One of Planet Earth’s Natural Wonders
What the Maldives offers is rare in the world and getting rarer. It is pristine with its gin clear turquoise water, azure skies, caster-sugar white sand of the softest talcum powder & palm trees stretching proudly atop each perfect tropical island.
With a lifelong love of the ocean & travel I have been blessed to experience many an exotic island hideaway with beautiful beaches. However, I was yet to discover the perfect tropical island of my childhood drawings of high white sand beaches with palms atop – until my visit to the Maldives. Close to Mother Nature with sun, sea & sand to play in, fruit & fish galore to eat & sparkling people to meet. The cherry on the top is that each island is surrounded by the most stupendous coral reefs with every imaginable colour of tropical fish waiting to be marvelled at.
The four islands we visited were each luxurious, unique & enchanting in their own style. Each island boasts turquoise wavelets lapping caster sugar white sand beaches, ‘House Reef’, tropical skies and the harmonious rustle of palms. Each island provides endless cold towels, fruit cocktails and a charming guided tour on arrival. Each has huge beds, air-conditioning & bathrooms al fresco. Each has its own Dive & Water Sports Centre & Spa. However, the degrees of luxury & atmosphere are very different on each paradise island.
Kuredu Island Resort
Our first stop was Kuredu following a wonderful 40 minute sea plane taxi ride North from Male, looking down on the submerged ring reefs, islands and lagoons. The Indian Ocean twinkling every describable shade of blue, a tie-die fabric stretched to the horizon.
Our first glimpses of Kuredu perched atop Lhaviyani Atoll with far reaching ocean for as far as the eye could see. A warm welcome from barefoot staff and we are ushered to the buzz of the main bar under a series of giant thatched canopies, coral clad walls and sand floors – barefoot paradise!
Kuredu is the second largest island and is split into three quite separate resorts. Sangu Resort is for romantic tranquillity with a traditional Maldivian touch and ‘O’ Resort for tranquillity with a modern touch of luxury and style and perfect for honeymooners, with the main area great for families who want either a quiet or an action packed holiday with lots of sport. In addition to all the water sports Kuredu boasts a full-size football pitch & a golf course!
Duniye Spa and a ‘Sole to Soul His & Hers’ massage.
For more information about a stay at Kuredu Island Resort call World Odyssey T: 01905 731373
Baros is a 20 minute ride in a luxury speedboat from Male complete with icy cold towels, drinks and enchanting introductory speech by our Maldivian Boat Butler. As we approached the perfect tiny island paradise of high white sand beaches and dense tropical rainforest a welcome party awaited us whereby we were escorted to the luxurious bar area with contemporary chic furnishings with perfectly groomed sand floor. Baros is small, intimate, hushed and exclusive with no general swimming pool to encourage a feeling of sanctuary & solace – barefoot luxury chic paradise!
Pool Villa for those requiring fresh water swimming in private. The Residence with private Butler for complete privacy, Baros’s House Reef is pristine & ever improving thanks to the resident Marine Biologist who is busy replanting damaged or broken corals. Snorkelling around the island is a highlight due to the resident turtles, reef shark & shoal of Eagle Rays all of which were quite happy for eager snorkelers to accompany them on their patrols!
The food is gourmet Maldivian & some of the finest dining possible. The three main dining areas are arranged over the water to maximise the feeling of privacy & space. As the majority of guests are couples many people take advantage of the opportunity to dine in private on their own stretch of beach with a romantic candle-lit table laid for two. We enjoyed a three course breakfast this way complete with champagne & purple orchids in a vase!
On the second night we experienced the uniqueness of staying in a Water Villa. The thrill & joy of being surrounded by ocean were sensational & the luxury of the villa unimaginable.
The resident yogi offers one to one sessions either in the privacy of the Spa’s studio, your villa or in various spectacular seafront locations around the island.
Velassaru is the sister island to Baros and again approached by speedboat to a picturesque thatched-roofed jetty. Velassaru is a much larger island without the intimacy and minute attention to luxury displayed by Baros.
