MAALIFUSHI BY COMO - KOAMAS FAM TRIP - JULY 2015
Our journey was a comfortable seaplane flight with Maldivian Airways first to the sister island of Cocoa in South Ari Atoll which took just over 5 minutes. We were picking up a couple of guests who had first spent a few nights in Cocoa Island and were then moving to Maalifushi by Como. These are sister islands and both very different in terms of size and design but I think would make a nice experience for honeymoon couples. Where possible they try to provide a direct pick up or drop off between the two resorts but this depends on the seaplane schedule which can only be confirmed the evening before but certainly makes it very convenient for guests.
We then flew further south to the relatively untouched Thaa Atoll which is currently home to only one tourist resort Maalifushi by Como.
The Atoll is stunning, with many uninhabited islands dotted around. Just next to Maalifushi is a chain of about 5 or 6 uninhabited islands.
The seaplane lands a short 5 minute speedboat ride from the resort, near one of the uninhabited islands, keeping the disturbance from the seaplane noise down, so retaining the tranquility of this stunning resort.
We were greeted on arrival by the GM – Andrew and his team and escorted to reception.
First impressions on arrival were ‘WOW’ a stunning beach and lagoon like many other resorts in the Maldives but the lush vegetation was something that I wasn’t quite expecting for a relatively new resort. Usually it takes a couple of years for this kind of vegetation to grow after construction but during the development of the resort, cutting down of trees, plants and bushes was kept to a minimum and where possible the treats were not removed, the rooms and facilities were built around them.
With all the lush vegetation, it really gave me a feel of Soneva Fushi Resort when we headed to our Villa.
The resort is quite small with 65 villas in total, over land and sea and perfect for couples wanting that private honeymoon escape as well as for families who want to be accommodated together in one of their very spacious 2, 3 and 4 bedroom Villas.
We stayed in a Water Suite which is the entry level room category for the over water villas. The exterior of the suites are quite unique to any I have seen in the Maldives. They all have their own private entrance with large wooden ‘barn style’ gates which lead into a small outdoor private area with bench and space to leave your snorkel gear etc. They allow for more privacy as you not entering directly into the Villa for others to see. Natural timber has been used as a fencing around, again for extra privacy and the wooden exterior of the majority of the villa (with the exception of the natural fencing and doors) have been white washed.
On entering our suite there is was a large spacious living area, with dining table, built in daybed/couch, coffee table and side board housing the mini bar and where the large LCD TV is accommodated. Being two ladies travelling together we had twin four poster beds which were very comfortable and surrounded with mosquito nets. The wooden furniture throughout the villas and facilities in the resort is white washed effect, which is so much nicer than the dark colour used in many resorts. Not only does it look more refreshing but also more hard-waring as scratches and scuffs do not show easily.
The dressing area of the Villa is excellent and I have to say I was very impressed with this as so often you go to resorts / hotels and no attention has to been paid to where a lady would like to get ready, especially when it comes to doing your hair. So often there is no socket near the mirror for the hairdryer or straighteners and you are expected to stand. Maalifushi designer has really considered this. There is a big vanity table, which draws (hairdryer and socket) and large mirror with excellent lighting and comfortable chair and this is located right in front of a very large walk in wardrobe (which has ample storage space) as well as a full length mirror (again something often forgotten in resorts/hotels). The attention to detail here is excellent.
Plenty of electrical sockets (conveniently located and you don’t have to keep unplugging things to charge up your phone or laptop).
An extra touch would have been an iron and ironing board in the villa as standard. We did request one and it came within 10 minutes.
The bathroom was extremely spacious with two vanity tables (his and hers), in door shower as well as a nice deep bath (not too deep and big that takes a ridiculous length of time to fill) and for those who like to shower al fresco there is also an outdoor shower on the decking (again screen with natural timber for the extra privacy).
All Villa’s with the exception of the Garden rooms all have a very good size private plunge pool. The decking is spacious with space for two sun loungers, outdoor table and chairs and a lovely gazebo with large double day bed. Steps lead down directly into the lagoon from you decking and only a short swim away you reach the stunning house reef.
We had the perfect weather conditions and honestly I felt like it was February as the sea was so calm and crystal clear. An early morning swim or snorkel is the perfect way to start the day.
Our Water Suite was sunrise side so to wake up and take an early morning swim in the private plunge pool as the sun is rising is the only way to start the day. Followed by a morning snorkel. Initially the lagoon is fairly shallow and you can only see sand but as you swim towards the main jetty you start to see a variety of colourful fish and some coral. Before you know it you are in the deep and the variety of fish is unbelievable. We were lucky enough on the first morning to see three turtles and large black tip reef shark as well as so many colourful fish. There is a resident octopus off the jetty but he must have been in hiding that morning.
