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Casey's Kuramathi Trip Report ( HD Video & Photos ) 
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 11:22 am Reply with quote
Casey Jones
Joined: 30 May 2008
Posts: 1455
Location: Cumbria
Since our first trip to the Maldives back in June 2008 to Meeru, then Meeru again in August last year, we thought that we would love to compare with another Island this year, so Kuramathi Island Resort was booked after some research and here is a synopsis of our trip.
Kuramathi is BIG, maybe too big for some. Situated in the Rasdhoo Atoll, a tiny atoll with just five Islands. It is 56km West from Male airport and is mostly a seaplane transfer which takes about 15 – 20 minutes, but a speedboat transfer can be done for certain flights which takes around 1 hour 15 minutes depending on conditions.

FLIGHTS:

We always fly Emirates to the Maldives and this was no exception. All seats pre-booked as usual (2 seats at the back of the plane). Arrived at Manchester airport a little early for check-in (although we done this online the previous night) so swiftly through and flight was only around 15 minutes late departing. Relaxing flight with great service and attentive staff and before long we were descending into Dubai where we would have around three hours before our transit flight to Male. As we have used Dubai airport a few times now, we know that the duty free is not really that cheap (except cigarettes) we had a quick look around and decided on refreshments.

A funny thing happened whilst waiting to get on the Male plane; a Maldivian guy tapped me on my shoulder and asked “if I had been to the Maldives before?” I said “yes..to Meeru twice”. He introduced himself as Mirfaan the waiter from Meeru’s Dhoni bar and he recognised me from the previous year. The penny dropped then as I remembered talking to him in the Dhoni about his forthcoming trip to the UK. He had been staying with a forum member (t2truth) and was on his way back to Meeru. How these guys remember faces after so long is amazing and certainly was a bonus to see him..a great guy!
Soon our flight was boarding to Male. We quickly relaxed and looked forward to the magical view of the atolls as you approach Male. The weather on our last trip was bad and the views were somewhat obstructed by heavy cloud and rain. Not this time, minimal cloud, beautiful sunshine and I will never get tired at looking at these beautiful pearls of nature dropped into the Indian Ocean.

Here is a link to a HD video I took of these amazing atolls as we approached Male.

All videos are best viewed in HD (720p) on YouTube.

VIDEO 1

TRANSFER:

As mentioned above you can do a speedboat transfer to Kuramathi if you wish (if your flight arrives before midday) and we do usually like the speedboat transfers as we don’t usually get seasick and is so refreshing after a long journey with the warm air blowing over your face and looking out for any marine life and such, but on this occasion we opted for the seaplane transfer as we thought maybe 1 hour 30 minutes (longer if rough) was maybe a little long as you just want to get there, so we were quickly through the seaplane terminal formalities and we were up and away. Very convenient and quick these seaplane transfers but are hot and noisy but the winner are the amazing views. Twenty minutes later we arrived at Kuramathi to brilliant sunshine.

Here is link to some HD video of our seaplane landing at Kuramathi Island Resort.

VIDEO 2

Just a short hop from the seaplane pontoon on a local dhoni and we were finally here.

VIDEO 3

Registration formalities were completed quickly and we were told that NO wristbands are required for Kuramathi (brilliant! I hate wristbands) and were given the plastic swipe card (no key) that was used for entry into villa and for all the electricity when you slot your card in the wall. As you leave your villa all the electric is cut to save energy and as you only get one card this would stop any charging of your camera battery or whatever else. But simply putting another substitute such as a nectar card in its place electricity was maintained for charging etc. whilst out of your villa. We originally booked a Deluxe Beach Villa but were given an upgraded room to a Beach Villa with Jacuzzi as an early bird booking offer with Kuoni.

ACCOMMODATION:

Kuramathi has a lot of room categories which include Garden Villas, Beach Villas, Deluxe Beach Villas, Beach Villas with Jacuzzi, Superior Beach Villa with Jacuzzi, Deluxe Beach Villa with Jacuzzi, Water Villas, Water Villas with Jacuzzi & Honeymoon Beach Villas. Most of the rooms have now been upgraded or totally refurbished for its new concept which started in November 2009. All the rooms now have at least CD, DVD player and iPod docking station with slim flat screen TV. Our room was 90 square metres with a modern interior and wonderful bathroom and garden area.

