May 3rd - May 17th 2009
So - where to begin.....! This was our second visit to the the maldives, and the Second to Hakuraa Hurra. We spent several weeks considering that if we went back to the maldives, which island should we go to, and we bought all the books to try to find another island just like HH which we fell in love with first time around (april 2006) In the end - we just couldn't find anywhere that we thought we'd get for similar value for money, and so back to HH we went! I don't know if this was playing it safe, or taking a big risk it wouldn't be as good second time around but we needn't have worried - it was fabulous! and exceeded all expectations once again!
The flight from Heathrow (Sri Lankan) went witout a hitch, and we duly arrived in the Maldives on schedule, although we'd completed the landing card on the plane, we had another form to complete in the arrivals hall - to promise we didn't arrive with Swine Flu! so if you're going sometime soon it's worth knowing you need a pen and something to lean on immedeately you arrive in the terminal building else you risk fighting for space on the few small tables they've put about the place for this purpose! and as it says elsewhere on the forum getting off the plane and through immigration asap is a good thing in terms of Sea Plane departures!
After coming through Security we made our own way to the Sea Plane Desk and were checked in (no sight nor sound of a Virgin Rep! which is just about typical i suppose given my recent experiences with them!) We landed at 10.30 am, and the sea plane departure time when we asked was, 12.45 - perfect we thought! but when we asked at 12.45 it was now 1.45! we actually departed at 2.15! which was no great drama, we had a drink and a lounge around in the comfy chairs and tried to stay awake! (please note - reasonably nice toilets here - y if you want to get changed into something cooler for the sea plane journey! it is VERY hot on the plane, no real ventilation as you'd expect and the air conditioning consists of two small fans attached to the front of the cabin (one either side) if like me you take a while to acclimatise wear light clothing and carry water - and get on the plane quick so you can get a seat up front near the fans! they have little impact if your sitting 4 or more rows back!
The flight to HH took 45 minutes and we stopped on route to drop a couple of people off at another resort (not sure which but could tell from the plane it didn't look as good as HH!) We then arrived at HH - glorious sunshine, the 5 minute boat ride from the plane jetty to the pier, and then the walk down the jetty to the reception (just in this short walk we saw two sharks, a giant trigger fish, and lots of cornet fish!) we were met with cold towels and Ice tea - given an information booklet about the island, made to fill in a raft of info about ourselves, and allocated our room. We were given 118 - but asked for a high number water bungalow - and they kindly arranged for us to get 161 the next day (reason for higher bungalow - all day sun on the balcony! not what everyone wanted but i wanted to work my tan!).
Room 118 was lovely - and we saw sharks and puffer fish in the coral below the bungalow as well as a variety of bright little fishes in the 24 hours we were there! We were told we could move after breakfast the next day - so we went to reception after breakfast to ask how it would work and they said we could move after 11! maldive time clearly! ) still no problem! we packed up what little we'd unpacked and gave reception the key at 11am - they ed us the one to 161 and within 10 minutes one of the porters had brought our luggage to our new home!
It really was a fabulous room! more sun in the afternoon than 118 - in fact we could get both sunbeds in sun or shade ALL day long! it required some moving around of the beds! but was no problem and the perfect amount of both! 161 also had a lot of coral underneath! I'll tell you what I saw in a moment!
Next - the bathrooms! yes - they are tired - very tired! but Clean! and perfectly adequate - for example many marks on the bath that wont come out, and it was clear some [--] had previously stubbed out cigarettes on the tiles beside the bath staining them - but it was spotless clean and i for one do not go on holiday to spend time in the bathroom!
Good news is during the referb next year they are being replaced and shower cubicles being put in which will be lovely for our next visit (!!!) But it really wasn't a problem.
So - what did we see! (i am a fish freak and we bought a comprehensive spotting book (bought off amazon) and added significantly to our enjoyment to be able to read up, identify and learn more about what we were seeing!
From our viewing pane in the water bungalow alone we saw: Sharks, octopus, Painted Spiny Lobster, Yellow Puffer fish, Spotted puffer fish, Painted Moray Eel, plenty of rays of every variety and size, some funny polkadot fish which we still can't identify!) and sooo much more - every time of the day there was something new to see - a tip leave your light on under the glass pane (switch near the dressing table) when you go to dinner - when you come back it will have attracted the fish like moth to a flame so to speak!
