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Barefoot Luxury at Kuramathi Maldives Island Resort

Sarah on sandbankn in Kuramathi, Maldives (1)

A sandbank of dreams on crystal clear waters – Kuramathi Maldives epitomises barefoot luxury, but also offers superb dining and accommodation options to suit couples, families and groups.

Kuramathi Maldives is an island that I was very familiar with during my career in the travel industry. Friends, colleagues and clients visited, and they always returned with glowing reports of its magnificent sandbank and superb all-inclusive offering.

There is no doubt the Maldives is a magical place, and deserves the title of the World’s Leading Destination at the 2021 World Travel Awards. However, Kuramathi Maldives’ official rating is only a 4-star plus, I always wondered was it really that good? And, as a massive beach lover, was the sandbank as spectacular as it looked in the photos?

sandbank at Kuramathi Island Resort

It was only when I stood on that sandbank for the first time that I understood the hype. I finally grasped the meaning of the term barefoot luxury, and yes, it is as spectacular as it looks in the photos. 

 

 
I was only on Kuramathi Island for three nights, but it could well have been a month for the sheer joy that it brought me. I am sure many of you think it is crazy to travel long haul for that short space of time, but I was invited on a press trip to paradise, flying with Qatar Airways who have the best business class in the world, it wasn’t a tough decision! 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


I felt like I was in a bubble – I was completely detached from what was happening around the world. I had a PCR test taken before I left Ireland, and arrived on an island feeling safe and covid free. It reminded me that this is what holidays are supposed to be like.

I think many of us are so used to travelling that we sometimes take holidays for granted, and forget the purpose of holidays – to take time away from the stresses of everyday life.
 

 

 
I usually check emails while I’m away, keep up to date with what is happening at home and try to scratch the top 10 things to do on TripAdvisor off my list. Not this time. I chilled out, escaped reality, and it felt great. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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In fairness it’s not difficult to forget about the realities of home in the Maldives. Staying in an overwater bungalow in a private island in the middle of the Indian Ocean is paradise.
 

 

 
But despite what you may think, the Maldives is not just a place to relax and contemplate life. There is plenty to do, and in a place like Kuramathi, there is no fear that boredom will set in.

To be able to snorkel so close to the shore is reason enough to book a holiday in the Maldives. You don’t have to be a good swimmer to snorkel, and life jackets are provided if needed.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Although bleached coral is a common sight in Maldives, that doesn’t stop a variety of marine life frequenting the shores at Kuramathi Island. I was only in the water a few minutes when I saw a turtle, and some of the others in my group saw small reef sharks and a sting ray.

snorkelling with turtles

It it important to point out that there are 1200 different islands in the Maldives. Although only 200 are inhabited, there are vast differences between them.
 

 

 
There are local islands as well as luxury resorts, and while each hotel resort is located on its own private island, some islands are geared for families, others for romantic escapes, while others like Kuramathi Maldives cater for all tastes and budgets. 

Sand Bar in Kuramathi Island Resort

Kuramathi Island Resort is one of the largest resorts in the Maldives. It is 1.8km in length and takes about 30-40 minutes to walk from one end to the other, including its stunning sandbank. As well as pristine white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and an island where there is only sand – yes, don’t bother bringing heels, there are a few other highlights that are worth pointing out… 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Dining at Kuramathi Maldives

Reef Restaurant Kuramathi Island Resort

Kuramathi Maldives offers a wide choice of dining options, with 12 restaurants to choose from – nine of which are à la carte. Menu prices were expensive, so I highly recommend availing of one of the all-inclusive packages, as lets face it, its not like you will be dining anywhere else!
 

 

 
Depending on your budget, you can choose the basic all-inclusive package which allows you to dine in one of the buffet restaurants, as well as unlimited drinks, wines by the glass, speciality coffees etc.
 

 

 
If you want to be able to dine in any of the 12 restaurants on the island, and would like to enjoy wines by the bottle, as well as a selection of premium branded drinks (excluding premium champagne, lobster etc), then I suggest you opt for the Select All Inclusive arrangement.

Laguna Bar, Kuramathi

Restaurants include Thai, Indian, Sea Food, Grill/Steakhouse, Asian Fusion, Japanese Teppanyaki, Mediterranean and Fine Dining. We ate in several of the restaurants and the food overall was superb. 
 

