Best of the Maldives: Yachting – The Rania Experience

The Rania Experience yacht

A number of the most upscale resorts offer some nice boats for day excursions or more. When we stayed at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island several years ago, we had a delightful sunrise cruise on the wooden ship Goma that they kept there. Several have dhonis including obviously Dhoni Island where water villas are inspired by dhonis.

But if you are keen on your very own flash motor yacht, then The Rania Experience is the place for you. It’s very tag line is “One island, one yacht, one million possibilities.”

The web site describes…

“The RANIA yacht, a majesty 86-foot Gulf Craft luxury speed cruiser is at the guest’s disposal daily for 3 hours and any additional hour rental is at a minimal rental fee of US$ 2,000 per hour.”

Methinks that Rania also might just score the ‘Best Of’ superlative of the Maldives’ ‘Most Expensive Excursion.’

Best of the Maldives: Dive Site – Alimatha

Fotteyo Chart          Fotteyo 1

Maldives is one of the world’s leading diving destinations right up there with the Red Sea, Great Barrier Reef, Caymans, and Belize. But which is the top resort for diving among this top destination. Certainly a subject for much debate and hair-splitting. Picking out out a premier site over the 90,000 square kilometres of atolls would be a bit of a tall order.

TripAdvisor Forums have also discussed this topic and offer a range of other nominations with a particular fondness for the South Ari atoll. But the most prominent consensus pick appears to be ‘Fotteyo Kandu’ in the Felidhoo Atoll. Tim Godfrey’s book on the Maldives, ‘Dive Maldives’, describes in his full page review of the site (page 115) which includes the pictures featured here…

“An excellent dive regarded by many divers as the best site in the Maldives. It is a photographers’ paradise and a mecca for marine biologists. This is a dive with many possibilities.”

The dive travel site appropriately named ‘Maldives Dive Travel’ also anoints it #1in its own top 5 list with this compelling description…

“Many scuba divers consider Fotteyo Kandu to be the best Maldives dive site and it is also rated among the top 5 dive sites in the world. The mouth of the channel is exposed to the ocean and during north east monsoon when the currents are incoming, a good variety of fish species gather at the entrance to the channel.  Animals commonly spotted at Fotteyo Kandu include Gray Reef Shark patrolling the channel mouth, Jack and Tuna in the deeper water, schools of Midnight Snappers and Red Snapper form in huge groups. The wall features caves, overhangs and swim-thoughs at different depths. These caves and overhangs are filled with colourful yellow color like soft coral, deeper caves and overhangs are filled with huge bushes of black corals. The Thila in the middle of the channel entrance is the best place to do the safety stop.  A surface balloon is a must at Fotteyo Kandu.”

Two resorts are in the Felidhoo atoll for those seeking out Fotteyo, Dhiggiri and Alimatha, but Alimatha gets the nod because it about 4 kilometres closer to the site.

 

Fotteyo 2      Fotteyo 3

Best of Maldives: Most Remote – Shangri-La Villingili

Shangri-La by Sakis

(photo reprinted with permission)

Today’s superlative comes to us again courtesy of Maldives photographer extraordinaire Sakis Papadopoulos whose Dreaming of Maldives site shares tidbits often as colourful as his snaps. Last week, I caught this superlative on his Twitter feed wishing a ‘Happy Birthday’ to Shangri-La Villingili which happens to be shared with Maldives itself (26th July).

He also noted Shangri-La Villingili’s distinction as the ‘Furthermost Resort of the Maldives’. Actually, if you used the Maldives Compete Resort Finder, you too could have uncovered this as it would stand out with a list topping 550 kilometres from Male.

Best of the Maldives: Room Variety – Kurumba

Kurumba room types

Most resorts have a handful of choices for types of rooms. Most typically, they will have a couple versions of a beach bungalow (standard and deluxe) and increasingly a majority of resorts have a water bungalow option (61 of the 121 resorts in the Maldives Complete database). Sometimes they will add a special ‘suite’ which will be a specially designed, king-sized accommodation for VIPs and thick-walleted customers.

But if you like your room choices the way you like your doubleshot-decaf-dry-skinny-mocha-latte, the Kurumba is the rate card for you. They have 8 different room categories…

  1. Royal Kurumba Residence
  2. Presidential Suite
  3. Pool Villa
  4. Garden Villa
  5. Private Villa
  6. Deluxe Bungalow
  7. Deluxe Room
  8. Superior Room

And these are just land-based lodging variations as Kurumba does even not offer water bungalows.

Kuramathi list 9 on its rate card, but 4 of these are just one type with a Jacuzzi added, and not completely really a different styles.

Best of the Maldives: Company – Sun Island

Sun Island lounge

Maldives Complete has highlighted the most ‘exclusive’ island with the fewest guests accommodated, but what it you are a social animal who craves the teeming company of hordes at the other end of the spectrum. Then Sun Island is the place for you with its 350 rooms. That said, you don’t get the sensation of ‘crowding’ per se because the island is so big at 600k square/metres (11th largest of the Maldive resorts). The size put Sun Island in the lowest quartile of ‘Population Density’ with one guest per 2779 square metres. That fact was underscored when I looked through nearly a thousand visitor snaps of Sun looking for one which showed lots of people and struggled to find one.  Another advantage is that it is a good resort to target for last minute availability and deals since with so many rooms there is a greater chance that there is unsold inventory.