You can’t have a travel blog without being a self-confessed travel addict. It will be no surprise, then, that faced with the Things having 3 days off school for half term… We decided to take a trip. I mean to be fair, if in doubt, we will always, ALWAYS take the trip. So why did we decide to do the Maldives with family?
You have 5 days’ of potential holiday. 4 when you realise Day 5 is Halloween and your Things have asked you a couple of times a week since last Halloween how long it is until the next one. What are the options? Our thought process wasn’t as structured as it sometimes is. Our dates were more fixed than usual – we have already taken the Things out of school this year to go to the US and are planning to again next year for our ski trip. We knew we didn’t want to go TOO far – better to spend the time reading than on a plane and lots of jet lag is never appealing at the best of times. The political blockade has restricted travel to countries that were once our default options. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just makes you think that little bit harder.
We considered the options and quickly discarded them. Sri Lanka? Want more time. Oman? Been there twice before and looking for more of a change. Europe? Looking for better weather. Thailand? Too far….
I felt a bit like Goldilocks.
Now we have considered the Maldives before. We’ve BEEN to the Maldives before.
Here’s the thing. The Maldives is great but you’re held captive a bit on the resort island where you are staying. When we went to Kurumba 2 years ago we were coming off a pretty hectic few months. An international move with 10 days’ (official) notice to pack up the house, rent it out and leave. A dog who almost didn’t make it on the plane with us, a debilitating stomach bug 5 days into a new country where I knew no-one and more kid illnesses than I could keep count of. A broken toe (including surgery), Ramadan, a visit from my mum (thanks mum – kept us sane!) and the arrival of our shipment. Making new friends, starting nursery, starting a new job… we were exhausted and in dire need of a recharge.
There’s a but coming
And yet after 6 days we were all bored.
To be fair, if we could have gone diving we would have (thanks broken toe). If the Things hadn’t been so young we could have done more things like kayaking together or snorkelling or day trips out on boats. But still, I think Kurumba (as amazing as it was – don’t get me wrong) had done all it could do for us.
The easy answer should be that you go for a shorter trip but the reality seemed to be it was almost as expensive as a week. And you know me… I don’t like feeling short changed.
So why did we go back?
Honestly we have been wanting to go back again and when the team at Purely Maldives (see below for their contact details and an EXCLUSIVE Wanderlust and Wet Wipes discount!) found us an incredible deal, we jumped at it.
This is the second time we have used them and I would really recommend them. They have great service and really listen to you before making some recommendations. If you have seen my post about how to choose a resort in the Maldives then you’ll be familiar with how bewildering it can be! And how unhelpful some people can be. Purely Maldives got us a great deal both times we travelled (better than the direct booking sites could get). AND we had upgrades both times – a room upgrade this time with the Sheraton and a breakfast upgrade (doesn’t sound like much but it was totally amazeballs) in Kurumba.
Anyway, its a bit funny to try and write an itinerary for a beach / island holiday but I’m going to try so here goes:
Where we stayed
There was a bit of a mix up with the rooms. We had originally booked an Island Cottage which was a room that slept 4. The resort very kindly upgraded us to one of their Ocean Pool Villas. It was absolutely amazing and super stunning with a private pool. The only drawback was that it only sleeps 3 people…
After a bit of waiting and debating, they insisted that there was no way to put an additional bed in the room so we headed back off to our original room all feeling a bit deflated until…. The lovely man who was helping us suggested we could have the original room style that we had booked (that slept 4) but that had a pool as well.
The irony? The Ocean Pool Villa room was super light and bright and airy. So beautiful but completely impractical for sensitive Things like ours. They would have been up at the Crack Of Dawn. The Island Cottages were much darker and gave us a lie in until 7am (still 5am at home…not ideal).
On Kurumba we had a room called a Garden Cottage. It also had a private pool and actually had a sitting area that could be closed off from the main part of the room so that Things could sleep in there and we didn’t disturb them. According to the website it would still work for us even now that the Things are older.
Where to eat
The thing about being on an island resort is that you’re pretty much beholden to whatever the options you have on the island. For that reason we have preferred to go to larger islands where there are a few more dining choices and we would definitely do that again. For 3 nights we ate in 3 different restaurants (none of which were where we had eaten breakfast or lunch). We did the same in Kurumba.
- Personally I don’t like all you can eat buffet options as I end up eating too much and I like to be able to choose from a menu. I also don’t find them to be very good value in resort hotels ($84 per person at the Sheraton).
- If you can’t see something your Things will like, ask for a kids menu. We didn’t realise that there was one until the second night and so consequently the Things ate very little on the first night!
- Do the maths! Of course every resort is different so it is always worth seeing if they have a deal for upgrading to all inclusive. HOWEVER… We have done this twice after originally booking a Bed and Breakfast package but seeing how much the soft drinks cost alone ($10 each!!!!).
- It still made no sense and we saved around $400 over 3 days by buying our food and drink on an a la carte basis. The reality with All Inclusive is that it only works economically if you are going to drink like a fish (we drink but not that much). And even then you are often offered reduced menu options or have to eat in the same restaurant each night (with the buffet – see above).
What to do
The Maldives is a great destination for specific groups of people:
- People who love water sports
- People who are mad keen scuba divers
- People who want to lie on a beach
I think if you don’t like lying on a beach or being in the water this probably isn’t the holiday for you.
Going with Things we found it tough to get away to dive even though we both really love diving. I can’t even believe I’ve been to the Maldives twice and NOT been diving. Younger me would be shaking her head at me right now if she knew!
Without the diving and not really able to try out loads of water sports (Mr Wanderlust and Thing 1 did go kayaking one day) made us really start feeling bored after 6 days. Kurumba had loads more Kids Club and grown up activities that we joined in on like wine tasting at sunset, sandcastle building and pizza making so that definitely helped.
The verdict – would we go back?
So Mr Wanderlust and I have made a pact. We will go back to the Maldives before we leave here. But I think I will try and do it a bit differently. Maybe throw in some budget travel. Maybe move around a bit. Maybe leave on a high having stayed in some ridiculously priced resort (not the really ridiculous ones, we haven’t got enough money for that haha) on the last night. Or maybe going
Here’s the exciting news!
I loved Purely Maldives so much that I wanted to recommend it to everyone we knew! And I already have! So I asked the team if they would be prepared to give some sort of incentive to my readers for booking with them and they said YES! Bear in mind that Purely Maldives was the cheapest agent that we found on a like for like basis (except one who was in such a too good to be true price range that we did our research and found them slated by everyone). In addition to that, we have had great advice and upgrades to our stays (obviously that can’t be guaranteed).
AND they are now offering Wanderlust and Wet Wipes readers an additional $50 off their website pricing!
You can contact Purely Maldives in the following ways:
- Website: purelymaldives.co.uk
- Phone: +44 2380 736157 (UK) or +44 23 80 736157 (International),
- Skype: purely-maldives
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m super excited about this as it is the first time I have pitched to anyone so it is great that they said yes and that it is to your benefit! So go, book, travel, relax and have fun.
NOTE: I am not receiving any compensation from Purely Maldives for this recommendation or for you booking with them. I just really like them.