Forget preconceived ideas of the Maldives being reserved for giddy-in-love newlyweds. The Maldives are also a magical playground with lots of fun and activities. FACT’s Edward Smith picked up two different styles of escapes to reveal the broad range of activities the archipelago has to offer.
Kandolhu: The Best Kept Secret
For people interested in extreme privacy and natural wonders, Kandolhu is a treasure. Located in northern Maldives and accessible only by plane, the island is a 25-minute flight from Malé. Intensely intimate, Kandolhu is the essence of a barefoot-chic island resort with its only 30 secluded villas scattered in and around its sandy coast.
On this tiny island (it takes less than five minutes to walk around it), all the villas are loaded with luxury amenities and incredible attention to detail. Even down to the music playlist customised for different mood and time of the day, designer furniture sofas by Rolf Benz or bathtub in the water villas with a view of the sea beyond, simply incredible!
The lagoon is almost tailor-made for swimming and snorkelling is right on your doorstep. Skip the hassle of boat rides and offshore excursions, jump in from your private jetty and you can spot some parrotfishes, reef sharks, eagle rays, occasional moray eel, you name it. Several resident turtles live on the reef and are easily approached by snorkelers. More serious divers can partake in the PADI training programme (the dive school offers PADI and SSI certified courses for beginners) and explore the Ari atoll, a spot that most divers agree still provides the best diving in the Maldives.
Lesley-Ann and Patricio, the dive instructors, even proposed fluorescent night dives, a must-do for enthusiasts for big thrills. And for a perfect end to a beautiful day at Kandolhu, we highly recommend the sunset cruise onboard the islands private yacht ‘Ari Explorer’ and last but not least, don’t miss the foie gras at Olives restaurant, one of the five à la carte restaurants available in the resort.
Kurumba: The Multifaceted Resort
Now let’s take a look at one of the country’s (oldest – first resort to open in the Maldives) grandest resort, Kurumba. It is also the closest resorts from Malé, just 10-minutes by speedboat from the airport, so it’s an ideal choice for a short stay. Like Kandolhu, this resort offers the most modern comfort and amenities and half or full board (breakfast and dinner) packages as well, so you don’t have to worry about anything and enjoy the moment. We loved our beachfront deluxe bungalows, which offers private terraces and daybeds perfect for dozing in the late afternoon sun.
The outside enclosed shower even further enhanced the tropical rainforest feel of the resort. With eight top restaurants, including Arabian, Chinese, Indian, Italian, and a Japanese counter, Kurumba Maldives is a classic resort that sets the standard for the rest of the archipelago.
One of the top five must do’s on Kurumba is the Sunset dolphin cruise. After a beautiful 20-minute breathtaking boat ride, you can see many dolphins swimming alongside the boat and some others flipping in the air! It’s truly a fantastic sight. Spotting them is one thing-capturing them on camera is another! The trick is to keep your camera focused and ready for the shot. And yes, it is so gratifying once you manage to catch a good picture of a dolphin jumping above the water! One of the resort’s missions is to introduce Maldivian culture to its guests through a myriad of activities, cooking class being one of them.