Arrival to Paradise
Maldives is a paradise. We can’t think of a better word to describe the collection of sparkling islands. The lush, tropical forests, the crystal clear waters, and the absolute sense of peace and tranquility. You can take your pick as to why the holiday destination is top of the bucket list for many travel enthusiasts.
Travel was just a pipe dream last year. But 2021 brought an irresistible opportunity to explore the pristine islands that dot the Indian Ocean. The experience made us realise just how fortunate we were to be able to leave all of the stress and frustration of the lockdown behind, if only for a few days, and indulge in complete luxury.
We decided to stay at two premier island resorts – Velassaru and Kuramathi. Here is our personal experience of the two resorts:
Velassaru – A Pearl Of The Ocean
To be honest, we were excited about the stay at Velassaru even before the trip began. Just looking at the images of the resort, you begin to feel the magic of the place, just like a pearl in the ocean. When we arrived at the resort, it even exceeded our expectations.
You got a sense of the warm hospitality in store right when you step off your flight. Our airport pickup was ready and waiting; within 20 minutes, we were in our Watervilla residence, dipping our feet in the cool blue waters of the Indian Ocean. The quick, no waiting, stress-free transfer made us feel as if we were plucked from the sky and placed in the ocean.
Talking of the ocean, the gentle lull of the waves drains all your restless energy, and bestows a sense of calm relaxation. We couldn’t help but feel one with the surroundings, with the life energy that flowed around us.
A tranquil walk along the white beach gives you a front-seat view of the throbbing pool of fishes that sprinkle the blue waters with rainbow colours. If you wish, you can take a break from the walk. Settle into a comfortable lounge chair to take in the breathtaking natural splendour that stretches in front of you.
The Food at Velassaru
After taking in all of the natural beauty around us, the next adventure was waiting for us in Velassaru – the food.
Now Maldives may not be known as a foodie destination, but the incredibly diverse fare available will have you believe otherwise.
We had the privilege of tasting a handpicked selection of fresh catch fish, succulent poultry, and fresh veggies from the resort’s aptly named Sand Restaurant. If the Lobster Brisque carries the taste of the ocean, the Maldivian Chicken Curry is rich with local flavours that take your taste buds on a trip. Then there is the Lava Cake that simply melts in your mouth. It is actually one of the best we have ever tried.
If you are more of a bar person, Velassaru will not disappoint you either. Along the beach, you will find a collection of palm-covered bars where you can sit down, take a sip of your favourite drink, and just relax, with the crystal waters in the background.
The Rooms at Velassaru
We had the privilige of staying in one of the over-water villas. When we first walked into the villa, our jaws dropped due to the comfort of the place and the beauty of the blue of the atoll. The villas are very spacious with a big sleeping room, a walkable wardrobe and a bathroom with a bath tub facing the ocean. However, our personal highlight is the terrace with lounge chairs and direct water access. There are many fishes surrounding the villa which can be seen from above and below the water!
The Spa at Velassaru
Relaxation is always just a step away at the ocean-kissed resort. You can indulge in pure bliss at the spa, or enjoy the free yoga sessions held at the beach. Particularly, the design of the Spa with the pool above the crystal-clear, blue water is unique. We can totally recommend to do a treatment and to chill afterwards in the cool and stylish relaxation room and dip in the pool.
Sustainability at Velassaru
Velassaru has implemented various environmental initiatives. First of all, there are no more plastic straws on the island. Secondly, all plastic bottles have been replaced by re-usable glass bottles which are filled from the seawater filtration system. The system uses the Reverse Osmosis Desalination process to supply the island with fresh water. Furthermore, all greywater is re-used as well. Thirdly, there is a recycling facility which recycles different kind of materials (such as glass, bio-waste etc.) and transforms it into new raw material such as compost or mulch. Lastly, there is also an initiative to maintain the corals and clean the lagoon.
In conclusion, Velassaru encapsulates the very best of an island destination. There are secluded villas deep in the lush forest, beach villas that dot the oceanfront, and watervillas suspended in the gentle waves.
We left the resort with some unforgettable memories, but also with a heavy heart.
The next stop on our travels was a resort where one can forget not only the world, but time itself.
Kuramathi – The Idyllic Getaway
Kuramathi is all nature and all idyllic. A world unto itself. The island resort offers perhaps an undiluted version of the Maldives, removed from blasé commercialisation. We say this because the only road on the island is built of sand. The rest has been left as untouched as possible, making for a unique and exhilarating travel adventure.
Now we have mentioned before that Maldives doesn’t have a reputation as a foodie destination. Maybe it is time to reconsidered that.
When you dine at the resort’s Palm Restaurant, you will feel like you are in the heart of Italy. There is e.g. salmon tartar, pizza and rustico pesto pasta. And to top it off, there is the Tropical Crazy ice cream. It brings your taste buds back to the lush, tropical island.
The other highlights of the food experience on Kuramathi include tempting pastries and delicious bread. The aroma of the freshly baked dough lingers in the air, along with other tropical scents, filling all your senses.
The Rooms at Kuramathi
At Kuramathi, we stayed at a pool villa which overlooks the beach and the blue sea. The interior is modern-stylish with generous space and the house even offers an outdoor shower. The pool is perfect to relax and look over the bay. Our highlight were the little reef sharks which passed every half an hour directly at the beach. Furthermore, the terrace is a perfect spot to watch the dreamy sunsets.
The Activities at Kuramathi
The setting of Kuramathi may be in pure nature, but there are a lot of activities for you to get excited about. Top of the list is snorkelling.
When you dive into the clear blue water, the diverse, colourful underwater life offers a mesmerising sight. Reef sharks, sting rays, octopus, moray eels, clown fish, all stop by and say hello. The pristine coral reefs will leave an imprint on your memory with their grandeur. Any fear you may have of water or diving will be easily removed with the expert instructors who guide you.
If you love long walks by the beach, the resort offers 1.6 miles of a white sandbank during low tide that stretches off into the horizon. For the more energetic, the island is dotted with pools, houses a fully functional gym, and offers many sporting activities that you can sign up for. We spent most of the time snorkelling and swimming in the open ocean.
The all natural Kuramathi offers an unaltered experience of Maldives with some stunning views of the ocean. We were privileged to stay at a poolside villa that opened to the crystal blue waters.
Perhaps the hardest thing we have done was to leave the lush tropical paradise and get back to the routine of daily life. But we have brought along memories that will last a lifetime.
If you are interested in more island paradises around Asia, please check our Sudamala Resort Blog Post