, Champagne Loft is a special place for couples to imbibe in a glass of champagne from an eclectic selection of over 45 varieties. Furnished with an elegant ambience and interior; local architecture is inspired and infused with a contemporary touch. Chic furnishings are splayed around the lounge from comfortable loungers to wooden tables that can seat small groups.
Appealing to mainly honeymooners and those rekindling romance, the Champagne Loft features an extraordinary assortment of carefully selected champagnes. There are activities a-plenty available at the resort. If the adventurer in you is keen to explore, exciting times lie ahead as you travel to the mysterious aquatic realm of the Maldives without even dipping a toe in the water! A brand new red semi-submarine seating 12 people offers the chance to sight the beauty of the famed prime dive/snorkelling spot of Madivaru twice a week. A variety of water sports, diving and excursions are also available. The house reef offers hours of adventurous snorkelling and when you have had enough of being active, try some of the innovative therapies available at the spa for ultimate relaxation.
The staff at the resort are truly customer satisfaction focused and experts in their respective fields. They offer a welcoming and friendly service and are there to cater to your every need. Add to all these luxurious faciites, amenities such as the Bageecha kids club, a sports centre, gym, swimming pools, medical centre with hyperbaric chamber, Eco Centre, boutiques, laundry, library, wi-fi internet and you have the perfect blend to create a retreat that offers unique experiences for everyone in a natural setting.