 

 
I enjoyed breakfast at Farivalhu buffet restaurant and loved the live cooking stations, as well as the choices of hot and cold international dishes – and of course the morning sea views.

breakfast views in Maldives

Palm Mediterranean Restaurant serves up pizzas and tasty pasta dishes – I can recommend the tagliatelle with clams here. The Pad Thai was equally delicious at the authentic Thai Restaurant – Siam Garden. 
 

 

 
Reef is Kuramathi’s main seafood restaurant. You can choose your freshly caught fish from the tank with a selection of sauces. I opted for the Mahi Mahi with a Sri Lankan spicy / sour curry sauce – it was superb.

dining in Maldives

On our last night we dined in the Island Barbecue Restaurant. Located on the beach, this was surprisingly one of my favourites. I assumed it would be a buffet style restaurant, but it was the opposite.

We selected our choice of meat (I opted for Steak Diane), and the chef cooked it at our table. My starter of grilled tiger prawns were perfectly cooked too.

all inclusive in Maldives

As well as a choice of 12 different restaurants there are seven bars around the island, including the relaxing Sand Bar with bean bags and live music, while the modern Laguna Bar offers sunset views and delicious cocktails.

sunset at Maldives
There is also a Karaoke Bar if you are feeling that way inclined. The less said about my poor rendition of Summer of 69, the better!
 

 

 

Room choices at Kuramathi Maldives

Kuramathi Maldives is officially rated 4-star Plus, although I would consider many of the rooms to be five-star standard. There are 12 different room types available, on two different sides of the island.

Kuramathi was established in 1975, and some of the rooms are more traditional in style compared to the newer deluxe water villas. 
 

 

 
We had a tour of the island and saw the traditional beach bungalows which are beautifully furnished with four-poster beds and an outdoor jacuzzi and sun deck.

beach bungalows in Kuramathi Island Resort, Maldives
Beach bungalows

However, if you prefer more modern accommodation, and budget is not an issue, opt for the Deluxe Water Villas, or better still the Thundi Water Villas with Pool, which are located beside the sandbank.

deluxe water villa with pool, Kuramathi Island Resort, Maldives
Pool villas

Families will love the Two-Bedroom Beach Houses, which can accommodate up to six over two floors, and boast direct beach access and also have an outdoor shower. They are modern and spacious and are an excellent choice for families.

beach house in Kuramathi are ideal for family holidays in the Maldives
Second floor of 2 bedroom beach house

I had the pleasure of staying in a Deluxe Water Villa. These are built on stilts over the ocean, so it is possible to jump straight into the sea from their massive deck. There are also steps down to the water – I am not the best swimmer, so this suited me perfectly!

Deluxe water villa, Kuramathi Maldives
Deluxe water villa

The villas are beautifully decorated in bright modern style, with a king-sized four poster bed, free standing bath, and glass doors that open fully, offering direct access to the deck and the lagoon.

I can’t recommend these highly enough, you can see a full tour on my Instagram highlights. I loved balmy night caps on my balcony while taking in the views – it was pure bliss.
 

 

 

Facilities at Kuramathi Maldives

Maldives beaches

If you can manage to tear yourself away from your luxury villa or the amazing sandbank, you may be surprised at the facilities available on Kuramathi Maldives. You will probably spend most of your time in the sea, it will be hard not to. Rooms are equipped with snorkelling equipment and life jackets, so you are free to snorkel away to your hearts content.
 

 

 
The more adventurous can opt for dedicated snorkelling safaris and diving trips to see hammerhead sharks, sting rays and turtles. Big game fishing is also available, as are catamaran cruises, sailing trips and fun water sports such as water skiing, wake boarding – extra charges apply.
 

 

 
Don’t forget to book a sunset cruise, you are beside the equator, so amazing sunsets are practically a given. This is also included in the Select All Inclusive arrangement, as is a boat trip to a local island – covid permitting. I would have liked a more activities included in the Select All Inclusive arrangement, however Kuramathi’s Select All Inclusive offers excellent value compared to other islands. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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There are also great facilities on land – with floodlit tennis courts, football court, an Eco Centre, nature walks, and a fully equipped gym available.

gym at Kurmathi Island Resort

Why not treat yourself to a spa treatment while overlooking the Indian Ocean? Sure it would be rude not to! The Kuramathi Spa has 13 treatment rooms, massage rooms at the waters edge, beach side couples rooms, as well as steam baths, a jacuzzi and plunge pool. 

Maldives spa

For the ultimate treat, combine a trip to Kuramathi with a two-night stay at the nearby island of Kandholhu, a 45 minute journey by speedboat. This small five-star island has just 30 villas, but certainly punches above its weight.
 

