Sugato Tripathy takes his first trip to the Maldives and experiences the luxurious Velassaru Maldives Resort.
This was my first trip to the Maldives. With each island, being a resort in itself, it is a tricky affair to choose a property with every marketing brochure promising breathtaking views and hedonistic pleasures.
I zeroed in on Velassaru Maldives for various reasons – proximity to Male, the customer service during my enquiry, the breathtaking white sandy beaches and its reputation. I got there in twenty minutes by speed boat from the capital Male on the South Atoll.
To my delight, I found the island even more beautiful in real life than the pictures I saw on the hotel’s website. The coral island is surrounded by a beautiful blue lagoon on the western side, the beaches and tranquil and cottages and rooms beautifully juxtaposed amongst dense vegetation and well-laid paths both inside and along the periphery of the island. The property has a stunning infinity pool, stylish over-water ocean villas, deluxe bungalows, beach villas, five restaurants and two bars offering discerning gourmet flavours. Cuisines range from Teppanyaki to Mediterranean.
As promised, the property took special care of our vegetarian needs. I had taken a full board package and food was served at the beautiful setting of Vela, the poolside restaurant. Apart from a customized menu for me, the head and sous chef always had something special on the table as a complimentary option.
The Chill Bar right on the edge of the ocean deserves a special mention. Maldivian sunsets are breathtaking and this location is perfect. I can’t think of a better experience with a cocktail in hand watching the sun going down with the balmy sea breeze ruffling your hair. Oh, I forgot to mention, the Long Island Ice Tea here is actually ‘lit’.
Though tempted, I passed on the vaunted Water Villas and chose to stay in a beachfront deluxe cottage, purely because of my discomfort in sleeping over the black sea at night! The deluxe room was tastefully designed with ambient lighting and all the required amenities for a comfortable stay – in-villa safe, LCD TV, DVD player, L’ Occitane toiletries, beach bags, towels and turquoise slippers. However, the highlight of my stay was the refreshing alfresco rain shower with towering palms as my unintended spectators from the sky. With free wifi and 24 hours service, I couldn’t have asked for more.
The spa in Velassaru is built directly over the lagoon. Breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean, the sound of the gentle splashing waves against the teak wooden stilts and blissful therapies with organic local ingredients is pure indulgence. I fell asleep a couple of times during the 60 minutes Vinotherapie Spa which I chose purely because of the description –“ a relaxing massage using Geranium and Rose oils mixed with ‘red wine’”. I never knew wine had this other use!
The expansive blue lagoon is shallow and perfect for snorkelling. The Marine Centre also provides options for other water sports like kayaking, kneeboarding, windsurfing, wakeboarding and waterskiing. For all those who are averse to swimming and diving, snorkelling is the perfect way to get a peek at the enigmatic underwater world.
The more adventurous can opt for scuba diving which gives you the opportunity to encounter marine life in all its glory. The Immersion Dive Center here has multilingual instructors who guide you to numerous local diving sites.
One of the evenings, the property provided a complimentary movie screening by the beach. This was not part of the package. A large white screen was set up along the beach with lounge sofas and chairs in the evening. I loved the open-air theatre experience, though the windy evening made it a bit difficult to hear.
Another evening, Boduberu, the traditional dance of the Maldives dating back to the 11th century, was performed by a group of around 15. It consisted of one lead singer plenty of drums and a variety of thumping instruments. The pace of the music and dance gradually picked up, and at the end, I found myself dancing along with the group with a few other visitors. The songs and dance styles are similar to the ones found in East and South West Africa giving rise to speculation that these might have been introduced to this tiny island nation by sailors from the African continent.
When you have had enough of relaxing on the island, you can set sail on a traditional Maldivian Dhoni for a sunset cruise into the open waters. The resort also provides options for more unconventional experiences like Big Game Fishing, Night Fishing and Night Snorkeling.
Part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Velassaru Maldives ticked all the boxes for me as an authentic Maldivian experience with a touch of luxury and self-indulgence.
Tell me more about Velassaru Maldives
Velassaru Maldives, 39 Orchid Magu, PO Box 2015, Malé 20-02, Republic of Maldives
T: +960 665 6100 F: +960 664 3041
Getting There: British Airways flies direct to Male from London and most major European carriers offer direct or one change routes. Velassaru Maldives arranges a speed boat transfer from Male Airport.
Best Time to Visit: November to April
Accommodation: Deluxe Bungalows doubles from Rs 40,000 per night, Premium Water Villas from Rs 120,000 per night.