My last foray to the magical Maldives was on a babymoon in 2009, pregnant with Miss Jetlag. We stayed at the Anantara as I wanted to be a short boat ride away from Male. The trip left us with happy memories of bobbing along in turquoise waters, marvelling at how the Maldives really does look like its promo pictures. Cut to nearly 10 years later (good lord) and visions of white powder sand and azure blues came calling. Except this time, we had two extra passengers to transport. If you’ve ever looked into a Maldives trip, you’ll know that there are some exorbitantly priced luxury resorts out there. Despite securing my flights was airmiles, there was still no way I could justify those crazy prices. Lucky for me, my friend Kathleen extolled the virtues of a ‘great value luxury resort’ that was a mere 10 minutes by speedboat from Male Airport. As this was a short trip and I didn’t have time to wait around for the seaplane transfers, I was sold! Kurumba was the first resort to be opened in the Maldives in 1972. Here’s what we made of our 4 night stay in November…
When to go to the Maldives?
The monsoon runs from May to October and the best time to visit is November to April. We visited in early November and had perfect weather, bar a few short showers.
What room should I book at Kurumba?
There are various different options, ranging from pool villa to beachfront bungalow. You won’t find any of the popular ‘over the water’ bungalows. We stayed in a Deluxe Bungalow, cheaper than the Beachfront and set back in the coconut grove. There are various dining plans, you need to work out what’s right for your family. We opted for Bed & Breakfast as we wanted the chance to explore the different restaurants and not feel restricted.
It’s always worth viewing the resort map to get an idea of where the rooms are. They all have their pros & cons depending on what’s important to you. If you love to snorkel, the best bit of reef stretches between rooms 178 to 258.
How did I get to the Maldives?
I used Krisflyer miles and managed to bag four tickets on Singapore Airlines from Singapore to Male. Flying time is just under 5 hours. On our outbound leg, we took off at 8pm and arrived at 10pm. There wasn’t a large queue at immigration, although it helps to be near the front of the plane so you can rush off. Our return flight was a bit annoying although it did allow us the full day in the Maldives. Take off at 11pm and landing in Singapore around 7am, although not really enough time for a full night’s sleep!
Boat Transfer to Kurumba
What I loved about this resort is the accessibility. You can march straight off the plane and on to a speedboat. Ten minutes later you’re being welcomed to paradise. If you’re staying at a resort with a seaplane transfer, you may have to stay the night in Male as the seaplanes only operate during daylight hours. If, like us, you are on a short break to the Maldives, a resort with a speedboat transfer is the most efficient use of your time.
We were staying in a Deluxe Bungalow, a 74 sqm room, set back from the beach in the coconut grove. Our Bungalow had a King Bed and they converted the day bed for Miss Jetlag and brought in a rollaway for Miss Mayhem.
The outdoor bathroom is beautiful with a bath and two showers. There is also a verandah with a day bed. Our room was perfectly comfortable. When your surroundings are so beautiful, it really is just a place to lay your head at the end of the day!
Although you’re really here for the paradise beach and turquoise sea, there is a lovely pool close to the Reception area. There’s a good size gym, tennis court and water sports centre. We loved taking the kayaks out and spotting fish.
You can also hire snorkel equipment although it would be much cheaper to bring your own. Kurumba even offers complimentary snorkelling lessons if you are a newbie. I was surprised by how good the snorkelling was. The resort is surrounded by wave breakers, which make for ideal snorkelling conditions. Inside the sea wall are small coral outcrops with some fish. Just beyond the wall is a larger variety of coral and colourful fish. We even saw stingrays and turtles.
There are scheduled activities for both adults and children. I did a yoga class, which was very relaxing and my kids loved the Majaa Kids’ Club. In addition to timetabled activities e.g. crafts, cupcake making, you can also just leave them to chill out and play with the toys (complimentary drop off for ages 4 to 13). There’s a huge water play area and every day at 5pm they turn on the sprinklers and let the kids run riot.
I want to give special mention to the staff who were friendly, helpful and unobtrusive. From the ladies in the Kids’ Club to the waiters in the restaurants, everyone we came across was highly professional (I guess when you’ve been running a resort this long, you’ve got your training down pat!)
Due to its proximity to Male, there is a part of the island where your view is interrupted by land and buildings. However, that’s no real issue, walk 5 minutes around the corner and you are staring out into a sea of blue. It takes about 30 minutes to walk around the island and is a good way to burn off the buffet breakfast. There are so many beautiful spots to walk and swim out to, including the iconic Kurumba swing and hammock.
The Kurumba dining experience was the biggest surprise of the trip for me. There are eight restaurants and we enjoyed spectacular meals at all of them. The restaurants stylishly decorated in keeping with their theme and our favourites were Al Qasr and Mahal. The Buffet Breakfast at Vilhamanaa is also top quality.
If cocktails are your thing, there are some super spots on the island to sip that mai tai. Athiri Beach Bar is the best place for sunset and we enjoyed a spot of Scrabble at Kandu.
You are spoilt for choice with resorts in the Maldives. However if you are looking for a luxury hotel close to the airport, decent value for money with a good Kids Club, Kurumba’s your man. This was such a special experience for us all, it makes returning to your bog standard beach quite difficult! We will definitely be back Kurumba!