Best of the Maldives: Sandcastles – Kuredu

Kuredu sandcastle 1

If you need a visit from Mr. Sandman, then Kuredu has its very own. But he has nothing to do with sleeping. Unless it is a sculpture of a sleeping lady with a horse (?) like the photo above. A whole collection of sand scuptures were created on Kuredu by on of their chefs at the Far East restaurant named Dej. His other works (which you can see on Kuredu’s Facebook gallery) include

The executions are not just masterful, but the subjects are creative concoctions in their own right. The pieces reminded me of my younger days growing up by the beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts which held celebrated annual sand castle making contest. Below is a snap from the Lori and I assistned our artist friends George Karalias and Peter Manos put together a team to build the climactic scene from the ‘Grinch That Stole Christmas’.

Crane sandcastle 3

Best of Maldives Online – Facebook Input: Kuredu

Kuredu Facebook

   

  

  

It’s all about the conversation.

That’s the conventional wisdom on social media. It’s all very well and good to put up your blog, Facebook page/group, and Twitter feed, but if no one engages, then you’ve sort of missed the point. The real acid test for successful social media is the ‘social’ bit. To what degree do people get involved with what you have to say? In blogs, it’s commenting and trackbacking. With Twitter, it’s Retweets and Replies. On Facebook, it’s wall posts and comments.

As such, when I was reviewing all of the Maldives resort Facebook pages, I decided to make note of the amount of non-resort comments and posts the page/group got. As I noted in my original post, the Maldives resorts average about one comment/post per day. But, the variation within that average is immense from some who get hardly anything to those like Kuredu who are a non-stop buzz.

Actually, for the period that I tallied (the month of January), Kuredu was the one resort where I simply had trouble counting all of the comments and posts, but I estimate that they we over 1,000! The next closest was Meeru with 213.

It wasn’t just the Wall activity either. As noted in yesterday’s post in Photos, Kuredu had held the runner up position for album contributions with 2,629 snaps. All of this online social activity is possibly an extension of their very strong ‘Forum’.

And not a single cat video nor motivational poster to be seen.

Best of the Maldives: Pedalo – Kuredu

Kuredu pedalo

Photo courtesy of DJ Stotty.

At Kuredu’s sporty island, even the leisure boating will get you skinny.

The Maldives don’t have many resorts for a long run or bike ride (outside Gan), but there is boundless ocean. Not your English seaside, tired old pedalo but the Cadillac of puddle pedalling with a broad white canopy. They rent for $20 for 1 hour or $35 for 2 hours.

Spinning with the spinner dolphins

Best of the Maldives: Longest Shoreline – Kuredu

Shorelines Edwin Lynn

 

Happy Birthday Dad.

Today is my father, Edwin Lynn’s, birthday. And probably his best present is his recently published book ‘Shorelines’. It’s a present for himself to see this distillation of a life’s work of insight and reflection come to reality. It is also a present to everyone who is inspired by the ocean and draws wisdom and serenity from it. As such, it seemed to be just right for the Maldives.

I grew up in a seaside town north of Boston, Massachusetts called Ipswich. It features one of the longest and finest beaches in the northeast USA…Crane Beach. It was there that my Dad would regularly brave the cold and sleep deprivation to catch a sunrise over the ocean. On a couple of occasions I was enticed to join this ritual lured more by the promise of fresh Marty’s donuts at the end than the celestial spectacle.

My Dad always favoured seaside holidays and during them got even more opportunity to watch the sunrise (or set on western shores). My Dad even got the opportunity to visit the Maldives when we took my parents to Conrad Hilton Rangali in 2000 (see photo below). Of course, one of the great luxuries of the Maldives is that you can easily watch both sunrises and sunsets!

In honour of ‘Shorelines’ and the lengthy, white sand Crane Beach that inspired him, today’s ‘Best of Maldives’ is its Longest ‘Shoreline’ or really ‘Beach’. A number of islands have long shorelines, but they interrupted by structures or rocks or something else blocking the way. According to Maldives legendary guru, Adrian Neville, Kuredu is “still the longest beach and so fine”. This assertion is confirmed by the island size data in the Maldives Complete database.  Gan is a very long island, but the ‘resort’ beach is limited. Kuramathi and Palm Beach are also a longer islands, but the ‘beach’ is broken up by infrastructure and some inaccessible rock/coral croppings.