The snorkeling was fantastic! big tip - and one we only discovered this visit! If you are not a strong swimmer and the daily snorkel boat is not your thing (drops you 20 metres out in deep water! and then you have to swim to the reef and the current is quite strong) then go to the great reef you can walk to! when you stand on the deck in front of the restaurant there is the long deck and pier to your right, to your left there's a dis-used platform which (bizzarly!) has bits of dead tree tied to the corners! - walk out there to the platform at low tide (wear lots of Sun Cream!) - the reef and living coral is fab and the fish amazing - and for a frightened Fruitbat like me is perfect as you can snorkel within or out out of your depth at your leisure! and the fish were really out of this world!
As for the food - fantastic - better this time than in 2006 - lots of choice. Mr Fruitbat is a curry fiend and loved the daily lunch and dinner curries. I'm less of a curry freak and loved the bread (made fresh on the island every day) and salads and grilled fish and meat. The fresh made naan's in the Tandoor every night were AMAZING!
As already noted the evening entertainment was a little hit and miss! but also hilarious! even now the random Bingo callers 'numberrrrrr.... numberrrrr........' is mentioned by either of us has the other one in fits of giggles - it's has to be seen to be believed! It's all harmless entertainment and if you don't want to particpate there's plenty of tables out of the limelight where you can observe rather than participate! but all good fun.
We didn't bother with excursions having done most of them on our last visit - but those that we met that did them this time enjoyed them. We instead decided to experience the Spa - fantastic - We had massages and foot spa's/ pedicures. Everything was wonderful - the ladies great, excellent value for money (no more than what i'd pay at home) fabulous setting and so relaxing a real treat! highly recommended!
The staff on the whole were wonderful, our room boy fantastic - the place was spotless twice a day (Mr fruitbat and i seemed to make more mess than i imagined as we spread out stuff over the huge room!) our waiter at dinner was also fantastic - and by holiday end no longer needed to ask us what we wanted to drink at every meal; automatically bringing Mr Fruitbats extra beers unasked!
All the staff across the island were fantastic; always polite and friendly! there was only one small complaint to note - a rather surly man who takes every opportunity to push the dinners on the beach - his sales pitch certainly needs some work! The food being so fabulous we didn't want dinner on the beach this time around - only one meal i fancied was the lobster but at 90 USD per person i wasn't that tempted! (this is clearly where the island makes a good margin!) but he repeatedly asked if we did - and rather than providing us info and letting us come to him if we wanted to book - he kept asking - and i felt guilty in the end for repeatedly saying no!!! he's just a bit too pushy! and as a strong willed FB I can't bear to be given the hard sell but can happily make my own mind up!
Towards the end of our second week they suddenly seemed to realise we were repeat visitors & forum members (there's a fantastic Chaaya Resorts Forum which gives great info for planning (and getting excited about) your trip), and we were given a blue ribbon round our vase on the dining table to note our repeat status to the staff, and as part of our improved status (!) invited to a fabulous cocktail party on the beach with the management! fantastic - superb cocktails and after speaking to the management team you really do get a great feel for the passion and love they have of the island and the service they provide! The cocktails were sooooooo good i had to go and have a little lie down after dinner! (Mr Fruitbat had to cling on to me to prevent me toppling into the lagoon! he say's i was hammered! as a lovely lady Fruitbat I like to think of myself as just a little tipsy! getting my wings in a flap!) as repeat guests we were also given a wonderful fruit basket in our room! wonderful - but given it arrived on our last night didn't give us much time to enjoy! a nice touch - just too late!
All in all we had an amazing two weeks! The weather was wonderful (we had 2 overcast days - which were actually a welcome break from the intense heat and respite from our sunburn! (despite being covered in factor 30 the FB still looked like a small tomato coloured FB!) We had a fantastic time, it was everything we hoped and more and the next time we want a holiday where we want to just check in and chill out Hakuraa Huraa is where we'll do it! We love it there! and we will be back!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The first glimpse of Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa Maldives from the air leaves visitors speechless. Pure white-capped roofs of the resort's 70 Water Bungalows, set in knee deep crystal waters of the lagoon, can be a rare sight. A walk around this strip of island covered with green-topped palm trees will reveal 10 charming Beach Bungalows strategically placed with the lagoon as the front yard. Hakuraa Huraa means "Reef above water". What makes this reef even more special is the spectacular island resort that has been designed to complements the splendor of the island. It's called Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa Maldives! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Chaaya Lagoon Hakuraa Huraa Hotel Meemu Atoll