Best of the Maldives: Water Villa Neighbour – Fours Seasons Kuda Huraa / Chaaya Island Dhonveli

Four Seasons Kuda Hura - Chaaya Island Dhonveli water villa neighbours

The other title for this post could be ‘Surf Buddies’.

Some Maldives visitors like the utter remoteness of many of the islands. Feeling like you are on a solitary deserted island in the middle of nowhere. While I enjoy that desolate sensation, I also enjoy the little ‘communities’ of the archipelago. Clusters of land bridged by sand spits and shallow lagoons. It was one of the first stories Andy Lees intrigued me with when describing the Maldives. He told how when walking around the island he spotted another tiny island offshore. Not too far away and the water seem quite shallow. He started walking towards it and before long he was on the other island having waded over from his resort.

My twist today is taken from the community of surfing resorts in the spirit of this week’s posts. I’ve highlighted close clusters of islands before, but in this case the islands aren’t especially close, but their water villa complexes are – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa and Chaaya Island Dhonveli. As the Bing map above highlights, the two water villas come to within a couple of hundred yards of each other. On top of that, they have a handy little sand spit to provide a bit of a sand bridge for any particularly neighbourly strolls. Mind you, resorts are quite keen that you alert them if you are going to visit their island so spontaneity needs to be kept to a minimum.

Their proximity is not that surprising. Both are located on a reef plateau which provides both with rich surfing in the vicinity.

Best of the Maldives: Nearby Surf Break – Kandooma

Kandooma surf break

Maldives caters to all types of surfers from beginner to expert, from innovative to impatient. For the lattermost, yet another resort shines in the surfing haven, Kandooma, which offers the closest surf break.

Most surf breaks are a good distance from shore separated from the resort beach by the extensive lagoons prevalent in the Maldives especially on big plateaus where the longest reefs are creating the longest ‘surf breaks’. While such distance is great for creating a aquarium-like swimming haven on the beach, it means a bit of a swim/paddle for those keen to get to reef’s edge. Or a logistics intensive boat ride.

Kandooma’s house reef is far away, surfing is a mere 50 yards at most from beach on the east side. And the Beach Villas on that side are a water-hugging 20 yards from ocean. Especially with 2-story structures there, you can wake up and check out the surf (see photo above). If ‘surfs up’, then in minutes you can be riding the waves.

Kandooma has two surf instructors, Mark Quarrell and Richie Lindfield from Perfect Wave, who can provide gear and assistance for all levels. Their own website comments…

“With a surf break, Kandooma Right at your front door you will be able to surf awesome waves at your leisure. But with another 6 quality breaks between 5 and 45 minutes of the resort our resident surf guide will take you up to twice daily via Dhoni to these top spots.”

Best of the Maldives: Beginner Break – Anantara

Anantara Prewitts Break Left

You don’t have to be a pro to ride the surf in the Maldives. One of the big appeals there is their long, gentle breaks. One of the best beginner breaks is ‘Prewitts Left’ near Anantara. Resident surf instructor Kym Everett explains that it has an “Easy take off and easy ending in a soft area that finishes in deep water…ideal for a someone just starting out.” Like the young lad on the video above taken at Prewitts Left. Unfortunately, the cameraman/instructor needs a bit more practice!

Best for Surfing…in the World

Billabong Surf video

“Who would have thought to find a place so perfectly placed between the ocean and the sky.” – Billabong model/surfer & singer/songwriter Catherine Clark

What a great way to describe the uniqueness of the Maldives. Describing its perfection for surfing, but really a key piece of so many things that he Maldives is world renowned for …

  • Honeymoons – The romance of a plot of pure white sand and a palm trees nestled in a tranquil turquoise lagoon.
  • Diving – One of the tops in the world for its endless coral reefs easily accessible by the 100+resorts.
  • Snorkelling – Arguably the very best in the world for reasons very close to Catherine’s quote above.
  • Children – Calm waters, shallow lagoons, contained small grounds, many activities.

One really has to add Surfing to that list things the Maldives tops the world as a top destination. Not big waves like Hawaii, but long, moderate breaks for extended rides. The pro surfing circuit regularly holds premier events in the Maldives now. I’ve had to break out a special ‘Surfing’ section from ‘Sport’ in the ‘Best of Maldives’ page because of all the special offerings resorts have brought out.

