What travellers are talking about
Return to Biyadhoo: Welcoming
Upon completion of the inspection operations at the airport in Male in a very short time and collected your luggage, which almost dropped out first in five minutes I procured at the shop of Dhiraagu a recharge for Maldivian sim, which I already had, and we headed to the bench to our tour operator
Here we came up just a little bit of anxiety, because the bench was empty and I could not see anyone around. Actually I was expecting to see someone holding a sign of recognition from the airport exit, something that had not happened ..... to make a long story short, the person in charge of our tour operator was moving towards the exit of the terminal when we were already removed and was waiting for us there, while we were already at his desk waiting for him!
Luckily everything has been fixed in short, and in the rain we headed towards the fast boat that was waiting for us: in addition to the members of the crew were only and a girl who worked for one of the many tours operator of the airport.
We started under gray skies and a light rain, the sea looked just agitated, without annoying waves to disrupt or delay our trip. The colors of the sea were not as bright as in sunny days, but the incredible green colour of the Maldives was anyway everywhere you looked.
In 35 minutes we arrived to "our" Biyadhoo.
We were greeted on the pier from in charge of the reception, who offered us a refreshing towel, fresh from the refrigerator, and a coconut filled with its milk , to sip with a straw while we filled a form for the resort.
Through this module she has discovered that for us this was the fourth experience in the Maldives, and the second to Biyadhoo ... in the afternoon, to thank us that we gave preference to this resort for the second time, she did us to find in your room a bottle of wine with two glasses and a basket of fresh fruit.
I did not expect a reception so special and I was really surprised.
Walking through the narrow streets of Biyadhoo it was a bit like coming home .... "Look, last year this was not there .... here it is like before ... our palm! There's more! .... And what are they building here? ....
Like a lot of you probably already know, the rooms are not in bungalows, but in buildings with two floors (ground floor and first floor). Each building has 8 rooms on the ground floor (with veranda) and 8 rooms on the first floor (with balcony), which is accessed by a central staircase wide enough. Near the entrance there is a center tap to rinse their feet from the sand, if one so wishes. On the sides of each building a passage between the green allows you to get to the beach from the narrow street that runs along the inside of the island.
The four rooms at the ends of the buildings are larger than the other and have at least three beds. The buildings are six, three on the west side of the island, three on the east side, all facing the sea and all with high trees in front of the hide at the sight of the boats that may pass near the resort.
Of course I cannot say that all rooms are the same in Biyadhoo, having known only my room, this year the number 82, just below the one I occupied last year, the number 90,in the last building on the west side of the resort . I state that in April I wrote an email to the address of the resort found on the internet, asking for a room in this building, if it were possible, maybe upstairs to have more privacy. I was satisfied for the building, not the plan, but in view of the positive experience this year was much better as well. Being on the ground floor, in fact, I could go out to the sea from the veranda without locking the door and then take the key in my bag next to the beach bed; it took me a moment to go to sunbathe or swim, and the same to get back into the room.
The room was very spacious with three beds, but there were also four (in fact, I noticed among the guests of the resort also a german family with three children, approximately 2, 5 and 8 years old) . The beds were very comfortable, we slept really well!
There were two bedside tables with a drawer, a shelf and a lamp, and a table with chairs and two drawers, a large mirror on the wall with a shelf below, a small round table with two armchairs, a large shelf to support our two suitcases and a waste paper basket. The closet was closed by a lattice. In the closet there was room for a small fridge with well-stocked minibars, a shelf with some snacks, two bottles of wine, glasses, two cups, a kettle and some tea bags to make tea; then there were other shelves to store what you wanted, a drawer and a large enough space with a pole that held a number of hangers. The room was equipped with two adapters for the electric current. In the room there was finally the unit for the air conditioning and the bathroom door.
The bathroom had a large shower, wc, wash basin with large mirror, hairdryer, another basket. Everything was always very clean (the room was remade twice a day, with daily change of all towels, including those of the sea), but definitely all very dated, from the floors to the walls of the room ,the wc (dripped continuously unloading), the sink (if you emptied the Bowl all at once, the pipe under wafted). If someone goes into a resort expecting to find all nice and new, should not choose Biyadhoo. We knew as were the rooms and frankly they were so well for us, we knew that the cleaning was very accurate and that you slept just fine. If I could I would go back quietly tomorrow! Oh, I forgot to add that sometimes some big ant walked in the room, or some insect clambered on the walls, or a tiny gecko could pass under the door ... but we really did not give trouble.
Finally we had the veranda: it was equipped with two chairs, a coffee table with an ashtray, a kind of wooden drying rack ... and a bucket with water to rinse your feet from sand to return from the sea. Everything was functional and clean everything!
Animals in Biyadhoo
Who's going to Biyadhoo to spend a holiday does not believe to meet only fish or other aquatic creatures!
For a start there are the very nice Maldivian small hens. This year I got a surprise, or rather two, with them: they have become much more brave than last year, and I've met her with a small chick! Already on the first day of my stay she crossed in a hurry the sand in front of my beach chair with a tiny and all black chick ! And then, for all the fifteen days of my stay, with them it was a kind of soap opera ... one day you felt the chick cheeping loudly, and you could see the mother, or rather both parents, who returned at full speed from him, or both were next to my crib for crumbs, which they put into the beak of their small chick …an incredible tenderness! They were so beautiful! And they have become more brave because last year I had to run after them (so to speak) to photograph, but this year I saw one that rose on the beach chair of a tourist (see photo) to steal a piece of brioche, which then she went to eat from his hand.
Then there are the hermit crabs: I do not know if you call all in this way, but there are different types of hermit crabs with different shapes like shell, and a species of crab inside. I've photographed them in different colors and sizes. One in particular has really left me speechless: near the spa, next to the driveway that surrounds the island, among the dry leaves I saw a big white plastic cap move ... a big crab had chosen it as a dwelling !!!! (see photo) How sad! I do not know whether it is the result of animal adaptation to our pollution, but it made me really pain!
