Grand Park Kodhipparu was our first resort in The Maldives and it really set the standard. Size is everything when thinking about what resort works best for you. Unique in atmosphere, Grand Park Kodhipparu opened in 2017 and is small enough to be explored on foot or buggy.
The Maldives is an incredible destination and an essential part of this is choosing the right resort for you. In our series of Discovering The Maldives, we offer insights into a range of resorts across The Maldives and offer our top tips on choosing the right resort for you.
Set in a ring of islands north of Malé, Kodhipparu is only a 20 minute speedboat ride from Velana International Airport which makes everything fuss free. Sea planes are an amazing experience but they can be expensive and of course take more precious holiday time as all sea planes depart and arrive from Malé airport. Even just a 20 minute speedboat ride ensures stunning sea views and a feeling that you are in a remote paradise whilst still feeling like the mainland is actually quite close.
As the speedboat arrived, we were greeted with a traditional Maldivian drum beat and ushered straight into a buggy to our villa. It was great not to have the hassle of hanging around reception signing forms and looking at the fish. It makes you feel like you are on a private island home. Our Lifestyle Host Joey showed us around and best of all, Joey was available to help with everything from dinner bookings to transfers.
There are 6 types of villas depending on what you like. Some people prefer the beach but for me, The Maldives is all about the ocean so we wanted to be directly over the ocean. Our Pool Water Villa (villa 8) was a real home from home and had a sense of real privacy where it was just us and the ocean. Villa 8 faced east so really well placed for sunrise. The shape and design of the villa was sleek and had that traditional influence of wood and rattan balancing the unrivalled beauty of the cobalt sea and tranquillity.
Pricing in The Maldives does vary and what impressed us a lot here was the fair pricing of villas at Grand Park Kodhipparu which represented tremendous value for money for the space (our villa was 93 square metres) as they start from around $400 per night. The entry level category are water villas so you don’t pay premium prices to enjoy premium facilities of over water villas.
There were some really individual touches in the villa that made it so homely from a regularly replenished fruit bowl (with the tastiest mangos), indoor and outdoor showers to a private infinity pool. The word that kept popping up was comfort. One of our favourite features was a giant built-in hammock set over the sea which can take the weight of at least three people! The hammock is set by the pool so you could even spend the night there and have a swim as the sun rises.
Discovering the sea
A big part of any Maldives trip is discovering the amazing creatures on the doorstep. We met the resident marine biologist who took us on a snorkel around the coral reef to the north of the island where we encountered so many different species of fish, friendly (fish eating) sharks and even a turtle. It was so interesting learning a little about the variety of sea life. There are also group snorkelling trips where you venture a little further out where you may encounter the elusive dolphins of The Maldives.
Sticking to the water, the pool here is one of the biggest infinity pool in the Maldives. This 45 metre almost Olympic length pool is great for not only exercise but also for a limitless view of the Indian Ocean. No need to worry about social distancing in this pool! A really magnificent piece of art, the west facing pool is one of the focal points of Grand Park Kodhipparu and a great place to while away sunny days and dramatic sunsets.
Things to do
Resorts are great places to relax and do nothing but as well as the pool and the ocean, there are plenty of things to do and here are a few of our highlights:
Yoga – As a yoga beginner, there is nothing better than trying yoga out at sunrise. The open-air yoga deck on the upper level of the beach club overlooks the water and as a yoga novice, meeting a yoga master to learn the basics was so interesting. It is harder than it looks!
Beach Club – This is the place to be for a little shade from the sun while still enjoying the views. There is a gym with a view for morning workouts upstairs and a games room downstairs for a little after dinner fun.
Water Sports – The team at the Dive & Water Sports Centre can organise most things quite quickly diving to other water sports like catamaran sailing, jet skiing parasailing, banana boats or even a gentle kayaking.
Eating & Drinking
Grand Park Kodhipparu was one of the foodie highlights of our Maldives trip. Having tried a curry in Male, I was excited to hear that the chefs at Grand Park Kodhipparu are curry experts. The gastronomic goodies start in the villa when we discovered the biggest mango which had the sweetest, tastiest, bright orange flesh.
Breakfast – A very comprehensive buffet will greet you at The Edge. Grab a table by the sea and if you are early enough, you may spot some sharks passing by. There is a huge choice of food from pastries to curry and live cooking stations for eggs, pancakes and more. We also popped in for dinner and a highlight was the incredible range of curries. A dish simply called tempered potatoes was so good, we asked to also have some kept to the side for breakfast! You could taste the freshness of each and every single spice in the dish and the love that went into preparing it.
Lunch – Hanging out by the pool, a la carte lunch at Breeze was always our choice as the menu is varied from proper Italian approved pastas, four cheese pizzas, local dishes, fresh fish and much more. Our favourite dish was a vitamin salad with beetroot and carrot which we added some Caesar dressing to. One thing to try is the range of home made ice creams especially the coconut.
Early evening – We watched the sunset at Breeze every night over a cocktail. The cocktail list is extensive and the team specialise in spritz cocktails, great for an aperitivo before dinner. The DJ plays live every night also so the beats complement the beverages. The Aperol Spritz is a resort favourite. Also check out the wine cellar near the bar which has some rather interesting bottles inside.
Dinner – If you are celebrating, Firedoor is the place to be. Named after the in house Josper Grill, the restaurant oozes class and focuses on brilliant ingredients and immaculate Michelin style presentation. The Josper grill is the star here so ask for your favourite cut of meat or fresh fish to get the Josper treatment and let the flavours come out. On our final night, we tried a beach dinner. Romantic, serene and memorable.
The Maldives is somewhere where you have no choice but to relax. This is helped a lot by the welcoming team who take you through to an over water treatment room. There is an Asian touch with a selection of Balinese or Ayurvedic massages and these treatments have a little dash of Italian too. The products are from Comfort Zone, the distinctive range of products from Parma which promote a soulful and healthy lifestyle and uses the finest natural-origin ingredients combined with science-based solutions to visibly improve skin, body and mind.
What makes Grand Park Kodhipparu special?
This one resort island exudes so much warmth and charm from a team of staff that care so much about your experience. The size of the resort makes it comfortable and easy enough to explore if you are staying for a few days or a few weeks. The best curry in the Maldives, a decent price point, a hammock over the ocean and a location that feels so remote yet is so close makes Grand Park Kodhipparu rather special and somewhere we want to return to.
Rooms from just $438 per night.
To discover more, visit: parkhotelgroup.com
All imagery courtesy of Grand Park Kodhipparu
View this post on Instagram