Charles and I decided on Maldives for our “minimoon” as we just wanted to chill and do nothing for a few days after our wedding (7.1.17). We picked Hurawalhi as it is a brand new resort which opened in Dec ’16 and it has the full board option which means we didn’t have to worry about our food there. Yes, we literally wanted to just chillax.
First things first – *The important cheatsheet*
- Flight time to Male is 4 hours 30 minutes and Male (GMT +5) is behind Singapore by 3 hours.
- SQ, Silkair and Tiger has direct flights from Singapore.
- The seaplanes in Maldives are operated by Trans Maldivian Airways and the aircraft are only flown during daylight. If you arrive after 4pm, you have to stay near the airport for a night. Likewise, if you are leaving late at night, you will have to spend quite a few hours waiting at the airport.
- The seaplane schedules are only confirm one day prior to the flight. Therefore, do not panic if you have not received confirmation from your resort. That’s the way they operate.
- There are a few F&B at the airport prior to check-in if you get hungry – Burger King, The Pizza Company, Thai Express (surprise surprise, we are there), and The Coffee Club (not the one in Singapore). We chose to use the airport lounge provided by Hurawalhi at an additional cost of US$35 per pax for 3 hours. It’s nothing fancy given the price but it has WIFI access although it wasn’t great either. A BK set meal cost around US$12 here.
- US$ is accepted at the airport and in the resorts. One piece of advise – things here don’t come cheap!
- The temperature of Maldives ranges between 24 to 33 degrees. As we were mostly out in the sun, it felt like 31 degrees during the day. Bring a full tube of sunblock!
- Maldives boost of the largest number of overwater bungalow in the world. Be sure to experience this or you wouldn’t have been to Maldives!
Arriving in Male
We took a SQ’s night flight (8pm) and arrived in Male at 9ish. Male is extremely warm and humid, worse than Singapore at this time of the year considering the cool evenings we have these days. Because the seaplanes do not operate at night, we stayed a night at Male and woke up at 5am for our flight to Hurawalhi. The check-in counter for the seaplane is at the airport. If you arrive during the day, you can take the seaplane directly from the airport. Take note that the seaplane check-in area is not air-conditioned.
The seaplane ride
It was a first for both of us taking the seaplane so we were rather intrigued by it. We were really amused when we saw the pilots in shorts and slippers.
Each seaplane can carry up to 15 passengers and 3 crew (2 pilots and 1 cabin crew). Don’t be mistaken, there is no service onboard. The crew is meant to help with the transferring of the luggage onto and off the aircraft. Just for the record, our ride to Hurawalhi is 40 minutes and we paid US$360 per pax for a return flight.
Check-in / Accommodation / Service
We were pleasantly surprised that we were given an early check-in at Hurawalhi at 9am! Unfortunately, we were not too pleased with room that we got. We were given 4 green apples, of which 2 were kind of rotten, and the toilet light was flickering. Since it was our “minimoon”, we didn’t want any form of disturbance and left the matter as that. If I compare this room to the one we had in Samabe, the only thing that this place did better is the amazing overwater bungalow feature. The toilet was not as impressive and the room was just… ordinary.
Service in Hurawalhi is similar to that of other beach destinations. People are generally laid back and nice. We noticed that the staff at Hurawalhi are mostly guys from Sri Lanka. They speak English pretty well, which we appreciate. The only thing that got on my nerves sometimes is the speed at which they move. Anyhow, this is meant to be a holiday and I am sure I should be taking a chill pill instead 😀
We settled in and proceeded for buffet lunch at Canneli Restaurant, where we ate all our full board meals. This was when I decided that the small mishaps at the room were entirely forgivable! The lunch spread was awesome and we had the vast Indian Ocean as our companion. What’s there to complain about?
When we returned for dinner, we were equally impressed with the dinner selection. Seafood on ice and oysters to top it off! I was one happy soul! As our full board package didn’t include drinks, Charles ordered a second glass of Merlot after his first one at dinner. The waiter who brought out the second glass shared that we should have ordered a bottle instead, because we can keep our wine bottle and finish it the next day! How cool is that? Keeping a wine bottle at a restaurant! He even offered to waive the second glass charge when we asked if that’s possible now as the other waiter didn’t inform us that this arrangement works. And he did! It’s little things like that, that makes us feel like we are taken care of!
We were afraid that the spread would be repeated the next day but we felt that they made a good effort to change the variety of the food and we never got sick of it. There was crayfish in addition to the previous night’s seafood on ice! Damn right, I love my seafood. On the other hand, Charles ordered pasta at every meal, so we know that they cook a different pasta every meal (some hits some misses). As you can tell, food was definitely the main highlight for us this trip!
Besides the main dining hall, there is an underwater restaurant – 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, the main bar by the swimming pool – Coco Bar (picture below), a sunset champagne bar – Champagne Pavilion, and fresh seafood, teppanyaki or drinks over-the-water at Aquarium Restaurant & Bar. Lunch at 5.8 Undersea Restaurant is US$150 per pax and dinner is US$280 per pax. We wanted to have lunch at 5.8 Undersea Restaurant but we were told it was fully book, so do book ahead if you are thinking of heading there.
Hurawalhi’s full board package didn’t include any complimentary activities, except ONE printed photo from a professional photo session. The sun was too bright at 8:30am so we didn’t pay for the cheapest option, which was US$250 for 50 pictures. When I asked if it is possible to get a soft copy of the one photo we chose (shown below), we were turned down because we did not buy the package. Left an unnecessary bad taste in my mouth.
We made use of the main pool and went snorkelling which we paid a daily rental rate of US$13 per pax for the goggles and fins. There is a Games Room (with two machine games, air hockey, pinball), a Wellness Center, a Sports Ground (additional charges apply for rental of the tennis and badminton court), and other water activities available like scuba diving and jet skiing.
We also had fun just spotting the wild creatures swimming around the island. We saw sting rays, baby sharks (!!!), squid, flying fish, nemos…
We felt that everything at this resort came with a price tag. When we requested for a late check-out, we were informed that it is possible and every additional hour cost US$85. If you could ignore the monetary aspect of Maldives though, I think it’s a really beautiful tranquil place to spend quality time together with your loved one. We enjoyed every minute in Hurawalhi and we think it’s hard to find another place like this. Maldives is not for those who must constantly be occupied – Charles and I spent hours talking about nothing, getting sun-kissed and listening to the soft ocean waves crashing in.