Best of the Maldives: Resort Airport – Kooddoo

In many places, being “close to the airport” is seen as a negative. The new Mercure Maldives Kooddoo actually boast its aeronautical geography with its press releases announcing: “Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort is the first ever water villa resort built on an airport island in Maldives.”

Kooddoo is an airports like Heathrow with jumbo jets roaring in and rattling the rafters every 30 seconds. Instead it gets one or two flights a day from relatively small planes. The infrequency makes it more of an event than a disturbance (“De plane, de plane!” – Tatoo, Fantasy Island). On the positive side, it makes for an incredibly convenient outside-Kaafu transfer. For most distant resorts, you can either take a seaplane that will land at your resort but many consider very loud inside and too small and cramped for some people’s liking (not to mention expensive). Or you can take small jet planes to an increasing number of mini-airports around the country, but then you still have one more transfer by speedboat to finally get to your resort. At Kooddoo, you have the comfort and cost-savings of a conventional flight and when you touch down, you are just a short buggy ride to your villa.

Kooddoo - airport island

Plane Sailing

A post shared by DAYANE MELLO (@dayanemelloreal) on

National Aviation Day and National Photo Day today. Sooooo…photos of aviation are in order methinks. And the Maldives fashionistas are more than ready to oblige. 35 for each of the years RAF Gan operated as an airstrip…

  1. Dayane Mello (Brazil) – Palm Beach [ABOVE]
  2. Gia Johnson-Singh (United Kingdom) – Gili LankanfushiGia Johnson-Singh (United Kingdom) – Gili Lankanfushi
        
  3. Adriana Larina (Philippines) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Adriana Larina (Philippines) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
      
  4. Lindsey van der Hoeven (Netherlands) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Lindsey van der Hoeven (Netherlands) - Sun Siyam Irufushi
      
  5. Camila Storchi (Brazil) – Sun Island
    Camila Storchi (Brazil) - Sun Island 4
      
  6. Viviane Marissa Francesca (Netherlands) – Veligandu
    Viviane Marissa Francesca (Netherlands) - Veligandu
       
  7. Lena Titok (Russia) – LUX South Ari Atoll
    Lena Titok (Russia) - LUX South Ari Atoll
        
  8. Lea Rostain (France)
    Lea Rostain (France)

       
  9. Luiza Toma (USA) – LUX South Ari Atoll
    Luiza Toma (USA) - LUX South Ari Atoll
      
  10. Mariaelena (Italy) – Palm Beach
    Mariaelena (Italy) - Palm Beach
      
  11. Tania Carvalho (United Kingdom) – Veligandu
    Tania Carvalho (United Kingdom) - Veligandu
      
  12. Irina (Germany) – Atmosphere Kanifushi
    Irina (Germany) - Atmosphere Kanifushi
      
  13. Chloe Kahn (United Kingdom) – Dusit Thani
    Chloe Kahn (United Kingdom) - Dusit Thani
      
  14. Dashama (USA) – Angsana Velavaru
    Dashama (USA) - Angsana Velavaru 2
      
  15. Pichamon N. (Thailand) – Club Med Kani
    Pichamon N. (Thailand) - Club Med Kani
       
  16. Marissa Hempe (Germany) – Club Med Finolhu Villas
    Marissa Hempe (Germany) - Club Med Finolhu Villas
        
  17. Urvi Shetty (India) – Sun Island
    Urvi Shetty (India) - Sun Island
      
  18. Angelina Yao (Hong Kong) – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
    Angelina Yao (Hong Kong) - Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
      
  19. Alina Korennaya (Ukraine) – JA Manafaru
    Alina Korennaya (Ukraine) - JA Manafaru
          
  20. Pepo Kiittikran (Thailand) – NIYAMA
    Pepo Kiittikran (Thailand) - NIYAMA
      
  21. Silvia Caruso (Italy) – Conrad Rangali
    Silvia Caruso (Italy) - Conrad Rangali
      
  22. Kuredu
    Kuredu - seaplane

      

  23. Rocky Barnes (USA) – Palm Beach
    Rocky Barnes (USA) – Palm Beach
      
  24. Mary Muravieva (Russia) – Meedhupparu
    Mary Muravieva (Russia) – Meedhupparu
      
  25. Violin Julia (Rusia) – Meedhupparu
    Violin Julia (Rusia) – Meedhupparu
      
  26. Victoria S. (Russia) Meedhupparu
    Victoria S (Russia) Meedhupparu
      
  27. Twinkle Mukherjee (India) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Twinkle Mukherjee (India) - Sun Siyam Irufushi
      