May your shorelines be as refreshing and inspiring as a Maldivian sunrise.

 

Edwin Lynn Conrad Rangali 2

 

Edwin Lynn Conrad Rangali 1

Best of the Maldives – Sports: Kuredu

Kuredu football pitch

 

Usually, Best of the Maldives has to focus in on quite particular if not peculiar features in order to justify calling them the ‘Best Of’ among such high quality offerings in the country. So calling Kuredu something as broad and bold as the ‘Best for Sports’ takes a bit of justification.

Yes, Kuredu, especially with it’s larger size, ticks all of the boxes for sports activities on offer with lots of courts, pitches and a fully stocked watersports centre. The pitches include a brand new, all weather pitch (see above) that would rival the best Mirihi has to offer.

And if there is one sport for which the Maldives is famous, it is diving. And Kuredu is one of the tops for that. Already distinguished for its best wreck dive and best turtle dive in all the Maldives.

And then there the one sport for which the Maldives is least famous. Or at least famous for its absence. Golf. The biggest thing that keeps prospective guests away from the Maldives is the lack of golf. And Kuredu has the dominance here with quite an extensive golf club. It’s not Augusta or St. Andrews, but it is enough to keep a golf addict from suffering withdrawals. Actually, several resorts have some form of golfing now, but Kuredu’s is the largest and most extensive.

Finally, there is a sporty atmosphere. It struck me and I commented on it in my initial tour post (viz. Darren and Allison). A lot of resorts have sports facilities, but frankly, many times they are there more for show and to tick a box give how little they are used. And who can blame the guests? Even the most driven, triathlon mega-athlete would be seduced into a soporific indolence by the intoxicating calm and tranquillity of the Maldives. But many Kuredu guest seem a bit immune to that environmental opiate (though those who choose can and do certainly recline comatose on the beautiful beaches if they opt). Every single pitch and court was in active use when I visited the island.

As a final word, our hearts go to all the staff and guests who suffered the tragedy of this week’s fatal accident on the island. Any such loss is terrible, but is made particularly jarring in contrast to such a lovely place and a lovely celebration the couple were enjoying.

Maldives Tour 2011 – Day 6: Kuredu

Kuredu Darren Hancock and Alison Sampson tennis

Welcome to Eden. Eden resort of the film ‘Couples Retreat’ that is. I wrote yesterday about the uncanny parallels between sister resorts Komandoo and Kuredu as depicted in the rom-com ‘Couples Retreat’. One of the plot lines of the film is that the guys on the ‘Couples Retreat’ island plot to find a way to get over to the ‘Eden resort’ where all the fun and excitement seems to be. Well, Lori and I finally made it over to ‘Eden Resort’ today. You sense it as soon as you arrive as the reception music changes from Komandoo’s gentle jazz (an inspired playlist actually) to Kuredu’s ‘house’ and ‘top 40 pop’.

And like the portrayal of the film, I would say Kuredu would be a top nominee for the ‘Best Looking Guests’. Lots of young and sporty folks like Darren Hancock and Alison Sampson playing tennis during my resort tour (see picture above). If the arty emos are off to Komandoo, then the ‘cool kids’ have congregated here. It’s not quite party central like Ibiza, but it is as lively and as busy a place as you’ll find in the Maldives.

Much of its energy comes from its unmatched array of sports. They exploit their size to offer the fullest range of activities including some of the top diving in the Maldives, a fine water sports centre, a brand new all-weather football pitch and the ringer…a golf club. All the facilities were in steady use during our stay in addition to a range of folk playing games on the beach and in the water.

And when you have worked out enough, the Duniyespa spas are truly first rate. My wife particularly raved about Tini (see below) who was able to relieve neck pain she has been suffering from despite various treatments. One of the best treatments my wife has ever had and she has had a fair few.

