When you think of The Maldives, you imagine a truly special place with white sand surrounded by a turquoise and azure sea and a brilliant blue sky overhead. Well, Kuramathi provides all of this and more!!
We flew direct to Male by British Airways from Gatwick and decided it would be worth paying the extra for a sea plane transfer to Kuramathi after such a long journey. We feel it was the right decision. After a short bus ride from the Main Terminal, it was lovely to be able to wait for the plane in the cool, clean Kuramathi lounge while enjoying light refreshments and watching the seaplanes taking off and landing. The flight itself didn't take long and was very pleasant giving a great view of some of the other islands and atolls. We were somewhat confused when we all got off onto a pontoon in the middle of the sea but soon spotted a boat arriving to take us the short way to Kuramathi. At first this seemed odd as we wondered why it couldn't take us right into the island but once there we realised the water was too shallow and also that seaplanes landing and taking off close to the beaches would ruin their peaceful nature. The check in process was short,, efficient and simple, thanks to the brilliant idea of asking us to fill in our registration forms while waiting at the airport. We then handed these to the Kuoni Rep who sorted everything out while we sat enjoying a cooling towel and refreshing drink in the Lobby. One of the Island buggies or minibuses then took everyone to their rooms.
We stayed in a Beach Villa and have no complaints or regrets about our decision at all. The bedroom was spacious with a large, comfortable Kingsize bed, TV/DVD player (though we didn't even switch it on once, a record for us!!), minibar with soft drinks, a settee, large bathroom, outside shower (more about that later) and a front decking area with another couch and two day beds. They'd even thought of giving you your own tap by the steps to the villa to wash the sand off your feet. I'd read about the outside shower but couldn't imagine it at all and even began to panic a bit about being overlooked or it being little more than a hosepipe on a hook pouring out cold water! I needn't have worried! It was truly amazing and we both absolutely loved it! The walls are high enough to give complete privacy, the shower itself is very modern with a choice of two shower heads at different levels and the water is lovely and warm! Its a wonderful experience showering outside with a brilliant blue sky above and it becomes somewhat surreal at night when the moon is out, dark is closing in and fruit bats are flying to and fro overhead!! On a more practical note, it saves you emerging from the shower into a hot, steamy room. The Room Boy kept the room immaculate and came in twice a day to clean, replenish the mini-bar and turn the bed down. Our villa was just across a pathway to the beach and about 5 minutes walk to our restaurant and the bar so we thought it was in the perfect position.
We'd opted for Basic All Inclusive and were more than happy with this. Our allocated restaurant was Haruge. When we found out that you are allocated a restaurant, table and a waiter for your whole stay, we were a bit unsure that this was a good idea but we soon decided that it worked very well indeed! You never needed to decide in advance what time you wanted to eat or worry about a table being free and your waiter gets to know you and becomes more like a friend by the time you leave. We found our waiter, Shimal, to be exceptionally helpful, polite, efficient and a very informative source of all kinds of information about Kuramathi and The Maldives in general! The food itself was plentiful, varied and of a very good quality. There was a different theme to the Buffet each night so this meant a continual change of menu so you didn't get bored. We have found that many hotels struggle to provide tasty desserts, not so Kuramathi! As well as fruit, there were always delicious cakes and gateaux and, most unusually in our experience, they were able to make light, fluffy, tasty mousses unlike the tasteless, rubbery efforts we've been given elsewhere! We thought it a great idea to have people making fresh toasted sandwiches at lunchtime and the choice of filling was very wide indeed. The House Wine was extremely pleasant so we felt no desire to upgrade to Select All Inclusive. We'd decided beforehand that if we wanted to eat a la carte at any time, we'd just pay the extra for that particular meal (you get a 20% discount on the Menu prices if you're on Basic All Inclusive) but never felt the need to do so. Going to any of the a la carte restaurants also meant deciding and booking in advance and we prefer not having to think ahead like this when we're on holiday. Its definitely a good idea to go for some sort of All Inclusive package though as everything on the island is very expensive, which is understandable bearing in mind the transport etc costs involved. It means you can relax and enjoy the 62 different alcoholic cocktails on offer without having to worry about the cost!