  28. Faya Nillson (Sweden) – W Retreat
    Faya Nillson (Sweden) – W Retreat
      
  29. Vladislava Shvets (Ukraine) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Vladislava Shvets (Ukraine) - Sun Siyam Irufushi
      
  30. Helen Owen (USA) – Dusit Thani
    Helen Owen (USA) – Dusit Thani
      
  31. Pamela Reif (Germany) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Pamela Reif (Germany) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
      
  32. Jessica Van Der Steen (Belgium) – LUX South Ari Atoll
    Jessica Van Der Steen (Belgium) – LUX South Ari Atoll
      
  33. Kristine Purvinska (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
    Kristine Purvinska (Russia) – Sun Siyam Irufushi
      
  34. Roxy Louw (South Africa) – Chaaya Island Dhonveli
    Roxy Louw (South Africa) – Chaaya Island Dhonveli

      
  35. LUX South Ari Atoll
    LUX Maldives - group

Best of the Maldives: Rickshaw – Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa

Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa - rickshaw

You don’t need industrial grade, high-tech equipment to see the aquatic sights of the Maldives. The simplest and most ancient of transports can provide a romantic ride through the panorama of paradise. Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa offers rickshaw rides for $30 USD per couple for a tour around the resort beach and its massive jetty.

Best of the Maldives Online: Ferry Transfers – Wild Maldives

Wild Maldives - ferry transfer schedule

From the high ways of water usage to the water used as highways. Maldives Complete does focus on resorts (as opposed to guest houses or general destination information like inhabited islands), but I am also trying to assemble a collection of top online links for guests to this paradise. One of my original motivations for setting up Maldives Complete was my disenchantment with the quality of websites about the Maldives. Too many sites provides a thin veneer of weak, pedestrian and dated information as a lure to get you to buy expensive holidays through them. But on Maldives Complete, the “Online” tag provides a compilation of the most useful sites.

I came upon this Wild Maldives site with ferry schedules in the Maldives TripAdvisor Forum. They describe themselves as…

  • “Development and promotion of budget travel to the Maldives.   From $50/night. Beach holidays, scuba diving, exotic fishing, adventure trips, transfers. Wild Maldives aims to develop and promote budget travel in the Republic of Maldives. We link travellers directly with the local service providers – guest houses, restaurants, speedboat operators, diving schools, guides, and many more. Ideal for the self-sufficient travellers, who don’t want to overpay for services they can easily attain by themselves through the internet, yet would appreciate a helping hand during their trip to an unknown faraway land.”

What I really appreciated was their interactive ferry schedule. The route calculation form provides a parameter driven filter engine that then displays the route options graphically on a Google Map. Two of my favourite web components – database interrogation and GIS (geographical information system).

I have taken a ferry a few times for some of my more obscure tour detours. For DIY and budget travellers, they would be a necessity for getting around. I’m not sure if there is some way to forge a cheaper price tag to your resort holiday with them. Everyone gets apprehensive about spending $200-300 for a seaplane transfer, but I had a boat transfer to Cocoa Island that cost me $500 (!) and the private transfer from Kurumba to Male (8 minutes) costs $80 (although they do offer cheaper alternatives). So maybe a leisurely and notably less luxurious ferry ride might just be a useful cost saver for some itineraries (though, in reality, nearly all resorts provide speedboat transfers free of charge, and if you are paying thousands for your week stay a few hundred will likely not be a big concern).

Best of the Maldives Online: Points Travel – The Points Guy

Maldives frequent flyer travel

If you are pinching your pennies for a luxury yacht cruise, then you might want to check out The Points Guy’s comprehensive post on flying to the Maldives on frequent flyer points. While the piece is USA-centric, it still has lots of rich, detailed information that any world traveller looking to spend points could use (as most major carriers serve the USA, but the points required from, say, a closer embarkation would likely be different)…

  • The Best Ways to Get to the Maldives on Points and Miles. Not too long ago, it seemed like the Maldives was one of the most remote spots on earth; an island paradise reserved for honeymooners or empty-nesters on the trip of a lifetime. In recent years, though, the island nation has seen a veritable flurry of flight options materialize as more airlines like the ME3 — Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways — as well as Chinese and other Asian carriers have expanded their route networks to include Malé (MLE).”

