If you were to ask a handful of people where they dreamed of traveling to the most, you can be sure that for many people, the Maldives would be top of their travel wish list. The Maldives Islands are some of the world’s most enchanting and dream-like destinations, with untouched stretches of white sand dotted with palm trees, and water that’s more clear and still than any beach you’ve seen before.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we had the trip of a lifetime, visiting not just one but three of the Maldives islands: Kurumba, Kandima, and Como Cocoa.
We wanted to do more than just get a taste of the Maldives, we wanted to experience everything they had to offer. So rather than just one island, we decided to visit three, and with each island we fell more in love with the Maldives.
Setting foot in the Maldives
We decided to visit the oldest island first: Kurumba. So on the 5th August we flew to Malé airport, excited to see if the Maldives lived up to the beautiful pictures we’d seen online and in magazines.
We flew with Emirates airlines, from Kuwait, and the flight only took us about 5 hours.
When we touched down at Malé Airport, we were surprised to see that this wasn’t like any other airport we’d been to. Rather than it being bustling and confusing, the airport was organised particularly efficiently, with different counters for each resort.
The team of staff for our resort had taken care of our luggage for us, so we didn’t have to worry about a thing. We were free to take in the new destination. Airports can often be a stressful part of traveling, but this was the most relaxed airport experience we had ever had.
During the planning stages of our trip, we’d heard from friends that we should expect rain – not something we wanted during our trip to paradise. So as we walked out of the airport, into beautiful sunshine and pure heat, we all broke into smiles of relief.
From the airport, we were taken to a speed boat and given life jackets. The 20-minute ride to Kurumba was an experience in itself, as we zipped over the still waters of the Maldives, James Bond style, enjoying the perfect views of ocean and islands.
After what felt like just a few minutes, we docked alongside the wooden boardwalks of Kurumba’s harbour.
Kurumba – our first taste of paradise
Almost the moment we stepped off the boat, we were greeted by a friendly team who took us to the reception. The staff were all very friendly, and as we entered reception we were handed refreshing cooling towels. We had been in the Maldives for less than an hour, but the towel was a welcome luxury after our brief encounter with the sun.
As if the warm welcome, the stunning ocean views, and the refreshing towel hadn’t been luxury enough, we were then surprised with a fresh, homemade coconut ice cream, made from the coconuts of the islands. The ice cream was delicious, and we were grateful for such a thoughtful gesture. After such an amazing greeting from the island of Kurumba, we were excited to see what the rest of our stay had in store for us.
After we had finished our ice cream and checked in, we were shown to our Deluxe Pool Villa: our home for the next 3 days. Our luggage was already waiting for us, but before unpacking we must have walked around our villa several times, enjoying everything it had to offer.
The first thing we noticed about the villa, besides the luxury layout and inviting pool, was the air conditioning, which was delightfully cool in comparison with the hot and humid outdoors.
The villa had plenty of space, 160 square meters of space in fact! There was a huge king sized bed, that was so comfortable we almost couldn’t get up again after laying on it. At the end of the bed was a chaise lounge, which was a perfect perching spot, facing the garden.
Around the headboard were lights from four directions, which added a cosy feel to the room, and made the bed look even more inviting (if that’s possible!).
The bedroom and the living room were open plan, with the option to separate the two with sliding wooden doors. We left the doors open, so that we could look out from the bedroom into the garden, and make the most of the natural light.
There were two flat screen TVs in the villa, both equipped with satellite TV channels, and DVD players. Combined with the comfortable and spacious sofa, this was the perfect set up for a movie night.
There honestly was anything you could possibly need for a relaxing evening, including a Bose Bluetooth speaker, electrical adapters, aromatherapy amenities, and even…a wine cellar! And for days out, there was a beach bag with beach slippers and towels for us to use.
We had been so enamoured with the interior of our villa that we’d almost forgotten to venture out into our garden. Our own private pool meant the garden was already our favourite part of the villa, and we couldn’t wait to take a dip.
The pool was a generous size and had an outdoor Jacuzzi attached, which we were very impressed with. Beside the pool there was also an outdoor shower (in addition to the indoor shower), so we could rinse off before and after using the pool.
For relaxing outside, there was a private gazebo with a day bed, so we could relax outside and enjoy the heat, whilst being nicely sheltered from the sun.
As well as being a fully equipped space to relax, swim and enjoy the weather, the villa also offered beautiful views of the ocean, so there were some prime picture opportunities within our little complex.
Venturing outside the Kurumba Villa
Once we had spent some time enjoying our villa, we unpacked some of our things and then decided to venture outside of the villa, to see what else Kurumba had to offer.
The resort seemed to be a family-friendly island, with several different restaurant options, and more activities than we could possibly have fit into our three days. There were days out for everyone, from water sports to scuba diving and snorkeling, to seaplane or cruise excursions. And for families with younger ones, there was a kids’ club which looked like good fun, and teens’ activities too.
