After a dream proposal on a neighbouring island, we island hopped over to Kuramathi Island where we discovered it was the perfect place to continue our engagement celebrations. Still buzzing from our post-engagement high, we boarded our speedboat transfer from Velana International Airport to make the 90-minute journey across the Indian Ocean to what would be our island home for the next five nights.
I’ve stayed at a few resorts in the Maldives, but Kuramathi was set to be different. Not only is it one of the biggest islands in the Maldives, it’s so large it has three main international buffet restaurants, nine à la carte restaurants, six bars and three pools. This is not an island where one gets bored. While I’m just as happy on a tiny deserted island, there’s something fun about staying on an island like Kuramathi that’s known for its atmosphere. Especially when you have an engagement to celebrate!
Kuramathi is set on a 1.8km long island boasting lush tropical jungle fringed with beautiful beaches. It’s one of five islands in the Rasdhoo Atoll that make up a tiny Maldivian archipelago. Just like most resorts in the Maldives, Kuramathi is located on its own private island. That means that the resort and its facilities are the only things on the island, and what an island it is!
I’ve never seen so much marine life surrounding an island. On a snorkelling session to a coral reef near the island we saw turtles, eagle rays and an incredible array of tropical fish in every colour of the rainbow. We even saw reef sharks and rays feeding on fish right out the front of our beach villa each morning. It was like real life National Geographic every single day!
The jewel of this island is its incredible sandbar. Sandbars are the ultimate backdrop for island photos, and the one on Kuramathi Island is the most photogenic sandbar I’ve ever set foot on. Each evening guests make the pilgrimage for the ultimate sunset. Here they watch the sandbank taper into the Indian Ocean and the sun melt into the horizon.
During the day, it transforms into a postcard scene of white sand surround on either side by clear, aqua ocean. We sent the drone up to capture it and just when I thought the scene couldn’t be any more perfect, we unintentionally captured a reef shark swimming in the water alongside the sandbar. We didn’t spot it until later that night when we were watching the drone footage from the day back.
Kuramathi Island is made up of 350 villas in 12 different categories. From authentic villas set amongst lush tropical vegetation, to luxurious over water villas with plunge pools surrounded by crystal clear water – the accommodation on Kuramathi Island is the true definition of island life.
We were lucky enough to experience two of these categories – the Deluxe Water Villa and the Pool Villa. After arriving by speedboat, we were immediately greeted with a welcome cocktail and then whisked away to our Deluxe Water Villa. The Deluxe Water Villa we stayed in is believe it or not, not the highest category of villa. The next category up is the same Deluxe Water Villa with the addition of a pool. Then there are the Thundi Water Villas. These are the same as the Deluxe Water Villa with Pool, but they sit in the enviable position on the side of the house reef.
Next up are the Pool Villas which look out over the most picturesque powdery white sand beach you’ve ever seen. And finally there are the Honeymoon Villas. These are located on dry land, surrounded by high stone walls for ultimate privacy. Instead of ocean access, they have their own 10-metre lap pools. While the vibe is exclusive and luxurious, I personally prefer my island accommodation to be closer to the ocean, if not on the ocean! Staying in an overwater villa is THE ultimate way to experience the Maldives, and Kuramathi’s Deluxe Water Villa did not disappoint.
Kuramathi’s Deluxe Water Villa
Set in the middle of the sparkling turquoise lagoon, the Deluxe Water Villa feature a king-sized bed and a daybed. The spacious bathroom offers a freestanding bath, and opens onto a wooden deck with steps down to the azure waters. We made the most of our two nights in this over water villa with a sunrise swim. Because there’s no better way to wake up than jumping into the crystal clear Indian Ocean at first light. We ended our days with evening bubble baths looking out over the sparkling moonlit water.
If you’re an ocean lover, you’ll be impressed with how deep the water is surrounding these villas. I’ve stayed at over water villas before where the water is so shallow, you can’t jump or dive in. We had no such problems in our Deluxe Water Villa! The water is deep deep deep, even during low tide, so you can cannonball to your hearts content.
This villa doesn’t get sunset, but it’s walking distance to the incredible Champagne Loft. Which of course we visited both evenings before dinner to watch the sun go down over a bottle of bubbles.
- You can watch the sunrise
- Walking distance to the Champagne Loft
- Surrounded by deep ocean so you can jump and dive in
See the Deluxe Water Villa we stayed in on the Kuramathi Island Map: Map Guide: V8
Kuramathi’s Pool Villa
I don’t usually love a pool villa as much as an over water villa, but these are not your regular Pool Villas. Set on the edge of an aqua lagoon, I have literally never seen so much marine life in my entire life. If you look at the drone photos of the villa below, you will see that the dark mass in the water is a school of fish. While staying in this villa we woke up to sharks in a feeding frenzy in the shallow water right below our pool and eagle rays gliding past. Plus, we got to watch the show from our pool while having our morning coffee. Starting the morning doesn’t get much more exciting than that!
