One of the most memorable and distinctive excursion that one can do on a Maldives visit is the deserted island experience. Various resorts offer day trips, picnic visits, BBQs, snorkelling outings and a range of other day excursions to local even tinier, even more remote uninhabited islands. Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu has one of the best arrays of excursions that I have seen from ‘Magical Mornings’ to ‘Island Afternoons’. But they don’t stop at sunset, and the most distinctive trip is their ‘Overnight on a Desert Island’ excursion…
“A once in a lifetime experience…Spend one night together on a deserted Maldivian Island, Robinson Crusoe style. Your experience begins with Romantic Red Sunset journey by Dhoni as you sip a cool glass of Sparkling Wine…Your own private Chef attentively prepared Fresh Seafood and the choicest cuts of meat tenderly barbecued to the savoured under the stars as the moonlight reflects from the silver sea. The exotic choice of Maldivian Lobster, Tiger Prawns, Sirloin Steak, Lamb Chops, and fresh Reef Fish from the Lagoon will leave you spoilt for choice. After Dinner stroll around the beach to your Rustic Beach Hut which has been carefully prepared for you. This accommodation follows a traditional beach hut style yet still provides some of the comforts of home. In the morning your private butler will deliver your breakfast to enjoy on the beach of your Island before returning to Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu. This is a Uniquely Coco Experience that will live on long after your vacation is over.”
My wife and I visited this desert island for an afternoon picnic and private snorkelling excursion when we visited Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu and had a truly memorable afternoon in idyllic and romantic remoteness. An absolutely top activity.
If you want to escape everything with your trip to the Maldives except beloved ‘footie’, then the most sympathetically fanatical resort is Mirihi who not only, like many, have their own football team, but also have their own astro-turf foot ball pitch. Guests are welcome to join in the games as reported by ‘librahi’ on this Trip Advisor report.
Many are attracted to the Maldives for the distinctively tiny croppings of land that make up the islands. No island is big enough for an international airport near the capital of Male (so they had to create a long, rectangular strip of land out of landfill) and most can have their perimeters traversed before finishing a pre-dinner pina colada. But the grand-biddy of them all is Coca Palm Kudahithi at a mere 5,600 square metres (140 metres long and 40 metres wide – not much larger than a foot ball pitch). With a proportionately small number of rooms – 7 villas – it is the closest thing to your own secluded deserted island with a palm tree on it.
Maldives is a great destination for families with children, but one common question is what about the very youngest. The consensus at TripAdvisor’s Maldives Forum is that Bandos is the top resort for babies.
“Quite a number of people have said, truthfully and helpfully, that Bandos is about the only 'baby friendly' hotel in the Maldives.”
Some debate the advisability of bringing extremely young children to a place as remote as the Maldives with less extensive care on hand. One of the benefits to Bandos is its proximity (8 km) to the main island of Male where the most extensive medical care, full hospital and airport are all located in case of an emergency.
“At Bandos we think of making your holiday as hassle free as possible, and for those families travelling with young children the Child Care Centre and Kids Club will prove to be a blessing. Now you can enjoy your holiday comfortable in the knowledge that your children are in the capable care of our professional child minders and baby sitters. The facilities are free of charge and the staff of Kids Club provides baby-sitting services free of charge, for children between 8 months to 12 years, between 0900hrs to 1700hrs, although a small charge is levied after 1700hrs. The Kids Club is equipped with a nursery full of toys and a large playground outside so that even your children would be guaranteed an enjoyable holiday experience.”
Most Maldivian islands have even tinier islands nearby for day excursions and all have shallow waters to wade or snorkel through, but Rihiveli Beach has a nearly deserted island that is a water stroll away.
“Just 400 metres from your holiday home are Sunrise Island and Birds Island, which you can easily reach on foot. Unmarred by development, they are cloaked in verdant foliage and complemented by lovely beaches”
“We have access to Sunrise Island that you can easily reach on foot where we can have BBQ at lunch (known as ‘Picnic Island’), the inclusive package we offer and the stunning and peaceful Lagoon we have at our disposal”
If you want a change from vanilla fare for your savory snacks, then you need to be gingerly cumin on down to the the Fuddan Restaurant at Anantara, the epice-ntre of allspices. Fuddan features a seasoning expert – Nasrulla (pictured above) to assist with just the right final touch to your cuisine.