We found eight different restaurants that all looked delicious, and all served different styles of cuisines, so whether we fancied Thai, Indian, Italian, Middle Eastern – we had our pick. The resort also had a ‘culinary calendar’ with different flavours and themes on certain days. For example, some nights were BBQ nights at certain restaurants, other nights were vegetarian nights.
Some restaurants were open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, such as the Vihamanaa International Buffet restaurant, whilst others were only open for dinner, such as the romantic, over-water venue Hamakaze. The mixture of different restaurants indicated that Kurumba catered for families as well as couples, adventure-seekers as well as those looking to relax in style.
During our exploration of the island, we came across the Veli Spa, a spa dedicated to balance, positive energy and a mixture of modern and traditional therapies.
We took a look at the treatments on offer and found that they all used natural ingredients such as oils from the local coconuts, or pastes made from indigenous herbs. The Veli Spa focuses on the healing power of the Maldives’ natural plants, tranquility and solace.
The range of treatments on offer was extensive, but what really impressed us was the option to ‘spa under the stars’. As well as the inside treatment rooms, there was an outside gazebo covering a massage table, where we could receive one of the treatments under the clear starry sky.
For the daytime, there were also yoga classes designed to help you relax and reach inner peace in one of the world’s most tranquil settings.
Goodbye Kurumba, hello Kandima
We spent our three days in Kurumba enjoying the beautiful beaches and partaking in activities like snorkeling. Each morning we woke feeling more relaxed than the last, and each morning we rose to the sound of the islands different species. We got a glimpse of the marine life of the Maldives, and we certainly got used to the relaxing vibe as we enjoyed beach days, fine dining, spa sessions, and lazy villa afternoons.
Our three days in Kurumba definitely didn’t feel like long enough, so after our third night we were sad to wave goodbye to our Deluxe villa, and the sights of Kurumba, but at the same time, we were excited to see our next destination had in store for us: Kandima.
The resort staff took our luggage for us, the management staff came and said goodbye and we were taken back to the boat that brought us to the island. Another twenty minutes and we back in Malé, where we needed to catch a flight to Dhaalu Atoll. We thanked the Kurumba team for their help and hospitality, and they introduced us to a team of people from Kandima. They told us that they were taking care of all of our travel arrangements, including our flight tickets, and that all we needed to do was sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight, or catch up on any work.
Once again, our experience with Maldives airports proved to be impeccable and completely hassle-free. From the moment we arrived at the airport, to the moment we touched down in Dhaalu Atoll.
When we came through the arrivals hall, the team were once again waiting for us with a sign with my name on it. We were taken by a luxury bus to another speed boat, which took us to Kandima in just twenty minutes.
When we arrived in Kandima, it seemed as though all of the resort staff were waiting to greet us. We received a warm welcome from the team of friendly and professional staff, and instantly we knew we were in for another three nights of luxury.
After checking in, we were taken to our Ocean Pool Villa, which we were blown away by. The modern design with floor to ceiling windows meant the villa was open and airy. The blue from the ocean bounced off the glass panels and the mirrors, casting a beautiful light over every part of villa.
The enormous bed was not only comfortable, but it also had the best views in the entire villa. We were able to watch the sunset over the water from the comfort of our bed, and when it came to our time to sleep, there were blinds and drapes that blocked out the sun, though it was tempting to leave them open so that we’d be woken by the rising sun. Even with the curtains closed though, we awoke each morning to the sound of gentle waves.
The interior had a simple, elegant design, but the main feature of the villa was the amazing view and the private pool. With the villa at the water’s edge, the pool jutted out over-water, so from our private pool we could look over the edge and into the gentle lapping ocean. We had the best of the both worlds: a part beach, part over-water villa.
The fact that the villa was part over-water meant that we had complete privacy. The villas were all spaced apart, and they all also faced out over the ocean, so when we looked out from our bedroom, or from our pool, there wasn’t a person in sight.
We set out to see what this island had to offer, and found out a little more about it. Kandima is a much larger and newer island, and as such it’s become one of the trendier resorts. It was definitely larger, and had a more modern feel than Kurumba, in fact it felt like a mini city, with two airports and even it’s own medical centre.
Kandima, like Kurumba, seemed to have something for everyone – a perk of being a larger island. We met other families and couples, and quickly realised that whether you wanted a destination that had plenty of activities and excursion options, or you wanted a place to be alone, Kandima had it all.
There were also a lot more restaurant options, from family friendly restaurants, to laid back beach clubs, to fine dining and romantic venues. If three days in Kurumba hadn’t felt like enough, we were definitely going to have to pack as much in as possible to our three days in Kandima.
