Kids have a place at Luxuriate Life but sometimes a getaway to Hurawalhi to enjoy an adults only escape is just the ticket.
It is no secret that we love all inclusive luxury at Luxuriate Life and this is one of the popular options (as well as bed & breakfast / full board options) and at Hurawalhi it really means ALL inclusive. Hurawalhi is set out as an unapologetically adults only private island luxury resort carefully nestled in between Lhaviyani Atoll’s world-class beaches, which are green turtle nesting hotspots with over 50 dive sites.
From the bucket-list worthy 5.8 Undersea Restaurant (the largest underwater restaurant in the world) to the only Paddle Tennis courts in the Maldives, this is a resort that creates lifelong memories and instant relaxation.
Seaplanes and an airport lounge
Seaplanes – They are an essential part of a Maldives experience. Remember, all seaplanes only operate during daylight and all leave from Malé. These quirky little planes are intimate and allow you to take some of the best photos. The journey is a scenic 40-minute ride which was a real treat, my eyes glued to the view throughout.
At the airport, we were greeted by our Hurawalhi representatives who led us towards our air conditioned car to Hurawalhi’s pre seaplane airport lounge with WIFI and refreshing snacks, all complimentary. It’s the little things that make you smile.
Landing in the middle of the ocean may seem a bit daunting, but this was made easier by having a real bird’s eye view of the beautiful turquoise blue landscape.
Arrival and reception
Stepping onto the jetty, we were saluted by an orchestra of traditional Maldivian drums called Bodu Beru. Arriving in style really sets up the mood for luxury island life. Remember, Island Time is different to Malé and is an hour ahead at Hurawalhi. This gives you an hour of extra sunshine in the evening for lingering sunsets.
Entering the reception, I was taken back by the powdery sand flooring, against the grand installation display mimicking schools of fish that glide effortlessly together with the sea breeze, creating a series of beautiful dances. The building is designed from wood in a sleek yet traditional architectural style that compliments the natural surrounding features on the island. Hurawalhi offers a total of 90 villas on the ocean or beach, each coming with their own 25 sqm infinity pool.
Our all inclusive option
As well as all inclusive, there is also a bed and breakfast option as well as full board. For us, all inclusive is a treat and makes life easy.
The overwhelmingly generous all inclusive package plan starts off with one complimentary bottle of champagne in your villa. The indulgence rises for breakfast with a daily A La Carte menu at Canneli Restaurant. Lunch is served at the popular scenic over-water Kashibo Restaurant, so make sure to pre-book in advance as it is popular. But if you want a more relaxed meal head straight to JFK (Junk Food Kitchen). For dinner, all three restaurants are available within the all-inclusive package.
After dinner, we head straight to either Coco Bar or Kashibo Bar to make the most of the open bar. Yes, you did read that correctly, unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Diving into a variety of over 50 alcoholic cocktails – including 55 premium brands spirits and liqueurs, also an extensive wine selection of over 60 wines.
The envy and value for money continues! A complimentary sunset dolphin cruise, use of the fitness Centre, games room, and a long list of activities are just some of the opportunities available. The items that are chargeable for all guests are made super clear and they are: spa treatments, 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, Teppanyaki, water sports activities and excursions, as well as in-Villa dining.
Lucky number 231 was a handsome Ocean Pool Villa (132sqm) sitting in the middle of the rows of ocean villas that run along the lagoon facing sunrise. Our daily walks to and from our villa were my favourite, as with every walk comes a wonderful encounter – an appearance from a lone (pescatarian) shark in the water or a lizard darting across the footpath.
The villa is stylish and beautifully conceived with love. Designed in an elegant and contemporary style, taking notes from the local environment, the dark-wooden flooring compliments the natural appeal of the pitched wooden ceilings, its decorated with Maldivian motifs adding a local charm.
The bed, oh the bed. The soft palette that combines the natural hues of the room seduced me to bed, really setting the mood for relaxation (or fun), whichever one, you’re trapped in the luxurious bed linen. Once trapped in the bed, it is easy to make use out of the array of amenities, like the flat-screen TV and the mini bar’s bountiful offering.
Talking about the infinity pool makes my heart flutter… the Instagrammable pool splashed all over my timeline was the grand jewel of our room. The temperature no matter what time of day is always perfect for a relaxing swim. Taking a dip into the ocean from the decking is like jumping into an aquarium. The marine life at our doorstep could make David Attenborough green with envy.
We recommend staying in any Ocean Villa to really enjoy the Maldivian ocean experience. Prices start from around £500.
Things to do
There is absolutely no shortage of activities to do here, Hurawalhi provides many facilities like the Duniye Spa, or an endless list for the activity seekers including beach volleyball, snorkelling boat trips, and paddle tennis – which is combination of squash and tennis, extremely popular with the staff and they are more than eager to play with you.
Our island host Mariia provided us with our snorkelling kit and helped arrange activities and is always a WhatsApp message away from assisting our needs, or you can see and arrange activities yourself on the super-efficient Hurawalhi app.
For a Maldives-style romantic retreat, visit Hurawalhi’s very own Dream Island to live out your tropical fantasy. This two hour experience takes you to your own island, just a minute’s boat ride from the resort. A white powdery beach is your own patch of paradise for two hours and includes snacks and soft drinks.
We went to the marine biology centre for our guided house reef snorkelling with the resident Marine Biologist. The experience was an educational and mesmerizing deep dive into the delicate ecosystem of the Maldives. Being in the water and seeing the huge diversity and abundance of life I was in awe of the beauty beneath the turquoise water, Black Tip Sharks pass by nonchalantly through the schools of baitfish and an Eagle Ray twirls around in the distance, just few of the icons of the reef.