Then there are the cats, at least a dozen, all skinny and hungry. The invitation of the resort is not to feed the cats, but how do you do when they run behind you meowing in that tone of supplication?!? There is a large male cat with a white collar, that some German friends have deemed to have eaten the black chick for a couple of days, until the little "Calimero" has been revised in the company of the hen mother, then there is a female small cat, all white and very nice, some white and gray puppies, which always are near to the buildings to the east, other cats of various ages often curled up in the leaves near the Spa ... at the edge of the trees on the last day of my stay I saw a big mouse (maybe there are cats for this reason?) and tourists have seen one in the mouth of a heron.
This year there are also two parrots, which sometimes whistle near the diving, locked in a large cage (poor parrots!)
Of course you can meet herons, as in every Maldivian island, which have learned to live with tourists and are the protagonists of many photos in each album.
On the trunks or on the ground sometimes you can see small iguanas, or big lizards with bulging eyes and reddish belly, very shy and harmless animals
There are various species of birds, it is difficult to see them in the micro-jungle that is inside the island, but they feel their verses and their modulated whistles more or less acute.
In the corridors out of the room at night, you encounter many geckos, very shy and fond of insects (maybe manage to eat them all!)
In the south of the island last year, in every evening, you could see fruit-bats, ... are still there, but this year they moved to large trees to the west.
Lastly, there are insects, especially large ants, also in the room (just don't make us case). I have seen and heard very few mosquitoes, not least because it seems to me they often go to disinfest, towards evening, not to create inconvenience to tourists …
What can I say?... for animal lovers like me, you can not surely complain !!!!
I am reluctant to write a review.. I want to keep the place secret so no one goes and they will never be full and I can go whenever I please.
I was told to delete everything I saw before in Maldives and for the two days I was there.. I did.
Having lived in the country a while, I have seen resorts from 3* to 5*+, I have seen local islands, guest houses, Male’ and its surrounding islands and I cannot compare Fuvahmulah to anything I have seen here in Maldives. It is, as they say ‘Uniquely Different’.
I travelled alone and felt perfectly safe, I can’t agree with the comment that the staff are more focused on Honeymooners and couples.
Flights are now twice daily, some via Gan, I flew with Flyme and as always cannot fault the service. The flight was approximately 1hr and as you approach Fuvahmulah you understand the one island, one atoll concept. There is literally nothing around. You can’t see other resorts, local islands with communication masts, it’s completely isolated and in the middle of nowhere. I think this explains the community feel on the island. They have to rely on each other and be self sufficient.
The welcome I received was ‘Welcome Home’ and I am already planning to be welcomed back home before the end of the year.
The staff are a strong team, they are all from 5 star resort backgrounds so are keen to give the best service and a luxury feel what is in fact a local island. They have their heads screwed on and are focused on giving the best service and are genuinely proud of their island. Sadly some aspects of Maldives for me now feel greedy. Viluxer was a refreshing change, they are all so driven to showcase
The emails prior to my visit were handled by Thasneef and my ‘host’ during the stay was Zafar with Lonu as my designated driver, I think without these people, my stay would not have been the same.
I was treated to a tour around the island… shown every beach, lake, heritage site possible.. I think two days were nowhere near enough.
They are trying at the moment to get an area of beach to be used for their guests, this would be an advantage but I also like that the island is not ‘touristy’ at all. Viluxer Retreat is one of three properties there so far, two opening very soon. They are similar, good quality décor and such a strong team working together that I cannot imagine how these guys will not make a success of it.
The room was better than many resorts I have stayed, the bed was like sleeping on a cloud. There was AC, a safe, TV, small mini bar fridge, tea & coffee, rain shower and free wifi. The room was serviced twice a day. There were fresh local fruits in the room. Fuvahmulah is growing a lot of its own produce any almost every house had it’s own mango tree.
For the active, the guys love surfing and diving so would be happy to keep you entertained. They have excursions and dining options too. I was very well looked after by their chef, Luthufee. On a local island you start to expect the same kind of food but they are really lucky to have him onboard and he made every meal a banquet!
Overall, the stay was unforgettable. After being here a while, I didn’t think I could still be wow’ed. The people make this place stand out and the effortless service makes you feel like you are in a 5* resort on local island prices.
I urge anyone thinking to visit to just go and see for yourselves.
Anyone with questions about this new destination just ask!
Flying with Emirates, a unique experience
I flew twice in my life with Emirates Airlines, always in Economy Class, but I must say that the service, entertainment system and meals were first class.
It called my attention the great variety of nationalities of the members of the crew, which gives the possibility of talking with them in your own language without needing always to use english language.
New Dubai´s airport terminal is very good and you can find there many different services and also the Duty Free is very complete, and, if you need support or guidance, the staff there was very friendly.
I strongly reccomend flying with Emirates if you are planning to travel to Maldives.
Value for money
We were met at the airport by our travel agent office staff.The boat ride was a quick 15 minutes away. They did not insist that we put on the life jacket but it was placed in front of the boat.
On arrival, we were met by a staff who gave us a paper towel and a small glass of welcome drink. It was such a hot day that the glass of drink was really good. We were then given a short briefing on the Resort's Dos and Don'ts.
Less than half and hour later, our rooms were ready. We were lead to the room by the same guy who welcomed us at the front desk. Funny thing was, as we were walking to the room and chatting with him, he suddenly said our room was just ahead and told us to proceed on our own!! It was easy to find ( not straight ahead but we had to take a left turn) so no problem.
Our deluxe room had the biggest toilet that we have ever seen in a resort!, there was an enclosed area for shower- huge, can easily accommodate 6 people! Next to it was a long bath and next to it is the powder area with the the toilet bowls etc. It has tiles on the wall and floor . Basic but very clean and functional.
We had a living area just as we came in. Two armchair and a long chair, the wooden kind. Quite comfortable but the tv is placed in front of the bed so you cannot really see the tv when you are seated at the living area. No partition between the living area and the room. We had two single beds joined together. Huge bed but bed was just average. Sheets were clean. Two huge pillows each and a side desks by the bed too. A wooden cupboard for you to put your stuff, came with some hangers as well.
