To me, the Maldives has always been the very definition of high luxury, enhanced by its jaw-dropping beauty with its warm, sandy beaches, stunning vistas and plush island resorts that look almost photoshopped by God himself. But these days, the archipelago has come to mean something much more for me, as I sit in my office here at home, travel-bereft, getting my thrills vicariously by writing about adventures past. All this, thanks to extended lockdowns and travel bans that have sadly become my new normal.
For you see, the Maldives was the very last place I had visited, way back late last year when the Covid-19 pandemic was all but the merest hint of a blip on our radars. And so, in December 2019, I found myself flying towards the Maldives aboard the Indian carrier GoAir’s freshly launched direct Mumbai-Malé flight. The quick and comfortable flight had me touch down on the airport island of Velana in Malé, the capital of the nation in exactly two-and-a-half hours’ time. But my final destination, the beautiful Mövenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives was still to be a 45-minute seaplane ride away.
As part of the Noonu Atoll in the northern part of The Maldives, the Mövenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives is housed on an island that remains one of the least developed area of the country, offering guests untouched natural beauty, abundant sea life and endless views across the expansive Indian Ocean. The resort is designed in a contemporary style resembling a giant necklace, replete with a central ‘pendant’ in the form of its Bodumas restaurant. Here, the emphasis is on offering its guests, both a comfortable stay and a private, yet stimulating resort experience. And as I was soon to find out, every modern convenience is incorporated amidst desert-island luxury here. Very ably reflecting the Mövenpick brand’s renowned commitment to genuine comforts that are always delivered exceptionally well.
Each of the 72 Overwater Pool Villas, 30 Beach Pool Suites and three Beach Spa Pool Residences are private havens of comfort, comprising large living rooms that lead to wide bathrooms with stand-alone bathtubs and floor to ceiling windows from which one can enjoy the shimmering tropical sunlight. Traditional Maldivian arched ceilings of each residence allow fresh air to circulate freely, cooling and adding a sense of abundant space within.
The large bathrooms complete the sense of private indulgence, with walk-in rain showers and massive bathtubs positioned next to floor-to-ceiling windows. The Beach Pool Suites and Beach Spa Pool Residences are located on the main island, each located at least one unit’s distance from neighbouring villas and all facing out to the ocean. Intimate verandas include dipping pools and shaded gazebos, perfect for those relaxing sundowners to cool down. Outside, tall palm trees and native greenery are carefully positioned to retain seclusion, without ruining the gorgeous view.
Ever the epicurious traveller, I simply had to have a taste of the local Maldivian cuisine, something that I had been longing to try! The stunning ONU Marché restaurant is named after ‘onu’ which is what bamboo is called in the local Dhivehi language and ‘marché for market in French. This is where the cuisine of The Maldives – one that combines local dishes with European and Asian elements enhanced by the liberal use of spices such as curry powder and the chilli in all its fiery avatars – was unveiled to me by the local chefs.
My other lunches and dinners were well catered for at the Latitude 5.5 Restaurant serving prime steaks, ribs, poultry and burgers, all imported freshly. The aforementioned Bodumas seafood restaurant serves fish, mussels, oysters, crab and shellfish in the form of international classics and lightly spiced local recipes. But what sealed the deal for me was the free, daily, early evening chocolate hour. Here is where guests can bring all their Willy Wonka’s factory fantasies to life by indulging in a mind-boggling array of chocolates, macarons, meringues, pralines and other goodies.
Soon it was time for me to unwind at the spa and rid myself of all that pent-up city-induced stress. The signature spa that is again housed in rooms that ‘float’ over the cerulean ocean is an oasis of calm, where trained therapists (mine was from Thailand) soothe mind and body with massages and individually prepared lotions. As replenishing oils restore the body, the serene unbroken ocean views from each secluded bay relax the mind, leaving me truly at ease.
Within the resort, guests can also maintain fitness levels at the fully equipped fitness centre and restore mind-body balance at the Yoga Sala. The full-sized tennis court and multipurpose court for football and volleyball give groups of any size the chance to exercise every day.
Active guests will also enjoy daily diving trips to unspoilt reefs teeming with life. The resort’s licensed dive masters guide divers to the best spots. The resort is also the perfect destination to take learner dive courses and gain basic certification. Those who desire a chance to explore without exerting themselves can hire a private boat and enjoy weekly excursions to experience dolphins and turtles in their natural habitat. Or treat themselves to a starlight champagne cruise, perhaps!
For those with kids in tow, the young ones are also taken care of at the Little Bird Club where games, puzzles and activities will keep active minds entertained throughout the day, ready to rest again with parents after an exhilarating day.
In a nutshell
The Mövenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives is the kind of place that gives its discerning guests the ultimate island beach holiday. Both thrill seekers and leisure lovers will find everything they need along the resort’s white sand beaches, where picture-postcard scenes present themselves at every moment. The resort is all set to welcome guests once again from 1 October 2020.
The recently launched direct GoAir flights link New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru with Malé’s Velana International Airport, all three in under three hours flying time.
The visa to enter The Maldives is free and is given to everybody irrespective of nationality on arrival. Direct flights are available from London Heathrow to Malé with an 11-hour flight time.
The resort is reached by a short 45-minute flight by private seaplane companies like Trans Maldivian Airways timed to suit guests’ itineraries, directly from the main airport on Malé.
Address: Mövenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives, H. Agadhage 3rd floor Boduthakurefaanu Magu, Malé, Maldives 20026.
Phone: +960 6563000
Images courtesy of Mövenpick Resort Kuredhivaru Maldives