The Times Online has a fun review of the seasoned expert…
“Rubbing salt into the wound…Water sommeliers are so last Thursday week. The latest thing is, drum roll, the salt sommelier. Oooh, yes. With no hint of irony, Anantara, in the Maldives, presents Nasrulla, who will guide you around 11 types, including Cyprus black lava flake, Bali coconut and lime-smoked sea salt. “We’re quite serious,” the hotel says. “Don’t take it with a pinch of salt.” Oh, please. Mindful of the dignity of Nasrulla’s calling, we don’t stoop to puns ourselves. Except in headlines.”
The Eye of Dubai has a detailed report including details of some of the salt varieties on offer (“Smoked Salish salt from Washington State (Nasrulla’s favourite) goes well with grilled food, especially red meats, while smoked salt from Bali is recommended to enhance the taste of tuna prepared with coconut and kaffir lime”)
Just when you think the Maldives couldn’t get any more relaxing, Angsana Velavaru comes up with the innovation pictured above – a hammock-like suspended lounger (for two!) over the calming waters of the lagoon. Day-dreamy!
Typically, people go to the Maldives for the nano-quaintness of these minute islands outcroppings. But, if such miniature confines are a bit too claustrophobic or if you simply enjoy a good bike ride, then the best island is Gan. Gan is the largest island in the Maldives with several resorts.
In particular, Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa offers guided bicycle tours in the Addu atoll.
“Explore by bicycle the five neighbouring islands connected by a 17-kilometre road that is the longest in Maldives. Set out with a picnic and discover the fascinating lifestyle and culture of untouched Maldivian villages or stop at a coffee shop to chat with the locals over a meal.”
Sometimes resort entertainment can be the weak link in a holiday with anything from a rickety DJ deck, to a local culture dance troupe trying to get reluctant visitors to join in to a lounge singer pounding out the old stand-bys in the local accent. Huvafen Fushi has made it its charter to not just make entertainment hip, but to bring a refreshing breeze of ‘cool’ to a range of things on offer at the resort in its ‘Dream Calendar’ programme.
“On 15 August 2009, internationally renowned French DJ Charles Schillings returns to the Maldives’ coolest resort, Huvafen Fushi, to treat guests to a third dose of his musical magic as part of the resort’s pioneering Dream Calendar. Guests can expect to be moved by an eclectic mix of melodic beats, electro funk, soul and groove, with touches of rock and classic 70s tunes…As the latest icon in Huvafen Fushi’s Dream Calendar, Charles will present an incredible night of music, as guests sip Champagne and throw some shapes on the fine, white Maldivian sands. The Dream Calendar has brought some of the world’s finest in music, cuisine, art and wellbeing to Huvafen Fushi’s shores, offering guests a series of one-of-a-kind experiences in the Maldives.”
“The resort has previously hosted performances by Claude Challé and DJ Ravin, the artists behind the Buddha-bar album series, as well as José Padilla from the sun-drenched Café Del Mar albums…Also coming up as part of the Dream Calendar, Stéphane Pompougnac will touch shores and hearts in the Maldives for a second time. The music maestro behind the Hôtel Costes album series, Stéphane performed at Huvafen Fushi last year to rave reviews from guests, when he launched the Hôtel Costes XI album, and is set to return this November.”
One resort that has embraced our dining on the beach top tip is the newly inaugurated Shangri-La's Villingili Resort and Spa. They are proactively offering to serve meals on the beach in a variety of idyllic and romantic places…
“The resort will also feature Dine By Design, Shangri-La is moving the dining experience outside restaurant walls to a variety of private locations around the resort. From a torch-lit dinner in the middle of a jungle to a quiet picnic on a beach, guests will enjoy meals prepared by the resort's expert culinary team.”