Outside the balcony there are two chairs and a rack for you to dry your wet clothes. It was quite good as the clothes dry fairly quickly in the hot weather. The only complain was when we hang out some clothes to dry,thousands of ants appeared and started crawling on that particular item. Funny thing was the ants only appeared to like that item. After removing that item, the ants disappeared into a hole in the rack!!
The island is small enough for you to walk around and explore the place. There were at least two great spots for swimming and snorkeling. The house reef is quite close to shore so great for those not so good swimmers. Since this is June, the water can be rough in the afternoon. Apart from that the weather was great for the days we were in Bandos.
There is also a recreation centre in the middle of the island. There is a gym there. It is a fairly well equipped. No problem getting on the equipment of your choice cos it was fairly empty when we were there. There was also a children's club and play area.
We had a great deal from our local travel agent for our stay in Bandos. If there are similar deals in future we will most likely come to Bandos again. According to the brochure there are also free classes conducted on certain days of the week by professionals. There is also an excursion room for you to book all the excursions, like dolphin cruise, night fishing etc. the staff there are friendly and was able to assist with our queries.
Sumptuous ! Delicious!
We were on half board and we chose to have breakfast and dinner. Both were buffets in the main restaurant. Food was really fresh and tasty. For breakfast, there were cereals, fruits, hot stuff, egg station,, etc and most importantly drinks! Yes, this is the only time when drinks are served with a meal. Even though we were each given a 500ml of mineral water each day, at all times in the resort you have to pay for your drinks, even if it was just plain mineral water.
Dinner was sumptuous! We particularly like the pastries..I know some one had reviewed at TA and said that the pastries were nothing to shout about but for the 4 nights that we had our dinner there the pastries were good. The honeycomb cheese cake and banana crumble were really good. We talked to some of the staff and were told that they used quality ingredients for their pastries. One night we had lamb kebabs, this was good depending if you have a just cooked one or one that was overheated too long at the chef station. It went very well with the sauce that they were serving,
There were usually at least 3 types of fruits served with dinners. One night we had dragon fruits, the red and white ones,. We also had pink guava, pomegranates and pomelo to name a few.. It is so much better than to see the usual, apples and oranges. Ok, this is a personal choice, some may prefer the usual fruit. Anyway Well done to the kitchen
We had a great deal from our local travel agent for our stay in Bandos. If there are similar deals in future we will most likely come to Bandos again.
Saw dolphins but still abit disappointed
Set off in a big boat with many people. There were three boats that set off together. We met at the Sand Bar at 4.15pm. Some one took attendance to make sure people who had signed up were there.
There were many small kids in our group. We boarded a big boat with many people. We sat outside the covered seat. Initially was a bit concern about the young kids. Later the staff gave life jacket to the kids. The boat went very fast and it was enjoyable ride with the wind blowing on our faces. About 20 minutes into the ride , some people started shouting and clapping and we saw dolphins quite far away leaping out from the water. The boat then moved In a slower pace to catch up with the dolphins. We could see the dolphins at some distance. Actually there were quite a lot of them but not many jumped out of the water. I guess we are so used to dolphins shows with dolphins jumping up and down all the time, that seeing so many of them just swimming around was not so exciting.
Then the boat crew handed out some nice cooling sparking juice to all of us. Did not expect this so was quite a pleasant surprise.
Good trip but could have been more enjoyable if the dolphins were more cooperative.
Good experience for first Club Med stay
This was our first Club Med stay. We have read about the village concept and the GOs (Gentle organizers) and guest being the GMs (Gentle members )!! It certainly met our expectations of what we know about Club Med. Generally all the GOS were very helpful and friendly. Two GOs joined us for dinner on the first day. Subsequently when we met them throughout our stay, we were greeted like old friends ..that was nice.
Our Family Club bungalow was clean but far from the main activities area. A third bed was 'added', a thin mattress over a sofa. Bed was firm and comfy. The sheets were clean but not changed daily. Would have been nice to see the beach from the bed, lying down but view was blocked by vegetation. You could heard the waves though..no complaints. No wifi at all from the room. To get wifi, you need to be in the main reception area. The receptionists were more than willing to give you slips of papers with id and password for you to log into their wifi. The wifi connection is however limited to that area. Please note that even if you have bought a local SIM card from the airport shops, you cannot get any connections in the room. This is not Club Med's issue but do note if you intend to do surfing at the beach. No sure if this is common across all the islands.
There is no hair dryer in the room. For long hair guests, a hair dryer would be nice. There is a bottle of shampoo, a bottle of body lotion and a bottle of shampoo. You need to bring your own toothbrush and toothpaste. Towels are provided in the pool area and in the Gymnasium. The Gym faces the beach so instead of the usual TV, you look at the sea. However the equipments are not state of the art!
Ate all buffet meals from the main restaurants. Had variety and changes everyday for the main meals. There were some sand flies in the restaurant which was troublesome. Lots of fruits to choose from, which was good.
Attended the yoga lesson at the beach, which was cool. Everyone sat on an exercise mat and did the yoga on the beach facing the setting sun..The aqua gym at the pool was a blast too. Sailing with the GO was fun and informative!
Excursion..went on the glass bottom boat! Four of us were totally sea sick. Maybe the timing was too early, could have been scheduled later so that our breakfast was digested. Would have been good if we were reminded that for some people it may caused sea sickness. One lady was totally sick less than 5 min into the trip.
Great stay. Would recommend to those who just need a break and do nothing except swimming and snorkeling. Note that for the current season,the sea is rough and not advisable to swim if you are not a strong swimmer. You can only kayak in the morning only.
At the end of June we return to the Maldives!! I did not expect to be able to go back to that paradise this summer, I had a serious problem in my family, and instead ........ so I started with a visit to the websites of the most famous airlines, and especially those that had flights from Venice.