The villa itself is set right at the edge of the beach, and you enter through your own private courtyard. Once you get inside and step out onto the deck, it’s 50 shades of aqua! The stunning infinity pool appears to melt into the lagoon resulting in layers of aqua. The villa is furnished with a walk-in wardrobe and an indoor bathroom complete with a free-standing bath and twin vanity. There’s even a separate outdoor rainfall shower.
We spent an incredible three nights in this villa. This gave us plenty of opportunity to explore the villa and its surrounds. One of my favourite things about this villa was its proximity to the sandbar. The island itself is huge and as you can imagine, the sandbar and its incredible sunsets are THE evening drawcard.
Being walking distance meant we could get there early, go for a walk and shoot some content. And still have enough time to pop back to the villa to freshen up for dinner. It also meant we could shoot content during the day on the sandbar without anyone else around. While it’s very exposed and super hot in the middle of the day, it’s also ideal for deserted island style shots that really showcase the natural beauty of the island. Being so close meant that we could quickly pop out for a scout. And if there was no one out walking on the sandbar, we could send the drone up without disturbing anyone.
During our three nights in the Pool Villa we spent two watching the sunset on the sandbar and one watching the sunset from our villa. As epic as the sandbar is at sunset, it was so relaxing watching the sunset from our deck. If I ever get lucky enough to have my own pool, sparkly pool lights like the ones at Kuramathi will be mandatory!
- You can watch the sunset
- Walking distance to the sandbar
- Watch the marine life in the lagoon
See the Pool Villa we stayed in on the Kuramathi Island Map – Map Guide: V10
THE RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Both villas we stayed in were located on the western side of the island, which were walking distance to my two favourite bars – the Champagne Bar and the sandbar. It’s important to note, because where you stay on the island will determine your buffet restaurant.
The island’s three main restaurants which feature international themed buffets, are allocated to you based on your villa category. We stayed in the top tier villa category, so we were allocated Farivalhu Restaurant. This is where we had breakfast and lunch each day, and dinner when we weren’t trying out some of the speciality restaurants. Kuramathi offers a Basic and a Select All Inclusive Package, which is the best way to go when staying on the island. We had the Select All Inclusive Package. This meant that we could dine at any of the nine a la carte restaurants or the three buffet restaurants for no extra charge.
Whether it’s authentic Thai, Italian or Indian, or you’ve got a craving for fresh seafood or a barbeque on the sand, you can be sure that Kuramathi has a restaurant to cater to your every craving. There are also dreamy private dining experiences that involve powdery soft sand, the sound of the waves, and a whole lot of romance. We spent majority of our meals at Farivalhu Restaurant, but had an incredible dinner at The Reef. The Reef is Kuramathi’s signature seafood dining experience where you can choose from seafood caught fresh from the Maldivian waters (this was my favourite meal of our stay). And we also had a delicious Italian feast under the trees at Palm.
There are also six bars dotted around the island providing a full range of drinks day and night. While I usually love a cocktail on an island vacay, I was really taken by the Champagne Loft on Kuramathi. It might have had something to do with the fact that we had gotten engaged on a neighbouring island a few days prior to our arrival.
Set amidst lush vegetation and on the oceans edge, The Spa at Kuramathi is everything you could want from a luxurious island spa. I’m always partial to a massage while on vacay, especially at one with a dreamy ocean backdrop. There are 13 treatment rooms including a couple’s pavilion massage spot that’s also used for sunrise yoga. Kuramathi recruit the best therapists in the business who are skilled at performing traditional rituals from Europe, India, Thailand and Indonesia. Jason and I enjoyed an epic couples massage using natural oils and ingredients. We were left to relax post-massage in the Spa Lounge where we sipped on specially blended herbal tea looking out over the Indian Ocean while wrapped in fluffy robes. Blissed out was an understatement.
While I’m not a diver (snorkelling is enough for me!), the Rasdhoo Atoll features more than 20 sites that can be reached in just five to 45 minutes. Dive sites vary between channels, walls, reefs, thilas and even a couple of wrecks. If the marine life I saw from my snorkelling trip, from my villa and the sandbar are anything to go by, the diversity and abundance of marine life at these dive sites must be incredible!
Rasdhoo Divers operates a dive school on the island (PADI/SSI). The multi-lingual team offers an excellent diving experience for both beginners and advanced divers.
The dive program for certified divers includes dawn, morning and afternoon dives, night dives, half-day and full-day safaris.
What I love about Kuramathi is that they protect our environment. They take steps everyday towards sustainable practices within their operations. On the island, they have a Marine Biologist who heads their Environment Committee and together they work to make this a better environment for their team, their host community and to offer an enriched experience for all their guests.
Some of their initiatives include:
- Persistent monitoring of the marine ecosystem
- Conducting awareness programs
- Proper waste management methods
- Energy and water saving measures
- Continuous collaboration with the local community to educate and protect the environment and to provide employment and business opportunities.
HOW TO GET TO KURAMATHI ISLAND
The journey from Velana International Airport to Kuramathi Island is all part of the experience. You can choose a shared speedboat or the ultimate arrival by seaplane.
- Seaplane Transfer
Duration: 20 minutes
- Speedboat Transfer
Duration: 90 minutes
More details here.