The last month of 2012 has been a very busy week for the both of us and now we finally got time to sit down and write about our experiences at Maldives. When KampungBoy told me in September that he wanted to travel to Santorini, Greece together with me. I thought he has been really stressed out and needed a good rest. We did some research online only to find out that December is not really a good time to visit Greek Island. KampungBoy suggested Maldives and he gave me free hand in choosing a resort which I really like. So how could I say no to his holiday plan (which turned out to be The Proposal Plan, stories later)
I went to Atoll Paradise, a Maldivian travel agency and I really liked some of the packages they offered me after I told them of my budget and requirement (RM15k, water villa, half board at least). However, we stumbled upon this package from Sedunia Travel at Matta Fair – The Residence Maldives 6D4N half board option with FREE flight ticket. It costs RM15k for the two of us, with international flight, domestic flight, speed boat transfer, and half board option (breakfast + dinner) included. Plus The Residence Maldives is a brand new resort which has just been opened in April 2012, which means that everything in the island is still new and shiny!
So how much did we spend in total? RM 15k + USD 400+ (tipping, wine, spa, beverages) = RM 16K+. There are 80 over resorts located in the different atolls and I am so glad that we settled for THE ONE. It really boils down to your own personal preference and budget when it comes to choosing a resort in Maldives. Club Med all inclusive package with water lagoon villa stay costs about RM 13k with flight but we prefer a new resort which offer ala-carte meals such as The Residence Maldives. Picture viewing time now!
The Residence Maldives is nestled on Falhumaafushi, a small island in the Gaafu Alifu Atoll – only 1 km long by 120m at its widest point.
It is located very far from Male International Airport, so we went through air and speed boat transfer to reach The Residence Maldives. The domestic air transfer took about 1 hour followed by another 10 minutes of speedboat ride.
There are 94 villas locate in the island itself. Only 15 rooms were occupied while we were there, so it felt like we owned the whole island to ourselves. Syok!
We were staying in a water villa with sunset view. It is also very far from the main restaurants and facilities (which is a good thing), so we use the buggy service to transport ourselves around the island.
Among the most beautiful islands on Earth, it is easy to see why the Maldives are so beautiful. My favourite time of the day happens to be 6-630 pm when the sun sets.
Sunset Shot 2
Sunset Shot 3
Sunset Shot 4
Sunset Shot 5
This is the exact view from our villa’s deck. It feels really good as we watched the sun sets quietly. The last rays of the day paint the sky with a beautiful range of orange tones.
Sunset Shot 6
Sunset Shot 7
Evening Shot 1
Evening Shot 2
We were staying in a private over water villa atop the sea water. The 1370 sq feet room is well equipped with air-conditioning, overhead fan, 40 inch LED TV, DVD player, direct dial telephone, internet connection, personal safe, in-villa bar, hairdryer , expresso machine and tea making facilities.
Spacious Living Room
We also have an amazing huge bath tub surrounded by some of the loveliest views in the world.
Our butler, Hassan has taken care of us very well.
The living hall leads to our private verandah with live aquarium just right in front of our eyes. Guess what? We even spotted a school of dolphins at about 150m away from our room!!!
Where shall I start? KampungBoy took me to a place of my dream and propose during that first night. It was so surreal nor did I believe it was real because we were on a double date holiday. He could have done at one of our favourite restaurants in KL, or at home, or during my birthday, or during our anniversaries. So much IFs..
And so, he popped the question and I was stunned for a while. He began to panic out because there weren’t any answers from my end. I finally nodded my head when he asked for the second time. He has been plotting this for quite some time and only allows me too tell the full story at a much later date. So stay tune lar you guys!
The Beach Bar is our favourite hangout spot of the whole island because there’s FREE wifi. Now you know how we post up our beautiful holiday pictures in instagram and Facebook.
Beach Bar @ Night
The Spa, is the first and only By Clarins in Maldives. We were told that there are only 19 Spa by Clarins in the world. Using only Clarins products, the spa specialists went through extensive training.
We enjoyed some eye and foot massage at the waiting area which overlook the soothing waters of the lagoon.
We signed up for a couple spa session (USD 125 per person) and it was the best spa experience ever. KampungBoy dozed off and were snoring all the way.
Non-motorised sports such as kayaking and snorkelling is FOC. Guests can opt for diving, discovery diving packages and scuba diving packages which are chargeable. Our friend signed up for the discovery diving excursion and he has no regrets at all – he swam with 4 turtles and saw a school of dolphins on his way back.
The honeymooers snorkeled right beneath our water villas.
Dhoni is very often used in Maldives. This boat building is a traditional craft in the Maldives and carries significant meanings.
Books & DVD are available for rent at The Library.
I don’t mind studying at a library like this!
BREAKFAST @ THE DINING ROOM
Food in The Residence Maldives is VERY GOOD! It has totally surpassed our expectations! One can’t find typical boring and bland resort food here as the kitchen crews were all professionally trained.
Our daily breakfast started with fruits platter, a basket of fresh and warm pastries, home made jams and freshly squeezed fruit juice. Main course is served after we are done with the bread baskets.
Egg benedict, congee, wonton noodles, mee mamak goreng were some of the available breakfast selection.
The head chef is an Indonesian while the sous chef is a Malaysian,which explains the South East Asian influences in the menu of The Dining Room. Chef Amour, the head chef is really friendly as he always check with us if everything is alright. Hafiz, the wait staff deserves a special mention too. He always make sure that all our needs are fulfilled. He knew that I like a particular chocolate croissant and he reserved some for me the next day. KampungBoy loves sambal and without telling, Hafiz served him a huge bowl of sambal every morning.
Chef Kamarul is so excited to find out that we are Malaysian because according to him, we are the first Malaysian guest in The Residence Maldives. He even asked the kitchen and wait staff crew to take good care of us as we are his “brothers and sisters”. On the last day of our stay at the resort, Chef Kamarul cooked us some nasi lemak using limited resources. However, it was so tasty that it beats a lot of Malaysian nasi lemak hands down!
DINNER @ THE FALHUMAA
Dinner is also a most look forward to affair at the resort. The Falhumaa is a beautiful restaurant which sits at the end of a private jetty.
Indoor Dining Area
The al-fresco dining area under the star filled sky happens to be our favourite. We often have a 2-3 hours long dinner here; slowly savouring our food and sometimes bring along our wine glasses and lay down at the day bed at the edge of the restaurant.
From top left (clock wise): Goose Liver Pate & Apple Tart Tatin, Fennel & Lobster Risotto, Tart au Framboise
From top left (clock wise): Beef Mignon, Apple Tart, Reef Fish Carpaccio, Red Wine
Every night, chef Asish will go around the tables talking to the resort’s guests. We enjoyed talking to him as he will always his kitchen stories. He even thought me an easy way to cook risotto. He’s from Mauritius, so we learned about the country from him.
We really appreciate the resort’s sweet gesture in making you feel better even when you have to sign a bill.
We took a 4 hour international flight from KLIA to Male International Airport, followed by a 1 hour domestic flight at 1130 pm Maldivian time / 230am Malaysia time.
We reached our resort at about 2am Maldivian time after a 15 minutes speed boat transfer.
We use buggy service to travel around the island. Sometimes, we chose to walk as it is really romantic to walk under the sky, hand in hand.