Last year I flew for the first time with Qatar Airways, and especially for the first time with scheduled flights. Before, if we had to make a journey to distant countries, we relied more on charter flights, and then we had to go to the nearest airport (Milan ). But to go to Milan from Venice also involves time and cost of parking and highway, in addition to hours to go in the car, very tiring especially on the way back because we were exhausted.... long story short, we found that it is very convenient a booking scheduled flights from Venice a few miles from home! So I immediately tried to document on prices and any offers of the moment... and the choice fell on Turkish Airlines. I had read good reviews about this airline, and then I said "why not try?" . The price then was quite lower than Qatar and the Emirates Airline, and then I booked... starting June 29th !
It was towards the end of March and I booked the flights for both the outward and the return (of course) and seating for arrival.... but for the return anything! In the site appeared an inscription explaining that I was able to book the seats for the return only from 6th April... ! After April the 6th sometimes I tried to book those seats in the site of the Turkish Airlines, but I did not succeed ever. In mid-May, however, (it was a Saturday night) I have lost patience a little and I wrote an e-mail to the information office of the Turkish Airlines in Venice, wondering to them how to reserve those seats for the return flight, and with the same opportunity I was wondering even though in the airport in Istanbul I would find someone who spoke Italian, to get information on transit in case of difficulty.
The next day (a Sunday!) I had the response: I had the seats booked from the assistant of Venice's Turkish airlines (and she wrote to me which numbers) and if I wanted he could grant me assistance free of charge for the transit in the Ataturk Airport. After two e-mail for further information, all written within two days (and thus without long waits for answers), I have also had the free assistance for transit. Good, good, good! That's efficiency! For the moment I can only be happy with my choice of airline, now I look forward to the journey itself, then I will update you on other aspects of the flight!
Our flight from Istanbul, with reported five minute delay, is instead started with a delay of approximately half an hour, which he held until the arrival in Male. Aside from that, the rest of the trip was really great.
The very large aircraft (a 330), with seats arranged in rows of 2, 4, 2 seats, had a space between the seats rather large for me, which are low in stature, but not exaggerated for people with long legs (see photo). The screen placed in front of each seat worked perfectly and it was full of proposals to pass the time. After choosing the language (8 languages including 4 European but not Italian), appeared a screen that brought you 6 choices: the discovery of Turkish Airlines, Applications, Customer Service, Frequent-flyer program, Entertainment, Internet (which was empty).
Applications and Entertainment were definitely the two choices that I preferred. Among all the Applications I found very interesting flight informations, with the camera that allowed me to see live images that I would have seen from the cockpit (I followed both the departure from Istanbul that landing in Male '), and the map, with which every now I checked on which point of the trip we had arrived.
Also interesting was the "phone", with which you could either call on Earth a person, using a credit card, either call other people occupying the seats. The "entertainment" offered hundreds of proposals with which to pass the time, choosing between audio tracks of various kinds, games for young and old (for the mind, logic, mathematics, for memory, with cards, puzzles .... ) movies taken from TV series, documentaries, films for adults and children, cartoons ....
Just boarded we found on each seat a soft pillow, a light blanket and earphones to listen to the programs offered. Immediately after a flight attendant gave everyone a pretty tin box, containing a kit consisting of a pair of non-slip socks, earplugs, eyes bandage, toothbrush and toothpaste, lip cream.
The trip was absolutely quiet, with no turbulence, I was also able to get some sleep.
We were served a very good meal at a choice between two proposals: I preferred grilled chicken breast with mixed vegetables, rice pudding with pears; my husband chose the rigatoni. Before arrival to Male we also received breakfast (see photo of menu, if anyone is interested).
Every now and then I raised the "window" to look out: even in the dark of night you could see on the horizon the red dawn still far away, which contrasted with the dark silhouette of the plane's wing, an exciting spectacle, but never as seeing again, after a few hours, the atolls of the Maldives, then the islets, the resorts, the green lagoons .... what wonder, we had arrived in paradise!!!
…but… that bad landing in the rain in Male!
After a long queue to check-in at the airport of Male (due to my "unfortunate" request for assistance during transit at the airport in Istanbul in the first leg, also for the return I was refused the online check-in!), we boarded on time under a light rain. We left at 23:40, with the dark you could not see anything in the beautiful landscape of the Maldives seen from above, so I spent the most time of the first leg of the flight (seven and a half hours) sleeping, watching cartoons animated or check in the "Applications" at which point of the flight we were on the map ....
The plane was, as for the first leg, a 330, so large and comfortable, the staff friendly, with an eye towards young children, to whom was given a crib/cot opposite to the seats of the parents, where the space is wider.
Good meal and breakfast; also in this route there was provided a box full with earplugs, non-slip socks, eye bandage, etc. ...
In Istanbul, the transit was easy. There are very clear indications written in the boards arranged a little everywhere.
We arrived in Istanbul almost at dawn, under a clear sky and with a wonderful view of the city still illuminated by the lights of the night below us.
I noted with great pleasure that the checks at the airport in Istanbul are very accurate. While waiting for the next transit to our gate, in the gate beside the staff was embarking passengers bound for London: passports were often also checked by an expert equipped with a magnifying eyepiece and camera.
Also the second part of the flight, to Venice, is spent in the best way : flight on time, seats like by reservation in Italy, good breakfast.
While we were flying over Croatia, we had under us a carpet of white clouds so dense as to seem of cotton, a dazzling spectacle. Flying over Istria then we could recognize around Pula areas that we frequent regularly, almost every year; it was really nice, how exciting it was to revise the Emilian and Venetian coast, shortly before arrival in Venice .... and already thinking back nostalgically to the beautiful lagoon of Biyadhoo, what we were doing there just 24 hours before and then to dream the future and new projects for the next holiday Maldivian holiday !
My first trip with Turkish Airlines started with a little unexpected: I was not able to check-in online.
