Following an efficient and unobtrusive check-in procedure, we were transported to our accommodation. Set amidst a lush tropical coconut grove and exotic gardens, our de-luxe bungalow lay just a few steps away from the white powdery sand and the azure blue waters of the Indian Ocean. The undisguised opulence of our accommodation was totally awesome. With it’s sumptuous super king-size bed, flat screen TV, well stocked mini bar offering top of the range drinks plus all the other amenities synonymous with a top class resort, we were instantly immersed in luxury, with every conceivable comfort catered for. However, it was the thoughtful extra touches, such as the ‘make your own cocktail’ bar and the plunger coffee maker with the freshly ground coffee, that really gave it the edge over other 5 star resorts. Pure luxury awaited us in the open plan bathroom with its huge free standing bath and aromatherapy products, which were inspired by the name of the resort. Kurumba, in the local language Dhivehi, translates as coconut, which is hugely beneficial to the skin. The outside enclosed shower further enhanced the tropical feel of the bungalow. What better way to start the day than showering beneath the clear blue sky with the promise of a glorious sunny day ahead. Facing the ocean, we had our own private patio where we could sip previously undiscovered cocktails whilst watching the sun slowly sink in the sky.
Kurumba has 9 categories of accommodation available, ranging from the Deluxe rooms to Deluxe Pools Villas through to the largest and most opulent villa on the island, aptly named the Royal Kurumba Residence, which has proved a favourite holiday destination of many visiting dignitaries and heads of state. Each category offers sumptuous luxury with all the modern amenities you could possibly wish for.
Kurumba boasts that it is one of the first resorts to open in the Maldives and in our opinion it has to be one of the best. Despite it’s history, in no way could it be described as ‘old’, having every conceivable modern amenity, benefitting from a recent huge refurbishment and with a feel of modern pristine historic charm. It is steeped in Maldivian culture and the management team, through an initiative called ‘Maldives in full Colour,’ ensure that during your visit not only do you enjoy the most fantastic paradise island but you also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in many cultural aspects through dances, cooking lessons, art and craft demonstrations and a myriad of other activities designed to enhance your experiences at the same time as celebrating the local culture. The pervading theme at the resort is that you are not only a valued guest but for the duration of your stay you are part of the Kurumba family. Everywhere you go you are greeted with beaming smiles and genuinely unscripted conversation that makes you feel both welcomed, valued and very much at home.
Another example of Kurumba’s mission to introduce Maldivian culture to it’s guests is at the Veli Spa, a sanctuary of peace and beauty, which not only offers an extensive range of holistic and rejuvenating therapies, but also several different types of meditation and yoga classes. My wife opted for the spa’s signature massage, called Akarakarau a Theyo Dhemun, which translates as ‘The Spirit of the Maldives’. She was intrigued to discover the benefits of the unique hot sand poultice. The fragrant tropical smell of the coconut oil and the warmth of the poultice gliding smoothly over her body proved to be a truly relaxing experience. On arrival the ginger and lemon grass tea set the scene for an hour of unadulterated pampering, which ended with a delicious detoxifying cup of raspberry flavoured tea and a platter of fresh tropical fruits. The promise of soft skin, a mind soothed and a spirit lightened had been well and truly fulfilled during one of the best massages she has ever experienced.
For guests who prefer more action there is a Water Sports Centre which provides kayaking, waterskiing, windsurfing and parasailing activities and a Dive School offering a full range of PADI diving courses. There is also a fully equipped gym, a pool and three floodlit tennis courts. Children are well catered for at the Majaa Kid Club which offers fun and enriching experiences with a Maldivian twist. In addition there is a wide range of local excursions available.
In keeping with Kurumba’s appreciation of the role the Maldivian people play in the success of the tourist industry it was no surprise to hear of the significant number of outreach programmes that seek to improve the living conditions and opportunities of people in local communities. Kurumba boasts one of the most effective and comprehensive recycling centres of any resort in the Maldives and there are continual efforts made to minimise energy usage and limit any impact Kurumba has upon it’s beautiful environment.
It is true to say that Kurumba is an amazingly romantic place where many couples come on honeymoon, renew their wedding vows or just rediscover the joys of being together in such a idyllic and beautiful environment. The whole island encourages you to fall in love again and as we dined under the stars, enveloped in the stunning backdrop of the Indian Ocean with the sounds of the tropics pervading our senses, we both decided that in the whole world there was nowhere at that moment that we would rather be.
The dining opportunities at Kurumba are vast with no less than seven different restaurants, each offering fine dining from right around the world. You can sample ocean fresh fish in the signature Ocean Grill restaurant, Italian, Chinese, Lebanese, North Indian, Japanese cuisine in other stunning venues, have more of a snack from the poolside Kurumba Cafe or sample an amazing international buffet menu from the main restaurant called Vihamana. We had the opportunity to try many of the restaurants and found the quality of food and ingredients to be outstandingly good and meals beautifully prepared by a team of very skilled and talented chefs. The variety of fine dining opportunities is a magnificent feature of Kurumba Maldives.
In truth we just did not want to leave Kurumba and it was with a very heavy heart that we boarded the luxury speedboat back to the airport. This island resort truly has everything anyone could ever wish for in a luxury 5 star holiday retreat. Be warned though as it will touch your soul with a burning desire to come back and if you are like us and really enjoy the very best in life in a tropical island paradise – you will want to return. We do!
Kuoni (01306 747008 or www.kuoni.co.uk) offers 7 nights with breakfast at the 5-star Kurumba, Maldives in a deluxe room including flights with Sri Lankan Airlines from Heathrow and group boat transfers in resort. Prices for 2014 are from £1,197 per person, based on two sharing. To book please quote: IO0021 (price includes two bonus night)
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