One Sunset at a Time
Once in a while, in an escape from the ordinary, a destination delivers a fairy tale. Join us in the Maldives at two spellbinding private island resorts.
By Caroline Tapp-McDougall
Surrounded by its own “house” reef, these most crystal of waters are in a cyan-blue lagoon with alluringly long stretches of white sand. Hurawalhi Island is about 400 by 165 metres wide…about 16 acres in all, as far as the eye can see. A barefoot paradise by any stretch of the imagination, this unspoiled isle is home to only one adults-only resort of the same name—Hurawalhi.
There are soft-sand beaches, 90 villas (60 over the water on the ocean and 30 on the shore) and a scene-stealing underwater restaurant called 5.8 (see sidebar on the right). Food here is imaginative and modern, and our whole dining experience is seasoned with awe as endless colourful fish create a natural backdrop each evening. There are two other great dining options on Hurawalhi: Aquarium is more for fine dining, while Canneli is a casual spot where the best-ever breakfast buffet is a welcome treat each morning.
Our much-anticipated hideaway for the week is a super secluded Ocean Sunset Villa in the lagoon, with what’s called a sunrise view. Just a short walk along a private jetty, our new home has a stylish sense of place that ooze tranquility. There’s an elegantly furnished bedroom/sitting area, sumptuous linens, a beautiful indoor bathroom with a luxe rain shower and double vanities and. To our delight, our deck boasts its own good-size infinity pool with lounge chairs. Stairs take us down into the clear blue sea, where the water is only chest high and having an afternoon dip or swimming under the stars is about as much activity as we want to handle.
Florescent night snorkelling. Low-light conditions intensify the experience on the reef. Sneak a peak at freaky blue shrimps, bright-red scorpion fish, green glowing brain corals and burning red feather starfish.
Sunset hand-line fishing. Head to the lagoon and create your own Maldivian fishing tale using hand lines and raw fish as bait. The crew will help bring in your catch and the chef will cook it up
just for you.
Shark dive. After completing an intro to diving on the house reef with an underwater scooter, you’ll be certified to dive with grey reef sharks in one of the channels.
Marine biologist for a day. Meet the manta rays when you join an adventurous snorkelling safari hosted by the Manta Trust. Be part of ongoing research and learn more about the rays and their sea turtle friends, as you set out to find and name your very own manta.
On a three-hectare coral island close by, in the Lhaviyani Atoll, Hurawalhi’s owners are taking it up a notch or two with Kudadoo Private Island. Rumoured to be hedonism at its finest, the 15 two-bedroom, two-storey luxe residences boasts extensive living spaces that with hanging sofas and sun lounges, glass floors and a bucket list of other amenities are served by Hurawalhi team, promise to be out of this world. (In reality, the site is just 40 minutes by seaplane from Velana International Airport.)
For an added “wow,” there’s going to be a grand glass table for private dining—one seating, one sunset at a time. Who can resist?