Let me start off by saying that it's all true!
As so many reviewers have already said, Kuramathi is a wonderful resort. In fact calling it a resort is a bit of an insult, this island offers more than just lounging on the beach and organised activities. The size of Kuramathi (nearly 2km) allows for an alternative to the beach without leaving land (something the majority of Maldivian Islands can't give), so much so that when we investigated the interior it really did feel as if you were in the middle of a rainforest and not on a popular large resort. Towering palms, banana trees laden with ripening fruit, bats hanging high above your head, screw pines laden with fruit made into ice cream on the island, geckos and lizards scuttling through the undergrowth and the air filled with an orchestra of wildlife noises - magical.
Now for a few things others haven't mentioned that are criticisms but didn't affect our experience significantly enough to lower the rating!
1. The A La Carte restaurants are scattered around the island so it does mean that if you pick one that isn't close you'll have to walk. There are buggies that run the length of the main 'road' and thatched stops at which to wait for one but there's no set timetable and as we discovered it's often quicker to start walking and flag a ride to reach the restaurant in time for the booking. But beware of staff member on bicycles without lights, the road is dimly lit...
2. Set booking times are a bit of a pain, you're limited on select A La Carte (definitely a must) to booking a restaurant up to three days ahead and at either 7,8 or 9 o'clock. We nearly always got the restaurant of our choice at the time we wanted but with a set time you end up having to tailor the day's activities. Eating an early lunch for instance if an early evening meal was booked and always factoring in enough time to shower etc and possibly walk some distance to the restaurant. This all made for a day that was too structured and less relaxed than we would have liked.
3. The Reef was our favourite restaurant, right at the top of the island and about a 15 minute sweaty walk from our Beach villa. It's really lovely here, freshly built looking, friendly staff, intimate, great setting on the beach and free entertainment provided by groups of scuttling crabs on the sand!
Unlike many other reviewers, we didn't find all staff friendly, some quite frankly were on the sullen side particularly in our allocated buffet restaurant, The Haruge, where we had breakfast daily. We weren't impressed with this meal, a lot of choice but on the fatty, sugary side. Fine if you like a cooked breakfast, sugary buns or cereals containing chocolate but if it's fruit you're after the selection is meagre and cornflakes the only 'plain' cereal on offer. I do recommend the scotch pancakes though, really good! This is the largest buffet restaurant of the three and we found it impersonal and busy.
4. If you're after an island surrounded by a glass clear lagoon with nothing but aquamarine water as far as the eye can see this is not the island for you.
When looking out to sea the view is peppered with boats of various kinds, it didn't bother me but I can see that, for some, this might mar the classic image of being 'away from it all' on a remote exotic island. You might also be bothered by the telecommunications masts clearly visible on a nearby island. Yes, one side of Kuramathi is 'lagoon' but, with a breeze often present, waves are formed and the seabed disturbed making for cloudy snorkelling and choppy water. Frustrating when this is the beach closest to your accommodation, in our case beach villa no.64. A bit of exploring led us to what we considered to be the most attractive swimming and snorkelling area at the head of the island not far from reception and close to one of the jettys. Here, even on a relatively windy day, the sea is a lot calmer and the sand softer. There's easier snorkelling to be had if, like us, you are a relative beginner afraid of investigating too far out in helpfully marked snorkelling channels. Close to the shore we were still able to see a lot of stunningly coloured fish and sharks.
5. As some reviewers have already said Beach Villas are deceptively named as it doesn't actually mean you will be on the beach. It's worth emailing in advance, as I did, to request a villa as close to the beach as possible. This accommodation is the oldest on the island and although spacious and kept beautifully clean the villas are a bit frayed around the edges in places. Ok, you could argue that you're not going to spend much time inside, but if I were to return I would definitely choose to upgrade.
The poor lighting, especially in the bathroom, was an annoyance for us. I'm all for low energy bulbs but they can omit a very dull brown light. Trying to see what you are doing when putting on makeup to glam up a bit in the evening proved interesting!
We did have iPhones and an ipad with us plus electric toothbrushes and needed to recharge quite frequently, there were only two sockets in the bedroom though helpfully of the British variety.
6. And finally......watch out for coconut bombs!! We had very stormy weather one day and it was rather hairy weaving our way around coconut laden palms as the fruit crashed around us. Trees near eating spots are stripped of their deadly cargo but not elsewhere.
Ok, that's it, a long review but a lot to say. I would definitely recommend Kuramathi for its flora and fauna, for its A la Carte food, for the slick and professional way in which it's run and for the variety this island offers. Perfect, well almost.
- 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