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Dreaming of the Maldives: a Luxurious Trip of a Lifetime Experience

Updated: Apr 26


Travelling to the Maldives began as a Hail Mary and ended as the ultimate trip of a lifetime.

Having researched the next vacation, we were planning on booking a quiet beach retreat on the island of Antigua for a week-long getaway, with nothing but a beautiful beach and time to write. Unfortunately, mother nature had other plans. Just before we finalized the details, hurricane Irma and Jose hit the Caribbean. Luckily, the island of Antigua was spared major damage, but the resort we had planned on booking was now under reconstruction. So, we searched for a plan B.



Over-Water Villas at Hurawalhi Maldives Resort, Maldives
Over-Water Villas at Hurawalhi Maldives Resort, Maldives


Researching all of our options, within budget, we seriously considered the Maldives as an alternative to Antigua, but decided it was best to wait, to research more and plan that vacation properly. Normally reserved for honeymooners, weddings, couples about to be engaged or the extremely wealthy, we weren't sure if travelling to the Maldives was nothing more than a dream.


A short six months later, we were there. It took approximately thirty hours, four flights and one small boat to arrive at the luxurious Hurawalhi Maldives Resort, but it was worth every second.





Knowing we would have to stopover, as there are no direct routes from Toronto, we chose to stop in Dubai, UAE. Only a few hours on route to the Maldives, but we stopped and spent a few nights exploring Dubai on the way back home. To read more about that adventure, read: Dubai is Pure Extravagance - Past and Present.


 

TIP: If you have the opportunity to fly Sri Lankan Air (Business Class), do not hesitate. To date, it was the most comfortable flight with, hands down, the best airplane food we've ever experienced. It was on these flights that we were introduced to Jaf Ceylon tea and Sri Lankan Ceylon Arrack, two unique and delicious drinks we now seek out whenever possible.

 


Aerial view from seaplane, Maldives
Aerial view from seaplane, Maldives


From Dubai, we hopped on Sri Lankan Air to Colombo, and after a short stopover, flew Columbo to Male, the main island hub for the Maldives. From Male, we hesitantly boarded a small sea plane, where the pilots wore shorts and no shoes. The view, however, was magnificent. We landed on Kuredu Island (home of a neighbouring resort), where our personal concierge waited to escort us by speedboat, direct to Hurawalhi Maldives Resort.





Of those who debarked the seaplane from Male, we were the only guests headed to Hurawalhi Maldives Resort. After 10 short minutes, alone on the large speedboat, we were walking across the long deck towards the reception area, awkwardly passing the Hurawalhi staff (and musicians) welcoming us to the island. It was lovely welcome, but we scurried passed them with awkward smiles and flushed faces.



Front Entrance, Hurawalhi Maldives Resort

The deck led to the main reception area, an open building with high ceilings, beautifully decorated in wood and a floor covered in small white stones. The centerpiece, a large white stone circular chandelier, brings then eye down onto the artistic black stone fountain. Every detail is accounted for. We sipped our tropical welcome drinks as we relaxed on the couches and waited for our concierge.


Soon, our lovely concierge quickly checked us in, provided us with key cards and escorted us via golf cart to our over-water villa with plunge pool. Hurawalhi Maldives Resort offers 60 over-water villas, some with personal plunge pools, some with overwater hammocks.


We were lucky enough to snag one at the very end of the long wooded dock, the furthest away from the island. It could not have been more perfect.







The overwater villa was more luxurious than we could have imagined, it was spacious, comfortable, and had everything we could have needed, including a bottle of champagne and a bowl of fresh fruits waiting for us. The bedroom opened up to a personal deck that housed a large infinity plunge pool and stairs that lead directly into the ocean.


 

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We took full advantage of this convenience and snorkeled every single day, floating over the house reef, flirting near the edge of the drop off, what we referred to as “the Deep Blue”. We even had a tiny sun fish that liked to hover near the railing of our staircase into the ocean and nibble on the moss. I named him Herb.



Sunrise at Hurawalhi Maldives Resort, over-water villa, Maldives
Sunrise at Hurawalhi Maldives Resort, over-water villa, Maldives


Each and every morning, no matter how late we ended our day, we arose before sunrise. Using the supplies provided to us in our overwater villa, we made coffee and sat on our deck table, nibbling on the snacks provided in our snack drawer and whatever delectable sweets our room attendant left for us the night before during turn down service.


