‘Fancy boat’, I thought to myself as Kurumba Resort’s plush little speedboat picked us up from Malé International Airport for a quick, ten-minute transfer to the resort.
The first resort in Maldives to ever open its doors to tourists, Kurumba proudly celebrates its 40th birthday this year.
Upon arrival, we realised Kurumba was more than just an island – it was a cosy little town, complete with its eight delightful little restaurants, three fancy bars and lots of palm trees. Boasting an impressive accommodation of 180 rooms and villas arranged in a city-street setting, it is a commercial venue, often used by the Maldivian government for state visits and meetings with VIP and royal guests.
A family-friendly destination with plenty of water and adventure activities, Kurumba is a place to plan an action-packed family holiday. From dolphin cruises, deep sea fishing, sea plane picnics to snorkelling safari, sea kayaks, waterskiing and glass-bottom boat rides, there are enough activities to keep one busy.
It really is a small town in its own right. With so much on offer, we were amazed at the versatility of the island. Three flood-lit tennis courts, library, board game stations, internet cafés, spa, nursery, day-care centre for kids and a volleyball court were just a few among the many recreation facilities that were available.
Our Deluxe Room was situated just a few steps to the beach, complete with a breezy private terrace and garden bathroom with an open-air shower. It was an attractive beach, with standard Maldivian white sand and crystal clear water but we wished the maintenance was sharper. The untouched beaches could use a bit of grooming here and there.
Be prepared for a not-so-clear horizon – Kurumba’s close proximity to Malé means lots of city views from the island, plenty of airplanes every now and then and no isolation. No isolation – unless – you opt for a super-romantic ‘Sounds of the Sea’ dining experience, right in the middle of the sea, complete with candles and flowy white curtains. Pure bliss. (Tip – don’t forget to order chocolate mousse for desert. Utterly divine!)
Ralf Schnik is Kurumba’s newly appointed Executive Chef who oversees all culinary specialties in the island. It was a delight to try some of his scrumptious dishes, spread all over the eight island restaurants.
Liz Pangchan, Sales and Marketing Manager of Kurumba, made the short stay all the more pleasant for us. The first night, she took us on a fantastic gastronomic tour where we sampled mouth-watering starters from Kurumba’s very own Lebanese restaurant, Al Qasr. It was promptly followed by main course at The Ocean Grill, a beach-side al fresco setting where we enjoyed watching reef sharks in the crystal clear water while enjoying delicious seafood. A perfect ending to a perfect dinner was planned for us with three small lip-smacking dessert varieties at La Cucina, posh little indoor Italian joint.
Our daily champagne breakfast at The Ocean Grill was a real treat – with lots of fancy items, fruit platters and a beautiful outdoor setting. Lunch at Kurumba Cafe had limited but quality options whereas the buffet lunch in the main restaurant – included in half board – was a tad bit disappointing. Gorge at all other restaurants except the main one and you will have a fabulous time, gastronomically speaking.
Five months pregnant, I also had the privilege of trying a pre-natal massage at Kurumba’s Veli Spa while my partner indulged in their popular signature massage. We were both very pleased with our treatments and were offered generous discounts on our second visit. With highly trained and professional masseuses from Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand, Veli Spa offers unforgettable relaxation treatments to de stress, relax and rejuvenate.
Among the many excursions offered at the island, we decided to try the Dolphin Cruise. Wild dolphins instantly came into view as our speedboat reached its destination around sunset. We whistled and they came closer. We whistled more and they thumped our boat with their bodies. It was an exhilarating trip that ended with everyone enjoying the sunset and complimentary drinks onboard.
A destination to plan an exciting family holiday, Kurumba offers reasonably priced accommodation, excursions and spa treatments, if compared to other 5-star resorts in the Maldives. If you, however, have a romance-filled holiday with tons of natural beauty on the cards, opt for another Maldivian island, designed especially for couples and honeymooners.
Be prepared to be greeted with coconut ice cream upon arrival. After all, coconut is what Kurumba means, really.