 

 
The house reef is one of the best in the Maldives, where we saw a wide variety of colourful marine life including turtles, reef sharks and clown fish. I am not a great swimmer, but armed with a lifejacket I could have stayed in the water for hours.

snorkelling with turtles, Maldives

Kandolhu is also a food lovers paradise, and dining is most certainly five-star. It a wonderful addition to a stay in Kuramathi, but has to be booked for a minimum of two nights. It can also be booked for a longer stay, although it is more suited to discerning travellers looking for peace and privacy. You can see a snap shot of what to expect on my Reel below.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Family holidays at Kuramathi Maldives

family holidays in the Maldives

The Maldives may not seem like a typical family holiday destination, but believe me it can be. A paradise island with sting ray, turtles and reef sharks close to the shore – children will be fascinated. We enjoyed a family holiday in the Maldives a few years ago, and had a fabulous time.
 

 

 
The luxurious accommodation, stunning beaches, and even the journey to get there will impress children. It is a unique holiday experience after all. I also loved how safe a family holiday in the Maldives felt. As each island is a hotel, older children can roam freely on the island – within reason of course. 

family holiday in the Maldives

However, Kuramathi Maldives goes a step further, and offers superb facilities inside its 530 square metre Bageecha Kids Club, that is open daily from 8.30am to 19.30pm.
 

 

 
It is complimentary for children age 3-12 years, with a nominal charge for crèche services of €10 per hour, and the same for evening babysitting services. This is superb value for a luxury resort.

kids club at Kuramathi Maldives

Bageecha Kids Club has two indoor play areas, a rest room for sleeping babies, and an entertainment room. Daily activities include arts and crafts, marine life activities, treasure hunts and movies. A dining area offers lunch and dinner with a weekly children’s menu.

kids club with splash park at Kuramathi Maldives

However, the pièce de résistance is the large outdoor area with splash park, tree house, children’s swimming pool, sand pit and play areas. It also hosts children’s sports such as football, tennis and water polo.
 

 

 
You may also be impressed to learn that Kuramathi Maldives has its own Eco Centre. Following on from El Nińo and the subsequent coral bleach, Kuramathi vowed to understand how best to protect its ecosystem.

With a resident marine biologist, Kuramathi stopped all fish feeding and ensures guests and children are aware of the correct snorkelling behaviour. There is also a sperm whale exhibited in the Eco Centre.
 

 

 

Final thoughts 

Walking along the sandbank in Kuramathi was one of those pinch me moments. I’m not one for going overboard with superlatives, but as a massive beach lover, I was genuinely blown away by its beauty.
 

 

 
However, it’s not just the sandbank that would make me want to return to Kuramathi Maldives. The choice of dining options is superb, and I loved its relaxed laid-back vibe. Kuramathi has such a mix of clientele, from couples to families, and even groups like ours, it is great to see an island in the Maldives that caters for all tastes and budgets.

Yes its great for honeymoons, but I would happily return on my own, or with my family. Put Kuramathi Island Resort on your wish list and thank me later.  
 

 

 

How to get to Kuramathi Maldives Island Resort

Qatar Airways offers to the Maldives

I flew with Qatar Airways from Dublin to Male via Doha. I have been a big fan of Qatar Airways since I flew with them to Malaysia in 2018, and I am not a bit surprised that they have been voted the world’s best airline six times – an achievement held by no other airline.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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They have also won the world’s best business class, best business class seat, business class lounge, and catering. However the highlight for me was getting the opportunity to fly in a Qsuite on our return leg from Male to Doha – Qsuites are available on selected routes.

The Qsuite is Qatar Airways newest Business Class that offers doors and dividers to give complete privacy.

Qsuite on Qatar Airways business class

It was not only Qatar Airways business class that impressed me. Economy class passengers can enjoy a generous baggage allowance , free seat selection and unlimited drinks on board – all included in the cost! And that’s not all, Qatar Airways has over 4,000 entertainment options to choose from.

review of qatar airways service

Children are well catered for too, with kids traveller packs and children’s meals available. Wi-Fi is available on board and lounge access is available to purchase.

I could go on and on, but it might be easier to read my review of Qatar Airways service here and see my Instagram highlights here.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Another massive advantage of booking with Qatar Airways is the guaranteed flexibility that is offered across all fare types. If you book now, you have peace of mind knowing you have unlimited date and destination changes, or no-quibble refunds.