The Diving School and Marine Biology Centres offered a range of different excursions, and for the more adventurous there was an impressive water sports centre. Or for those looking for more relaxing activities, we also had the option to join yoga sessions, cookery classes, cocktail making classes, dancing lessons, and even art workshops.
The games room and kids’ clubs were popular with families with little ones, and the Kandiland Kids Club means that parents can enjoy a relaxation session in the esKape Spa, whilst their little ones enjoy a programme full of fun and games.
We were definitely intrigued by the esKape Spa, which had treatment rooms that opened up onto the shore. There was also a steam room with aromatherapy oils, so we could enjoy the full spa experience. For the ladies, the spa also offered beauty and nail treatments.
We filled our three days with water activities, relaxation, interesting workshops and amazing dining experiences. In the evenings we also enjoyed entertainment in the nearby beach bars, which consisted of music, dancing, and beautifully presented cocktails.
The ultimate Maldives experience: Como Cocoa
Our third and final island was the perfect end to our Maldives experience. Como Cocoa was the best island so far, and we were pleased we’d saved the best until last.
To get there we had to make our way back to Malé airport, and from there we took our longest boat ride yet for an hour.
We weren’t too sure what to expect from Como Cocoa, as we had heard that it was a small resort, with just 33 overwater suites, and one restaurant.
When we arrived though, we were amazed at the hospitality and professionalism of the staff. We were greeted by the general manager, who knew each member of my family by name, and made a point to greet us each individually. We have stayed in hotels where the staff have been aware of my name before, but for the general manager to know not just my name, but the names of my family, we felt honoured.
It’s amazing how something as simple as a personalised greeting can transform the start of a trip, but we felt instantly valued by the staff. They seemed as happy to see us as we did to see the island.
After we had been greeted by the manager we were shown to reception and given fresh coconut water, again made from Maldives coconuts. We checked in swiftly, and were told if we needed anything all we had to do was ask.
We were then shown to our Loft Villa, which was the most idyllic over-water suite you can imagine. Whilst the design was fairly simple and modest, the boardwalk to the villa, and the over-water location made it perhaps the most luxurious accommodation we have ever stayed in. We were told the villas were inspired by Dhoni boats.
As we walked down the wooden path, that was just a couple of centimetres above the water, we knew we were somewhere truly special. For miles around, there was just clear blue ocean, that we could dip into just by stepping down from our villa.
We had both an upstairs and a downstairs, with upstairs being the sleeping area, with a luxury king sized bed and sloping loft ceilings. Downstairs was the living area, which was fully equipped with a sofa and a flat screen TV.
The downstairs living room had glass doors which opened out onto a private terrace with a seating area and a daybed. The terrace offered shade from the sun, and we could lower ourselves from the end of it into the Maldivian sea.
As for the bathroom, we had both a bath and a shower, two sinks, and cabinets equipped with all the towels and toiletries we could possibly need. There was also another shower outside, which had steps down to the sea.
We were truly at one with the ocean in this accommodation, and could even watch fish swimming beneath our villa.
Como Cocoa Island: outside of the villa
Como Cocoa Island was much smaller than the other islands we had visited, and seemed to be more suited to couples or honeymooners. There weren’t as many activities, but we still had the option to do excursions like diving, snorkeling and cruising. There were also marine talks that we could attend, private boat charter opportunities and water sport lessons.
There was also a team of skilled therapists who offered spa packages, and different massage therapies as well as beauty treatments. They led yoga retreats, and nutrition workshops and used Asian-based therapies.
Como Cocoa was very much dedicated to relaxation and romance, but even as a family we experienced luxury like never before, and would consider this a once in a lifetime opportunity.
As for dining, there may not have been many restaurant options, but the UFAA restaurant had more dishes than we had time to try, including Indian and Mediterranean cuisine. We liked the fact that they used local ingredients, and prided themselves on serving healthy and nutritious dishes.
Reflecting on our time in the Maldives
When our time came to leave the Maldives and return home, we were all sad to say goodbye. We received such a warm welcome from all of the people we encountered, and we visited what can only be described as paradise.
Whilst the islands were all very different in terms of scenery, activities, accommodation and dining options, they all had one thing in common: the resort staff were welcoming and made us feel at home on each island. They were always pleased to see us, and throughout our whole trip we were made to feel important and welcome.
Regardless of how old you are, or who you’re traveling with, the Maldives are definitely worth visiting, and if I get the chance again, I would love to go back to any of the islands.
We visited the Maldives wondering if they’d live up to our expectations, and in all honesty, each resort was over and above what we could have expected or hoped for. Visiting the Maldives was like a dream come true.
Republic of Maldives.
T: +960 664 2324
F: +960 664 3885
Dhaalu Atoll, Republic of Maldives.
COMO COCOA ISLAND
South Male Atoll
Republic of Maldives.
T. +960 664 1818