Here is a link to some HD video of our bathroom & garden area.

VIDEO 4

All the villas have thatched roofs (except one or two) so when it rains you never hear it during the night (Meeru’s metal roofs were noisy when raining) and look rather splendid in amongst the tropical landscape. I also have to mention the bed (Super King-size) which was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in including the UK. The pillows also plump and very supportive.
It is worth pointing out that the category of villa we were in were the first of the detached villas, so if that is important to you, then avoid the first category rooms, as these are either in blocks of four or semi-detached (although priced accordingly).

BEACH:

You can’t walk all the way around Kuramathi, the high tide will stop you from doing that because it really does come right up under the overhanging foliage and submerges many parts of the Islands beach.

VIDEO 5

It can be a little rocky in places also. Even at low tide there are parts you can’t get around without going inland to the paths. But as the Island is big (you will get lost the first couple of days!) even if you could walk all the way round uninterrupted, I guess it would take you a couple of hours, and that’s not stopping in any of the bars on the way. It will take you about 50 minutes to walk from one end to the other up the central path. We also noticed that the beach was not quite as white as Meeru (slightly off white) but still beautiful in parts, especially the sand bank...truly awesome!



Here is some HD video as you emerge from the very West tip of Kuramathi onto the sand bank.

VIDEO 6

This really is my favourite part on Kuramathi. Usually empty (it is quite a trek to get here from some of the villas) totally beautiful and currently after 5 years is home to some nesting Tern’s again. The management have placed a palm fencing towards the very end of the sand bank (which can be up to a quarter mile long depending on tide) to give them some privacy and nest in peace. Once they have gone they will remove the fence to open the very tip of the sand bank. This area is very romantic to watch a sunset from and not to be missed.



THE ISLAND:

As mentioned Kuramathi is very big for a Maldivian Island, the benefits to this is many choices in restaurants & bars. The next video is from the Rasdhoo Divers Jetty on the lagoon side which might give you an idea of its size.

VIDEO 7

It has its own transport of a number of buggy’s which run the length of the Island at about 7 minute intervals and up to 11pm at night. We did use these a couple of times if we were at the top Laguna bar & sand bank at the western tip to get back to our room, but mostly we enjoyed the walk taking in the sight & smells of this beautiful Island with loads of flora & fauna. The amount of flowers giving off scent was noticed on many occasions and some wildlife we have never seen on Meeru.



ALL INCLUSIVE:

You have two options of AI on Kuramathi – BASIC All Inclusive or SELECT All Inclusive.
I have got to say this must be one of the best AI in the Maldives. The choice of cocktails (around 60) is amazing. All part of the AI plan and all with premium branded spirits (Bacardi, Gordon’s, London, Bailey’s, Smirnoff, Beefeater, Johnny Walker Red....you get the picture) all garnished with a couple of bits of fruit. Check out the Long Island Ice Tea...phew!!..very strong.
The mini-bar in your room is also included but the contents only contain soft drinks (Coke, Sprite, Tonic & Soda water). Plenty of still water also and replenished daily. Have to say that this is a good move by the resort as some of the bars may be a bit of a walk (depending on accommodation) and nice just to go to the fridge for a coke or whatever with ice to relax on sun loungers at your villa or Jacuzzi. We were at least a 10 minute walk from our nearest bar (Dhoni)

VIDEO 8

The beer is Carlsberg draught on AI (they do Tiger beer but strangely not on AI except in the Thai restaurant) but it served ice cold in tankard style glasses in the Fung Bar. The wine on AI is palatable...the white that is. The Rose is far to bitter and the Red had no body and was as strong as an Aldi teabag!
You are allocated a restaurant for your meals depending where your villa is located, but if you are on Select AI you can dine in ANY of the restaurants on the Island and these include:-
Siam Garden (Thai), Tandoor Mahal (Indian), The Reef (Seafood & Meat), Palm Pizzeria & Gelateria (Pizza), Island Barbeque (Steaks etc.).
There is also the Island Coffee Shop for afternoon AI tea (sandwiches etc) for those who missed or did not want lunch.
There are a few restrictions like no lobster included but that is understandable and gives you great choice of restaurants to dine throughout your stay and also includes selected bottles of wine when on Select AI. You can upgrade for $44 pppn to Select AI from Basic AI. As we were on Basic AI we got 20% discount in the Siam Garden which had great food and was a nice to change to your main restaurant but found no need to upgrade as the food was very good anyway. Also worth noting that there will be a 10% service charge on anything bought outside AI this also includes the above restaurants.
You also get snorkelling equipment included in the AI. We generally bring our own but if you want to save weight in your case you can leave your fins at home and use the resorts.
A nice touch was pre dinner drinks in any of the bars (6pm – 8pm) a bowl of fresh nibbles was brought with your drinks free of charge..and very moorish they are too!