Many hotels and resorts offer a turn down service and each is unique. You may find this service luxurious, or a bit intrusive, we certainly did at first, but the Hurawalhi Maldives Resort turn down service definitely comes out on top. In addition to dimming the lights, preparing the bed linens and setting water by the bedside, every night we were provided a special edible treat. Displayed in covered glass tray, these were not your typical out-of-the-box chocolate desserts, these were hand made delights from a top-notch pastry chef.


LUXURY TRAVEL TIP: When at Hurawalhi Maldives Resort, be sure to visit the Champagne Bar, located at the end of the overwater villas deck. With phenomenal views of the sunset, the Champagne Pavilion is open to all guests. Sit on the back deck, sip champagne and watch the sun go down.


Each night the treat was something different, chocolate, fudge, cake, cookies, which we saved and savoured each morning watching the sun rise over the water. As the sunlight hit the water in a splash of colour, most mornings, a pod of spinner dolphins welcomed us by swimming back and forth directly in front of our villa, often jumping out of the water in a spectacular display.



Spinner Dolphin jumping in front of Dream Island, Hurawalhi Resort, Maldives
Spinner Dolphin jumping in front of Dream Island, Hurawalhi Resort, Maldives


From the moment we checked into Hurawalhi Maldives Resort, we were assigned a personal representative (or concierge). Her name was Elena, and she would take be responsible for responding to our inquiries and ensuring we had everything we needed. This didn't mean we weren't able to talk to the other staff, just that she would usually respond and we could contact her directly if needed.



luxury winter getaways

When Elena first escorted us to our overwater bungalow, she explained that we had also been assigned a personal room attendant, someone who would not only be cleaning the room daily, but providing towels, amenities, the turn down service, and would help us with anything we needed with regards to the room. Such luxury.


In addition, we were also assigned a dedicated server at the main buffet, Canneli Restaurant. He alone attended to us at every meal we had in that restaurant, which is where we ate all our breakfasts and most lunches and dinners, and over the course of the week, we got to know each other well.



It felt more like friendship than service. He knew us by name, he knew our schedule, our drinks of choice, and our favourite table. Not knowing if or when we would show up for dinner, he went out of his way to personally decorate our favourite table with colourful grains of rice for our anniversary.



Canneli Restaurant, Hurawalhi Maldives resort, Maldives
Canneli Restaurant, Hurawalhi Maldives resort, Maldives

 

Beware: The quality of the food at Hurawalhi Maldives Resort will ruin you. Every single meal, from breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, even room service, was amazing. To date, nowhere else has compared to the level of quality and taste that we experienced during our stay at Hurawalhi Maldives Resort. Returning home, we had to say goodbye to some of our favourite restaurants, because they just didn't compare.

 

For our anniversary, we opted for a special lunch, and dined at the 5.8 Undersea Restaurant; a unique dining experience from beginning to end. Named the largest underwater restaurant in the world, the 5.8 Undersea Restaurant is a treat for all the senses. To read our full detailed review of the 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, located at Hurawalhi Maldives Resort, read Luncheon with the Fishes: A Deep Review of the 5.8 Undersea Restaurant at Hurawalhi Maldives.


The 5.8 Undersea Restaurant concierge greeted us with a welcome drink and entertained us with fun facts as we made our descent down the circular staircase to the underwater restaurant. If you’re sensitive to it, you can feel the pressure of being submerged underwater. The room felt warm and open, completely surrounded by colourful reef and sea life.



UNIQUE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE: Dine with the fishes in the 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, only at Hurawalhi Maldives Resort. Between the option of lunch or dinner service, choose lunch. There is less visibility at night and even on an overcast day, a lunch service offers wonderful views of the nearby reefs.


We had the fortunate opportunity to test out a new menu, each course served in a creative underwater theme. Words cannot completely describe the quality of these dishes, from taste to sight, they were simply delicious works of art. After an outstanding deconstructed mango cheesecake dessert, we were surprised with a special anniversary platter of macaroons, chocolates and Crème Brule. Stuffed to the brim, we devoured every last morsel, leaving nothing to waste.






In between gorging ourselves on spectacular meals, we filled the days with snorkelling in the house reef, relaxation at the spa and guided excursions out on the open water. The Spa at Hurawalhi Maldives Resort is spectacular. Staffed with sweet tempered Balinese women with deceivingly strong hands, we enjoyed a romantic (and intimate) couples massage with ocean views, followed by an outdoor couples bubble bath. Be forewarned, the spa experience, and specifically the massage and bubble bath, is not for the bashful.