After several attempts, with an email I asked the customer service of Venice if they could clarify the reason and almost immediately they replied (very nice for the promptness!) That depended on my request for assistance during transit at Istanbul airport. Moral: if you want to check in online, do not ask for assistance (free of charge) during transits.
Luckily at the counter of Turkish Airlines the queue was one person, but next time I will not ask more such aid, also because in Istanbul it was very easy to get to our gate.
The plane arrived at the gate in Venice quite punctual, but he left with almost an hour late. We do not understand why (a storm that broke out in the meantime?), but because of this we came to Istanbul at 23:25 instead of at 22:45 (stunning vision of Istanbul all lit up at night!) .
We would have to embark at 0:05 .... I thought: "I'll have the assistance, then where's the problem?"
But no! At the exit from the terminal we found just no one to guide us!
Luckily, just before you get off the carrier, on the screen in front of the seat, I found the information about flight connections, with reporting of the boarding gate, and with that information it was really easy to find the way forward, I would never have believed it!
Ataturk Airport is really huge, crowded, with people of every ethnicity, colorful ... shame about the definitely not clean bathrooms.
Negative note of flight: the screen in front of the seat worked at times. It was full of games, movies, entertainment, but you could not send commands easily with the touch of a finger. (The plane was a 321, with seats arranged in two rows of three, a bit uncomfortable if you wanted to go to the bathroom, but it was fine the same , given the short route to go).
Positive notes: friendly staff and excellent meal, although small in quantity (delicious eggplant stuffed with chicken and vegetables with rice in tomato sauce!
looking for a doctor
The excursion to Guraidhoo did not fit in our plans but unfortunately our baby got sick and we had a bad surprise. The doctor of Rannalhi was not there. We were told at the reception that since at least 8 months he is gone and has not been replaced . In fact, in front of the clinic you will find a nice adv: if you need a doctor : contact the reception in case of need . And in the case of non-urgent needs they will transport you free to Guraidhoo , the closest island on which there is a medical clinic , in case of an emergency or serious cases instead they will establish a speedboat carrying you directly to the Male hospital . our case was not urgent and so we were told to arrive at reception the next morning at 8:30 am to take us to the doctor . In reality, we have been inserted in the excursion to island of fishermen and with other couples of tourists at 9 we left with the dhoni direction Guraidhoo . The sea was flat and it was a pleasant trip with Dhoni about 1 hour . we saw several islands along our journey . Fihalohi ( where we were going next week ) , Biyadhoo and the neighboring island on which there was a resort that was now closed, the Cocoa Island FUn and more' away Olhuveli . Once arrived we found several guides that were waiting for us , one for each room. Our guide spoke Italian and led us straight to the clinic where a friendly nurse checked us in and then the doctor has visited the child. The guide was very friendly, took us to the pharmacy for the ' local purchase of drugs ( manufactured by Glaxo , for 2 drugs cost only a few dollars). then he offered to let us visit the island .. in reality we went through a couple of streets and we were already on the square close to embarkation , where we could rest under the shade of the palm trees waiting for the tourists to visit the island . The guide stubborn made us pass right in front of shops of some of his friends who wanted to propose the purchase of any kind. Unfortunately, we did not want to make any purchase but only to return to the resort. Fortunately, the tour ended shortly after for all of us and taken back to the dhoni 's and at lunchtime we were back in Rannalhi . the island is not small, there are many houses, the chickens roam free in the courtyards , there are hammocks hanging under the palm trees , also do not miss the mosque , the school , the clinic and there is also a mental hospital . Our visit was in the pre-election period and flags were everywhere for the party of deposed president . The inhabitants thought he would be re-elected but it did not happen . the island would be nice if it was a bit' more ' clean. There is trash everywhere . empty cans , bottles, abandoned everywhere. Near the harbour they are building a 3-floors building that will become guest house with diving center, is a gray cube of concrete that clashes with the environment. Too bad because there are tall palm trees around and a beautiful beach near the pier . I hope that with this guest house and then with a greater influx of tourists, residents will find the desire to take better care of their island, which has suffered damage caused by the tsunami and is little frequented by tourists since Rannalhi is no longer run by Ventaglio Tour operator . They have the good fortune to be born in a wonderful place , sorry to see that they neglect in this way. The guide told us that once they used to build the walls of houses with corals ripped from the barrier. Fortunately, this practice is not over widespread and now the barriers are no longer massacred to build houses. This is already a major achievement . Maybe one day even the tourists will stop stepping on the barrier or break off pieces of coral and then leave before they leave home. Once back from the excursion we thought that we would be charged for the trip since we had been stuck in a group excursion. instead they were very nice and did not ask anything for this transport because they could not provide a medical service on the island . I will Talk more about the kindness of the staff of Rannalhi in the next review , but I must say that on this occasion they proved to be very friendly and helpful and they were also interested in following the state of health of the child, we have very much appreciated it.
Cocktail facing a romantic sunset
This is one of the best bar at Kurumba, located in the western corner of the island, just in front of a small island which I think is private; behind this island the sun sets to the delight of those who are enjoying the sunset at the beach, sipping a drink at the beach bar.
The beach bar is the typical beach bar, little, white, thatched roof, smiling and friendly barmen are ready to meet the needs of customers. The characteristic pillows placed all around the bars of kurumba and in particular at the beach bar are nice bright colors, orange, green, blue. On these big pillows you can sit as if they were comfortable armchairs. The kids love them but adults do not remain indifferent. At the beach bar you can eat or have a drink, I recommend those ones made with fresh fruit or munch on something, and you can enjoy all these sitting on these comfortable cushions (if you want to try something different from the typical sunbeds) maybe on the seashore waiting for the sun drops below or searching some refreshment under the palms during the hottest part of the day.
this bar is located in a good position, it is easily accessible from any part of the island . the paths that cut through the island towards internal sports area and kids club allow you to reach it easily on foot even if you are on the opposite side of the island .
