They say if you have to look for paradise on earth, travel to the Maldives. This week we travel to Sun Island Resort at the Maldives – an experience that we can never forget.
To be honest, we heard a lot of stories about Maldives – the 1200 islands and the mesmerizing beauty of crystal clear oceans and abundant marine wildlife. But did we know that it would be nothing close to paradise on earth?
We began our search at famous hotel booking websites to learn about one of many islands.
One island stood out at every search site. Sun Island at Maldives caught our attention for it’s superb reviews and unimaginable rates. It was too good to be true so we thought of digging in further.
With an average 4 point something review at each booking website and lovely reviews by the visitors, we made our choice.
The resort was a top choice for couples and families alike who travel to the Maldives.
Booking The Flights – Emirates is the go-to airline when you travel to the Maldives from Dubai. The direct flight is 4 hours 10 minutes and costs AED 2695/- (peak rates differ).
The next best option is Sri Lankan airlines which is a via Colombo with a 1.5 to 2.3 hours halt. If you book in advance, you can get a good deal on this airline.
Due to busy season, we booked with Sri Lankan airlines. The flight was nothing less than superb. Seats and leg space were comfortable and service was top notch.
Sri Lankan airline really know how to take care of their guests and provides a variety of meal options. We loved the food. It was better than any other airline or at par with Cathey Pacific.
Tip: If you really want to save money on flights, go for Spice Jet – A reputable budget airline. Although the halt is a bit long, you can save up to $300 on return flights.
Upon arriving at Colombo, we were escorted to the transit area where we had a good 1.5 hours to stretch and relax at one of the lounges. Colombo airport is also a great spot for buying the famous Ceylon Tea.
Colombo to Male is a 1 hour 25 minutes flight which is a breeze. Few snacks and a drink are provided on the route along with in-flight entertainment. You might want to carry your own headphones for short flights.
Arriving at Male – You get a glimpse of the Maldivian beauty as you descend to your destination. The view of endless ocean with the morning sun’s silver lining makes you appreciate the beauty of abundance.
Small islands with beautiful turquoise blue shores appear at a distance that takes your curiosity to a whole new level. This is the moment where you can’t wait to land and explore the serenity of this place.
After landing at Male, we approached desk number 16 (dedicated to Sun Island) and received our instructions for the domestic flight to Nalaguraidhoo. At this point, the travel might seem long but it is totally worth.
The small domestic flight from Male to Nalaguraidhoo is exceptionally beautiful. Our curiosity of the 1200 something islands was put to rest when we witnessed endless array of stunning islands on our way.
Small to Massive, the aerial view of every island you witness will dazzle you. Don’t forget to turn on your camera for this short trip.
Arriving at Nalaguraidhoo – This is a small island airport from where we had a speed boat ride to the island. Our luggage and ride to the speed boat dock were taken care of by a very efficient crew at the terminal.
The journey was 15 minutes but you will hardly notice it. Cutting the crystal blue waves at high speed is one of a lifetime experience.
Arriving at Sun Island Resort & Spa – Upon docking at the resort, we were greeted by a guest services agent who took us throughout the resort in a cart.
The pre check in orientation tour was superb. Stingrays, colorful fishes and baby sharks could be seen clearly just from the boardwalk.
As we approached the main reception (which was huge with artistic wodden carvings), we were offered a refreshing cold welcome drink.
A dedicated guest services employee helped us check-in and gave us a detailed info on the island, restaurants and activity areas. This was by far one of the best check-in experiences that we have witnessed.
We were soon escorted to our Beach Bunglow by cart which seemed like an endless journey. However, we later discovered that it was just 5-7 minute by foot to the center of the resort.
The Sunset Beach Bungalow – There are a variety of options to choose from when it comes to staying at Sun Island.
We chose the Sunset Beach Bungalow for its calm ocean, beautiful sunset views and direct access to the beach.
The rooms are new, come with free baby cot, good choice of TV channels, a good mini bar and all that you can imagine amenities.
The bath comes with two sinks, a bidet spray, and an outdoor shower. The best part about the sunset bungalow is that it is right at the beach.
The room’s backdoor directly opens to a padded sofa and sunbeds. There is also a dedicated water tap outside each bungalow to wash your feet after a good dip.
The Maaniya Restaurant – This is the main restaurant where all the three meals are served. Serving one of the BEST varieties in cuisines, this restaurant is massive in size.
The live cooking station at each meal serves everything from seafood to an omelet to grill chicken. Main courses usually include casual pasta meatballs, a large variety of salads, fish, daily special soups to Arabic Chicken, Hummus and delicious Indian Biryanis and Daal. There is a dedicated section for Vegetarians – all the time.
To cool off, a succulent array of fresh fruits, yogurts, juices, and desserts always make your meal wholesome. If you are on an All-Inclusive package, chilled beer or house wine is unlimited during meals.
The restaurant is very organized and each guest/party is allotted a table for the duration of the stay. A dedicated server takes care of you and greats you each time, making you feel at home, away from home.
