Waking Up in the Maldives is a Dream Come True
Updated: Feb 28
Travelling to the Maldives began as a Hail Mary.
Having planned the next vacation ahead, we were anticipating booking a quiet beach retreat in Antigua for a week-long getaway; a place with nothing but beach and time to write. Unfortunately, mother nature had other plans. Just before we finalized the details, hurricane Irma and Jose hit the Caribbean. The island was spared major damage, but the resort was under reconstruction. So, we searched for a plan B. Looking over all our options, we seriously considered the Maldives as an alternative, but decided it was best to wait, to research and plan that vacation properly. A short six months later, we were there. It took approximately thirty hours, four flights and one small boat to arrive at Hurawalhi Maldives, but it was worth every second.
Knowing we would have to stopover, we chose Dubai as the mid-point and took full advantage, by staying a few nights on the way home. (That adventure is described on a separate blog, here). From Dubai, we hopped on Sri Lankan Air to Colombo. Before I continue, I must make note that to this day, Sri Lankan Air (Business Class) has been the most comfortable flight with hands down the best airplane food. 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. It was also at the Sri Lankan airport lounge that we experienced the most relaxing massage before hopping on the flight from Colombo to Male. From Male, we hesitantly boarded a terrifyingly small sea plane, where the pilots wore shorts and no shoes. The view, however, was magnificent. We landed near the sister resort, where our personal representative waited to escort us by speedboat to Hurawalhi.
After 10 short minutes, we were walking across the deck, awkwardly passing the musicians welcoming us to the island. It was lovely but being the only two visitors arriving (and disliking attention) we scurried passed them to sit on the couches and enjoy our welcome refreshments. Our lovely representative checked us in, escorted us via golf cart to our very own over-water villa; all the way at the very end. It could not have been more perfect. The villa was better than we had imagined, spacious, comfortable, luxurious; and we had a bottle of champagne and a bowl of fresh fruits waiting for us. The back deck housed a large infinity plunge pool and stairs that lead directly into the ocean. We took full advantage and snorkeled every day, floating over the reef, flirting near the edge of the drop off (what we called “the Deep Blue”). We even had a tiny sun fish that liked to hover near the railing to our staircase and nibble on the moss. I named him Herb.
Each morning, no matter what, we rose before the sun. We made coffee and set up a pre-breakfast on the deck table, made from the snacks left for us in the room, including whatever delectable sweets our room attendant left for us the night before during turn down service. Many hotels offer a turn down service and each is unique. You may find this service luxurious, or a bit creepy (we certainly did at first) but Hurawalhi’s service definitely comes out on top. In addition to dimming the lights, preparing the bed linens and setting water by the bedside, we were provided a special treat. These were not your typical out-of-the-box chocolate desserts, these were hand made delights from a top-notch pastry chef. Each night was something different, which we savoured each morning watching the sun rise over the water. Also, what quickly became a daily part of the ritual, most mornings, a pod of spinner dolphins swam back and forth directly in front of our villa.
We were assigned a personal hotel representative, Elena, when we arrived and had a room attendant who cared for our needs in the villa, but additionally we were assigned a personal server. He alone attended to us at every meal in the main restaurant, where we had all breakfasts and most lunches and dinners, and over the course of the week, we got to know each other well. It felt more like a friendship than service. He knew us by name, he knew our schedule and personally decorated our favourite table with colourful grains of rice, on the off chance that we would come to the restaurant for dinner on our anniversary. Speaking of the meals, I would be amiss if I didn’t mention how the Maldives (specifically Hurawalhi) has completely ruined us. Every single meal was amazing. So far, nothing else has compared to the level of quality and taste that we experienced.
For our anniversary lunch, we dined at the 5.8 Undersea Restaurant; a unique experience from beginning to end. The concierge greeted us with a welcome drink and entertained us with fun facts as we made our descent. If you’re sensitive to it, you can feel the pressure of being submerged underwater, but the room felt warm and open, surrounded by colourful reef and sea life. We had the opportunity to test a new menu, each course served in a creative underwater theme. Words cannot describe the quality of these dishes; they were simply delicious works of art. After an out