Andrea Bailey explores the island of Falhumaafushi to discover what makes The Residence special…
Arriving in the Maldives always feels like reaching what can be only described as a ‘piece of heaven’. But wait…it gets better…when you are staying at a resort like The Residence, located on one of the world’s largest and deepest atolls, the Gaafu Alifu atoll…
Why so? The location is one reason….you can spot dolphins, reef sharks and turtles without even having to leave the comfort of your villa! The staff’s attention to detail when it comes to looking after their guests, would be another great reason.
GETTING THERE: Flying into Male and then connecting via a fifty five minute domestic flight to the Koodhoo airport followed by a short ferry ride to the resort. It is interesting to note that it could be raining quite heavily in Male but you could be greeted with blue skies in the southern islands, which is what happened the day I travelled through to The Residence, Falhumaafushi.
There’s always a smiling team waiting to greet guests at the arrival jetty and then check them in to their beach or water villas. The Falhumaafushi Island where The Residence is located, is elongated in shape with villas facing the east and west so you can catch the sunrise or the sunset, depending on the location of your villa.
As I walked through my west facing water pool villa, the view was that of a welcoming plunge pool and an endless Indian Ocean stretching out across the horizon. Welcome trays of fruit jelly and chocolate were placed on the table and replenished daily.
GETTING AROUND FALHUMAAFUSHI:
Each villa is allocated cycles and I picked up my cycle to take a tour of the island and get an idea of the layout of various activity centres and restaurants. I passed the Kids Club and found it to be open to children between 4 and 12 years that offers great activities such as cooking pizza and cupcakes, to crab hunting, games, gardening and swimming. That’s quite a lot to keep the little ones busy!
And for parents who want to spend an evening together, the club offers baby-sitting services for a nominal charge.
Food and beverage is always a big part of the island experience in the Maldives and The Residence rises to the occasion. The resort’s dining outlets include The Dining Room with all day dining options, the beautifully located Falhumaa Restaurant, open for high tea and dinner as well as Thai, European and Maldivian cuisine culinary classes five days a week.
The Beach Bar and Sunset Grill offers great views and a very relaxed ambience while the Library Bar that is open all day complete the food and beverage offerings on this island.
Arriving in the Maldives always feels like reaching what can be only described as a ‘piece of heaven’.
THE SPA: The Spa by Clarins is located on the water connected to the island by a wooden walkway with each spa cabin named after the elements like wind and water.
GREAT FOR COUPLES: If you’re looking for quality time together as a couple, The Residence offers the ‘Castaway Island Experience’ where you can escape to an island for a romantic dinner.
The resort even takes care of Wedding Blessing Ceremonies with the option of getting married underwater!
WATERSPORTS: As I continued on my exploratory cycling around to the Water Sports area where guests can kayak, windsurf as well as learn to go catamaran sailing on a complimentary basis. The Dive Centre offers trips for scuba diving and snorkelling as well as Dolphin cruises around the atoll.
While there, I made sure to go on the dolphin cruise and I was truly thankful to see them in the wild, cruising the waves of the choppy sea. And I have to add that the snorkelling was another fabulous experience as the coral along the reef is colourful and teeming with marine life so turtle spotting is fairly common around here.
My days spent exploring the island resort and the atolls were so enriching that I know I will be back for more…..soon!
Andrea Bailey is a Dubai based travel writer. She is also a travel consultant with Travel Counsellors and specializes in cruises, family holidays and honey moons. When she’s not out and about discovering destinations and different cuisines of the world, you would probably find her busy with her 3 daughters and her other passions involving art and music.
As a mosaic artist, she has travelled to Italy and studied ancient Roman techniques of the art form and as a jazz flautist she has had the opportunity of performing across various Dubai venues.