To reach it from the beach is a bit ' more' complicated because a part of the island is reserved for villas and then you can not make the whole tour of the island from the sea shore . But the gardens are so beautiful that it will be a pleasure to walk through them in the middle of the island. Next to the beach bar there is a small pier that ends with a small circular clearing , this space is held in the evening romantic candlelight dinners for 2. What could you wish more 'than a romantic dinner by the sea, just you 2 , with your feet in the sand and a sky full of stars ? For me it's beautiful. And I think I am not the only one who thinks so , in fact often on this pier , guests dine during their honey moon and even weddings and renewals of vows are celebrated . we met 2 young married Russians guys who had just celebrated their rite and were taking ritual pictures in front of the beach bar, they were very nice . The barman had brought them flutes for the toast and they have been immortalized (maybe even from some guest) while toasting near the sea . Lovely.
I really liked the beach bar also because it is a quiet meeting place . sports center is located in an 'other area of the island and so you are not disturbed by water jet wind surfing and other water activities .
Here come the children of Maaya kids club to build their sand castles with the nannies on some days of the week, but they are small groups of children playing with the nannies and do not bother at all.
here you will pass if you want to go to soak up the coral gardens that are not far from the bar and you will have it handy as a reference point when you come back.
Of course if you need a shower after snorkelling you'll find along the beach and there are also straw umbrellas if the palms are not offering enough shadow for refresh.
at low tide the walls appear "beautiful view" on the water and are not no beautiful to see . this island in fact was mainly affected by the proximity to the city' , if there were no walls to contain the waves that are raised by all the boats passing all around, the high waves would enter into the lagoon and it would always be rather agitated. the walls instead allow you to have quiet water in the lagoon, despite the waves that arrive due to the wake of the boats. Unfortunately these walls often remain trapped waste plastic ... the usual problem ... there is always so much , too much plastic that ends up in the sea and that too often becomes food for fish . then at low tide is more easy to see this waste and are never pleasant to see. Sometimes you have to wait even that an ugly big boat transporting container has passed before you can take pictures from this side of the island . However, in my opinion the big black smoke that is coming from the incinerator is the thing I most disliked. sometimes depending on the wind just looks sharp and clearly visible on the horizon and spoils the harmony of the beautiful scenery. when you see this smoke you're sure you'll remember to bring home with you all waste cans that you have, because you can not think to leave them as rubbish before you come home and let them help to increase the unhealthy black cloud .On this point kurumba management rightly insists to make tourists sensitive, because it helps to maintain the environment clean and to reduce the problems of waste disposal. Personally I have really enjoyed their policy, that they attempt to preserve the environment . No coincidence that they are trying to plant new coral to create new life in the lagoon. it is seen that they seek to preserve and care for their environment, and they do well . more the island is beautiful more we want to go back to visit it. And then I cannot forget to mention that the kurumba bar serve delicious ice cream , their coconut sorbet is lovely. I am sure you will appreciate it as soon as you get it at the arrival on the island....
Fishes for your travel kit
Like all women I love shopping and anywhere I go around the world I like to go home with a souvenir of the place that I loved, to better remember where I was and the good times spent. The first time you visit a site, you are more tempted to stock up on souvenirs than the subsequent times but I have to say that for us now is ' a must" to go home with a new magnet for our fridge and a new shirt for our boy. also beacuse boys grow up, and every year there is the need of a new one ( maybe we could go year after year to maintain this tradition). The first time I went to the Maldives I brought home tea from Sri Lanka, sarongs, spices and a nice puzzle with fish paintings purchased at the airport waiting for boarding. I must say that already at that time the prices at the airport were not exactly cheap but still more affordable than today. I knew that we were buying the souvenirs that were for the most part of them imported from other countries, but these souvenirs were something of Maldives the same, they rememer me the sea ,the sun, most fascinating Asia. The Sri Lankan tea is delightful for me and I still buy the brand of tea that I tried for the first time in the Maldives. At kurumba island in fact they proposed a Supreme Ceylon tea that is delicious and of which we are in love. Another' tea pleasant enough is hte one we purchased at Palm beach. I think the promotional idea that they had at Palm Beach was very interesting: a couple of afternoons a week during the tea time they proposed tastings of various flavors of tea that they sold in their shop 's tea . I just experienced it at Palm beach, perhaps because run by Italian entrepreneurs, I have to say that I found a good way to get the tea to the guests and allow them to evaluate a possible purchase. On Palm beach island I found also ' a shop where they paint canvas, wood and T-shirts with different designs. The quality was really good and I've bought the the most beautiful T-shirts for the boys among the various trips. The cotton was okay and normal prices. Even postcards and sarongs were average quality that both x and prices. But in my opinion the king of souvenirsis the fridge magnet in the shape of butterfly fish or surgeon. We are collecting them and we like them so much more, perhaps because they remind us the wonderful sea that we love so much . Then if you travel with the kids you can not miss the pencils with the little fish, postcards and t-shirts. In short, we always have some souvenirs to take home. Then I'm a ' passionate about photography and so I purchased the traditional photo albums and photo frames , the first l I brought home back in 2004 ... my notes for a place where I had to go back one day ... And so it happened. And when the I look I seem to have bought it only yesterday but 10 years are passed...
The last year I purchased the classic fan that I enjoyed in the hottest days, this year I had forgotten the home but was always windy and I never felt the lack. If you like saffron, do not forget to buy flowers, fragrant and delicious , and once home in your kitchen you will have a touch of the orient to keep you company. Of course you will always find in souvenir shops shells, wood products ( very nice fish and dolphins carved ) painted canvas or printed t shirts, sarongs , beach towels, ashtrays, playing cards and unfortunately a lot of objects that smells+ like plastic Made in china and finished, typical souvenirs of industrial origin, they are cheap but also with a little soul. Obviously I do not like this kind of gadget, I find them cold and impersonal, a little like if I went to the supermarket to buy a gift x someone important ... Maybe the other souvenirs have the same origin, I do not know, but I prefer to think that are produced in other countries closer to the island I am visiting. Oh I forgot the most precious gift, probably because I've never bought ... I mean precious stones and gold jewelery. I bought beautiful necklaces but never in jewelry of the islands. Even here there are products to suit all tastes and for all budgets . I saw the pretty charms with the typical forms of dolphins, whales , turtles next to necklaces and bracelets very elaborate and expensive. Sometimes jewelers also offer special discounts and promo days, I think they do because they do sell very rarely ... It never happened to see these stores crowded . In principle, the shop is always busy if they sell snorkeling gear or cosmetics, maybe they should aim a little more even on electronics, so if one forgets a sd or a charger must not give up their photo (or switch the phone ) . And then it would be nice to have the opportunity to buy phone cards also on the islands, not just at the airport, because if you arrive outside the opening hours of the stores of the airport you can not buy a Maldivian phone card to call home, indispensable if you need to call without spending a heritage. Oh, I almost forgot! During our last trip I received the package Maldives Traveler and so has added a new sarong to my collection and lovely postcards,thank you Maldives Traveller.
