Asia & Australasia

Finding paradise in the Maldives

I had seen dozens of photos, or hundreds even. Let’s be honest – thousands! Every time that I saw something that had the word Maldives in it, my heart skipped a little beat. Just a little one. Why? Because I really wanted to go there.

I was pretty sure that most photographs were photoshopped – or instagrammed as it is 2013 – and oh my, I was in for a surprise! So here is a little recap of my trip, lovingly organised by Kuoni!

The adventured started right close to home, at London Heathrow Airport – on this adventure, Mr. O and myself were to travel for the first time ever with award-winning airline Qatar Airways (due to join Oneworld soon). A detailed review can be found here (as part of a new series here on the blog, where I will be reviewing different business and first class airline experiences).

Qatar Airways' lounge at London Heathrow

Qatar Airways’ lounge at London Heathrow

It was my first time flying with a Middle-Eastern airline and a thought entered my mind – would the flight be dry? But as soon as I walked into the stunning lounge at Heathrow and was directed to the “signature cocktail bar”, I knew I didn’t need to worry. Flying with Qatar Airways also gave me the opportunity to stopover in Doha, a place I was curious about… but more about that part of the trip later!

Getting to the Maldives was not a problem – a 6.5h flight to Doha, and a speedy connection (via the Business and First Class terminal) and we quickly boarded our second flight, with a duration of around 4.5h, to Malé, the capital of the Maldives.

At the airport, we were welcomed by Kurumba‘s team (the same applies to any hotels, who have desks at the airport) and after a 10-minute boat ride we had arrived… pretty much to paradise!

Our private stretch of beach just outside our Beach Villa at Kurumba

Our private stretch of beach just outside our Beach Villa at Kurumba

After a warm welcome by the team at Kurumba, we were taken to our beach villa (#158) and where we uttered our first wow. The sea was really what I could only hope it would be – but the best bit? Knowing that that part of the beach was ours – each room has its own sunloungers, so there are no fights ever. I knew we were on to a good thing.

We spent 4 nights at Kurumba, and I can’t speak highly enough of the resort, which was Maldives’ first island resort (40 years ago), and which underwent a complete refurbishment very recently. We loved our room, and absolutely adored our outdoor shower. Needless to say, we were a housekeepers’ dream as we never ever used the indoor one.

Our beach villa at Kurumba

Our beach villa at Kurumba

I can’t tell you how quickly time went – I know it always does when you were having fun! We spent our days eating – the food and service were outstanding, and we were never bored as we had over 6 dining options (a grill, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Lebanese, Chinese and a buffet) to choose from, sleeping, having the odd cocktail and, of course, indulging in the spa.

I liked the spa so much, that after the complimentary treatment the hotel kindly offered us, we just had to go every day – the treatment rooms were fantastic, as was the team. Our favourite? This greeny ginger and lemongrass refreshing drink we were given pre and post massage. Ginger is something that this trip definitely brought into our lives. Treatments started at $100, which is outstanding value for money.

The Spa at Kurumba

The Spa at Kurumba

One thing we didn’t realise before we arrived, was that all prices were in USD. Which was a nice surprise, as cocktails (priced at $10+) were even better value than anywhere in Europe or the USA. And after working my way around the menu, which was incredibly creative, I can declare a winner:

Lychee Caipirinha

Lychee Caipirinha

Not quite why I never had a lychee caipirinha before – but I promise you, it will be added to my Top Cocktails list very shortly! One thing worth mentioning – you are not allowed to bring alcohol into the Maldives. It is illegal and your luggage is checked on arrival – the Maldives is a Muslim country and the only exception to this rule is at island resorts. Its capital, Malé, is completely dry (which is fine by me!).

I am not that transparent anymore, I am delighted to say!

I am not that transparent anymore, I am delighted to say!

Snorkelling was also outstanding and something I am delighted to have had a go at – every day the hotel organises a snorkelling “expedition”, which is great, especially for beginners, as you know you are totally safe. We saw the most incredible fishes and reefs and I can only wish I had a proper camera with me. Which obviously means I *simply* need to go back again.