WEATHER:

This was our 3rd trip to the Maldives and by far the hottest. April / May are some of the hottest months and certainly felt like it. At just 3 degrees north of the equator it seemed a lot hotter than Meeru with very sticky warm nights and high humidity. Rain was very minimal with just one thunderstorm on a night and a couple of brief showers. Brilliant weather overall and by far the best in all our trips to the Maldives.

INSECTS:

When we seen how lush and tropical this Island was, we thought there might be a few insects to deal with in the outside bathroom. Quite the opposite, literally bug free. Yes the odd ant and gecko, but I can honestly say compared to Meeru we had no problem at all with any insects.

BARS:

A number of bars are dotted around the Island and you can drink in all of them on AI. The waiters are OK but can be a bit slow at times (especially afternoons in the Fung Bar), but this is the busiest bar as the infinity pool is situated here.

Here is some HD video of the infinity pool.

VIDEO 9

It was very pretty at night times when all lit up underwater with tiny LED’s in blues & greens.



The Fung Bar area also has the main entertainment stage, but is usually something on at most of the other bars over the Island most evenings. Do not miss the resident Maldivian band called ‘The Wood’ – totally awesome on the rock ‘n’ roll night (they do chill & middle of the road stuff also), I have never seen an electric guitar played like that before..fantastic! All the other bars are very relaxed as the accommodation is less at these parts of the Island, but the Dhoni does incorporate the Havana Club which is self contained as Karaoke is usually done there.

EXCURSIONS:

You get a Sunset Cruise as part of the AI and a trip to the local Island Rasdhoo for shopping (cheaper than the resort). These trips go every day if I remember.



Other than that there was an Island hopping excursion and a Coral Romance excursion (which involves a night on another tiny resort (only 20 rooms), private candlelit dining and was quite expensive. The Sports & Aqua centre do a half & full day tour by speedboat to Veligandu which you can see across the lagoon from Kuramathi. Also some snorkelling safaris. Other than that I think they need a few more excursions for non divers etc.

HOUSE REEF:

The house reef is steps from the beach with plenty of live coral with much variety of fish. There is a current in parts, but the lagoon area is quite calm and good for beginners, but the reef side is where you will be more satisfied if you are a keen snorkeller and the ‘drop off’ is just yards from the beach. Channels for entrance & exit from the house reef are clearly marked by a yellow flag.

STINGRAY FEEDING:

Every night at 6.30pm at the Laguna Bar they feed the stingrays. Quite a sight as up to a dozen big stingrays come in to feed. Not sure if this is good or bad as they start to gather around 6pm along with a few sharks and a heron as if they know a guaranteed meal is waiting and no ‘hunting’ is required to feed. Anyway not to be missed if you come here.

Here is a link to some HD video of the feeding.

VIDEO 10

FOOD:

The food in the allocated restaurants is very good and is themed every evening (Mediterranean, Italian, Surf & Turf, American, Maldivian amongst a few). Always a carvery & fresh baked fish station & pasta. The puddings are really good and would say are slightly better than Meeru. Our waiter Jailam was only 18 years old but very good at his job and we became good friends early on and always willing to chat when he could.
And soon the holiday was over and was time to leave Kuramathi. We usually tip on the last few days of our holiday so as we went for our last evening meal, we left the room boy a tip in an envelope on the bed. When we returned on the evening after a few drinks we found the bed like this...