A MASSAGE IN PARADISE
Well, after the excitement of our wedding, the build up and explosion of emotions of the best day of our life, a massage in paradise was definitely in order.
It was very hard dragging ourselves away from our sunbeds where we were enjoying the stunning sea views with a cold beer at our sides, but it was worth it. The spa is a beautiful and tranquil setting that relaxes you as soon as you enter.
The staff were very professional, as were all of the staff on the island, and we were never unsettled from our sleepy state.
We both had the 60 minute body massage. It was incredible. I must admit, I fell asleep within minutes, but I have never fallen asleep during a massage before, and have never felt so good afterwards. It really set us up for the rest of our honeymoon.
You must stay at this hotel if you are thinking of visiting the Maldives and you must experience the spa.
I regret to begin saying that I was disappointed when I discovered that there was more 'Coconut Spa' but in its place there was Chavana. I have no prejudice for Chavana at all but I was enchanted by the coconut spa in palm beach and I was hoping to enjoy the pampering of the same this time too.
Of course, even if it was coconut I immediately looked for the spa because a massage by the sea for me is the top , do not you deny my disappointment when I found myself in front of the building of the spa.
unfortunately it is indoors , with cabins on 2 floors .
The desire to pamper myself I honestly say that was a bit passed because indoors the magic of the sound of the sea disappears and I seem to be in a beauty salon here at home.
The girls are very nice, always smiling and always on hand to present their treatments . The impression I got was that the spa was not crowdy at all , perhaps many other tourists have made my own assessment , or the Oriental hosts have preferred the traditional Chinese massage in the shed next to the sports center ... the prices are not particularly interesting and I found standard treatments, nothing special I would be interested in.
For me it is wrong not to offer a mini trial treatment as it is done at the Coconut , this would definitely attract more guests to try other treatments. Then probably even the weather did not help ... the weather was beautiful, with a sun so beautiful that maybe noone wanted to shut themselves up in a closet , even if for a massage, it would be really a shame with that sun.
The location of the spa is in a beautiful ' corner of ' island , on the seaside, looks good from outside and is in line with the style of the island .
I 'm not interested in Chinese traditional treatment and so I can not compare treatments and prices, but the hut was a bit too spartan viewed from outside and therefore unattractive, especially at peak times of the bar with music and noise that will surely take away the serenity and the peace that you go to look for when you go for a massage.
Turkish bridge between Europe and Asia
Last year after having studied and discarded all the possible combinations of my preferred airlines (Qatar, British, Emirates, Etihad and Oman) I tried to look for other solutions to flight, so I began to study Turkish, prices and reviews. Price is important but I prefer to choose a company that is reliable and comfortable if possible, even if it is a few hours flight, rather than the best price on the market. So the Turkish airlines proposal seemed interesting and flight times were perfect according to our needs. then we decided to book the flights to and from Turin. happy Choosing because this little airport , easy to get, a little crowdy , is absolutely preferable to a Malpensa, with its parking too broad and not really comfortable.
I confess I was a little disappointed by the fact that during the act of booking I have not been able to book the seats (Turkish about this has much to learn from large companies). The website said that you can only reserve seats from 100 days of departure, I don't know if when you book within 100 days there is this chance but I have never been able to book them . I tried to return to the reservation , I wrote emails and phoned the Turkish but in the end they told me that I had to call them a day before departure and they would book them. Here in Italy they have always responded in a courteous way both via email and telephone . then I had my check in online for the one way and was ready to go. For the return is totally another story because from Male you cannot do online check in, or at least they did not last year' s and this is unfortunately a limit.
In fact, for the return flight there was a big queue at the airport to check in, and among all The flight arrived from Colombo and then it was already plenty of people.
Result: many couples or families were divided and scattered in places rather too far on the flight and this is never pleasant. We weke lucky , we were close but the boys that climbed before and after us have not had the same luck . If you then add that at the passport control there was an endless queue and it took us almost an hour to pass the control you can imagine how happy we were when the flight was delaied... it was midnight passed and we started to be all tired . However, the flight arrived on time despite the late start and has flown safely despite the bad weather and we saw a dreamy dawn.
I would now like to touch on a couple of comments that relate to the aircraft: first class flight from Turin is a joke... the seats are the same seats of the economy, the difference is only the number of the row, as they are the first 6 rows. Surely they will have some better on-board service but I do not think that justifies the price difference . the seats in economy are fine. the seats are comfortable enough, little legroom. there is no individual screen but it is short trip, so no problem. They bring you the typical sweets that you will see later in Istanbul on sale in all the shops in the duty free and about half of the flight they will be serving a meal. the on-board catering is uncared . we had booked special meals for me and the baby. the hostess bothered and said there were not any. but in the end she found the child meal for my son who ironically was served after the adults. About THE fact that it was child meal I have doubts... it was definitely different from the standard menu but had nothing special belonging to children, maybe the peas in place of cucumbers and a chocolate mousse instead of the salad. There is a magazine for children but hostess do not wear it if you do not explicitly request . After the stop in Istanbul , bright new airport, big, new bathrooms, all of them unclean, after a bizarre check in with the hostess of land that ran between the chairs to tear tickets, we finally boarded the second flight. beautiful plane, quite new, quite comfortable. all seats have the screen (although the return the screen is is always only on the longest fare ) good selection of movies and entertainment programs for both adults and children. unfortunately also on board the bathrooms were unclean and after half flight toilet paper began to finish. again on the catering service we would have to say ... my light meal was made up of fish accompanied by 3 salads of tomato cucumbers and a fruit salad. a little boring. And the breakfast resurfaced again a salad of tomatoes and cucumbers. The child meal was definitely more ' imaginative' : for breakfast meatballs in tomato sauce with beans ... and not even a yogurt ..