The first evening we were lucky enough to do the ‘Dolphin’ Cruise and we saw over 100 dolphins, bottle noise and spinners. It was amazing. The dhoni used for the excursion has got to be one of the best I’ve experience, with comfortable seating (little booths with tables) as well as a soft cushioned roof top. Drinks and canapés were served by the crew and the service was excellent. 95USD plus taxes per person is exception value for money for this trip. We were out for a good couple of hours and sailed back as the sun was setting.
Dinner the first night was in the main restaurant Madi and all meals are Al a carte, with the exception of breakfast which offers a small selection of cold items on the buffet as well as al a carte hot plates. Dinner was Maldivian night and throughout the meal there was a local Bodu Beru band playing (from a nearby island) which made a nice change as usually the bands play after dinner. Having experienced many Maldivian nights in the resorts, I wasn’t expecting anything different but I was pleasantly surprised as usually it is always buffet but not at Maalifushi. The set menu came out, first local soup, followed by a platter of local dishes. The presentation was superb. A large coconut bowel full of uncooked rise as decoration and small coconut serving bowls which contained all the different foods: fish curry, chicken curry, rice etc. The presentation was absolutely beautiful and the first time I had experienced it like this in the Maldives, so hat’s off to the Chef and his team, this really was a very nice, unique touch and the food was delicious.
The peace and tranquility in the resort is wonderful. Even sleeping in the Water Suite was so peaceful. Usually I feel a slight rocking of the Villa’s or hear the noise from the sea but honestly I didn’t feel or hear any of that. They do have golf buggies on the resort but they do not have them going up and down the jetties and the reason behind this is because of the noise they can make and it really does make a difference.
Day 2 we had a spa treatment booked, the Shambhala signature wellness massage which I have to say was one of the best massages I have ever had. Usually I request a very light massage but my therapist Kwan (from Thailand) recommended to start of medium pressure and then to let her know if it was too hard. It wasn’t and she continued throughout giving medium pressure. Not only was it a body massage but some Thai massage technics were used in the treatment as well as having a warm towel places behind my neck at the very end which was a really lovely feeling. The atmosphere, the location, the service and overall experience was wonderful and price wise comparing to other spas in the Maldives it was great value and well worth it.
At 4 pm we joined the ‘blue lagoon’ snorkeling trip which was amazing. We headed out on the luxury yacht which is used for Big Game fishing and Captained by ‘Gunner’ who is American and accompanied by his crew and the resident Marine Biologist. Perfect weather conditions and the ‘Blue Lagoon’ as it’s called certainly lived up to its name. The bluest of lagoons, only a short distance from the resort. Not only do you get to see a variety of marine life but the coral is truly spectacular. Great snorkelling, followed by a nice glass of champagne and canapés as the sunset sets behind you.
We immediately went to the Managers cocktail which was held for the first time on a small uninhabited island which is connected to the resorts jetty. The team did a great job with the set up and drinks were flowing with even more delicious canapés and it was a wonderful way to meet some of the key Management team and the GM and to learn a little bit about the history of Maalifushi and the Maldives from the GM Andrew during his short speech.
Dinner on our second and final night was hosted by the GM Andrew and his lovely wife Sarah in the Tai over water restaurant which is the Japanese Restaurant, so if you love fresh fish and Sushi you will love this restaurant. The Chef knew in advance that I do not eat fish and seafood (I know it’s so sad when I live in the Maldives) and he prepared chicken and beef and plenty of tempura vegetables and it really was a delicious meal. The evening was relaxing, fun and a great experience and it was a pleasure to have spent it with such a wonderful couple.
Our transfer the next morning was 11am, so still time for that early morning sunrise dip in the pool and one final snorkel before breakfast.
Overall our experience on Maalifushi by Como was amazing! There are so many stunning resorts in the Maldives offering great facilities and service but one thing that Maalifushi has which many don’t is its fantastic almost untouched location. Not only is it a stunning island, beautiful luxury villas, friendly service and delicious cuisine but it has a fantastic house reef, some stunning uninhabited islands close by as well as more untouched reefs only a short distance away and 99% chance of seeing dolphins daily, what more do you want! Welcome to Paradise!
Thank you Andrew, Sarah and the amazing team of Maalifushi by Como for a magical stay! Can’t wait to return!