Reading a book will never be quite the same!

Reading a book will never be quite the same!

And with this, it was time to move resorts – our next and final stop was Kurumba‘s sister property, Velassaru.

After a lovely welcome – we were joined by other guests which we collected at the airport, we were shown our over water villa (#411). Are you ready for this? You have been warned!

A lovely Water Villa room at Velassaru

A lovely Water Villa room at Velassaru

And obviously the best bit… the view!

Complete privacy in our Water Villa deck

Complete privacy in our Water Villa deck

Velassaru was a dream of a hotel – completely rebuilt a few years ago, it was beach chic and understatement at its best. Fab design, coupled with great service. One thing I must add – I loved the idea of switching resorts midweek. It adds a bit of variety, and a change of scenery – I know most people prefer to stay 1 week in one place, but this really worked for us, and I can’t recommend it enough.

You can totally guess what we did for the almost 3 days we were in this island – we swam, read, ate and I twitted a little bit! WiFi is free at both hotels, which is great news.

We also tried and loved the spa – the signature massage was outstanding. But what I loved the most? Hum.. guess!

A jacuzzi with a view - and a smile!

A jacuzzi with a view – and a smile!

One thing I had no intention of doing was to get inside a pool – why would I if the sea looked like that? So perfect.. and warm! I have now forgiven myself as I simply had to try this beautiful pool… would you be able to resist? We weren’t!

A pool with a view at Velassaru

A pool with a view at Velassaru

And I can’t believe how quickly our three nights at Velassaru went. But we weren’t sad to leave. Why? Because we know we will be back for sure, and it won’t take years, I promise you!

PS. Maldives, I miss you already

PS. Maldives, I miss you already


Mrs. O


Disclaimer: I was a guest of Kuoni, who have kindly organised this trip for Mr. O and myself. I would like to thank Kurumba and Velassaru for looking after us so well and also Qatar Airways, who have provided flights in business class for both of us on all 4 segments from London Heathrow to Malé via Doha. Opinions are, as always, my own.



Kuoni offers 7 nights with breakfast at the 5-star Kurumba Maldives in a deluxe room including flights with Qatar Airways from Heathrow and group transfers in resort.  Prices for departures June 2013 are from £1,266 per person, based on two sharing. To book please quote: IO0021

Kuoni offers 7 nights with breakfast at 5-star Velassaru Maldives in a deluxe bungalow including flights with Qatar Airways from Heathrow and group transfers in resort.  Prices for departures  June 2013 are from £1,378 per person, based on two sharing. To book please quote: IO0021

A holiday like mine  which includes 4 nights on all inclusive at 5-star Kurumba Maldives in a deluxe beach bungalow and 3 nights on all inclusive at 5-star Velassaru Maldives in a water villa including flights with Qatar Airways from Heathrow and group transfers in resort, costs from £2,799 per person, based on two sharing, for departures June 2013 in economy class. With flights in business class, from LHR to Malé,  the total cost would be £4399. To book please quote: IO0004.

To book, please contact your nearest Kuoni store or call +44 1306 747008.



View Comments (76)


  1. Sonia

    June 25, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    We went to Vilamendhoo in 2012 and loved it. In fact, we had planned a trip to Kurumba in May this year, but had to cancel it. Maldives is a place that you can repeat so many times and yet want to go again!
    Sonia recently posted..Hong Kong – Five things to experience the ‘real’ Hong Kong!My Profile

  2. Charlotte

    July 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Velassaru is certainly one of our favourite resorts of the many that the Maldives has to offer. Pure luxury and a perfect honeymoon destination.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      July 10, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      It’s fab!

  3. @9VSKA

    May 20, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Okay, time to save up some ammo and head for this fantastic destination (yes, you have succeeded in making me want to go!) 😀

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 20, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      I love a job well done! It is seriously nice, I promise!