Fortunately there is always some cookies in your backpack... Basically if I were to fly back with the Turkish certainly would fly with them, we flew well and all of our luggage arrived. They should just check a bit better the measures of hand baggage on board ... that the overhead bins are filled with objects far more' larger size than standard and penalizes other people.
Honestly for the first European airline I would have expected a better quality of service on board but I had already read several reviews that brought to light strengths and weaknesses of the company therefore I just verified that it corresponded to what I read.I was surprised about the number of flights starting from here, a real bridge between Asia and Europe.
Coco's notes and cares
More than a review, I would like to share with you some of the moments and experiences that made my stays on COCO so vivids, memorables.. and differents. Therefore the title: "..notes and cares".
For me, luxury is reached when I have exceptional, unforgettable experiences that involves all my senses and feelings! These are created by nature and by human too.
- People. This is a very, very important aspect to create the magic on an island. The team (here called 'associates') is great: always present, professional and caring. I also work in the hospitality industrie and much, much appreciate when I see such an attitude. Maybe it is also myself to facilitate sorting out such an aspect but still remains that on Bodu I met some 'special' individuals, all are still in my life, mind and heart: Asadh, a multitalented and highly cultured man, he was (still is for me) one of my best butlers and.. beyond.. I learned so much from him! Sobree, my villa attendand, who supported every single special 'desire' of mine regarding the look of my villa and the details. Sanjay and Wei Jei, who were able to create a personalized, tailor made, experience for a very special friend of mine that I invited to join me on Bodu. Jonaki, the indian lady with a big welcome smile and even a bigger heart for her guests and employees. The sunrise 'task force', who every early morning, started my day with a good wish and a smile! I could list many other names and example, please apologize if I am not doing or this review could get really too looooooong..
I close this first point with a mention for GMs, RMs or OMs: personally, it is a huge added value to a resort when I can establish a direct, concrete, valuable contact with them. I well know this is a quite difficult task to cover with all the guests coming.. but still this stays in my priority for a good management and Coco, in all my visits, expecially the last one, always gave me a reason to be very proud of!
- Now let's jump in the pure nature. First over.. then under water.
Coco Bodu Hithi is left overwater quite rustical and natural.. It is not 'a garden' with colorful flowers everywhere, it is more a jungle, a maldivian jungle, so as, for me, it has to be! Think over.. If we plant flowers (or whatever not indigenous) to beautify (what we do need to beautify in Maldives, is still a big question to me!), then we must care, we have to invest precious water to maintain.. and water is such a precious resource in this world! A good part of the world is 'starving' therefore! So, forget about the flowers and let you surrender by a kind of castaway experience..
There are some corners on Bodu Hithi (but expecially one, at night) where it feels like in the middle of 'nowhere'! Discover it on the island! I enjoyed this amazing feeling so much!
Underwater: one of the most important, discriminating point by choosing a resort, here in Europe, is the 'housereef'. Well, fortunately, I can compare within different resorts in Maldives.. and 'surprise'!! Coco Bodu Hithi offer one of the most amazing experience you can get in Maldives! Resident turtles, coral gardens, a huge submarine extended housereef at the level of the Water Villa Resindences, practically 'untouched'!!! Note: I am only a passionate snorkeler. Bodu Hithi offers a vaste range of opportunities to, very easily, discover the underwater miracle of Maldives: you can do this independently (if skilled) or professionally, passionated assisted by the resident marine biologist: Chiara. Do not miss to meet her on the island or to follow her evening presentations! or even to take part on organised cleaning activities.. if reef, lagune or beach.. it doesn't matter! You will feel much better after and a part of the caring Coco team.
- Gastronomy. Every meal I had, was an experience. Whether it was the convivial Air's buffet or the huge 'tower' of grilled seafood at Aqua (where you can have the unique sensation to float over the Indian Ocean, alone with your beloved one in the dark.. in this occasion I cannot avoid to eat primeval with my hands!), or Japanese at Tsuki (well, here, I must 'uplight' that, once, the team also managed a very special request from us and successfully served us (3 pax) nearly 'all' the Tsuki Menu from upstairs to downstairs, on Latitude's terrace, boarding the shimmering infinity pool (what an extraordinary parformance! What a feeling to be unique!), or the Breeze Beach BBQ with additional my feet playing in the sand and, sometimes, in the water like a child, or the overwater walk to reach the "Stars", far out in the silent ocean, by the Escape Residences, the quiet, romantic à la carte location (my suggestion: this experience has absolutely to be started with an aperó time at sunset there to reach perfection).
- Coco Spa (recently awarded the Best Luxury Destination Spa in Maldives at the World Luxury Spa Awards 2014). I have a special 'secret playground' corner in this Spa: it is the ocean open view relaxing area! At all day times it is an indipendent Spa's corner for the soul on its own, starting from the sunrise (it is quite facing) till the sunset! Here is the hydrotherapy area and nowhere else the word 'hydro' assumes all the facets you can immagine! The water totally surrounds you and creates the feeling to be a part of this element. It is healing and the real meaning of Spa = salus per aquam, reaches the maximum level!
- Sustainability. Did you ever consider to base your choice for a vacation in Maldives also on this aspect? If not, it is time to start! Coco has an environmental policy and objectives. It is not the only resort, but one of them and they are not so numerous! Just trust me.
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