These flexible booking options are available for bookings made up to 30th September 2022 – see more about Qatar Airways guaranteed flexibility here.
 

 

 
However, it is not only the service that you should consider when choosing an airline to fly to the Maldives. Qatar Airways are part of the One World Alliance, so you can collect Avios when you fly. They also have an excellent frequent flyer club where you can earn Qmiles in their Privilege Club.
 

 

 
Business class passengers can avail of the East lounge at Dublin airport prior to departure – see more here, and the world’s best business class lounge Al Mourjan in Doha. This 2.5 acre lounge is mind blowing. As well as multiple dining options, sleep pods, and family rooms with games, there is also a spa with swimming pool and a golf simulator – see more here

dining at Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha

TOP TIP: It is vital you choose the correct flight times when booking holidays to the Maldives, as seaplane and speed boat transfers don’t operate after 3pm. You need to ensure you arrive in plenty of time to make your connection, otherwise you will need to overnight in Male.

Similarly on your return, there are flights that leave Male very late at night, and you may think this is ideal to give you longer time in paradise. However, with no transfers leaving after 3pm you can have a lengthy lay over in Male.
 

 

 
We booked an 8pm flight with Qatar Airways from Male on the return – many international flights depart much later. We were able to catch a lunchtime sea plane and have just the right amount on time in Male airport to connect with our international flight.  

Qatar Airways, the world’s best airline as voted by Skytrax 2021, operates daily departures from Dublin to Doha with onward connections to the Maldives. Return fares from Dublin to Maldives are available from €689 in economy and €2,540 in business class. For more information or to book, visit www.qatarairways.com or visit your local travel agent.

Read: My review of Qatar Airways service.

SimplyMaldives.ie arranged our stay on Kuramathi island and they are one of the leading specialists organising holidays to the Maldives from Ireland. Your local travel agent can book holidays to Kuramathi Island via Simply Maldives and Qatar Airways, and they are best to advise you on the latest travel requirements and room choices.
 

 

 
When you arrive in Male you can opt for speed boat transfers which take circa 75 minutes, or seaplane transfers which take circa 25 minutes. I would personally recommend the seaplane for the overall experience, but prices are more expensive.
 

 

 

Package prices to Maldives with Simply Maldives:

Seven night stays including flights from Ireland, taxes, transfers and accommodation for 2023:

25% Off Water Villa Categories + Free Upgrade from Basic to Dine Around “Select” all inclusive

Travel May-Oct 2023 ( Book by 31 Jan 2023 )
7 Night Stays, Speedboat transfers

Deluxe Water Villa from €3779 per person
Water Villa with Private Pool from €4079 pp

2 adults + 2 child ( u12 yrs )
Travel May/June 2023
7 Nights, 2 Bedroom Beach House, Speedboat Transfers

Full Board €9050
Basic All Inclusive package = €1650 extra in total
Select All Inclusive package = €2800 extra in total

Visit SimplyMaldives.ie for more details or see your local travel agent.
 

 

 
I hope my review of Kurmathi Maldives Island Resort will inspire you to take a trip there soon. Note this trip was part of a press trip with Simply Maldives and Qatar Airways, but all views, as always, are my own.

In The Media

Romantic Holidays As Seen on TV3 Saturday AM – 6th February 2016

TV3 Sat AM

Love is in the air for this weeks Saturday AM travel slot. We discussed romantic holidays including Ireland’s top hotels, a weekend break in Florence and a magical trip to the Maldives.

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Ashford Castle

Not only is Ashford Castle Ireland’s best hotel but it was also voted the world’s No 1 hotel in 2015 by one of the industry’s leading luxury networks – Virtuoso. €75 million has been invested into the hotel over the past two years and there is no doubt this 13th century castle offers something unique to its guests. As you drive in under the impressive gates, through the golf course and across the moat – you will be blown away before you even set foot inside the hotel. Once inside the attention to detail is extraordinary. Complete with excellent service and the finest furnishings, when it comes to romantic hotels in Ireland, it doesn’t get any better than this!

Ashford castle discussed by Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert on Saturday AM

You can choose one of the many sporting activities including golf, falconry, horse riding, fishing or spend the afternoon relaxing at the spa – you will be spoilt for choice here. There is also an excellent choice of dining available. Choose fine dining in the famous George V Dining Room or casual dining in their Summer Bistro or Dungeon restaurant.

