The Maldives. Faraway paradise, reservered for honeymooners, vowel renewers, anniversary celebraters, wife cheaters and other people that come in couples. A place so exclusive that a trip there can only be afforded once in a lifetime and will forever be the pride of your family photo album.
Whatever you might think about the Maldives, some of it is probably true and other things aren’t, like with everything in life. Before I got to go for the first time, the Maldives were not even on my radar for anything other than a prime honeymoon getaway that I was not exactly planning, so I was all the more surprised and excited to learn that I was being invited to visit the island of Velassaru, host to the resort with the same name that is inhabiting a 22 acre stretch of palm-lined paradise.
Tipping my excitement of soon knowing myself under the warming rays of Maldivian sun, snorkeling in the turquoise waters of the Indian ocean and sipping cocktails by an olympic-sized infinity pool was the fact that I did not have to go alone, I got to bring my friend Bonnie Strange who not only happens to be a beautiful looking model who would happily roll in the sand/repeat jump in the pool and stretch under the trees for my camera, but who would also be the perfect company for this island getaway with her bubbly and fun personality. There was absolutely no way this holiday could go wrong.
April 9th, 8pm
We were booked on a rail & fly trip with Condor who are the only airline offering direct flights from Germany to the Maldives. 4 hours on the train to Frankfurt and 2 double lattes at the airport later we were seated in our Economy Premium seats with extra legspace, giddy with exitement that 10 hours from now we’d be in Velassaru.
Provided with a special care package of gossip magazines, bottled water, toothbrush and paste, sleep mask, head phones, mints and a selection of cocktails and champagne we could not have had a batter start into this already epic holiday (thanks Condor!).
The 10-hour flight virtually flew by and when we woke up from our nightly rest (when I woke up that is, Bonnie stayed up all night watching movies) the view was this:
The Maldives are absolutely stunning from above and unlike anything I have ever seen from an airplane seat. We were glued to the window and could have really used an extra set of hands to take turns snapping photos with both our iphones (instagram, anyone?) and our cameras. This sort of view doesn’t come by often, so we knew to take this chance.
After a spectecular entrance we were greeted by a friendly employee of Velassaru who came to pick us up and accompany us to the speed boat which would take us to the nearby island, just a quick 20 minute boat ride away. Some of the Maldivian islands are so far from the airport in Malé that it can take expensive rides on water planes for you to get there, so we were especially happy that our final destination would be so easy to get to.
At this point we were just giddy with exitement and squeeking like little piggies over what would expect us. The blue sky, the perfect weather, the turquoise sea, the humble smiles from everyone on the boat – all those things just seemed like they were taken right out of some fantasy land and we knew that the best was yet to come…
At our arrival at Velassaru we were greeted by 5 friendly faces, one of which handed us a hot towel and a refreshment, a sweet gesture that everyone who first arrives at Velassaru is welcomes with. This was only getting better and better…
Thanks to the night flight we were not tired at all (could have been down to the exitement too) and right away started exploring our new home for the coming 5 days. There are 7 types of accomodation – the deluxe bungalow, beach villa, water bungalow, water villa (with or without pool), the pool villa and for the really big budgets there is one water suite. We tried our the beach villa – which we loved very much – and the deluxe bungalow – which was decent, but i would definately recommend saving a little extra and going for the villa. The latter is more spacious and comes with a huge outdoor bathroom and a beautiful veranda leading right into the ocean.
Each beach bungalow or villa comes with a small stretch of beach, fairly secluded from everyone else through bushes and equipped with 2 deckchairs and an umbrella. At any point you can rent snorkeling gear free of charge which is highly recommended, given that you can spot anything from baby sharks to sea turtles simply by swimming in the water outside your bungalow.
There are 5 restaurants specializing in Japanese cuisine (VERY delicious), world cuisine or international favorites. There is even a pizza oven bar right by the pool which is pretty tempting. Though not as tempting as the delectable cocktails that are being served around the clock at pretty decent prices, considering that alcohol is banned in the Maldives, outside of the resorts. (Make sure you don’t try to smuggle in any vodka or similar when coming in from abroad). We definitely had our daily fix of pina coladas by the poolside – oh the glamorous life!
While the restaurant options are plenty, the best dining experience is a different one. You can choose from an array of private dining options (VERY romantic) such as dining on a sandbank (we heard numerous rave reviews about this option) or inside a lagoon. We had the chance to try out the Satay Barbecue Dinner where you sit in sand chairs on a private beach with your own personal chef cooking up a 4-course feast only for you. More on this later, but check the photo below where employees are building the sand chairs and table anew for every evening.
I really thought that we would get bored sometimes, that without a nearby city to go to or streets to wander we would just be lying around and read books all day. Truth is that we craved more time to go swimming and tanning and being lazy because frankly, 5 days were just not enough to discover everything there was to see and do.
For now, I will leave you with a few more impressions of the island. In my next post I will explain more on the sort of stuff we did and provide you with many more reasons why a trip to Velassaru is a once (ok, hopefully more than once) in a lifetime experience.
By the way, if you’re thinking ‘Wow, I am dying to go but I don’t even know how to pay rent next month‘, try applying at this summer challenge where you can WIN a trip to Velassaru. I’d say give it a shot!