  4. Charu

    May 18, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    What a stunning place!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 19, 2013 at 4:38 pm


  5. BeachThursday

    May 16, 2013 at 10:45 am

    This looks like the perfect place for #BeachThursday! Love the photo of you in the crystal clear water reading, and you`re right, your reading will never be the same 😉
    BeachThursday recently posted..Beach Bag Giveaway!My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 16, 2013 at 11:58 am

      Never ever ever 🙂

  6. Carrie

    May 15, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    What a wonderful post…thank you for sharing your perspective on these beautiful destinations. What are your thoughts on Velassaru being an appropriate resort for a young, school-aged child for a 4-day trip? She doesn’t need a “kids club” or anything of that nature…would be happy with a nice beach, pool and food. 🙂

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 15, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      Hi Carrie! Thank you 🙂 I think it would be fine, but depending on well behaved the child is. We saw some children and they were a delight and really happy. No crying 😉

  7. carolyn

    May 14, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    You have been totally spoiled Mrs O – but you’re worth it! It looks stunning and reaffirms my need to flop on a beach very soon.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 14, 2013 at 11:04 pm

      hear hear! you need to go!

  8. alex

    May 14, 2013 at 8:30 am

    What a dream! I really hoped to make it to the Maldives this year but I think it will have to wait a little longer. Your pictures are beyond wanderlust-worthy – I can’t wait to go diving here one day 🙂
    alex recently posted..The Ultimate Backpacking Trips Giveaway!!!My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 14, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      Go go go! 😉

  9. Vanessa

    May 14, 2013 at 12:30 am

    I’m amazing by how calm the water looks! Is it always like that or were you just luck with regards to your timing/location?

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 14, 2013 at 8:11 am

      Always, always, always!

  10. Kathryn

    May 13, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    To be honest, I always thought that I’d get board in the Maldives as I am not one for lazing around on the beach all day but I think if I had an underwater camera and could go off on the snorkeling trips you mentioned I might be able to put up with paradise for a week or two. At a pinch! 😉
    Kathryn recently posted..Visiting Lisa, my sponsored child in The GambiaMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 13, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      I promise you won’t get bored!!

  11. Hogga

    May 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    this looks like heaven
    Hogga recently posted..The Worst Vacation EverMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 7, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      It was indeed!

  12. jenjenk

    May 7, 2013 at 8:09 am

    How amazing!! I’ve always wanted to visit Maldives! I can’t wait to read your review on Qatar…been very curious about it! [of course i won’t be flying on business/first class!]
    jenjenk recently posted..Best Beach in the Caribbean: Caracas Beach, Vieques Island, Puerto RicoMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 7, 2013 at 8:11 am

      Hi Jen, thank you! Review coming up soon!

  13. Kieu ~ GQ trippin

    May 7, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Ahh man that really looks heavenly. I think Maldives just made it to my Honeymoon bucket list. lol
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..Craving Italian in Prague? Eat here.My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 7, 2013 at 8:11 am

      Kieu, you should seriously consider it.. it is beautiful!

  14. Erin at The World Wanderer

    May 7, 2013 at 2:25 am

    How did you know that I needed a vacation like this soon? 😉 Beautiful! The Maldives have always been on my list – I’m thinking honeymoon? 😉 But, I will definitely get there eventually. Loved following along with you while you were away, as always. xx
    Erin at The World Wanderer recently posted..Music Monday: The Fear.My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 7, 2013 at 8:12 am

      Perfect honeymoon destination, Erin – not only just for that! Seriously, I hope it can happen!

  15. Nita

    May 6, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Gorgeous photos 🙂 I went to the Maldives for my honeymoon 7 years back and absolutely loved it! And I wouldn’t be able to resist that beautiful pool either. The Lychee Caipirinha looks and sounds delicious. Only tried Lychee Mojito but that looks good!! Enjoyed your post 🙂
    Nita recently posted..Golden Temple – Golden GloryMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 6, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      I like the idea of a lychee mojito! Thank you for your kind words, Nita!