Kuredu is big enough that they have divided it into 3 areas each with its own reception, restaurants and atmosphere. The east side is the quiet side with no kids under 12, no water sports, no sea plane, etc.  While Komandoo felt smaller than its real size, Kuredu feels bigger. Kuredu is half the size of Kuramathi, but it feels bigger than Kuramathi. It has the closest thing to ‘roads’ this side of Gan. In fact, walkways are set aside as coconut-husk lined ‘sidewalks’.

Kuredu is a big resort. Big in size, big in offerings, big in energy, and big in personality.

 

Tini Duniyespa Kuredu

Best of the Maldives: Online Community – Kuredu

Kuredu Forum

 

While TripAdvisor is the granddaddy of the general travel community/forums, many resorts are setting up their own online communities on their websites just focused on their resorts. Some of these have scant posts and interactions (and one in particular falls afoul of poor attitude by the administrator), but one resort online community stands out as vibrant, easy to use and friendly – Kuredu.

Best of the Maldives: Golf – Kuredu

Kuredu Golf Course

In a part of the world where there is not enough space in one place to land a commercial airplane, you wouldn’t expect to find an activity known for vast expanses – golf. While The Beach House has a golf simulator, Kuredu has a full fledged executive 6-hole golf course.

The website describes…

Kuredu Golf Club is the first of its kind in the Maldives. The Golf course is located on the eastern portion of the Island, surrounded by natural forest and the noise of the ocean. There could be no where more peaceful for the game of golf.

The Golf Club boasts a full size driving range with the option of a shaded area and also hitting from the grass. A large putting green is also available to perfect the short game.

The golf course is a 6-hole Par 3 course with the average length of a hole being 55 yards. With some great characteristics on the golf course it proves to be a fun and ”sometimes” a challenging experience.

Our Head Pro, PGA qualified golf professional is available for tuition on all aspects of the game. All equipment is provided for rental free of charge from the Pro´s Shop, where all bookings can be made. Any teaching course can be set up to suit the individual or group.”

Kuredu Golf Course 2

Best of the Maldives: Wreck Dive – Kuredu

Skipjack II

Given the omnipresent reefs that literally define the Maldives and the shallows around them, it is no surprise that the Maldives are littered with ship wrecks for divers to explore. But the best locale has to be ‘The Shipyard’ off Kuredu in the Faadhippolhu Atoll. It has not one, but two wrecks at the site including the ‘Skipjack II’ which has sunk vertically so that its bow is sticking out about the top of the water (see above). It is located on the east side of Felivaru Kandu with a depth from 1 to 30 metres.

From Tim Godfrey’s book on diving in the Maldives ‘Dive Maldives’

“This ship was the mother ship for the Felivaru fish factory and spent some years permanently moored to the jetty at Felivaru. In 1985, it was decided that old Japanese ship was of no further use so it was stripped of anything of value and towed out to sea where it was to be scuttled. Kuredu Island Resort tried to purchase the ship for a new dive site, but the authorities decided against it. In the end, they got their shipwreck for no charge. While it was being towed out to sea, workers began cutting holes in the ship’s hull in preparation for sinking. However, the ship caught fire and because of the danger from chemicals and the fear of an explosion, it was cut loose…The second wreck was also in use at the fish factory and was scuttled at the same location. It too was in a vertical position until 1992 when a storm caused it to settle on the sea floor.”

The Shipyard

Best of the Maldives: Turtles – Kuredu

Kuredu Turtles

 

Snorkelling and diving in the Maldives spoils you for colourful scenery and sealife and one of the popular favourites are the sea turtle. Several resorts, like Filitheyo and Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, operate turtle hatcheries and nurseries.

We have always readily seen turtles while diving and snorkelling in the Maldives, so choosing a top spot for them would be difficult. But Microsoft colleague and fellow Maldives enthusiast Keith Miller reckons it has to be Kuredu. In particular, a dive site known as ‘Turtle Cave’ or ‘Turle Wall’ Keith estimates that on a bad day you see a dozen turtles and on a good day you can see as many as 40!