In a series of blog posts, Love My Trips Co-editor, Angie Aspinall explores world-class resorts in the Maldives in search of answers to the question, “What does the Maldives have to offer non-divers and non-swimmers?”
As we exit through ‘Arrivals’ with our luggage, we immediately spot two, smiling Hurawalhi representatives. We greet them and explain that we will be staying with them.
One of them whisks us away to a minibus, which swiftly takes us to the Hurawalhi Lounge at the seaplane airport, where we relax with refreshments, free wi-fi and very welcome air conditioning.
The sea plane ride takes a little under an hour and, before we know it, we’re a short boat transfer from what is to be our island paradise for the next seven days.
To the background of drum beats, staff greet us on the jetty and we’re welcomed into the open-air reception area.
An electric buggy takes us from reception, through carefully tended gardens, and out onto the wooden pier that leads to the overwater villas.
Inside, the open-plan villa is stylish, modern and comfortable, with bedroom and lounge areas. But, the first thing we take in, is the view of the ocean and its unending blueness.
Beyond the glass doors sits a roomy deck, with its various lounging options, and steps which lead down into the crystal-clear water. The steps are perfect for my water-loving husband to launch himself from for a morning swim – and ideal for me as a safe perch from which to dangle my toes in the water and look out for dolphins, rays and baby Black Tip Sharks.
Some of the villas have private pools and/or sunset views but all are identical inside. Hurawalhi opened at the end of 2016 and everything still looks and feels brand new.
If you’ve ever wondered where the beautiful people go on holiday, I think I’ve found the answer: Hurawalhi. Elegant ladies of different nationalities pose for selfies, left, right, and centre and, during our stay, many of the guests took advantage of the services provided by the island’s professional photographers. (You don’t have to be getting married on the island to use this service.) Whether you hire a photographer or take your own shots, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more stunning backdrop than the tranquil turquoise waters beyond the infinity pool.
And, whether you’re looking for help with hair and make-up or a relaxing massage, the team at the Duniye Spa are only too happy to help.
Our ‘All Inclusive Plus’ package entitled us to an extensive range of cocktails, mocktails, smoothies, spirits and wines, along with three meals a day at the Canelli Restaurant. The food was exceptional in its variety, presentation, quality of ingredients, and flavour.
From sushi to roast beef, and pineapple and fennel salad to hot, spicy curries, at every mealtime, there was something for everyone, whatever their preferences. I particularly enjoyed the live cooking stations where chefs cooked individual portions of different dishes, daily: egg-fried noodles; pasta with tomato sauce and olives; and seafood stir fry to name but a few.
At breakfast, there were baskets of delicate, light patisserie which would have been perfectly at home in any top Parisienne hotel and every other conceivable breakfast item from fresh fruit and cereals, to freshly cooked crepes and waffles.
Sometimes, all-inclusive buffet-dining can get a bit monotonous after five or six days but Hurawali’s offer was the antithesis of this: lobster, mussels, oysters, King Prawns, Angus beef, creamy sauces, home-made bread – and even quince jelly on the cheeseboard. We wanted for nothing.
Foodies will also be delighted by the island’s other two restaurants, Aquarium and 5.8. Somewhat confusingly, the Aquarium restaurant sits on stilts above the sea, whilst 5.8 sits under the sea, with a dining area which appears to be inside a ‘reverse aquarium’: the diners are inside the glass ‘tank’, and the fish are on the outside, looking in.
There are three sittings per day at this exclusive restaurant: lunch, early evening, and nighttime. It is advisable to make a reservation at the time of booking the holiday.
Like the main Coco Bar, The Aquarium is also a great place for pre-dinner drinks. (It was only on our last night that we discovered our all-inclusive drinks options were also available there.)
For an even more exclusive pre-dinner drink, there’s the island’s Champagne Bar, situated to take best advantage of sunset views.
Hurawalhi is an adults-only resort. It appeals to those looking for the ultimate in luxury travel experiences. And, whether you swim, snorkel, dive – or not – with food and surroundings like this, it certainly won’t disappoint.
Look out for my blog posts about my experiences at the Duniye Spa and 5.8 Restaurant.