  16. Anita Mac

    May 6, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Sounds totally delightful! Was seeing all your photos on facebook and twitter and dying to get the full story! It sounds just as perfect as it looks! Bucket Listable for sure!
    Anita Mac recently posted..Monday Morning Series – Mexican LanternsMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 6, 2013 at 6:34 pm

      It was stunning, Anita. Paradise!

  17. Mrs D

    May 6, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    So jel!!!!
    The lychee caipirinha looks yummy, I would love to try it too!
    Mrs D recently posted..I may not look like much, but I’m an expert at pretending to be a ninja.My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm

      It was amazing!

  18. the lazy travelers

    May 6, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    we couldn’t get enough of your instagrams! gorgeous. neeeeeed to go here one day.
    the lazy travelers recently posted..turning our fijian frowns upside downMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      You should, promise you won’t be disappointed!

  19. Diane

    May 6, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Wow, your pics are stunning and I have to go there one day. Just gorgeous!
    Diane recently posted..A lesson on French politenessMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 6, 2013 at 1:36 pm

      Thank you, Diane!

  20. Suzy

    May 6, 2013 at 5:34 am

    Wow! I imagine it was hard to go home after this trip. All of your photos certainly look like paradise to me!
    Suzy recently posted..Suzy Stumbles Over Travel: Week of April 29, 2013My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 6, 2013 at 11:17 am

      I can’t tell you how much it hurt… it really did coming back to reality!

  21. Aggy

    May 5, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Looks so very amazing. And the water is so blue and clear makes me wanna jump in!
    Aggy recently posted..Introducing Indonesia. Introducing Indonesian Travel Bloggers.My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 6, 2013 at 11:18 am

      That’s what I did for most of the day… absolutely amazing place!

  22. lola

    May 4, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    it is sooooooo beautiful there. i am desperate to go. you look like you had the most wonderful time. AND you look gorgeous in that blue dress.
    lola recently i traveled to five major cities in 18 hoursMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 6, 2013 at 11:19 am

      Oh thank you!

  23. Traveling Ted

    May 4, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    You have to love it when the good times start at the airport. That looks like the most pristine beach ever.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..Joshua Tree golden desert will lure me backMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 6, 2013 at 11:19 am

      It was beautiful, Ted!

  24. Walter

    May 4, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Wow, I’ve been to the Maldives three times before but it seems that’s too long ago 😉

    Job well done, indeed!
    Walter recently posted..Interview with Marcel Wanders on the Next Big Thing in Hotel Interior DesignMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 6, 2013 at 11:20 am

      Thank you Walter! Maybe time to head back?

  25. Jean | Holy Smithereens

    May 4, 2013 at 3:34 am

    What a lovely time you had!! Maldives is definitely on my list. the waters just look sooo inviting! I went to BoraBora last year and the same thoughts I had about “photoshopped or instagrammed” photos–they are unbelievably Real! I love how accessible Male is now, with more carriers flying to it (in my part of the world -AU, there’s Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines) one day , one day, one day….. 🙂
    Jean | Holy Smithereens recently posted..Beauty Must-Haves When TravellingMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 6, 2013 at 11:21 am

      Jean you are so lucky! French Polynesia is days away from us! But it’s great that it is easier than ever to get there. Qatar now also flies to OZ, so you can try them!

  26. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures

    May 3, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I don’t even know what to say other than this has to be the most beautiful place on earth!
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Happy Mother’s Day + GiveawayMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 3, 2013 at 9:44 pm

      I totally agree,Andi! Thank you 🙂

  27. Clare

    May 3, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    I’m in love with that water! What I wouldn’t give to be swishing about in it right now! I’m impressed that all this luxury is actually affordable (and would make a wonderful anniversary trip – Sorrento might be the destination for this year, but there’s always 2014. Wonder if I should start dropping hints to Mr Holiday Addict now?)!
    Clare recently posted..Life’s a Party in Liverpool; the City with a SoundtrackMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 3, 2013 at 9:12 pm

      You know where to send him. And I can totally have words with him.

