I know many of you have been looking forward to my Maldives pictures! Here they are! 🙂 From Kuala Lumpur, we took a direct flight by Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to Male, capital of Maldives. The flight took roughly 4 hours, with a meal on board. But when you’re excited and happy, 4 hours seem to fly by effortlessly! Once we reached the airport, we did the usual customs and passport stamping, and we’re out! Just so you know, Maldives is actually a Muslim country, and a strict one at that. One is supposed to dress decently especially in the capital of Male and the airport (no low cut tops, mini skirts, etc), and there is no alcohol sold.
A restaurant at the airport
However, once you’re in the vicinity of resorts, then you’re free to dress and drink however you like. Apparently, tourism is the largest industry in Maldives, marking about 1/3 of the GDP growth! I booked our resort about 2-3 months ahead to get the early bird rate. Bear in mind that all the resorts are located on islands away from the airport, and hence, one has to purchase the compulsory airport transfer as well, either by boat or by seaplane. Our hotel, Holiday Inn Kandooma, sent someone to receive us from the airport and after gathering everyone, we’re on our way to the boat!
Jetty at the airport
The staff of Kandooma was really commendable. They made the whole experience effortless and enjoyable. Once we came out from the airport, we just looked for the Holiday Inn Kandooma banner, and once spotted, we checked our names from their list and from then on, it was seamless. Our luggage was immediately taken care off after that, from airport right to the room, without us having to even touch it! We were asked to wait for a while until they gathered the whole group. About 10-15 minutes later, we’re ushered to the boat and given a life jacket each.
Us in the boat
It was already 9.30pm local time (Maldives is 3 hours behind us, so in fact, it was 12.30am Malaysian time!), and we were tired but excited. Once we entered the boat, we’re given a warm towel and a bottle of water each. Ah, what a blessing! The warm towel did wonders! It was so comfortable and refreshing, and we’re then ready for our boat ride!
Taken from inside the boat
The boat ride took about 45 minutes, and truth be told, was a little scary to me. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that it was pitch black and we’re in the middle of the sea with nothing surrounding us at all. The boat also moved pretty fast, with waves splashing next to me the height of the boat itself! Anyway, the fear was probably for nothing, for we reached the hotel safely in 45 minutes, with no seasick whatsoever. 🙂 The staff also made sure everyone was ok while we’re in the boat; occasionally asking us if we’re fine, and reminding us we’re only 10 minutes away when it was time.
Our boat at the resort jetty
Once we reached, there was another group of staff welcoming us and shaking our hands. We felt like celebrities! *LOL*
Holiday Inn Resort at Kandooma Maldives
After that, we’re led to the resort reception area where we were given a table each to fill up the forms for check in purposes. There was always a staff nearby, attending to our needs or questions. We didn’t even have to line up to get our keys or swipe our credit cards, the staff was readily available. I just had to fill up the form, pass to the nearby staff and wait. Soon, we got our keys and were walked to our rooms.
Our room was Villa no. 85, and it was perfect! It was everything the resort promised on the website: Super size bed with extra comfortable pillows and duvet, white washed floor boards, flat panel TV, iPod dock and speakers, citrus press, oranges, open-air shower and even our very own hammock!!!
The bed was already turned down for us when we reached, and our luggage was already there waiting for us! How wonderful! 🙂 I was so excited even though it was way past midnight according to Malaysian time.
The resort provided us 6 oranges a day for us to make orange juice using their citrus press. Apart from that, there were also boxes of freshly ground Illy coffee and Dilmah tea leaves! Aren’t we spoiled! Not to forget, coffee maker and tea pot were available as well, and of very good quality too!
LCD TV and iPod dock & speakers
6 oranges daily
Dilmah tea and Illy coffee
I was impressed with the room service of Kandooma resort – they came every morning (before lunch) and evening (before dinner)! They made up our room, replaced towels and toiletries in the morning, and in the evening, they would turn down our beds, and placed hot chocolate drinks on our cups! Ah such bliss!
Hot chocolate and tea
Enough about the bar, let’s move on to the shower! Look at it! It’s open air! I know, some might not be comfortable with this concept, including myself, but I kinda enjoyed the experience after a while. There were 2 shower heads, one facing the outside (can’t see from this picture) and another one facing inside, as shown in the picture below. There was also a bath tub next to it, perfect for that romantic bath for couples. 😉
Open air shower and bath tub during the night
Open air shower/tub during the day
Their toiletries were also one of a kind. Very minty and refreshing, unlike those commercial shampoo/showergel that you find elsewhere. After using these toiletries, my whole body smelled great and was tingling with a cooling sensation, really nice!
Wash basin and face towels
The towels provided here were extra extra large. Seriously, it was large to the point of too heavy! *LOL* I believe it was at least more than 6 feet long! Super nice especially when I washed my hair. 🙂
More exploring ahead! I opened the drawers in the room and found this: Hair dryer, ashtray, matchsticks, universal adapter and a torchlight! How very thoughtful of them! I was quite worried about using the power supply/sockets in Maldives to charge up my camera, but it turned out that they have the same supply and socket like Malaysia does. 🙂
Stuffs in the drawer
And just when we thought the excitement about the room was over, I spotted a card in the midst of the bar! Oh, the sweet people at Kandooma prepared a card and some chocolates for us, seeing that it was our honeymoon there! What a pleasant surprise.
Card and chocolates
When we looked at the time again, it was already 12.30am (Maldives time), which meant, 3.30am Malaysian time! And we’re still not asleep! So I quickly took a shower and had a nice slumber, until the next morning, when I woke up to see this from my room! The deck from our villa extended right to the beach, and to the sea! We could actually see the sea from our room, but I guess the picture below did not show this clearly.
Not to mention we had our very own hammock, which was really comfortable to sleep in, that is, if you’re not scared of ants/insects falling down on you. *LOL* There was also a comfortable couch and table right outside our room, facing the sea, for the lazy evening with a book.
Couch outside our room
I just couldn’t get enough of this villa! It was surprisingly very well-maintained, with top-notch amenities and comfortable bed. It gave us a very modern feel, as opposed to the typical rustic feeling one would expect in Maldives. Really good value for money, if you ask me. OK, that should probably end the Part 1 for Maldives for now. Next post will be showing more sea pictures – guess what the colour of the sea was! 🙂