For us, it was Arun from the main restaurant who served us each day with a smile. A young, hard-working lad from India who never hesitated to answer our endless questions and fulfill our requests.
Another god-sent angel from the main restaurant was the busy and charming Chef Chandaran. Since we were traveling with a 7-month-old boy, the chef made sure our young one never missed out on fresh baby food.
Each day, the chef would prepare a fresh fruit mash for our little boy that we could use as a side along with soup or as a main meal. We left the choice of fruits to the Chef and were surprised that the little one enjoyed it each time! Big Hugs to Him!
Vani, The Coffee Shop – This was our post-swim hangout. A coffee shop that serves flavorsome snacks and drinks (alcoholic if you opt for All-Inclusive).
Drinks are served throughout the day and snacks between 4-6 PM. The restaurant offers one of the best sunset views.
Since is it just next to the boardwalk, a nice calm walk after the sunset or dinner is a must. You can witness a zillion stars, strolling Maldivian Heron birds and beautiful fishes.
Abdullah at Vani Coffee Shop was our star who made sure none of our visits went anything less than exceptional.
The Pool & The Pool Bar – The resort has a decent-size, temperature-controlled swimming pool suitable for children and adults alike. The view from the pool overlooking the ocean is just breathtaking.
Each day at 10:30 AM, a physical yoga session is conducted by the instructor next to the pool area. Moreover, each day, you may find a fun activity such as a pool ball or Water Zumba at the swim.
The pool bar offers you everything GOOD in cocktails. Our star from the pool bar is a talent cocktail maker – Nishant. He surely knew how to bring a smile to everyone, everyday with his tempting cocktails.
If you are ever visiting Sun Island Resort, ask Nishant for his own flagship cocktail that we hope he names soon.
Mekunu Bar (aka Main Bar) – This is a chilled out bar if you wish to sip some drinks or play a round of pool. The bar comes alive in the evening with live band and fun activities for guests.
Tip: Choose outdoor patio for drinks at dusk-time for great views of the sky. If you are visiting during the rainy season, stick to indoors.
Other restaurants that you can try:
Al Pointile, a specialty Italian restaurant that offers the yummiest pizza among other delicacies.
Sun Star – A wonderful Thai restaurant and a place for shark feeding, check this on your list if you are a fan of authentic Thai cuisine.
Travel to the Maldives is more than wonderful food. To sum it up, Sun Island Resort place has a mini-golf park, a dive center, tennis court, basket and volleyball court, a nature park and one of the world’s best spa.
Speaking of the Spa, the bamboo interiors married to the greenery will instantly take you a state of calmness. Treatments are a bit expensive compared to other 5 stars but the spa runs special offers now and then so check with them next to the reception area. They can even customize sessions based on your body’s requirements.
Sunrise Bar & Water Sports – The Sunrise bar, although at a great location, was boring and dead. This is the only location in the resort that you might want to skip.
Sitting next to the bar is the main water sports area. You can try out Sailing, Kayak & Jet Ski. We took the Kayak for a 45 minutes ride and enjoyed watching the colorful marine life up close.
Tip: If you are on an All-Inclusive package, most of the water activities are free!
Saying Good-Bye – If city life takes a toll on you, goodbyes in the Maldives can be difficult. Secluded from the world, in the arms of the ocean, this little paradise makes us look very tiny yet fills us with a lot more than we know of ourselves.
Smiling faces, warm hugs, and stranger becoming friends is something we’ll never forget. In a life where we try hard to balance materialism with spirituality, a Maldivian experience is a perfect spot to find your psyche.
Few Essential Tips when you travel to Sun Island Resort at the Maldives:
For top 30 travel essentials to pack when you travel to the Maldives, click here
Essentials to Pack – Raincoat, One Formal Dress, Chappals, Sneakers, Sunscreen (at least SPF 50), Snorkeling Gear (or else you have to rent or buy which is expensive), Goggles – Swim & Casuals and One Shoe for Smart Casual wear.
Traveling to the Maldives with a Baby – Mosquito Patch, Pre-Bite Rollon, After-Bite & Baby Sunscreen are important. If your baby uses a feeder, tablets to sterilize bottles will really come in handy. These can be bought at any local pharmacy.
Carry US Dollars as this is the preferred currency at Sun Island resort and even throughout the Maldives.
Hire a Bicycle from the Bicycle Counter next to the Main Reception- For $6.25-$6.50/Day/Person, this is a good option, especially if you are staying away from the main restaurant. Biking is also a great option to explore the Island.
Witness Shark & Sting Ray Feeding – These take place in the evenings around the same time. Enjoy both events comfortably on separate days.
Tipping Standards – At bars, it is around $5 for small and $10 for large groups. Luggage delivery guy at Check-Ins and Out about $3-$5. Your daily server at the restaurant can be tipped around $15-$20 at the end of your total stay.
We hope that your travel to the Maldives will be as brilliant as ours. Do share your story!