The island itself is absolutely beautiful with pale sand beaches, tropical vegetation surrounded by a sea of varying shades of turquoise! We found it an ideal size - large enough not to get bored but small enough not to take too long to reach the other parts. We also found the shuttle very useful when we wanted to go to the other end of the island for sunset on the sandbar or stingray feeding. The colours were just so wonderful and intense.
There are several marked snorkelling channels but, as my husband isn't a strong swimmer, he decided to stick to the area along the shore on the opposite side of the island. This provided plenty to see as there were shoals of literally thousands of tiny fish and quite a few larger ones accompanied by Reef Sharks of up to about 6ft in length! These are completely harmless but its wonderful to be able to tell people on your return that you spent hours swimming a few centimetres away from sharks! Snorkelling equipment comes free as part fo the All Inclusive package.
My husband was a bit concerned initially that there were no sunshades on the beaches but we soon decided this was a good idea as it left them looking beautiful and there was plenty of natural shade to be found by the trees and bushes. There were always plenty of sunloungers and it was fairly easy to find a quiet spot away from other people. This did mean you had a bit further to walk to a bar for a drink if you wanted one, but this was easily solved by taking a few of the bottles of water or soft drinks from the mini bar with you. One of the amazing things about the resort is that, apart from at mealtimes and occasionally in the bars in the evening, the island never appeared busy providing a very relaxing atmosphere.
We thoroughly enjoyed the Sunset Cruise included in our package, although we didn't see any dolphins or a full sunset (why do clouds always appear from nowhere just as the sun almost reaches the horizon!). Having read other reviews we decided against the trip to the neighbouring island. Stingray feeding was great fun as was watching the crabs scurrying around on that particular beach! The evening entertainment was pleasant, low-key and relaxed.
We opted for the speedboat transfer for our return to Male Airport both to give us another experience and to cut down a little on costs. This too was great and in a very flash, expensive boat not just an ordinary speedboat. It was a lovely touch having some of the Kuramathi staff standing on the jetty waving goodbye to us until we were out of sight in spite of the fact it was only 6am! We think there's only one speedboat transfer per day and that's at 6am so if your flight isn't until the evening or late afternoon, its worth finding out if you can get a seaplane transfer later in the day as you wouldn't want to hang around Male Airport for hours as its quite small (although they are refurbishing it at present).
To summarise, yes, The Maldives are expensive but Kuramathi absolutely lives up to expectations and is definitely well worth the money. After thinking of this as a trip of a lifetime, we, like other reviewers, are planning on coming back and for longer next time! All the staff genuinely want you to have a special holiday and do everything they can to provide this so well done and thank you!. Everyone, guests and staff always has a smile on their face and its not surprising Kuramathi truly is Paradise!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Measuring 1.8 km long, this idyllic resort in North Ari Atoll is dotted with lush flora and fauna, turquoise lagoons and tapers into a pristine sandbank. Catering to all budgets, the choices for villas are many, and ranges from the simple yet stylish Garden Villas to the ever popular honeymooners' favourite over water choice, Water Villa with Jacuzzi. Early 2016, Kuramathi is set to extend the options with new villa categories that will features villas over water, several with private pool and also two bedroom houses suitable for families or friends travelling together. Savour exquisite recipes from over 10 restaurants catering to diverse taste buds. Imbibe tropical concoctions in 6 bars conveniently placed around the island, and they have the added plus of regular evening entertainment. Leave your worries behind, and choose our great-value all inclusive packages to enjoy the best that Kuramathi has to offer. The Basic All Inclusive includes a wide range of premium beverages while the Select All Inclusive is ideal if you wish to have a taste of Kuramathi at its best where you wine and dine at any restaurant of your choice. Rejuvenate, revitalize and beautify at Kuramathi Spa, with its blend of diverse therapies using signature product line Voya, which comes from Ireland and is made from hard-harvested organic seaweed. Dive with eagle rays, friendly sharks and explore world class dive sites. Become a certified sailor at the only Royal Yachting Association certified water sports school in the Maldives. Bond with your family at Bageecha Kids Club and let the children indulge in fun yet educational programs. Learn more about the thriving organisms both in and out of water at the multi award winning Eco Centre. There is simply something for everyone on an island that is naturally Maldives - Kuramathi Island Resort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kuramathi Island Hotel Kuramathi
- Village Hotel Kuramathi
- Kuramathi Village Hotel
- Kuramathi Cottage Spa
- Kuramathi Island Resort Maldives