And of all of those resorts, Tropicsurf at Four Seasons Kuda Huraa is quickly becoming the epicentre of the surf Mecca. Their latest project was hosting the iconic Billabong Girls for an video ‘diary’ posted by Billabong, but now on video sites and surf online mags across the net. One of the best is the extended (17 minutes) piece featured in Surfing Magazine. The link on Catherine’s quote above features her diary entry with her poetic descriptions of the Maldives, and there’s ‘Maldives Vibe’ for a simple music video of the vibrant footage.

It’s really cool to have the pearly white beaches, then go into the icy-blue clear water that you don’t have anny where else in the world.” – Courtney Coulogne, US Women’s Surfing Champion

Best of the Maldives: Loyal Customers – Kurumba

Kurumba Mr Yamagoshi 40th Anniversary

The December holiday season has been packed with all sorts of celebrations from festive Yuletide, big birthdays and even a milestone anniversary for Maldives tourism. The Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC) is celebrating the 40th anniversary of tourism in the Maldives with a special photo competition of nostalgic images capturing the humble beginnings which have grown into a worldwide wonder (see photo below).

The genesis of it all was the Kurumba resort. So it was appropriate for Kurumba to play a big part in the celebrations (they are sponsoring the competition with 2 free nights as the prize for the best photo posted). All of that experience and heritage has made Kurumba a favourite for many. Our first stay there, we attended the weekly drinks evening for repeaters and the bar was packed.

But the champion repeater of all time is also a Kurumba regular – Mr. Mr. Yamagoshi. Mr. Yamagoshi has been to Kurumba 64 times! I haven’t even been to my local pub 64 times. The picture above was taken at the Kurumba Beach Bar during an interview he did to mark the ruby anniversary of Maldive tourism.

The curious (and impressive) thing is that it took Kurumba some effort to figure out who actually was there most loyal customer as they have so many. At first they thought it might be the Mr. and Mrs. Rosenquist whose mere 53 stays at least probably warrants them most loyal couple. Kurumba interviewed them as well…

  • Kurumba: What keeps you coming back??
  • Rosenquists: Apart from the fact that during the time we lived in The Maldives Kurumba become a second home to us and we know all the staff well, I love the relaxed atmosphere of diving at Kurumba and the reef is good for both of us to snorkel on.
  • K: How many times have you been to Kurumba?
  • R: 64 stays though we did live in Male for a number of years.
  • K: If you had to name one thing that is your favourite, what would it be?
  • R: The wide choice of restaurants and the dive center staff

Congratulations to all the Maldives Resorts on this milestone anniversary and Kurumba for delighting so many for so long.

VisitMaldives photo competition

Best of the Maldives: Tables – Kanuhura

Kanuhura tsunami tables

Seven years ago today, one of the most profound natural disasters of modern times hit Asian with the Boxing Day Tsunami. With an epicenter in Sumatra, it still yielded deadly force thousands of miles away in the Maldives where 68 people died and 300 were injured.

Like all of the countries affected, the Maldives mourned their losses and started the process of rebuilding. Many resorts were struck which led to renovation projects. The One & Only Kanuharu were hit which, among other damage, fell many of their trees on the east side of the island. As a part of the clean up, Kanuhura’s on-island wood-workers gathered up the downed tree trunks and fashioned them into tables that are used throughout their Handhuvaru lounge. Lots of resorts have all sorts of creative designer furnishings throughout, but these simple, locally hand-hewn creations memorializing a pivotal event in the region’s history are the most compelling to me.

Best of the Maldives: Underwater Holiday Decoration – Anantara Kihavah

Anantara Kihavah underwater Christmas tree

Wee fish you a ‘mer’ eco-ristmas!

An inspired underwater creation at Anantara Kihavah this holiday season…

“Is it a rock? Is it a tree? Is it an eco-friendly coral Christmas tree under the sea? Anantara Kihavah Villas in the Maldives’ UNESCO Marine Biosphere Baa Atoll region has taken its unique coral adoption initiative to new festive depths with the creation of an underwater Christmas tree made entirely from reef coral collected from the seabed. Diners at the exclusive island resort’s Sea Restaurant, one of the few underwater restaurants in the world, can view the Christmas tree display along with striped lionfish, moray eel and eagle rays while savouring the Indian Ocean’s abundance of marine life.”

