Best of the Maldives: Golf Simulator – Holiday Island

Holiday Island golf simulator

Despite the limited hectares for full fledged golf courses (for the time being), you can still get in some coaching on your shots with the high tech golf simulators available. The Beach House at Iruveli features one (as noted before), but Holiday Island has *two* for twice the fun as well as the opportunity to bring a partner to share the fun and tips with.

Best of the Maldives: 24 Hour Restaurant – Holiday Island

Holiday Island restaurant



From every space dimension to every point on the time dimension. One of Holiday Island’s restaurants is open 24 hours. Many resorts will offer 24 hour room service, but proper dining establishments are quite rarely open round the clock. Kept open so you can stroll in on a late night, wee hours whim and dine at a proper table in the open air.

All of Holiday Island’s sister ‘Villa’ resorts also offer a 24 hour café, but Holiday Island’s impressed for a few added reasons. Despite being dubbed the ‘Coffee Shop’, it offers a proper full menu, not just café nibbles. You can even have Lobster Thermidor ($79). It’s also good value for money. You can get a plate of chips for those midnight munchies and it will only cost $4.

Best of the Maldives: Whale Shark Odds – Holiday Island

Holiday Island whale shark sightings

Perhaps the ultimate underwater treasure in the Maldives is a whale shark sighting. Most of the time, the biggest animal that you can see there. And a paragon gentle-giant docility and prehistoric charm. And number of spots are known hang outs for these elusive creatures who spend their lives in the depths unless they are feeding. Those locations (eg. Dhidhdhoo, Hanifru) are all protected by the Maldives as Marine Sanctuaries. While they are more prevalent in these places (and at certain times of the year), there are never any guarantees when it comes to mother nature.

The resort dive centre, Dive Oceanus, keeps and publishes detailed data on whale shark sightings (see above) which can also help to focus one’s holiday timing and planning for the highest incidence and probability as well.

I have to confess that Lori and I were tinged with a touch of disappointment when our whale shark excursion this summer came up empty. Most South Ari resorts offer such excursions, but on specific days. If you really are obsessed with sighting one and want the highest odds possible, then Holiday Island (also located within the Dhidhdhoo Marine Sanctuary) offers daily excursions. They will even add extra trips for people if they request it. It might mean a lot of event-less boat rides for your holiday. But at least you will have given the effort you all. And the beautiful Maldives seascape makes for dazzling scenery as a consolation prize.

Best of the Maldives: Natural Frontage – Holiday Island

Holiday Island front



Could be dubbed ‘Best Curb Appeal’.

All of Holiday Island buildings have been kept sequestered behind bush so the beach looks completely natural. Walking along the beach, you could convince yourself that you were on your very own dessered island. The resort even had an instance of a guest convincing the boat transfer driver to take them to neighbouring Sun Island because they thought Holiday was uninhabited since they couldn’t see any buildings on it. Sun also has this aspect for large stretches, but a number of welcome and activity buildings belie the resort behind the greenery.  The picture above is indeed the front of Holiday Island.

Eau naturel.

Maldives Tour 2012 – Day 11: Holiday Island

Holiday Island tour 3

Old school charm.

So many decry the onslaught of the billionaire playground super-premium marque resorts into the Maldives. The Maldives veterans miss the days of straight forward thatched roof bungalows in the middle of paradise without a lot of fuss. Especially, if that fuss is going to drive the price up to prohibitive levels. Holiday Island has not gotten caught up with the latest trends in drench showers, over water spas and nouvelle cuisine restaurants. Most importantly, they remain part of the endangered species of resorts where you can get a week full board for under £1000. Many of the super premiums charge that per night.

They also have set all of the villas and infrastructure behind natural greenery which means that from the beach or off-shore, the island looks like an undeveloped deserted island. The only hint of human activity is the boat jetty. As a result, walking around the island (a nightly sundown ritual for our family) or lounging on the beach provides a 100% natural vista.

While I was visiting Sun Island, it seemed a shame not to drop in on Sun’s commercial and geographical sibling. I found that nostalgia and budget isn’t the only reason to consider Holiday Island. As with all of the Villa resorts, they have a resplendent Araamu Spa which sprawls across nearly an acre with big outdoor treatment areas and decorated with some of the most elaborate fountain-work in the Maldives. They also have not one but 2 golf simulators.