When planning my holidays I like to visit destinations that allow me to combine my passions – Shopping, Spa Time, Relaxation and Cultural Experiences, not a Robinson Crusoe moment. When it was suggested I spend time in The Maldives I was very hesitant – I thought I would go slightly crazy on an island that was home to one resort – How wrong I was.
The flight to Male was overnight from Gatwick. The first glimpse of daylight was as we left the Arabian Peninsula and as we cruised above the Indian Ocean (having the window seat) I could see the start of the Maldives Atolls. As cliché as it might sound the islands dotted throughout this calm turquoise ocean sparkle like diamonds as far as the eye can see.
After a short speed boat transfer from Male Airport you are greeted by the staff at Bandos Island at the island’s harbour. The island is 178,900 square metres and with only 225 guest rooms provides a perfect location to get away from it all. Your luggage is transported to your room by the only form of transport on the island – Golf Buggies, whilst you enjoy a refreshing welcome drink in the reception area: completing the costumery registration forms. Bandos has 5 room types; I decided to upgrade to the Deluxe Room for my stay.
The Deluxe Rooms are spacious and
Within the resort there are three restaurants and three bars for you to sample the local cuisine and beverages. The Gallery Restaurant is made up of three interconnecting pods in which all the meals are served (buffet style). There was a vast selection of cuisine from around the globe, theme nights and staff were pleasant and welcoming. The only downside was that if I wanted to eat any of the others you had to pay for the meals (a discount was given), as opposed to other resorts in which you pay a supplement to upgrade.
My stay was the first week of December which is off peak for the resort, at one point there were more staff than guests. I split my time between the beach and the pool, it was only towards the end of my stay that I had to share the pool with other guests. As this was a quiet period for the resort they closed down two of the three pods of deep cleaning and when I went out on the glass bottom boat trip you could see the work being conducted on the Water Villas (Oh to dream of staying in one).
The only time in which you really saw other guests were at meal times and sunset at the Huvan Bar. Everyone congregated at the bar to enjoy the sunsets accompanied by music and a cocktail or two. As the sun was setting the black tip baby sharks swam by as if on parade back and forth to entertain us.
At the heart of the island is the Orchard Spa, here they offer a variety of treatment for you to be even more relaxed – it is possible! I opted for the Thai Massage and it did not disappoint – I’m always amazed at how these petite ladies can put so much pressure on the areas and mould your body into normally unthinkable positions, whilst to many that might sound anything but relaxing for me it was the cherry on the top of the cake.
To end my holiday I took the short boat trip over to Kuda Bandos which literaly means small Bandos. The island is uninhabited and when docking at the harbour I wondered if Robinson Crusoe felt, thought and experienced what I did when I stepped onto the island. It was so idyllic, so picturesque, it felt like it was photoshopped to perfection – but thankfully it was all the work of nature. I waded out into the ocean and took a dip to cool from the early morning heat of the sun, then it was back to relaxing under the Palm trees whilst watching the boats (Traditional and Super modern) sail past at a lazy pace. Since my stay the island has now become a resort – Malahini Kuda Bandos, which is certainly on my “to visit” list.
All good things must come to an end
Sadly my week at Bandos Island flew by, however the memories remain along with the many sunset photographs I took. Although this post is based on my stay in 2009, very little has changed since then. Before I flew out I thought I would not have a good time I’d get bored and feel trapped on this island – instead I have never felt so relaxed as I did then, before the 12hour flight (which seemed to drag on) home.
Have you ever booked to stay somewhere and thought you were not going to enjoy the experience? Have you had your Robinson Crusoe moment, where was it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter.