My 2017 had started off in a particularly bad way – tearing both my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus and needing knee surgery, with a particularly long and, at times, tedious rehab. So, when a trip to Kanuhura, a resort in the Maldives, reared its head, I (metaphorically) jumped at the chance.
I ’d seen plenty of photos of the Maldives before, with sea so turquoise it should be sued by Tiffany & Co, and sand as white as snow. Flying over the atolls in a seaplane towards our resort, I couldn’t quite believe these colours actually exist in nature, but they do. Another surprise was how easy it was to get there. Singapore Airlines flies direct to Malé, taking just over four hours. Kanuhura has its own private lounge in the airport, where you can sit and wait for your seaplane, which acts more like a taxi as it makes a number of stops to other resorts on its way. I’m a semi-nervous flyer, so I was worried I would panic in what realistically was a metal tube about as big as my living room, and (what looked like) a teenager in flip-flops at the wheel, but I actually felt safer in this than a normal plane – its low-altitude flying and the fact it can land on water were both plus points!
The seaplane took around an hour to get to the resort, where we were greeted by the staff, who whisked us off to our Beach Pool Villa.
Though we were travelling in the rainy season (May to October), we arrived to a cloudless sky and beautifully warm temperatures. Plenty of people had advised us against going at this time, saying that when it rains there’s not much else to do, but we were clearly very lucky with the weather. Still, even on our one rainy day, we managed to keep ourselves occupied in the gym, the games room, at the bar and in one of the many restaurants!
Exploring the Island
One of the unique factors about this island is you can easily walk all the way around it. This takes around 20 minutes to half an hour and is a great way to see all the different types of accommodation and dining options available, and spot the two other private islands owned by the resort. There are bicycles allocated to each villa, so if you don’t fancy the walk you can do it with pedal power.
For the first three nights, we stayed in a Beach Pool Villa, and for the last night we stayed in an idyllic, stilted Grand Water Pool Villa, looking out to the sea. We were seriously impressed with the fit-out of the rooms and the privacy of the pools. In fact, the entire renovation (completed in 2016) has been extremely well thought out, from the arrival area, inspired by the black-and-white sarongs of the local performers of Boduberu (a Maldivian style of music), to the Iru Beach lounge, with its gypsy-inspired beaded hanging bar seats.
#1. Book a bootcamp with the resort’s trainer Jimmy. With my knee still on the mend, it was up to James to try this one out. Originally booked as a Warrior Workout on the beach, it was scheduled during the only drizzly time we had, so James and Jimmy ended up in the gym for a personal training session instead. James considers himself a pretty fit man (and I wouldn’t disagree), but Jimmy definitely put him through his paces, with a great high-intensity interval workout, which made the amazing breakfast buffet that much sweeter.
#2. Schedule a sunrise yoga session. There’s no better way to start the day than with a yoga session while the sun comes up; it gets the muscles limbered up and the blood pumping, but in a wonderfully zen way. James’s session started at 6am under a covered pagoda, and lasted for an hour.
#3. Spa, spa, spa! Seriously, what getaway would be complete without a spa treatment or three? Kanuhura’s Kokaa Wellness Retreat and Spa is a stylish space too, with a gorgeous arrival area and cavernous treatment space.
#4. Dine in the garden. Although there are seven other dining spots on the island, our favourite was our meal in the Chef’s Herb Garden, where we enjoyed an Indian Night menu, put together for all the guests. Tables were set up in the garden, amongst the aromatic herbs and lit by candles and fairy lights – all rather romantic, despite the fact we were about to chow down on a curry feast! Dishes included dhal, palak paneer, lamb rogan josh and Kerala fish curry, to name but a few.
#5. Dine on a private island. (Okay, so our favourite things seem to be centred around eating!) We loved our lunch on Kanuhura’s deserted neighbouring island, Jehunuhura. It boasts a beachside grill, Drift, serving amazingly fresh food, and a well-stocked wine list.
For something even more special, the resort can organise a private picnic on Kanuhura’s second deserted island, Masleggihura. It’s picture postcard stunning, surrounded by more of that turquoise sea and white sand. Staff are on hand to serve a delicious lunch cooked on a traditional grill in the sand, and there’s a shaded canopy set up for that much needed after-lunch snooze.
Taking the kids?
Although we didn’t have our little rug rats with us, we did check out the kids’ facilities, and it made us kind of sad they hadn’t come along (for a moment, at least!). Not only is there a kids’ club, as well as a games room with pool table, darts and gaming area, but the resort offers a Sun Kids experience as well. A raft of activities can be organised to keep little ones occupied, including a pirate cruise, mini Olympics and pottery making, and they’ll also be encouraged to help with the local wildlife by becoming a turtle ambassador.
There are still so many activities to list. The resort has its own water-sports centre on the island, offering jet skiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, water skiing and stand-up paddle boards. There are diving excursions and snorkelling opportunities, and a sunset fishing trip can also be organised. If you’re a wine lover, wine-tasting sessions with the island’s sommelier can be arranged, and for nature lovers there’s the chance to spot dolphins and manta rays.
Show me the money!
• Beach Pool Villa for two adults, with bed and breakfast: US$1,041 per night
• Water Pool Villa for two adults, with bed and breakfast: US$1,425 per night
• Flights with Singapore Airlines: US$780
• Round-trip seaplane transfers per person: US$550
Note: These are low-season prices. It’s best to book through a travel agent to take advantage of any offers or promotions.
Kanuhura is at Lhaviyani Atoll, Maldives. +960 662 0044 | kanuhura.com
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