The Paradise, Maldives
I don’t know where to start…. But, I had just returned from a wonderful holiday – 10 fabulous days in the stunning paradise – Maldives! Yes, I feel refreshed and (tanned). No, I’m not glad to be back! I really wish that I could extend my holidays! I was hoping to win lottery so that I can have the greatest excuse to continue the next destination of our holiday, perhaps? Oh well, that dream of becoming millionaire overnight didn’t happen!
As you could probably imagine, I am still jet-lagged. Tuesday isn’t the easiest for me! I feel like I’m floating in the air when I sit in front of the computer screen! I tend to move my clock forward (GMT +5) to Maldivian time! My mind tends to wander off. I tend to think of what I would be doing if I were still in Maldives. A few times a day, this happens and it’s just not good as it means that my heart is still in Maldives, let alone my mind!
I remember we landed at Malé airport before dawn. So, we missed the majestic view from high above! We were met by a representative from the hotel. It was quite a big boat for just the two of us, we felt privileged! The temperature must have been 30 over degrees Celsius, it was the kind of temperature that I am familiar with. Kind of humid but that didn’t bother me at all. Instead, I feel really at home, just like the kind of atmosphere back home in Malaysia!
After about 25 minutes of boat ride, we finally reached! Velassaru is the hotel that we had decided to spend our 10 days in Maldives. It is located on the South of Malé. Velassaru was previously known as Laguna Resort. SLH recently bought it over and gave it a face lift. In fact, Velassaru had just opened slightly more than 2 months! At first, we were worried that there might be some hiccups during the early days of operation. We filled ourselves with lots of information through Tripadvisor. In fact, there were many people who had booked this newly refurbished hotel were more anxious than us!
We were led to our Beach villa. As soon as we entered, I was really impressed with the space, design and ambience! It’s just like one of those that I have been dreaming of staying! The view from the king-size bed is the white sandy beach, blue sky and turquoise water. The door behind the bed leads to a very spacious bathroom: 1 indoor shower, toilet, 1 bath tub just right opposite of the 2 washing basins, and an outdoor shower! Oh my god!! I couldn’t be more excited than jumping up and down! I wanted to take my shower right away! I don’t mind to take the longest shower in my life!
I personally think that all the details for the Beach Villa have been well thought. I can’t really find fault to say that I didn’t like any bit of it. I enjoyed the space and the veranda. I miss the ceiling fan that you can’t live without in the tropical countries. So, it looks like I’ve missed all these – the warmth, the environment, all the bits and pieces in the tropical! I said to myself that I would cherish every second I have in Maldives!
Here it comes not too good stuff that I am going to share. But, I do believe criticisms help improvements. As a foodie, I have to say that the food served at Velassaru was not amazing and really disappointing! This is probably one of the areas that they have to seriously look into.
We were on half board; we had our buffet breakfasts and dinners at one of the five restaurants. Lack of choices is where the problem lies. I am not fussy, but I think the chef could do better. Buffet could be great if the menu is well thought through. I have tried really great buffet breakfast and dinner at Westin and Intercontinental. But, Velassaru hasn’t performed up to its proclaimed 5-star standard. Another issue is that, food wasn’t kept warm enough. They could have identified this problem easily, I wonder why they didn’t. Perhaps, no one has complaint so far?
I was hoping that they would serve some Maldivian food. Again, that wasn’t on their list. They had some Asian stir-fry dishes and surprisingly Beef Rendang! We did try dinner at another restaurant called Sand. They serve mainly seafood. The food wasn’t too bad, not great as nothing could go wrong with grilled seafood! Apart from prawns and squids, we had a big Garoupa, nicely grilled but lacked of character. I would probably have done it with a bit of spices and wrap the fish in banana leave to give it a bit of a Maldivian flair!
From food and restaurants perspective, I think Velassaru have tried too hard to be Westernized. Etesian serves Mediterranean food with great selections of wines. You could do a wine tasting session after your meal at the restaurant. It’s not this whole marketing stuff that puts me off a little, but, why would you want to do wine tasting in Maldives? Better off to get the real experience in France? And why Mediterranean food instead of Maldivian? Again, this is my personal view. I guess, serious thoughts and strategies needed in the F&B area.
Having said all the not too nice stuff, I have to admit that it didn’t spoil my entire holiday, though of the slight disappointment. I guess, from the aspect of food, I was pretty relaxed about it! It wasn’t a culinary kind of vacation so to speak! I was pretty happy with ok enough food like some Asian stir-fry, curry like Rendang, Lasagne, salad, and Pasta. Having said that, the pizza was pretty good! Choices are not great but the surrounding takes over!
Fen bar is a great place to chill before and after dinner. It’s just right opposite of the pool area. We didn’t spend a lot of time near the pool side. When you have the crystal clear water, you don’t really need the pool, do you?
If you were to ask me about my routine in Maldives, it was so simple! 1) Woke up pretty early at 8-ish every morning. 2) Took a stroll by the beach to the restaurant for breakfast. 3) Another long strolled back to the Beach Villa. 4) Put on some sunscreen. 5) Swimming, sun-bathing, reading, chilling… 6) Walked around on the island at least 3 times a day. 7) Tick tock, tick tock, time for dinner. 8) Occasionally we played ping pong and tennis. 9) Took shower then dinner. 10) Chilled then went to bed (pretty early every night). As you could tell, it was as laid-back as we could!!
Well, one of the highlights in Maldives was this evening fishing trip that we went. It was a 3-hour fishing trip. Quite a number of people had joined this. I was truly excited with my first ever experience of Maldivian fishing with the hope to catch something and get the Chef to cook it! My patience ran out quickly during the first hour or so (proven that I am not good at fishing!) I didn’t catch anything and I was almost given up! Then, we changed our location in the last 1 hour. So, I thought, my luck would change. It almost did, I think! At one point, I could tell that something big caught on my bait. It was a strong battle between me the the ‘mysterious’ stuff. With 3 persons’ energy, we failed to fight! And it has and will remain a mystery what was caught on my bait. Stuck on massive Corals? Big Tuna? Barracuda? Garoupa?
Anything special that I have experienced/seen in Maldives? Well, I would say that it was the first time that I laid my eyes on triggerfish. We were told that it was the nesting season for them. So, we should leave their territory to avoid their bite! Other than that, I saw baby sharks and sting rays!! We didn’t have to dive or snorkel to see them, they were pretty near to the shore!
Other than this, we saw a couple tying the knot in Maldivian style. And they appeared to be our ‘neighbour’, les nouveaux maries (the newly weds), congrats!
It rained probably 2-3 days when we were there. Well, it was heavy pour that lasted for 20 minutes or so. Of course, rain would be the last I wanted but without the rain, I wouldn’t have seen the most amazing rainbow! It looks too good to be true? But, you better believe it.. it’s real! 🙂
….. my mind felt fuzzy… my droppy eyes do not help me to concentrate.. I think I should stop to fill this post with too many words.. I would let the pictures speak for themselves! (Going through the photos and picking them is not an easy task. However, I hope I have chosen the best!) PS: I did see Maldives from high above when we left for London… what can I say, a lot of little islands sparkle like jewels!