Before arriving, we decided to pre-book a snorkeling excursion with the on-site Marine Biologist, with the hopes of finding (and swimming with) manta rays. We did indeed find them, but being late in the season, we were only able to see them from the surface.


We booked the same excursion again, hoping for better luck on a different day, but unfortunately, they were shy and we did not get the chance to swim with them in the open water. We did, however, snorkel in some of the most beautiful reefs, swim with reef sharks and turtles, and have a family of dolphins swim by our boat. To learn more about snorkelling with sharks, read: Swimming with Reef Sharks in the Maldives.



Snorkelling at Hurawalhi Maldives Resort, Maldives
Snorkelling at Hurawalhi Maldives Resort, Maldives


We splurged and also booked a private sunset excursion, where the lovely Appu took us out on a large boat to watch dolphins play in the waves, as the sun began to set over the water. It was magical. When it was almost dark, the three of us jumped into the ocean with nothing but flashlights for a night snorkel. It was terrifying but invigorating and sometimes fascinating, especially when the ten-foot reef shark came into sight, and then out of sight. To learn more about this exhilarating night time excursion at Hurawalhi Maldives Resort, read: Night Snorkelling with a Nurse Shark in the Maldives.





We snorkelled more in the Maldives than we have to date. The colourful and unique fish that live in the Indian Ocean, make the Maldives a snorkellers (or Scuba Divers) dream destination. So much so, that one of us came down with a "water in ear" issue and had to visit the on-site physician at Hurawalhi Maldives Resort. For a nominal fee, we were able to visit with the doctor and be provided with an ample amount of medication to treat the issue. A fantastic peace of mind when travelling so far and vacationing in such a remote location.


One of the best snorkelling sites around Hurawalhi Maldives Resort, is located just off of "Dream Island". A small plot of sand, a short distance from and visible from Hurawalhi Maldives Resort, Dream Island shifts and changes shape depending on the tides. With nothing but a loosely shaded hut and two lounge chairs, we arranged to be “stranded” on Dream Island for two hours. A small speedboat dropped us off early morning with drinks, a box of treats and an emergency phone. We spent the majority of the time in the water around the island, peacefully snorkelling along the edge of the Deep Blue.



Dream Island, Hurawalhi Maldives Resort, Maldives
Dream Island, Hurawalhi Maldives Resort, Maldives


One afternoon, as our time at Hurawalhi Maldives Resort approached its end, we walked along the beach exploring the island and stumbled across a few recently planted palm trees with wooden plaques. We surmised from the names that these were couples who marked their wedding or anniversary dates. Having planted treed in Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands (thus far) in honour of my dad who had passed, we wondered if we could do the same in the Maldives.



Planted Tree, Hurawalhi Maldives Resort

A simple email to our hotel representative, the lovely Elena, and it was all arranged. The gardeners prepared a shady spot on the beach and allowed me plant and water the sapling, even providing a wooden plaque with his name at my request. I hope the tree is thriving.


If you ever have the opportunity to visit Hurawalhi Maldives Resort, don’t hesitate. While you’re soaking up the sun, please take a barefoot stroll down the beach, feeling the soft white sand between your toes, and check in on my tree.

684 views6 comments

6 комментариев


Andrea Hunt
Andrea Hunt
15 мар.

wow!! Maldives has been on my bucket list for so many years now this just emphasizes that!! incredible photos as well! Thanks for sharing :)

Лайк

FooD ExPlorer
FooD ExPlorer
13 янв. 2022 г.

Maldives is everyone's dream vacation. It not the traditional resort and hotel. Who doesn't wany to wake up on the waters. So peaceful and relaxing. Can't wait to visit and blog my experiences with the world. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Лайк
D Marino
D Marino
13 янв. 2022 г.
Ответ пользователю

Thanks so much!

Лайк

D Marino
D Marino
19 нояб. 2019 г.

It is worth every penny, trust me. Go, big birthday or not!

Лайк

Kathryn Griffiths
Kathryn Griffiths
19 нояб. 2019 г.

It looks amazing! It is the one place that I keep hinting to my husband to take me on my next 'big' birthday :-)

Лайк

The Lazy Music Guru
The Lazy Music Guru
22 июн. 2019 г.

That looks amazing! I’ve had friends that went there and they love it too

Лайк
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