I have had to adapt a version of the classic carol ‘Oh, Christmas Tree’ for this creation…

Eau Christmas Tree, Eau Christmas tree,
How lovely are your nudibranchs!
In beauty green and blue as one,
Through summer sun and winter sun.
Eau Christmas tree, Eau Christmas tree,
How lovely are your nudibranches!

Happy Holidays to everyone! Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All.

Best of the Maldives: Japanese Restaurant – Adaaran Vadoo

Vadoo Kitajima 2

And another Happy Birthday…today to the Emperor of Japan.

To celebrate, it’s time for another doff of the kabuto once again to all things Japanese in the Maldives, Adaaran Vadoo. This time, in this season that puts the ‘feast’ into ‘festive’, it is the Kitajima restaurant. Many resorts feature Japanese fare like sushi and tempura and some even have full fledged Japanese restaurants. But none as extensive and authentic as Kitajima. The materials used in building the restaurant, supplies used in preparing the dishes (except for the hyper-fresh seafood), and the staff straight from Japan (including the manageress who has been there since the opening).

“Adaraan Prestige Vadhoo is unique in the Maldives to offer a Japanese specialty restaurant. For those wishing a change of taste and scene you can try traditional Japanese meals ranging from fresh sushi to succulent tempura at the Kithajima restaurant. Our staffs have had many years of training and experience in the preparation of Japanese cuisine and will endeavour to prepare your selections to suit your preferences. Traditional Japanese favourites ranging from edamame and spring rolls to sushi, tempura and sashimi served with specially made sauces and accompaniments are just some of the dishes on offer to satisfy your cravings. Only the freshest of seasonal sea food and best ingredients are used in the preparation of the dishes. Many Japanese beers and Sake is available to enhance the dining experience.”

Vadoo Kitajima 3

Best of the Maldives: Chocolate Dessert – W Retreat

W Retreat 7 Layer Chocolate

Happy Birthday Lori!

Today my companion in all my adventures celebrates the major milestone of her 50th birthday. Lori was the one who was initially responsible for my immersion into all things Maldives. After living in the United Kingdom for nearly a year, we hit the dreary, grey winter months. After many weeks without seeing the sun, Lori confronted me with the ultimatum, “Bruce, either you pay for a tropical holiday or you pay for psychotherapy. Either way you are going to pay, but might I suggest that you might enjoy the tropical holiday more.” My friend Andy Lees insisted that the only place to take her was the Maldives. And the rest was history.

On this day, the thing to celebrate is cake. There are a plethora of spectacular chefs in the Maldives so I am typically very hesitant to ascribe any ‘Best of Maldives’ for specific foods. Most of the ‘Best of Dining’ accolades go to distinctive experiences or venues. If I am going to accord a kudos, it needs to be quite a narrow area (like Sheraton Full Moon’s Gazpacho).

While I couldn’t whisk her away to the Maldives, I do have special gourmet treats planned for her tonight, including a special chocolate cake which evoked one of the most memorable desserts we ever enjoyed in the Maldives – the W Retreat’s ‘7 Layer Chocolate Cake’. Like Lori’s birthday surprise, the cake was two months in development by Pastry Chef Sanjit Gupta. It mastered that paradox of rich flavours with exceedingly light feel to it.

The 7 layers were…

  • Sacher sponge
  • Chocolate marquis
  • Chocolate Brule
  • Hazelnut custard mousse
  • Chocolate jelly
  • Milk chocolate mousse
  • Cocoa powder

Exquisite…like Lori.

Best of the Maldives: Spa Design – Six Senses Laamu

Six Senses Laamu spa dreaming of maldives

The spa ‘vista’ doesn’t have to be the glorious Maldivian seaside when you have such dazzling design for the spa itself. Six Senses Laamu’s spa stands out not only in the Maldives, but worldwide having recently been nominated for ‘Spa Design of the Year’. Its look is inspired by nature resembling a woven bird’s nest.

Six Senses Laamu spa