Ashford castle discussed by Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert on Saturday AM

As it is a leap year, Ashford are offering a “Leap of Faith’ package for ladies who would like to propose. Price of €563 per person includes a two night stay with breakfast, a five course fine dining meal, couples spa treatments and a visit to the in house cinema to see the movie Leap Year. It doesn’t end there! During the movie you can arrange for a secret proposal to happen on the big screen. This will be arranged by the staff to suit your individual taste. And of course you will be given a bottle of champagne to celebrate!

Ashford castle discussed by Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert on Saturday AM

There are also special offers available during February & March which would be ideal as Valentines day gifts. Two nights BB and one evening meal from €285 per person or two nights BB and two evening meals plus afternoon tea from €380 per person. For more details click here.

Monart

The difference between Monart and other luxury hotels is that Monart is Ireland’s only destination Spa property. It offers a unique adults-only environment and was recently awarded ‘runner up best spa retreat in the world’, by Conde Nast Traveller. It was also named as Ireland’s best destination spa for four years in a row. If you are looking for a spa break, there is no doubt – Monart is the best!

Monart Spa Resort discussed by Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert on Saturday AM

All spa products at Monart are 100% natural. They use Pevonia Botanica, the award-winning natural skincare range and Voya, 100% organic seaweed body therapies. The deluxe accommodation and excellent cuisine are also top class and as Monart is situated on 100 acres – you will feel utterly relaxed here.

Monart Spa Resort discussed by Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert on Saturday AM

Monart have limited availability for Valentine’s weekend with packages from €185 per person including breakfast, evening meal and full access to the 2000 square foot Thermal suite throughout your stay.

Monart Spa Resort discussed by Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert on Saturday AM

Alternatively they have over night stays available throughout the year from €149 per person – a perfect Valentines day gift. For more details click here.

Florence

Florence is Italy’s most romantic city and must rival Paris for being Europe’s city of love. Smaller and more compact than Paris it offers a more intimate feel. It is so easy to navigate and you should manage to see most of the highlights in a weekend break.

Florence by The Travel Expert

The Ponte Vecchio bridge is lined with jewellery shops just asking for the ring to be chosen. The city oozes style so its not surprising that Gucci and Roberto Cavalli were born here! The Uffizi Gallery houses one of the largest collections of art in the world and the Cathedral (Duomo) is one of the most impressive you are likely to see anywhere.

Duomo, Florence by The Travel Expert

If you have the time, a trip into the Tuscan countryside will only add to the romance. Choose from Siena, San Gimignano, Chianti – all a short distance from Florence. I found a great deal departing on the 7th of May for only €215 including flights and three nights hotel accommodation. The perfect gift for your loved one on Valentines day! Click here for more details.  

Maldives

The beaches are white powder, the temperatures are approximately 30 degrees all year round and each resort is on its own island. The word paradise automatically springs to mind! Not surprisingly the Maldives are one of the most romantic places to holiday.

Kandolhu Island, Maldives by The Travel Expert

There are almost 1200 islands spread out over 1000 km of which 100 are tourist islands and 200 are locally inhabited. Even the airport is on a separate island as it is literally a runway in the ocean! Renowned as an underwater paradise each island is surrounded by its own reef which is perfect for snorkeling or scuba diving. Many rooms or villas are situated over the ocean with direct access to the sea. The atmosphere is so relaxed that even in the 5* resorts, a beach dress and flip flops are the norm at night. So ladies, no need to pack ten pairs of shoes!

Kandolhu, Maldives, The ultimate honeymoon by The Travel Expert

Normally once you land you will transfer to a sea plane to bring you to the island resort. As everything needs to be imported, items can be expensive so I would recommend going all inclusive. Be careful though as some all inclusive resorts will only allow you use the buffet restaurant and you will have to pay extra to use the a la carte restaurants on the island. I can recommend Kuramathi, an excellent 4*+ resort who offer a ‘select’ all inclusive package, that includes nine a la carte restaurants. Prices from €2745 per person include flights and seven nights accommodation in a jacuzzi beach villa, with sea plane transfers and the select all inclusive dining package. For more information click here.  Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert talks about the Maldives on Saturday AM

If you want to go 5*, Kandolhu has four a la carte restaurants and even your own wine cooler stocked with 30 bottles of wine in your villa! Will you manage to get through them all though…. 

I hope I gave you some ideas of how to surprise your loved on on Valentines day or at some stage in the future. For more ideas read my blog post – the top 10 romantic destinations.

 

Prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to change.

 

Sarah

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