Two years ago tomorrow we were excitedly heading off on honeymoon for two weeks to the Maldives. After months of deliberation beforehand of where to go and then which island to choose, we decided on Kuramathi on Rasdhoo atoll. We booked our Kuoni holiday through Tropical Warehouse (part of the Bluebay travel family) to save some pennies and I could not recommend their service enough. This ‘one in a lifetime’ holiday was so ridiculously amazing that I could not get it out of my head so we have booked to return in November with my brother in-law & sister in-law who live in Oz. I will write a big trip report on the November holiday but I just wanted to share some snippets from the first visit because there seems to be a lack of Maldives posts on here.
We flew from Glasgow with Emirates, changing at Dubai, to the capital of the Maldives. The Maldives is made up of a cluster of small islands in the Indian Ocean that you get to by boats & seaplanes so all holidaymakers fly into Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, which is in the capital Male. From Male we were bussed to the seaplane lounge & then boarded one of the tiny seaplanes for the 25 minute plan journey to our island.
This time we are taking the boat to the island so that we have tried both but the seaplane had some breathtaking views of the tiny archipelagos in the water.
On arrival we were given a mocktail and flannel to cool us down after the long journey then we checked in & were given some information about the island. To be honest, I knew most of the information already because I had been on Trip Advisor constantly in my excitement and the forums on there provided me with valuable tips in advance. They had upgraded our beach villa to a deluxe beach villa because we were on honeymoon & I shrieked with excitement when the receptionist told me. We were escorted to our villa in a golf buggy & told that our luggage would be along in a couple of hours (a tip I’d learnt from the forums so we had clothes in our hand luggage). The island takes about 20 minutes to walk from one end to the other but you can get ‘taxi’ golf buggies if you have mobility problems or are lazy.
Our villa had a big four poster bed, sun loungers on our deck, a private outdoor shower & an outdoor lizard that we named Bernard.
Room surprises on arrival
We changed quickly and headed out to explore & eat some lunch. Our villa was opposite The Reef restaurant & The Laguna bar at the quiet end of the island and this is where our first breathtaking view of the holiday appeared…
Kuramathi is one of the largest islands in the Maldives & it offered us the island experience without going too Robinson Crusoe. Villas, bars & restaurants are scattered around the island, hidden between the vegetation and peeking out on to the beach. There are two pools for when the salt water gets too much and an amazing house reef so you can snorkel straight from the beach.
One of the things that I had noted on the forums before going was to make sure that you pick the best food package for you because you stay on the island the whole holiday. We opted for the select all-inclusive package because the standard all-inclusive allows you to have meals in your buffet restaurant but the select gave us the option of using all of the a la carte restaurants. To be honest I think we would have been happy with the food in the buffet restaurant because it was of a high standard but our foodie instincts took over and we went select. Breakfast was served in our buffet restaurant & you could eat lunch there too or you also had the option of the Island Coffee Shop or the Palm italian. They served afternoon snacks in two cafes but we were normally still full from lunch. Dinner could be taken in a choice of six a la carte restaurants or in any of the three buffet options. We had some amazing meals on the island such as the thai curries at the Siam Garden, steak diane at the Island Barbecue & fish at the Reef. Our all inclusive package also included our snorkelling gear, a sunset cruise, a visit to a local island (we never did this based on forum advice) & drinks all day long. There was a big cocktail list and I made a fair dent in it! As much as I love my Bombay Sapphire I had to ask them to give me smaller measures because they would fill 250ml glasses up half with spirit…it would have floored me.
note the Jack Daniels in the bottom right photo!
Before we booked the Maldives we hummed and hawed about it because we were scared that boredom would set in with so little to do. This was not at all the case & there was plenty to keep us entertained. We walked around a lot to burn off all of the calorific meals, taking in the scenery as we went. There are nature walks that you can do, an eco centre to wander about and a spa for those relaxing massages. Kuramathi has a full sports centre that even houses transparent canoes to make the most of the ocean below. There are sports for those inclined & they have staff versus guests football matches – the staff are football mad. The sandbank at the end of the island is very scenic and a romantic place for a stroll at sunset.
An average day for us would be to go to our buffet restaurant (Farivalhu) for breakfast, stopping at reception to book a dinner restaurant, then mosey along to the eco centre jetty to do some snorkelling. After an outdoor shower we would have lunch then go to the pool for a swim, read & sunbathe. We might stop off at some point at the Palm for some delicious coffee ice-cream then have a walk around the island, taking in all the crabs, herons, sea life, flora & fauna. Sometimes we even took an afternoon nap!
Crabs at the Laguna Bar
Depending on what time dinner was booked for we would either shower & get ready for the night or go to the Laguna bar & then shower so that we could watch the stingray feeding most nights. It was my favourite part of the day as it was such an experience to watch & the sunset at the same time was beautiful.
After dinner we would go to whichever bar was nearest to where we had eaten & listen to the live music that was on offer. Most people dispersed about midnight as there were a lot of divers needing a good nights sleep but we enjoyed the disco at the Fung bar a few times.
Sunset at Kuramathi
Finally, I have to mention Kuramathi’s wonderful staff. From the helpful reception team to the lady at the bio station trying to convince me that reef sharks won’t eat me, everyone that we encountered were friendly & knowledgeable. Our young buffet restaurant waiter (I feel terrible that I can’t remember his name) could not have done any more for us and greeted us with the biggest smile in the morning. Gladys that works in the Siam Garden & the pool bar was our favourite lady and we shared a love for John Grisham novels. We waited longer than normal for drinks in the bars a few times but I am sure that all those cocktails are not the quickest to make & we were too chilled out to let it bother us.
Consequently, we had a honeymoon that was better than we could have ever imagined. No regrets at all about choosing the Maldives, or Kuramathi, and the countdown calendar on our wall is a testament to how excited I am about our return visit.