The piece’s comprehensiveness, analysis, and completeness is a website after my own heart. The outline of the post is…

  • Maldives Basics
  • Airlines That Fly to Malé
  • Mileage Table
  • Airline and Mileage Options
  • Bottom Line (summarised in the paragraph quoted above)

Best of the Maldives: Private Buggy – One & Only Reethi Rah

One and Only Reethi Rah buggy rank 2

If you want to take to the wheel, One and Only Reethi Rah offers buggies for their guests to drive themselves. They are available for rental (except for Grand Villa and Duplex guests which include a villa buggy free of charge). Of course, you can still opt for the chauffeured service on call. And when you pull up to their main restaurant, no worries about parking as they provide their own “Valet Parking” service (see below).

One and Only Reethi Rah buggy rank

Best of the Maldives: Buggy Stop – Canareef

Canareef - buggy stop

While the main jetty is often the focal point of to-ing and fro-ing, the biggest islands like Canareef (well, one of the longest), also lay on ground shuttles with little electric buggies to ferry people across the property itself. You can call them when you need them, but depending on how busy and far away they are, they might take a few minutes to reach you. Rather than expending any energy standing in the tropical sun, Canareef has constructed a number of sheltered buggy stops at its prime spots (eg. restaurants, spa).

Best of the Maldives: Jetty Shuttle – Athuruga / Thudufushi

Athuruga - Thudufushi - jetty shuttle

Today is the biggest travel day of the year in America – the day before the Thanksgiving holiday. Not all Americans trek “home” (parents’ house) for Christmas (especially if they have young children of their own waiting for Santa at their own house), but nearly everyone makes the effort for Thanksgiving. Hence the “Homecoming” tradition of “Homecoming Game” and “Homecoming Queen” (all part of the day as the town converges on the local high school football game in the morning to see old friends while, typically, Mom is home preparing the feast).

The mayhem of families scattered across a continent was immortalised in the comedy film “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”. In the Maldives, transport is more of a planes, boats and buggies affair. When the buggy shuttle pulls up, you know you are just about at your new home in paradise. Mind you, these buggies often only go a few hundred yards, but when the Maldives laziness sets in, then any physical activity can seem daunting.

Many resorts offer shuttles on call for covering significant distances, but sometimes you do have to wait for them to arrive. Many times you can just call from the room or restaurant and linger placidly waiting for your chauffeured ride. But Athuruga and Thudufusi have a dedicated water villa jetty shuttle always at the ready to lighten you load to and from your water villa. The silent electric buggy just zips people back and forth along the quite long jetty (the resort water villas are spread out quite a bit more than typical). But instead of facing an 100 metre trek along the jetty to your door, the shuttle will zip over to pick you up as soon as he spots you emerging from your door or stepping onto the jetty.

Best of the Maldives: Segway – Hideaway Beach

Hideaway Beach - segway

All proper blokes like a good gadget. And this weekend brought the return of Clarkson and gang to our screen with the successor to the now toppled Top Gear – Grand Tour (from “TG” to “GT”). The GT trio have made a career out of careening around on all sorts of things on wheels including the Segway. In fact, Clarkson rides one in his advert for the new service which hosts his show (see below).

If you too want to get your gear gadgetry going, then Hideaway Beach offers Segway tours of the resort. The prices are – 30 Minutes ($30), 60 Minutes ($50), 4 Hours ($150), 8 Hours ($200.00)

And on that bombshell for bombing around the resort…

Best of the Maldives: Resort Shuttle – Club Med

Club Med Kani and Finolhu Villas - shuttle

All the resorts will offer transfer from the airport to their hotels. And some hotels offer trips to sister resorts. But Club Med provides a regular, scheduled boat shuttle between its Club Med Kani and Club Med Finolhu Villas properties (departing about every 90 minutes from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm on about a 10 minute journey).

The courtesy gives guests the best of both worlds between two quite different properties. All the expansive facilities of the Kani are available free of charge to all Finolhu guests as a courtesy. Kani guests can also get guest passes to visit Finolhu.