It has its own charm with long stretches of pristine beaches & a fabulous infinity pool attracting families with young children. The jetty provides a hub of activity with boats coming & going, jet skis & speed boats towing inflatable rafts. Barefoot glamour!
A sea plane transfer South this time again with spectacular views over mesmerisingly beautiful atolls. We landed seemingly in the middle of the open ocean with barely an island in view, and only the two of us off-loaded onto a tiny bobbing jetty with a small wooden sign announcing ‘Filitheyo International Airport’ but the island beyond looked uninhabited – from this distance all that could be seen were high white beaches and tropical canopy – not a building in sight! The gentle buzz of a Dhoni’s engine announced our rescue, heralding the essence of this island – relaxed & laid-back.
No pomp & ceremony or pretentions – simple rustic charms & the pure natural beauty of the Maldives in all its glory. No cold towels or grand tour this time! A simple map & cheery wave in the direction of our Beach Villa, past a tiny Maldivian lady gently sweeping the sand with a handful of sticks, (not a plastic rake in sight) & off we amble through the ancient palms & a tropical paradise to our enchanting villa with the lapping ocean waves a few paces away. Barefoot rustic! (as long as you don’t mind standing on a hermit crab or two & stubbing your toe on a stray jungle root!). Dress code: bikini & sarong!
Filitheyo attracts many divers due to the superior reef in this part of the archipelago. Filitheyo’s ‘House Reef’ wraps around the island like an bejewelled cape.
The reef is extensive, spectacular & pristine with a plethora of fish of every shape, colour and size. Eight entry points have been marked where snorkelers & divers can safely enter & exit the reef without damaging themselves or the coral. To explore from marker one and finish at number eight takes approximately two hours and makes for an exciting adventure as different species present themselves on each outing.
The reef wall drops off the island into the deep blue beyond and clustered to this wall a coral Garden of Eden is home to every describable Damsel, Wrasse, Angel & Butterfly fish. Blue Surgeonfish dodge the Parrotfish & Clownfish nestle between the tentacles of it’s swaying soft coral home. On each of our snorkelling sorties a posse of Curious Pipefish lead the way with Spotted Unicorn almost bumping into the glass of our masks with their long snouts. Suddenly a shoal of a hundred or more Blue Triggerfish appear gliding so close their tiny red fangs almost touch the glass. In the deep against a backdrop of navy blue a tapestry of Moorish Idol remain suspended as if on fine threads from the surface.
Out of the blue Eagle Rays cruise the wall closely followed by a Grey Reef Shark. A Giant Black Moray Eel rises up from the folds of his coral den baring his jaws menacingly. We take a wide sweep to avoid an over-sized Titan Trigger Fish which has been known to deliver a generous bite if feeling territorial & discover a shy Lion Fish hiding in his cave. Yesterday we watched a turtle foraging for a morsel he was so determined to retrieve he used his front flippers to dig & his beak to bite at the coral hidey-hole of his prey. Eventually he surfaced for three big gulps of air & then remained motionless eyeballing me, seemingly as intrigued by me as I him.
Chilling under palms outside our villa on sun loungers it is high-tide and the sand spit beyond the reef has disappeared from view. Thousands of tiny glittering fish shimmer across the surface like a fan of diamonds chased by larger dark fish skimming the surface. Wavelets of shining, peaked, whipped egg whites chase the caster sugar sand glittering in the sunlight & then spills up sinking our loungers deep into the sand & sending the scuttling hermit crabs into their shells. The coconut man is doing his rounds bringing fresh coconut milk to sunbathers . His strong rough hands working his machete as he deftly chops the husk top & bottom for guests to drink straight from the fruit.
Like all Maldivian food Filitheyo’s is top notch. Exquisite curry’s, exotic salads, delicious sea-food – all freshly prepared & mostly cooked to your exact taste before your eyes. For breakfast all manner of fish on offer together with a large variety of tropical fruit.
We are already planning our return to the paradise isles of the Maldives to get up close and personal once again with nature in her purest form.
This is a definite must experience several times in a lifetime destination & as they say ‘life’s no dress rehearsal’!