Turn on those lights! The starting pistol to American Christmas season might be ‘Black Friday’, but in the UK it is tonight’s ceremonial lighting of Oxford Street, the biggest shopping street in London.
The closest equivalent to Oxford Street in the Maldives is the Manhattan-inspired ’Fifth Avenue’ straight through the middle of Kanuhura island. Extended by jetties to the water villas and the welcome jetty on either side, the boulevard stretches for over 400 metres. It makes for a dramatic vista. But perhaps even more enticing for the plastic-toting visitors are the posh shops that line it in the centre that inspire its name. They even have their very own private label fashion. If you can’t get there before Christmas, at least you can take a 360 degree virtual tour here to get in the shopping spirit.
For moving around beyond the water’s edge, most resorts have buggies for helping to move baggage and helping guests, but can also be very useful transport for disabled and mobility challenged. Nonetheless, sometimes disabled people prefer to get around on their own devices whether it is a wheelchair, crutches, walking stick or other mode of movement. They can be independent and enjoy soaking up the surroundings as they make their way around the resort with a bit more intimacy than a buggy escort. For those seeking such a handicapped accessible resort, the Kurumba is real designed literally from the ground up to support such guests…
- Paved Walkways – Kurumba has an extensive paved walkway (see photo above) which connects every part of the island. While this feature might be a turn off for those who prefer the more natural, sand-in-the-toes lay of the land, it is a great benefit to anyone handicapped who had to negotiate around the tropical island. Furthermore, every place we saw, the walkway nicely joined the main structures and buildings with ramping. (These walkways might also come in handy for fashionistas who insist on wearing high heels around a resort which might be considered its own form of perverse handicap).
- Available Carts – Kurumba also has several electric golf carts which people can call on for transport from place to place on the resort if needed (though most able-bodied people rarely use them since the island is only medium sized).
- Proximity to Male – The proximity to Male is one final benefit for people whose handicaps derive from elderly age. It reduced further travel time for those who have already endured a long haul flight. Also, being close to Male means being close to the country’s largest medical facility. This consideration may be of particular interest to elderly concerned about venturing too far out into such a remote destination.
Kurumba even produced a Kurumba Guide for Disabled Persons to further assist guests with various mobility and other challenges which outlines its whole range of support.
I posted this suggestion to TA a while back and got the following endorsement from Trip Advisor Destination Expert nefertari2Uk…
“Agree with Bruce, Kurumba is excellent for wheelchairs as there are concrete paths all around, ramps as well large showers in some room categories where you can even take your wheelchair if necessary. Some of the rooms have small steps but the carpenters also put ramps up as well. Definitely one of the best for wheelchairs in my opinion and although not your typical Maldivian island, the service is excellent as is the food and service.”
As it happens, on my recent visit, I met a ‘wheelie’ staying at Kurumba, Mitzy Wells and got to speak to her about her experience. Mitzy uses a wheelchair since and accident a year ago and found Kurumba very accommodating. She is mobile with a walking stick, but gets tired readily especially on the hot days. She applauded not only the high number of ramps and pervasive paved pathways, but the extra efforts of Kurumba. They had a ramp at the ready for her bungalow (see photo below). They didn’t just shift it into place, but they actually nailed it in secure for the duration of her stay. She did note that the paved pathways had cambered edges which a wheelchair user needs to watch out for because getting a wheel too close to the edge can precipitate a spill. But overall she was delighted to be a Kurumba.
When it comes to Club Med Kani, it is not all go, go, go. But even if relaxing on the beach under the shade of a palm tree is your thing, then Kani does that ‘big’ too.
Palm vistas surround the island, but beach side is the most dramatic and about a half kilometre in length. Facing out onto the lagoon, they were planted years ago in striking, neat rows by the previous resident. Forget the thatches umbrellas peppering most resort beaches, this boulevard of palm provides the living, natural, towering shade for as far as the eye can see.