There are amazing creatures here and Hurawalhi’s environmental focus on conservation of the surrounding ecosystem, and their Coral Tree Project in building coral nurseries in the tree-like structure allowing coral to grow in a safe and healthy environment is truly inspiring. The project helps 100 coral fragments grow on the “tree” into an adequate size and is re-introduce back into the surrounding reefs.
Later that day, we experienced a Sunset Dolphin Cruise, which was peaceful yet super thrilling! Sitting on the cushioned roof of the boat, the crew’s expert eye catches the dolphins in the distance, pointing it out for those with bad eyesight (me). Having a full 360 degree view of the enchanting scenery and seeing dolphins hop and skip across the water into the colourful sunset is an adventure I will definitely remember.
EATING & DRINKING
Starting off with the most important meal of the day, breakfast at Canneli. The A La Carte menu is refreshing change from a buffet and one we got used to very quickly. Our go to for each morning was a green juice and truffle egg Benedict, poached egg to your desire with sautéed mushrooms and the secret weapon is the truffle infused hollandaise sauce – heavenly.
I am more of a tea person than coffee, but I was pleasantly surprise for my new addiction to the ice coffee here, and nothing is more refreshing than the crisp cold brew in the tropical morning. I also became quickly addicted to Masala Chai – a tea beverage made by the brilliant chefs by boiling black tea in milk and water with a mixture of aromatic herbs and spices like cardamom and ginger.
Lunch at 5.8 Undersea Restaurant
So, I am standing there 5.8 meters under the sea, in the accurately named 5.8 Undersea Restaurant. 5.8 Undersea Restaurant was originally constructed in New Zealand and shipped over in one piece – making it the world’s largest under water all-glass restaurant.
We started a really special 5 course extravaganza by taking our shoes off. It’s the island life. As we descend down the spiral stairs into the deep blue water, we take our last glimpse of land and before being submerged, feeling like I was in a futuristic submarine. The undersea restaurant is an all-glass dome shape room where the air is even UV light filtered.
The lunch dining experience was as captivating as the view of our finned friends. The presentation and quality of the meal was at a Michelin star standard. The dish that stood out was a delicately smooth tuna tartare, which was made from high quality Saku belly tuna, salmon skin brittle, roe of salmon, wasabi cucumber and a delightful serving of caviar.
At this point we reach the satirical moment of realising the role reversal, as we have become the goldfish in the bowl. The team provided a leaflet guide of what species of fish are on view and we decided to test the staff’s knowledge of both the food and fish. Every colourful fish species dancing around us that I pointed out was correct, every time.
We recommend booking ahead (this is an extra cost on top of any board basis) and coming in the early evening to catch a glimpse of sunset from below, seeing the change in landscape, light and wildlife.
Coming up for air, we head to dinner at Kashibo, which is directly above 5.8 Undersea Restaurant, accessing the restaurant we walked across the 200ft over-water bridge. We grabbed a table outside overlooking the sea which was lit so after gazing at each other over a sake inspired cocktail, we could also gaze into the sea on the lookout for the night time marine life.
Kashibo offers contemporary Asian-inspired menus where every detail has been thought of from a list of Shochu cocktails to a range of sushi and sashimi. The highlight dish was the Balinese rolled pork which was cooked in a savory and creamy Balinese broth and sambl matah (translated as raw chili sauce), The masterpiece of creating the rolled pork to cooked to the flawless smooth consistency in the rich sweet, savoury and spicy broth, adding the crispy and salty pork skin really takes the texture and flavour combination to the next level. The other popular dish we could have ordered every day was the sushi – so fresh and a variety of sushi from maki rolls to tempura crab.
Back at Canneli, there is a comprehensive dinner (and lunch) menu full of quality ingredients that you will find in any top restaurant from oysters to the most colourful and delicious beef tartare with parmesan. On some nights, you can also experience lavish buffets.
How to become an island local in a few days? Spend most of your time at the bar. And just like that, Harry and from Coco Bar is asking if we want our regular orders. The bar is positioned on the shoreline overlooking the shimmering lagoon and oval infinity pool and is open till LATE.
Our dry gin martini came in the martini glass but without the stem instead another glass cup full of ice, making our drinks colder for longer.
Located in the same building as JFK (Junk Food Kitchen) it would be wrong not to order snacks while sipping cocktails. Nothing is more addictive than the Jalapeno Poppers which we discovered in our first hour at Hurawalhi and kept rediscovering them till the final hour! These dainty little poppers are jalapeno peppers stuffed with oozing stringy mozzarella cheese and spicy gooey goodness.
Kashibo bar is the place to go for Asian inspired creations. The sophistication and dedication to the eclectic cocktails had really impressed me, by turning a classic mojito into an innovate Thai style with aromas of lemon grass and basil. Kashibo bar also boasts an impressive wine cellar of over 350 international wines and a resort sommelier to help choose. You are welcome to look inside the cellar and view the wines whilst basking in the precisely controlled air conditioning.
What makes Hurawalhi special?
Hurawalhi radiates the feeling of class and tranquillity which is also relaxed and easy going. The resort is the embodiment of what the Maldives has to offer: white-sand beaches with crystal clear waters shaded by palm trees, and a romantic feel that is equal parts serene and exciting. This is made even better with the all-inclusive package option (something that is less common in the Maldives) and an adults-only paradise that will give you the gift of a fresh, rejuvenated soul. Hurawalhi is the personification of time away with your closest friend: hassle-free and full of great memories.
To discover more, visit: hurawalhi.com
Imagery courtesy of Crown & Champa Resorts unless otherwise stated.
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