  28. Leah

    May 3, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    I ADORED following your Maldives and Doha trip. I have got to get myself to the Indian Ocean immediately. You have tempted me and there’s no going back now.
    Leah recently posted..Surviving the Summer Travel Season in SpainMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 3, 2013 at 9:12 pm

      Now, that is a sign of a job well done. Can I come with you? I want to go back, ASAP!

  29. Lucy

    May 3, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    I used to think that the Maldives wouldn’t be my thing as I tended to want to see and do a lot when I travel, but I’m definitely getting won over to the idea of just relaxing and unwinding for a week and coming home reinvigorated rather than in need of another trip to recover. That sea just looks amazing and impressed by how reasonable the packages are for what you tend to think of as a really pricey destination.
    Lucy recently posted..Las Vegas does the worldMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      Lucy, it was fab – and the value for money outstanding. One thing I loved (and highly recommend) is to go to 2 islands – the change in scenery can be quite dramatic and I loved it!

  30. D.J. - The World of Deej

    May 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Wow…that’s about all there is to say. The water is so crystal clear. Naturally, the Maldives is on my list. Now it just moved up a couple notches…
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..Hogwarts Castle at the Wizarding World of Harry PotterMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 3, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      It is beautiful, Deej. I can promise no filters were needed. Do go if you have a chance 🙂

  31. Mira

    May 3, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Wonderful and vivid acount of your marvellous holiday! Thank you very much. By the way, how did you get from one resort to the other and how long did that take.


    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 3, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      Hi Mira, thank you! We went by speed boat and it took 30 minutes. Kurumba took us to the airport (10 mins) and then we were picked up by the Velassaru boat (20-25 mins). Easy!

  32. Annabelle

    May 3, 2013 at 11:52 am

    What a fantastic trip! Wow! Paradise indeed!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 3, 2013 at 11:53 am



    May 3, 2013 at 11:52 am

    couldnt agree more with your whole blog- as you know im not a beachy person and i dont “do” sun but i absolutely ADORED the trip we did to the Jumeirah Vitteli resort the week before you. i have no idea where the week went. my favourite passionfruit mojito and the snorkelling. saw turtles and an eagle ray which was incredible. we will definitely be back

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 3, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      I am so with you! And thank you for sharing photos while you were there!

  34. Francesco

    May 3, 2013 at 11:51 am

    I am with John – causing me problems Mrs. O. Now seriously, you know how to travel in style and thank you for bringing this to us. I never considered the Maldives and now it seems I have no choice. Amazing photos!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 3, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      I am ever so sorry!! And if you can, I would certainly recommend the Maldives and both hotels. Fab! Everything about this holiday was indeed!

  35. Maria

    May 3, 2013 at 11:50 am

    I want to go to paradise too! OMG, what a fantastic trip – and surprised about the cost. I thought we couldn’t even get there for under £10,000. And Qatar Airways looked very nice.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 3, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      That was the whole idea of the trip, Maria! I loved every hotel and can’t think I needed anything else. The food was fab, service outstanding and everything simply beautiful! And enjoyed my Qatar experience indeed!

  36. John M

    May 3, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Excellent, now Mrs. M demands to go to the Maldives. You are causing me problems, Mrs. O!! Looks stunning, and way better value than we ever thought.. shall investigate. Do you really recommend Kuoni?

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 3, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      Well, you know how to keep the Mrs happy, quite straightforward, really! Kuoni were fab!

  37. Therese

    May 3, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Mrs. O what an amazing trip – I loved following it while you were there.

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 3, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      Thank you Therese. It was amazing indeed!

  38. Trudi (aka BFF)

    May 3, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Wow ….. This is what dreams are made of! Great post Mrs O – the Knights are def up for joining you both on your next visit to the Maldives! When can we book?!?!

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      May 3, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      Soon soon! We need to discuss details asap!

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