VIDEO 11

DEPARTURE:

We opted for a speedboat transfer back to Male from Kuramathi. The resort has two modern air conditioned speedboats and we left the resort at 7am for our Emirates flight back to Dubai from Male. We had complimentary vouchers from Kuoni for the VIP lounge at Male airport, but we did not have enough time to use them (we have used the lounge before anyway) as the flight had already been called. Departure was delayed by 20 minutes or so due to Island traffic which made our connecting flight from Dubai to Manchester a bit of a rush. As we flying back Business Class with Emirates we did not get the chance to use the Business Class lounge in Dubai (disappointed). Just time to get some quick duty free after security (when will Dubai T3 get this right – total cattle run every time and slow security screening with many queues). Then we were into our Business Class seats for our journey home.

I could do whole review on this part of the journey. Absolutely awesome service, I have never eaten so much in such comfort on an aircraft in 7 hours flying time. Totally relaxed & recommended. Landed at Manchester airport on time and our chauffeur driven Mercedes was waiting for us to take us home (complimentary from Emirates when travelling Business Class). We were very lucky as the volcanic ash cloud forced the closure of Manchester airport the following day.

NEGATIVES:

I think every holiday in truth has these and we did have a couple on Kuramathi but nothing major and did not detract from a wonderful Island.
Our villa was in close proximity to one of the generators on the Island which I noticed immediately as you can hear the ‘humming’ sound. We gave it a couple of days (maybe ask for move of villa) but it became less intrusive and was not really a problem from the front of our villa, although the garden & Jacuzzi area you could hear it a bit more. At the end of the day they have to get the power from somewhere to make it a working Island and the villa was in a lovely location, just no more than ten steps from the Ocean.
The only other thing was that the hot water was a bit sporadic at times (not that you need it in that heat). As our villa was in a horse shoe set up and we were at the end of the horse shoe it was last to be fed the naturally heated water as it passed through the other villas before reaching us and found you had to run the shower for about 10 minutes to get it reasonably warm. We had maintenance out for this issue who told us to do the above and how the system worked, we just found it a waste of water really and could be a better system in place. Early evening showers were OK, but demand at peak times it became poor.

CONCLUSION:

We had a fantastic time on Kuramathi and it was good to experience another Island, which I would recommend you do. I was taken aback by the size, but this in turn has its pros & cons. Beautifully landscaped, has a lot of shaded areas for relief from the sun, very mature vegetation and the refurbished villas fixture & fittings are top quality and contemporary. We would go back again if the price was right but we would love to do the opposite now and try a very small Island next time just to compare experiences.

Thanks for being still here, apologies if it was a bit long and I hope the feedback is of use for some.

If you want to ask me anything, just PM me and will do my best to assist. In the meantime enjoy my photos which can be found by CLICKING HERE then click slideshow.

Gary & Helen

(Casey Jones)
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 11:47 am Reply with quote
t2truth
Joined: 08 Jul 2007
Posts: 491
Location: NW
Wow what a fantastic report!!!!

The video links really made everything come to life (obviously) but I felt like I saw a lot more of the island than a standard report.

Glad you bumped into Mirfaan at the airport on his way home. We were laughing before he left as he said when he goes back he always look white!!

Kuramathi looks huge! Your report has made me think about pricing up for an alternative to Meeru and then like yourselves, a tiny island would be next on the list. Fortunately we have already rebooked for Meeru in 2011 so won't have to think about this for some time yet.

The video of feeding the stingrays is amazing!

So glad you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing.

One of my favourite reports on here!

Cool Cool Very Happy

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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 12:09 pm Reply with quote
Humble Jim
Joined: 03 Jan 2005
Posts: 6177
Location: Leeds, UK
Stunning report, simply brilliant. It's lit up my lunch hour Cool !!

Beautiful photos and excellent vids too...
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 12:49 pm Reply with quote
sallyandpaul
Joined: 02 Oct 2008
Posts: 873
Location: Hereford
Casey,

what a brilliant report,that must have taken ages to do,thanks so much for posting,really enjoyed reading it. Very Happy

sallyandpaul xx Very Happy

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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 1:05 pm Reply with quote
Casey Jones
Joined: 30 May 2008
Posts: 1455
Location: Cumbria
sallyandpaul wrote:
Casey,

what a brilliant report,that must have taken ages to do,


3 days (a few hours each day)...and I took less photographs this time. It's all the uploading and slight correction on the photos thats time consuming.

You only have to do it once though...and all the forum community are worth it

Wink just keep me away from my lappy for a couple of days Laughing

Casey Cool
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 4:35 pm Reply with quote
helenpea
Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 1133
Location: Cleveland
Great report and brilliant pics.

