Jo and Mark headed off to the Maldives in 2016 to visit some of the resorts we featured.
Read Jo’s Trip Diary of her island hopping experience below…
“We flew into Male Airport in the mid-morning and immediately the hustle and bustle of the airport got Mark and I excited for our island hopping Maldivian trip. Escorted by a local rep we were taken to our speedboat transfer which was about 30 minutes away from our first stop, Makunudu!
The beautiful white sands and the expanse view of the Indian Ocean was spectacular upon arrival. We disembarked the speedboat and straight onto a sandy walkway directly onto the beach, and we just took some time to take in the horizon. Later that day, I also took the opportunity to explore the views underwater with an afternoon of snorkelling.
That evening we took part in a complimentary sunset fishing trip where Mark and I were taught to use a handline (a traditional fishing method) by the local people whilst watching the most beautiful sunset across the ocean. We had a really enjoyable evening mixing with the locals, and learning something new (but I think I need a bit more practice!).
Later that evening when the sun had disappeared beyond the horizon, we made the most of the bar and restaurant – the food was delicious and much appreciated after a long first day.
A 6:30 rise and we were at breakfast sampling a lovely buffet of pastries, curries, fresh fruit etc. It was a short stay, but a lovely one – we look forward to our return visit.
We set off back to Male Airport for our second transfer, this time by sea plane, to Atmosphere Kanifushi. The speedboat ride was fast and fun, but the views from the sea plane were spectacular. Flying over all the atolls and seeing the islands was breath-taking.
We flew over Atmosphere Kanifushi with its 2.5km of white sand beach before landing on the water and taxiing to the jetty. Greeted by musicians drumming makes one feel very special – it really has the WOW factor.
We were escorted to the beautiful reception, offered a choice of fresh coconut water or champagne before we set off to explore the island, this time by golf buggy.
We were shown around the stunning, oversized suites and were delighted to see that they all looked out onto the amazing long beach and all faced the sunset.
Having looked around the water sports centre, beautiful spa and well equipped children’s centre we were drawn to ‘Just Veg’, the first vegetarian restaurant in the Maldives where we enjoyed a wonderful lunch and well-earned glass of wine.
We woke to another sunny morning and headed off to Spice Restaurant for breakfast – this was a real treat as one of the Chefs took time to make me a crispy cone dosa to accompany my dish of daal and fish curry – it may sound strange but I was delighted with the breakfast, they offer a huge choice of fruits, pastries, eggs (cooked anyway you like), pancake stations etc. but I personally love the curry options!
Next on the agenda was a snorkelling trip to the house reef (a 5-minute boat ride away) which is a must for anyone visiting the Maldives as the underwater scenery is spectacular.
During the afternoon (when I was not snorkelling) we relaxed at the sunset bar at the end of the island, read books and played backgammon – after all, we are in the Maldives where one is supposed to relax.
Following breakfast, it was time to leave Atmosphere Kanifushi, transferring next to OBLU, the sister resort. We took the seaplane back to Male then journeyed by speedboat on to OBLU, which has the most incredible house reef just off the beach. Again, having settled in we made our way to the bar (is this a theme I wonder?) to chat with the management team before heading for dinner at ‘Just Grill’ the resort’s Al a carte dining experience beneath the stars. The food was excellent and beautifully presented – small pieces of edible artwork! A magical evening that I would recommend to anyone.
We got up early the next day to make the most of our time at OBLU, starting with breakfast, which was a feast in itself. The choice and variety were exceptional and exceeded our expectations for such a small island.
I then headed off to the dive centre – joining a group of divers I was able to practise my scuba skills in crystal clear waters (a little different from the Plymouth Sound) before heading out on a drift dive with a guide where we ‘cruised’ along the reef wall, 18m below the water. The highlight of this dive at Kuda Helengeli Corner was watching three magnificent Eagle Rays.
Later that day I decided to go snorkelling in the reef, as it is known for being one of the best in the Maldives – it did not disappoint! Sitting between two channels the reef hosts a huge number of species and I honestly felt I was in an aquarium.
Our last destination was Gili Lankanfushi, one of the original resorts to coin the phrase “no news, no shoes” – it takes barefoot living very seriously – on the speedboat journey to the resort they took our shoes off our feet, bagged and sent ahead with our bags to the room.
On arrival we were taken to the suite – the resort features oversized, over-water suites with a private roof top space, as well as a large deck area over the turquoise lagoon. A superb spot to watch fish, sunbathe and see the sun go down.
Reaching the end of our trip we spent the last couple of days biking around the island and sampling the various cuisines available. We enjoyed superb breakfasts sitting by the beach, where we were treated to huge choice. The usual offerings ranged widely from Maldivian curry, sushi and Sashimi, eggs, pancakes, at least ten varieties of granola, freshly made yoghurts, a fresh fruit station and mouth-watering pastries, or one could step down into the beautiful air-conditioned wine cellar and select cheese and homemade truffles – a first for breakfast but an indulgent treat.
In the evening we sipped cocktails in the Over Water Bar and enjoyed their fine dining menu one night and their live cooking extravaganza, but our evening dining in their Japanese Restaurant (By The Sea) proved a fitting finale to a lovely, and varied trip.