Helen Very Happy

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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 12:31 pm Reply with quote
Chas & Maxi
Joined: 11 Dec 2005
Posts: 448
Location: Greenford, Middx.
Thank you for a brilliant & very informative trip report. Loads of memories just came rushing back from our stay on Kuramathi 2 years ago.

I am seriosuly considering returning to Kuramathi (or Meeru) in May 2011. When we first went, they did not have the Select AI & as we went B&B we really enjoyed the Indian & Thai restaurants. I would seriously consider trying this if we return.

Chas

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Trips Reports
Kuramathi - http://www.meeru.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8512&highlight=
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 2:27 pm Reply with quote
t2truth
Joined: 08 Jul 2007
Posts: 491
Location: NW
Gary just out of interest, who did you book with?

I did try to do some research and price checking but Kuramathi didn't come up much.

Surprised

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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 2:30 pm Reply with quote
Chas & Maxi
Joined: 11 Dec 2005
Posts: 448
Location: Greenford, Middx.
I think she mentioned Kuoni.

That's who we went with last time.

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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 3:36 pm Reply with quote
Casey Jones
Joined: 30 May 2008
Posts: 1455
Location: Cumbria
t2truth wrote:
Gary just out of interest, who did you book with?

I did try to do some research and price checking but Kuramathi didn't come up much.

Surprised


Hi Lynda,

Kuramathi Island Resort is exclusive to Kuoni in the UK.

When we booked we got a guaranteed upgrade to next room category as mentioned, but this was only for a small booking window. They may do it again next year if you email them of any offers.

Casey Cool
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 4:00 pm Reply with quote
Casey Jones
Joined: 30 May 2008
Posts: 1455
Location: Cumbria
Chas & Maxi wrote:
Thank you for a brilliant & very informative trip report. Loads of memories just came rushing back from our stay on Kuramathi 2 years ago.

I am seriosuly considering returning to Kuramathi (or Meeru) in May 2011. When we first went, they did not have the Select AI & as we went B&B we really enjoyed the Indian & Thai restaurants. I would seriously consider trying this if we return.

Chas


A few changes Chas.....very nice infinity pool and refurbished villas and the Select AI does seem good value. The Siam Garden (Thai) was excellent food and cost apx $100 dollars for two (3 courses) with a bottle of wine and 20% discount. If you were Select AI the cost would be $0 and includes the bottle of selected wine (all around the $40 & includes Red, White & Rose). You can also choose off the wine list that was outside the Select AI and get 50% off the bottle. There is some wines on the menu over $100 dollars Shocked . Potentially for just a week Select AI your dinners can amount to nearly $1000 but you pay $0 and Kuoni were only going to charge around £200 extra each above the Basic AI to upgrade. (Island charge $44 pppn).

A different table and different restaurants for your dining is a winner for some, but as mentioned in my report the main allocated restaurants are very good also.

Casey Cool
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 5:40 pm Reply with quote
1983_Sarah
Joined: 17 May 2009
Posts: 1040
Location: Southampton
Absolutely brilliant report Casey thanks so so so much for sharing! I definitely fancy checking out Kuramathi even more now Very Happy

Loving the videos as well, makes a change to piccies and gives a good idea of the island

Thanks again!

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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 7:36 pm Reply with quote
Casey Jones
Joined: 30 May 2008
Posts: 1455
Location: Cumbria
Forgot to mention that the All Inclusive starts at 9am in the bars until the last guest leaves.....and this was well past midnight on a few occasions and would still serve you AI drinks..well chuffed Very Happy

One night the resident band 'The Wood' stopped playing at 4am Shocked as the resort owner was in town.

Casey Cool
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PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 9:06 am Reply with quote
Shazo1
Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Posts: 457
Location: Willenhall
Wow what a report............I`m even more interested in this Island now for my 50th in 2012.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:46 am Reply with quote
Marg & Colin
Joined: 06 Jan 2010
Posts: 74
Location: Merseyside
Great trip report. I had a feeling you'd enjoy the treat of travelling business class on the last leg of your journey. We did the very same a couple of years ago. It was our bit of self indulgence when we returned from Kuredu and it was as you said...Absolutely awesom
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Casey's Kuramathi Trip Report ( HD Video & Photos ) 
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